Guild Wars: Canthan New Year, part 1

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With how busy I’ve been lately, it tends to take something a little bit more special to pull me into playing Guild Wars. Fortunately, it is one of those games which I can put aside for weeks or months and not really feel like I’ve been left behind. So when I heard the Canthan New Year was coming around again this year, I installed my recently-bought copied of Guild Wars: Factions and went to go pay a visit.

Arriving in Cantha on the outskirts of Kaineng.

One of the flame altars inside Kaineng city.

I knew I needed to get to Shing Jea Monastery for the festival, but I didn’t really know where that was. I knew Shing Jea was on an island, and the world map had a couple of islands to the southeast direction, so I headed out south through Kaineng’s slums to get there.

I spent about an hour travelling through the slums. One of the biggest hindrances I had was that I used a Lunar Fortune, an item associated with the event, that can cause a couple of random effects. Most are good, like granting you 100 gold, increasing all your attributes by +1, or giving you festive items like bottle rockets and sparklers. However, I seem to have the worst luck with these fortunes, and got “Possessed” by an evil spirit. This is a condition that causes your screen to turn red and hazy. The worst thing about this condition is that you can’t get rid of it except by leaving the area you’re in. It’s pretty annoying when you’re halfway through an area and then all of a sudden your view becomes hugely obscured so you can barely tell where you’re going. I didn’t want to abandon my progress towards Shing Jea, but the condition made it really hard to play.

After a little bit of travel I found myself at a marketplace with a port. Shown is the statue of Melandru there.

Taking a boat left me at the port on Shing Jea island. Here I am meeting one of the mystical beasts presiding over Shing Jea.

The port of Shing Jea.

As I wandered the island looking for the monastery, I came across this fantastic piece of art.

Have I found the monastery?


A headmistress of the monastery.

Another headmistress.

Another character at the monastery. I think she’s a fortune teller.

Festival decor.

The festival at Shing Jea monastery actually consists of a number of different things. Above is the main gathering place, where a number of Canthan chefs await the yearly arrival of a celestial animal to feast on their preparations. Some of their meals require obscure animal parts that players may have to hunt down for them elsewhere. Depending on how pleased the celestial being is with the meal, they may give out varying prizes.

Last year the celestial being was a pig, who gave out miniature pigs. This year the celestial being was a rat, who gave out presents and fireworks.

Some pictures of the event…

At the main gathering area…

Standing by one of the Canthan chefs…

Some joker lets off a string of festival items from Wintersday…

The celestial rat arrives!

Waiting as the rat samples the different meals…

He liked them!

As a bit of a silly end to the celebration, the celestial rat summoned a bunch of rats and went on a running-of-the-rats around the monastery.

Someone commented that it was like the reverse of the Pied Piper, with all the people following the rats around.

Attending players were also given Lion masks provided by the Canthan emperor, although I’m a bit jealous as last year’s masks, Dragon masks, were much better than this years’. The only thing I’m disappointed in is that I didn’t manage to get a celestial rat mini pet.

I’ve got some more nice screenshots from other things, so I guess I am going to break this up into two parts.

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