This is my two-year-old daughter Ellivena (or Elli for short).

Like most dads, I love my daughter (and son) immensely. When we found out we were having a girl, I worried a lot that she wouldn’t like me.  Now we’ve become an inseparable pair.  She’s incredibly stubborn but very loving, always coming over for hugs or telling me small bits of wonderous things with her eyes wide open like she can’t even believe it.

Like most dads, I’ve often had a hard time not boasting about her to everyone I meet.  Maybe this annoys some (and I’m not sorry!), but in one special case, it turned into a terrific surprise.

So this is what I’ve been sitting on for over two years now: My daughter is going to be an NPC in Guild Wars 2.

Let me back up.  So it’s PAX 2010, and I’ve been dragged along to the ArenaNet party.  It was a big year for Guild Wars 2’s promotion, and this party was a huge celebration of the convention as well as the fans.  There were tons of devs there who mingled with everyone, and Mike O’Brien gave a great speech thanking everyone for their work and/or support.

I don’t know what came over me, but I went up to O’Brien after that and told him that I just had this great little baby daughter.  I said, “I think she has a great name — it’s combined from both of her grandmothers — and I think it would be perfect for a character in your game.”  I then handed him a piece of paper with her name written on it, shook his hand, and walked away.

Didn’t think anything of it, really.

The next day as I boarded the plane back home, I got an email from one of the writers that O’Brien had passed along this strange request and that the writer would be in touch for where Elli would appear in the game.  Understandably, I was flabbergasted — sometimes it pays to be bold, I guess.  But I really, really didn’t think any studio would care enough to listen to the ramblings of a baby-enthusiastic dad to put his daughter into a game.

I sent a couple pictures of Elli back to ArenaNet and more or less forgot about it for a while after, mostly because I still didn’t believe it was going to happen.  Fast-forward to a month ago, and I got another confirmation that Elli was going to be in the final game as a Sylvari (oh the irony, right?) (not that I’m complaining).  The one catch is that she’s not in the open world, but in one of the Sylvari storylines in the level 10 through 20 experience in what the writer called the “life” branch.  That’s all I have to go on.

Naturally, I’ve been trying to find her in the beta weekends and stress tests ever since, to no avail.  The problem is that I haven’t found any place online that’s mapped out all of the storyline decision points or listed all of the NPCs, so I don’t know exactly where to look.  I was really hoping to have a screenshot to share with y’all by launch, but instead I’ll ask for you guys to keep an eye out and holler if you do find her.

Obviously, this makes the launch of Guild Wars 2 a little extra special for me.  I am grateful to Mike and the ArenaNet crew for this, especially when he had no idea who I was.  It’s just the sort of thing that you hear ANet doing a lot, such as renaming one of its servers to honor a community member who passed.

Have fun in Guild Wars 2 tomorrow, and if any of you find Ellivena, make sure to let me know where and how!  And if you could get a screenshot, that’d be spiffy.


27 thoughts on “Ellivena

  1. Shawn August 24, 2012 / 9:07 am

    Bonus if the NPC is wearing a Batman mask?

  2. Syp August 24, 2012 / 9:08 am

    Bonus indeed. Even Tyria needs a masked crusader.

  3. rowan August 24, 2012 / 9:17 am

    Somebody correct me if I’m wrong, but as I understand it, the stories branch based on your answers to the fill-in-the-blanks at character creation. So if you choose the “Life” option on whatever question that is, you should encounter her. There didn’t seem to be too many decisions to made during the stories themselves.

  4. Syp August 24, 2012 / 9:18 am

    I tried to do just that, but it didn’t seem 100% clear to me, and I hadn’t encountered her by level 17.

  5. Spidubic August 24, 2012 / 9:23 am

    That is pretty awesome. Will keep and eye out for her.

  6. Triski August 24, 2012 / 9:55 am

    Coolest dad ever!

  7. Moxie August 24, 2012 / 10:35 am

    WOW, that is AWESOME Syp! ArenaNet just keeps making me speechless, over and over and over these days.

  8. Victor Stillwater August 24, 2012 / 10:43 am

    I will play a Sylvari just to find this story. YAY!

  9. Ahtchu August 24, 2012 / 11:18 am

    I’m with Victor. This story is amazing, and shows how intouch ArenaNet are with their fans. This alone makes me reconsider picking up GW2!

  10. Lauren August 24, 2012 / 11:50 am

    My guess is that they’re referring to the biography questions about Ventari’s teaching, and Sylvari who answer “Where life goes, so too should you” will get to meet your daughter’s NPC. Thanks for sharing this awesome story with us!

  11. Sen August 24, 2012 / 11:54 am

    Oh my goodness, look at how adorable she is! I just want to (gently) pinch her cheeks and hear her giggle. 🙂 Awww.

  12. Kemwer August 24, 2012 / 12:12 pm

    You put together this story (which is just adorable, btw), the wandering Sylvari NPC based on that real woman who crossed the US with her dog, and another NPC whom I read somewhere that has dialog options discussing the deceased Roger “Oldroar” Rall… also remembered by the server name Sanctum of Rall, this very much makes ArenaNet one of the most amazing developers ever.

    I’ll look forward to meeting your daughter on my Elementalist. 🙂

  13. Cerulean Shaman August 24, 2012 / 12:17 pm

    The story further splits as you make choices (the questions they ask you, the one with the confirmations, each give you a different mission on that pathline) and this changes who you meet and minor details of the chosen plot. Still, it might have been enough to have missed her.

  14. Ravanel Griffon August 24, 2012 / 12:28 pm

    “My daughter is going to be an NPC in Guildwars” – I had to giggle at that one. That’s an amazing story though, and I think Ellivena is a beautiful name, very well fit for a Sylvari! Awesome! ^^

  15. rowan August 24, 2012 / 1:46 pm

    As an aside, I love “Cerulean,” such a beautiful word for a beautiful color.

  16. ampersandrew August 24, 2012 / 2:28 pm

    Thanks for sharing! That is VERY cool (her name, and the story)

  17. Dastion August 24, 2012 / 3:21 pm

    Hi Syp! This is Dastion – not sure if you recall but I used to frequent your Warhammer Blog back in the day when your wife was still ‘code name preggers’ – I’m the one who gave you the last name ‘Wrecked’.
    Anyhow, I came across this and couldn’t help but comment 🙂 What others said is accurate, it sounds like you’ll be looking for your little one down the “Where Life Goes, So Must You” path, which is probably the best anyhow because of what you learn about the Sylvari during it. I started a spoiler thread when the Sylvari were first introduced to get an idea what all of the storylines are about, and let’s just say that this particular storyline had to have a separate thread of it’s own. You can find the *SPOILERS* thread in the link below 🙂 Happy hunting,


  18. Syp August 24, 2012 / 3:26 pm

    Hey Dastion! Thanks for the assist, I’m pretty sure that’s what I picked, but I might not have leveled up high enough.

  19. Dastion August 24, 2012 / 3:31 pm

    We know that the racial stories will go on past the furthest point we were able to go in-game; so odds are she’s down a further branch (oops, puns).

  20. Ree August 24, 2012 / 4:36 pm

    Get me your email address at ree@arena. Net and I’ll get you a screenshot!

  21. João Carlos August 24, 2012 / 4:39 pm

    Now I am curious, I have the strange impression I saw a sylvari with that name.

  22. Ardent Defender August 24, 2012 / 5:50 pm

    One the coolest things to happen I’ve ever heard in a positive way. Hope you find her.

  23. João Carlos August 24, 2012 / 6:14 pm

    Ok, I am trying don’t to spoil it, but if the “life” branch is Malyck story (I really don’t remember what option give me that story), there is a girl that can see other sylvari dreams.

  24. WBurns August 25, 2012 / 10:25 am

    I love this story!!!! You have a very lucky daughter – Thank you for sharing!

  25. Galeon August 26, 2012 / 5:29 pm

    Okay, I found her, at least I think…

    To get to her you have to be in the 20+ live story arc and you have to always choose to go with Cai once you have the options to go with her.

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