War in Kryta marketing
Marketing campaign overview
This section is a timeline of the updates given by ArenaNet over the duration of their campaign.
On March 13th flyers with QR Codes were handed out at two different conventions: at GDC 2010 by Regina Buenaobra and at the Emerald City Comicon by Martin Kerstein. One of the flyers featured a member of the White Mantle with the slogan 'OBEY', the other featured a Shining Blade symbol and the slogan 'DISMANTLE'. The QR codes led to pages on the Guild Wars official website: white_mantle and shining_blade respectively. These pages shown a color version of the flyers which were handed out.
The source of these pages featured the date "March 16" but this is related to the date the content was created rather than a clue. On March 22nd, the date was changed to "Go, Discover Contentment. Truth is obedience" on the White Mantle page, and "Mantle has discovered plans. Writing is on wall." on the Shining Blade page.
At the time this campaign was under-way ArenaNet was releasing slide shows of concept art which was shown at the Game Developers Conference. At the end of the third video three White Mantle propaganda images flashed up and in the fourth video three Shining Blade propaganda images were shown. At the time these videos were released the pages hosting the flyers were updated with wallpapers.
A few days after these changes, both the White Mantle and Shining Blade posters were replaced with a vandalized version.
On April 1st, the Shining Blade poster was restored. This version had a new QR code which read "Midnight clouds will part. The second symbol will reveal its Face like a hidden moon. /stnarytothtaed." /stnarytothtaed ('death to tyrants' spelled backwards) pointed to a page on the official website /stnarytothtaed which had an image with writing in Old Ascalonian. The word was translated to read "Blade".
On April 2nd, the Shining Blade facebook page was updated with yet another QR code. This time it read "Create one from two. Unity Resolve Liberty. /neeuqsiamlas." Again /neeuqsiamlas ('salma is queen' spelled backwards) lead to /neeuqsiamlas which had an image with writing in Old Ascalonian. The word translated to read "Camp." Capitalized letters of the second sentence spell out "URL."
Using the two words from the images a new URL was discovered: /bladecamp. The image on the bladecamp page was an in-game image which was identified to be in Talmark Wilderness in Kryta. It was noticed this image had a hint of red, so when it was edited using a red layer with saturation a hidden phrase was found: /warinkryta. This lead to /warinkryta that contained a very blurry image.
Shortly after the 'bladecamp' page was found a new Guild Wars build became available. It contained:
- A new version of Talmark Wilderness explorable area was unlocked for characters that have completed either Prophecies or Eye of the North which has the Shining Blade camp in Dakutu Village.
- An updated texture and model for Salma (referred to as Princess Salma in Talmark Wilderness).
- An update to the recently added dialogue in the Hall of Monuments between Gwen and Lieutenant Thackeray for characters who have completed either the Wintersday 2009 quests or Eye of the North, beginning a mini-scavenger hunt.
Over the next week the image on the 'warinkryta' page became progressively clearer. On the 8th of April it became fully clear with a page providing extra details about the two factions and beginning the War Chronicles. The flyers on the 'white_mantle' and 'shining blade' pages were replaced with versions with "Strike Now" scrawled across them. A new game build introduced White Mantle Peacekeepers in-game as a continuation of the conflict hinted by the viral campaign.
Two Facebook fan sites were created for the two sides of the conflict; The Shining Blade's Facebook and The White Mantle's Facebook. As with any Facebook site members of the community could become a fan of the factions. During the viral campaign and continuing after it completed both factions received status updates, some of which posted propaganda art from the community. The Facebook updates are transcribed below.
The Shining Blade
- March 29th: No group can terrorize a whole nation unless we are all accomplices! Rise up, sons and daughters of Kryta, and take back your homeland! Death to the cultists! Death to the White Mantle!
- March 30th: Krytans, be not deceived! These Unseen Ones that the White Mantle worship are false gods. Do not bow before these inhuman sorcerers! Support the Shining Blade and fight for a free Kryta!
- March 31st: “Offer protection to the weak. Give solace and shelter to those who need it. Be ye a salve to the wounded.” - Shining Blade credo
- April 2nd: Enemy monitoring / maintain silence >4.5 / DisAvow the Knowledge of Unseen Tyrants, and Understand
- April 7th: Be not deceived by the Unseen Ones--they are invisible demons who prey upon the souls of Krytan youth!
- April 7th: Inspired by the Shining Blade, our talented supporters have created works of art that celebrates the human spirit and the struggle of free Krytans against tyranny.
- April 8th: The time to rise up against our oppressors has come! Join the Shining Blade! Learn more about Kryta’s freedom fighters and discover the truth about the White Mantle. https://www.guildwars.com/warinkryta/
- April 9th: It has come to this: The White Mantle are terrorizing their own countrymen with “Peacekeepers,” who are little more than brigands and thugs. Rise, Krytans! Join the Shining Blade and take back your country!
- April 12th: Do free people need Travel Permits to move about their own land? Does a just government forbid their citizenry from leaving their homes at night? Do fair rulers impose their twisted religious beliefs on the populace? NO. Dismantle the White Mantle and be free Krytans once again!
- April 13th: Princess Salma is the rightful heir to the Krytan throne. Soon Salma will claim her birthright and a new age of freedom and prosperity will begin in Kryta. Take hope.
- April 14th: Krytans, the White Mantle sneers at your traditions and beliefs! They accuse you of heresy for honoring the gods of your ancestors. Support the Shining Blade! Support Princess Salma!
- April 15th: It is time for all free Krytans to don the garb of the Shining Blade and take up arms against the White Mantle oppressors!
- April 15th: Inspired by the Shining Blade, our talented supporters have created works of art that celebrates the human spirit and the struggle of free Krytans against tyranny.
- April 16th: Every day, new recruits enter our camp to learn the deadly trade of the Shining Blade - stealth and ambush! As news of the rebellion spreads, allies from beyond Kryta rally to our cause. Welcome, sons and daughters of freedom! Today, we are all Krytans!
- April 19th: Princess Salma is the rightful heir to the throne of Kryta. She currently rules her loyal charges in exile, planning for the day when she can lift the yoke of oppression from the necks of her countrymen. All hail Salma, the True Heir!
- April 20th: The White Mantle have planted a bitter seed in Kryta. It is time to hack down this withered vine of tyranny and dig its roots from the ground!
- April 21st: He is the White Mantle's most effective and feared interrogator: Inquisitor Bauer. He tortures innocents with blades, fire, sharp sticks... whatever is handy. He must be stopped.
- April 22nd: When Salma is Queen and the White Mantle have been crushed, peace and justice will return to Kryta. Join the Shining Blade now and speed the arrival of that glorious day!
- April 22nd: Inspired by the Shining Blade, our talented supporters have created works of art that celebrates the human spirit and the struggle of free Krytans against tyranny.
- April 23rd: Do not be deceived by flowery speech or fanciful tales of the White Mantle! No evil is greater than that which cloaks itself in robes of purity and valor.
- April 26th: The crimes of tyrants sow the seeds of revolution. DISMANTLE!
- April 27th: We urge those Ascalonian immigrants who have settled in Kryta to join the Shining Blade and defend your new homeland!
- April 28th: [The Shining Blade] appreciates the patience those allies of Kryta have shown. Fear not: the time to strike draws nigh!
- April 30th: Our faith in one another is our greatest strength.
- May 8th: Grim times make for strong allies! The Ebon Vanguard, noble defenders of the Shiverpeaks, have pledged their assistance to the Shining Blade, and the asura duo Zinn and Blimm have lent their arcane expertise to the cause of freedom. Together we shall crush the Mantle!
- May 11th: Soon a new flag will fly over Lion's Arch!
- May 14th: People of Lion's Arch! Throw open your windows and doors and celebrate your freedom! The Princess Salma, heir to the Krytan throne, has reclaimed the city in the name of all free people!
When the phrase "Enemy monitoring / maintain silence >4.5 / DisAvow the Knowledge of Unseen Tyrants, and Understand" appeared, users asked a community manager whether commenting would have any eventual consequence, and were encouraged to try and wait and see. The capital letters in the last phrase spells out "Dakutu" - the village where the Shining Blade camp is located.
The White Mantle
- March 29th: The White Mantle extends greetings and salutations to all citizens and residents of Kryta! Take solace and find peace in the knowledge that the Unseen Ones watch all that you do.
- March 29th: Posting heretical or anti-government messages is an act of sedition and will be treated accordingly.
- March 30th: Citizens and residents of Kryta - there are traitors and heretics among you who would whisper blasphemy and treason in your ears! It is your duty as decent folk to report any seditious speech to the White Mantle. Unity is strength!
- March 31st: “The White Mantle serves the greater good of all.” - Dorian the Martyr
- April 2nd: The White Mantle hereby suspends all communication for the next two days. Therefore, commenting on this post is forbidden and will be considered an act of Sedition.
- April 6th: The White Mantle hereby declares a death warrant on Alari Doubleblade, member of the Shining Blade and traitor to Kryta. Doubleblade is responsible for the death of numerous White Mantle officials. She has a custom of removing a finger from her victims body as a bloodthirsty memento. Citizens should report any sighting of this criminal to the White Mantle immediately. Failure to do so is an act of Sedition.
- April 7th: You cannot see the Unseen Ones --if you could, they wouldn’t be Unseen--but rest assured, the Unseen Ones can see *you*.
- April 7th: The White Mantle has many loyal followers who demonstrate their devotion to the Unseen Ones with splendid art. Let these works of faith inspire you to be more obedient.
- April 8th: As our Peacekeepers spread across Kryta to enforce order and assist the grateful populace, we urge the faithful to reacquaint themselves with the history and principles of The White Mantle. https://www.guildwars.com/warinkryta/
- April 9th: Take heart, citizens and residents of Kryta! The White Mantle has deployed courteous and professional Peacekeepers to keep you and your families safe!
- April 12th: Have you heard a friend, neighbor, or family member spreading lies or criticizing the White Mantle? These are crimes of the mind and soul, as serious as actually taking up arms against the rightful government. Report treasonous speech and thought to the White Mantle!
- April 13th: Look with suspicion at those who wear green, for it is the color of the enemy.
- April 14th: Citizens and occupants of Kryta must have a valid Wartime Travel Permit in order to journey between provinces. Lack of proper documentation will result in punishment. For more information, consult the Proclamation of Public Safety. https://www.guildwars.com/warinkryta/wm/#proclamation
- April 15th: Those who impersonate White Mantle officials are guilty of cowardice and treason and will be dealt with accordingly.
- April 15th: The White Mantle has many loyal followers who demonstrate their devotion to the Unseen Ones with splendid art. Let these works of faith inspire you to be more obedient.
- April 16th: Be advised that the White Mantle has established checkpoints to verify if citizens and occupants of Kryta are traveling with the appropriate permits. Your cooperation and understanding is demanded.
- April 19th: Krytans, there are Betrayers and Blasphemers amongst you – those who worship false gods in secret shrines, and whisper blasphemy to their neighbors. Keep the soul of Kryta pure! Report Unbelievers to the White Mantle inquisitors!
- April 20th: Obedience is peace.
- April 21st: Be advised: Inquisitor Bauer will be in your area this week conducting thorough interviews with local residents. Be honest, be cooperative, and avoid lengthy eye contact and you will be fine.
- April 22nd: Have you contemplated the majesty and wisdom of the Unseen Ones today? You should.
- April 22nd: The White Mantle has many loyal followers who demonstrate their devotion to the Unseen Ones with splendid art. Let these works of faith inspire you to be more obedient.
- April 23rd: Due to the prevalence of counterfeit documents, residents and citizens of Kryta must reapply for Travel Permits with the appropriate provincial officials. Those who travel after nightfall or between provinces with invalid permits face punishment.
- April 26th: Who saved Kryta from the charr, when the “King” fled? The White Mantle. Do not misplace your faith in royal weakness; only the White Mantle can protect Kryta!
- April 27th: Henceforth, unwholesome Krytan folk songs like "Prize-Winning Pig" and "Skale in the River" are prohibited. True Krytans should sing hymns and devotional songs to the Unseen Ones instead.
- April 28th: If you are travelling in Kryta legally, you shouldn't have any problem showing your papers to the authorities.
- April 30th: The White Mantle will observe several days of silence to honor the memory of Saul D'Alessio, savior of Kryta.
- May 8th: The White Mantle will be eternally grateful to the Krytan patriot who provides us with information leading to the death or capture of the Shining Blade outlaw known as Snakebite and the skulking ranger called Shadow and her hideous spider Carlotta. These scum have been spotted in territories ranging from Kessex Peak to North Kryta Province.
- May 11th: Report suspicious foreigners to White Mantle officials immediately. Giving food, water, shelter, or information to foreign adventurers is an act of sedition.
- May 14th: The White Mantle hereby forbids any travel to and from Lion's Arch.
Images released in the viral campaign:
- ^ OBEY vs DISMANTLE - The Recap, Regina Buenaobra, Guild Wars 2 Guru forum
- ^ OBEY vs DISMANTLE - Viral Campaign Discussion, Martin Kerstein, Guild Wars 2 Guru forum
- ^ ab Regina Buenaobra commenting on the requirements to see the camp and the added dialogue, Guild Wars: IncGamers forum
- ^ Massively article on the April 2nd 2010 update, Massively
- ^ Stéphane Lo Presti's response to commenting on the "do not respond" Facebook statuses, Guild Wars Guru archive