For anyone new to the Guild Wars universe, Wintersday will likely be an unknown holiday season that simply draws parallels to Christmas. While there is truth in this, the lore surrounding Wintersday has a little more depth.
As an annual event in Tyria, Wintersday celebrates the Tyrian New Year in line with the Mouvelian Calendar. There are 4 seasons and 360 days in the Mouvelian year with the seasons revolving around the elements: Air (Season of the Zephyr), Fire (Season of the Phoenix), Water (Season of the Scion) and Earth (Season of the Colossus) with each associated to one or several Gods. As there are 360 days in a Mouvelian year, each season is 90 days long and the equivalent of Spring, Summer, Autumn and Winter. Wintersday falls in the Season of the Collossus with Dwayna and Grenth celebrated throughout the holiday.
The celebrations of Wintersday came about through the end of the Season of the Colossus and the start of the Season of the Zephyr, with the winner decided by a battle between Grenth and Dwayna. Human lore dictates that the victor between the two effects the forthcoming year, with the seasons shaped in their triumph. If Grenth were to succeed then it’s likely that the cold of the Earth season will last well into the New Year but if Dwayna was to triumph, spring (Air) would come early to Tyria.
During Wintersday the servants of Grenth and Dwayna can be seen throughout the land with Snowmen (created by children) spreading holiday cheer as servants of Dwayna. The purpose of the snowmen is to stop Grenth’s minions, the Grentches, from destroying all the presents in Tyria.
"I'm looking for presents that I can destroy, try to sneak past and I'll break all your toys!"
Set in Lions Arch and on Wintersday itself (31st December) the impending victory between Grenth and Dwayna is revealed, with avatars of both Gods appearing next to their respective allegiances (Dwayna next to the Wintersday Tree and Grenth near the Carolers of Grenth). Only after the gifts to both gods were tallied would the victor be known. If Grenth was victorious, fireworks would erupt and Grentches would wreak havoc in Lions Arch, spawning lethal and legitimate presents, with his supporters often killed to spawn bone minions. Supporters of Grenth would also receive Horns of Grenth (the equivalent of antlers). If Dwayna was victorious, fireworks would also erupt but supporters would be given Yule Caps (the equivalent of a Christmas hat) with players able to collect a present from around her feet.
Notable inclusions to Wintersday festivities also included:
- A snowball PvP arena where player skills were replaced with six common skills: Snowball, Mega Snowball, Snow Down the Shirt, Hidden Rock, Ice Fort and “Mmmm. Snowcone!”, two skills specific to the Gods: Avalanche (Dwayna) and Yellow Snow (Grenth) and a unique skill for each profession.
- Presents were littered around each capital city that players could hand to NPC’s before Grentches destroyed them.
- Candy Cane Weapons that could be created from Candy Cane Shards.
The only question remaining now is how much of this will transfer to Guild Wars 2 and how does Tixx fit into the equation...