Posted by Raine Hutchens on May 17, 2012

A Girl and Her Dog – A Trek Across The Country Into Tyria and Guild Wars 2


I’m sure that there have been many gamers out there who have had dreams of being in their favorite games. I know I have. I’ve dreamt about blasting grubs with Marcus Fenix, helping Isaac on the Ishimura, and even slaying demons right alongside Dante. Gamers always want to find a way to bring their virtual worlds to life, and each day that passes grants new hope. Not only do these worlds create hope, they create a sense of inspiration. One such gamer used this inspiration to take a journey herself, with the faithful company of her canine at her side.

Meet Kelly Wells and her dog, Anna. Kelly is an avid Guild Wars player and logs on to the game as much as she can. Kelly ended up using the inspiration that she derived from the game to set out on a quest, and it was quite the long one. Kelly, with the help of her trusted dog Anna, made a journey across America – all on foot.

“One day I was playing Guild Wars, running around in Ascalon, helping pig farmers round up their pigs and little girls find their flutes, and I thought, ‘Man, I wish I could live here. Just running around, seeing the land, helping people in need, and having adventures.’ Then came the epiphany: Why the heck not?”

Kelly settled on the idea after watching a video entitled “Gaming Can Make a Better World,” when she heard Jane McGonigal speak about how awesome it would be if gamers took to real-life challenges with the same determination, passion, and excitement with which they undertake gaming challenges. After hearing the lecture, Kelly made up her mind.

Kelly and Anna walked from Maine all the way to California. Once she made it all the way to San Diego her mom greeted her for the trek back home. Kelly described her mission on her website for the adventure, explaining that her aim was:

To explore the US while reaching waypoints, meeting new characters, and completing quests. As I advance through my Mission, I hope to unlock new quests along the way. If you have a worthy quest, feel free to send it on my way and I will add it to my quest log.

As you can see, Kelly really took the MMO approach to things, using RPG elements in her own open-world adventure. She did meet many new characters along the way and completed enough quests to ensure she was a high enough level to make it to the end. Before the journey was over, however, she decided to stop in at AreaNet, the developer of the game which inspired the entire adventure.

Kelly was ecstatic to have met the AreaNet staff, and while a game they created inspired her, the story of her journey in-turn inspired them. Game Designer Linsey Murdock was particularly touched, and she said:

“I think that what Kelly did is one of the coolest things I have ever heard of! Ever! I’ve always been impressed by fans who get tattoos inspired by their favorite game, but to be motivated to take an epic journey across the country on foot with your trusty animal companion? That’s magical. It’s something immediately shot up to the top of my list of reasons to be incredibly proud to be a game developer.”

After listening to Kelly’s story and learning of her adventure, the developers wanted to use her inspiration to do something even greater in the world they created. They sat down and decided to create both Kelly and Anna in the world of Tyria so they could journey along forever. When playing Guild Wars 2 you can now find Ameranth, a sylvari who is adventuring across the land with her companion Anna. This is a huge gift for Kelly as a player, and it’s the dream of many more out there. Congratulations to you Kelly and may you serve as an inspiration to the rest of us gamers around the world.


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