Obey Vs Dismantle
At the Games Developer Conference and Emerald City Comic Con, Arenanet employees started handing out fliers. One enterprising individual figured out that part of the flier could be run through a barcode scanner and got the URL http://www.guildwars.com/white_mantle, from there, the address for http://www.guildwars.com/shining_blade was quickly found. After more investigation it was noticed that on Regina Buenaobra’s journal page on the Guild Wars Wiki her latest entry had the words obey and dismantle strangely italicized. A meme quickly started up with people taking sides, adding #obey or #dismantle to their posts, comments on blogs, and fan art. All obviously patterned after the oldest cultural meme I was ever aware of, Obey Giant.
In the source code, someone discovered a date March 16th (around when this all got started) and then days later a couple of messages in each site. The Obey code read “Go, Discover Contentment. Truth is obedience.” which someone quickly pointed out refers to the GDC. The Dismantle code read “”Mantle has discovered plans. Writing is on wall.” Finally a few days later, wallpaper versions of the obey flier were added to the white mantle site. Finally, the 3rd part of the GDC concept art presentation video had a few seconds of white mantle propaganda at the end. By the 25th of March Shining Blade wallpapers were added to the dismantle site and dismantle images were added to the 4th GDC video.
By the 26th someone had found the phrase “Face the Truth” and other indistinguishable markings on the dismantle wallpapers, none of which have ever been proven to mean anything. On that same day, both posters changed to vandalized versions of themselves. The dismantle poster torn, the obey poster with grafitti. On the 29th those posters became linked to facebook. By the 31st the following could be found on each facebook page.
Shining blade: 447 fans on the 31st (579 on the 1st of April, 842 on the 4th)
Rebel Defenders of Kryta
Mission: The Shining Blade are noble rebels who struggle to rid their homeland of the oppressive White Mantle regime and restore Krytan royalty.
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!
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!
“Offer protection to the weak. Give solace and shelter to those who need it. Be ye a salve to the wounded.” – Shining Blade credo
White Mantle: 340 fans on the 31st (424 on the 1st of April, 642 on the 4th)
Benevolent and Wise Rulers of Kryta
Info: The White Mantle is a religious order devoted to peacefully spreading the teachings of the Unseen Ones and defending Kryta from evil. Beloved saviors of the common man, the White Mantle is the one True Government of Kryta.
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.
Posting heretical or anti-government messages is an act of sedition and will be treated accordingly.
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!
“The White Mantle serves the greater good of all.” – Dorian the Martyr
Somewhere around the 1st nothing had changed on the Obey page, but on the Dismantle page, a new poster was put up to replace the torn poster, visibly pasted over the torn version. Someone quickly noticed the little barcode symbol was different, put it through a scanner, and recieved the following.
Shining Blade: Midnight clouds will part. The second symbol will reveal its Face like a hidden moon. /stnarytothtaed
Now this isn’t exactly rocket science, and people quickly put a few things together. First, the / meant that it was a new URL. Check it out over here. Second, stnarytothtaed is Death To Tyrants backwards.
Going to the URL brought you to a dark image of scribbled markings. GuildWars2Guru quickly figured that the scribbles on that image are actually the in game alphabet of Tyria. The letters spelled out Blade. Various people were also clever enough to recognize that at midnight that night, there would be an update.
At midnight PST the Shining Blade Facebook page was indeed sporting a new image. Scanning the barcode image recieved “Create one from two. Unity Resolve Liberty. /neeuqsiamlas”. Moving quickly to the new URL, we got another Tyrian alphabet image. Deciphering that gave you the word camp.
Blade Camp. Another URL of course, it’s even in the message. Unity Resolve Liberty. Which of course lead us to an in game shot of what appeared to be just that, a Shining Blade Camp.
Someone also noticed a hint of red in the above image and found yet another url. War In Kryta. The image is too blurry to see properly, as of the 4th.
A new build of the game went up shortly after and the camp indeed was found in Talmark Wilderness. It had many npcs, including Salma, Livia, and Evennia, but no quests available. Updates were also made to Salma in Temple of Ages, notable due to her redesign. Other updates were made to the Gwen and Thackeray storylines but they seem unrelated.
By the 3rd of April the only other new development was a message on each facebook page. “Enemy monitoring / maintain silence >4.5 / DisAvow the Knowledge of Unseen Tyrants, and Understand” and “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.” The Shining Blade message was essentially a comment on Easter weekend and how there would be no new updates until the 5th of April. It also spells out Dakutu in second half of the message. The White Mantle message is essentially the same thing.
On the 5th, the image at War in Kryta became less blurry.
On the 6th the White Mantle’s facebook page was updated with “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…” Alari is found in Silverwood but more importantly, the new Shining Blade Camp.
Also on the 6th, the War in Kryta image again became clearer. This time more defined human bodies could be made out, and although it was clear from the start the two parties flags were in the image, they became more definite.
On the 7th the War In Kryta became clearer, revealing blurred text beneath each banner, including a tear between those texts, and more clearly defined bodies, most likely one male and female on each side.
Later that day messages and fan made propaganda posters (mostly from this GW2Guru forum thread where there is plenty more) were added to the facebook pages.
For the Shining Blade, the messages read first “Be not deceived by the Unseen Ones–they are invisible demons who prey upon the souls of Krytan youth!” and then later “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.” The three images can be found in larger sizes on their facebook gallery.
For the White Mantle, the messages were as follows. “You cannot see the Unseen Ones –if you could, they wouldn’t be Unseen–but rest assured, the Unseen Ones can see *you*.” and then “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.” Followed by their appropriate fan art found in this gallery.
Both Facebook pages were also altered with multiple links to the page. The Shining Blade’s wall read “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.” The White Mantle’s wall read “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.”
The blurred page fully revealed itself as a website detailing the War in Kryta. I’m not going to fully quote the page here, but it appears it will be updated in the future, with buttons to take you to the latest news articles at the bottom. The top simply outlines the two sides in the conflict, Mantle left, Blade right. The first news article claims to be written by Murro a historian. A reference to the broadcast journalist. The entire site seems to provide a much more narrative experience.
In the text of the introductions to each side of the conflict, there was a link to each faction’s own page. The Shining Blade page includes a history of their organization and an introduction to the royal line of Kryta. The White Mantle page tells the story of the White Mantle and an includes an introduction to the Unseen Ones. Both pages had new wallpapers.
There’s actually quite a bit of text, so they’re worth going to and reading yourself. According to Anet, because they don’t want us running around on wild goose chases, there are no more clues embedded in webpages. Thus ends the viral portion of Obey vs Dismantle on the web, but more new content was added.
“Peacekeepers” and a dialogue at the Blade Camp were added in game after all of this went down.
So expect a continuation on the War in Kryta webpage, and new content in game.
Check out the associated fan art.