Wardens of the West Kickoff and Initiation
This last Saturday, Color Me Kurt took a field trip to Irvine for the official kickoff event for a new cosplay guild, Wardens of the West!
Guilds themselves have been around for sometime, though have been recently more popularized among fans of Star Wars, resulting in large groups such as the Rebel Legion or the 501st Legion. While still, at it's base, simply the love of cosplay, the community built within guilds has lead to these groups participating in official media events, convention appearances, and charity work.
Based on the iconic Wardens from the hit Bioware series Dragon Age (namely, the debut title Dragon Age: Origins), Wardens of the West is composed of cosplayers for both originally created and canon characters. Members of the guild are expected to create or compose a costume that resembles the traditional armor and outfits available in game -- or for the more adventurous, custom made sets that are completely original.
The day began with friends gathering to finish their makeup and slip into their armor, most of which done in a parking lot to the amusement of other parkgoers.
Dragon Age itself offers a wide array of customization, and Wardens of the West are heavily encouraged to express their own individuality, which was seen in heaps at the gathering! Each cosplay had a touch of the cosplayers personality and unique characterization, from simple accessories to the minuscule details in patterns.
Once the initial introduction had finished, the Wardens took part in a "joining", replicating the game's own, with significantly lowered chance of the less pleasant side effects (unless you happened to really dislike fruit punch, which was the real world alternate to Darkspawn blood). Pictures began immediately after, their photographer snapping both group and individual shots for the next hour or so.
Our own Kait is the lead of the Wardens of the West, so we grabbed her for a few quick questions about the guild!
COLOR ME KURT: What drove you to start a cosplay guild? And why Dragon Age?
Kait: Ky (Greytooth Cosplay) had expressed interest in starting a guild, because in our local area there weren't any guilds that fit his interests specifically. I agreed that we'd enjoy the camaraderie of a cosplay guild but that I don't participate in any of the groups that I'd seen locally. We both had a passion for Dragon Age, and our Grey Warden characters specifically, so we chose to create a Warden guild.
CMK: Why did you decide to focus on the Wardens as opposed to other groups found in game, including the more recent Inquisition?
K: The short answer is that we already had Warden costumes planned or made. The long answer is that we had become friends because of our Warden original characters, and we knew quite a few people who also had Warden costumes, and we could more easily set up a structure within the guild if we were mimicking the chain of command for an army. We will likely expand our guild into more than Wardens in the future, but starting out we're throwing it back to the original game.
CMK: How exactly can others get involved and join your guild?
K: Joining us is pretty easy. If you're located on the west coast (most of us are in Southern California) and have a finished Grey Warden cosplay, you're in. If you want to join but don't have a costume, we can help! Our local guild leaders are hosting armor building parties once a month, and there are tutorials and costume break downs to come.
CMK: Having recently started, is there any advice you can give to anyone who also shares interest in starting a guild?
K: Find your community, sucker your friends into joining you, and go for it. Splitting the responsibilities between a friend or friends is really helpful, too.