Psychoanalyzing The Races Of Tyria (For Roleplaying Purposes)

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If you’ve been keeping up with Guild Wars 2, you’ve undoubtedly researched the various playable races. Humans, charr, asura, norn, and sylvari. All distinct races, with various traits which give them character. With the release of Ghosts of Ascalon and Edge of Destiny, we’ve been able to take a deeper look at each race.

Providing us enough information to further analyze the races of Tyria…so we can roleplay them better of course.



If Sigmund Freud had a chance to sit down with the human race of Tyria, he’d find them to be much different than those in our universe. The down trodden race of Tyria, the humans have had their egos put into check over the past few hundred years.

They have the charr, dragons, and themselves to thank.

Being so defeated, what can we find if we dig deep into the psyche of humanity?

First, they’re highly emotional. Just look to Dougal Keene and Logan Thackeray from the Guild Wars 2 novels for prime examples. [spoilers: highlight to read]Logan became the primary reason behind the breaking up of Destiny’s Edge. Running off to save his queen because his emotions got the better of him[/spoilers]

For those looking to truly roleplay the human experience come game time, you’re really going to be using a lot of frowny faces. You’ll find yourself with a sense of pride, many times false pride. I would also say that if you do it right, you’ll have some trust issues towards other races.



There is an argument in the field of psychology that debates the effects of weather in terms of mood. Studying the Norn, they would certainly be a crux in the argument of weather being a major factor.

The 9 foot-plus race are generally free spirited, joyful, even when living in the cold and less than sunny locations of Tyria. The Norn also house some of the biggest egos of all the GW2 races. They’re highly individualistic, most likely sprouting from their raising. Norn are taught to face adversity head on, and not complain about it.

Their affinity towards the animalistic side of nature provides some unique, and fun roleplaying experiences. They are known for raging out in certain circumstances. They also typically get along with the other races as well, even if they see them as weak at first glance.



Besides humans, most GW players are familiar with the Charr, even if they haven’t delved into stories beyond the game. The charr are certainly the most hate-filled race one could pick upon release.

The charr are conquerers by nature. This can mean taking on a problem, an entire race, or when battling themselves. They rarely give up on a fight, to a fault at times.

While most would simply look at the negative traits of the charr, there are a few key positive attributes to keep in mind when playing a character. First, the charr are extremely loyal. Their loyalty doesn’t come cheap however, just ask Logan Thackeray.

I would recommend roleplaying a charr for those who want to be strong, fierce, and competitive. Or those who have a loyal spirit.



To roleplay a Sylvari, you’re really going to have to bring out your inner child. Because that’s really what they are as a race, children. When you start up Guild Wars 2, the sylvari will only have been part of the world for 25 years.

Being so new to the world, the sylvari are a highly inquisitive race. They continually question, and look at the world much differently than the other four races. Think of how a child keeps asking a parent ‘why’. That’s a good comparison to how to effectively “play” a sylvari.

Along with being young, and curious, the sylvari have a deep connection with each other. They are connected through the Dream of Dreams, and believe they were created to slay dragons.

For roleplayers, this race is for those who love to explore. Do you always find yourself curious to simply adventure and discover when playing? Then the sylvari will be right your alley.



I’m going to provide a disclaimer with the asura write-up: This is the race I’m most excited to play, and role play. While the norn have massive frames to go along with their big egos, the asura have their intellect.

The asura are easily the cockiest of all the five playable races. They know they’re better than everyone else and certainly don’t mind letting them know it. In fact, they love letting the other races know it.

Roleplaying an asura is definitely for those who have little patience with others. Therefore when you become upset with the stupidity of others, you can write it off to roleplaying.

I stated that the asura was the race I’m most excited to play, and it’s definitely because of their flaws. If you’ve read either of the novels, then you know how competitive the asura are with one another. Continually trying to out smart, and one up one another. This aspect of competition, along with the massive egos is going to be a real treat to see come alive.

About the author: JohnnyV has been a Guild Wars fan since the alpha release, which seemed like an eternity ago. He enjoys nearly all genres of gaming. He’s also an avid asura supporter, so if you’re not down with that silly bookah then you can move on. He’s an admin for the Guild Wars 2 Forum , and also enjoys writing anything he can. Which can be content such as short stories to tech related blog entries, or even writing about Guild Wars! Twitter.

Further reading:

  • I think the asura and charr will probably the most fun to role play. Asura already appeal to my sarcastic, near-trollish sense of humour. Charr appeal just on the basis of being able to call others “meat” or “lunch” or “mouse”.

    I’ll probably play sylvari first though.

    • Couldn’t have said it better. I can’t wait to unleash some in-game sarcasm on folks. They’ll all just be filled with golem envy.

      • Marshmellow

        If you looked at the destiny edge guild or read the PC gamers preview on guild wars, even if you never played the original guild wars just looking at the pictures and writing for Zojja you will know how to roleplay the Asura. I love it! it will be awesome to say stuff like Zojja’s “shut your mouth booka, every time you open it you drip stoopid all over my floor.”

  • I am very interested in the different styles of role-play that each race offers. I find my profession choices tend to reflect the races that are either a good fit (e.g., sylvari ranger or norn warrior) or a more stark contrast (e.g., asura warrior).

    I believe you are spot on regarding racial roleplay styles. I see humans as emotional, charr as loyal and/or abrasive, norn as adventurous and/or proud, sylvari as inquisitive, and asura as arrogant; and that’s pretty much how I intend to role-play them with a couple of exceptions.

    • Izari

      Reading this comment reminded me of something a friend of mine linked many years ago:
      The Mary Sue test.

      The idea is to find out how typical / mary sue your character (be it for RP or a story) is, since many people tend to follow conventions. Like, everybody wants to be the outcast, the underdog, the runaway.

      Everybody came from humble roots and discovered an amazing ability, or came from a suffocating rich family and are looking to rebel, etc etc.

      I can’t wait to put the GW2 RPers to the test once that comes around, lol.