A little late on the train, but here goes!
Ah, humans. It’s hard to imagine them being interesting; people are people. We are human, after all, and we’ve been playing humans in Guild Wars and other games for decades.
But with the information handed to us this week, we’ve been given a little more insight to what will make people tick in Guild Wars 2. They are considered the elder race of Tyria, and the one that is in danger of dying out ; a lore twist that breaks a lot of fantasy conventions.
What has changed (or hasn’t changed?) about the humans? How are they adapting to being dethroned as the king of the hill of races? What are they focusing on?
Well, let’s take a look.
I always love the audio media because I can actually listen while at work (and be entertained in the real life grind). I deeply enjoyed taking in the sampling of what will be essentially background noise when spending time in populated areas.
Through these small bits and pieces of conversation, we’re given a slice of the state of humanity’s outlook on their world. Struggles against the centaur, tensions with the other races, political alignments, and loss of faith in the Gods. There seems to be a subtle bitterness spreading, something that surely has always existed but feels to be surfacing as more prominent here. Quick to start fights with charr and untrusting of the Sylvari, perhaps we can also detect some resentment of the dominance other races have taken over time.
But we get to see the softer side of people, too. Children playing in the street (with hilarious nerdy inside jokes), banter about bards and multiple marriages… lucky for us, our humans retain that charm of being as awkward and playful as ever.
Interestingly enough, there was no mention of the Elder Dragons which I think ties into my previous note that humans tend to be a little self-concerned. This isn’t a bad thing considering the state they are in as a race. But it definitely gives a little insight to what we will be facing should we choose to play humans.
The actual affect of auido for immersion… I’m pretty excited to see how it pans out. Some fans have been worried it might be distracting or annoying, but I disagree. We deal with idle chatter surrounding us all the time. Our brains know how to tune it out.
What actual background conversation leaves us with, though, is a realism that few games have offered, or even done well. Imagine the possibilities? Easter eggs, for sure. Perhaps picking up conversations about a quest you’re on or something from the lore that is relevant to you?
They are putting a lot of work into this and I’m really excited to see what comes of it.
War by Design
The next day gave us a little more insight into the armor and style of humans. I do have to admit, this was one area I was not as impressed with as I feel I could have been. We weren’t really given much as far as visuals: armor sets we’ve seen before, and two comparisons between old and new, covered and uncovered.
I did like the ranger-esque set of adventurer armor, though. Here we saw how varied each armor set can be, and I am absolutely relieved that sets seem to synergy well with multiple pieces. Looking like a clown is a worry that I carry over from other MMOs, but the dyeing system plus Anets creative genius will assure us that we’ll look as spiffy and fabulous as we want while cracking skulls and taking names.
I openly expressed my distaste for the more revealing outfits (which led to some comical back-and-forths about mail bikinis), but Regina assured everyone that their will be pleanty of options to cater to the more modest. And I am apt to believe her.
Some other tidbits I really enjoy: the idea that one piece of collective armor can replace several on an old set. For instance, a cloak that can count as a back, shoulder, and head-piece in one go. This is really interesting and I would love to see how this works with stats.
All and all, the armor section was slightly under-whelming but certainly far from a disappointment. I count myself with the krewe waiting for a little more visuals, but I also don’t want everything spoiled before I play the game.
This is Their Story & The State of Kryta
Days four and five bestowed an update to the human page on the official Guild Wars 2 website and a blog explaining the political state of Kryta. We learn a lot of history for what’s happened in the 250 years since the time of our current heroes. Humanity is endangered, having lost much of their lands to dragon-inflicted disasters. With the Norn and Asura also being displaced, room in Tyria is getting scarce. There’s been no contact with neither Elona nor Cantha, forcing the northern dwelling humans to assume they’re the only ones left. With Ascolon essentially gone and Ebonhawke flanked by Charr, it’s no wonder everybody seems to be in a bit of a tiff.
Interestingly, the situation with the Gods was also explained, which was something I was specifically curious about. Being a huge fan of Tyrian mythology, I was deeply saddened to hear that they weren’t going to be playing as big a role in GW2 as they did in the original game. The explanation makes sense, though. It’s time for the race to learn how to deal even on their own, and to put humanity’s faith to the test: will they still believe if the God’s aren’t there to lead them by the hand? And how will this affect the holidays?
The thing with humanity, though, is the fact that they are so flawed and fickle, sometimes foolhardy. But, ah… are they passionate. They can at once be full of enthusiasm or zealotry for a worthy cause (aid to Ebonhawke) or to some of the most obscure or mundane of subjects (I’m looking at you, Bard). Variety is the spice of life: so let people be people. That back and forth contradiction, sword-swinging obsessiveness, and stubborn determination is what make this staple race endlessly entertaining and a fan favorite that stands the test of time.
Besides, I think we can all relate.