Even in times such as these, the good people of Tyria need a little frivolity to take their minds off the centaur attacks, the threat of the Elder Dragons and the almost constant smell of swamp water emanating from the local Hylek mercenaries. You are all; I’m sure, well-versed in how to woo a human, but here’s how to romance the other races of Tyria:
Not prone to sentiment, the way to an asuran’s heart is through their brain. Rather than love poems, they prefer complicated schematics or a nice long equation. Flowers are great, but gadgets and gizmos are better – give your asuran sweetheart a bouquet of new work-tools (sonic astral-mallets, seismic screwdrivers or a set of allen keys made from pure obsidian are particularly romantic). Nothing says “I love you” like an 18ft bright pink golem which shoots chocolate love hearts from a shoulder-mounted blunderbuss. As the day wears on, the true meaning of the festival is overtaken by the need to out-do the other suitors – often, the end of Valentine’s day is accompanied by fantastic magic-filled explosions as exuberant asuran Lotharios push their mechanical romantic creations a little too far.
The charr value loyalty above all else, so it shouldn’t be surprising that a festival celebrating the strength of relationships should be so popular. Charr relationships are often bristly affairs; with both sexes being just as fierce in their compunction to display their affection whilst simultaneously not wanting to seem to have conceded ground to their partner. So, displays of affection are often understated and gifts are balanced out between practical and sentimental – flowers are accompanied by a new revolving-barrel pistol, a new looking-glass and a new great-sword, candies and claw-guards.
As with almost everything, Valentine’s is new to the sylvari. They see it as a celebration of the approaching end of winter, and the festival in anticipation of the coming spring. They give each other gifts of plants and posies sung from the ground and surrounding trees as symbols of the rebirth of the world as the seasons change and the land warms up. Seeing Valentine’s as a celebration of a single relationship is relatively alien to them, so they give gifts to almost everyone they see (often carrying baskets of flowers and shootlings) and the whole day is given over to gift-giving and open displays of affection. To outsiders this can make for an uncomfortable display; entering the grove on this day can mean being planted with kisses every 5 steps.
Valentine’s in the North is associated with great hunts, drunken debauchery and above all else… bloody noses. As with every day in the life of a norn, the ultimate aim of Valentine’s is to stand head and shoulders above your compatriots – this often means the pursuit of that girl or guy who you’ve had your eye on since the last Alemoot. However, it is a great shame upon any norn to be hunted in such a way, the norn is not the prey – it is the predator! So, it is part of the tradition of the festival for all would-be-lovers to spurn all advances, often with a swift crack to the nose or polite headbutt. Fuelled by mead and beer; male and female norn alike spend the entire day being beaten and battered as they express their love for one another. By the end of the evening they wear their injuries with pride and grin at each other through bloodied lips and swollen eyes. For the norn, ironically, it is the one day out of the year where the least amount of affection is shared.
About the author: Distilled (Will) has been playing Guild Wars for almost 6 years, he works as a clinical researcher in the UK but has recently been accepted on a PhD place (starting in September, woo!). In his spare time he enjoys picking posies, giving gifts and spending Feb 14th curled in a ball with a hot water bottle. He writes regularly on Guild Wars and gaming over at Distilled Willpower. You can also follow him on Twitter at @Distilledwill!