New Krytan; the language of Tyria

Running around Tyria, exploring hidden places, jumping puzzles and overhearing NPC conversations are some of the things that make Guild Wars 2 such a great game. The world of Tyria is filled with details, most of which we walk by and leave unnoticed. Not because we don’t care, but because they are so very well camouflaged into the world that we don’t pay attention. Just like “in real life”. So much to see, so much to do, so very little time to get everything done!

One thing I’ve grown to absolutely love in the game is New Krytan. For those who don’t know, New Krytan is a language of Tyria, used by many cultures and races. It’s the equivalent of the ‘real world’’s English. If you were to travel many places, this is the language you would use to have a better chance at being understood by others.

Here’s a little bit of history concerning New Krytan, as written on GW2 Wiki:

New Krytan alphabet as seen on GW2 Wiki

New Krytan was designed by the Durmand Priory as a compromise between the Old Ascalonian and Old Krytan alphabets and accepted as an official language in 1105 AE.

Over the past 220 years, New Krytan has become the standard writing system in Tyria and is used widely throughout the human kingdom, the asura colleges, and by the norn. The Durmand Priory set out to promote literacy and make the use of the new alphabet commonplace, so that all intelligent beings could understand the new language appearing all around them.

The New Krytan alphabet can be found everywhere in game; from street signs to engravings on shields, even spending time in the cemeteries found in Tyria can be fun! It’s another facet of exploring this gigantic world; several layers of terrain, tiny details everywhere. Those who love exploring will be satisfied just by spending a single day in Divinity’s Reach: Libraries, book stands, signs and NPC clothing, all of those have New Krytan waiting to be deciphered.

Now, you don’t have to learn New Krytan to be able to play Guild Wars 2. That said, as the language lover that I am, I couldn’t help but notice that the world of Tyria was filled with New Krytan content and was compelled to translate everything I could find. I have deciphered so many signs that I can now read New Krytan! A little geeky, or very dedicated? Who knows! What I know is that I can share some of the findings I, along with other players, have found through the world of Tyria.

The following screenshot was taken by player Sebastian S. The engraving in the middle of the shield reads “Ever Vigilant Ever Shielded”, in New Krytan.

It’s amazing how the designers have come this far to make Tyria a land of discoveries, not just outside when you explore, but when you acquire new armor, when you craft new weapons, there’s a chance something is going to be written on there. Granted, your settings must be high and textures also high in the settings the see the smallest of alphabet signs, but it’s nothing a high definition screenshot can’t fix. New Krytan is written everywhere and, if you’re a fellow explorer, you’ll need to embark on a quest ArenaNet has given to us to become true Tyrians. Learn the language, discover secrets from hints written in that language and follow the instructions that will lead you to treasures and bosses alike. I wouldn’t be surprised if my character would walk along the beaches of Lion’s Arch and discover a bottle with a message inside, only to find that I need to decipher it in order to gain a quest. There is a big probability that this could happen with the many years of Tyria to come.

Monuments, buildings, basically everywhere you go, there is New Krytan waiting for you. Even in catacombs and cemeteries, where names are engraved and sentences are dedicated to fallen allies. Another player, Jesse S., discovered this monument, dedicated to Osh Moran, Captain of The Valor. Osh Moran is not mentioned in Guild Wars lore, yet, but rumours have been said to find him in the third book of the Guild Wars instalment. Personally, I can’t wait to learn more about this character!

In Memoriam

Osh Moran, Captain of The Valor

The first of many who have paid the ultimate price for our city’s freedom, may their courageous sacrifices be remembered.

With a memoriam like this one, set right outside of Lion’s Arch near a Lighthouse, it makes me wonder… how many other scripts are there in the world of Tyria that would give us a small preview of things to come? A passage from a book, revealed secrets from ArenaNet themselves… It could all be possible! This new language is a mission for New Krytan explorers to complete. What if the staff wrote clues in this language and left them on walls, inscribed in the sand or even tattooed on a Troll’s arm just like in this next screenshot I took during BWE2?

People who don’t have time, or don’t have interest in spending hours deciphering the language can also visit many websites that have translators. One of them is a fanmade New Krytan translator and is very efficient in translating English to New Krytan, and vice-versa. Guild Wars 2 Online offers you that, with the exception of a few letters of the alphabet. I imagine they will soon update it. One player even went as far as to create fonts for everyone to use and can be found here.

In Chronicles of Tyria, you can also find several deciphered screenshots submitted by many players.

And this, folks, is how I came to learn how to read New Krytan.

Now that you know a little bit more about the New Krytan alphabet, are you going to go through screenshots to find signs and decipher them? Maybe a great hobby while we wait for another Beta Weekend!

About the author: Here’s a fun fact; ValerieAnneC , A GW and GW2 lover, met her husband in GW1. They got married and had a son. This son is affectionally nicknamed “Spawn of GuildWars”. The author is also the founder of www.ChroniclesofTyria.com and you can find her on twitter @ValerieAnneC. She loves cake, and is Type 1 diabetic. Her best friend is insulin.

Further reading:

  • AngelavengerL

    This was awesome. I didn’t even realize those were actual messages.

    • Thanks! New Krytan is fascinating! I think it’s really amazing that ArenaNet implemented this in the game! 

  • kuro

    Learnt a lot about the language. Next time I will try to find and read those messages in the game 😀
    One more question, did the Charr and Sylvari also use the New Krytan?

    • I’m not sure if the Charr and the Sylvari use New Krytan, but I think it would be safe to assume they do because they all interact with Humans, Norn and Asuran alike. Also, I just found this on Wiki about the Charr! “Their development in technology eventually led to the printing press, which in turn propagated the widespread use of the New Krytan language.”

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  • Adam Doll

    Trying to understand that sort of stuff just gives me a headache haha.