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Drawing Guild Wars #001 : Norn Initiate

Drawing is a bit of a process for me. I have no set style for some reason. I used to do comissions for in-game gold. That worked out pretty well but in the end I realized I could just farm Zkeys and make money way faster.

Anyway, I’ve been back and forth with the drawing bit. It’s hard to get inspired sometimes, since I’m a designer by profession and it sucks the creative juice out of me.
I generally do fanart one of two ways. Style a) I sketch in a light colored pencil, ink over with pens, scan, photoshop out the sketch, and digitally color. 2nd way is sketching and then doing the lines and colors all digitally.

I’ve been working on a teenaged norn drawing for months now. I thought I’d show the progress.

It starts with a basic pencil sketch. Usually goes through a few changes.  I decided she looked a little too much like Jora, so when I went in to add detail I fixed her hair to make her look a little different.

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To Err is human… But That’s Why We Love ’em.

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. Continue reading

Queen Jennah of Kryta

Spoiler Warning: This article contains significant spoilers for Edge of Destiny and minor spoilers for Ghosts of Ascalon. 

And so it is: human week has concluded & we’ve got a lot of tasty information regarding the race as a whole. While we’ve been given a little more insight to their mysterious monarch Queen Jennah, she is still a figure who’s hard to understand and plays a role in Guild Wars 2 that’s yet to be determined. Needless to say, a huge war has erupted among the fans of Tyria in regards to whose side they’re on.

Considering she is the Queen of Kryta, and essentially all of humanity, we still know precious little about Jennah and her true goals and motives. We’ve gotten a handful of tidbits from few sources: passing mention in Ghosts of Ascalon and a few cameos in Edge of Destiny, along with what we learned in human week.  This forces us to kind of piece together what she’s all about. One big issue is that a lot of the information we’re getting isn’t really factual at all but rather opinions from the people around her, which makes it difficult to pin-point exactly what’s going on.

One reason I think she is unpopular now is because of Logan. He’s lost a lot of credit with fans due to his actions in EoD and their “romance” has painted a confusing and unpopular picture of Jennah. Still, I find her to be extremely intriguing and am probably in the minority of fans who support her. Many see her as a manipulative selfish monarch at worst, or needy little girl at best. I fully disagree. I’ll get into that later but first, let’s take a look at what we know for sure so far.

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GW2 Profession Response: Guardian

Well it’s been a hearty five months since our last reveal, and we’re happy to finally devour our newest profession: The Guardian.

After some questionable leaks last week and some early reveals this morning, ArenaNET finally got around to updating the official site with their side of the story. And I have to say… wow.

Overview
The idea of the guardian is not new to MMOs. It’s our heavy-armor wearing protection class, with a strong focus on defense. The guardian is aimed to appeal to the monks of GW1, with rehashed skills like Shield of Absorbtion and Aegis that will sound quite familiar to those of us who liked to play prot.

I enjoy the idea of this mitigation style of support play vs simply healing. It’s more tactical, proactive, and far less dull. If this is what ANet had in mind for rehashing the MMO-Triad, then I’m even more convinced now than ever that they are definitely heading in the right direction. Shields, absorption, and deflection and knowing how and when to use such skills sounds much more appealing than watching health-bars and making sure they don’t hit 0. Also feels less stressful while still being challenging. So dare I say it, it seems all-around more fun than straightforward healing. Continue reading

Scandalous! Armor Modesty in Guild Wars (Poll)

As GuildMag‘s resident fashionista, I talk a lot about trends and styles in Guild Wars in my seasonal column, something I’m looking forward to continuing come Guild Wars 2. Huge props to Kristen Perry; the lovely ArenaNet designer whose genius is responsible for a lot of armor design in Guild Wars. She has spoken at length on the process in brainstorming, drafting, and finalizing the sets and pieces for both games at length on ANet’s official blog (and dye systems!) and other outlets as well. A good chunk of us, whether armor collectors or just fans of fashion or textured digital art, love being able to see those come to life. It’s be a huge part of what makes a game such a great experience.

Many players might think “Is the look of armor really THAT important?” The answer is obvious. Just look at the intense response to transmutation stones where people  took the concept of being able to keep old looks with better armor stats and ran with it (or shot off into space, might be more accurate).

"What you lookin' at?"

Now, I love what Kristen and her crew have done for GW1 and am thrilled to see what the sequel will bring. But gloating aside, I have seen a concern among players pop up a few times. And that’s on the subject of modesty.

Let’s face it. Guild Wars has ever been shy with cleavage (I’m looking at you, Livia), norn are notorious for wearing close to nothing in a blizzard, and Elementalists obviously have mastered the use of combating hypothermia with fire magic.  There have been a few select armor sets in the game that have raised eyebrows more than others and been the topic of discussion on a few occasions. Many players think some of them are really pushing the boundaries of what’s sexy and what’s skimpy.

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Seraph : The Second Soldier Profession of Guild Wars 2?

Warning: Minor spoilers for the two novels ensue.
Disclaimer: This was written literally a few days before the Guardian release. That said, I still think the political implications still hold merit. So have fun with it. 🙂

I think we all figure at this point that the 2nd solider class is a paladin-like buff / defensive profession. And that Logan has become one. Agreed? Agreed.

So many moons ago in my re-hashed Guild Wars 2 profession speculation post, I stated that I thought the Seraph was going to be the 2nd solider class. I reiterated the theory on the forums and was generally met with disagreement. I had just finished reading Ghosts of Ascalon which is how the idea solidified in my mind, although I think I had come to the conclusion earlier when I saw repeated screenshots and artwork of winged armor, a motif that’s been attached to the Seraph. I wasn’t the first one to come up with the idea, certainly, but in both cases most people shrugged it off as improbable.

The biggest argument against the Seraph as a profession is the need for it to be multi-racial. From the lore we know that the Seraph were founded by Queen Salma to defend Divinity’s Reach and the new Krytan order. In Guild Wars 2, they are charged with protecting the endangered human race, the remnants of whom as far as they know mostly live in Kryta (although we as players can assume there are survivors in Cantha and Elona, they don’t know that…yet.)

With these facts, I can see why it feels hard to believe the Seraph would open their doors to non-humans. But if we take hints from Guild Wars Beyond, bits and pieces from the novels, and even some artwork from trailers, we gather enough clues to point to clear progression leading up to a sound possibility of Seraph as the 2nd soldier class. And the kicker here is that the entire possibility centers around none other than our elusive Queen Jennah. So humor me for a few minutes as I explain why this can very much happen.

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Exploring Tyria #001

Fireside Chat | Zaishen Menagerie

Guild Wars is just gorgeous. I never get over how amazing the graphics are for a game that’s been out for so long. As an arttard, I’ve always appreciated that aspect of the game.

With my new video card, I’m glad I can enjoy it now with graphics cranked all the way up.