One of the really nice things about the asuran race is the way that they have not fallen back on “intelligence” meaning “modernist”. Being so blessed with intellect, the asura could have easily fallen prey to the overtly functional style of design and only been concerned with creating structures which served a purpose and nothing more. Rata Sum could so easily have been a city of blank grey cubes; flat and faceless entities which, whilst perfectly serving their purpose, offered up no example of imagination or life.
Earlier today I was thinking about what we know about Guild Wars 2’s new race, the sylvari, compared to the existing ones. Each race so far has had its own strengths, but also its own inner turmoils. For the humans it is the tension between the Ministry Guard, the Shining Blade and the Seraph. For the norn it is their dealing with the Sons of Sanvir and for the charr it is the Flame Legion Shamans stirring up trouble.
For the sylvari the tension is likely to come from their dealing with the Nightmare Court.
On my own blog I mentioned how it’s possible that the Pale Tree has some wider connection to the welfare of the planet, and how it might be imploring the sylvari to deal with the growing threat (no pun intended) which the Elder Dragons pose.
The sylvari have popped up in the 23 years preceding the events of Guild Wars 2. They emerge from the Pale Tree fully grown and are forever linked to it. Whilst they are growing inside the tree they experience dreams through which they learn the knowledge of their race. They also report that they experience nightmares – however, most sylvari attempt to ignore or at least not pursue any further knowledge of them. The sylvari that do embrace these nightmares are called the Nightmare Court.
A slow grin began to appear on Magnus’s face, extending into his eyes. “The people of Lion’s Arch are my people. I have chosen my battles. ” Magnus shook his head and laughed ruefully. “The world is changing, Eir Stegalkin. You must change with it. Perhaps I should ask you to join me. Get some sun on that lily skin.
The pirate city of Lion’s Arch is a place of great contradictions; mortal enemies walk side-by-side in relative peace, it is built upon the combined ruins of the former great and righteous Krytan capitol city and the lowly and broken debris of wrecked pirate ships –it is a city of heroes and a city of villains. It follows that the big cheese of such a place would be rife with contradictions of his own; Magnus the Bloody Handed is such a norn.
Would you take advice from a warthog? I know I wouldn’t. Put your past behind you? Codswallop! Hakuna Matata? Poppycock! Problem free philosophy? Fat chance! If you don’t learn from your mistakes then you never get anywhere! So, with this in mind, what has Arena Net learned from Guild Wars 1?
1. Instances are lonely
Koss isn’t much of a talker, and the look in Livia’s eye when she reconnects the bones and sinew of your fallen comrades is no comfort to the weary adventurer. The instanced world is a barren land full of red-named nasties just itching to eat your skin or roast you over a campfire. There is little in the way of emergent interaction – if you venture out into the world unprepared there is no one there to come to your aid.
With Guild Wars 2 ANet has flip flopped on the instanced world and given us a persistent one to play in instead. Now, if you find yourself alone on a road surrounded by angry and lecherous bandits, maybe you can catch the eye of that passing band of Norn Guardians and they will come to your aid!