Real Life Lore: Tyrian Settlement Through 12th Century Eyes

As a medievalist I read a lot of books which form the basis of fantasy worlds like Tyria: Arthurian romances, tales of chivalry and myths of exquisite beasts which have been told and retold for centuries and have become embedded in our culture. In the present day, people draw upon these legends for inspiration, be it for books, films or videogames, and the world of Guild Wars is no exception.

What I’d like to do today is begin to look at possible sources of inspiration for Tyrian lore, beginning with the pre-history of the world, and what the game creators may have drawn upon in the birth of Tyria.

A brief gloss of Tyrian pre-history is possible through archaeological evidence in-game, however there are little surviving texts from that period which makes it difficult to have a true understanding of the events of that time. The Giganticus Lupicus, or true giants, are believed to have walked Tyria before 10,000 BE (before the Exodus of the Gods), when they went extinct at the hands of the Elder Dragons. They can be seen as the ‘true inhabitants’ of Tyrian land, having been the original occupants. Far later, around 786 BE, the Six Gods settled in Tyria and brought humanity to the world, who pushed from Orr into Kryta and Ascalon.

A similar situation is recorded in Geoffrey of Monmouth’s Historia Regum Britanniae (published c. 1136), which tells the tale of the original settlers of the British Isles, their battles and struggles, and the stories of the kings who ruled, including Arthur. Brutus, who is exiled from Greece for the accidental murder of his parents, sets sail with the Trojans for a new land free from persecution and attack. In his hunt, he comes across a Goddess in a dream, who tells him the following:

 “There is an island […] once inhabited by giants,

But now it is deserted, ready to receive your people.

There kings shall arise from your line, and unto them

Shall all the lands of the Earth be subject.”

 

If we look at what this passage says, we can clearly see the parallel between the message from the Goddess, and the assumed message from the Six Gods of Tyria: humans go to a land which was once dominated by giants but is now empty (in Tyria, this is due to the rampage of the Elder Dragons, from which the land is still recovering), and are sent to rule. The humans in Tyria’s eldest age, with the assistance of the Gods, assume power over three kingdoms, and conquer the natives in those areas, such as the Charr in Ascalon.

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Elementalist 101 – History and Systems

Guild Wars 2 Elementalist Guide

Severe Weather Warning!!!

Good ol’ Master Bronk taught me the benefits of superior firepower. He liked to say, “When it comes to besting the enemy, there’s no such thing as overkill.” – Asura Biography

Elementalist Profession Series Part 1

So…you are considering making an elementalist in GW2? You wanna control the weather, eh? Make things go *BOOM* *ZAP* *SPLASH* and *CRUNCH*? This article series can help with that decision. In this first installment, I plan to talk briefly about the history of the profession from GW1, race-specific skills that complement the profession, attunements, and weapon skills; all of which are important to consider from levels 1-30 or so (the history lesson is a bonus).

What this article series is: This series is meant to be a quick and dirty guide and advice column about the elementalist profession. I hope to promote discussion and encourage people to play this fun and versatile profession. This is primarily written for PvE gameplay.

What this article series is not: This is NOT a comprehensive strategy guide on how to play the elementalist profession. It does not include a list of all of the skills/traits with commentary. It does not discuss PvP strategy.

I can be long winded in my articles, but I’m also a big fan of tl;dr, so I’ll include that at the end of each section.

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Valentine’s in Dragon-Blasted Times

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:

Asura

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.

 

Charr

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.

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Guild Wars 2 Charr Week

ArenaNet charrged up the hype machine this week with a look into another one of Guild Wars 2′s featured races: the fearsome charr.  As promised in Monday morning’s post, they took a spin through many of the aspects of the charr: their starter area, their voice-work, the visual design behind their race, and some exciting new lore accompanied by images and an epic video of the Black Citadel.

The week kicked off with a post by Devon Carver, a member of the content design team who has contributed to the charr starter map, talking yet again about the benefits of ArenaNet’s iterative process and how their willingness to go back and change things has really strengthened the design of the game.  Very little of what he said about the process of feedback and iteration is new to people following the game’s development, but it still gave readers a nice glimpse of what to look forward to as a charr.

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The Races of Guild Wars 2 and Who Will Play Them

Disclaimer – This post was written before we knew about the final profession line-up. It’s also kind of dumb / silly. Please take it as humorous satire and nothing more. 

 

As if it wasn’t already obvious, I’ve been playing video games and trolling the internet for a looongggg time (12 year veteran on the latter). Having been active in many online communities including RPs, forums, Live Journal, and MMOs, I’ve got a lot of experience with the different types of … *personalities* you will often find lurking around the web. And I’m being kind, here.

Every MMO that offers multiple races/classes, which is the majority of them, will find that certain demographics of players will stereotypically be attracted to a certain type of character or role. A common gaming stereotype, for example, is that females tend to be healers or casters, while males are more likely to take tanking and melee damage roles.

Now before I get chewed out for saying this, I’m more than aware that these are generalities and do not apply to everyone. But the same way Asians usually are smart, and lawyers usually are soul-less, we have to keep in mind that stereotypes are generally based on observable tendencies within certain demographics.

So anyway, this post is pretty much about this. Guild Wars 2 will offer five races, and here I’ve ranked them in the order of which I predict will be most popular, when, and who will be the people playing them. These predictions are based on an “assumption” that each race can play any profession and that there will be no racial affinities/passives (IE Sylvari have improved bow usage), both of which have a high possibility of being implemented and could change the demographics.

And while I hate to do it, I will be referencing WoW since it has the largest population of players and has been my main source of experience in the past.


Sylvari


Popularity Rank : 1
Player Gender: Majority Female
Popular Professions: Mesmer, Ranger, Ritualist, Monk
Naming Trends: Those related to the mystical, nature, gods, and pointing out that the player is female.
-Melandrus Daughter, Keeper of Wolves, M A L I N A, Hexual Healing, Short Skirt Double DD
Likely Personalities:
-Old School GW players who care about lore.
-15-year-old attention whores
-New GW Players
-Gay Men
It was a toss up between Sylvari and Human for #1, but Sylvari beat them out for several key reasons.
Old school guild wars players are very interested in the Sylvari because they are the only race we haven’t encountered in Guild Wars 1. We’ve played humans for five years, so it’s time for a change.
Gamers who have done MMORPG but aren’t familiar with Guild Wars will likely be intrigued by the Sylvari since they are mystical and unique yet not a generic elf race.
Teen and early college-age attention whores will likely roll Sylvari because they’re pretty with British accents. That would also include the bitchy ones who complain in PvP when you’re losing by 2 points, are offended by “Yo Momma” and “That’s what she said” jokes, and have character names like “Cutey Babe IRL.”

However, I think Sylvari will NOT be the Blood/Night Elves of GW2 because they don’t have much to cater to male players. While they are pretty, they don’t strike me as being “hot”, a big reason guys make female toons. The customization options are a little too out there and the males are too thin and lanky to attract many male players who’d rather play hulking, buff manly men (if you think I’m joking, google why Blizz made blood elf males more built, when they were originally much thinner).
I figure Sylvari to be the most popular at first, but expect them to get eclipsed by Humans with time.


Humans

Popularity Rank : 2
Player Gender: Fairly Even, leaning towards male.
Popular Professions: Warrior, Monk, Elementalist, Necromancer
Naming Trends: Generic First/Last names, as well as ones suggesting deep personality. Most likely to be named after existing NPC’s.
-Gerad Omalley, Elena Watson, Cynns Daughter, The Lone Hero, Legend Of Tyria, I Like Swords And Pizza
Likely Personalities:
-Role Players
-New MMO Players
-Lonely Housewives
-Guidos
-Guys who play girl characters.
There really isn’t much to say about Humans. They’re a staple in any MMO, and the most familiar, but kind of generic and boring. Many Role Players will roll Humans because of the familiarity. GW-RPers have often said the descendants of their current toons should be human, and being any of the other races would not make sense. RPers who are new to GW will lean towards humans since they have no idea about the lore of the other races. New mmo players choosing GW2 to pop their cherry will probably go for the “saftey” of being something familiar.
Lonely Housewives and cougars looking for some young, impressionable 20 somethings to make their husbands jealous will probably roll human. Psychologically, people are most likely to fall for a personality behind an avatar they can relate with.
Guidos will be humans cause that’s how they roll.

Charr

Popularity Rank : 3
Player Gender: Mostly Male
Popular Professions: Warrior, Ranger, Elementalist, Assassin
Naming Trends: Many last names compounded with weaponry, attempts at being badass/threatening, taunts, rappers and LoLcat references.
-Cheza Swiftarrow, Thulo Axesmash, Oh Noes Ur Dead, Jay Z Fo Reel, I Can Haz Meow Mix.
Likely Personalities:
-Olllld School GW Players
-Thugs
-Jocks
-Gold Farmers
-12-year-old boys
-Girls who play FPS/RTS
The Charr come in at a close 3rd on the list by a small margin. Old School GW players will love playing the race that, quite literally, shook their world 5 years ago when the game first started. They have a great, war-ridden background story and are likely to attract “Horde”-ish players.
Being the angry beast-race, the Charr will attract lots of the macho-men who like to tear shit up (and who wouldn’t?). 12-year-old boys will also like Charr because either (wrongly) think they are or wish they were as badass as the Charr. Girls who play FPS/RTS games are also likely to play Charr, because they are violent in nature and like bossing guys around.


Asura

Popularity Rank : 4
Player Gender: Fairly Even, leaning towards male.
Popular Professions: Elementalist, Mesmer, Ritualist
Naming Trends: Abusive names challenging the TOS, geeky/nerdy references, phrases of self importance, Engrish, Asian Characters.
-Horney Was Your Mom, Naga Stole My Focus, H A X X E R, Yodas Sister, Rove U Rong Time, 流感吮
Likely Personalities:
-Trolls
-Attention whores pretending to not be attention whores.
-College kids with IT degrees.
-Misguided Felica Day fanboys.
-Asians
The Asura are predicted to be the annoying, short race that the Gnomes have been to WoW, and as such most likely to attract trolls. It’s ironic because they also, as a race, have an unjustified superiority complex to everybody else, most likely compensation for their lack of real credibility shortness. Asura will be the ones dancing on your body in PvP, taunting in general chat, and starting fights in trade/forums.
Attention whores pretending to not be attention whores will be attracted to this race. Asura are cute enough to satiate their need for vanity but ‘different’ enough that they won’t seem like the generic pointy-eared loving facerollers. These are the most dangerous brand of attention whores because they are manipulative and cunning. Most likely the ones to act cool in public but then cry about how their boyfriend left them in WoW for some asian chick who rolled Druid in an attempt to draw you into their trap.

College kids with IT degrees and Asians will like Asura because they will feel a kindred connection to those with an affinity to technology and giant mecha.

Norn

Popularity Rank : 5
Player Gender: Fairly Even, Leaning Towards Male
Naming Trends: Animal references, Nordic/Viking influenced nominers, annoying foreign lettering, references to literature and mythological deities.
-Keeper of Ravens, Cnaiür urs Skiötha, Beowulf From Toronto, The Fist Of Zeus, Woof Bears, Izzies Bank Alt
Popular Professions: Ranger, warrior, dervish, paragon
Likely Personalities:
-Chill Players
-Bored Players
-Canadians
-BankAlts
-Goofballs / Fake RPers
-Short People
I think Norn will be the least played characters because, ascetically, they are just overgrown humans and other than shape shifting they don’t have anything that I feel would attract any specific group of people. Because of this, they will also be the race with the chillest players. They have that “kinda human, but just different enough” feel. People will roll them just to try and then find they’re kinda cool/fun and stick with it.
I feel many bank alts will be Norn, as well as general goofballs because they are such a serious, viking race and it’s funny to imagine them dancing on mailboxes.
Short people will play Norn for the obvious reasons.
I feel like the Norn will be the Tauren of GW2, with a player base that’s laid back and generally liked by everyone, except the Asura because they hate everybody.

Well, with Guild Wars 2 still well over a year off, it’s going to be a long time before I get to see whether I’m right or wrong.
It will be well worth the wait.