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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The Curious Case of Race in Guild Wars 2

The typical demographic divisions are an oft-examined subject in gaming. Gender and sexuality are the most regularly explored (usually fuelled by the ubiquitous scantily clad portrayal of the female form in MMOs and fantasy RPGs in general). Race, however, is an altogether more difficult concept to grasp in games. The stereotyping isn’t quite so “in your face” – for example, games which dictate that all female armour must look like there was a dramatic shortage of leather and plate are a dime-a-dozen, but I don’t think there are many games which say that if you’re white you have to wear one armour and if you’re black you must wear another. It’s certainly a strange dichotomy – why should your gender dictate your armour style, but your race shouldn’t? Or, more succinctly: why should either? The upshot is that race is usually expressed in character creation processes through choosing “skin colour” or “facial structure”.

In the original game the three campaigns were very blatantly culturally split – Prophecies (for the most part) seems to be European/Western, the Canthan domain in Factions is obviously of Asian influence and Elona from Nightfall is more African/Arabian. These influences are expressed through the architecture, enemies faced (often influenced by the RL mythology of the culture), NPC style and dialogue as well as the character creation options you receive when you create a character in that particular expansion. It was a relatively brave move; when you start to build an in-game culture which has influences in certain real-world racial areas you have to be careful to dodge stereotypes and for the most part ANet managed to do this perfectly – I don’t think you could ever claim that the game even edges towards being “racist”.

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Snaff, the Greatest Asura

SPOILER ALERT! Please be forewarned that reading from this point forward is going into material covered in the book Edge of Destiny and from an impromptu Q&A with Lore Master Jeff Grubb!

“Snaff might be the greatest Asura in history and it’s not because he is the smartest but because he is personable and treats others with respect.” – Jeff Grubb, PAX Prime on Sunday.

Hello and Welcome everyone, BigCat72 here with a new post for you today on a subject that has been on my mind for the past month! Snaff, the Greatest Asura! I didn’t feel I had enough information on the subject before to write out what I wanted to write, but thanks to being at PAX Prime and being able to speak with Jeff Grubb in a pseudo 1 on 1 Q & A, I feel confident with the information I can bring to you today! I will start out by going over what I do know of him from the book and then move into the information that I later learned while having a pleasant discussion with Jeff Grubb.

So here we go, I hope you enjoy it as much as I enjoy writing it.

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Dear People of Tyria…

Please start asking more intelligent questions.  I mean, seriously, “why?” is most definitely not a valid question unless the precursor to said question is a definitive statement.  That being said, I will not introduce myself, as well as my goal and purpose.

I am Bamff (Not Blamff)

First of all, I am Bamff, a genius in my own right.  I am currently working on many fantastic inventions, the most current being the stealthometric module, or simply, a cloaking device that also works in reverse.  And by works in reverse, I don’t mean that it is simply able to uncloak the user, but it is able render anything nearby, that is currently invisible, visible.  My specialty, however, does not quite lie within the alchemagical realm.  I am, moreover, focused on rapid hydrugic photosynthetical replication.  To you common folk, that would basically mean farming.  I study the genomagical makeup of the flora, and am able to extract long-lost magic from within.  Plants are excellent windows into the past.  Through generations and generations, they extract nutrients and neutromagical elements from the ground.  Plants are practically timecapsules filled with magic!  But I digress.

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The Asura Aesthetic: Playful Functionality

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.

The plants and magic provide mystical light sources

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Of Ronan, Ventari, and the Pale Tree: The Sylvari

Written in the voice of Belzan Furu

I once knew the great centaur Ventari. We oft debated the human-centaur war over a campfire in Maguuma or the Tarnished Coast. He was wise and I learned a great deal from his teachings, even though our time together was short. He saw the conflicts between our races as wasteful and unnecessary considering the long history of peace our two races enjoyed. I was more concerned with the White Mantle and dodging roving packs of undead at the time. The centaurs were more of a nuisance to me than anything else.

Ventari and me under the Pale Tree sprout, circa 1078 AE (in game GW footage)

His words changed my opinion of conflicts in general. We had a common enemy in the White Mantle, yet we continued to battle each other. Ventari argued that the centaur were too proud to back down, while I rebutted that the humans were survivors. Neither of us could easily determine the reason for one race’s enmity for the other. Sadly, over a century after Ventari’s passing, the human-centaur conflict hasn’t changed.

What has changed, however, is the Pale Tree. Long after Ronan planted his seed; long after Ventari cared for it and laid his marble tablet at its base; the tree began to sprout…uh…children. These children are called “sylvari” and they have begun to make a name for themselves. I took some time this week to talk with as many sylvari as would sit with me over a cup of toadstool tea about their race, Ventari’s teachings, and their thoughts on Tyria and the Elder Dragons.

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Sylvari Lore Interview with Ree Soesbee & Kristen Perry

 

Sylvari Lore Interview

We here at TalkTyria are excited to bring you guys our first interview with ArenaNet! The lovely ladies Ree Soesbee (Lore & Continuity) and Kristen Perry (Character Artist) were kind enough to answer some of our questions regarding the mysterious sylvari lore, their emerging place in Tyria, and a few other tid-bits regarding the story of Guild Wars.

So let’s take a look, and enjoy!

Sylvari Lore

Q: Can you tell us anything about new about the Nightmare Court? Like how many of the sylvari have joined (population percentage, maybe)? Can players choose to be a part of it, or are there any related titles? Who started or leads it?
Ree: The Nightmare Court is going to have a lot of coverage in my blog post for Sylvari Week, so I don’t want to spoil too much of that! I can answer your direct questions, though. The population of the Nightmare Court is roughly ten to fifteen percent of the sylvari. As with all enemy groups (the Sons of Svanir, the Flame Legion), players may not join the Nightmare Court. The Nightmare Court began during the time of the Secondborn sylvari (the second generation of sylvari born from the tree, about six or seven years after the Firstborn). The Nightmare Court’s current leader is the Grand Duchess Faolain, who is a Firstborn. She converted to the Nightmare Court and was not part of its original inception.

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