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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Sylvari – The Elves of Guild Wars 2!

The sylvari, together with the asura, are the races we haven’t yet gotten to play either in the closed beta or during the first beta weekend event. They both were playable during some gaming conventions (like GamesCom 2011), so we know they exist in a playable state, at least! But of course, not having been able to play them myself, I am very curious about them. I know I will love asura. There’s just no doubt about that. But what about the sylvari?

For me, they come close to what elves represent in other fantasy games. Think of your standard fantasy settings and now think of how many games include some kind of elves: Lord of the Rings Online, World of Warcraft, Everquest, Rift,… the list goes on. Elves are usually the fragile, elegant, gracious, wise and oooooold race. The sylvari are all of that with one exception; They are a very young race with the oldest sylvari being 25 years old. I’d assume that sylvari will most likely be the race to play when you’re usually an elf-lover because of their looks. But from their personality and their background, they’re rather unique.

They are a tree’s interpretation of humans. (Kristen Perry in Talk Tyria’s lore interview)

Let’s take a look at the sylvari: They can have elf-like ears (pointed, that is, in case you didn’t know). You can find a video showing the early sylvari character customization here (it starts at around 3:30). Their ears are pointed because they’re leaf-shaped. Which, oddly enough, is what Tolkien had in mind for his elves (see Wiki entry above). But it’s not that easy. Sylvari aren’t simply “the elves”. You have to look a bit closer to see the differences between elves (or humans) and sylvari. They are, in fact, plants that were built after humans because the Pale Tree, out of which they were “born”, knows what humans look like and modelled the sylvari after them. ArenaNet had published a blog post about Kristen Perry’s redesign of the sylvari (they did actually look very much like regular elves before). Continue reading

Asura: Cute and cuddly or heartless and selfish?

Asura are the smallest of the playable races in Guild Wars 2. They’re the cute* race. Fuzzy, cuddly… wait – are those pointy teeth? And what’s with this maniac grin? Is… is that a golem running towards me? In other words: They are everything but cuddly and cute, that is for sure. I wonder what it will be like playing an asura…

 

“You give a new meaning to the term “counter-intelligence.”
(Vekk in Guild Wars)

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Ghost of Holidays Future

His jokes'll slay you!

With the eighth Guild Wars Halloween coming to a close (we had two Halloweens in 2008, if you recall) it is time to work on our Sweet Tooth titles, time to dye our new costumes, time to sport our new Tricornes and Reaper’s Hoods, and time to look forward to the future.

But let us not forget about the past.

Halloween 2005 was the first holiday event ANet introduced. Before the time of titles and expansions, Mad King Thorn’s influence spread only over Lion’s Arch and Droknar’s Forge and only 4 treats were available to players. The hat that year was the Pumpkin Crown and sadly, it’s the only one I don’t have. You see, I was new to GW then. I had just started playing in September 2005 and knew nothing of this new event. Instead, I helped hand out candy that year.

Still, it was the start of numerous annual events from April Fools Day to Talk Like a Pirate to the longer lasting, and more well known, Wintersday, Dragon Festival, and Canthan New Years. Interestingly enough, there are no Elonian holidays… Lots of consumables to be had for titles and lots of hats and special items to share and show off.

Now to the present.

 

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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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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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