Edge of Destiny Review & Character Analysis

Spoiler Warning: This article is spoiler-free up until the indicated point. 

So I -finally- got around to finishing EoD. I know a few people were nervous since I gave Ghosts of Ascalon a pretty harsh assessment, but I’m happy to say that I very much enjoyed this book. It really blew GoA out of the water in terms of characters and action.

The characters had much more depth this time around and went beyond their stereotypical roles. Unlike in GoA where each person seemed to be more or less the personification of their race, here they were individuals with quirks, talents, and habits that pushed them into the realm of having substance. Their interactions with one another was also satisfying and believable. Although the dynamic between Logan and Rytlock sometimes teetered on a little ridiculous, it was also the primary source of humor and so it served a purpose making it acceptable and welcome.
There wasn’t much individual growth other than from Caithe,  and everybody’s ultimate reactions at the end, but I think that’s because the focus wasn’t on them separately but rather as a team. It wasn’t about individuals so much but rather Destiny’s Edge: How they came to be, what they meant to the world, and how it ended up. It was important to set that up to make the conclusion that much more significant, so there wasn’t much time, really, to focus on them seperately. So they started out pretty solidified already, which isn’t a bad thing here.

Edge of Destiny Review - Logan Thackeray

The overall story was entertaining because it was a good mixture of telling the tale of the rise and fall of a band of heroes while also setting the stage for GW2. It fulfilled the later much better than GoA did, in my opinion, as the main antagonists were the very dragons we’re expected to challenge in the game. There were a few twists and a few frustrations. But the ending definitely had a bit of a wow-factor to it.

The greatest part was the action. It was relatively non-stop, but done in a way that isn’t overwhelming. We get a lot of build-up for the first big victory which allows us to get to know the characters and exactly what they are capable of, paving the way for the subsequent battles to be told in an increasingly swifter manner without feeling like you missed anything.

All in all, I definitely enjoyed it. Once again we have to keep in mind the purpose of these books: they are to fill us in on the story of the game. As such, we can’t expect Tolkien-level writing since it needs to be accessible to people who may not be regular readers. But for what it is, EoD provided an easy to read, enjoyable adventure that was well-written and dramatic. It gave us a ton of answers and even more questions, and really allowed us to see what challenges we are faced with once it’s our turn to step up to the hero plate in Guild Wars 2.

To The Readers: What did you guys think? Better or worse than GoA?  Favorite characters / parts? How do you think this will affect the stories in GW2? Any other forum discussions / reviews I missed, let me know!
Discussions: GW2G | Quaggan | GW2 Forums | IncGamers
Reviews: Hunter’s Insight | MMO Gamer Chick | JohnnyV

So now for the spoiler-ridden in-depth part, follow the jump
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Ghosts of Ascalon: Review

Spoiler Warning: This Ghosts of Ascalon review is spoiler free only up until the indicated point. 

So I finished reading GoA today on my commute to work. And well…. I was disappointed.

First of all, I thought this book wasn’t terribly well written. I’ve never been a fan of Jeff G’s writing style, at least not in his fantasy based-on-a-game books, even keeping in mind that it’s probably dumbed down to cater to gamers, not heavy book readers.

Ghosts of Ascalon ReviewThe awkward use of certain writing and plot devices at random points with no real use annoyed me (that ridiculously misplaced run-on sentence describing the scribe in the dungeon…), his abuse of repetition (trapdoor used 5 times in 2 paragraphs, “he said…she said…they said..said said said”), and random and terrible grammar (“They reached the top. Dougal feeling like a supplicant in the great temple.”) was really distracting from the story.

I also have a hard time enjoying when major plot points are told to us through characters but not shown. I understand that the book series’ aims to bridge the two games, but something about having a character go on for 2 pages telling the stale of what happened to this timeless hero of the past is dull, especially since it happened about four times. The book fell in this awkward no-man’s-land between trying to tell us of this current adventure that had a lot of potential while simultaneously bridging 250 years of lore.

The movement of the plot was slow; by the time real action actually started happening, it was 30 pages from finishing, and then it just -ends- abruptly.

That said, the characterization for the most part was great, and really what saved the book from being a total disappointment. I got a good feel for all the characters and races, although I’d argue it was almost stereotypical. I’d give this a C rating overall – enjoyable as a veteran Guild Wars player and fan of lore in general and decent characterization made it worthwhile. But it falls short in pacing and conclusion that left me feeling unsatisfied.

*Warning: Spoiler heavy beyond the jump….
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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.

Guild Wars: Fashion Police

From a self proclaimed Gaming Fashionista comes an epic and catty debunking of in game style.
Beware. It can get ugly.


Jera’s Vote: Nay (severe nay)

At first I thought, this is, simply put, classic case of PvP experimentation gone wrong. Then I thought about it and oh man, did I want to stab my eyes. The top is PvE. So someone spent the money on this combination? Albiet, it’s 1k but still. Here we have standard Sunspear top and arms Shing-Jei skirt and Starter/Ascalon shoes. So comes another failed attempt to make the skankiest ele armor combo possible. There’s a difference between classy skanky and just out right wrong, and you, ma’am, fall into the latter. Suggestion: start over.


Jera’s Vote: Yay

Ignoring my initial distaste for some of the more revealing costumes in GW, I have to say this combo definitely caught my eye. 15k Druid arms, feet, and top with the 15k Studded Leather legs. They work well together and are died a natural color (green?) to keep with a general scheme. There’s nothing I can think of to change this for the better. Kudos for the creative put together!


Jera’s Vote: Nay

Elite Sunspear top and legs with Istani hands and feet. What bothers me about this combo isn’t the mixed armor (istani gloves/boots can go with just about anything, which is wonderful). But the bright white dye-job on the arms and feet takes away from the entire thing and makes the mixed-part extremely noticable. And while I do say Istani can go with anything, the money was spent on the 15k Sunspear Armor. I’d suggest to at least synergy the gloves and boots with the standard Sunspear. Less harsh a color, as well, like a gold/orange/brown if red wouldn’t match right. A noble try falling just a bit too short.


Jera’s Vote: Yay

But just barely. Here we have Ancient top and feet and Elite Woven skirt and handwraps. I think the general style and design for the two armors work well, though the skirt is just a WEE bit off, imo. Intentional or not, the arms and skirt being dyed similar colors kinda helps bring it together pretty well. My suggestion would be a less harsh dye color; white/silver should be replaced with a dulled down yellow/brown/orange mix to match the rest of the clothes better. For something a bit more daring, kurzick handwraps would look pretty nifty.


Jera’s Vote: Yay

You may be asking yourself “how does this piece of garbage get a yay?” And so I say to you… the pure humor of it. It’s actually kinda hard to wear holiday masks in a way that’s not ridiculously painful. Most people don’t care, being that’s kind of the point of holiday masks. However, every now and then you come across something like this that’s so absolutely perfect. The only other hat/armor combo I can think of that’s remotely equal would be santa hat with furlined armor. Candycane weapons a plus.

Suggested Mix Armor of the Issue:

This combo makes for a pretty awesome bad-ass look for Fem Necros. The key to the outfit is the Canthan top and 15k Luxon Skirt. The styles work awesomely together, and they dye pretty much the same. What I have here includes Canthan gloves and 15k Luxon boots. For a cheaper alternative, regular luxon look just as great, as do standard canthan. Gloves can also be luxon. For less fiersomeness, Kurzick gloves and boots, or Krytan Gloves and boots. Outside of Canthan/Luxon combos, gloves and boots should be from the same set.

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That’s it for this issue. I’ll be stalking around for more disasters / fabulousness. Feel free to submit your own screens be it your own char or something you see for review! Def let me know what you think~