I was a noble, a fancy Memser, and a vision in pink and purple. I was the most flamboyant man in Tyria – really, a Mesmer in pink/purple armor, you think you can top that? – and I was gorgeous. I slicked my hair back as I admired my reflection in the mirror. No, I wasn’t going to go all cray cray and ask the mirror who the fairest of them all was because I knew in my heart that it was me. Period.
Though I was born to riches and a silver spoon – literally – in my mouth, I knew I didn’t want to become one of those fat, jolly men who bathed in gold and didn’t give a tinker’s toot to the plight of the less fortunate. Yeah sure, we were rich now and could afford all kinds of luxurious fabrics and exotic meat from the land of Tyria but we should never ever tempt Fate because the cosmic universe just loves to throw you a curveball when you least expect it. And what that happens, all you horrible human beings who’ve never known hardship will be thrown out on your asses and starve to death.
And seriously, dolyak meat? Really? What the hell is wrong with you people?
For many people, the first open beta event for Guild Wars 2 can best be described by grabbing your nearest thesaurus and looking up the word “awesome.” It was our first look at Lion’s Arch; our first look at armor and weapons associated with all 8 dungeons; our first opportunity to, well, play the game we’ve been drooling over for 2+ years. Long have we loitered fansites and forums speculating about professions and skills and scouring youtube for videos of gameplay footage. This past weekend was the first opportunity for thousands of people to immerse themselves in the game that is the talk of the MMO scene.
But for some, like me, it was not meant to be.
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
I gave the dolyak a hearty slap on the hind quarters. The keep wouldn’t stand against another attack without these supplies. Time was of the essence: there was only so long the warriors of Kodash could nip at the heels of the invaders before they over extended and had to retreat. The castle defences need repairing before the invaders can gain the upper hand and push us back behind the walls.
I spent the entire weekend gallivanting around the Eternal Battlegrounds. A whole weekend laying siege to keeps, escorting lonely pack animals, defending ogre tribes and mercilessly hunting down the opposing team – all in the name of journalism, of course. It’s a lot to cram into one blog-post, so, without further ado:
Step one to getting to WvW was creating my character (well, step 0.1 was getting into the game – something I didn’t achieve until the early hours of Saturday morning). I thought: who is the baddest cat in the entire world? Clint. So I made Clint.
I asked myself, do I feel lucky? The answer being a resounding yes, I jumped into Tyria and swiftly scurried through the starter quest (a necessary PvE distraction – I wanted to get as little exp from PvE as possible before jumping to WvW). Once out of the tutorial I hit H, selected the PvP option at the bottom and whisked myself away to the Mists.
I climbed to the top of the rise, a little ahead of my shaggy companion, and scanned the horizon. Not much further, I hoped. We’d held out as long as we could – charr alongside human and norn, but eventually we’d used the last of our supply and the gate began to creak. Fireball after fireball rained down on the bolted steel and wood. If the detachment from Stonemist hadn’t arrived when it did, we’d have been overrun. Shouting slurs from the battlements is all very well and good, but once the gate falls and the flood of steel, lightning bolts and arrow heads washes through the breach, even the most stalwart warrior’s bowels turn to water.
As I said in my last entry here on Talk Tyria, Nerdy Bookahs had been invited to the EUFanDay that took place this Monday and Tuesday in Brighton. I was the one representing our blog there (a first post about this went up on our blog. It includes a growing link collection for write-ups etc. from the EUFanDay). As part of this event, we got to talk with some of the developers about Guild Wars 2. Or rather, each of us (the invited fan sites) were allowed to ask one question. I’d collected a few more than just that, so that was a bit sad. Fortunately, I didn’t have as many questions as some others, so the disappointment from those who sent in their questions wasn’t that big on my site. 😉
Tasha Darke and Dutch Sunshine have just posted the transcription of the interview. You can find the first part on her blog and the second one on GuildMag.
As those two already transcribed the interview, I will refrain from doing the same. It’s a lot of work and time, after all (thank you for doing that, by the way!). Time which I rather want to spend on ranting and musing about which we got to know from the interview. 😉
I’ll assume that you’ve read the interview now. But I’ll try to write in a way that you know what I’m talking about even if you haven’t. 😉 As I said, we had about 25 people (give or take 3) who all asked one question. So the questions were very mixed. We had a few about PvP and what we now know is that ArenaNet want to have structured PvP as an esport. We don’t know anything new about the observer mode but it’s probably a safe bet that they’ll do everything they can to include this as fast as possible post-launch because it’s needed if they want it to succeed as esport. Other than the observer mode, I don’t see a reason why they shouldn’t succeed here. Every character in structured PvP is the same level, has the same quality gear, access to all skills, etc. They also want their structured PvP (and WvW) to be easy to understand and get into. Overflow shards will also allow you to join structured PvP matches (but not WvW), so even if your server is crowded, you can still join those PvP matches. From the interview, I take it that we can expect some kind of announcement about additional PvP maps before release. They mentioned one that has lots of underwater combat and a pirate ship! Another one is supposedly going to make GW1 players feel nostalgic.
As you may have already heard, ArenaNet will be hosting a EU FanDay in Brighton (that’s where the European NCSoft office is located) on April 2 – 3. My blog, Nerdy Bookahs was invited there and I will be attending this event! I’m very excited! I’ve recently joined Talk Tyria as well and this is why I’ll be writing over at Nerdy Bookahs as well as here on Talk Tyria about this event (if you follow both, I already apologize for any double-posts you’ll read ^^).
We will get to talk with a few of the game’s developers: Eric Flannum (Lead Game Designer), Colin Johanson (Lead Content Designer), Ree Soesbee (Writer and Lore & Continuity Designer), Kristen Perry (Character Artist) and Josh Petrie (Tools Developer). And we were asked to prepare questions. Now, whenever somebody tells me to ask questions, my mind goes blank. I never know what to say or ask! Which is good for you because that means that I’ll be collecting questions until Sunday evening (EU time… maybe Monday morning – depends on how much time I’ll have for writing down the questions before the flight).
If you’re on Twitter, follow #eufanday for updates about the event (or just to see us attendees spamming on there). Or follow my personal Twitter account (Paeroka) for updates from me.
And, as I said, I’ll collect questions here and on my own blog. So leave a comment with any questions you might have about the game and I will try to ask them!
Yeah, I'm gay and amazing! Check me out!
Okay fine, there’s not much diversity per se because we fall into one of three categories: Straight, bi or gay. Well, before I continue, I figured that another article about how diverse characters on Guild Wars 2 will be based on traits/races/professions/weapons/skills/play styles or any combination of the six will just be rehashing what everyone is saying and it doesn’t really contribute much for discussion. We’ve already established that very well, thank you very much, so let’s move on.
I decided on a topic that’s rather personal to me because being gay and a gamer, I was very pleasantly surprised with the way ArenaNet decided to handle this controversial issue. Drawing your attention to Ree’s interview with Wartower during Gamescom 2011, she was asked about the relationships between sylvari since everyone was making a mountain out of a molehill regarding the fact that the sylvari don’t have the ability to reproduce despite having the proper physical parts and the fact that Caithe and Faolain were hinted at being lovers.