Coming out of the first Beta Weekend Event and Stress Test, many of us got the chance to finally try the professions we wanted to. Some of us, undoubtedly, still have no clue what we’re playing, whereas some of us immediately knew what profession we were going to play as soon as we got through the tutorial. I plan to play the Engineer, a steampunk-inspired, gadget-wielding, elixir-chugging daredevil whose archetype is fairly untapped by the MMO genre. Below is my list of 5 reasons to play the Engineer: Continue reading
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
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. 😉
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.
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.
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.
Talk Tyria recently got a unique opportunity to interview one of Keg Brawl’s rising stars: Jegg “Legs” Edgarson. Few can match the ferocity this norn shows on the ice. We caught up with him after the Leopard’s Spots thrilling 5 kegs to 4 victory over Pour Haus.
Talk Tyria: Legs! What a fantastic game!
Legs: Keg Brawl is not a game. Keg Brawl is life! Every norn knows that!
TT: Well, at any rate you were very ferocious out on the ice today.
Legs: Snow Leopard gives me speed.
TT: Tell us what happened in the final moments when you led your team to victory.
Legs: Grunn and Algar ran interference for me while I ran zag pattern. Taggart broke past our defense and I cracked him over the head with the keg.
Legs: He went down like raven in a stiff wind!
TT: What happened next?
Legs: I tossed the keg to Volf and broke the ice with a heavy stomp. The defenders went under and I dove over the hole. Volf tossed the keg back and I poured ale to trip up the last defender. With a clear shot to the brewer, I ran the keg in to break the tie.
TT: What a play! I hear your team is leading the tournament. Only two more Brawls to go for the cup.
Legs: That’s right. Bear’s Paws next week and then the winner of Keg for All and Quote the Raven.
TT: What do you think of Leopard’s Spot’s chances?
Legs: We’re going to take the cup. The real question is how many kegs can we get?
TT: In the games ahead or in the celebration after?
Legs: I told you, Keg Brawl is life! Leopard’s Spots will have more kegs than any other team, on the ice and around the fire. You can quote me on that!
TT: Truly spoken. Switching gears, what do you think about the special visitor at tonight’s game?
Legs: Special visitor? I didn’t notice. I was too busy winning.
TT: Why, no other than Rubi from Guildcast, of course! She came to get firsthand experience with Keg Brawl.
Legs: Yes, I remember seeing her now. She was here before the match talking to the brewer. He let her toss the keg around a bit. I’m not sure she’ll make a good keg brawler, but she has definitely brought attention to the sport.
TT: What makes you say that? Does she toss a keg like a woman?
Legs: No. That’s not it. Norn women are some of the most fierce keg brawlers. I have the scars to prove it!
TT: I can imagine! One final question: What advice can you offer our readers who might want to try out Keg Brawl?
Legs: Keg Brawl is a norn sport. We invented it. It’s rigorous, fast paced, and played on the ice. Anyone can play the sport, but you have to be tough. Kegs are heavy and your opponents are mean. You don’t see too many asura playing the sport for a reason. To play keg brawl, you must have the heart of a norn.
TT: Thank you Legs. And good luck to you in the tournament.
Legs: Norn do not need luck, we are norn!
About the author: Belzan enjoys playing and writing about Guild Wars and Guild Wars 2 in his free time, when he’s not working on his dissertation and trying to make a living in the field of psychology. His articles range from humor to analysis to observation and he enjoys writing fan fiction about his longtime character Belzan. He also writes a character blog entitled Blog of the Vagabond.
One word has changed. The nature of the hylek really hasn’t changed at all. They are a sentient people with which we as player characters may have peaceable relations or full-on warfare. We see that they still look very much like the frog-men we’ve all come to love stomping on. Their tribal culture seems relatively unaltered. They are still more or less behind on the technology curve, since they have to trade with other sentients for weapons and other goods. The hylek are in most ways indistinguishable from the heket – which leads many people to beg the question “why change the name at all?” What purpose does this serve?