Category Archives: Lore

Are you concerned about getting spoilers?

Heads-Up: I’m trying to be as vague as possible when I touch the area of the story and will not talk about the actual content!

When the latest piece of the Living Story was released last Tuesday, I knew I would not have the time and patience to go through it in one go. On Wednesday, I usually listen to the GuildNews podcast, and I really appreciated them warning their listeners/viewers about spoilers when they started talking about the living story. One day after release, I assume there were still quite a few who hadn’t played through it yet. I quit the podcast at that point, because I did not want to know what would happen.

The funny thing is: I did get spoiled about the ending right before the patch got released. I just didn’t know that this piece was the important new story bit until I reached it myself in the story.

GW2_combat_silverwastes

So, did I get annoyed? No. Surprisingly not. I hadn’t known about it until the end, after all. ;)

I think I just watched too many episodes of Columbo as a kid. I remember a friend who made fun of me liking Columbo. He said: How can you like watching that show when you already know who the murderer is within the first minute? I replied: The point is not finding out who the murderer is. The point is finding out how Columbo finds out!

In games – or MMOs rather -, it’s a bit different, of course. Especially in Guild Wars 2, I am not sitting there watching how anybody finds out something. My own character is in the middle of the storyline. It’s not made to be like Columbo. On the other hand, games aren’t like watching TV either. You’re not passive – which may make you get bored when you already know what’s going to happen next. You are actively playing. The fights against the NPCs can still be challenging. There may even be a few good loot drops (spoiler: No, there most likely aren’t. Unless you’re very lucky with the RNG :p). And, of course, there are friends to play with. The latter is probably true for movies as well. I may even have had the most fun watching really bad things on TV with friends, because we would just laugh about it and make jokes. But I digress. The point is that while I’d appreciate not knowing what’s going to happen in advance, it doesn’t bother me much in MMOs. The story and its plot has never been the reason why I’m playing an MMO, after all.

GW2_combat_silverwastes

Having said all that, I still very much appreciate all those who start their blog posts with spoiler warnings or say loudly that they will be talking about the story in a bit in their podcast, so you can turn it off in time in case you do not want to get spoiled!

Asura home instance: before and after personal storyline

We were curious to see how many things change in the home instance once you are done with your personal storyline. Flummi, my mesmer, is the only character that is through with her story so far, so I used hers to see what’s in there. I then created a new asura with exactly the same choices, ran her through the tutorial instance and then immediately entered the home instance. So she hasn’t done anything other than the tutorial zone. For fun, we also included screenshots from bookahnerk’s home instance. His thief has also completed the personal storyline, but made different choices than my mesmer. Other obvious differences: My mesmer joined the Durmand Priory, his thief joined the Order of Whispers. Obviously, we also decided for different paths throughout the story, but it would be too much to list every single different step now.

A word of warning: Since this is about the personal storyline, you will find spoilers about the personal storyline here!

Edit: If you want to know more about the personal storyline, I recommend this article: “Personal Storyline – In a Nutshell”.

First things first, apart from the personal storyline, we have seen some bits of living story that gave us items in the home instance. If you haven’t done those, I’m sorry to say but you won’t have them in your home instance and it looks like you may never actually get them unless ArenaNet decides to reintroduce them somehow. Those items are the raw candy corn and quartz crystal formation gathering nodes which give you candy corn and quartz crystals once per day per account and the krait obelisk shard.

Going up on the right side of your home instance in Rata Sum, you can find a little well or spring. If you have done the corresponding living story part, this is where you will find the krait obelisk shard. It gives you one skill point per character (if your character is level 10+. My poor test character could just stare at it in awe, but was not allowed to commute with it yet) and after that, lets you transmute 25 quartz crystals into 1 charged quartz crystal. This can be done once a day per account. You do not need this shard to do that, though. Any “commute” skill challenge can be used for that. It’s just handy to be able to do it when you’re already in the home instance anyway to gather candy corn and quartz crystals.

Other than that, you can also see Peredur. He’s a sylvari that joins your home instance when you have chosen the transatmospheric converter during character creation and when you have played through the corresponding personal story quest. Bookahnerk chose the Infinity Ball, so he does not get Peredur. But you can see a little quaggan in his screenshot: Shashoo joined him as he chose to help the quaggans during his personal storyline.

Further up, you can enter a small area which I almost forgot to screen capture. Bookahnerk reminded me of it. During character creation, you choose a former master. This one will be here. My mesmer chose Professor Blipp, bookahnerk chose Professor Bronk with his thief. As you can see, Meffa, my test asura, has the professor in her home instance as well. So this isn’t something that appears after playing through the story. The NPC will be here as soon as you can enter the home instance for the first time.

Let’s leave this area and go down again. Hronk is another asura that is here from the beginning on. He is there in all three home instances, because each of our characters chose the College of Dynamics. So this is identical to the professors above: It does differ between characters, but it’s an NPC that will be here from the start. You do not need to do anything or play through a story step to unlock the NPC.

Next up is yet another asura, Krasso. This one is an NPC that you get only after completing the corresponding personal story quest. I do not know which one it is exactly, but I assume it’s at the end of joining an Order. Krasso belongs to the Durmand Priory. This explains why my little test asura does not have her in her home instance and bookahnerk doesn’t have her either. As mentioned above, he joined the Order of Whispers. Instead, you can see another asura on the left in bookahnerk’s screenshot: Shodd. He is the counterpart to my mesmer’s Peredur above. You get Shodd when you choose “Infinity Ball” during character creation and after playing through the corresponding story step.

Carys, a female sylvari, is a bit of a mystery here. She does not appear for my test asura, but she is there for my mesmer. At the same time, she cannot be found in bookahnerk’s home instance. He also does not have another NPC instead. So while I got her, he got nobody. Consequently, I must have made a choice during the personal storyline that led to her joining me and he either never met her or did something that made her not want to bum around in his home instance. ;)

Shashoo was already mentioned above in the Peredur screenshots. Next up is Gara. He is not there for my test asura and bookahnerk doesn’t have him either, as he had decided to check out what the quaggans are up to while my mesmer decided to find out more about the grawl. I already knew that quaggans are cute, but can be deadly if provoked. Grawl sounded intriguing. And now I have my very own personal grawl in the home instance. Not sure what he’s doing there, though. I doubt he can help that asura with her research.

Octavian Inkblood with his pet Amphebe and Mira. To be honest, I do not remember ever seeing any of them. Apparently, they do appear at some story step that has to do with Orr and I may have not paid any attention to what I was doing at that point. ;) I just wanted to get through with the personal story after a while. I loved everything up until the end of joining an Order and then it got boring. But well, this is not supposed to be a rant about the personal storyline. This is just showing what’s changing in your home instance. So there you go: My personal corner with the comfortable hammocks is now taken by those three. When I first saw it, I really loved this corner. But it’s no longer mine, apparently.

And we’re already at the last part: Kalliee. She belongs to the Durmand Priory. Neither my test asura nor bookahnerk have her in their home instances. Bookahnerk found another member of the Order of Whispers in his home instance, though: Otto Barenjaard.

Let’s summarize this: My test asura, Meffa, has two NPCs that she got by choosing her former master (Professor Blipp in her case) and the College of Dynamics (Hronk).

After completing the storyline, my mesmer, Flummi, had those two plus six more NPCs. Octavian Inkblood and Mira seem to belong together which is why I’m counting them as one. Other than this couple, there are Peredur (Transatmospheric Converter), Gara (grawl), Krasso and Kalliee (both from Durmand Priory) and Carys.

Bookahnerk, on the other hand, only got five more NPCs: Octavian Inkblood and Mira (again counting as one), Shodd (Infinity Ball), Shashoo (quaggan) as well as Batanga and Otto Barenjaard (both from Order of Whispers).

I did expect a lot more from the home instance when I heard ArenaNet talk about it before release. I knew very well that it was no housing or they would have told us all about it immediately. But I did imagine there would be a lot more changes than just adding static NPCs. The worst part of this is that those NPCs seem lifeless. They stand there, doing idle animations, but nothing else. You cannot even talk to those NPCs! If you don’t recall a name, well, don’t even think about hearing anything from the people hanging out in your home instance. There isn’t even any flavour text, nothing. Go google it, use the game’s wikipedia page, but the game won’t help you.

I’m disappointed and them adding the gathering nodes does not really help make this place more interesting. They did announce it as such a great feature to see what great things you have accomplished during your personal story and that they will be different from one character to the next. The differences bookahnerk and I found were 6 out of 8 NPCs. So yes, while that is definitely a difference, it is rather small, since you cannot even talk to them and well, they’re only a handful NPCs. The structure itself does not change at all. I don’t even know if the home instance is my own lab or not. There is no personal space in there, nothing. Maybe we will see improvements in 2014, but at the moment, I doubt they will use their resources for that.

Ask Nerdy Bookahs (November 21, 2013)

It’s time for another “Ask Nerdy Bookahs”. We have looked at the questions in the search terms that led people to our blog for which we know we do not have fitting entries and we’re trying to answer those questions now.

What determines day or night in Guild Wars 2?

A full circle of day and night takes 2 hours. It’s night for 45 minutes out of those 2 hours. We actually did write about it before as I just remember. So technically, this question doesn’t qualify for the “Ask Nerdy Bookahs” category. But I just love the video too much that bookahnerk made. So I’m featuring it here again for your viewing pleasure.

I can’t think of a name for my asura.

This isn’t a question, but a shocking piece of information. Thanks for coming to us. I will try to help you. First of all, asura names are often quite short. They love their double consonants and they do not have a last name unless they’re very eccentric. Apparently, if they have a name that deviates too much from the naming convention, they are ridiculed. So asura parents should always pay attention to what they want to achieve with the name they give their offspring.

Female asura usually have a two-syllable name with a double-consonant. The names often end with a vowel. Male asura have shorter names that end with a double-consonant.

I’ll give you some examples (those are my own and bookahnerk’s asura, so those names are taken!).

GW2 asura necromancer SynnliFemale: Flummi, Paerjja, Synnli, Yippu, Tendda, Avvla, Groffa

Male: Sproingg, Plimff, Blimff, Pimff, Gromff, Yarff

Of course, a lot of combinations are taken by now. However, I did create Blimff and Synnli not too long ago (about a month for the first and a week for the latter name). Get creative, play around with the vowels and consonants. Or tell your asura that it’s great to be eccentric and give him/her a last name. Or how about something like “Ingenious” in front of the name? Everything that makes them  look as marvelous, magnificent and intelligent as they are is a good thing.

Guild Wars 2:  Melee Engineer?

Yeah… no. Not really. The engineer can use pistols, rifle and shield as weapons. However, engineers can equip weapon kits. One of those kits is the Tool Kit. This replaces your ability bar (1 – 5) with melee skills. The maximum range is between 130 and 240. There is also the “Magnet” skill which lets you pull a mob towards you. Other than that, the engineer has no option of meleeing it. I don’t know how viable this Tool Kit is and if there are builds around it. All I know is that it was quite fun to play when I tried it out.

GW2 Engineer melee weapon tool kit

GW2: Sea of Sorrows

Guild Wars 2 Sea of SorrowsWe have been waiting for a long looooong time and it’s finally here! The book arrived today and thankfully, I had a short day at work. So I sat here waiting for the post to arrive and when it didn’t, I went to look for it (they sometimes deposit it at our “safe spot” without ringing the bell). The parcel was waiting for me upstairs.

Everywhere I looked, it says that the book officially released on June 25. I don’t know why German Amazon already sent the books, but I’m happy they did. ;)

I can’t write a review about it, as I have only read two chapters so far. I will try to write my very first impression about it without adding any spoilers (hopefully). It starts in 1219 AE which is the year that Zhaitan awakens. The first chapter already has some details that you can find in the current game. I think something like this is very nice and it reminds you that the book plays in the very world that you play in as well. Maybe a few years later, but still. By the way, we currently have 1326 AE in the game.

The first two novels were really good already. I liked Ghosts of Ascalon, even though I found the first half or so a bit too long-winded until they finally arrived at their destination (trying to leave out spoilers here as well). Kranxx showed us that even asura can cry (well, he wouldn’t ever have admitted that, of course). And Edge of Destiny was great as it introduced the race’s icons Eir (and Garm), Logan, Zojja, Rytlock and Caithe. While it is true that these books aren’t anything exceptional per se, they were a very entertaining read for me and when I was in the last few chapters, I couldn’t put the books down until I was finished. I don’t judge books by how epic they are, I usually judge them by how much I want to know the end. There are authors who don’t have a great writing style, but they still tell a great story. It’s this that I want (while, of course, writing decently, at least).

The first two novels certainly belong to the “at least a decent writing style” part as they are not bad, but so far it seems that Ree Soesbee’s writing is no comparison. I really like the way she tells the story… there’s no proper way for me to explain this. Not being a native speaker means that I do not know every single word and I do not look up every word I do not know (it would take ages to finish the book then). But I can still see the characters in front of me and I can picture them moving around. I understand why they behave the way they do and I feel sympathy for them. It’s only been two chapters so far, so my opinion may change, but at the moment, I can only say that I can’t wait to read more!

Ask Nerdy Bookahs (March 3, 2013)

It’s time for another “Ask Nerdy Bookahs”. We have looked at the questions in the search terms that led people to our blog for which we know we do not have fitting entries and we’re trying to answer those questions now.

Where do you do bar brawl achievements in Guild Wars 2?

I hadn’t even seen that they were in the achievements tab. There is no bar brawl in the game, though. Not yet, at least. According to a recent interview with Colin Johanson, bar brawl will be a mini game that will be added at some point in the future. When exactly that will be, we don’t know. When it gets implemented, you will most likely find it in Divinity’s Reach.

When I was looking for information about bar brawl online, I also stumbled upon an old entry from ArenaNet from before the game was released. I know timetables and plans change, but seeing this blog entry now makes me feel very sad. I would absolutely love to have those activities in the game and this is one of the things that I miss in Guild Wars 2. The game feels “narrow” sometimes: It has lots of things to do when you want to fight with your character, like dungeons, fractals, sPvP, WvW, or dynamic events in the open world. But when it comes to fluff activities, there isn’t that much to do. We have keg brawl and costume brawling, but I would love to have more mini games like those mentioned in the blog post. There is also a forum post from a player that researched a little and he found places in the game hinting at possible locations for further activities. I guess, time will tell and show us which ones, if any, will be added apart from bar brawl.

Keg Brawl AchievementsAs I mentioned, keg brawl is in the game already. I knew that, but I had never actually looked at it until recently when it was one of the categories for the daily achievement. Keg brawl is actually lots of fun! It’s instanced and kind of like PvP, but your character can’t be killed. Think of it more like a sports game. I got a few achievements in there, but nothing else. No glory, despite seeing the glory-XP bar at the bottom. And there don’t seem to be any other rewards for doing keg brawl. Well, except for having fun, of course, and a title (Kegmaster)!

Is there a way to see all the areas you have already cleared?

Not really. When you look at the world map, you can hover over the name of the region which will bring up a tooltip showing you what you have done there already. So you will be able to go through them one by one to see which areas you don’t have completed yet. Also, don’t forget that the WvW maps count towards your map completion as well.

What does BWE stand for in Guild Wars 2?

BWE stands for “Beta Weekend Event”. We’ve had several of those where people who had pre-purchased the game as well as people who had gotten beta keys from fan sites were allowed to play the game before release. It was the first time that the “general masses”, or rather, those who were looking forward to the game’s release very eagerly, got in contact with the game and could finally play it. They were closed events as not everybody could just play, but there was no NDA, so lots of people shared their experiences.

Can a human level in Ascalon?

GW2_Ebonhawke_031Absolutely! All races are at peace or at least, they have a truce. Ascalon used to belong to charr, then to humans, and now it’s back in charr-hands. As charr and humans have a truce, humans can travel through the areas without fear of being killed by most other charr. There is the Flame Legion, however, who aren’t too friendly towards humans – or towards any of the playable races including charr belonging to the other legions.

Flame Legion is not a playable race, so you will not encounter any enemy players. Guild Wars 2 doesn’t feature PvP in the regular world anyway, so you will not meet any hostile players in Ascalon.

If you’re wondering how you can get to Ascalon as a non-charr, have a look at our guide.

How long should a norn stay in Wayfarer Foothills?

GW2_Wayfarer Foothills_Shiverpeak Mountains_133The region is meant for level 1 – 15 characters. So once you’re above 15, you can safely advance to the next region. If you don’t like Wayfarer Foothills or want to see another region faster than that, you can switch to the starter areas of the other races whenever you feel like it (see the link to our guide in the previous paragraph). There is no answer to the “should” part. If you want to stay there until level 80, you can absolutely do so. Once your character is higher than the intended level of the region, it will be downleveled to the appropriate level. The character will still earn experience points and will even get loot for his/her actual level. The only barrier you will encounter in the game is if you want to go to a region that’s higher than your actual level, as you will not get upleveled.

Should I sell collectible items or save them?

That depends on what you want to do with them. When you have crafting items like leather, ore, cloth, in your bag, you can click on the little wheel at the upper right corner and click “Deposit all Collectibles”. They will automatically get added to a special tab in your bank.

Those items are used for crafting, but if you don’t intend to craft you will not need those items and can safely sell them. If you do want to craft, look at what items your crafting profession requires. If you’re a tailor, you will probably not need most of the food items or wood. But, just to be safe, you can look at the item’s tooltip which will tell you which crafting professions they are used for. Also, if your crafting level is high enough already, you may consider selling the lower level collectibles for profit unless you want to actually craft low-level items. In most cases, unfortunately, buying low-level items directly from the Trading Post (or requesting them on the Trading Post) is much cheaper than crafting them yourself.

Crosspost from Talk Tyria. Asura: Cute and cuddly or heartless and selfish?

Disclaimer: This is a crosspost from my posting over at Talk Tyria. I’m crossposting it here so those following the blog can see it (and so I have all my postings in one central place ^^). If you want to comment/share your thoughts, please head over to Talk Tyria. That’s also the reason I disabled comments to this posting here. It’s a Talk Tyria posting, so comments should go over there. :)

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)

They know that they are very intelligent and they will inform you about this fact whenever possible. Be prepared to be called ‘bookah’ on more than one occasion. They are also very ambitious with their inventions and experiments. So the real question I’m asking myself is: How far do they go? Are they a heartless and selfish race always looking for gaining an advantage, furthering their career and succeeding with their experiments?

“You care more for that walking statue than you do for the rest of us,” said Gyda.
“Untrue,” said the asura. “I just have less invested in you than in it.”
(Ghosts of Ascalon, p. 7)

Asura often organize in “krewes” where they work together on a certain project. Once the project is done, they may split up again and do something else or they may start their next project. They try to excel and outdo every other asura (they do, by nature, outbrain every other sentient race anyway, so other asura are the only real competition they have). This goes so far that some asura have a hard time finding asuran assistants because too many have found their untimely death while working in their labs before. Fortunately for them, they can always find a human or two who apparently need the money and help them out in their labs.

“They find – I’m gonna put the Inquest aside – that directly harming sentient beings is generally considered a bad thing. However they have much more an attitude toward putting others at risk be they Skritt or Humans or lab assistants than risking their own mighty brains.”
(Jeff Grub in the wartower.de interview with Al’Ellisande)

You can see their ambition in every project they do, they ‘sacrifice’ their lab assistants for their work, and in the worst case, some of them – known as the Inquest – even went so far and abused and experimented on Sylvari only because they wanted to know who this race was. The asura that belong to the Inquest apparently do not share the same morals, as your common asura finds such treatment horribly cruel. The Inquest will not be playable for us, though, which is probably for the best.

Speaking of morals, ArenaNet once said that asura want to eradicate the skritt. Wanting to extinguish a whole race simply because it’s annoying to you (although we do not know the exact details of what kind of damage the skritt do to the asura), sounds extreme. And ArenaNet agrees, as you can see in Wartower.de’s interview about the asura.

“That is extreme. I think we may have gone too far at that point. I think the idea that they are a danger to the Asura and the Asura are very concerned about them is definitely there. Eradicate? Maybe too tough.”
(Jeff Grub in the wartower.de interview with Al’Ellisande)

So while trying to extinguish a whole race and torturing sentient races go too far for most of the asura (thankfully! ;) ), they do dangerous research and experiments which has led to countless deaths. Are they rational and without emotions like Vulcans from Star Trek? I doubt it: There is at least one asura that we know of who is very likely to have cried after thinking he was responsible for the death of somebody with whom he had gone through quite a bit adventure-wise. I can’t say where I got this bit from because it could be a spoiler otherwise. ;)

What’s it going to be like playing an asura then? Will you be an asura that leads a krewe with an important research project? Will you try to build the biggest golem you can? Or will you be a tiny little lab assistant trying to get through till the end of the day without having anything explode close to you? And how ambitious will you be?

I could imagine that those questions aren’t that important for us non-roleplayers (I like roleplaying in general but I’m not roleplaying in MMOs) but I can already see that the roleplayers among us will have to make some very important decisions about their asuran characters before they set foot into the game. Where does your character stand morally? How many lab assistants has your character seen come and go so far?

Or, in other words: What’s your story? ;)


*They haven’t always been this cute. Check out this ArenaNet blog posting about previous designs.

Sources (if you want to know all about asura):
Asura in Guild Wars 1
Asura in Guild Wars 2
Angel McCoy on writing asura
Wartower.de interview with Jeff Grubb about the asura
Matt Barrett talks asura environment art
Matt Barrett on asura design
Ree Soesbee on the asura

Information about the skritt

And last but not least, if you want to have a look at Asura in action, I can recommend following these two Twitter accounts (if you know of any others, feel free to leave a comment): Asura Action News and Bamff.

Bookahneer’s Geekwatch (March 2, 2012 – Asura Edition)

Just one little thing today: Al’Ellisande from Wartower did a lore interview with Jeff Grubb about the Asura. Go here to listen to it. That’s 44 minutes of Asura-Goodness! :)

We’re only at 08:00 but it’s just as it always is when ArenaNet’s lore writers talk about the story: Fascinating and very interesting. We always get the feeling that they really love their lore. :)