I have to admit that The Grove surprised me. I had imagined a huge greenish brown tree that has lots and lots of sylvari living on its leaves. While I was certain that it would be pretty (as I find Guild Wars 2’s art style in general to be very pretty), I had also been a bit skeptical because surely, this could get boring quickly. Hoelbrak with its snowy region did have that effect on me: It’s pretty but after a while, I had enough of it and moved on to other places. The Grove, on the other hand, was completely different. I found myself going back there several times this weekend to make sure I had really seen it all and taken enough screenshots to capture its beauty. And I am certain that I have missed some corners.
The waypoints, points of interest and vistas do give you a great “tour” through a city, though. If you want to check one out yourself just use them as orientation and you will get to see most of the city.
Enjoy the pictures! And as usual, feel free to use them (as long as it complies with ArenaNet’s copyright, of course). :)
Only a few more days until we can finally get our hands on the sylvari and the asura! Last year, they have been playable at gaming conventions like GamesCom. Have a look at our sPvP videos from GamesCom 2011 to see sylvari and asura in action. However, they were not playable in their respective starter areas and we haven’t been able to play them during any of the beta weekend events.
If you’re wondering what to do until next weekend, here’s a selection of links that will give you plenty to read and listen to. I wrote two posts at Talk Tyria about the sylvari and the asura. I had looked at the asura from a more roleplaying point-of-view: Are they cute and cuddly or heartless and selfish? How much will we be able to identify with our asura characters? And then we have the sylvari. I have a friend who always makes an elf character when that race exists. Will players like him be happy with the sylvari? How much “elf” is in a sylvari? Okay, I am mostly focusing on their looks and not their character. But you’ll see that if you read the entry.
The reason I even remembered those postings in the first place and thought about putting them here was that AJ Wolf on The Tyrian Order recently wrote about sylvari and asura as well. They’re much broader than my postings as she gives a general overview of the races, their history, important characters (careful: those parts contain spoilers for the novels if you haven’t read them yet and don’t want to know what happens), and so on. She also lists her sources (as did I on Talk Tyria), so there’s plenty of further reading if you can’t get enough of those two races.
If you don’t feel like reading, you can listen to the two TowerTalk interviews for the sylvari and the asura instead: The one about asura is a bit older by now, but the lore shouldn’t have changed that much in the meantime. Don’t let the German website scare you. The interviews are in English! “Englische Transkription” is – probably easy to guess – the English transcription of the interview. The sylvari interview was released not too long ago. Both are really great interviews with lots of information and insight about the two races.
Last but not least, as you know, I have taken lots of screenshots so far and while I do not have any from the sylvari and asura cities yet (you will get to see those galleries here after next BWE, of course), I did take a couple that show those two races and I thought it’s the perfect way to end this short article.
This is another crosspost from Talk Tyria. If you want to add a comment, please add it there. Thank you. :)
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
Yesterday, ArenaNet announced that the Sylvari week will take place before Gamescom. They will also be playable at Gamescom. I can’t wait! :)
But let’s look at some dates: Gamescom will be from August 17 – August 21. If Sylvari week is to take place before that, it will have to start before August 16. That’s in just a bit more than 3 weeks – in the worst case! Thus, we’ll probably see more about them very, very soon.
The biggest question for me now is just: How many stations will they have and how long will the queues be to test the game? ;) I’m also really curious about how the movement/controls feel. I’m hoping for them to be/feel like World of Warcraft and not like Lord of the Rings Online. If you know both games, you hopefully know what I mean. ;)
Unfortunately, that also means that Asuras will probably not be playable at Gamescom. I was really hoping they would be. I’m also waiting for Asura week more or less impatiently. The reason is that so far, I really love the race from what I’ve read in the Guild Wars books. And I love how they look in the current Guild Wars game. I don’t, however, like them as much in the previews for Guild Wars 2. Something seems to… plastic-y about them. Let’s have a look at a rather well-known picture showing two Asuras (also note how it’s not too hard to differentiate between males and females):
In Guild Wars, Asuras look like this:
Note that it’s difficult to tell who’s female or who’s male. I can just assume that they want players to easily tell them apart because it might be weird to choose a character where you can’t easily see whether they’re male or female (on the other hand… elves… ^^). In case you’re wondering, I wrote about the differences between males and females here: Females tend to have rounder ears than males. That difference doesn’t appear in the above GW2 screenshot.
All in all, I much prefer the look of the “older Asuras”. But maybe they’re not done yet? And whenever I see the GW2 version in a video, I really love their animations. So while I prefer the old look, it won’t stop me from creating an Asura in Guild Wars 2 (preferably a guardian or even a warrior. We’ll see which class I’ll like more). ;)