Tag Archives: Talk Tyria

Bookahneer’s Geekwatch: Joining Talk Tyria and GuildMag

Guild Wars 2 Bookahneer's GeekwatchWelcome to today’s Bookahneer’s Geekwatch! The place about miscellaneous interesting news related to Guild Wars 2 – and on occasion, other games.

As some of you may know, I am occasionally writing for Talk Tyria and GuildMag as well. This Geekwatch isn’t about Guild Wars 2 per se, but about those two fan sites that are both looking for new members to fill various positions.

If you’re interested in joining Talk Tyria, head over to this post for more information. I, myself, am a “contributing writer” there and I’m trying to write a post every other month (from now on, mostly about asura if they let me ^^). Next to my job and my own blog and my hobbies, it’s not always possible to write that many other posts and Talk Tyria gives me this flexibility. Guest posts for Talk Tyria are possible as well, by the way!

GuildMag is also looking for writers, but primarily, we’d need somebody who can do design work. Check out the post if you’re interested in that or look for which other positions are open.

What had kept me from applying there at first were the requirements (the English skill being close to a native level was one, for example). In the end, the GuildMag bunch is great and I feel very comfortable there. I think what’s more important than fitting all those requirements 100% is if you’re a reliable person who loves the game and who loves writing/designing, etc. A person that knows what they’re getting into and that does’t just leave a month later again. ;)

That’s the good thing – and the bad thing – of having your own blog: You can just decide to not do anything for a while if you feel too lazy/are too busy. But getting into such a project like Talk Tyria or GuildMag means that there are other people waiting for you to do your part and you can’t just leave for a month without telling anybody. On the other hand, it’s a great motivator to have other people around and I really love that there’s always somebody willing to give me feedback for an idea.

Crosspost from TT: Sylvari – The Elves of Guild Wars 2!

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

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.