The New Alphabet

June 21, 2010 at 10:08 pm | Posted in Guild Wars, Guild Wars 2, mmorpg | 20 Comments
Tags: , , ,

You just can't find good delicatessans these days

The Arenanet blog has posted an article specifically devoted to the alphabets of the Guild Wars games. For the extreme Guild Wars nerd its actually kind of an interesting read. I don’t think many people should bother, but to me it gives a good look at the mindset of creating the feeling that a world is bigger than what you’re seeing.

There’s talk of the original Guild Wars and its alphabets, and Guild Wars 2 and how language will be incorporated in to that game.

Fascinatingly there’s actually a detailed excerpt, from I assume an in-game book, about the history of the new written language in Guild Wars 2. I think there’s even a message about literacy buried in there somewhere.



  1. I give it a week before someone posts a translation on GW2Guru. Hell, I’d try to figure it out if I had more time on my hands.

  2. Oh wow that is really cool. It kinda reminds me of aurebesh in the Star Wars games, but I have a feeling this is a lot more intricate.

    • doesn’t it though? I love it when people get as dedicated to making lore as I am to reading it.

      I did some translation stuff for the WiK, and discovered its actually pretty straight forward, but with a couple of different languages. nothing insane.

  3. I knew there were people who attempted to translate some of the languages in GW1 never knew they actually succeeded. I think its awsome that they are adding that much depth to the game. Something as trivial as symbols on a chalkboard that most people wont even consider actually mean something. Even if i never attempt to translate this stuff I think its cool that it is there.

    couple interesting statements in that article.

    Confirmation of consumables.
    “all manner of signs and posters will be calling for your attention, and vendors such as the cloud candy stand and the potion maker will advertise their specials.”
    “an unexpected boon for the New Krytan alphabet came from the charr’s industrial technology in the form of the first printing press, which has changed the written word in Tyria forever. Now books, signs, and periodicals are found in every corner of the world, and more applications of the written word appear every day.”

    This one intrigues me. Periodicals? Will we perhaps have a daily or weekly in game newspaper? Something that tells us where Nicholas the travelers great grandson is wandering this week. What the Zaishan quests are for the day. What the weekend bonus event will be. A place for guilds and players to post recruitment adds. Help wanted adds. I could see them implementing something like that, I think it would be a lot cooler than party search or having to go to the individual locations in game or other websites to find information. Wishful thinking im sure.

    • About consumables, I realize that food and alchoal items have been a part of GW for a long time. But potion maker? Could refer to something like the tonics, but to me potion sounds like a conset type item health potion, mana potion etc. Thoughts?

    • well we knew there would be consumables but not merchants selling anything other than the underwater potion or beer.

      I’m wondering how this factors in to crafting, it seems like theres a number of consumables readily available, which makes me think crafting them will also be available.

      an in game magazine is interesting, but, I doubt it.

  4. It’s the English language in a different alphabet. The Tyrian script is not a language. Tolkiens’s Quenya is a language. For me the immersion is broken when it’s just symbols replacing a, b, c, d etc. And while it looks nice, I would never bother learning to decipher it for this reason.

    • Well, if it was a TRUE language…

      How many of us would actually really bother to learn it? I want to memorize these alphabets, but if they were true languages, I probably wouldn’t bother. Why is the immersion broken for you? I feel the immersion more…

    • Only the most hardcore of developers would create a full language, and only the most hardcore of fans would bother translating it.
      The immersion is broken because it’s there, a part of the game world, and the underlying language is English. So the script it’s presented in becomes a thin, artificial layer, and it isn’t the shopkeeper or royal scribe writing those letters; it’s very obviously created by clever game designers with too much time, creating content that only 1% of the player base will appreciate.

      • I’m pretty sure even the hardcore gamers your talking about will try to decipher these codes. And the people that would learn the actual languages is probably less than the supposed 1% of the player base you put down. And creating an actual language would take a long time, more than the amount of time they actually have. I for one am glad with what they put down, as it looks like more than other game companies made.

        • creating an actual language would take actual linguists to create, and then actual linguists to decypher, it would take more resources than arenanet has.

      • if the immersion is broken for you because they put in more detail than most game companies ever would, than I’m sorry, that sucks.

        but I have to say, you’re probably one of extremely few people who feel that way.

        • @Hunter
          Your not talking to me right? Because I agree with you. I find it weird that Nox of all people is the one that finds this immersion-breaking though. as he does love Guild Wars.

          • yeah the response directly below you about linguists is me agreeing with you, the other is towards nox

  5. Creating a script that easly translates to english is an old Ultima trick and it’s great fun. It shows a decent level of interest in the game by the makers; good work. I wonder how many they are going to have; hopefully not too many but since you have so many races i guess they are going to have several?

  6. Also makes it easy to make a font that you can use to translate back and forth btw if you map straight to english.

    • well the lore in the post makes it seem that the asura, humans and norn agreed on a common alphabet.

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.

Create a free website or blog at
Entries and comments feeds.

%d bloggers like this: