The Frog Of War

March 23, 2011 at 5:21 pm | Posted in Guild Wars 2, mmorpg | 6 Comments
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It ain't easy being green.

With 3 stand alone editions of Guild Wars and an expansion pack, there is plenty of lore in Tyria. A multitude of races, monsters, and abominations. Today Arenanet let slip the frogs of war, in their blog post about the Hylek, a race of frog people.

You know, I complain a lot about puns, but there is nothing like adding them to your own blog.

In Guild Wars the Hylek were notable mostly for their hippity hop animation. They never really had any big plot points, or gripping stories. There were a few quests to exterminate them or in the case of the dungeon, Bogroot Growths, choose between two asura researchers to help exterminate one tribe of frogmen over the other.

Still they were no mindless beasts, and the seeds of the lore we discover in the blog post are already there.

For lore nerds it is a pretty fascinating read, and I won’t go into detail about much of it here, since, if you’re a lore nerd you’ll want to go to the source. There are a few points I will take note of however.

The hylek are the frog people of Tyria. Once the name of a specific tribe, it is now common parlance to call all frog people “hylek.” Even the frog people themselves have adopted the name “hylek” for their race, though they also keep individual tribe names to distinguish themselves from one another.

I wonder why they decided to make the change from Heket to Hylek. It seems so similar as to make no difference. Even searching for Hylek in the Guild Wars Wiki gives you the Heket page. Once there you’ll find familiar words. “Prolific and belligerent” seems to be a common description for them.

This piece of information is also interesting.

With the warming of the Shiverpeaks, large portions of the southern shore from the boundaries of Kryta to the edge of Orr have become swamps and bayous—prime hylek territory.

My memory is pretty weak, and it’s been a while since I’ve thoroughly read the Movement of the World, but for the most part I don’t think it’s come up that the Shiverpeaks are “warming”. We clearly see much less snowy areas in the norn starting area, and various other videos, which certainly suggests warmer climate. Is it a long term trend or something that has begun over the last 250 years? Obviously the world is changing with the rise of the dragons, but the description conflicts with every previous written word about the Shiverpeaks I can think of.

Way too much quibbling over one word.

Some of the lore also suggests Hylek will be immune to poisons. Racial immunity to certain types of attacks is pleasing, though I doubt playable races will have any such advantage.

The most interesting part of the entire article by far isn’t the lore. It’s Eric Flannum talking about fleshing out the Hylek.

When we discussed portraying the various minor races in Guild Wars 2, we wanted the hylek to be more than just killable red dots on the map. Part of making them more “real” was to take these races and investigate their viewpoint of the world. We wanted to portray them as neither wholly good nor evil, but as reacting to the situation at hand logically and appropriately, given their history and nature.

He goes on to reason out what came next from what had come before. It’s the best kind of lore creation. Creativity mixed with logic. One fantastical thing leading to likely and realistic conclusions.

And this is just one NPC race.



  1. I’m happy that ArenaNet posted this. I suppose it is because I didn’t expect it, making it a very pleasant surprise.

    Pretty sure I’ve said this before but, I totally appreciate your awful puns. ❤

    • They said at some point they’ll be doing more of these so it wasn’t a complete surprise but i wasn’t really expecting it either.

  2. Zomg, the dragons are causing global warming.

    But in all seriousness, great post, fascinating stuff to think about. I was particularly impressed by the Behind the Scenes portion, I love reading the thought process behind the creation. Good to see Anet’s still got stuff to give us too, I was afraid of them being quiet again after PAX East.

    • I agree, the behind the scenes thing was great. I imagine their pace will continue at the same rate, still plenty to show us really

  3. I love these guys! I just hope as much of this back story comes into this game and it isn’t just “some are quest givers and some try to kill you.” Guess we have to wait and see! (sigh)

    • yeah i hope races get more intricate storylines. certainly seems like the quaggan may, for instance.

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