Hot Plant On Plant Action

August 9, 2011 at 9:13 pm | Posted in Guild Wars 2, mmorpg | 13 Comments
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I wonder if much of the sylvari areas have a bayou feel. I could dig a bayou.

The challenges of creating a new race must be fairly unique. You know when starting out to make a dwarf race that they will be grumpy, gruff, hardy, drunk, and stubborn. An elf will be elegant, civilized, educated, and proper. Humans will be… humans.

So when Arenanet set out to make a new race for Guild Wars 2, I think they made an interesting choice in making the race a brand new one to Tyria. It allows players to encounter sylvari at nearly the same time as NPCs in a way. Few entire races spring up before an audiences eyes. So already they were starting from an original place, but they still needed to differentiate.

I think for the most part they’ve done that, though not all may be convinced.

The first audio clip on the new sylvari week blog post is an example of that.

Norn: “Someone told me that sylvari aren’t born, they’re hatched. Is that true?”
Sylvari: “We’re born but in our own way. We’re the fruit of our mother, the Pale Tree.”
Norn: “For us, birth is a matter of blood and pain. It’s the infant’s first great battle, many don’t make it.”
Sylvari: “And for us, birth is like falling from a great height, all the way down to the hard ground. Not all survive the fall.”
Norn: “No parents? Who cares for you when you’re small and weak?”
Sylvari: “We’re not born small like you, we emerge full sized from our cocoons and immediately enter school.”
Norn: “Born full sized? Maybe your race is stronger than I thought.”

I think that’s a very interesting metaphor to use for birth. Free fall to a hard landing. The norn metaphor is almost predictable but the sylvari one strikes me as different and original.

That wasn’t the only thing that made me think ‘different’.

They have never been children. Those small beings—miniature versions of the adults—who are so well protected, are alien to sylvari. Many are terrified at the thought of being born so vulnerable.

Not only do they have no sense of childhood, they’re terrified of it. Something that leaves a lot of room to explore and exploit for comic effect. Little children running around a sylvari, scaring the bejesus out of them. That sort of thing. I love that it makes sense within the lore and flows from it. Nothing like the confluence of original ideas and good lore writing.

I’m not sure if I’m 100% on board with the whole empathic angle. Being one and in tune with nature certainly adds to that dryad feeling and to the other worldly notion Ravious was going on about. For me it’s the one portion that feels done before or out of a bad sci-fi.

Overall if you want to be cynical, then sure, they’re dirty tree elf hippies. To me they’re more fleshed out, more interesting, more thoroughly designed than dozens of other races in other games I’ve encountered.

Plus they have bioluminescent tattoos.

Anyway there are a bunch of cool audio clips and tons of sylvari lore in the blog post so check it out.



  1. I’m a lot more excited about the sylvari now than I expected. Without much to go on, I did not know what to think going into this week. Not that I’ve been digging for details. All I knew about them came from the two novels. But all of the thought and effort that has gone into making them unique is quite astonishing, really.

    I’ll still be rolling a human come launch day (I have to roll an ancestor to my GW main), but the sylvari are a strong contender for my first alt.

    • I love a deep and well thought out fictional universe. Arenanet seem to be pretty good at that. The sylvari have been percolating in GW lore since eotn so it feels like they aren’t just some tacked on addition.

  2. This is going to be a good week for those of us planning on playing a sylvari (main or alt)! Lots of lore and some videos, should be fun.

    I assume most of the race specific features will only affect the personal story, but perhaps that will also be expanded to certain quests and NPC reactions?

    • Depends on what you mean by race specific features.

      • I meant things like empathy and chivalry, I don’t think any of that will actually be some special skill that only sylvari characters have. Instead I expect those will be brought out through story.

  3. They can be dirty tree elf hippies, but they are great necromancers….

    Or maybe I am being tunned on be a sylvari because I read a book that had a sylvari necromancer.

    But any party I enter I will ask if I can reanimate the corpses of the party members…

    • I really do think the books will have a big impact on what races/professions people end up playing.

  4. “Never underestimate the power of hairball to make one sad.”

    Have to put this quote a close second place behind my favorite from the charr week;
    “That was a cheap kill.”
    “Those words form a sentence but, I don’t know what they mean…”

    (No felines were harmed during the process of creating either of these quotes… at least not sose you’d notice…) 😉

    • I’m not sure if I was sold on 100% of the voice acting but it’s nice to hear more than just basic voice over work coming out of guild wars 2.

  5. Two Things:

    1. The sylvari lore has pushed me from undecided to definitely buying a GW2 box. The no subscription thing giving me the option to drop in and out on a whim had me leaning towards HELL YES to begin with, but the interesting lore has me convinced I will actually enjoy exploring the game.

    2. Nice Usagi Yojimbo avatar.

    • Sylvari are just the beginning of some of the more interesting lore. The guild wars universe has it through out.

      you’re just about the first person to instantly recognize it.

  6. I must say, they are growing on me. A soon as they mentioned chivalry I decided there will be sylvari guardian on my alt list. That settles my issue around what class for main, He will be human warrior.

    The concept of the whole race is realy interesting. They try to make all the races different and all of them have broad specter of possibilities but still manage that some aspects of some race are also present in some state with another races as well. As example, sylvari honor, human chivalry, charr’s soldier spirit and norn and their boasting about fighting and their goals. All races are different from one another, they see things from their own perspective but still are close enaugh to understand one another. They are unique but not a total strangers one from another.

    • I’m not sure if I’m board with the chivalry aspect, it doesn’t sound bad, but I’ve seen chivalry before. Guess I’ll see how it turns out.

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