Hot Plant On Plant ActionAugust 9, 2011 at 9:13 pm | Posted in Guild Wars 2, mmorpg | 13 Comments
Tags: Guild Wars 2, MMO, mmorpg
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.
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