Expandinating on Races

January 26, 2014 at 11:46 am | Posted in Guild Wars 2, mmorpg, PvE | 12 Comments
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Arenanet has been pretty standoffish when it comes to saying they’ll have an expansion or not. All the while they’ve been very bullish with their living story content, and it seems more and more to me that they’d like to release expansion type content piecemeal to keep players on the hook. The original Guild Wars had an amazing business model and personally I’d like to see that continue. It was an amazing amount of content released all at once, but I do understand the problems it caused. People owning one campaign and not another, the dry spells in between boxes, and maintaining player base between boxes.

But with the six gods blessing perhaps we will see a classic expansion of some type. So with my next few posts maybe I’ll speculate wildly. In this post, what new race or races would we see?

I sincerely doubt Arenanet would roll out more than one race. I think people underestimate the complications of rolling out new race models with a host of other factors such as, dozens of armour skins, emotes, skill animations, customizations, etc. For a community that is constantly bitching about criticizing armour clipping issues I imagine it would be a concern. Couple that with a new racial city, a new starter zone, and I’m left wondering if they’d want to do more than one new race. After all they aren’t Blizzard and aren’t trying to be Blizzard. They have no obligation to fill a horde or alliance slot at the very least. People are pretty used to getting two new races from other games, but I just don’t think we’ll see it here.

But which race? There are a fair number of candidates.

Kodan seem like a popular possibility. There’s a couple reasons I don’t think they’re a prime candidate however. Their appearance is fairly uniform. Kodan don’t have differing eye colours, fur colours, etc. We’ve seen plenty of them with a dungeon, 3 floating cities and various settlements in 3 zones, but not much variation in looks. Customization is a major feature of each player race. I suppose this could always change with the sudden appearance of other types of kodan, but as of right now it seems doubtful. On the other hand, apparently there is a lot of kodan architecture in the new Edge of the Mists map. Perhaps that means something, perhaps not.

Dwarves seem like the least likely to me. Aside from being a big fantasy cliche, their whole race turned to stone and rushed into the depths to fight destroyers or die trying. There is one living dwarf in the game and he says of the rest “the few survivors fight far below the ground.” They have no cities, they have no children, it would take a major lore turnaround to bring them back. I feel like in the minds of Arenanet the races of the ancient past, Mursaat, Seers, Forgotten, Dwarves, and Jotun, are not viable and in some cases dead and gone.

Largos could happen. We’ve seen precious few of them, 7 named characters and 2 event villains. Their secretive and violent natures coupled with their exotic butterfly wings certainly make it desirable to see more of them, but there’s very little to go on here. There is some lore concerning their culture and political structure, but nothing fleshed out. Aesthetically they don’t seem particularly different, or at least different enough from sylvari or elves in general. I think Arenanet would definitely want to differentiate a new race. And aside from that, the main problem with largos is that they are an underwater race and underwater is not the most popular setting for a large number of players. Wouldn’t be surprised if Arenanet steered away from them on that basis alone.

Centaurs. No.

Grawl, hylek, skritt, ogres, quaggan, and other lesser races. I know some of these guys are pretty popular in some cases, but lets face it, they don’t have the resources. Skritt are not at all intelligent as individuals. Grawl worship anything you put in front of them. Quaggan are sweet, but yeah, they’re sweet. None of these races really have the organization, technological abilities, or cohesiveness as a race that any of the current races have, most of them are living in tribal or stone age level communities. I would have to expect a new playable race to be on the same equal footing as the old playable races. I suppose that can change all this by just writing it into the lore, but as it stands they seem unlikely.

Tengu are the obvious number one candidate. I blogged as far back as May 2nd 2012 that I thought tengu were coming. And that didn’t even include dialogue from NPCs in Caledon forest, unavailable to the beta test that post was based on. The tl;dr is that they have a racial city, enough room for a starter zone, and the motivation to help. And unlike the kodan, we know from the original Guild Wars that tengu range in tribe, height, feather colours, they have back story, culture, and if they built those walls a fair amount of technological know-how.

tengu

There is always the possibility of a brand new race being introduced. How that race would be integrated into Tyrian society is anyone’s guess. I think Arenanet like to surprise people, and the best way to do that would be to create something entirely new. But it can’t be that easy to create a new race from scratch, and with a number of candidates already available, would they? I think the probability is that they’d draw from the history of Guild Wars, and look towards the races they already know players have been asking for. A new race is a big unknown, a risk.

I’ve been pretty confident about tengu from the beginning. Their lore is set up to do just one thing, introduce them and their city as a new playable race. I used to say “if tengu, then Cantha”, but I guess I’ll have to explain why I don’t think that’s true any more in my next post about zones, how many, where, and what is in them.

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12 Comments

  1. Ever since Talon Silverwing I have hoped to play a Tengu someday. That hope is starting to wane, but it’s still there.

    • I’m firmly confident that it’s only a matter of time.

  2. Everyone seems either to think it will be Tengu or hope it will be Tengu. For the love of mike, why?

    My only contact with the ugly birdmen was the stupid merc who used to run in front of me all the time. I developed an intense dislike of him within minutes and never found any reason to revise that first opinion.

    Almost any race would be better than Tengu.

    Also, I think there will be an expansion. They have been dropping hints in that direction for a while now. I don’t think ANet want to make one but I think NCSoft have over-ruled them.

    • Probably the feathers, the range of colours, the asian culture, and when was the last time you saw a playable race based on birds? You seem to base a lot of dislike for them on one henchmen.

  3. I’d be all over Tengu as a race – particularly if I could make a Macaw Parrot as seen in the picture you included.

    With the Kodan: I don’t think we’ve had any concrete to say that the white-furred variant are the only Kodan on the planet. But then, we’ve never had any indication that they aren’t – so yeah, swings and roundabouts.
    I’d love to play as them, but only if we could play around with fur colour, type etc. Plus there would be issues with confusing them with a bear-form norn, so thats something to consider.

    • I like the kodan naming conventions a lot but I’m not particularly moved by their culture or bearness. I’d play one obviously but I’m much more interested in tengu customization.

  4. Honestly, I wish we had the Kodan rather than the Norn. Visually or in silhouette, what is the difference between a really big Human and a really small or young Norn?Even if they had the Norn become the Kodan or vice versa like the lore has it, or introduced the Kodan in EotN instead of the Norn.

    • Norn aren’t particularly original or interesting, it’s true, but what do you want to bet they’re also one of the most popular races along with humans? Sad fact is people want an avatar they can identify with and not cat people or little mole men.

  5. I too think tengu will be the first new race to be launched. They had some work made with tengu (starting zone and city) before beta when they decided to not try to make them and to concentrate at the creation of the other 5 races starting zones.

    However, don’t rule out skrit. With new zones finally coming out teh living story (aparently it is what they intend to do), maybe we eventually find a skrit city that have a population huge enough for make the skrit permanently inteligent… The same apply for qaggan, maybe a new “sea” zone have a quaggan city where they have numbers enough for try be adventurers.

    • I’m sure there was some work done, but nobody really knows how much. The art book only says they were a strong contender for some of the races, and the guy who teleported into the dominion of winds essentially only found huts and placeholder structures.
      As for skritt, I find the same problem as kodan, we have seen a lot of them and they all look alike, at least the kodan wear armour.

      • Skrit and quaggan and koda will need some work of customization. they too will need the creation of a full zone from 0. But I guess that if Anet want create more playable races it can be done, it will just need a lot of menwork.

        Tengu aparently have some customization done and some “huts” built in their zone. So, the coust for make it a playable race is lower.

        So, IMHO the reason tengu will be the first new playable race is the lower coust. But all other new playable races will start from 0, and that can include any other race.


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