Guardians of Guild Wars 2

January 3, 2011 at 3:48 pm | Posted in Books, Guild Wars 2, mmorpg | 15 Comments
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Blue Mace Lady has a Blue Mace Man friend

After reading Edge of Destiny through, it’s been pretty hard to not spoil things for people. Not everyone can go out and grab the book, read it within a 24 hour period, and then digest things in a coherent manner.

Which is why I’ve waited a few days to post what there is about Logan Thackeray and his profession.

Heavy Spoilers

Throughout the book, and even on the back cover, there are mentions of the word Guardian. It all seems to point to the name of the “new monk” class for Guild Wars 2.

Here’s part of the back cover, giving a brief description of Destiny’s Edge.

Eir, the norn huntress with the soul of an artist; Snaff, the asuran genius, and his ambitious assistant Zojja; Rytlock, the ferocious charr warrior in exile; Caithe, a deadly sylvari with deep secrets; and Logan, the valiant human guardian dealing with divided loyalties.

Most of those descriptions avoid blatantly labeling the characters with a profession. Eir is clearly a ranger with Garm as her pet, but she’s described as a huntress. Caithe is deadly, but never really described as (while not for certain, a likelihood) an assassin. Rytlock is however described as a warrior, and this isn’t the last time Logan is described as a guardian.

But first, some of the magic he uses.

The moment before the axe-rifles fired, Logan Thackeray swept his hand out in a fan. A blue aura bled from his fingertips into the air, solidifying it in a curved wall before the scouts.
“Fire!” the charr centurion roared.
The axe-rifles boomed and vomited smoke and lead. But the shots struck ehtereal membrane and sank into it and were eaten away. Bullets showered rust to the ground.

As if the blue aura weren’t hint enough, the defensive magic that protects the humans from the charr is pretty telling. A wall of defense, just as an elementalist might have a wall of fire.

Here’s more.

His hand painted a blue aura in the air, a slim band meant to trip up a Destroyer.
His pursuer swung a stone claw that missed, then stepped in the long grass and tripped on the guardian aura. The Destroyer overbalanced and crashed into the ditch.
A blue aura lit Logan’s hands and spread to encompass his hammer. The glow seemed to hoist him into the air, and he brought the weapon down in a massive overhead stroke. The blow struck the creatures solar plexus and shattered it into five pieces.

A fairly direct mention of the aura as being a guardians. I don’t think guardian makes sense in any other context here other than as a profession.

Notice too, that the trip wire is certainly more of a support or control spell. Protecting the group and slowing down the enemy.

The hammer buff that delivers Logan’s blow with enough force to shatter his foe is also support. None of his magic so far delivers any kind of direct damage.

Later in another battle there is a flurry of mentions.

Logan flung out his hands, and a blue ball of energy deflected the blade.

Blue aura erupted from Logan’s hands and swarmed across his hammer. He hauled it overhead to smash into the sand. A profound boom shook the bearbaiting den, flinging Rytlock back against the half-wall.

Logan’s hand painted an arc of blue energy in the air before him. He staggered back as Rytlock thudded into the magical shield.
Arcane energy sparked across the charr’s front but Sohothin cleaved through.

An arcane shield, blue energy deflecting blows, and a buff (perhaps the same, perhaps not) that causes a knockdown. All to protect, defend, or control the movements of foes.

A short while later there is the first mention of healing.

Rytlock glared at Logan. “You could heal me?”
“Not all at once. A little bit now, and then an hour later, a little more.”

So we have healing, but not instantaneous healing or strong healing. Slow and steady healing from Logan. A clear change from the monks of Guild Wars. However, it’s not as though it takes too long, by the next morning “Rytlock’s wrist was fully healed.” However it’s not good enough for others.

Blue aura erupted from Logan’s fingers, and he touched the wounds in his brother’s chest. They glowed, flesh beginning to knit, but the holes were too wide.

Those fingertips of Logan get a lot of work.

A blue aura gushed from Logan’s fingertips and wrapped around his hammer. He hoisted the weapon overhead and roared.

The enspelled weapon crashed into the head of the harpy and broke it free from the body.

The words “enspelled weapon” make it very clear exactly what’s happening.

Another example of defense.

He jumped back and flung his hand out. His fingers smeared blue aura in the air, solidifying it in a shield before Zojja. The Icebrood pounded up to the shield but couldn’t reach the asura apprentice.

Logan meanwhile painted blue aura in the air around the asura, making a shield that would guard them.

There are also various mentions of Logan being the defender of the group.

“Well” Logan said as he ducked a hundred pound fist, “I seem best at defense.”

Later Rytlock calls him “our best defender.” An obvious theme of defense, and protecting runs through much of Logan’s action scenes and even his story. It makes everything pretty clear to me, and I’m presuming many others. Although there are only a few mentions of the word guardian I think anyone would be hard pressed to make good arguments against it. There isn’t much room for misinterpretation. However, I’m sure it’s possible that Logan’s profession could be called something else.

I just don’t think so.

Blue Mace Lady

While I’m at it, if I failed to note any mention of engineers, the seeming consensus as to what the brand new profession would be, I would be in error.

“Of course we didn’t plan” Rytlock snarled. “We’re fighters, not engineers.”

Doesn’t really point to much. I can’t really say it’s evidence of anything.

Edge Of Destiny Review

December 31, 2010 at 4:22 pm | Posted in Books, Guild Wars 2, mmorpg | 15 Comments
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Eir and Garm

It must be particularly difficult to write something creative, innovative, and interesting while dogged on all sides by limitations, guidelines, and blocked paths. Nor would I want to follow a strong book like Ghosts of Ascalon. Surely writing in a universe that has been touched by many hands is much more difficult than creating your own.

Those who triumph while writing stories in the worlds of others must have tremendous ability to harness the ideas of others for their own use. After reading Edge Of Destiny, I feel as though I’ve learned a lot about what to do and what not to do.

Spoilers, of course. I mean that too. Huge spoilers, virtually the whole book spoiled. Don’t read if you don’t want spoilers.

Heavy Spoilers.

One of the things I found I liked that King does immediately is dive into the lore, not stay away from it, not avoid it. I could have used more depth here and there but overall a good use of history. Guild Wars fans immediately know the strength and ferocity of the Destroyers. The sylvari conflict between dream and nightmare comes immediately into play. You get a sense of what sylvari are, their wonderment at the world, and yet their obvious non-humanity. That’s just in the prologue.

Where he integrates and utilizes the lore though, I find he ignores the development and creation of the characters. Eir gets the fairest treatment. Her soulful artistry is portrayed well and the frustration at seeing her people slowly worn down by an adversary they can not comprehend wears on her. The statues she created to glorify the men who go off to fight, only serve to torment her as a constant reminder. Especially the statue of her father.

It’s her drive alone that sets the stage for the story. Without her the two asura, Snaff and Zojja would continue on in their blissful little one note lives. Snaff the wiser than he seems asura, Zojja, the head strong apprentice who doesn’t appreciate her master as much as she should. A cliched dynamic, it does border on heart-warming at times. You can tell Zojja has some affection for her master and that Snaff knows how she truly feels and that she will miss him when he’s gone. However it’s touched upon too little to truly pull the heart strings.

Part of the problem is surely the large cast, of course. 6 sentient beings working in a team, 7 if you count Garm, and all of them have stories to tell. Not everything can be an original masterpiece, but at times I feel the story is simplistic. Perhaps I’m just too old and too experienced a reader to appreciate a straight up adventure.

Take for instance the first time we meet Logan and Rytlock. Logan causes an avalanche that crushes many charr, cuts off the main force from their objective, and a chase ensues. Rytlock and his men catch up with Logan and his, only to have the tables turned on them by a band of ogres who want them both dead. They must unite or die.

Sounds like a good adventure, but to me, it’s done to death. The phrase “oldest one in the book” certainly comes to mind. The banter between them makes the simplicity of the plot less grating, but I always felt throughout the book, that the barbs and wit could have used improvement.

“I suppose we have to kill each other now” Logan said.
“Yeah” Rytlock replied dully.
“You’re going to die like a dog.”
“I’m more like a cat” Rytlock pointed out.
Logan shook his head. “You can’t die like a cat. They have nine lives.”
Rytlock spread clawed arms. “That’s what it’s going to take!”
A new voice – a woman’s voice – broke in and said “You two have the strangest conversations.”

Couldn’t agree more Caithe. There are clever moments in the banter but when interspersed evenly with somewhat awkward conversation like that it, it sullies the rest. Far too stilted for my taste. Who says “you’re going to die like a dog” to a giant cat creature? Talk about leaving the door open.

Logan is wearing seraph armour, so it's post Snaff, but why no love for the little dude

Overall I didn’t mind the banter too much and things move fairly smoothly up until about halfway through the book when a few things started nagging at me.

For one, the vast majority of the book is fighting. It seems as though the novel is a number of fight sequences interrupted by short and composed entirely of exposition instead of character building. Setting up the next fight instead of setting up emotional investment.

At the same time the arena fights are quite repetitive but when they finally end, they move into fighting dragon champions. Fight after fight after fight. Not a scene can pass without some mention of what they’ll be fighting next. This drags on for the entire middle of the book. There is deep lore and history in this universe and I’ve been sucked into a gladiatorial novel.

The ease with which they defeat their enemies at times is very disappointing. Their first match up against an undefeated team in the arena is a joke. I suppose I could be convinced that that’s the nature of arena combat. Quick, brutal assaults that end matches before they’ve begun. King never really makes the case for it in my mind. They’re just amazing warriors, no further details needed.

You could argue that Eir, Snaff, and Zojja lose out the first time to Jormag’s champion, and another notable loss at one point, but Primordus’ champion goes down with one arrow. Morgus Lethe is struck perhaps 3 or 4 times in total. It just seems like some of their enemies should have been more of a challenge.

The final thing I had a large problem with were some of the relationships. While Garm and Eir are hardly explored but still interesting, and while Zojja and Snaff verge on having a touching relationship, I was confused by most of the other relationships. Why does Faolain poison Caithe only to release her later? What is so bad about Logan’s relationship with his brother that he much prefers Rytlock? Why in the name of Balthazar does Logan run to Jennah at the moment he does?

This last is truly excruciatingly painfully done. There is no justification. Their meetings and letters between them are stiff, and stilted. They make bold proclamations of how they care for one another without any tangible reason. I suppose it’s meant to reflect chivalry and courtly love, but it just comes off as awkward. Even if she has seen his whole life via her mesmer powers, and even if he just fell in love at first sight, it’s still unreasonable for him to run off when he is on the verge of defeating an elder dragon. My god. What an ass.

Another Dragon Champion lay slain at your feet. The Destroyer of Life and his thousand minions. Well done!

Yeah that’s how lovers congratulate each other. Right? Good job on that dragon dude, thanks a lot!

That said, what better reason for the guild to break. It sets the stage for Guild Wars 2 nicely. I expect I’ll have choice words when I finally run into Logan of course.

I’ve been pretty critical of the book but there are plenty of things to like as well. The final action sequences are well done, I couldn’t put the book down. I had been sort of waiting for Snaff to be killed off all along, so knowing it was coming in those last few pages had me on the edge of my seat.

I criticized the banter before but it saves the book in places as well. Rytlock and Logan are fine entertainment but add in Caithe’s plain spoken words and Rytlock, Logan and Caithe turn into the 3 stooges.

I really love Caithe too. She’s got the cat-like moves and reflexes, keen mind, a sense of wonderment. She doesn’t get as much time as I’d like but by the end of the book I empathize heavily with her. She loves someone she can’t save, her friends have cracked and gone their separate ways, she’s left to pick up the pieces (literally) and hope that one day she can fix things.

I completely understand Rytlock’s reaction to Logan’s behaviour. Nothing more to be said there. I just wish his loyalty to his other guild mates meant something more to him.

The world of Tyria is truly further fleshed out in Edge Of Destiny. It definitely gives the sense that this is not just a game world but a living breathing universe with it’s own characters, it’s own villains, things going on outside the periphery of the main characters. I think King is given a directive to accomplish a lot with this book. He has to build characters, build a team, build a legend and then break them up. All in one book. Hard to do by any standard. Overall much of the plot is predictable, the writing a little plain and repetitive, but the world itself is bigger than those two qualities and I think that shines through.

You can check out the Kill Ten Rats review for a cheerier outlook, or my live blog impressions part 1 and part 2.

Edge of Destiny: Live Blog Part 2

December 30, 2010 at 5:34 pm | Posted in Books, Guild Wars 2, mmorpg | 4 Comments

Soundtrack to Edge of Destiny provided by: Lily Allen

I stopped about half way through Edge of Destiny yesterday and some of the comments in the post are telling I think. One thing MMOGC mentioned is the fighting. There is a lot of it. The vast majority of the book so far rolls from one fight to the next. The only character I’ve gotten a sense of identity from is Eir. Her angst about seeing her people unable to defeat the Icebrood, the issues with her father, and her drive to find some way to do something, anything, to fight the Dragonspawn. She’s very interesting.

That’s all subject for the review of course, so I’ll just make the shallow observations I usually do starting now.

5:31 – Dragonspawn’s Destiny, I was more expecting the book title. How many Edge of Steel and Dragonspawn’s Destiny guilds will be in Guild Wars 2 do you think?

5:37 – Kind of wish they stood there a little longer, looking at each other agape. That would have been quite original.

5:43 – Was pleasently surprised that Zojja and Snath didn’t immediately bring golems in. The sand was a nice touch.

5:46 – Interesting use of the word engineers. Hard to read into it of course.

5:50 – Ahhh here’s the line Spirit Hime ruined for me. Yes we can force you to join us, but we dont’ want henchmen. We want heroes. Nice word play Mr. King.

5:55 – Edge of Dragonspawn’s Steely Destiny. Obviously that should be the title of the book.

6:02 – More Eye of the North lore. Wish it went a little more in depth, but an account of what happens to Gunnar’s Hold is note worthy.

6:09 – Ahhh tattoos. An ancient bonding ritual if ever there was one.

6:13 – I’m telling you, logan/rytlock slash fic. It just will be.

6:18 – I wonder if charr horns are sensitive. These are the thoughts of a giant nerd, people.

6:27 – More blue hammer man. The shield I expect we observed early on at gamescom.

6:36 – I am liking the finale to this fight. Thought it was cleverly done.

6:45 – Ahhh love. What does that mean to plant creatures?

6:56 – Sword in the stone moment. Didn’t that interview with King say he had worked extensively in Arthurian legend? She has been found wanting.

7:03 – Rytlock can’t swim. Cat humour. Tigerfeet will have a field day.

7:10 – Interesting sea battle. The undead not being held by the sway of the ocean.

7:16 – Yarrrrrrrr a pirate battle it be! Yar har fidle e dee….

7:26 – Is it me or did Morgus go down a little quick. Nice ending, but no preamble.

7:33 – Uhm, another champion. Okay. Rytlock is pretty funny in this scene.

7:36 – These letters between Logan and Jennah are so odd. They speak of emotions and closeness they haven’t earned. Not only that but the wording itself is so formal. I know she’s a queen and everything but…. whatever.

7:43 – From fight to fight to fight, and all without too much trouble. Must be nice.

7:51 – I wonder if the destruction of dragon champions is a convenient way to explain why Zhaitan is the main foe in Guild Wars 2, while Jormag and Primordus are apparently taking a back seat. Surely it’s easier for Zhaitan to replace one of his generals, apparently pretty weak, than for Jormag to find another Dragonspawn with similar power.

7:58 – I never like reading the words holocaust. It’s just too synonymous.

8:05 – I guess this means we’re off to the grove. Cool description of the tumor. That growth on her, just picturing it is kind of gross.

8:16 – Oh shiizle, Glint in the rizzle mah pizzles.

8:27 – Fairly comical trip through peoples heads. A bit sentimental.

8:31 – In guild wars you go through 3 desert missions, the ascension, and that deposits you in the dragon lair mission which takes you to Glint. In EoD, they walk through a pass in some cliffs.

8:51 – Lots of cool stuff. The rise of Kralkatorrik, drops of his blood, a crystal spear, and Glint is going to fight instead of sitting on her butt while I kill hundreds of titans and the Lich.

9:11 – I’m enjoying the climax. Kind of want to smack Logan. Makes the breakup of the guild a little more understandable.

9:24 – Finally somebody gets killed off. It is about time. A little disappointed this far into the book that they never really recruited anyone else into the guild.

9:56 – Uh oops, sorta let the live blog fall away as I read the ending. Short epilogue really, but I thought the emotion was well played out, and it certainly sets the stage for Guild Wars 2. Certainly got a better grasp on Caithe as the novel went on, and the ending certainly does fit well with the events.

Anyway if you stuck with me thanks for reading. Review will be up in the next few days.

Edge Of Destiny: Live Blog!

December 29, 2010 at 6:03 pm | Posted in Books, Guild Wars 2, mmorpg | 3 Comments
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Soundtrack to Edge of Destiny provided by: Moneen - Are We Really Happy With Who We Are Right Now

Oh for I have heard the clamouring masses. The outcries and pleas for a live blogging of Edge of Destiny, the 2nd novel in the Guild Wars novel trilogy. And behold! I have come.

After a couple of failed attempts to pick up the book yesterday, I made a thorough examination of the Chapters website and discovered that the big box store across town, and only the big box store across town, had several copies. 22 in fact.

Well now they have 21.

I was pleasantly surprised by the quality of Matt Forbeck’s writing and Jeff Grubb’s lore and background in the first book, and have been anticipating Edge Of Destiny for some time.

J. Robert King is pretty unknown to me, although many have suspected his involvement in the series from early days when he made a comment on Matt Forbeck’s blog about writing in the Guild Wars 2 universe.

That said I never really ventured to check out his work.

Anyway, enough foreplay. Onwards.

5:59 – They keep mentioning that his kid named his hamster Rytlock. Not sure why they find that so adorable. I named my PC Grimlock, do I get any credit for that? Noooooo.

6:05 – Only difference in timeline is forming of the guild. Yes it took me 7 minutes to do that.

6:06 – Map appears to be the same. I was hoping for more hints.

6:09 – Ahhh Destroyers. Awesome. Those without access to Eye of the North may miss out on the reference *wink*

6:13 – Great introduction to the Nightmare Court, the sylvari villains in Guild Wars 2. All in all a good prologue, introduces characters in a clean, decisive manner, introduces concepts without nattering on. Good start.

6:17 – Not a fan of the personification of animals. That may have something to do with my deep seated hatred for pets. Like the Alpha angle though.

6:23 – Anyone else think “here comes Gullik” when Sjord walked in?

6:25 – Ursan Blessing to carve a wooden statue of a fool. Seems like a misuse of the bear spirits power.

6:31 – Due to concept art, these frozen over foes are not much of a surprise. But I do like the concept. Instead of undead rotting corpses, frozen over ice husks of former comrads.

6:36 – Sort of telegraphed the Silas thing. Not a fan of chisels being a part of the battle. I know they’re crafters, but even crafters should probably have a nice battle axe in this world.

6:42 – If you’ve got regular shipments coming via Asura Gate, do you need supply caravans that travel over land? Surely that’s inefficient. Maybe in GoA the gate is new. Can’t recall.

6:46 – Oh uhhh, I guess that answers that then.

6:50 – Really? A rockslide ambush? I don’t mind cliche’s done right. Not a fan of this cliche. The charr conflict seems a bit forced as well. It’s a trap!

6:53 – Damn Sohothin. I knew Rytlock had a Fiery Dragon Sword, didn’t know it was Rurik’s.

6:59 – I can’t wait for the Logan/Rytlock slash fic.

7:02 – Puffed up posers. Suddenly I recall high school.

7:06 – Think I like Zojja already.

7:11 – Loving the description of Rata Sum, visions of the races trailer going through my head.

7:13 – The forums will be a twitter about airships now. I’m on page 44 or so, just for the record.

7:14 – Is it me or does “lass” sound utterly wrong coming from a genius asura.

7:17 – I hope Zojja doesn’t go and get a big head because of the statue. Oh yes, there will be lame puns in this live blog as well!

7:21 – Sohothin is sort of reminding me of a lightsaber, but then I am a huge Star Wars nerd.

7:26 – Ogre battle! Anyone remember that game? Knowing rytlock and logan guild up, I suppose it had to be this way.

7:32 – Anyone want to put money down on some quest tied to this battle at some point?

7:39 – Red Alert? Danger? Sirens? Nope. Anomaly!

7:42 – lol, threw up in his mouth. cute little asura!

7:46 – What do you think. Rytlock, Logan, and Caithe as the 3 stooges, or the Marx brothers?

7:52 – Having had so many fights with devourers myself, it’s actually quite interesting to see it described in detail.

7:54 – Wow Ogres age at least 240 years?

7:59 – Ogres that aren’t half-wits. Don’t see that very often. I have to say, the ogres catch up to the 3 of them after how long? That is some fast, fast, fast running. Even for giant ogres.

8:06 – I think I’m enjoying the whole youthful arrogance vs the reality of mortality storyline. Obvious where it heads, but mostly due to absence later on.

8:16 – The women return not at all. That’s foreboding.

8:21 – For some reason I’m a big fan of finding abandoned cities. Also: Coitenly! nyuck nyuck nyuck! whoop whoop whoop!

8:32 – I think they could use a little Stout-Hearted right about now.

8:42 – That would make for a pretty good boss fight. Something that freezes you every so often unless you turn away from it.

8:46 – Guardian aura eh? Name of the spell or the blue mace people? We’ve also seen that Logan’s magic protects and snares. support and control.

8:51 – Geez it’s kind of like an advertisement for Guild Wars 2’s trinity of control, support, and dps. Kind of.

8:55 – Don’t know why I know this but rabbit is terrible for nutrition.

9:10 – An officious norn bureaucrat. At least he’s not drunk.

9:12 – Come to think of it why does an independent, pirate infested, free city need reasons from them to enter? not very piratey.

9:14 – Everything’s for sale in Lion’s Arch. Meaning it’s the main location for the auction house.

9:22 – Touches of Indiana Jones, sherlock holmes. Last thing I expected to read about in this book was bear baiting.

9:29 – Ah the old “everybody gets thrown in jail” trope. I wonder what tvtropes calls that. Let’s hope Magnus is in the game. It’d be awesome if he, like Dhuum, appeared and banned botters/spammers/cheaters in LA in gw2.

9:34 – There’s an idea. If norn ships are built to norn specs, what do asura, charr, and sylvari ships look like. Can’t wait to see the LA harbour. Maybe we’ll even see some canthan and istani/kournan ships?

9:43 – Morgus Lethe eh. I got dibs on his head.

9:50 – Herding undead for fights in the arena. That’s something you don’t read every day.

9:59 – Hah, two-legs. Classic centaur insults. I need more bookah references though.

10:01 – Have to admit, a little confused by the chirurgeon term. Not familiar with it inside or outside gw lore. Haven’t figured out the etymology of the word yet either.

10:04 – Unnecessary brutality. Could be a good guild name.

10:11 – Gotta say, Caithe is not matching up to the idea I had of her after the races trailer. I suppose time passes between that and this book, but in the trailer her voice and attitude were knowing and intelligent, and wise. Philophical. Here she’s wide eyed, innocent, eager. Not at all the haughty intellectual.

10:21 – The use of mesmer magic to display an image, kind of like a jumbotron, in an arena. Just thought i’d comment.

10:31 – A flying harpy destroyer. Okay. I just don’t get flying stone, even if it is magic.

10:40 – Not really feeling the romance angle, if that’s whats going on, between the queen and logan. Surely it’s a red herring. we’ll see.

10:53 – That is some extensive mesmer magic, day tripping through logan’s head.

10:54 – Clearly if Eir is a strategic genius, she’s going to win this next battle.

Okay I’m exhausted. Been reading for hours. Sorry To end this live blog before, you know, the end of the book, but I’m on page 200 and that’s only half way. Tune in tomorrow for part 2.

J. Robert King On Arenanet Blog

December 24, 2010 at 2:09 pm | Posted in Books, Guild Wars 2, mmorpg | 2 Comments
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Does he look like he's wearing eye liner to anyone else?

Well if you wanted to know more about the author of Edge of Destiny, reading Arenanet’s blog might be one way to do it. I doubt the people already poring over the book (and laughing at those who have to wait) would waste their time, but for those of us still waiting, why not.

Jeff Grubb takes us down memory lane explaining how he met King, got to know him, and eventually suggested him as a writer for the 2nd Guild Wars 2 novel. I’m still wondering about the 3rd author, personally, but it’s all interesting to note.

The blog itself is full of praise and compliments, overflowing with hype for the book, but I suppose that is to be expected.

There is some good insight into how he tackled the characters he was presented with.

I wrote the norn warrior Eir by drawing on my superego. She’s an artist at heart but a warrior by necessity, seeking to end evil and bring forth beauty. Eiri s tragically uncertain that she can accomplish either. I know that feeling. Her constant companion is the dire wolf Garm. Instinct is often wiser than thought, and Garm is that instinctive wisdom. He doesn’t understand the complexities that drive his master, but he loves her and knows she is the alpha.

My portrayal of Caithe came out of my innate idealism. It is easy for me to write a character who wonders why the world isn’t more reasonable and good. Caithe desperately wants to bring such a world into being. She also longs to connect to others, and Destiny’s Edge is the first group that she does that with.

Zojja is the young genius, the prodigy. I had a bit of that growing up; feeling like a freak among my peers and a charming oddity among adults. Zojja believes she is better than everyone else, which most people take as arrogance, though for Zojja it’s just truth.

Of all the iconic characters, though, Logan is perhaps the most like me overall. He’s got high ambitions, but he’s pragmatic. He’s always felt a bit embarrassed that he is not a white knight, but the life of a scout fits him better. Then, as events unfold, he becomes the thing he once aspired to be—even though it fits him badly.

Rytlock. Rytlock. Rytlock. I love Rytlock. My son named his hamster Rytlock. He’s the id—the rough-and-tumble monster who fights hard and laughs hard and loves more deeply than anybody else in the group could. In the first drafts of Edge of Destiny, Rytlock was funnier and raunchier than he currently is, but I’m glad the team reined me in. Fart jokes go only so far.

Oh no. Please, not the fart jokes. I’m too old for fart jokes.

Approaching The Edge Of Destiny

December 23, 2010 at 2:08 am | Posted in Books, Guild Wars 2, mmorpg | 2 Comments
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The first book was solid, making reading this book a no brainer.

Arenanet released a new blog post today concerning the 2nd book in the Guild Wars 2 series. Edge Of Destiny. Where Ghosts Of Ascalon took place a year before the game, EoD takes place a full 5 years in the past. Here’s Amazon’s synopsis.

Destiny Called – They Answered

In the dark recesses of Tyria, elder dragons have awoken from millennial slumbers. First came Primordus, which stirred in the Depths forcing the asura to flee to the surface. Half a century later, Jormag awoke and drove the norn from the frozen climes of the Northern Shiverpeaks, corrupting sons and brothers along the way. A generation later, Zhaitan arose in a cataclysmic event that reshaped a continent and flooded the capital of the human nation of Kryta.

The races of Tyria stand on the edge of destiny. Heroes have battled against dragon minions, only to be corrupted into service of the enemy. Armies have marched on the dragons and been swept aside. The dwarves sacrificed their entire race to defeat a single dragon champion. The age of mortals may soon be over.

This is a time for heroes. While the races of Tyria stand apart, six heroic individuals will come together to fight for their people: Eir, the norn huntress with the soul of an artist; Snaff, the asuran ge­nius, and his ambitious assistant Zojja; Rytlock, the ferocious charr warrior in exile; Caithe, a deadly sylvari with deep secrets; and Logan, the valiant human guardian dealing with divided loyalties. Together they become Destiny’s Edge. Together they answer the call. But will it be enough?

Overall that’s a fairly good description for people interested in the game, let alone the novel.

I guess if you’re interested in buying the book, Amazon is interesting in selling it to you, although to my knowledge the release date was the 28th.

On a personal note I won’t be buying the ebook, mostly because the kindle or ipad are too expensive to make it worth it. So I’ll end up going into the book store on Tuesday, not being able to find it, waiting a week, and finally picking it up sometime around the 4th. At which point I’ll be live blogging it. Live blogging something a week if not weeks after it comes out is so fail, but I’m doing it anyway!

The blog post has a PDF of the first chapter (god I hate PDFs) and you can download that here.

My suspicion is that if a profession is detailed extensively in the book, for instance, say Logan Thackeray’s profession just as an example, that’s the profession we’ll be seeing in January. I do end up having a lot of suspicions of course.

I have yet to see any further clues about the author of the 3rd book. Not that there are any clues to begin with, but I have done some speculation on the subject and thought I’d link that. Anyone seen forum threads or detective work on the subject? I’d love to know.

Finally, Ghosts of Ascalon, if you haven’t seen what I’ve said about it, was a solid book, and I’d recommend it to anyone interested in the Guild Wars universe, especially as concerning Guild Wars 2.

The 3rd Guild Wars Book Author

November 15, 2010 at 1:38 am | Posted in Books, Guild Wars 2, mmorpg | 2 Comments
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Cover for Destiny's Edge

Just a quick thought on the unknown author of the 3rd book in the series.

I happened across the Edge Of Destiny post I wrote when the book was announced and was reminded that the author J. Robert King, is a member of the literary group The Alliterates. It’s a loose writer’s group with no real philosophy beyond getting together to discuss literature, games, and publishing.

The thing is, so are both Jeff Grubb and Matt Forbeck.

So for the past few months the idea has been bouncing around in my brain. Which member of The Alliterates is writing the next novel? It could be none of them, or it could be someone already on board with Arenanet, like Jeff Grubb or Ree Soesbee. But it could be one of The Alliterates.

I’ve hunted around some of their various websites not finding much to base any conclusions on, which is why I’ve never posted anything until now. No real proof of anything is hardly the basis of a good post. It could be anyone.

In any case I thought I’d throw the thought out there to anyone who’s interested. Any ideas on who the next author is?

Ghosts Of Ascalon Review

August 15, 2010 at 3:59 pm | Posted in Books, Guild Wars 2, mmorpg | 13 Comments
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Ooooh its not horrible.

As I Live blogged reading the book in two several hour long sessions a lot of the details and things I might think of mentioning in a review have already been said.

There is still plenty to talk about however.

To start with I was surprised by the quality of the writing. The novel may rely on a few cliches, have a couple of predictable elements, and may get repetitive at points, but it was good.

I thought the descriptions could be over done. Early in the first live blog, I commented on one sentence in particular. “The sweltering summer heat that enveloped Divinity’s Reach above had stolen deep into the bowels of these hidden burial grounds where it festered like a hidden wound.” Yeah its hot, I get it, and how does heat fester exactly? A hidden wound? Rather than an unhidden wound of course.

Those sorts of sentences aren’t prevalent though, and if anything really annoyed me it was the repetition and overuse of things I liked in the book. A norn character’s constant use of exclamations involving his gods is amusing at first. Later, the unusually large variety of variations on his curses, and the frequency begins to wear.

Otherwise I found the writing to be tight, well plotted, with little in the way of diversions. When the plot does diverge its necessary backstory, introduction of new characters, and the stories of the troubled races involved. Sort of the point of the whole book.

I kept in mind two different people have writing credits on the book, but what their roles were is hard to discern. I didn’t notice any notable style shifts, or tone differences. Then again I’m not a professional book reviewer.

I thought some of the characters were a little 2 dimensional, but there were examples of depth. Gullik is a buffoon, loud, egotistical, and a maroon. It’s quite obvious that for the most part he’s in on the joke though, he knows how he comes across and even plays with it. Dougal tells himself to avoid danger, not to adventure with people he likes. He ends up risking his life, and adventuring with people he likes. Kind of a cliched character but fun to read in any case.

There’s a wide breadth of setting too. For the first book in the Guild Wars universe I could hardly have expected to visit multiple continents, a dozen different landscapes etc. Kryta, Ascalon, 3 major cities, and enough dungeon like areas to keep people happy. The description of the dragonbrand is a great introduction to the path of destruction and the might of the dragons. It added a great element to the fantasy aspect of the book.

One thing I noticed that made me think about what would be in the game, was the number of traps. There were a lot of them. It left me wondering just how often Ackbar jokes will be popping up in Guild Wars 2.

Overall I was pleased with the quality of the book. A lot of game tie-in novels can end up being one-note, cliche ridden, tripe. Filled to the brim with too much complicated game lore backstory. I can’t comment on the backstory part, I know too much of Guild Wars to be puzzled by references to lore, but I found the opposite. The story was more complicated than simply good vs evil. There were moral gray areas, even deaths.

Most of all I’m even looking forward to the next book.

Ghosts of Ascalon: Live Blog 2!

August 5, 2010 at 4:04 pm | Posted in Books, Guild Wars 2, mmorpg | 18 Comments
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Ooooh its not horrible.

I suppose I don’t learn my lessons very well. Last time I posted I acknowledged that not setting a specific time to live blog something is kind of ridiculous. I should have thought to announced I’d start around 4pm AST today. Whatever its not as though anyone is following along right?

I’m about halfway through the book if you couldn’t tell. I’m actually enjoying it a lot more than I thought I would. Its difficult to tell Forbeck from Grubb, whether there is mroe than one writing style or not, but that hasn’t been my main focus. The writing overall is solid, a lot more solid than game tie in books tend to be.

Anyway. Getting started.

4:08 – Master Snaff? Uhm, ok.

4:11 – Ahh Kranxx is coming with the group. I half expected Clagg to rear his little head and cause trouble again but I guess Kranxx is the asuran of note from here on out.

4:25 – I guess I’m getting drawn in. Keep forgetting about this whole blogging thing. Riona’s sudden weakness doesn’t fly with me though, I don’t get the character.

4:31 – I don’t know why every fantasy story in a city forces the characters to go traipsing through the sewers. The book is well written, but its use of cliche is heavy.

4:36 – Oooh I wonder if the sewers smell bad. Maybe we should talk about that. And honey wagons. I hate that term. I love honey but I dislike honey wagons.

4:39 – Wolf’s Nose! Tigerfeet needs to make an image of this phrase.

4:48 – Ooooh guns. And they failed to hit anyone?

4:52 – Killeen summons rats. Racial skill or are necromancers more of a summoner as I’ve kept saying? Curious.

4:56 – Nice moral quandry, what with Dougal releasing Ember and that cascading into the fight with the vanguard. More healing potions. If potions turn into a major way to heal yourself then I don’t really think the lack of healer in GW2 is very innovative. How many asian MMOs rely on potions?

5:01 – Playing Guild Wars for so long I’ve been dulled to the grotesque nature of necromancy, this sort of brings it back though.

5:14 – i always like a good trap. Bear’s Buttocks, best one yet.

5:30 – Ahhh the people’s interest in necromancer as the next profession becomes clear. How many cool things will Killeen do before the end of the book?

5:34 – I like how ember now has her own green weapon.

5:35 – Ahhh a mention of assassins and spies. And some people just won’t admit there is probably an assassin class.

5:42 – Ooh Clagg makes a return of sorts, being mentioned. I figured he was behind Gullik showing up. Starting to notice more copy errors.

5:45 – And there is the mention of mesmers.

5:49 – Okay, the norn phrases are starting to wear. Are we going to name new animal anatomy every 5 minutes? someone actually proclaiming they want to bathe in blood settles in wrong with me personally.

5:57 – Never really thought about the similarities of Foefire and the Orr disaster, but essentially its the same thing. Adelbern was as bad as the lich.

6:00 – Going to have to take a quick eating stuff break. back in 20.

6:15 – Back.

6:22 – I guess Killeen experiences the rejuvenating power of the sun.

6:27 – The dragonbrand is a pretty original fantasy landscpae I admit. Also, I would like to fight that hill.

6:41 – Its always sad when they kill off your favourite character.

6:47 – 268 pages in and I finally hear how Dougal escaped Ascalon City. Long enough for you?

7:05 – The varying stories and different ways the races see things is even more prominent than I had anticipated. It was made quite clear in interviews and such before the release but I find the extent to which its done impressive.

7:09 – I think Frye is named after phillip J. personally.

7:20 – As time goes on we’re getting sappier and sappier. I hope that stops.

7:24 – A lot of mirroring going on. They kill a human patrol, and then a charr patrol right after. They chain Ember as a prisoner, and then chain Dougal and Riona as prisoners.

7:33 – I don’t think I like Riona, how many times does she have to be shown she’s wrong. Effigy.

7:36 – Environmental weapons! There’s a lemon behind that rock!

7:43 – As soon as they started to describe the black furred charr I guessed it was Rytlock, I guess I thought he was iron legion or ash though.

7:47 – Anybody else at this point in the book, or in fact much earlier, suspect Ember is related to Soulkeeper? Say grandmother perhaps?

7:54 – Loving the imagery of the foefire. A bright pillar of light rising into the sky.

8:00 – Are you kidding me? Page 316 before anyone so much as mentions Gyda’s demise? Gullik has been after the story for like 200 pages.

8:09 – I wish the guild wars version of ascalon city was as grand as the book makes the ruins of ascalon out to be.

8:20 – Is it me or does Savione come off in your imagination as a bit effette. Kranxx is discussing game theory. It seems so out of place.

8:30 – Riona is one cold blooded harpy.

8:42 – I have to say asura usually have funnier one liners. “Command this, bookah” doesn’t quite do it for me. I guess I can’t expect a yippie kah yay die hard line but whatever.

8:47 – There are a lot of traps in this book. Like a lot, a lot.

9:00 – Well I can’t say i knew Riona would full on betray anyone, but she was getting mighty suspecious behaviour wise. Like when she full on egged Ember into leading the distraction. I had been wondering where Ember had wandered off to.

9:11 – And I’m done. Holy crap my back hurts. You’d think they’d check for Kranxx corpse first, I mean he could be alive right? That satchel of Gullik’s carries an awful lot of stuff apparently, I mean how big is the claw and he just stuffs it inside. I have to admit the whole thing, despite heavy use of cliche, was well written and therefore smoothed over any awkward moments or repetitive elements with smooth writing. A review in a few days I think. I’m out.

Ghosts of Ascalon: Live Blog!

August 4, 2010 at 4:32 pm | Posted in Books, Guild Wars 2, mmorpg | 15 Comments
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Adelbern you so crazy!

I guess when you do a Live Blog, you’re supposed to let people know when you’re doing it ahead of time. So points against me for that. Another thing about a live blogging is it helps if everyone is following along at the same time, like with a live television event, normally. More points against me for that.

However I just got my copy about a half hour ago, and I want to comment on the book as I’m reading it. A more accurate review will come later, but for now commenting as I go seems like something I want to try.

Spoilers of course, and I will be checking comments, making food, using the washroom, and otherwise busy with things, so don’t expect me to be reading at a normal rate. Also don’t spoil anything for me if you happen to comment please.

4:28pm AST – I just read through the timeline, it’s interesting what they choose to highlight and gloss over. Virtually no mention of Cantha, or Mursaat. Destiny’s Edge breaks up at the same time the Vigil is founded? Interesting.

4:34 AST – Little doubt in my mind that the Skull Gate will be a much traveled location in Guild Wars 2. Some of the phrases in the first chapter are a little overly descriptive. “The sweltering summer heat that enveloped Divinity’s Reach above had stolen deep into the bowels of these hidden burial grounds where it festered like a hidden wound.”

4:42 AST – Pllen drifting off sylvari when they walk. I wonder if that could be an in-game effect. I’d like it.

4:45 AST – I like how Clagg fiddles with the crystals like a Star Fleet officer would fiddle with his control panel.

4:53 AST – Didn’t take long for the action to get started.

4:56 AST – More mentions of potions, like the one for breathing underwater, or the one you can see used in the Races trailer.

5:00 AST – Blimm’s tomb. What are we after his redline stapler?

5:06 – Asura traditionally burn their dead? Didn’t know. Snow leopard form is two legged? Wasn’t expecting that. I suppose I envisioned more of a shapeshifter.

5:14 – The various nods to history and the game are pretty good. The banter could be better, as a human I keep wishing Dougal would get in more one liners.

5:21 – I really don’t like Gyda. I think thats a sign the book isn’t badly written, at least so far.

5:28 – As soon as they started mentioning Blimm was a golemancer and necromancer, not to mention the description of the floor in his tomb it was pretty clear what was going to happen. Telegraphed but, I think they pulled it off.

5:44 – Really, Gyda bites the dust and little to nothing is said about it? Even I liked her more than that.

5:53 – What’s a wrecker? I’m still on the verge of being impressed the writing isn’t terrible.

5:56 – north of the city? I had pictured DR as being on the south coast of the basin. Finally, finally somebody refers to Destiny’s Edge as a *guild*. Not an adventuring group or circus act, a guild in the game of Guild Wars 2.

6:02 – Ahh confirmation of ghettos. Cool.

6:10 – i like the idea of giving a brief history lesson via the shadow puppet show. Clever way getting in some exposition without boring people too much. Do they emphasize the elder part of elder dragon? I wonder how many lesser dragons we’ll be running into.

6:18 – Modern human swords suck, so I’m presuming most of the finer blades come from crypts and dungeons. A charr appears to lead the vigil but I haven’t gotten that far yet. If each race has a couple problems, then centaurs and bandits appear to be the human problems. I was sort of hoping for something more exotic, i’ve had my fill of centaurs over the years and bandits are just human thieves, but whatever.

6:24 – An actual reason for a character to be honest, instead of some arbitrary reasoning. Sylvari aren’t so much naive as they have found in their recent experience that honesty works best.

6:38 – Starting to get bored of the constant references to the “dragon haunted days”. yes I get it, dragon problems.

6:43 – Enjoying the descriptions of Lion’s Arch. Not sure how charr aren’t quite as massive as norn, since in Guild Wars Original virtually every charr you see at the very least has more girth if not height.

6:50 – Ooooh golden blood. So I haven’t read how Clagg got released yet, but, it is a little far too coincidental that each one of them was released from jail with no problems.

7:00 – Kileen uses a nice healing skill, absorbing health from the fallen golem.

7:07 – Is a four bladed weapon really that effective? Why on earth would anyone fight with such a thing. Is there any real world equivalent?

7:21 – Ogres and the flame legion. That’s a trend. An enemy that is a reflection of your race, and one other. I guess all those videos with ogres really were in the charr territories, like I had guessed. The description of the dragonbrand is pretty good. I’m officially ok with the writing of the novel.

7:33 – Oh my god it’s a total chewie on the death star moment.

7:39 – I’m liking the sense of humour. The jokes about dougal’s swords, the norn threatening the bedpost. It’s pretty good fun.

7:44 – Sort of saw the whole Gullik thing coming from a mile away, I wouldn’t say much here is subtle or unpredictable.

7:51 – The whole norn fight is kind of bizarre but at least Gullik has a point, why hasn’t anyone said anything about Gyda’s death? Nobody even asks about it afterward.

8:03 – Finally getting into the bits where they trade stories, and you see things from various race perspectives.

8:22 – The storytelling is a bit on the nose. While the shadow show was short and interesting, the retelling of history in this part of the book is less so. Drags on a bit, kind of obviously exposition.

8:30 – Killeen is really starting to remind me of Eve. “Just wondering what your bones will look like.”

8:38 – Another telegraphed plot point. Gullik? No way! Facepalm.

8:46 – LoL gwen the goremonger. That’s hilarious.

9:00 – I do so like big large lovable buffoon characters for some reason. Except when they’re being obnoxious. Gullik is growing on me.

I’m tired and hungry now. I will continue this tomorrow. Nearly 5 hours of live blogging is enough for one stretch. To be Continued.

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