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Pixelvision: Top Five Future Races for Guild Wars 2

topfivefacesgw2-title

Welcome back blessed siblings, to the Book of Frog! While a good majority of my posts in the past have been related to Nintendo products, I do have other interests too…

Shut up I totally do!

One of those MANY other interestes, that I just so happen to not be able to list right now, is a little online game called Guild Wars. I remember back when Guild Wars first came out, it was the first time I had ever played an MMO seriously, and this one seemed very different from the likes of World of Warcraft and Everquest. Though I’m likely to step on a few peoples toes with this comment, I found that the lore of the Guild Wars world was so rich, and engaging, it dragged me in and kept me wanting more, in a way that World of Warcraft could never hope to do. To me the background of WoW just felt so generic, but Guild Wars was new, and one of the things that made it new were it’s unique and distinct races.

While in the first Guild Wars you could only play as Humans, throughout the plot of the four major narratives you would encounter a plethora of other exciting races, from the savage and villainous Charr, to the mysterious and ancient Seers, that helped the player, but seemed to have their own agenda. Through your human avatar you got to meet these races for the first time, through human eyes, and this gave you a perfect introduction to the history of Tyria, Cantha and Elona.

In August 2012, seven years after the release of Guild Wars, ArenaNet and NCsoft took the next step in expanding this series, and finally released Guild Wars 2. Taking place 250 years after the events of the final expansion of the first game, Eye Of The North, the world was now very different after the Elder Dragons started to awaken, and tore apart the land of Tyria. Now an unlikely alliance of Humans, their most hated enemies the Charr, the skin-walking giant Norn of the far North, the technologically advanced Asura, and the new born nature sprites the Sylvari band together to stand against the Dragons, in a battle where they seem to be little more than a band-aid on a gaping wound!

With the number of playable races increased to five, even more races were added in the background, as allies and enemies, and as more and more information comes out about Guild Wars 2’s first expansion, Heart Of Thorns, it’s been revealed that there are intentions to release further playable races in the future. Maybe not in the Heart of Thorns expansion, but in future releases.

As a big fan of the Guild Wars Lore, I have thought long and hard about what races I’d like to see playable in the future, as well as what the inclusion of those races might mean for the story as a whole. So here is my Top Five Future Races that i would like to see in future Guild Wars 2 expansions.

 

subtitle-djinn

img-djinnIn the wilds of Elona, there are a number of unique species, one of these species are the Djinn. Djinn are an ancient race of elemental spirit-beings, described as being to other elementals what humans are to animals. The Djinn appear to be mortal but long lived, as evidenced through Zommoros, who claims to have known the world when it was “emptier” and when the continents looked different. They have their own sense of self and free will, but in a different way. However, when humans came to Elona, many wizards realising the potential power of Djinn as guard dogs, attempted and in many cases succeeded to bind Djinn to objects and locations. Over time though, and with the death of their masters, the Djinn would regain their power, and once powerful enough would regain their free will.

The race is often described in a rather dichotomous way, where some are considered elemental protectors of the land, others are known for their pride, lust and evil natures. For this reason a number of Djinn have been imprisoned rather than simply being bound to servitude.

What a Djinn l ooks like in their natural form is unknown, but when manifest in the physical world, they are humanoid in their appearance. They have four arms and depending on the type, they may have legs that taper to a point, before touching the floor, or they have the appearance of a mermaids tail. That said, the djinn are also shape shifters, and can take on the form of humans, when interacting with other races, or turn invisible, being said to have the power to act “unseen”.

Despite being a once wide spread race in Elona, with their interactions with humans well documented, actual knowledge of the Djinn’s own culture is not known at all, which I personally think is a shame. As a race that has lived so long that the continents were different and the world “emptier”, they would have seen the coming and the going of other races, the Gods and of the most value, the Dragons. Their culture is one that would span hundreds of thousands of years, and would incorporate tales and documents of the cataclysms that have befallen the world the humans call Tyria.

 

Arguments For:

  • The Djinn would be truely unique as a playable race, I can’t think of any other MMO that uses an elemental entity such as these Djinn, as a playable race.
  • While they could lead to some complications in the system, they could also have a very interesting play style, such as dual wielding great swords, using four daggers, axes or short swords, and using two sets of gloves, rather than boots.
  • Through them further story development for the future can be introduced, through researching into the past.
  • They could allow for interactions with the continent of Elona.

 

Arguments Against:

  • They are incredibly long lived. If Zommoros is anything to go by, making the Djinn a playable race would meant hat a lot of the characters, if not all of them would likely exceed hundreds of years of age. Meaning that they would know a lot more about the world, the races, the gods and the dragons than the players currently do. Conveying this knowledge, without spoilers, might be tricky, and coming up with a reason why we suddenly have a bunch of young Djinn could come off as trite.
  • The Djinn’s shape-shifting abilities are different from that of the Norn, making it a difficult ability to convey in game. Races like Djinn may require an overhaul of racial diversity, when it comes to classes, stats and abilities.
  • Being from Elona, and often found only in specific locales of Elona, might make them difficult to insert into other parts of the world.

 

subtitle-hylek

img-hylekOk I chose to put a race of frogmen on this list, so sue me!

The Hylek are a race of humanoid frogs, toads and salamanders, with a domain expanding across a good portion of Tyria and Elona (Heket). While most of them stick to their individual clans, in their secluded swamps and jungle villages, the once highly xenophobic race, are starting to expand their horizons and are making the journey to becoming true denizens of Tryria, with acceptance and interaction with other races. As a part of the GW2 personal story line, you have the option to befriend the Hylek, so it might be interesting to see a similar quest, taking place in the future, where as a Hylek, you reciprocate that outreach, by travelling as an envoy to another races home city.

Their race is split into a number of tribes, and while their culture for the most part appears to be similar to that of the Aztec and Mayans, we again know very little about how their society works. It would be very cool to find out more about their lives and society from a first hand perspective, especially as we witness them as an emergent race in Tyria.

The Hylek are larger than humans for the most part in sheer mass, though a lot appear as being slightly shorter than humans, because of their hunched stance.

 

Arguments For:

  • This is again a pretty unique race with very different possibilities for their personal storylines from other races. Very few games have playable frog races, and those that do, tend to make them more humanoid than the Hylek.
  • The opening up of the Maguuma Jungle in the up coming Heart of Thorns, also introduces even more Hylek tribes, variations and occupied territories. There is possible room to add a Hylek capitol city in Maguuma.
  • Additionally, with the up coming Heart of Thorns expansion, the new tribes of Hylek introduced are directly in harms way from the newly awoken dragon, Mordremoth. This would be a perfect reason for them to get involved in the fight.
  • With so little information on the Hylek as they are right now, development of the race can go in mostly any direction the developers desire.
  • I want frog men damnit!

 

Arguments Against:

  • Their body shape is quite different from any other race that we’ve seen so far, and more varied. Remaking the armours to fit the various Hylek body structures would be a lot of work, making them a difficult race to implement, or more limited than maybe the developers would like.
  • Their ugly. It’s sad to say, but I fear that only the “sexy races” are likely to see the light of day as playable.
  • Though an emergent culture is an interesting concept, they are pretty backwards as a society compared to the rest of the races, this may make them difficult to write for.

 

subtitle-sunspears

img-sunspearsOk, so I have a theory when it comes to the conclusion of Guild Wars: Nightfall.

 

SPOILERS BY THE WAY.

 

At the end of Nightfall, when you defeat the rogue God Abaddon, Spearmarshal Kormir of the Order of the Sunspears, is raised to the position of Godhood, replacing Abaddon as the God of Truth and Justice. While Abaddon is gone, his armies the Margonites, still live on and fight against Kormir, rallied behind their leader Mallyx The Unyielding. The Margonites were once human, and when Abaddon went to war against the other Gods, they fought for Abaddon, and when he fell so did they. becoming demons. Conversely, Kormir was once the leader of the Order of the Sunspears, protectors and peacekeepers throughout all of Elona. It is my thoughts that following the events of Guild Wars: Eye of the North, when the Gods become aware of the Dragons awakening, Kormir might have risen up her Sunspears to fight along side her, essentially creating an army of angel-like beings to oppose not only the remnant Margonites, but also as a powerful army against the hordes of the Elder Dragons, especially those of Kralkatorrik, who’s minions bare a strong resemblance to the Margonites.

The inclusion of the Sunspears as some kind of Angelic race in the Guild Wars lore would have huge connotations pertaining to the disappearance of the Gods. Imagine this:

You walk into an Elonan City, the place looks mostly destroyed, as bad as Ascalon did after the searing, maybe worse. All around are shambling minions of Kralkatorrik, and maybe a few Margonites too. As you fight your way through to what seems like an area occupied by humans, you are again attacked, and forced to turn back. With more of Kralkatorrik’s Branded forming behind you, it seems like you are cut off from Tyria, and maybe hope is lost, when a blast of light comes down from the sky, and an army a pearl armored, golden skinned, spear wielding angels, descend to join the fight. Together you force back the Branded, and the mysterious shining humanoids tell you for the first time in 200 years “You will find help this day. We are the Sunspears. Kormir is with you!”

Confirmation that the Gods haven’t abandoned Tyria, development that may finally lead the the destruction of the Dragons, and a new race!

Fine, this is mostly just something in my own personal head-canon, and has very little basis in the actual current development of the Guild Wars 2 lore, but this is the sort of twist that would result in thousands of jaws hitting their desks!

Dawn is just a heartbeat away, hope is just a sunrise away. Fear not this night the Gods are back, and now it’s time for the Dragons to run and hide!

 

Arguments For:

  • We’ve already seen what demons look like in the Guild Wars Universe, this can reveal Angels.
  • A big part of the mystery of Guild Wars 2 is what happened to the Gods, this would at least shed some light on that mystery, allowing us to mover forward.
  • Heart of Thorns is about to include special traits, like hang gliding, having a flying race will tie into that nicely.
  • Creates a huge jumping off point for future development.
  • Elona was one of the biggest and best additions to Guild Wars, with two well love classes, and the addition of player developed NPCs in Heroes. However, so far has barely even been referenced. Unlike Cantha who severed ties with Tyria, Elona is physically connected to Tyria. Introducing something Elona specific would be a good reintroduction,  before moving back to Elona.

 

Arguments Against:

  • I made this up in my head, and aside from the precedent that the fate of a God can be bore by their followers, and the Sunspears were unwaveringly loyal to Kormir, there’s no actual in game hints towards the Sunspears becoming Angels. I just thought it was a cool idea.
  • Some fan theories state that the Dragons may well be the dark side of the Gods, thus this may be directly contradictory to what is going on behind the scenes.

 

subtitle-tengu

img-tenguWell this entry isn’t winning any awards for originality, as the Tengu are not only the most obvious race choice, but are also fan favourites. Ever since Guild Wars 2 was released we have been under the impression that the Tengu are coming as a playable race, because of their presence around Lion’s Arch, the back story of their race, and uh… oh yeah, they already have a starting City on the map!

The Tengu are primarily a Canthan race of humanoid birds, though cannot fly. Following the events of Guild Wars: Eye of the North, seven years after the end of Factions in continuity, came the “Winds of Change”. The Canthan Emperor established the Ministry of Purity, to wipe out all the remaining Afflicted. However, their aggression did not end there. After the Afflicted were gone, they turned their sights to the street gangs of the Am Far and the Jade Brotherhood. Once the streets were clean of gangs, the Ministry of Purity set it’s sights on the non-human races of Cantha as the scapegoat for all the Empires ills, and so sought to remove all non-humans from Cantha. When Emperor Kisu’s successor rose to power in Cantha, he annexed the regions belonging to the great Kurzick and the Luxon families, and as a united Canthan Empire, declared war on non-humans. The Tengu, and various other races who escaped the raids, fled across the seas, and some Tengu arived in Tyria where they encountered Camori who had already been residing in Kryta, united the clans, and established their own city, called the Dominion of Winds, in what was once Sanctum Cay.

The Tengu have been highly secretive behinf their city’s great walls, and understandably untrusting of the humans, but they are allowed to live in peace, and little by little more are leaving the Dominion of Winds, to trade and socialise with humans of Kryta.

 

Arguments For:

  • The Tengu were originally planned to be a playable race in time for the original release of Guild Wars 2, however, their production was cut short, and as such were left out of the final release.
  • They have been considered to be added multiple times throughout the games life so far.
  • They were confirmed as being a potential candidate for Heart of Thorns, however it was decided to add the ninth class, Revenant,  as adding a new class would offer more of a fresh experience.
  • This race is a fan favourite as the next playable race to be added.
  • We have a lot of first hand experience with the Tengu, and know a fair bit about their history in Cantha and Tyria, their clans and a number of important characters from playing Guild Wars. However, since their building of the Dominion of Winds, there has been a veritable informational black out. Together, these things create a great foundation for the race, and lots of wiggle room for development over the past 200 years.
  • The Tengu came from Cantha, introducing them as a new race could also introduce new ties to Cantha.
  • A lot of the work for the Tengu is already complete.

 

Arguments Against:

  • While the Tengu are certainly interesting, and pretty obvious, there are some far more interesting races in the Lore that deserve to be fleshed out.
  • Unlike the other suggestions as connections to Elona, Tengu are the only real connection to Cantha. If the devs intend opening up Cantha in Guild Wars 2 int he future, it may be a better idea to wait, instead of inserting them now.
  • If the Tengu are uncertain of humans, it seems out of place from a narrative perspective, that they would suddenly open their city to all and sundry. The introduction of the Tengu as a playable race, would require a number of updates over time, showing them becoming gradually more open. Maybe have them help out int he rebuilding of Lion’s Arch.

 

subtitle-kodan

img-kodanThe Kodan are a race of giant humanoid Polar Bears, thought to be related in some fashion to the Norn. The Kodan live in small close knit, tribal communities, upon their floating iceburg homes, known as Sanctuaries. The Kodan once lived happily with a life of spiritual contemplation and a strong code of honour, in the Northern Arctic Ocean, far from the prying eyes of many of the other races. However, when Jormag rose, the dragon caused a huge tidal wave, and a great number of the Sactuaries were capsized and sank, while others rode the enormous wave, and were scattered many hundreds of miles apart. Some made their way onto land and southward to the snow capped mountains and now reside with the Norn in the Far Northern Shiverpeaks.

The Norn have an interesting perspective when it comes to life and death. They believe that the dead will eventually be reincarnated, until they have learned their lessons, and are capable of moving up to the next stage of the spiritual hierarchy, as according to the teachings of the their God Koda, who exists as a manifestation in the Mists, that they can communicate with through each tribes Shaman known as a Voice. The Kodan believe that they are at the peak of this spiritual totem pole, and believe themselves to be keepers and enforcers of the balance of Koda. Their prime belief is that all things must remain in balance with the world, and depending on the perspective of the individual Kodan, the Elder Dragons awakening, is either the world attempting to rectify an imbalance and should be allowed to continue, or are agents of imbalance and should be prevented from continuing their rampage.

With an interesting religious twist on the culture that we don’t see in a lot of the other races of the Guild Wars universe (yes humans have the Six Gods and Charr are STRICTLY atheist but it doesn’t really impact their stories.) it might be interesting to see how this highly religious race will interact with the other Races, and what impact it would have on their progression.

 

Arguments For:

  • As a displaced race, the Kodan would be nomadic now, making for a possible unique way to introduce them from other capitol cities rather than starting at a Sanctuary, and have a part of their personal story be the discovery of their lost Sanctuary.
  • Alternatively, with the scattered Sanctuaries, they may have multiple smaller starting areas rather than one central area, like the other capitol cities.
  • The Kodan believe it is their place to enforce the will of Koda, whom they believe created Tyria. It would make for an interesting story, to include a trial of faith, to have them confront those religious beliefs and attempt to reconcile them to the teachings of other Gods and other spirits. Maybe as a decision somewhere through the personal story they could make the choice to continue to follow Koda, to incorporate the beliefs of others, or give up their original beliefs in favour of new ones.
  • They are ten foot tall polar bears in armour. I rest my case.

 

Arguments Against:

  • Being giant polar bears, they may be seen as too similar tot he Norn.
  • Aside from a Sanctuary, there’s no real easy way to include a new region with the Kodan, because they are nomadic.
  • I’ve already seen them compared to the Pandarin of World of Warcraft, while I personally like the Pandarin, I would hate for this to be  a reason to put people off playing Guild Wars. People can be ridiculously judgmental like that.

 

subtitle-honour

Skritt – I love the skritt. I think that as a race they are very interesting and differ greatly from a lot of other Ratmen races. However, I don;t believe the skritt would work as playable races, mostly because they are described as being rather dumb individually, but due to their incredibly fast mode of transferring information, are highly intelligent, possibly more so than humans, when working as a collective. This being one of their races most interesting abilities that sets them apart from other races, would be near impossible to portray in a way that would be satisfying to the player.

 

Grawl – I really believe the Grawl have a lot to offer when it comes to the development of the story, but not as playable characters. since the disapearence of the Gods, the Grawl have appeared to start worshiping Balthazar, the God of Fire and War. This could be because they know something that the humans don’t when it comes to the Gods power and whereabouts, and could be key in further development of the story of the missing Gods. I think they can do this best as allies and NPCs rather than as a playable character.

 

Margonites – When I was writing this there was a toss up between whether I wanted to go with the posibility of Kormir having her own army of Angelic beings or to go with the Margonites. I decided to go out on a limb, and put the Sunspears on the main list, because if it actually happens then I would have epic bragging rights! The demons of Abaddon, would make for a pretty cool playable race however if they do still exist, they are unlikely going to ally with the humans, and are more likely to fall into worship of Kralkatorrik, who represents corruption similar to Abaddon himself before his defeat.

 

Wardens – The Wardens are another race that would have been forced out of Echovald Forrest during the purification of Cantha. Where they ended up after leaving Cantha, is yet to be known, but it appears that they did not come to Tyria. Maybe they traveled to the west instead. The Wardens only just got missed off this list, I would still like to see them appear int he future, with a lot more development, and not necessarily always being enemies.

 

Ascalonian Ghost – When King Adelburn, the last King of Ascalon shattered his sword Magdaer and cast the Foefire, he committed a grievous sin, unleashing a second searing on the land of Ascalon, and damning all the remaining humans of Ascalon to be damned as ghosts, repeating the same events over and over again, still believing that they are living in that  day two hundred and fifty years ago. If a powerful enough spell could be cast to undo the cursing effects of the Foefire on the eternal warrior spirits, and allow them to be freed from their waking death, a good number of them might still choose to remain and fight on. Tus if in continuity we could return to Ascalon in a meaningful way, with a storyline that reforges Magdaer, maybe we could have Ascalonian Ghost as a playable Race. Like Wardens, this one was so close to being on the main list. However a lot of things would have to come together in a way that doesn’t feel contrived in order to make this storyline work. That said with the Revenant Class coming in, as a warrior who has crossed over and returned, there might be some hope for the pitiful echoes of life.

 

 

AndFinally-Pixelvision

So that’s my list of the five Races that I would like to see elevated to playable in the future of Guild Wars 2, and I’ve even thrown in another five races that I think could make a contribution, that I’ve seen other people mention, but also give my reasoning for why I’m looking forward tot hem less, or why they would be less likely as playable races.

Do you play Guild Wars 2? Are you a fan of the lore? What Races do you think would make the best playable characters in Guild wars 2, and what other updates would you like to see from the game in the future?

To the end, yet another article finds it’s path. I have been Andy Frogman, and this has been Pixelvision, only on The Book of Frog!

Peace and Highscores!