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 Interview about the races lore with GW2 designers from German site Onlinewelten.com

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PostSubject: Interview about the races lore with GW2 designers from German site Onlinewelten.com   Tue Jan 19, 2010 2:37 am

Onlinewelten: Hi Ree, Hi Eric. There weren’t any female charr in either GW: Prophecies or GW: Eye of the North. But they will most likely be included in Guild Wars 2. Where have they been hiding so far and how can we imagine them?

Ree Soesbee: There certainly are female charr in GW2. In the history of the charr, the women were once strong warriors, as respected as the males. However, when the Flame Legion took over and tried to unify the race, one of their methods of forcibly pacifying the other legions was to refuse combat training to female charr. During this dark time, females had to train in secret, passing techniques down by word of mouth and suffering horrible penalties – even death – if they were caught using weapons or fighting in battles. During the charr revolt some 40 years after the fall of Ascalon, a female charr named Kalla Scorchrazor led an uprising, doubling the strength of the armies that opposed the Flame Legion. In the end, it was their courage that freed the charr legions from the domination of the shaman caste.

Onlinewelten: The sylvari descend from a tree and have no children. Nevertheless, there are images of male sylvari. How do you explain this?

Ree Soesbee: Both male and female sylvari descend from the Mother Tree. As to whether the sylvari can have children? That question, like whether or not a sylvari can die of old age, is still unanswered. They simply haven’t been around long enough to have a conclusive answer to either one.

Onlinewelten: Could you tell us a bit about the “evil” slyvari, the Nightmare Court?

Ree Soesbee: The Nightmare Court can be compared to legends of the Unseelie Court, the Dark Fae, and other faerie creatures of darkness. They are evil, like many things in Guild Wars, but they are intelligent and rational – they have chosen a path that they believe is the ‘correct’ one, and they are eager to convince the rest of the sylvari race to embrace their ways. We’ve said before that The Dream has two sides – it is neither wholly good, nor wholly evil in itself. The Nightmare Court have an affinity for the darker side of The Dream, and they seek to understand its depths. They hold Dark Vigils filled with regal depravity; twisted courtliness and sadistic tournaments that pervert sylvari chivalry. The Nightmare Court don’t consider themselves ‘perverse,’ and some among them might even argue that they are not wholly ‘evil.’ They simply follow the darker side of The Dream and explore depths of the sylvari soul that already exist. Who is to say that the sylvari were not wrongly influenced by Ventari’s ancient teachings, that clinging to the lessons of his Tablet has not changed them from what they were meant to be? The Nightmare Court feel that they need to commune with all parts of their spirits, with all parts of nature – no matter how horrible or vile. There, they find secrets and enlightenment that other sylvari are too chivalrous – or too afraid – to seek.

Onlinewelten: In one recent interview it was mentioned that the sylvari correlate with a certain season. Is this relevant for the player? Do the characters differ depending on the time of the year in which they were created?

Eric Flannum: The season that their sylvari character correlates to is very relevant to the player. We don’t grant the character anything that is power-related, but their season is one of the many things that differentiate one characters personal story from another’s.

Onlinewelten: Do you plan something similar for other races?

Eric Flannum: Each race has a number of factors that will change their personal story. Some of the things that are equivalent to sylvari seasons include a human’s racial heritage, a norn’s animal totem of choice, a charr’s legion affiliation, and an asura’s college.

Onlinewelten: The asura changed their appearance considerably between Eye of the North and the Guild Wars 2 trailer? Why is that?

Eric Flannum: We don’t really view it as a change in appearance. We updated the look of all of our races to fit with our new art style as well as our new engine technology. That being said, fans have only seen a small amount of the variation that is available for asura PCs as far as looks go. We’re confident that every asura fan will find a face that they would be proud to call their own.

Onlinewelten: Are the kodan just another form of the norn or a species of their own? They seem to be living on an iceberg with sails. Does that mean that their city is constantly changing position?

Ree Soesbee: Kodan are not norn. Kodan are not shapechangers; the form you see is their sole physical form. Some scholars hypothesize that the two races may share a common history, but they are not at all the same race. The great kodan sanctuaries, their cities, are mobile. However, with the rise of the dragon Jormag in the far north, their Sanctuaries have been pushed out of the massive ice seas and into the shallow bays and harbors that border the Shiverpeaks. They cannot return to the arctic oceans, for fear that the dragon will destroy them utterly.

Onlinewelten: We have seen news that norn can transform into ravens. Will players be able to fly?

Eric Flannum: Players will not be able to fly in Guild Wars 2. When we were looking at new places to take Guild Wars 2 we decided pretty early on that we wanted to tackle the underwater exploration aspect both because we thought we could make it really visually appealing and do it in a way that was a lot more accessible than it usually is in other games. Underwater exploration adds a lot of playable space to our world that we need to populate as well as providing us with a lot of technical and artistic hurdles to overcome. Because of this we thought it was prudent to only take on the underwater exploration. As for the second part of the question, norn do not transform into ravens so much as a half norn/half raven form. Unfortunately for the norn (and fortunately for everyone else), they are not able to fly in this form.

Onlinewelten: Could you tell us a bit about how the races relate to each other in general?

Ree Soesbee: Old angers and different values make the races unwilling to ally with one another; too many of the leaders in Tyria have their own ideas about ‘how things should be run’ to make for easy or simple relations. Further, some races – like the humans and the charr – are still skirmishing and arguing about historical grievances even while they’re trying to make peace. The sylvari are so new that most races view them with a certain amount of uncertainty and mistrust, while the asura go to great lengths to make sure everyone else realizes their intellectual superiority. As for the norn, they’re more focused on the individual hero than the overall ‘nation,’ so it is nearly impossible for any of them to say they speak for their race as a whole. As a player in Tyria, all races will be able to work and adventure together, and experience the wonders of the world. There may be cultural biases or other difficulties, but it is possible for a human to visit the charr’s Black Citadel, or for a charr to walk the streets of Divinity’s Reach. And all races congregate in Lion’s Arch – the one true haven of cooperation and peace.

Onlinewelten: The trailer shows a sylvari calling up a tree creature and the asura are surrounded by golems. Are these creatures comparable to pets? If so, does every race have one?

Eric Flannum: I can’t comment on exactly how the creature you speak of is used by the sylvari or how the asura use their golems, but it is fair to say that all of the races have comparable abilities. The norn, for example, have their various half-norn/half-animal forms.

Onlinewelten: Many fans have longed for dwarves. Why didn’t they make it as a playable race?

Eric Flannum: One of the things that we try to do with our story and lore is to build a sort of roadmap for where the world and all the races that inhabit it have been and where they are going in the future. The dwarves have played an important part in past events (more than players are even aware of at this time) and will have a role in the future as well. Because of the destiny we chose for the dwarven race, they didn’t make a particularly compelling playable race for Guild Wars 2. But who knows what the future holds for them?
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