[GW2] Humans – Can You Hear the Thunder?

The most interesting part, in my mind, of the Guild Wars 2 human week was not what was told. That is not to say I wasn’t incredibly impressed with the setup and delivery. It’s just that if I were to choose a human as my main character, I might want to look at what they aren’t saying… Where the focus wasn’t.

For good reason, Guild Wars 2 is narrowing the scope of the world back to the continent of Tyria where the first Guild Wars, Prophecies, took place. There are five playable races, of which all but two are believed to be native to the Tyrian continent. The charr and the sylvari are definitely native. Asura came from beneath the Tyrian continent, and have never spoken of being in other places in the world. Finally, the norn’s origins are unknown, but their are theories they might be half-human anyway (given that they… might be the same species in the most copulatory sense). This leaves the most decidedly non-native humans.

We know for certain that humans are not native to the continent of Tyria. They aren’t even native to the world. The human gods brought them to Tyria, and under the gods’ guidance, humans flourished. They came from the far south; south of Cantha. Humans first arrived in Cantha almost two-thousand years before the Guild Wars game began, and so began the golden age of the blessed race. They settled in Elona and Tyria about six hundred years after colonizing Cantha. Then it was actually a group of humans from Elona, not Ascalon (or Orr), that sets up what is now in Guild Wars 2, the last human nation of Tyria, Kryta.

That’s not even the most interesting part, in my mind. I think the biggest clues to the origins of the human race lies in the Factions campaign. Ever wonder why the Kurzicks had such a different ultra-religious, Germanic-based culture that stood out like a sore thumb in the Asian-inspired Cantha? It’s not a well-known fact that the tribes to become the Canthans were the first to settle that continent, and the Luxons and Kurzicks came to Cantha after. So Cantha is actually made of three widely disparate cultures. These cultures existed somewhere before the emigrants made it to Cantha. Are there whole continents ruled by Kurzicks somewhere in the world of Tyria, or perhaps somewhere out in the Mists there is a whole world of Kurzicks?

So ArenaNet brought the focus back to Tyria and re-balanced the power between the playable races, but what about elsewhere in the world? Sylvari and charr seem to have minimal influence outside the continent of Tyria. There is no mention of any other significant norn or asura colonies outside the Shiverpeaks or the Tarnished Coast, respectively. What is going to happen game-wise in Cantha, a human stronghold, or even the mummified Elona? The human story might continue, whereas I am not sure how ArenaNet is going to expand on the Tyrian-native races’ lore. Small things to consider at character creation time.

in a fried-out Kombi

22 thoughts on “[GW2] Humans – Can You Hear the Thunder?”

  1. You make a good point, one of the outcomes of having a game which focused solely on Humanity is that when you move away there is no lore-base for expansion into new territories. Having said that, its ANets game, if they want to make up some new stories and tell us its canon, they blemmin’ well can do that.

    I’ll be playing Sylvari when the hammer comes down, I actually like the idea: new game, new race (very very new race – what is it, like 10 years?), new character. The Sylvari are interesting because they will be making their own lore – weaving their own threads into the patchwork of GW stories without a pattern to follow (short of Ventari’s teachings etc)… I dunno… theres a blog-post in there somewhere!

    “Are there whole continents ruled by Kurzicks somewhere in the world of Tyria, or perhaps somewhere out in the Mists there is a whole world of Kurzicks?”

    As a Luxon, this statement scares me.

  2. I think you are thinking too much about that: The question of the human origin will just fall by the wayside.

    Nobody who is not deep into GW lore knows that humans are not native to the continent of Tyria. They might wonder from where humans have come, but this mythological origin is probably nothing any writer ever thought about.

    What do you expect? A human storyline that extends to another continent where other humans are, in a GW2 expansion? Well, I guess Asura, Sylvari and Charr want to come along, too, so they would have to get a story as well.

    I think for almost everyone the deciding factor will be how much they like the looks of their character/race.

    1. Then why does ArenaNet keep it such a mystery?

      Also, I don’t expect a storyline from Tyria to say extend to Cantha. But, if we do get to Cantha… it might be very human-centric. A charr in Cantha is definitely going to be a foreigner. But, it would be cool if sylvari got tied to the wardens somehow.

      (Also fun facts to know and tell: I don’t fully agree with every post I write. Doesn’t mean I can’t advocate different views. :D I’m charr to the core, baby.)

  3. First real expansion: Tengu, with a gated area for leveling new characters. With the opening of the seas caused by the defeat of the dragon of Orr, the militaristic Tengu have reached out to the Charr, who are providing “advisors” and assistance beating back the tyrannical Canthan Empire, which took a false path when the present (i.e. Factions) Emperor’s son suppressed non-humans, the Kurzicks and the Luxons.

    Second expansion: Centaurs. Elona’s full of them, and by Elona Arenanet might have had time to model armor, swimming and whatnot for four legged characters.

    Of course, this is the way Blizzard would do it, meaning it’s obvious. Arenanet has been very cagey about when, if ever, we’ll be able to see Cantha and Elona. As likely as not we’ll never see either place.

    1. One thing we have seen about Anet – they’re swinging for the fences on this one. We know that other realms exist e.g. the Mists, torment, etc. Maybe we need to think bigger also. Maybe they will have entirely new continents, but maybe there will be completely unknown and unexplored realms of spirit and sky.

    2. Consider that the next Guild Wars Beyond chapter is set in Cantha. I would bet that it is more likely than not that we will revisit Cantha in some form. Perhaps it will be a mini-expansion rather than a full-blown campaign, though.

      I would also think that Tengu are definitely on the top of the list for expanded playable races. Fans have been wanting them as a playable race for a long time.

      1. agreed. especially with the next gw beyond being set in cantha, it would be quite possible that we’ll see some sort of expansion into Cantha in gw2,

        as well as the Tengu/avacari was a race that many fans back in ’07 hoped would be one of the races for gw2

        my personal opinion is that we’ll see a Canthan expansion two years after gw2 release, but obviously I have no hold in that

  4. I’m not so confident in new races being introduced myself, unless they start at L80 (quite fitting for the mummies of Elona, for instance); with 80 character levels and the emphasis on non-linear personal stories, it seems near-impossible to me that each new campaign includes 80 level of content on top of the new stuff deisgned for L80 characters from the first campaign.

    Re: other races

    I fully expect these will start turning up everywhere; if not in GW Beyond, then in the centuries between games.
    If a race as crude as the dredge can tunnel between continents, the asura network must surely have done so too at various points in history; likely there are other asura civilzations there (or still underground), blithely assuming that those elsewhere were wiped out when the gateway system failed.
    Aka the Young Indiana Jones phenomenon: “everyone’s lost but me!”

    I don’t think they’ll have a presence anywhere else, but they’ll be a BLAST to see adventuring abroad; their so expansionist and dismissive of humans (by extension: human mummies), that seeing their escapades in a broader human-centric world can only be fun.

    These seem to have the least potential, really; they haven’t been anyplace else, and they won’t likely be going anywhere else other than to slay some monsters & acquire a reputation.

    We know the Pale Tree was grown from only one of many seeds in the cave it was found… but I don’t think we’ll see playable sylvari anywhere else; the Ventari tablet factor suggests it takes more than the seed to start a benevolent sylvari colony.
    They should be fun to watch abroad too though, and at their remarkable distribution rate it shouldn’t take long for them to establish a presence anywhere – unless they continue being born only via the Pale Tree, as to NPCs I believe long-distance travel is big deal.

    1. It’s possible for a norn-like race (biologically, if different culturally) to be found on some other continent. It’s also possible that the norn, like the humans, are introduced.

    2. Your comment about starting new race characters at level 80 is very realistic. ANet confirmed *there will be no additional campaigns for GW2* like we had in GW1. GW2 will be *one game* whereas GW1 was 3 standalone games. ANet confirmed there may be expansions in place of new campaigns. GW1’s EotN expansion was designed for max level characters. I would expect a GW2 expansion to have only high level content as well. That is the main difference between an expansion and a campaign.

      1. The term” one world” may be understood in several ways. For example there may be only 1 worldmap with multiple continents which you cannot access without the expansion. We know that there is some overlap between tyria proper and ehlona in the desert and overlook, so that is still consistent with one world and expansions.

        It would also be consistent with the state of the industry (cough wow cough) to raise level caps with expansions. Otherwise, why lvl 80? Why not 90? Why not a nice super- base 10 number like 100?

  5. Well, don’t forget that we’re probably not getting the Far Shiverpeaks or what the humans call the Charr Homelands in GW2 either. Norn and charr stories can continue there, and gw could always steal a page from WoW and stick another world tree someplace else. The sylvari came from a seed someone found in a cave afterall. And there are already asura gates in Kaineng city and Istan.

  6. Problem, we’ve already been told that a new emperor of Cantha will set about expelling the non-human races. Asura, charr, norn and sylvari are hardly going to be welcomed in Cantha after that. Down with Ministry of Purity!

    Oh, as a Warden of the Luxons (almost Bastion) I certainly hope there isn’t a world of Kurzicks some where.

  7. As we don’t know what’s happened in the 250 years in Cantha and Elona… can we also not assume that there’s no one left there? Wiped out? changed into something else? Isolation and emphasis on Tyria opens the canvas for ArenaNet to pretty much do what every they want with those two areas :)

    1. We actually do know something about what’s going on in both locations. We know Cantha hasn’t been wiped out because there have been Canthan shipwrecks on the Tarnished Coast (no survivors, though) and the Order of Whispers does have means to communicate with Elona.

      However, there are plenty of other locations we have yet to see. There may be other nations of the other playable races out there somewhere…

    There is the implication in EoD that the Norn make decent seafaring folk (although the Asura, as always, claim to be better). Perhaps in the intervening years between 1 and 2 the norn have spread to the continents in that way.

    I’d love for ANet to have thought of this stuff and to have started to introduce races into other areas in GW:B.

  9. This is the most surprising and thought provoking GW2 article I’ve read so far, Ravious. I’m not a big lore buff thanks to an inherently bad memory of details but this got me actually interested in the human lore. I do like History in general, linguistics in particular, which is tied to a big extend to ethnology.

    Many people seem to forget that humans immigrated to Tyria and consequently invaded big parts of it and oppressed and expeled the native inhabitants, like the centaurs, from Kryta and Ascalon. Just like the invasion of North America.
    Another point why I won’t play a human; they brought the war with the centaurs on themselves and I won’t aid them this time.

Comments are closed.