Saturday, July 21, 2012

Of Cabbage Elves and Kings: GW2

The briefest of first impressions, dashed off as I eat my breakfast before going to work, based on a couple of hours play last night.

Originally I didn't plan to play this Beta Weekend at all. I am deep in The Secret World and loving it despite, or even because of its flaws. The first City of Steam alpha begins today and my alpha key is safely activated. I don't have the time or enthusiasm for a final day and a half in a beta for an MMO that I will be playing full-time live in just over a month.

Curiosity, of course, got the better of me. The compromise I made was to play both a race and class that I have absolutely no intention of playing at launch, if ever. Thus my Sylvari Thief was born hatched whatever.

Noble. So noble.
I know nothing of the Sylvari other than what I have picked up around the peripheries of my reading on other matters pertaining to Guild Wars 2. My impression was that they are elves by another name. After spending a couple of hours in their starting area this impression has changed not a jot, merely hardened to a conviction.

They look elvish. Elven. Like elves. They talk like elves. Wood elves, unsurprisingly. There is talk of a Nightmare Court so Dark Elves lurk in the backstory. No doubt there will be nobles somewhere along the line and we'll have High Elves. You'd like to think the whole being a plant thing would preclude half-elves but I wouldn't put anything past the Asura.

Your correspondent, centre, falling.
The short intro takes place in  a dream. Scratch that. The short intro takes place in The Dream. Capitalization obligatory. It was a dream with about a thousand milling first level cabbage elves in, I died twice before I could even get to the Big Wood Dragon and then I was in Tyria. It might make sense when the server isn't full to bursting and half of all people playing didn't just pick a fresh cabbage.

Only laugh I had all night
Then I was in The Nursery in Greater Faydark. Well, it was either there or one of several Korean F2Ps I've uninstalled over the years. Everything was extremely green and all the NPCs talked like care assistants in a Home For The Bewildered. Or residents.

I followed my Personal Story for a few minutes and ended up in an instance at level three, inevitably seeking the Secret Salve of the Bad Race that the Elven Sylvari Wise One needed to create A Cure for the Terrible Poisoning of an Innocent. I think it's plotline #4 in Questing For Dummies.

Things did improve when I got a gun
There I met The Troll King. He was Level Five and you have to be pretty damn hard to hold the crown at a level like that. He duly kicked my stalk and I logged out in low dudgeon and spent the rest of the evening back in The Secret World, pleased at least to have all my prejudices confirmed.

On a much more positive and less snide note, I did push past the starting area and the Sylvari lands as they open out look far more intriguing, explorable and interesting. And Mrs Bhagpuss sagely made an Asura and had a great evening, having to be dragged off the computer after midnight as she also has work today. If I'd made an Asura this post would have taken a very different tone, I'm sure.


  1. From most opinions I've heard (being that I'm sitting out this BWE), is that the Sylvari have the most 'fantasy cliche' vibe out of all the races. Some people really love them, and some are just bored to tears (those of us with no inherent love of elves, like me, or who are just tired of those tropes).

    Asura on the other hand are supposed to be comedic, manic and very entertaining. I'm looking forward to trying one out at release, along with my Charr main.

    I'm impressed that ArenaNet seems to have given each race and racial story such distinct atmosphere that they can inspire such strong preferences in different people.

  2. The nightmare court is on par with the Unseelie Court of fairy lore from the British Isles (and the sylvari are based off the sidhe, which are specific to Gaelic lore in particular.) Elves come from Norse and Germanic lore. As someone who's fascinated by the lore of different countries (especially those that make up my own ancestry), it saddens me to see them all reduced to a single "trope."


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