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Aidan's Guild Wars 2 Blog

A in-depth review of Guild Wars 2 from the perspective of a long time Guild Wars 1 player. In this blog, I look at the good, the bad, and the ugly of a promising new title.

Author: Aeander

Trahearne and the Sylvari (spoilers)

Posted by Aeander Monday October 29 2012 at 3:04PM
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If one were to pick words to sum up the Guild Wars 2 community's opinion of Trahearne, they might go with "horrible," "cliche," "Mary Sue," or "the worst character ever." Simply mentioning his name in any zone will quickly stir up revulsion among most players who have experienced the personal story past level 60. 

 

But do these insults hold up? In this blog, I seek to answer this question by pointing out the good, the bad, and the misunderstood aspects of Trahearne's character.

 

 

He is a walking cliche.

 

Yes, he pretty much is. Despite the unique flavor of the Sylvari race, the entirety of their role can be viewed as one big Deus Ex Machina that comes out in Tyria's time of dire need with an immunity to the dragons' corruptions and heroes with birth rights to defeat them.

 

Trahearne is especially bad because the entire story seems hand-crafted to fit him. He is the very first of the Firstborn. The original Sylvari with a divine right to save the day and undo Zhaitan's work. He is given a magic sword that is the bane of his foe's existence. He is respected by all groups and feared by an enemy who seemed fearless. Even your own player character immediately respects him and willingly becomes his lackey.

 

So yes, he IS cliche. And he is a Mary Sue at face value. But there is more to him than this.

 

He comes out of nowhere and steals your personal story

 

Well...... yes and no. This is an issue of PISS-POOR PRESENTATION.

 

The truth of the matter is that Trahearne is very important to the story of Guild Wars 2 because he represents something your character does not. A neutral, informed character who has a history of fighting the Dragons in his own, unique way that is crucial to Tyria's success. He possesses knowledge that all of Tyria needs. And he was not given this knowledge - he earned it through 20 years of dangerous and extensive research.

 

Your character possesses none of this. You did not immediately set out to kill a dragon (unless you chose Sylvari).  You merely lived your life as you could and rose to the challenge, becoming a hero through your choices. And while you were initially neutral, you lost this when you joined an order out of necessity. Because of this, you became unfit to lead the pact. 

 

The big problem with Trahearne's role in your story is that it LOOKS like he comes out of nowhere. It is easily the worst implementation of a main character I have ever seen in any game I have ever played. He was not mentioned in any Guild Wars 2 novel. He was not alluded to at any early point in the Guild Wars 2 story. If you were not a Sylvari, you didn't even meet him until about level 50. If you were not a Sylvari, you did not get to witness his vision of the future at the Pale Tree. In other words, if you were not a Sylvari, he most definitely DID seem to come out of nowhere. And even if you were a Sylvari, you had probably forgotten about him until his reappearance because he made such a small impression.

 

Why do all of the Orders respect him?

 

Believe it or not, he deserves their respect. Each Order has a logical reason for wanting to recruit him:

 

The Vigil

 

Here we have an organization dedicated solely to combatting the Dragons and their minions. Trahearne has more knowledge of Zhatain, the Undead, and Orr than anyone in Tyria. It is natural that the Vigil would seek to recruit him, learn new ways of killing the undead more efficiently from him, and train him to be a tactician in their army.

 

The Durmand Priory

 

The Priory are knowledge seekers in all aspects and Trahearne could be viewed as the Scholar-who-got-away in regards to their organization. He has spent his life doing the most dangerous and important research of anyone. In other words, he would have been an excellent leader in the Priory.

 

Much like the Vigil, the Priory wanted his knowledge.

 

The Order of Whispers

 

It is rather subtle, but the very nature of Trahearne's job in Orr implies a gift for stealth and a desire to observe secrets and learn information. This is the very nature of a Whisper's Agent. Trahearne could not have surived on Orr without these traits. As such, it is natural that the Order would admire him and seek to recruit him.

 

Why are the Sylvari even here?

 

The Pale Tree seems to be a sort of living McGuffin. I figure that she is either:

 

A) A part of Ancient Tyria that is as old as the Dragons and naturally opposes them.

 

This is evidenced by the fact that she was but one seed found in a mysterious cave with little to no knowledge of its existence. It may have been forgotten by history. It would also explain her immediate need to give her very first child a divine mission to undo the corruption of Orr. This is also supported by the immunity of Sylvari towards corruption by the dragons and their natural base nature of good vs. evil.

 

This means that the Pale Tree could be a piece of Tyria itself. A force sent by the world itself to resist its demise.

 

B) A relatively new entity that did not exist in Tyria's older days and was created by magic of some sort. Perhaps, she was created by one of the races that previously fought the Elder Dragons.

 

All evidence that supports the initial claim would support this as well. If the Pale Tree and her sibling seeds were created to combat the dragons.

 

Being a new life form would provide the simple explanation (which is guessed at by ingame NPC's) of "They can't corrupt us because they don't know how we work yet."

 

Either way, we have established that the Sylvari are heavily ingrained into the plot of Guild Wars 2, moreso than any other race, even though they are a new face on Tyria. It is only natural that a Sylvari would be the hero of the storyline.

 

His dialogue is too wordy.

 

Yes, but he's a scholar. He has spent the majority of 20 years being far removed from all other life on Tyria and thus should be expected to have very low communications skills. He is not good at speaking in a natural way, and this shows.

 

He is way too self absorbed

 

I can't really refute this... because I kind of agree. He is the most important man in Tyria and he knows it.

 

His Voice Acting / Appearance is terrible.

 

No..... arguments..... here..... They need serious work and revision for Trahearne to ever be a respectable character.

 

He needs character model improvements and a voice actor who shows some personality, rather than draining the life out of a scene the moment he appears.

Rommie10-284 writes:

But wouldn't a voice actor with "personality" make T even MORE annoying as an AoD-type Ash character?  Even if he makes you nod off as-is, I think I like him that way.

But the overall point is true - the Sylvari are Ailens Save The Day and make the others look even more impotent than the story sets them at the start.  I'm not a fan of Doom 'n Gloom and Anti-Hero stories at all, but I want the Centaurs and the Dragons to keep winning in GW2.

"We'll make our last stand in Divinity's Reach!"  Fine, I say, do that, and lose the final battle.  What then?  That's the story I want to see out of GW2, rather than the plant people saved us all, hooray.

Mon Oct 29 2012 5:04PM Report
Rommie10-284 writes: Aliens save the day - sheesh.  No edit features.  Better than the Dwarves pouring out of the ground at the last minute, I suppose. Mon Oct 29 2012 5:08PM Report
Aeander writes: A voice actor with more personality would make him more endearing, assuming they revamped his dialogue just a bit to remove the "It's well within MY power" and the "You can't do it alone" and the "I was clearly the target!" that defines him as so self-loving. Mon Oct 29 2012 5:15PM Report

MMORPG.com writes:
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