"Wyr Would You Like to Go Today?" by Jay Miller
So I was trolling through the forums today - you know, chattin' it up with the little people, listening to their plights, beheading the odd finger-pointing, nay-saying miscreant - when I discovered a startlingly alarming statistic: of all the gamers across the globe who follow Hero's Journey, we haven't a single Merfolk among our ranks! Now I know what you're thinking: "There's no such thing as Merfolk, ya bleedin' maroon!" But how can we know that? For all we know, the oceans are teeming with the fellers and all we have to do to lure them out is give them something amazing to get excited about!
So here's what I figure I'm gonna do. I'm gonna set a trap. A big one. I'm gonna open Pandora's box and let every last ounce of ooey-gooey Wyr goodness leak out. And then I'm gonna wait. If the Merfolk show up, I'll do a little dance and smite me some more nay-sayers. If not – well – there's always the circus.
So what are we waiting for? Let's dig into Wyr!
When I think of Wyr, my mind doesn't immediately lock onto the mechanics of the things. I don't think about sockets or customization, buffs or abilities, or how awesome it'll be to walk around guttin' Ukar with a sword that has little chunks of fallen heroes socketed to it. No, when I hear the word Wyr, I get all misty-eyed because I know they came as blood payment for all those poor, unfortunate souls who died during the Sundering.
Y'see, Wyr are far more than just wicked-cool trinkets you carry around with you to make you stronger, faster, and glowier than ever. They’re living history, magically-infused kernels of Elanthia’s past and the embodiment of Elanthia herself. They take on the voice of a planet so riddled with tragic history that you'd be hard pressed to take a single step in any direction without stepping all over the bones of somebody's ancestors. Wyr are the voice of the planet, and they scream bloody murder.
When the world was Sundered, all magic was broken. Wards were shattered, levitating cities came crashing to the ground, and little doggies everywhere were released from their masters, free to pee on everything and everyone in sight. Heroes died that day – a whole world full of ‘em – and in the blink of an eye, every nation and every faith lost some of their greatest and most influential leaders, warriors and great thinkers. The fires blazed, and not even the hordes of giddy pee-doggies could quench their thirst.
Out of the twisted wreckage of a world-gone-jigsaw came little glimmering reminders: artifacts bound with the spirit, honor, and essence of the many heroes who fell that day. To preserve its history and keep the spirit of these legends alive, Elanthia worked her money-maker and lo and behold: out of the endless night that had washed over her, Elanthia gave birth to thousands of magicked relics – living nuggets of history and tributes to heroes from ages past. Surviving until the present-day, these artifacts would serve is constant reminders of Elanthia’s dark past while keeping alive the hope and wonder of that bygone era.
In-game, these tasty little morsels show up as ancient relics and artifacts hundreds of years old. Each one ties in to the history of a single hero of Elanthia's past and gives you a glimpse into their lives as they lived them in the age of legends. Coursing with magical energy, they can be socketed into weapons, armor, spells, and even your hero herself! “Pick me!” they'll shout, and when you finally scoop one up and stick it into your fancy-schmancy Vorpal Sword of Smashing – voila – instant baddie puree.
This adds a whole new dynamic to item customization. Far beyond the basic socket-and-smash melee found in games like Diablo II, Wyr allow your abilities, spells and physical attributes to bend and change as your needs require. For instance, Lynch's Spark and Ashog's Frozen Heart (shown later in this article) can be socketed into the Wizard's Elemental Helix ability, transforming it from a simple arcane spell to one infused with fire or ice energies, respectively. When placed in the weapon of the wielder, however, your attack gains the elemental attribute, instantly transforming you from a stoic elemental spellcrafter into a down-and-dirty fire or ice warrior-mage. The vast number of possible Wyr combinations produce an almost limitless set of strategies and play styles – not only can you socket your Wyr in any one of dozens of slots, but you can also equip more than one Wyr per slot in many cases. The sky's very much the limit to what you can do.
One of the coolest things about Wyr is what they do for character customization. How many times have you gone to the auction house in your favorite MMO, tracked down and bought those "perfect" new frost-themed threads, and then fifteen minutes later scavenged off of some half-eaten corpse an even better equip that you felt obligated to wear because it had better stats? Sure, it's an ugly hue of yellow that clashes with your boots and barely comes down past your knees, but it gives you a nice +22 to butt-kicking, right? Nuh-uh – that ain't good enough.