So I stumbled on this thanks to EQHammer and looked deeper into the EQN forum posts from Moorgard where he buckled and gave a huge lore dump on the Teir'Dal to help with the new structures workshop for the Dark Elves. It brings up more questions then answers for myself and causes me to scratch my head. Can't wait for the new e-books ahead.
WARNING SPOILERS: If you have not read any of the e-books or don't want future lore in e-books to be spoiled read no further!
“If the unfinished bases of the DE architecture are kept in the EQN art style, a lore based justification for the change needs to be provided, since it goes against all previous lore of Dark Elves in the fantasy genre. "Because the buildings are grown out of the rock" just doesn't cut it for justification. "
"Dark Elves have (necessarily) been too perfectionist to allow such lack of attention to detail.”It's not lack of attention to detail at all. It's a deliberate act of dominance.
Rather than clearing out every remnant of nature from an area they're settling, they keep some of it and build atop it, using what remains to remind all who see it how the Teir'Dal imposed their will upon their surroundings.
Likewise, if the dark elves conquered an enemy's stronghold and decided to fortify it, they probably wouldn't tear down everything. They'd keep part of what was there before and build upon it, retaining certain elements as a reminder to those they defeated. "Hey, we took your stuff. It's ours now. Remember that."
Also, keep in mind that the gameplay of EQN isn't about race vs. race--it's much more granular than that. Each kingdom of Norrath is made up of many layers, organizations and individuals which can have competing goals even within a given city or region. What will define your character is which organizations you choose to aid and which ones you seek to thwart. These organizations can have not only their own symbology, but in some cases specific shapes and colors that help them stand out. In other words, this racial style guide is only the surface layer--there's much more to come.
Having dark elves as the first style guide is tricky, because we can't connect all the dots yet. Up to this point of what you've learned about EQN, the Teir'Dal were a military unit of the elves, not a race. We went to great lengths in the fiction to make that clear. Now we're sort of jumping ahead, describing what their settlements will eventually look like.
There's a lot of stuff that happens in their story between the Fall of Bastion and the establishment of the first true dark elven settlement which informs the style guide you have. And we can't quite explain it all yet...but we will."
I'm reluctant to spill too much more on the dark elves' recent history since we've got fiction pieces coming which will provide a ton of detail. But I can give you a few broad strokes in a way that gives a bit of context.
The Teir'Dal were transformed by their time on Umbra, physically and culturally. In both conscious and subconscious ways, the architecture they encountered on that foreign world bled into their perceptions and affected their aesthetic choices. After returning to Norrath, the structures they built couldn't help but echo their experiences on Umbra. Drake's upcoming stories will reveal a *lot* more about this, and I think fans of this race are really going to be jazzed by what they read.
It was brought up last year at SOE Live that dark elves have "dragon blood," and I've seen this taken in enough directions that I'd like to clarify the point. They did not crossbreed with dragons, get blood transfusions from dragons, or anything of the sort. To explain, I need to provide a bit of background.
Grab some coffee. This will take a minute.
The history of Norrath is divided into big chunks called eras. The ones we've talked about so far include the Keldarain Era, Lost Era, Dal Era, and Combine Era.
During the Keldarain Era, Norrath was inhabited by races which predate the elves, dwarves, ogres, and other races you know today. These early races had a much closer relationship with the dragons; they lived side by side, shared knowledge, and ventured through the portals to explore other realms together. They even founded an order of Dragon Knights, which bonded a mortal with a dragon. They shared a spiritual connection that bound the two together, and through this connection a bit of dragon essence was absorbed by the Keldarain who underwent the bonding ritual. This essence made its way into the gene pool, though mostly in subtle and latent ways.
This era ended with a cataclysmic event that severely wounded the Nor'I and broke the planet (it is no coincidence that devastating events mark major turning points for Norrath). Without their connection to the Nor'I to sustain them, the Keldarain races died off. Their essence faded, returning to the cosmic soup, if you will. When at last the Nor'I had healed itself enough to bring forth life again, new races arose which had ties to those of the previous era but were not direct copies of them. Think of their genetic elements as blending, combining and mixing in new and different ways.
So when you look at the elves, you must realize they have things in common with the Keldarain races, some of which are obvious and others of which are buried in their genetic makeup. When the Teir'Dal were exposed to...certain influences... on Umbra, part of what happened is that those latent tendencies were triggered. That little bit of dragon essence was sparked, leading to the horns and such reappearing. Saying that this is "dragon blood" is a bit misleading, but that's certainly a colloquial way of putting it that the people of Norrath would understand.
Remember, when the dark elves appeared on Norrath, nobody had seen anything like them before. All kinds of rumors would arise among those who were fearful of them, including the notion that they had the blood of the hated dragons in their veins.
Of course, not everyone was frightened by the transformed Teir'Dal. Some among the elves were drawn to them, and marriages between dark and light were inevitable. And yet it troubled some to realize that the children born to such unions were always dark elves--every one of them.
The power they encountered on Umbra must have been potent indeed..."