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Columns: More Than Quest Givers

By David North on January 10, 2012

More Than Quest Givers

Guild Wars 2 is shaping up to be a very diverse MMORPG, and by that I mean its races. Races are an important part of MMOs.  They offer options to the player and help make the in game world feel whole.  We have gone over the races that we will have the opportunity to play as, but many of us have forgotten about the other races.  We will be able to explore their villages and cities, accept quests from them, and even meet them on the battlefield.  Given all this interaction with them, it makes sense that a lot goes into these races, even if we won’t be playing as them. So let’s go over what makes these races awesome, and not just a random race put in for players to get a few quests from.


Let’s first look at the Grawl, a powerful and mysterious ape-like people.  For a race that the player has gone around and beat the crap out of in the previous game, the Grawl have an amazing amount of back story.  First off, the Grawl are very spiritual.  They believe that all things in the physical word have a spirit.  Things that have great strength are worshipped as Gods, and each tribe believes in worshiping different things.  With each tribe worshipping different Gods, war will break out often.  Beliefs will change, kind of like a fad.  When one God fails them, they can move on to a different God in hopes of getting what they want.

Other races, such as the Humans and Charr, see the Grawl as degraded versions of each other.  Each race tries to make points against the other, as to feel like if they shared the same ancestry with the Grawl it would look poorly on them.   This may be due to the fact that the Grawl live in caves, rather than building villages which are considered to be more civilized.   With these little tidbits thrown into the lore of the Grawl, they are more than just a random monkey look-a-like race.   They have a way of living, and world has a way of viewing them, so when you get the chance to interact with them it will feel like more than just a random encounter.

It’s nice to know that I’m not the only artist out there doing concepts of naked creatures.

Next we have the Quaggan.  What really makes me interested in this race is that they live underwater.  In Guild Wars 2 we will be able to go into the watery depths and explore them.  To bring life underwater, a rich and interesting race was created.  The Quaggan populates the underwater world, keeping to themselves in a peaceful manner.  They are very polite to others, and have a unique way of speech that seems strange to other races.  Social behaviors make the Quaggan do their best to keep calm, as even the slightest bit of anger can make them go into an uncontrollable rage.  This is the opposite of the Charr, who have episodes of rage often.

The Quaggan appear to be a very ornate race.  They could run around naked and not have a care in the world, but to have that feeling of individuality, they wear very decorative pieces of clothing.  Their clothes don’t cover a lot of their bodies, but is mostly placed on their head and near the face, like a head dress. They are colorful and have unique flowing shapes, which fits their personality.

The world of Tyria is full of clever races, as many of them can create tools and weapons and have the ability to communicate through speech.  But one race does all this in a strange and unique way.  They are called the Skritt, the enemies of the Asura.  What I love about this race of rat like creatures is that they are like a swarm.  A single Skritt is a simple creature, it knows how to survive and live.  Now if you get a bunch of these guys together, it’s a whole other story.  The Skritt communicate using chirps and squeaks.  They do this rather quickly, allowing them to share information much faster than you or I could.  When more Skritt show up, it’s just more eyes and ears experiencing a situation and that means even more information which gets shared and analyzed quickly.  This way of speaking makes them seem more like a creature of sci-fi rather than fantasy.  That’s fine though: I think they’re awesome.

To give a race life in a game, you need to think about their life style and environment, not just how the race looks.

Spiritual beliefs, behaviors and ways of communication are ways that a simple race in a game can be given more life.  It is easy to say why a race is filled with hatred, but telling the player why, and how a race came to be that way just makes it feel more real.  With all the lore that is being thrown into the races of Guild Wars 2, the game will have more to pull from so that the races behave in the game world in unique ways.  The one thing I am looking forward to the most is how these races will behave around each other.

What race is your favorite?  Let us know in your comments below.

David North / All my life I've been a gamer, from side scrolling adventures to shooters, it was only a mater of time before the RPG genre would grab a hold of me. My love for games grew so much that I started to make them. It grew even more, and now I also write about them.
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