As the first in a new feature we’re calling Author Exchange, we’ve paired with Kill Ten Rats to bring you an original editorial from outside of our regular authorship. Our Author Exchange program is intended to bridge the gap between existing Guild Wars 2 communities and journalists to bring a new set of opinions, ideas and content to readerships that might not necessarily know one another.
In this Author Exchange, Ravious from Kill Ten Rats brings you an editorial on Guild Wars 2's humans and asks what's left for them. In return, you can find my editorial over at Kill Ten Rats, so go check it out!
By Ravious - Kill Ten Rats
The age of humanity of Tyria started to ebb in the original Guild Wars. What is left of the human race in Guild Wars 2 that once was the king-of-the-hill? Perhaps it is a good start to look at how the race fell from grace.
Humans are one of the great mysteries of Tyria since they were brought to the world by their incredibly powerful gods. Unlike the charr, sylvari, and asura they are simply not native to the world. Yet, they conquered it, at least as much as we knew. They felled incredible cultures and races such as the forgotten and mursaat, and humbled others, such as the tengu and charr. For a time it looked like the human race would sit in a position to hold the world forever.
Then between Orr exploding, Ascalon burning, the Jade Wind, and Abaddon's play for escape, the human race took one too many blows to the head. At the start of Guild Wars 2, they have been beaten back and beaten down. Even their ace-in-the-hole, the human gods, have stolen their training wheels and set them down the hill while preferring to remain on their godly mountain in silence. Yet, even though the training wheels were stolen after both of humanity's legs were broken, the humans still cling to their faith. Their hope for a return to ascension.
Humanity is now led on the Tyrian content by Queen Jennah. She is an exceptionally skilled mesmer, and is truly a powerful person. Yet, she is fought politically by the Senate, underground by the White Mantle, in the open by bandits and centaurs. The Ebonhawke fortress still tries to maintain as much independence as it can while Lion's Arch does, and the Queen isn't getting any help from Cantha or Elona. This is not to say the other races don't also have their own internal problems to deal with, but it seems the other productive races are on the up-and-up.
Charr technology is making its inception across the realm. Asura magitech is critical to the entire Tyrian continent, and the sylvari are spreading out into the world like one expects an invasive species to do. The norn are doing norn things, which kind of makes them a non-issue. Humanity though is clinging to it's faith with no apparent results.
The three orders, while stocked with human grunts no doubt, have less human influence. The Vigil is lead by a charr. The human-created Durmand Priory is now led by an asura. It is currently unknown who leads the Order of Whispers (perhaps a cabal), but given that the old human Order of Whispers knew about the dragons, it is not far-fetched to believe that the leader(s) decided that the human-led Order of Whispers had their chance and failed.
In the fight to Zhaitan I see the key roles played by the four non-human playable races. Asura have science and knowledge (let's learn how to kill things better). Charr have their martial industry (more guns will kill things better). Norn have their heroism (once I become a hero I will kill things better), and the sylvari believe it is their destiny to fight the dragons (it has been foretold I will kill things better). What do the humans have? Faith and survival determination? With their gods silent, praying in the hopes to kill things better just doesn't seem on the table.
I am very interested to see how ArenaNet handles this fallen race. The simplest answer is that humans find the power of the gods. Yet whenever a game company pulls a deus ex machinima out like that, they usually get a backlash (even if they let players choose laser colors). With airships, dragon-killing lasers, and a race of plants that believe they are the world's weapons, finding a balanced note by having the gods involved is going to be very tricky. The less fun answer might be that the human's part might be downplayed now because Elona and Cantha (if we get there) will have more human-centric vibes.
Each race has a schtick, and when it's time to bring the fight to Zhaitan, I feel humans are still pushed back to the brink. Charr have progress, asura have ingenuity, norn have proaction, and sylvari have destiny. What does that leave the humans?
We'd like to thank Ravious for being the first journalist to take part in our Author Exchange program. Don't forget to visit his website over at http://www.killtenrats.com/