With Guild Wars 2 Head Start (Aug. 25th) around the corner, it’s time to make the difficult choice.
Selecting a race and profession.
Oh well, that would be one of the difficult choices. The other emerging one is another topic for another day.
I don’t normally believe in the saying of “ignorance is bliss”, but now I see the merit somewhat. Never before I had such difficulty in choosing a race and class for my character in an MMO.… I suppose never before I am instilled with much lore and background stories of a virtual world before I set foot in it. /fanboi
So, srs bsns is serious. I’m not fond of making alts, which complicates the problem even more. Unfortunately, Guild Wars 2 is unlike Mabinogi, Eve Online, PSO2 and mostly other MMO games I enjoyed where the player is allowed to be a “jack of all trades” on one character; in Guild Wars 2, race and profession are set in stone after character creation.
To help tackle the problem, I feel a necessary evil is needed: that is, some stereotyping of professions in respect to each race. Disclaiming any authoritativeness, I’ll “analyze” each race’s characteristics and find two most categorizing professions for each race.
Asura plus combat, Golemancer is the first time comes to mind. Sadly the Asura-only profession is not (and for obvious reasons, cannot be) playable. Since Asura believe in Eternal Alchemy, I suppose if there’s an Alchemist profession, it would be another signature for the Asura.
Necromancer deals with, magic, death, and summon very useful minions to be meat shields in midst of combat. Although the Asura has no natural affinity to the “death element” in necromancy, their experimentalist approach to magic and creation of life and death fits into the picture.
Think about a diminutive Frankenstein. That should do the trick.
So, the Asura are advance both in science and magic, and having assigned Necromancer to cover the “magic”, it is only natural to have the Engineer profession to represent the other quality of the race. An interesting question to be asked is: to have a loyal golem buddy, does it require more magic, or more engineer work?
I still remember the traumatic moments of vanquishing Ascalon areas in a party of 4 back in Guild Wars 1. My three heroes and myself got mercilessly murdered by the Axe wielding warriors and Barrage rangers. It’s a good thing that they are no longer the villain, while remain vigilant in delivering deadly force to its foes.
Ever since the Charrs ousted the Shaman caste who led the race into worshiping false gods, the race’s culture made a sharp turn to emphasize steel and mechanization. The Engineer class’s raise of social rank is a result of that. Although a typical Asura may call a Charr’s mechanical creation “crude”, the Charrs would pride themselves for building any tool that wins the battle for them.
250 years is not enough time to change the physique of the Charr race: they are still masculine and value physical strength. The Warrior profession in GW2 is most versatile: blades, to bows, and guns are all in their weaponry. Warriors deploy physical strength and techniques to overwhelm opponents–a fitting theme for the Charr race as well.
They are traditionally the median race in fantasy RPG: the most flexible race without initial specialization. ArenaNet must has been conscientious about that, since they molded the race into something slightly different from the norm. In the timeline of the original Guild Wars, humans were the most populous race, and by extension, the most influential. However, after lost wars to Charrs and the rise of the Elder Dragons, their seat of de facto leader race of Tyria has eroded away as other races gained prominence in close proximity.
“A Noble, Resilient People.” — official site verbatim, racial description.
I suppose noblesse oblige motivates the viewpoint of humans that they have a duty to fight minions of the Elder Dragons and protect Tyria and all its races. The Guardian profession, which closely resembles the “Paladin” archetype, is more or less the embodiment of that idea: they generate boons and use banners and walls to help allies and themselves, while wearing heavy armor, they punish their enemies up close.
The current Queen of Kryta is a Mesmer. Case closed.
Let me elaborate. I think humans are the only race that produced iconic mesmers in the past. It may have something to do with the humans in Guild Wars 2 are at an era that draws parallel to Renaissance, and theatrics being part of their culture. Charismatic leaders, and charming actors are both facets of the Mesmer profession.
They hunt, and they boast about it with ales. Their stereotypical image may be easier to define, but it certainly is not fair for their long history in Tyria. Luckily, the scope of this post is exactly what stereotyping is all about…
The Ranger profession is more than an archer in Guild Wars 2. They are proficient not only in bows, but also swords, daggers, and axes, plus an assortment of offhand equipment. Of course, don’t forget about their pet companions. Though if I were to name the profession, I’d just call it Hunter; less confusion.
The Ranger encapsulates the essence of Norn so well that a second profession choice becomes opaque. It’s a hard choice, but I think Warrior is natural for a race like Norn. Being a Norn warrior is a bit different from being a Charr warrior, though. A notable difference is that: for Charrs, they fight in squads and consider themselves as gears of a greater war machine, aiming for victory at any cost. For Norns, however, a victory is nothing if it doesn’t bring glory, and their society values greatly on individualism of such glories.
The youngest and least studied race of Tyria. While other races have origins long before the original Guild Wars’ time, there simply isn’t enough history for Sylvari. Although that does not make each Sylvari less wise, there is a general theme: the Sylvari are curious, exploring, and have a sense of duty.
The Sylvari makes a good Guardian the same way a human does. Although social status and sense of worldly urgency motivates the humans, it is subtly different for the Sylvari. Born to Tyria at a time that the land’s existence is threatened by the awakened Elder Dragons, many Sylvari consider fighting the dragons and their minions, along with anything evil, being their raison d’etre.
Elementalists are adept magic users who focus on the four natural elements: fire, water, air, and earth. Similar to Norns, Sylvari has a distinct affinity to nature… shouldn’t be a surprise for a race who can be said, is born from the giant Pale Tree, and built its home city around it. Come to think of it, the Sylvari is equally fit the description of Rangers…
Honorable Mention: Thief
This was a hard one. All races have culture elements that operate in a more secretive fashion. For example, the Ash Legion of Charr, and the Sylvari heroine Caithe are patrons of the Thief profession. Its predecessor profession in Guild Wars 1, Assassin, was popular due to its elusive nature.
In conclusion, I hope these listings conform with both intuition and reality of the game, and they are remotely helpful for those who could not decide which race/profession to roll with. Quite a few days left still until the game goes live, so make up your mind