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Progressive Games: Guild Wars Franchise


55621fb3-9810-48f1-bf9a-e2940899264aThere’s often talk about games that need to be all inclusive, progressive, and forward thinking, even if the genre happens to be high or epic fantasy.  Often we think of single player games that way, because in single player games we pay more attention to the story than we do in an MMO.  But in this case, I’m looking at the Guild Wars franchise.

When Guild Wars was launched, it started with Prophecies, and the story of a group of humans from a nation called Ascalon.  They were under attack by a war like species called the Charr.  Now, because we were playing humans, we didn’t really know about the entire history of the conflict.  Just the human side.

But as the story progressed, we encountered many people and heroes throughout Ascalon, Kryta and into the Maguuma Jungle.  It was all very Euro-centric when it started.

710px-Monastery_1Then, in Early 2006, ArenaNet released an expansion.  The first paid expansion of the franchise.  Called Factions, the players were no longer in the familiar setting of Kryta or Ascalon, but in the nation of Cantha.  The conflict with the Charr was very far away.

Cantha had very Eastern Asian aspects to it.  A mix of Chinese, Korean, Japanese, and Tibetan.  But it really wasn’t any different that other games that had come out before, as many aspects of Far East Asian folklore had been used as a building block for video games.  The big change came in late 2006.

ArenaNet released Nightfall, the second expansion of the GW franchise.  Like Factions, Nightfall was a standalone release, but it had something very different.

guildwars2_largeNightfall took place in Elona.  Which had very distinct African features.  Drawing from Egyptian, Yoruba, and even Zulu folklore and myths, Elona was very different than any video game seen previously.  It is incredibly rare when an African setting is the backdrop, but ArenaNet did it, and they managed to create a wonderful story complete with interesting heroes and complex villains.

In mid 2007, Eye of the North was released.  It would eventually become the last expansion in the Guild Wars franchise before the release of Guild Wars 2.  Originally, there was a different idea for Eye of the North, and there were many who believed that there was something pointing to a Meso-American backdrop.  Instead, we learned that there are other species on Tyria aside from Humans, Dwarves, Tengu, and Charr.  We are introduced to the Asura and to the Norn.

The Asura are small, but highly intelligent species.  The Norn are massive, hunter like species that take a great deal of their story from First Nations myths and folklore and Scandinavian myth and folklore.

jZ9VIpfThe progressive attitudes of the franchise sort of slowed, almost to a halt until Guild Wars 2 was released, and we came to the living story.  That is where we were introduced to Kasmeer and Marjory.  At first, one can just assume that they are a pair of humans in a Guild that was dubbed Destiny’s Edge 2.0.  There was Rox, a Charr ranger who had no warband, Braham Eirsson, and Taimi, an incredibly intelligent Asura progeny (a child) who is a student of the College of Synergetics.

Taimi is stricken with a degenerative disease that does not allow her to walk around as fast as others would.  But she doesn’t let that stop her, as she has her Golem Scruffy to assist her, and her incredible thirst for knowledge that pushes her forward.  Many times this is at the chagrin of Braham, who has taken to caring for the small Asura.

GW2-5Toward the end of the Scarlet Briar story we find out for certain that Kasmeer and Marjory aren’t just good friends, they are in fact a couple.  There had been hints that the two had a relationship, but this comes to the fore in the final battle with Scarlet.  As Marjory and Braham are both injured in the final assault, Kasmeer and the player attack Scarlet, while Rox stays behind to ensure Braham and Marjory are protected.  Once Scarlet is defeated, Kasmeer rushes to Marjorie’s side, and end holds her in an embrace, giving her a deep kiss.

This produced a metric shit tonne of fan art.  Seriously, fans got really happy with this.

gw2_sya-600x546During the assault on Lion’s Arch, we also meet an Order of Whispers agent named Symon, he wears a hood and mask and has the distinctive Whispers light armour, who assists with the evacuation of the citizens of Lion’s Arch.  Later, when Lion’s Arch is rebuilt, the player can meet and talk to a woman called Sya.  In the conversation with her, she reveals “I’m Sya. Back then I was known as Symon.”  She goes on to say “Scarlet destroyed so much in the blink of an eye. It reminded me how short life is and how we should spend every moment embracing who we are.”  Sya is a mesmer, and as a master of Illusions, she is able to make her outward appearance look the way in which she feels inside.

sylvari-group2Even the Sylvari of Guild Wars 2, one of the five playable races, have a gender fluid feel to them.  They are a plant based species, and while they do have male and female appearances, many players have used this as a way to create a masculine looking female or even a feminine looking male.  The Sylvari even view love and relationships differently, as they do not have the boundaries commonly associated with such things.  While same sex relationships in the world of Tyria aren’t frowned upon, the Sylvari are much more free to take up such relationships.  This may be because Sylvari find a bond with each other that is closer than any of the other five species.

As the player roams the world and learns of the dangers in Tyria, they discover a great number of things that the rest of the populace looks down on.  The Sons of Svanir and even the Flame Legion are two antagonistic factions that feel females are not worthy as warriors and that their only place is tending to the needs of the males.  With the Sons, this stems from the lore that when Jora and Svanir first found the great dragon Jormag, Svanir accepted the gift of corrupted power while Jora rejected it.  For the Sons, this meant Jormag’s power was not meant for them, and if a female Norn is corrupted with the dragon’s influence they will kill her.  Jormag, for his part, doesn’t really care.

With the Flame Legion, they are a legion of Charr who at one time held an oppressive hand above all other legions.  The Flame Legion lead the attack on Ascalon.  But they also felt that female Charr were not worthy as warriors and demanded all females step down from their place in the military and take up a more domesticated role.  This was later reversed as the other Legions pushed back and eventually defeated the Flame Legion.  An impressive event came several decades after the events in Eye of the North, when Kalla Scorchrazor, a female Charr of the Blood Legion, secretly trained other females and lead a revolt against the Flame Legion.  She forced the shamans to surrender, but paid for it with her life as a shaman stabbed her with a poisoned dagger.  Presently in Guild Wars 2, players can find talk of a warband dedicated to the memory of Kalla Scorchrazor.  Nicknamed Kalla’s Killers, it is an all female warband dedicated to taking out the Flame Legion.

There is still a long way to go regarding inclusive actions in video games.  And let’s not be too hasty, Guild Wars and Guild Wars 2 isn’t without it’s flaws.  There’s an entire thread one could do that could be posted on either Escher Girls or Bikini Armour Battle Damage.  But, as far as things go, at least Guild Wars is a game that moves in the right direction.

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Posted by on July 13, 2015 in Fun, Life, randomness

 

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A break from videos


mirrionawalk

While I just posted the latest let’s play in Star Trek Online, I’ve decided to break for a bit.  There’s several reasons for that; it’s summer and I wish to take advantage of that; there’s been a great deal of video lag in the videos and I’d like to give things a rest; and I’ve been powering through things pretty fast.  I’ve also been needing to make some changes regarding the recording set up, as I’m not all together happy with the sound.

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So, I’ve decided to take a bit of a break from the video for a little while.  I need it, to be honest.  Plus, I’ve also got a book layout design that I need to deal with which is rather exciting.  Sadly, it’s not a book I’ve written, but one that looks pretty cool.  More on that in another post.

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I always had the feeling that these videos would catch up with me and I’d get a bit tired of doing them.  It’s a lot of work, after all, and my computer in its present form is not really up to the task.  I should have a different machine to be able to deal with all the recording and editing.  Plus, I really should be using different software.

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For now, I’ll just take a bit of a break.  It’ll allow me to concentrate on other projects, plus it’ll let me play the game as a game and not look at it as work.  That’s something that’s been hitting me as well.  I’d go to play the game and I’d kind of whine that I really didn’t want to record an episode.  Mostly because I know that the quality wasn’t that great, and I don’t feel that I should post a video when the quality is lacking.

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It’s fun.  It’s an experience.  And I love doing it.  I may do some others at some point in time, in other games outside of Star Trek Online.  As for how long the break is, it’ll be for a couple of months.  I’ll kick things back up again in August, around the time when I come back from holidays.

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Posted by on June 15, 2015 in Fun, randomness, Uncategorized

 

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Lets Play Star Trek Online Episode 58


Let’s Play Star Trek Online.  We head to the Fire Caves on Bajor as I mumble and complain about how tired I am.  Also, if there’s video problems in this one like in the last one, I may need to look into getting a new editing set up.

Let’s Play Star Trek Online Klingon Defense Force: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLBJ7GuCnERhDiDGIEIHcgier3B-ap3G84

WordPress site: https://taholtorf.wordpress.com/

Tumblr: http://timholtorf.tumblr.com

Twitter: https://twitter.com/TimHoltorf

As I go through the series, you can give me suggestions for what gear to get, so leave that in the comments.

This material is used under fair use laws, there is no profit made from this and all copyrights are held by their original owners. Star Trek and all likenesses are copyright Paramount Pictures. Star Trek Online is a licensed product of Cryptic Studios

 
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Posted by on June 15, 2015 in video, Zodiviews

 

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Star Trek Online KDF Episode 26


Let’s Play Star Trek Online Klingon Defense Force.  Flying off in search of a missing Klingon ship, and we run into Nausican raiders.  And a whole lot more.

Let’s Play list for the Federation side: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLBJ7GuCnERhAaRFmyfhJgC9WBtgoEfdoM

WordPress site: https://taholtorf.wordpress.com/

Tumblr:  http://timholtorf.tumblr.com

Twitter: https://twitter.com/TimHoltorf

As I go through the series, you can give me suggestions for what gear to get, so leave that in the comments.

This material is used under fair use laws, there is no profit made from this and all copyrights are held by their original owners. Star Trek and all likenesses are copyright Paramount Pictures.  Star Trek Online is a licensed product of Cryptic Studios.

 
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Posted by on June 14, 2015 in video, Zodiviews

 

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Lets Play Star Trek Online Episode 57


Let’s Play Star Trek Online.  We head through a rift to the other side, as we prepare to take on the Terran Empire of the Mirror Universe.

Let’s Play Star Trek Online Klingon Defense Force: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLBJ7GuCnERhDiDGIEIHcgier3B-ap3G84

WordPress site: https://taholtorf.wordpress.com/

Tumblr: http://timholtorf.tumblr.com

Twitter: https://twitter.com/TimHoltorf

As I go through the series, you can give me suggestions for what gear to get, so leave that in the comments.

This material is used under fair use laws, there is no profit made from this and all copyrights are held by their original owners. Star Trek and all likenesses are copyright Paramount Pictures. Star Trek Online is a licensed product of Cryptic Studios

 
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Posted by on June 12, 2015 in video, Zodiviews

 

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Lets Play Star Trek Online Episode 56


Let’s Play Star Trek Online.  We act in aid of Cardassian colonists.  But the True Way is trying to terrorize them..

Let’s Play Star Trek Online Klingon Defense Force: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLBJ7GuCnERhDiDGIEIHcgier3B-ap3G84

WordPress site: https://taholtorf.wordpress.com/

Tumblr: http://timholtorf.tumblr.com

Twitter: https://twitter.com/TimHoltorf

As I go through the series, you can give me suggestions for what gear to get, so leave that in the comments.

This material is used under fair use laws, there is no profit made from this and all copyrights are held by their original owners. Star Trek and all likenesses are copyright Paramount Pictures. Star Trek Online is a licensed product of Cryptic Studios

 
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Posted by on June 11, 2015 in video, Zodiviews

 

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Lets Play Star Trek Online Episode 55


Let’s Play Star Trek Online.  Most frustrating mission (or at least problem in the game).  We go off in search of the new link, and find that all that gold gooey liquid isn’t too fun to walk around in when you realize it’s a bunch of people.

Let’s Play Star Trek Online Klingon Defense Force: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLBJ7GuCnERhDiDGIEIHcgier3B-ap3G84

WordPress site: https://taholtorf.wordpress.com/

Tumblr: http://timholtorf.tumblr.com

Twitter: https://twitter.com/TimHoltorf

As I go through the series, you can give me suggestions for what gear to get, so leave that in the comments.

This material is used under fair use laws, there is no profit made from this and all copyrights are held by their original owners. Star Trek and all likenesses are copyright Paramount Pictures. Star Trek Online is a licensed product of Cryptic Studios

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on June 10, 2015 in video, Zodiviews

 

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