By John Ryan February 8th, 2011 My name is John Ryan, and I’m one of the writers on the Guild Wars 2 design team. We’ve been working hard to make the world of Tyria a living, breathing place filled with amazing sights and terrific adventures. In this post, you’ll find a small sample of how we’re giving humanity a voice in Guild Wars 2. For us, voice plays a crucial part in establishing a world. Voice gives us the opportunity to tell stories with drama, humor, and—more importantly—a realistic tone. If we can make the humans of Tyria look, act, and sound real while making it feel like you’re humanity’s champion in its darkest hour, then we’ve succeeded. It’s a high bar, but it’s one we are committed to reaching. Humanity has taken a beating in the two hundred fifty years between Guild Wars and Guild Wars 2. They’ve lost their homeland of Ascalon to their enemy, the charr, and they lost contact with the lands of Elona and Cantha after the rise of the dragons. Most of what’s left of humanity has relocated to the opulent city of Divinity’s Reach in Kryta. It is here you will start out as a human character. From a random stroll through the streets… When you arrive in Divinity’s Reach, take a moment to walk through the massive city, and then visit the nearby farming plains of Shaemoor. As you explore, you’ll run across a cross section of humanity who are either struggling to get by, gossiping about family matters, or anxious about what the future holds. …to a much wider world. Guild Wars 2 features a larger, more complex world than its predecessor, one where humans aren’t on top of the food chain. The asura are smarter, the norn are hardier, the sylvari are optimistic, and the charr are organized and on the march. Like it or not, humanity is going to have to cope with the truth that new powers are rising. While humanity happily embraces the innovations created by other races, they definitely have opinions about a more multicultural Tyria. A question of faith… Humanity has suffered a number of setbacks over the years, but one of the deepest is the withdrawal of the Six Gods from their daily lives. The humans have not lost their gods—they evoke them in their prayers and at shrines to the Six found throughout Divinity’s Reach. Some still devoutly pray to the Six while others have a more lighthearted approach to their faith. A few, however, have had a stronger falling out, believing that the withdrawal of the Six is a sign of ill omens. …and the use of power. With the Six Gods gone, humanity relies more than ever on the powerful to protect them. For now, Queen Jennah sits on the Krytan throne. She’s a popular figure, but she’s drawn scorn for signing a cease-fire with humanity’s long-time enemy, the charr. Meanwhile, the charismatic Minister Caudecus is gaining popularity, thanks to his popular carnival that distracts the masses from their worries. As you wander through Divinity’s Reach, don’t be surprised to hear people taking sides in the constant power struggles. I will defend Kryta… When we were writing humans, we discovered one the best ways to let players understand humanity’s conflicts was to see it through the eyes of children. The average human child, especially in Divinity’s Reach, acts out the world’s conflicts through games. The children know, in simple terms, who are the good guys and the bad guys, and who they are more afraid of. If you keep an ear out, you’ll likely overhear a bunch of kids playing a Krytan version of “Cops and Robbers.” …or die trying. While the children play with toy swords against pretend foes, the adults face the real thing as they risk their lives outside the city gates. These days, humanity is warring for survival with nearby centaur tribes. The centaurs keep coming, and the resulting sieges, fought on rolling plains and against stone garrison walls, are taking their toll on Kryta’s defense forces. Yet even in the face of constant death and mayhem, humanity is ready to give as good as it gets. The Last Word They bicker and fight and laugh and pray. For all their setbacks, our humans never give up, and writing them is almost inspiring. Out of all the races, writing human characters goes to the core of what being a hero is all about: standing up, defying the odds, and going from underdog to champion. Sure, things are looking grim for our humans, but they won’t go down without a fight. They survived the Searing more than two centuries ago, they endured the loss of their homeland and countless lives, but they still have the mettle to take on dragons in Guild Wars 2. And frankly, I can’t wait for you to be humanity’s next hero. I’ll see you in Divinity’s Reach. BOON Control EDIT: The audio embedding is not yet implimented on this new forum yet. To listen to the sound clips, head over to the ArenaNet blog and check out the original blog.