Mechanically Beautiful: “Guild Wars 2”

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Welcome to Mechanically Beautiful,  where we look into the widely debated topic, “Are Video Games Art?” I am here to say that yes, I do believe video games are a form of art, and I’m going to give you readers some amazing examples of why I believe this to be true. If you haven’t bought into this idea, maybe these articles will change your mind. But even if they don’t, you’ll get a chance to learn about some beautiful games in the industry. This time lets have a look at the gorgeous MMO, “Guild Wars 2”.

Guild Wars 2” is a fantasy MMO developed by the company ArenaNet. “Guild Wars 2” takes place in the land of Tyria, where many mystical creatures live together in harmony. There are many different and interesting races of creatures in “Guild Wars” but there are five playable races: the humans, the Charr, the Norn, the Asura, and the Sylvari. Each of the different races have a very unique and interesting design, as well as their own cultural armor, which are equipment sets designed around each race’s style. For this article, I will be focusing on the different races of the game.

The five races of Tyrai
The five races of Tyria

The humans, as you would imagine, are the most simple and cleanly designed race. Now, some might argue that humans are bland and boring, and ask why we should include them in art. Allow me to change your minds. The humans wear very “righteous” colors; their warriors are adorned with blues, golds, whites, and reds that make them look like they are the holy protectors, much like the sense Paladins gave in “World of Warcraft”. They often have large wings coming of their shields and helmets, as well as swords that resemble the classic royal European weapon. The humans also have one of the most beautiful major cities, Divinity’s Reach. The city is massive, with beautiful buildings that tower over you. The city is very similar to European feudal societies of the Middle Ages, with large church-like buildings and busy commons areas.

Charr armor

The Charr are in stark contrast to the humans. The Charr themselves are giant beast-like people. Most are very lion like, some resemble bulls, but all in all they are large beast-men who run on all fours. The color scheme behind the Charr is simple and dark. They wear either black, gray, or a very dark red. The armor of the Charr looks almost evil in nature. Their armor is covered in huge spikes on the tails, head, shoulders, and sometimes even the chest. I think the Charr armor is very cool and threatening, whenever you see a Charr with their cultural armor you feel a need to fight back or they will kill everyone you love. The architecture of the Charr is no different, they have large buildings, fences, weapons, and roads made of iron. Everything looks like robots took over. The Capital of the Charr, Black Citadel, is terrifying, with T-bars and screws sticking out everywhere. The Charr have a very industrial and militant feeling to them, and they’re absolutely amazing to look at.

The Norn, however, are a much simpler kind of people. The Norn wear pelts of brown or armor with blue, white, and light blue colors. They are a people who live in the icy tundra and as such look very much like Eskimos, except much larger with much more fearsome weapons. Unlike the previous groups, I do not love the Norn buildings, as they all look like oversized log cabins or Native American huts. The insides, however, have beautiful carved pillars, as well as large wood carvings and many other things which provide a cultural connection with the people’s ancestors. The armor the Norn wear looks like it is made of tough leather and the pelts of other vicious snow beasts, but is covered with intricate patterns. The Norn are probably my least favorite design, but are very interesting nonetheless.

The Asura stand out much more than the other races, as they are the scientists of Tyria. The Asura have made all the technology in the game, because of this the Asura armor and weapons look very futuristic. The Asura don’t seem to follow a set color scheme, but whatever color they are wearing is always very bright and stands out. The Asura’s tiny size seems to have made them create big technology and architecture. The Asura buildings are giant cubes encased in even bigger cubes and their furniture is very geometric, as creatures of science they seem to like their creations to be mathematically perfect and hard edged. The designs on each building and piece of furniture is what really stands out, as you get close you see patterns that remind you of computer hardware. The armor they wear seems to have this interesting texture and hard edged look. One last thing about the Asura is that they incorporate giant blue protruding gems everywhere.

Asura Clothing
Asura Clothing

The final race is the Sylvari the race that I play. The Sylvari are called “the leafy people”, and with good reason. The Sylvari are quite literally made of leaves. They are living plants that were given a soul by a giant tree they call The Pale Tree. Because they are made of roots and leaves, their color scheme is mostly shades of green, with some purples and browns added in. Don’t get me wrong here, the Sylvari are not boring looking at all, in fact, they are my favorite race. The Sylvari armor looks as if they turned roots and flowers into battle gear. With its twisting vines and leaves with looping roots coming through, the Sylvari armor is absolutely beautiful. The leafy people live in giant trees and massive leaf structures that are gorgeous. The Sylvari capital, The Grove, is my absolute favorite place in the game. The Grove feels like you are living in the tree tops with animals and gardens everywhere. The entire scene is beautiful everywhere you look, you can travel around on giant dandelion seeds up and down the four levels. Every race in “Guild Wars 2” is not only very beautiful, cool, threatening, or intriguing looking, but they are all unique and different from one another. Each race has this feel that when you are in their city, it is a totally new world and the whole game has this feel.

 I am going to leave off with one last point. The cut scenes within the game are fantastic. They are stop motion style animation, but they look as if they were painted with water color. They have light streaks that resemble brush strokes with great composition in each scene, and striking use of watercolor effects and color.

Believe me, I could go on forever, but I’ll highlight some of my favorite points instead. The races you can play as are amazing, the areas are breathtaking with striking and vibrant colors, and the armor and weapons you get in the game are some of the coolest I have seen from late game MMO armor. However, I want you to discover all of this on your own. If you don’t buy the game, look up some of the art, areas, and characters to get an idea of what this amazing MMO looks like. You could also look up the opening sequence for each of the five races. They are definitely worth watching. I promise you it’s worth it.

The eight classes of Guild Wars 2
The eight classes of Guild Wars 2