Saturday, 26 February 2011

Guild Wars 2: Norn Week Summary

So, Guild Wars 2 Norn week slopes off into the distance. What have we learned? Never piss off a snow leopard, because they don't sleep? That Jora's brother wasn't called Sanvir, or indeed; Svanvir - but Svanir? No, we haven't learned either of these things; we have learned that I am having to reconsider my choice of playing as a Sylvari due to the awesomeness of the Norn!

Day One started out with an article by David Wilson entitled "Legend and Legacy" and really set the scene for the following week. The norn are described in their typical guise - loud, proud and boisterous. As it did with Human Week - the first post of the week contained a number of audio clips (once again with a smattering of generic sounding American voice actors - see this post for details!) but this time with a shot of gruffness thrown into the mix. Just to Norn it all up a bit.
This article essentially showed lots us what we already know about Norn - most of which we learned from EotN (the importance of individual glory etc). However, we also gleaned a very important new element in their story: we'd already heard of the Sons of Svanir in previous stories; but until now we'd assumed they were a KOS enemy. Wilson's article added an interesting twist as it introduced the SoS as just Norn who are seen to have chosen the wrong path, but are tolerated and allowed to exist in the society nonetheless. One particular audio clip is from a bartender reasoning with a patron as to why he still serves Sons of Svanir. I believe that will be a very important concept in the Norn personal storyline in game.
In addition to this article, we also saw a short piece by Martin Kerstein called "Go Big or Go Home". The sole purpose of this article was to emphasise the importance of size in general Norn culture and specifically in their architecture. Kerstein stated that the two images below show a Norn female standing and posing like a sexy goddess (left) and then the same female standing at the entrance to the Wolf Lodge (right).

Day Two (and my personal fave for the week) was by Jeffrey Vaughan called "Designing and Redesigning Events". Vaughan talked us through the iterative process of creating a dynamic event in GW2. The iterative process the whole team goes through when creating the events seems at once exciting and collaborative yet also open to individual brilliance. I'm very very excited about the dynamic event system, and I must say that, alongside the cross class combinations, it's the element I am most eager to try out in game.

Vaughan went on to describe a particular dynamic event involving 4 shrines, each one dedicated to a "Spirit of the Wild" - the 4 most important being Snow Leopard, Wolf, Bear and Raven. Each shrine had a different task attributed to it (and not all hack and slash "fight off 10 rats" kinda dealios - proper events such as raiding a camp or solving Raven's riddles) sounded very interesting and I can't wait to give it a go.

Day three brought with it the update to the Norn page at As with Human Week - the info here was somewhat in layman's terms - obviously meant for those who want to know who they would probably most like to play and not much else. It did bring with it a lovely new tour around the Norn lands though:

Finally; Day Four brought more information on the spiritual life of a Norn from Ree Soesbee *swoon* called "A Spirit of Legend". Ree builds upon the existing knowledge of the Spirits of the Wild by bringing in some relatively new concepts - such as the preists who represent each animal: the "Havroun", who have the ability to pass between the normal world and the mists at will. Ree talks about the nature of the Norn's relationship with their Spirit guides, how it is not like the relationship between a Human and their Gods in that they do not represent abstract concepts such as "war" or "nature" but reflect the attributes of the spirit themselves:
Bear is the most revered of all the spirits, and she is seen as an icon of strength, insight, and wisdom. Snow Leopard is a solitary, stealthy spirit, much like her animal kin, and the norn respect the secrets she collects. Raven is the cunning trickster who loves riddles and wordplay, and Wolf is the spirit of teamwork, friendship, and family. Norn choose to follow the path of a certain Spirit of the Wild because they feel a kinship to the lessons it teaches.
Again, akin to the final article of Human week - Ree weaves a storyline into the bulk of the article. The story involves Viskar - a young boy seeking to avenge his father's death at the hand of a fearsome female Norn by the name of Grimhilde. Its well worth a read and I implore you to head over to the ANet blog and give it a go - along with all the other gubbins which has been plopped there recently!

Again, this week has obviously taken a huge amount of effort on ANet's part - and they deserve a lot of praise. Very much enjoyed it! Also very much looking forward to the coming weeks? Asura week in a fortnight's time? Perhaps?

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