Guild Wars 2 is a sequel, and the inevitable question that comes with any sequel is, “Do I have to play the first game to understand this one?” In the case of Guild Wars 2's story, the answer is no. But if you want a Guild Wars history refresher or want to know just what kind of world you're getting into with Guild Wars 2, we've developed this handy guide of who's who, what's what, and where's where in Tyria.
Guild Wars 2 takes place 250 years after the events of the first Guild Wars, and as such there is very little story-wise that connects the two. The Elder Dragons have awoken since the time of the first Guild Wars, and now hold all of Tyria in their terrible grip. These dragons are not mere beasts, either. They are unstoppable forces that embody chaos and defy understanding, much like the Old Ones and Outer Gods of H.P. Lovecraft.
The enemy of my enemy if my friend is a lesson hard-learned by the races of Tyria, and now the majro races stand united against the larger threat. The feline warmonger Charr may have been your first enemy back in the beginning of Guild Wars, but now they're a playable race. Speaking of, let's take a look at all the races of Guild Wars 2. Since any race can be any profession without any bonus or penalty, you're encouraged to pick the race that seems most interesting.
First, the Charr. They growl, kill, and do little else. They're muscle-bound warriors obsessed with conquering the weak, and are raised in a militaristic culture. They are industrious workers and avowed atheists, so they tend to distrust magic users. Further complicating the race's interactions with magic are the now-outcast magic users of the Flame Legion, who are seen as traitors and tyrants. The Charr are modeled after a combination of the Mongol hordes and the Roman Empire.
When you create a Charr, you'll choose a biography of your character by selecting the following:
- Which legion your Charr belongs to
- Who in their warband your Charr is closest to
- What kind of Charr was your father
The Charr faced off against humans, who have gone from the dominant force of Tyria to one of the weakest of the realm. They have only one kingdom remaining, Kryta, which is ruled over by a queen. All manner of refugees have come to Kryta, resulting in a sort of medieval Manhattan melting pot. Humans worship six gods, who have grown silent since the Elder Dragons have begun to rouse from their slumber. There's every flavor of human running around the city of Divinity's Reach, and all are welcome.
When you create a human character, you'll choose a biography by selecting the following:
- Whether you were raised on the streets, as a commoner, or among nobility
- What your biggest regret is
- Which of the Six Gods people say you are blessed by
The first of the Elder Dragons to awaken caused the subterranean Asura to relocate to the surface world, which they have taken to quite well. The tiny Asura are intelligent, but cocky and flirty with dangerous situations. They don't care much for other races, who they see as lesser beings that could never compete on an intellectual level. Asura are nonchalant about risky lab experiments, which they constantly fuddle with, and the pursuit of knowledge is what they crave most in the world. Asura believe everything in Tyria is part of the Eternal Alchemy, so they hold close ties to family and fellow workers.
When you create an Asura, you'll choose a biography for your personal story by selecting the following:
- Which college your Asura is an alum of
- What their first, or most renowned, experiment was
- Who taught them almost everything they know
Norn, to put it simply, is the big viking humans. They physically resemble humans in every way save for being quite larger and more muscular, but their culture is distinct. Norns are believers in the Spirits of the Wild, worship nature, and proudly trace their ancestry to great conquerors and warlords. They hunt and collect trophies to prove their worth, and get stupid drunk to celebrate. They don't have a central government, as any Norn who shows great strength is worthy of respect and listening to.
When you choose to play a Norn, you're given the following options for your biography:
- What is the most important quality of a great hero
- What happened at a celebration in Hoelbrak
- Which of the four Spirits of the Wild came to you in a dream
Lastly, the Sylvari are a relatively young race that has just made their first appearance in Tyria. These are plant humanoids that are not born, but wake from under the watch of the Pale Tree. Their anatomy may have bark or twigs conformed to make a bone-like structure, or flower petals that make up their “hair.” They are a gentle and honest people, curious about the world in which they find themselves. They experience emotions like humans do, though perhaps to a stronger degree. They may fall in love for example, even though they cannot bear children, and they rarely hold back from expressing said feelings in any way.
If you play a Sylvari, you have the following options to choose from in crafting your biography:
- What quest did you dream of undertaking
- What is the most important teaching of your people to you
- What time of day were you awoken
The world of Tyria is a large one, with many distinct geographical regions. It is only one of many planets, but the space between worlds has not been a major factor thus far in the series' lore. The most ancient form of life on Tyria is the Elder Dragons, though they have spent much of their existence in hibernation. The gods that humans worship also once walked the surface of Tyria. These gods are Dwayna, Goddess of Life and Air (Leader of the Pantheon), Balthazar, God of Fire and War, Lyssa, Twin Goddess of Beauty and Illusions, Melandru, Goddess of Nature and Earth, Abaddon, God of Secrets and Water, and Grenth, God of Death and Ice.
A major point of Tyria is the existence and prevalence of magic. Magic was originally a gift to the races from the god Abaddon, but this blessing was soon found to be a curse. The human king of the time begged the gods to take magic back, and when they did, Abaddon was angry. The war between Abaddon and his fellow gods was a particularly devastating one, and once it had subsided the remaining gods left Tyria.
Now, with the Gods silent and the Elder Dragons awakened, it falls entirely to mortal souls, many who were once enemies, to band together and save all of Tyria. This is the world of Guild Wars 2. So the question now is: Who are you?