One thing I have to say is that this is a great game, its probably overall the best mmo I’ve ever played and the world design is top notch in all areas except one- The npcs.
I am a lore guy plain and simple. I bought the first GW mainly because of one thing. The lore and especially GW Nightfall. I found the reflection of the game’s lore to have an area that is not really ever covered in gaming, dealing with a people who don’t get coverage as major characters very often as well. The game is very tasteful and respectful and non stereotypical for the most part (Sure there’s Koss, but that’s about it).
While awaiting this game I kept on reading about “The Grand Diverse Human City of Divinity’s Reach”. How the four major human races have their own district of the city and how diverse the city is, so on and so forth.
And what did I see while I was walking around. 20 percent everyone else as far as npcs go, and 80 percent Ascalonians as far as looks go. Ascalonians are the typical fantasy human race, the western europeans. Now before people jump in and say “But the races are mixed, they’ve been cut off for 250 years”. Let me jump in with a few points.
1. Divinity’s Reach is a Krytan city. Krytans were originally a Elonan colony, eventually they mixed with the Ascalonians and the race ended up having a Brazilian/Sicilian look to them. When you walk around the city you see very few people that look like this. But the interesting thing is that Queen Jennah the leader of the city looks this way. How interesting that the Queen of the city looks this way but the majority of her people do not.
2.I implore anyone to speak to the Divinity’s Reach Tour guide in the Ossan District. She TELLS YOU that the Elonians arrived en masse fifty years ago to the area fleeing Palawa Joko. Now why do I mention this? Because fifty years is not enough time for a race to become this diluted to the point of hardly seeing them- in their own district at that. Even she herself does not look Elonan in the least, she has a clearly Ascalonian look to her and she even speaks in a way that denotes that her words were supposed to have accents. Instead the voice actor sounds more like a midwest school teacher trying to have a Swahili accent.
3. Minister Zamon in the personal story is supposed to be the Minister of the Ossan Quarter. The man looks more Ascalonian (along with his sister) than even Queen Jennah herself who looks more Elonan than him.
4. While walking around the city I saw an npc introducing himself to some women, there was a dark skinned woman amongst the bunch, she looked Elonan but the man doing the introductions claimed he was Elonan (saying that his name was to be pronounced a certain way because of the pronunciations of the Elonan language". The man did not look at all of the race he said his last name was. Now sure, he could have been mixed, but with as few VISIBLE Elonan npcs walking around it would have been quite nice to see this man looking like one.
Now, why does this matter many would ask? I will give you several answers. The best thing about the original GW series was the depth of the humans and the human races. Now I know many people could care less. Most people are happy having the stock typical human races in fantasy because that’s what they are used to. I bought this series because there was a game in the series that represented ME. There were npcs that looked like me and there was an entire game centered around these people. As an rper its a bit jarring to walk down the street in the district that is supposed to be filled with those people and hardly see any of them, and then see other characters that are supposed to be of this racial group and none of them look like the race that is supposed to be of this district. Most people do not know GW lore they did not play the first game and are new to the second game. They don’t know the differences and why GW humans are so great and what makes them so.
These differences in diversity looks and culture is what makes this game truly feel like a world and not simply like the world of Europe. I’ve always applauded the Anet’s efforts and promised to support them for doing this. To see them pull back from this and go in the direction of most mmo companies is a bit disconcerting. It makes me wonder that when the eventual expansions into the other parts of the world arrive will the npcs look as they do now? Nothing like how they did in the original game? Now one could make the excuse again for the races being mixed, sure. But what happens when we see the original areas and countries? Will the npc’s reflect how the races looked in these areas that was established in the old game?
Divinity’s Reach was cool because it was supposed to be the NYC of GW with its own racial districts and such, and when you see the npcs it looks nothing like this at all.