Q: Do charr understand the concept of love, or do they select merely based on primal instincts like protection, best fit, alpha status and alike (much like in an animal society)?
Angel McCoy: Charr most definitely understand love, fall in love, fall out of love, and love friends and warband-mates deeply. When it comes to procreation, opinions vary. There are those who look for the partner with the best “genes,” and there are the surprise pregnancies as well. There are couples who love each other and want to make little versions of themselves. Everyone is an individual.
Scott McGough: I’d like to add that the charr are largely a military culture, so the qualities that make for a good soldier (bravery, fighting skill, leadership ability, loyalty, etc.) are considered attractive, but that is not the only criteria a charr has in terms of who they seek out as a compatible partner.
Q: I play a charr, but I can walk through Ebonhawke without getting the stink eye – where is all this sudden tolerance coming from?
Angel: The cease fire while treaty talks are under way. Humans and charr are currently under a cease fire arranged between the legions and the queen. Only renegades and separatists take action against the other race, and they’re bad guys.
Scott: Also, random open hostility by humans toward charr in Ebonhawke would raise the ire of both Divinity’s Reach and the Black Citadel, and drawing too much attention to the Separatists’ provocative underground political/martial movement is a sure way to get that movement crushed before it gets results. In other words, the anti-charr humans of Ebonhawke don’t like charr, but they know enough to bide their time and pick their battles.
Q: Are there relationships between races in Tyria? We know of Braham and Rox…but is such a thing more common or the rare exception? And is there a possibility for cross-species offspring?
Angel: That is up to each individual to roleplay. You will currently find no official cross-species NPC relationships in the game. Rox and Braham are good friends. That’s not to say we might not one day have one.
Q: Who were Taimi’s parents? What is Zojja’s role in Taimi’s education?
Bobby Stein: We intend to explore answers to both questions in future stories. Stay tuned.
Q: Why can’t Logan and Jennah love each other freely or marry each other? Is there a tradition preventing them? Can’t the queen choose her consort? Is Logan not highly born enough (he is still Gwen’s descendant)?
Angel: The nobility of Kryta is modeled on historic medieval feudalism. It’s unusual, and frowned upon, for people from different social strata to intermingle. Of course, there are always trysts between gentry, commoner, and street folk, and even love. But, socially, especially from the point of view of the gentry, it’s considered demeaning. There are also real social boundaries to it. A noble must behave a certain way and speak a certain way when in noble company. Most commoner and street people don’t dress, talk, or behave that way, and they actually disdain that kind of “snootiness.” There are stories in history of a royal loving and even marrying a commoner, but these are rare and come with heavy repercussions to both usually.
Specific to Logan and the queen, there are a lot of political machinations going on behind the scenes. They have many hurdles to overcome if they’re to be together, the least of which is that they both have bigger priorities to deal with. We’ll delve into these more at a later time.
Q: Why the focus on the characters instead of the world…
Bobby: We’ve populated most of the explorable and city maps with lots of ambient characters, creatures, events, and secret areas. I don’t believe we’ve chosen one over the other, since we’ve put a lot of resources into building an immersive, interactive world that players are free to explore at their own pace.
Q: …And why the emphasis on providing a narrative of a character before we’re really given a chance to make our own assumptions and preferences about them?
Bobby: For the Personal Story, we wanted to give players the opportunity to do a little roleplaying by letting them customize the look of their characters and pick their backstories, which affect certain chapters in their journey. This is a bit of a change from the original Guild Wars, but we felt it was an important evolution of the player experience.
Q: Recently, characters seem a lot more fleshed out and entertaining. Is this due to a specific change in how you write or just learning from experience?
Bobby: Thanks for the compliment! We actually haven’t changed too much about the writing itself, but we have put more resources into the presentation, which is probably what you’re noticing. We’ve learned a lot over time, and as a result we’ve evolved our story creation process. Our story meetings these days are a lot more involved and are very collaborative across disciplines. People on the teams are becoming very invested in these stories and characters. That makes a huge difference in the quality.
In the past, we generally didn’t build story instances where the player could interact with these characters, nor did we have the resources to build a lot of cinematics or special areas like Scarlet’s Lair. We even wrote (and voiced) a lot of character-building moments that unfortunately never made it into the game due to time constraints.
We examined player feedback over the course of 2013, and realized that we weren’t giving people enough opportunities to get to know our characters or understand the season plot. We were being a little too secretive and leaving too much to speculation. So starting with the Nightmare Tower releases we built more content specifically to impart story and develop our characters, and the responses have been overwhelmingly positive. Because of that, we’ve more closely partnered with designers, artists, and audio folk to continue to improve the story and characterization.
I’m especially excited about the remaining episodes of this season. We’ve got a couple of surprises in store, so I hope you’ll join us for the season finale!
Q: Do you have plans, or would you consider, adding a prominent gay male couple to the world (not sectioned off into one sylvari personal story path), and additional prominent people of color (i.e. non-white human/norn) to the world?
Angel: Absolutely. But we’re not in any hurry to do it just to do it. We’ll do it when the story calls for it.
Q: Some questions regarding Garm; how did he and Eir meet, and where specifically? And assuming dire wolves are by now extinct in Tyria (as well) with the only live specimen being him, what happened to the pack he was born into? Lastly, what happened between them that makes him follow Eir as his ‘alpha’?
Angel: That’s a big story. I’ll put it into my list of possible ideas to tackle in a blog post.
Q: Lorewise, how close is the bond between a Player and their npc Companions (Ranger Pet, Necromancer Minions, Thieves Guild, etc.)?
Angel: That depends on the character. Everyone is an individual, and it would do no good to generalize something like this. Each player can choose to roleplay their relationships as they wish.
Q: What exactly was it that caused Sayeh al’Rajihd and Trahearne to join forces the first time they met?
Angel: We’re keeping this story in our pocket for potential future release.
Q: How come Queen Jennah is so trusting towards Lion’s Arch? It is a melting pot lair of pirates ruled by the fiercest of them all, when she, on the other side, lead a battle against Kryta’s bandits who are not so different?
Angel: Lion’s Arch has been an established trade ally for a long time. She may not trust individuals from LA, but the city as a whole is very unlikely to attack Divinity’s Reach. Kryta’s bandits, on the other hand, are in the streets of DR and have damaged the DR economy as well as assaulting citizens. They are an immediate threat to DR.
Q: Which characters and their relationships inspired the developers the most?
Scott: Every developer and designer has a different answer, but (tongue firmly in cheek here), if we had to pick one answer, it would be Hobo-Tron and Minstrel Marcello.
Bobby: Lord Faren and himself.