The sound of humanity

Today’s post, Against the Wall, covers a variety of city chatter you would be likely to encounter as you scurry about Divinity’s Reach and the surrounding areas.  You’ll want to keep an ear perked and actually listen to the conversations being held.

Since I cannot put the audio samples here (can’t figure it out! >.>) I’ll simply quote the subject discussed before the clip and proceed with my thoughts on the matter.

From a random stroll through the streets…

When you arrive in Divinity’s Reach, take a moment to walk through the massive city, and then visit the nearby farming plains of Shaemoor. As you explore, you’ll run across a cross section of humanity who are either struggling to get by, gossiping about family matters, or anxious about what the future holds.

They’ve taken status and the npc’s environment into consideration.  Will npcs from other areas travel and be recognizably different than others around them?  If a farmer, whose house has been burned by centaurs, travels to the city will he look like a farmer?  Will he look battered from his hasty flight from home?  Will he stand out to the eye and catch our interest?  Or will the conversation alone be our only queue as to what is going on?  Surely they’ll want to put some great visual effort into the storytelling and not lead purely off of voice-overs.  A dingy old farmer pleading with a shiny white Seraph is going to cause some sort of contrast to the eye.

…to a much wider world.

Guild Wars 2 features a larger, more complex world than its predecessor, one where humans aren’t on top of the food chain. The asura are smarter, the norn are hardier, the sylvari are optimistic, and the charr are organized and on the march. Like it or not, humanity is going to have to cope with the truth that new powers are rising. While humanity happily embraces the innovations created by other races, they definitely have opinions about a more multicultural Tyria.

I’m glad they’re adding this dynamic to the conversations.  It fleshes out a great deal of realism with the world and characters.  My only hope is that audio clips are continually added and updated to the game as the game ages, content is added, and conditions are changed.

A question of faith…

Humanity has suffered a number of setbacks over the years, but one of the deepest is the withdrawal of the Six gods from their daily lives. The humans have not lost their gods—they evoke them in their prayers and at shrines to the Six found throughout Divinity’s Reach. Some still devoutly pray to the Six while others have a more lighthearted approach to their faith. A few, however, have had a stronger falling out, believing that the withdrawal of the Six is a sign of ill omens.

I thought the example for this particular topic was rather silly.  I was hoping there would be more of a “fanatical discourse with an unbeliever” level of conversation.  It makes for more dramatic and interesting dialog to eavesdrop on (in my opinion).  The last part of the clip was more to that degree, though not as dramatic. :P

…and the use of power.

With the Six gods gone, humanity relies more than ever on the powerful to protect them. For now, Queen Jennah sits on the Krytan throne. She’s a popular figure, but she’s drawn scorn for signing a cease-fire with humanity’s long-time enemy, the charr. Meanwhile, the charismatic Minister Caudecus is gaining popularity, thanks to his popular carnival that distracts the masses from their worries. As you wander through Divinity’s Reach, don’t be surprised to hear people taking sides in the constant power struggles.

Political banter, yum-yum.  Hopefully we get to see these figure heads in the open, addressing the masses with their particular viewpoints.  Maybe we’ll even get to vote for npcs to fill in lesser positions around town? xD

I will defend Kryta…

When we were writing humans, we discovered one the best ways to let players understand humanity’s conflicts was to see it through the eyes of children. The average human child, especially in Divinity’s Reach, acts out the world’s conflicts through games. The children know, in simple terms, who are the good guys and the bad guys, and who they are more afraid of. If you keep an ear out, you’ll likely overhear a bunch of kids playing a Krytan version of “Cops and Robbers.”

I loved this clip.  I actually plan on following this brigade of hooligans as they play around town when I get a chance.  Hopefully there won’t be any unsightly comments about a bearded norn following children around. Wouldn’t want that.  I was just watching them play.  I promise!  x]

…or die trying.

While the children play with toy swords against pretend foes, the adults face the real thing as they risk their lives outside the city gates. These days, humanity is warring for survival with nearby centaur tribes. The centaurs keep coming, and the resulting sieges, fought on rolling plains and against stone garrison walls, are taking their toll on Kryta’s defense forces. Yet even in the face of constant death and mayhem, humanity is ready to give as good as it gets.

This clip reminded me of something you’d hear from a war vet, rattling on about his experiences.  I would have preferred the cliche “rookie” going on about what he hopes to achieve and the hardened soldier setting him in his place and sharing, curtly and with air of mystery, his horrific experiences and endless lost comrades.

All that aside, I like the layer and dynamic attributes of conversation that will be taking place.  I’m greatly excited about how the conversations and voices will change depending on which race you’re with.  I can honestly say I didn’t care for how the humans sound.  Perhaps having a larger variety of accents in the kingdom of Tyria would be better.  As of right now I feel like I’m listening to a bunch of citizens from “Divinity’s Reach, USA”.

– Thrangis
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