Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Norn Ice Sculptures

Wolf Lodge in Hoelbrak
So I posted a bit yesterday about the beauty of Tyria. This is just one screenshot I took on my travels, but I feel it really shows how dedicated the GW2 artists were to making Tyria feel like a real place, and a place that's amazing.
This is Vixyn, Norn Hunter, and her pet crow, Coalwings, outside of Wolf Lodge in the main Norn city of Hoelbrak. I mean, honestly. Ice sculptures?? How cool is that? (Err, no pun intended.) Look at them! Lit up by torches, glistening and reflecting, yet still menacing in their frozen wolfiness. Just freaking awesome.
And each lodge, Bear, Raven and Snow Leopard, has their own statues outside. And inside they have very unique architectures that represent their animal. Like the Raven lodge is shaped like wings and their fireplace has raven's heads carved in metal on it. Or the Bear Lodge goes back into a cave. It's just insane how intricate and individualized this world has been made. Wait, I take that back. It doesn't feel like it's been "made". It feels like it just IS.
Of course, on top of all this visual stimulation you add a glorious soundtrack and complex background noises too. Standing outside of Wolf Lodge you can hear birds twittering in the trees, the scrunch of gritty snow underfoot, and the swoosh of wind as it brings up the goosebumps on your arms. (Vixyn, seriously, where is your coat, girl?) Behind you are Norns chatting around a large fire, talking about the latest Moot, or how proud they are their grandchild lifted his first sword.

I think the word I'm searching for here is immersive. I've always been an explorer-type in MMOs, going places I shouldn't and paying the death-debt price for it, and I can tell already that GW2 is not going to help me with my curious cat tendencies. I barely even looked at the map as I traveled, I just ran over the next hill, or around the corner, or went to see what was over the river and past those trees, just a little further...oh crap, mobs, big nasty mobs...and I'm dead.  :)
Lucky for me, rezzing is cheap, easy and relatively pain-free. More on that in another post. For now, it's back to twiddling my thumbs until the next beta event.

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