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Guild Wars 2: To Be Norn - Questions, Answers, and Spirit Animals

Updated Mon, Feb 28, 2011 by Xerin

An all new Norn Q&A has been published on the official ArenaNet blog that sheds some light on Guild Wars 2’s biggest race. The Q&A, found in its entirety on the following page, is full of information about these “taller than life” giants that will be one of GW2’s five playable races. Like many of our readers, we've been excited to learn more about this mighty race which was introduced during the last Guild Wars campaign, featuring a lot of fun and interesting lore. While Norn Week hasn't necessarily answered all of our burning questions about the norn in GW2, we've been given plenty of fresh insights into their culture and unique gameplay features.

Exploring Their Homeland

ArenaNet has also released an all new video featuring the norn. Found below, this video is one of brilliance to me. Looking at the details that go into these scenes makes me almost tear up with joy thinking about playing in such a vibrant world. Alas, we cannot play the game yet, so all these videos do is tease us more and more. One thing the video does well, however, is show us the scale of the norn and the various buildings found in their settlements. The buildings are actually extremely huge, even bigger than the Norn themselves, which makes for an interesting and highly unique overall design.

Ten Ton Hammer Video: Click to play.

To Be Norn

One of the coolest things about the norn is that there are more than just the four spirit animals (bear, raven, snow leopard, and wolf) and the lore expands beyond that. An example given in the Q&A is that the norn can call upon the Wurm spirit to summon a temporary pet. This means that they’re capable of communicating with more than just a set number or type of spirits which grants a lot of depth to their lore, as well as some extremely cool gameplay potential.

Guild Wars 2 Norn Week

The norn have no qualms about hunting.

As for the “why would you want to play Norn” question, it gives us some further insight into something we were already pretty much aware of. The norn are going to be loud and fierce, trying to snatch glory any way that they can. To me, that’s a really fun playstyle, because I love anything that will instantly launch into a crusade in the name of justice and the Norn seem to be that type. I can’t wait to see a norn grab a battle axe and start charging into a group of enemies, trying to kill as many as possible while laughing about how glorious their actions are.

Spirits of the Wild

As mentioned earlier, there are more than just the four main animal spirits that the norn can transform into. The spirits themselves act as guides and inspiration to the the norn, as opposed to fulfilling the role of gods that interfere into their daily lives to assist them and help directly.

Guild Wars 2 Norn Week 2

The animal spirits are shown in a lot of norn design.

One interesting fact we've learned is that the norn will have no problem slaying these beats that they “worship” and have a very logical and level headed view of their place in the world. So if they see a wolf in the wild they will often see it as a challenge presented before them, kill it, and then offer their thanks.

The norn also don’t feel a sense abandonment from their “gods” like humanity does, which is a refreshing take on things. If a spirit animal doesn’t provide assistance then the norn will just assume that the creature was teaching them a lesson in self-reliance instead of just ignoring them.

Seeking Glory

A big theme this week has been how the norn seek glory and challenge. That they go above and beyond everything else to become the hero of the story. Their starting area is a great example, where you’ll explore caves and climb to the mountain summits for adventure before returning to a moot and enjoying a keg of ale.

Guild Wars 2 Norn Week 3

A wolf lodge displays a giant head of a wolf above the entrance. That should make it easy to find important landmarks.

The fun thing to think about is that you will literally have the opportunity climb mountains, explore caves, and toss kegs around because GW2’s engine should allow all of it based on what we've seen so far. We know that the world is going to be huge (just look at how huge the norn buildings are). We also know that mini-games will be a huge part of the game, so we're really looking forward to seeing what kind of trouble the norn will be getting into as part of their daily lives within the city.

One thing that is curious is how the norn are referred to as being more tenacious than humans, yet humans are often portrayed as the most tenacious race of them all. Considering humanity has survived even after their lands have been taken away, watched as their enemies have grown in power, and the world has seemingly conspired greatly against them, this seems to be the case at any rate. Perhaps the tenacity of the norn is meant to be considered on an individual scale, as the Norn are extremely strong, while humans are far greater when they band together? That’s a question I’m sure we’ll have answered at some point.

Guild Wars 2 Norn Week 4

It will be much more common in GW2 to see the norn working in groups.

Difference of Time

It’s interesting how the norn have not really changed much culturally in the 250 years between games. With all of the reveals so far we’ve honestly not learned much new when it comes to the norn other than the fact that they’re more open now to working with strong heroes (much like the end of GW:EN). Even throughout the Q&A the Norn remain strong and steadfast in their determination to be the most glorious in battle, much like the norn in GW:EN were.

Guild Wars 2 Norn Week 5

That’s not a bad thing, not at all; however it is rather interesting to see a race not change much as time moves forward. It’s somewhat refreshing actually. While humanity has changed drastically, from its government to its land holdings to its views on its own gods, the norn still seek glory in battle and will do almost anything to obtain it.

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