In A World Full Of Fantastic Fictions To Try, Guild Wars 2 Players Remain Fixated On Humans

In A World Full Of Fantastic Fictions To Try, Guild Wars 2 Players Remain Fixated On Humans

Guild Wars, the first game, didn’t offer a whole array of character races for players to choose from. Players were always human, even while free to play with variations on appearance. And it seems that Guild Wars players who got used to their looks have brought that bias with them into Guild Wars 2.

GW2, unlike its predecessor, offers five unique character races: the Charr, Asura, Norn, and Slyvari in addition to Humans. Many players, however, appear not to be giving any of the newcomers much of a chance. Earlier today, Guild Wars 2 writer Peter Fries tweeted in disappointment, “GW2 race popularity makes me sad. People avoiding charr & asura are missing the strongest story stuff in our game, IMO.”

He added a graph, taken from an earlier post on the economy:


The graph, on the lower left in the image above, shows the distribution of characters by race. In order, from left to right, the bars indicate Norn, Charr, Asura, Sylvari, and Humans. (The other graphs show a breakdown by character gender, character class, and crafting profession.) While the graph lacks any numbers, it’s clear that Humans far outnumber any other player character race. Fries added, in follow-up tweets, that the disparity has only grown larger in the month since the infographic was made.

Players of MMORPGs do have a known bias toward creating attractive human (or very human-like) characters. Researcher Nick Yee, who studies World of Warcraft player behaviour in depth, found in 2005 that Human and Night Elf were far and away the most popular character races in WoW, and a later look at the game in 2010 found that Human, Night Elf, and Blood Elf remained handily at the top. Data gathered from an in-game census mod finds the same pattern.

For a team that takes the effort to create five distinct cultures, with story and art for each, it’s no doubt disappointing to find players so heavily concentrated in just the one. As a player whose main is a Human Thief (with characters of the other four races all lagging under level 10), I’m totally part of the problem. But it’s nothing against my fearsome Charr, or my ridiculous and clever Asura. I just really like hanging out in Divinity’s Reach.



  • I think that goes for a lot of other games with multi-species characters, for example Skyrim. It is probably easier to relate or mould the character you choose into an extension of one’s self more than anything. For me I like orcs but would probably choose a norn if I played GW2.

    also hate to be a grammer nazi but it would be “Factions” not “Fictions” in the title.

  • Every race looks ugly except the human, the sylvari chicks arent even hot or they would be the nelf equivalent. Norn are just butch humans…

    • Humans in Guild Wars 2 are actually the closest to the ‘Elf’ archetype in fantasy fiction.

      I think it has more to do with the humans in this game not being dumb like in other fantasy games.

  • I decided to roll a Sylvari specifically for the reason of trying something different. And while I haven’t explored much of the world yet, I have to say The Grove and the surrounding woods look pretty spectacular

  • This shits me to no end. I think more games should experiment with imaginative types of animal and alien or abstract characters but then stuff like this pretty much tells publishers that everyone wants generic space marines and wizards.

  • Damn I thought everybody would be Charr, so I didnt pick that as my character even though theyre so damn cool. I ended up picking human. However Id rather have a beastly looking character than a pretty boy.

  • I play a mecromancer in borderlands 2… Oh I own this other thing you speak of but really have been struggling to care about it with pandora and war of the roses occupying all my attention… Even when I have a go and try and play it… I think I’m just over this style of mmo, the whole target and use cool downs, rinse repeat thing

  • Heh doesn’t sound like you’ve played it at all…
    Anyway the data is surprising given the fact that humans have by far the most boring areas and well a lot of people swear by smaller races like Asura for pvp…

  • Humans just fit all the classes so well. I wanted to play a thief and I honestly couldn’t see myself playing as any other race for that class. The Charr and Norn felt too big and the Asura too small, also they’re really ugly. I could possibly see a Sylvari thief but I was sort of basing my thief off a character from a book so I went human. I do have a Sylvari elementalist though. I’m sure in the end I’ll get around to trying every race.

    Also, I wouldn’t really call Night Elves human like. Obviously they do have human traits, as every playable race in WoW does, but Dwarves and Gnomes would be much, much closer to humans than Nigh Elves.

  • I chose Human because I decided that my main char would be a descendant of my GW1 char.

    I intend to play as all the races though eventually and try all the classes.

  • i tried many different combos of races and characters but ended up with a human ranger.

    I picked human partially because the initial storyline felt more gripping (thrown headfirst into a village attack) rather than the somewhat dull and mediocre starts of the other races.

  • I have at least one of each race. But I do have more humans. The reason for me is not so much a stylistic thing or a preference for humans but because it’s a lot easier to think up good names for humans. Asura names are especially hard to think of.

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