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The roar of engines and the thunder of guns: Massively's analysis of the new Guild Wars 2 video

Rubi Bayer, @@rubi_

Charr week continues with the one thing most Guild Wars 2 fans have been anticipating all week: the video. As always, this is pure in-game footage -- no CGI -- so it's an exciting look at the Charr race and what's become of Ascalon in the years since humans roamed this part of Tyria.

As always, we've taken a close look at the video, so follow along after the jump for the video and our analysis. Of course, don't forget to check out the updated Charr page on the Guild Wars 2 site!

Sharp-eyed Guild Wars fans will catch more than one startling contrast in the first seconds of the video. There's the obvious: the pastoral landscape combined with the aggressive, drum-heavy, militaristic score. But look a little closer. Things are green and growing, the river isn't tar. It looks like Pre-Searing, or maybe the Charr homelands in the north. But a glance at the background landscape gives the location away -- this is Ascalon, and those structures are the broken ruins of the human city.

What's startling is that we associate the ruins of Ascalon with the Searing -- and that picture includes a scorched landscape and black, sticky bodies of "water." This first view in the video sets the stage clearly: time has passed and the land has healed, but the unrepaired ruins in the background leave no doubt as to who this place belongs to now.

We only linger here for a moment before getting to the core of what the Charr are all about: getting the job done. As we explored yesterday, the Charr are ruthless, intelligent, and determined to conquer no matter what it takes. The outskirts of the Charr citadels are the green and growing areas that we recognize, but just inside is an enormous ... well, factory.

The Charr have put their intelligence to use in the past years, turning to iron and gunpowder to increase their strength, with impressive (and frightening) results. Wheeled war machines, soaring platforms, and enormous furnaces belching flame and smoke combine to show that the Charr have reached their industrial age with a vengeance.

It's largely function over form, but the Charr do find time here and there to create a little nod to themselves and their strength. The huge Charr carving (pun intended) over the furnace door is the strongest indicator of this, but a closer look will reveal smaller flourishes here and there. What's interesting is that even these decorative pieces aren't "pretty." They are clearly there for looks, but they retain the hard edges, sharp points, and overall harsh tone of this modern Charr society.

Looking even farther into the background reveals even more insight into the Charr point of view. There are some trees inside the citadel, but they're barren and mostly dead. The ground below is a mix: You can see level floors created from rivets and sheets of metal where they're needed, but if they're not it's a foundation of uneven and barren earth. This, combined with the peaceful green landscape just outside the citadel, gives a peek into the Charr view on the beauty of nature.

They don't actively seek to destroy it. They don't mind it and might even appreciate it in a vague sense, but it's irrelevant to the big picture. The trees inside the citadel weren't destroyed unless they were in the way. If they weren't blocking a specific structure being built, they simply didn't matter and they stayed. At the same time, they weren't exactly mulched and watered on a daily basis either. That sort of thing only becomes relevant if it's actively blocking something the Charr need to do or build.

The hints of trees and plants here and there, along with the extremely uneven dirt ground, also speak to the way the citadel was created -- things seem to have been built when and how they were needed, wherever they fit. There was no sitting down with an architect and saying "All right, we need 'x' amount of space, so raze and level that amount while we start figuring out where we want to construct all of these machines." If the Charr needed a series of furnaces, then they created a series of furnaces where they had the space. Need an arena? Fine, there's a big space over there, put it there.

That's not to say that it's sloppy and disorganized, but the Charr are masters of adapting to what they have to work with and to their surroundings -- they have to be. They do what needs to be done, and if more needs to be done later they can do that too.

The video gives an overall look at the Charr -- it provides the standard ArenaNet one-two punch of stunning visuals and a great musical score. But if you look closer it's a look at much more: the overall attitudes and goals of the Charr race.

Thanks to ArenaNet for this latest addition to Charr week!

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