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Flameseeker Chronicles: A closer look at the Grawl of Guild Wars 2

Rubi Bayer, @@rubi_

I was pretty excited to see this week's addition to the ArenaNet blog for a couple of reasons reasons. First, I'm a big fan of Jeff Grubb's style of storytelling. It's clear, informative, and entertaining, with just enough of Jeff's wry sense of humor to surprise a laugh out of me now and again.

Second, it's about the Grawl! This is a race that I really underappreciated in the past, just like the blog entry said. The Grawl came to my attention only when I was giggling as my miniature Grawl talked to himself while running behind me, raging at multiple Grawl Udolytes in hard mode, and cracking up while watching one of my favorite fan videos.

I want to take a closer look at the Grawl, but there's more -- it was an exciting week in Tyria, so follow along after the jump and let's get started!

I want to address two things before diving into my closer look at the Grawl: Pink Day in LA and MVOP.

Pink Day

As I write this, I'm terribly distracted by the festivities in Lion's Arch district 7. Pink Day in LA is in full swing, John Ryan is in the district as a pretty pink pantsless Warrior (shame on him for not being a Paragon to complete my alliteration, but oh well), and the donations to support breast cancer research are pouring in. Angel McCoy is in another district of LA, and the two of them just finished guest-hosting on the online radio stream.

I really enjoy seeing ArenaNet supporting this event to the extent it does. From the addition of the pink dye vendor in game to the mountain of items signed by team members for the auction to and the "in-person" support during the event, everyone there has given a real boost to Pink Day. Bravo!

Donations and auction bids are looking great, so a big thanks to all of you who helped out. An even bigger thanks goes to everyone from Gaming World Entertainment Network and Gamers Giving Back -- you guys put together a fantastic Pink Day!


If you're not familiar with it, Massively Overpowered -- or [MVOP] -- is Massively's official Guild Wars guild. We've been playing together regularly since April of 2010, and last week saw the group take on the Ebon Vanguard storyline in Eye of the North. We wrapped it up with our standard dose of silliness and hijinks on the Massively Mumble server, and we're now ready to tackle the final part: the Asura story.

MVOP will be meeting this Thursday night, October 20th, at 9:00 p.m. EDT in Olafstead Japanese district 1. We'll battle our way to Umbral Grotto, then head into Vloxen Excavations. How far will we get? There's one way to find out -- join us! You don't have to be a member of MVOP to join the party. We meet in the Japanese districts because they're usually quiet and we can use local chat to allow non-guild/alliance-mates to join the conversation without disturbing others in the district.

If you'd like to be a part of MVOP, just drop a line in our join thread. Otherwise, I'll see you in Olafstead Thursday night!

Hurr? Hurr!

All right, on to the Grawl! Like the Charr, the Grawl have been a part of the Guild Wars world almost since we set foot in it. Unlike the Charr, they were never an integral part of the storyline, and we never knew much about them. They were generic bad guys, and the most significant thing about them over time was that collectors had a weird fetish for their necklaces.

They were always around, but there was no history or knowledge of their society. I think they still carried a certain interest for players -- it may not have raised the Grawl to the status of little Gwen, but maybe because they're so ubiquitous in Ascalon and the Charr lands in the north, we like the big goofs.

Because of that, I'm happy to finally be learning more about them. There was a brief mention of them at PAX Prime last year when the developers revealed The Mighty Oooh, a huge natural rock formation that talks to the Grawl, who worship it as a deity. In reality, the Mighty Oooh is an Asura hiding in the rocks and amplifying his voice.

It's a small funny detail, but it gives an insight into what the Grawl are like and how other races see them. That insight was backed up nicely by last week's blog post. The common thread throughout the post is how much they're reviled by other races. The Charr and humans fight over whom the Grawl resemble, with the humans insisting that they're Charr-like and vice versa.

The Charr bully them, the Asura mess with their minds for amusement, the Norn pity them, and we humans slaughter them wholesale. They're not treated with anything resembling respect or fear by any outside race, but they just keep on doing their thing. This makes me want to learn more about them -- they've not evolved much if at all in 250 years, but they don't seem to mind. In a way, that certainty is to be admired. The Grawl know who they are and what they believe. Even if there's infighting over whose beliefs are right and whose are wrong, the one thing they all have in common is a confidence that they are doing and believing the right thing.

That confidence and tenacity, I think, are the reasons that the Grawl are still around and thriving after 250 years in almost exactly the same fashion. I can see them saying that they don't need to evolve and grow and change to survive because they got it right the first time.

Is it a perfect existence? Nah, they still seem to be the butt of jokes and other races take advantage of them, but they don't seem to be too bothered about what outside races think. It's that attitude that makes the Grawl a lot more interesting to me than they should be at first glance. Hopefully we'll get to interact a bit more in Guild Wars 2. As always, I can't wait!

Rubi is a longtime Guild Wars player and the writer of Flameseeker Chronicles here at Massively. The column keeps a close eye on all the events in Guild Wars, Guild Wars 2, and anything bridging the two. It's also the home of a weekly summary of the travels of [MVOP], Massively's Guild Wars guild. Email Rubi at

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