My journey through Borealis Forest and its surrounding areas have proven to be swift, yet uneventful. In a short space of time my power has grown sufficiently for me to progress further from the sanctuary of Hoelbrak. It is time enter the mountains, the snow awaits.
I have discovered that it is taking me longer than expected to get used to the world of Tyria. Yes, it is a beautiful world, but my growth, although fast, is troubling me. I am accustomed to gaining the skills required of a warrior at a steady pace, but to also have access to these skills at all times. Here, I am limited to nine, five of which are linked to the weapon I am wielding. I have other skills and talents available, but I can only set them up out of combat. A few times I have found myself in a sticky situation, only to discover that I cannot change to the skill that would make my fight that little bit easier.
This is a limitation I find frustrating. In all my years, my prowess in combat is gained by knowing which skill to use at the time of battle, not planned out before it begins. Maybe this is how the younglings of today like to fight, but I am a seasoned warrior and I have battled through the hard way. Pah! If this is how Tyria’s warriors fight then so be it, I’ll pound on the beasts here with only one skill.
As I venture deeper into the snow a terrible clarity is suddenly apparent – the Norn are full of talk. Like the orcs of Azeroth, they pride themselves on their strength and battle-hardened life, but unlike my green-skinned friends the Norn here seem to be a race of posturing giants more concerned with flexing muscles than actually living the up to the type.
I chance upon the owner of tavern, an old ‘warrior’ who has clearly seen better days. He is worried that his patron, passed out drunk in the cold fields outside, will be attacked by the savage wildlife indigenous to the area, and asks me to wake them up. I reluctantly accept, but while dowsing the worms with ice-cold water I can’t help but think they deserve to be made a meal of. If you can’t handle your mead then why the hell do you sleep in the fields? The fools deserve everything that comes to them, and were I not a more generous soul I would leave them to it.
Further along the road I find something even more disturbing. The guard at the fort in Nentor Valley have called upon my assistance to remove traps along the path outside. I am informed that local beasts have taken to ambushing soldiers who attempt to clear the traps. Given my last quest was to wake up drunks, I jump at the chance to temper my sword with the blood of vicious and devious beasts. What I find, however, shattered the last remaining notion that the Norn of this world are worthy of a warrior such as I.
Disarming the first trap, I hear the purring of a stealthed cat. Readying my weapon, I wait for the beast to show itself, but I was not prepared for what appeared. Sleeking out of the shadows, it wasn’t a vicious beast that I saw but a slug. A slug with limbs and teeth true, but a slug nonetheless. The thing is small, barely coming up to my waist, and although fast it stood no chance against my broadsword. As the so-called beast falls to only my second swing, I look up at the fort and gesture at the guards, with only one word in my mind – pathetic!
I don’t need to go back to collect my reward, and with disdain still pumping though my veins I leave the area in search of a proper challenge.
It isn’t as easy as I thought. I accept quests as I travel, but there is nothing more challenging than a little bloodshed of the local annoyance. There was one occasion when a chance encounter lead me into the path of a giant, but as soon as I sighted him warriors from all over joined in to take him down. It was more of a challenge than I had expected, and it was good to fight alongside fellow travellers, but it was over all too soon. Before I could build up enough rage to fill my special attack the giant was down and we were all collecting our spoils. In this brief encounter I feel the rush of adrenalin and am reminded why these worlds are so popular. Fighting alongside fellow travellers was always the lure for me, but as quickly as the nostalgia surfaces it is shut away as everybody flies off in separate directions soon after looting.
Despondent, I continue on my path, collecting resources as a means to distract me from the mundane setting in. Mining for ore, digging for fruit and vegetable and cutting down trees – the exciting life of a seasoned warrior. This doesn’t really bother me, as I know I will need these resources to craft new weapons and armour when I get to a forge, but it is not a particularly exciting road to be on. Uneventful to say the least, that is until I reach the path high upon the slopes of Mistriven Gorge.
A boy standing in front of the wooden bridge that winds around the gorge tells me that Grawl have defaced the mountainside with their paintings and has asked if I can help clean it up, warning me there could be trouble ahead. I reject the request; I’m a fighter, not a cleaner!
Leaving the boy behind I start along the bridge, taking in the magnificent view along the way, but not far along I encounter a challenge that brought a smile to my ice-beaten face. Along with the paintings, debris lines the bridge, blocking my route. As I begin to clear it, I am ambushed by Grawl Shamen. On their own they pose no threat to me and my sword, but on a narrow bridge hundreds of feet up it becomes an exhilarating challenge. One after another the Grawl attack, my route continually hampered by the debris, and as I scythe my way through the onslaught I think back to the boy. I misjudged him. Unlike the others who were capable of doing the jobs themselves, this boy had the foresight to ask for my help. He will grow into a good warrior, brave and wise.
It was a long, beautiful and deadly path, and was the most fun I have had on my travels in Tyria thus far. As I begin to descend on the other side, I can’t help but think that it has taken me this long to find a challenge that has proven worthy of my talents. I keep telling myself that it is customary for these worlds to really open up when I have reached the last level of skill, but the nagging feeling that I should be enjoying the journey is gnawing in my mind. This world is beautiful, but it is not challenging.
As I reach my destination of the mountainside abbey of Durmand Priory , I look up at the central mystical column of light and struggle to shake the feeling that maybe I have seen something like it before.
Apart from a few standout experiences, I have quickly grown weary of this world. It is beautiful and in some ways refreshingly different from other worlds I have previously visited, but as a spectacle it leaves me underwhelmed.
Perhaps my most damaging criticism is this – I do not feel the desire to continue my journey.
My journey in Tyria may be coming to an end, but my travels will always continue. Where I’ll end up next I do not know. I’ll go where the winds of fate take me, and I hope you will follow me too.
I am Kallam. I am a warrior. My adventure will never end.
Journal of a Travelling Warrior is an alternative look into the warrior classes of various games, written from the viewpoint of the character himself. These articles are not intended to be reviews of the games featured and account for only the author’s experiences within the respective games.