Guild Wars 2: Which Race is Right for You?

Published on August 28th, 2012

Are you an Asura or a Sylvari? Norn or Charr? This guide will help.

So many options so little time. Choosing a class and race combination is difficult in any MMORPG but in the influence of that choice is heightened, as each of the game’s five different races are completely different from one another.

Handily ArenaNet have given players five different character slots to try out each one, but there’s nothing quite worse than investing ten hours or so only to decide that the Human story isn’t quite sucking you in, or that the Charr are a bit two battle hardened for you to feel a connection with any of the characters. Well, that’s where our handy guide comes in.

We’ve detailed the premise of each race in Guild Wars 2 and their respective sensibilities, so you can approach that initial option when you create a character with a least a slight tinge of confidence. It’s worth noting that our story tastes may differ from yours and many of the major story beats for each race are customisable in the Guild Wars 2′s character creation screen, but seeing as we’ve played each race during the game’s numerous Beta weekends, we feel as though we’ve got a handle on each option. Also each of Guild Wars 2′s eight different character classes are compatible with each of the game’s five different races, we’ve just highlighted the options which we think make the most sense.


Guild Wars 2: Which Race is Right for You?

Humans are really the safe choice, but their story is still interesting.


  • Suitable Classes: Ranger, Thief
  • Ideal for beginners

Choosing a regular old homosapien in Guild Wars 2 is a bit like going to an ‘All You Can Eat Buffet’ and filling up on bread rolls, but our breed does function as a good starter class if you haven’t played too many MMORPGs before. In Guild Wars 2 humanity has been pushed back from the place of superiority in the first game, thanks to the emergence of an ancient dragon which has wiped out their former homeland. That isn’t to say they’re entirely out of sorts though, as they still have a magnificent capital city and intriguing power struggles over how they set about reclaiming their lost regions which have become over run with ghostly apparitions. If you want a gentle introduction to the realm of Tyria, this race is your best bet. We think the Ranger and Thief are the ideal classes choices for the Humans as they work well with the fiction, as humanity are one of the innately weaker beings of ArenaNet’s fiction. Both Ranger and Thief aren’t known for their head-on strength, but in battle they use their wits and guile to cause damage and take down other foes effectively.


Guild Wars 2: Which Race is Right for You?

The Charr have always kicked ass and now you can be one of them.


  • Suitable Classes: Warrior, Engineer, Necromancer
  • Ideal for those who played the first game

These cats of war are the very model of a military society with a clearly defined code of conduct, different competing legions and a love of competition and conflict. Deceit, double-crosses and political manoeuvring become a big part of the Charr story right from the off, but there’s no diplomacy or anything like that, instead all matters are settled by a blade, bow or rifle. In Guild Wars 2, the Charr are playable for the first time and if you have any memories of the first game we strongly recommend you start out with this class, as gaining an insight into what makes the hierarchy of these warrior kitties tick is really quite fascinating. Choosing a legion makes a big impact on the story as well, so select your character’s allegiance to Iron, Blood or Ash Legions very carefully. Iron is best for Engineers, Blood is good for those who practice the dark arts, and Ash is best for more of the traditional soldier types. Some of the dialogue can be a bit dry with the Charr, as they aren’t really known for their tall tales or winning sense of humour, so these guys are perhaps best for those who like traditional fantasy fiction and don’t mind characters who are over-burdened with an inflated sense of self-importance.


Guild Wars 2: Which Race is Right for You?

Norn love battle just as much as they love ale...


  • Suitable Classes: Warrior, Guardian, Ranger
  • Ideal for explorers

The Norn were first introduced in Guild Wars’ final expansion Eye of the North, and they’ve had a special place in our hearts ever since. These gentle giants prize strength and honour above all else, yet they aren’t afraid to let their hair down after a battle with booze and brawls functioning as a major component of their typical Saturday night. If you have any affinity for Gimli from Lord of the Rings, then this is the race for you as the Norn share a lot of personality traits with Tolkien’s Dwarves. This race’s story revolves around The Great Hunt, a big competition to find the strongest of all Norn warriors, but this pompous competition is really just an excuse for lots of killing, drinking and exploration. Notably this race also has the ability to transform into different forms, such as a wolf, raven or snow-leopard. In the grand scheme, the Norn are a bit of a crazy race bursting with lots of personality and funny dialogue. Seeing as the Norn hail from the north, expect to see plenty of snow, forest and mountainous regions, and make no mistake these are absolutely beautiful. If you like exploring beautiful environments and don’t mind pledging your allegiance to mythical spirits every few quests, the Norn are perfect for you.


Guild Wars 2: Which Race is Right for You?

The Sylvari are an entirely unique creation on the MMORPG landscape.


  • Suitable Classes: Mesmer, Elementalist, Guardian
  • Ideal for story buffs

The youngest race in Tyria, also happen to be the most mysterious. The Sylvari were designed in part by Guild War 2′s community and it shows as they are definitely the craziest character option the sequel has to offer. The leafy folk aren’t born they’re grown underneath the mystical ‘Pale Tree’, and they possess a symbiotic relationship with nature. Much of the starter story is about saving local wildlife and maintaining the delicate balance which keeps nature in check,, but the core story doesn’t come across as preachy or half baked as that description suggests. Instead the Sylvari are just a fascinating race and every new story morsel which gets revealed about them during the early campaign just leaves you with more questions and that really helps to fuel your need to progress. The Sylvari are also key to the Guild War 2′s grand narrative associated with fighting off the Elder Dragon threat, as they emerged only a matter of decades before the time the game is set in – more than just a coincidence to be sure. If you want to experience why ArenaNet are so acclaimed when it comes to MMORPG story design than the Sylvari are the ideal character to start off with, but only if you have a sound grasp of the game’s wider landscape. The Grove capital city also needs to be seen to be believed. Leafy wolf hounds? Sign us up!


Guild Wars 2: Which Race is Right for You?

The Asura are kind of in love with themselves, but that won't stop you becoming infatuated with them.


  • Suitable Class: Engineer
  • Ideal for those with a sense of humour

Last but not least, we have Tyria’s diminutive inventors. This class has proven to be our favourite time and time again, not only because the Asura are arguable the game’s most important race thanks to their technological prowess, but also due to the fact that the core story for these little guys is so much fun. Their inherent quick-witted and sometimes snarky nature invigorates the characters and their dialogue with real zest. So much so that you can’t help but identify and care for the characters you meet right from the off. There’s a fun and quirky appeal to the story which is almost Whedon-esque at times, with characters which playfully riff off one another, jabbing at each other’s shortcomings. The Asura are technology specialists, but they don’t come across as cold or over-calculating instead they’re passionate about their creations and their work – be it creating the teleport network which allows players to move from side of Tyria to another in an instant, or an army of AI-controlled golems. The Asura don’t tend to use their own physical prowess in battle, instead technology is their main ally, so we’ve selected the Engineer as the primary class choice. Seeing these small figures dominate the battlefield with turrets and rifles, pistols or shotguns is a great sight and when you’re that particular Asura, it’s impossible not to have a good time. We love these little guys and we think they’ll appeal to the widest demographic of gamers of all. Give these fellas a try, you won’t regret it.


What’s so unique about Guild Wars 2 is that each race represents such radically different fantasy ideals. The technology loving Asura are the yin to the nature-loving yang of the Slyvari, and even though the Charr and Norn might seem similar due to their shared love of battle their approach to war couldn’t be more different. And in the middle of this grant interplay are the Humans struggling to see exactly where they fit in and what hope they have for survival in an increasingly hostile Tyria. Honestly you can’t really go wrong when it comes to choosing a class/race combination, but hopefully this guide has pointed you in the right direction.

If you have any suggestions yourself, feel free to put them in the comments box below…


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    1. Posted by guardian on November 22nd, 2012, 13:52

      a norn is the oppersite of a guardians purpose.

    2. Posted by Ranger on January 2nd, 2013, 09:31

      This kinda helped but could talk more about what you do in the game without spoiling to much I am thinking Charr then Asura then sylvari then Norn then human ( The order I will test them then i will setel on one) the Charr is probebly going to be ranger and the Asura an engineer but could you tell me asap what the others should be also how many charecters can you have at once love guild wars 2 and have yet to play it doing my research

    3. Posted by Anirri on January 27th, 2013, 19:17

      honestly there is no ideal race for a class or class for a race….i play an asura warrior…it is funny but they are no less effective. Now RP wise it makes for a fun time seeing how my great sword is the size of a dagger. and i look like a golem in my armor but…they are epic xD

    4. Posted by Faithbow on February 6th, 2013, 14:46

      I would love to day that Guild Wars 2 is ofcourse the best Guild Wars yet!.Also i would like to add what i think of the Sylvari race, once again if you know J.R.R Tolkien`s The Lord of the Rings fantastic series you will notice that Guild Wars was completly inspired by it… EX. ettins are in the lotr`s and wargs! haha warg riders from lotr`s so many things are alike also like Norn are tall large dwarves! but like i said i would like to tell you a few small things about Sylvari. Sylvari are just like the Norn not the race but because they both are very simalar to races in lotr`s, Sylvari are totally Elves!!!!!! they love nature and help others when they can but will not risk nature or themselves! i think the 2 races are alike , like so many other things in Guild Wars i am too inspired by J.R.R Tolkien!….btw if you havent read Lord of The Rings … :O then go read it now!!!!!!!!!!! and watch the movie :)

    5. Posted by Grimthor Ragehowl on November 13th, 2013, 01:05

      You had it a bit off with the Charr, the Blood Legion is the more soldier type being the “Masters of the Frontlines” while Ash is the one dedicated to the dark arts of necromancy and subterfuge (thievery). Good guide overall though. :)

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