Head Canon, Part Two: The Best of the Rest

I continue with the second installment of my “head canon” and backstory for my MMO characters. Now, we leave World of Warcraft behind and focus on other games.

My thief in Malchor's Leap in Guild Wars 2We’ll start with The Secret World. It’s hard to develop head canon in this game because there are no classes or races to draw a backstory from, and your character is a completely silent participant in the story.

I’ve largely based my characters around how they feel about the secret societies they belong to. These opinions are largely just grafted from my own view of the game’s factions.

After that, it’s time for my Guild Wars 2 characters to shine. By contrast, it’s extremely easy to develop backstories for GW2 characters because designing a biography is part of the character creation process.

This is a really cool idea that I wish we could see in more games, though it does further increase my sense of disappointment over how craptastic the personal storyline — and the lore in general for GW2 — turned out to be.

The Dragon:

“I am the fangs of the Dragon.”

My Dragon character in The Secret WorldIt’s safe to say my Dragon is not entirely happy with his lot in life. He was living a perfectly ordinary and happy existence, and then he went and swallowed a Bee and trashed his apartment with his newfound magical powers.

Suddenly he was abducted by a scary guy wearing little other than tattoos, molested by a Korean lady, gang-pressed into the world’s strangest terrorist organization, and sent into battle against every nightmare ever dreamed of by humanity.

So he’s not exactly a true believer of the Dragon cause, but he has come to a certain level of acceptance of his fate, and he does believe that the Dragon is something of a necessary evil.

Like a wildfire burns away the dead wood and refreshes the forest, the Dragon burns away the parts of society that are no longer necessary. They are a balancing force in the world, weeding out corruption.

He also finds them infinitely more trustworthy than the other secret societies. While the Illuminati and the Templars seek to conquer the world, the Dragon merely seeks to understand it. For this reason, more than any other, he will remain loyal to the Dragon cause.

My Dragon shows off his faction uniform in TransylvaniaAnd at some level, he is compelled by the promise of understanding the true nature of order and chaos. Who wouldn’t want to learn the answers to the deepest and most profound mysteries of the universe?

If a few civilizations fall in the process… Well, you need to crack a few cities to make an omelette.

No hard feelings, right, Carthage?

The Templar:

“Listen to the voices. They speak the truth.”

My Templar alt in The Secret World shows off her uniform at sundownLike my Dragon, my Templar has had a rough time of it. She used to be an accountant — a perfectly ordinary and respectable girl. One Bee later, and she’s thrown into a world where every monster she heard about as a child is real and out to kill her.

But early on, there was hope. She was contacted by the Templars, an organization dedicated to destroying evil wherever it may lurk. Desperate for a lifeline to cling to, she readily signed up, and for a time, she was able to cope. She even began to welcome her fate. Sure, fairytale monsters are real, but so are fairytale heroes.

She made herself a knight and ventured forth to slay the monsters of the world.

But the Templars are not knights in shining armor. When she rushed in to save innocents from the darkness, she was not praised by her superiors. Indeed, Mr. Sonnac admonished her for wasting her time.

My Templar takes in the night in The Secret WorldShe came to the conclusion that the Templars were less interested in saving the world than in advancing their own agenda, and the realization was crushing.

Her mind has begun to come unhinged. The one beacon of hope in the Secret World proved a lie. When even the heroes aren’t heroes, what’s left but to give in to the darkness, to the voices that whisper at 3AM?

It’s always 3AM.

She truly believes she has made the right choice. After all, what have the Bees ever done for her but ruin her life? Surely, there must be some good somewhere in the Secret World.


The thief:

“I welcome this challenge. I relish it. Come, danger! Come, adventure!”

My thief on the character selection screen in Guild Wars 2Like all Norn, my thief values strength, but she has a broader view of it than most. Relatively small for a Norn, she doesn’t have the massive physical strength of her comrades. Instead, she believes in strength of the mind.

A devotee of the Raven spirit and a member of the Durmand Priory, she values wisdom and intellect above all other traits. Her fighting style is based on outwitting the enemy, rather than overpowering them.

She cares little for the struggle against the Elder Dragons, fighting Zhaitan only grudgingly because she’s smart enough to realize it’s a problem that needs to be dealt with so she can get back to her studies.

Ultimately, she chose the adventuring life purely to learn. She wants to know as much about the world as she can, and honor Raven by furthering her own wisdom.

The warrior:

“I’ve seen the worst this city has to offer — and sent it home bleeding.”

My warrior on the character selection screen in Guild Wars 2My warrior came alive for me more than any of my other Guild Wars 2 characters. I think a lot of this is due to the fact human males are among the very few good examples of voice-acting in GW2, and their roguish charm fits his personality perfectly.

My warrior was a street rat from the bad end of the Salma District. He joined a gang when he was little more than a child and worked as an enforcer and arsonist for the local bosses.

But he soon learned there was no honour among thieves. He watched his fellow gangsters turn on each other and their neighbours, and he became disgusted by his life.

He remembered his sister, Deborah, who had left the streets behind and become a member of the Seraph. He began to wonder if he, too, could become something more.

He left the street gangs behind and wandered the lands around Divinity’s Reach, searching for a new purpose in life. That purpose came when he was caught in a centaur attack on Shaemoor.

My human warrior alt in Guild Wars 2The skills he’d learned on the streets translated well to the battlefield, and his brutal efficiency in dispatching the centaurs earned the title of Hero of Shaemoor.

He soon found himself working with the Seraph, bringing down the same gang leaders he’d once worked for, and now he has ventured forth in the world to serve queen and country and find his redemption.

In terms of personality, he’s very much the lovable rogue — a cheerful fellow with a devil-may-care attitude. He values loyalty, and he would do anything for his friends.

The mesmer:

“When I’m through with you, you won’t trust your own mind.”

My mesmer on the character creation screen in Guild Wars 2My mesmer is what I will politely call an eccentric. She doesn’t fixate on the idea of strength the way most Norn do, but she does embrace the individualism favoured by her people, recognizing no authority but her own.

A devotee of the spirit of Snow Leopard, she is both playful and predatory. She sees other people as little more than playthings. There’s an element of sadism to her, and she enjoys twisting people’s minds to the breaking point with her illusions and telepathy.

The only reason she’s not an infamous criminal is that she mostly confines her “play” to people and creatures no one will miss.

She’s also a bit of a narcissist — I’m of the impression it’s a requirement for the profession of mesmer. Who else would learn magic just to create an endless string of duplicates of yourself?

I didn’t realize until typing it out, but my mesmer is probably the least likable character I play out of all my games. My warlock and my paladin might be personally unpleasant, but they have noble aims. My Templar thinks she’s doing the right thing, no matter how wrong that belief might ultimately prove to be.

My mesmer showing off her gear in Diessa PlateauMy mesmer is just out for herself. That’s not to say she’s evil. She’s just irresponsible. She is possessed of great curiosity and a great love for life, and she seeks to see and experience all the world has to offer. Morality? Saving the world? Pff, no time for boring stuff like that.

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