Playable races

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The five playable races

The playable races are Tyrian species that players can select from during character creation. A character's race has effect on various features, both aesthetically and gameplay-wise.

Players can choose between five different races in Guild Wars 2: asura, charr, human, norn, or sylvari.


These alchemagical inventors may be short in stature, but they're intellectual giants. Among the asura, it's not the strong who survive, but the clever. Other races believe they should rule by virtue of their power and strength, but they're deluding themselves. In due time, all will serve the asura.
The charr race was forged in the merciless crucible of war. It is all they know. War defines them, and their quest for dominion drives them ever onward. The weak and the foolish have no place among the charr. Victory is all that matters, and it must be achieved by any means and at any cost.
Humans have lost their homeland, their security, and their former glory. Even their gods have withdrawn. And yet, the human spirit remains unshaken. These brave defenders of Kryta continue to fight with every ounce of their strength.
The race of towering hunters experienced a great defeat when the Ice Dragon drove them from their glacial homeland. Nevertheless, they won't let one lost battle - however punishing - dampen their enthusiasm for life and the hunt. They know that only the ultimate victor achieves legendary rewards.
Sylvari are not born. They awaken beneath the Pale Tree with knowledge gleaned in their pre-life Dream. These noble beings travel, seeking adventure and pursuing quests. They struggle to balance curiosity with duty, eagerness with chivalry, and warfare with honor. Magic and mystery entwine to shape the future of this race that has so recently appeared.

Effects on character and game[edit]

Personal story[edit]

The player's race defines the beginning of their personal story and starting area, as well as most of their biography questions, which also influence their story. For example, an asura character must decide which of the three Asuran colleges their character is affiliated with while a charr character must decide which of the three legions they follow. Selecting a race will also have some effect on how NPCs react to the character.

Physical appearance[edit]

Race also defines the character's appearance, and have unique physical features to adjust and alter, such as charr horns and norn tattoos. The chosen race also has an effect on the visual scaling of weapons in size. For example, a norn character's hammer would appear larger than asura character's hammer of the same visual appearance. This is purely cosmetic and has no effect on weapon or character capabilities.

Racial sympathy[edit]

Each race can show sympathy to other non-playable races, determined by the player as part of their personal story. The creatures that a player would show sympathy for are races that occupy areas near the character's starting area. For example, "a charr would have little opportunity to meet the peace-loving quaggan, as quaggan are sea-creatures and Ascalon has no coastal territory."[1]

Racial skill[edit]

Specific Healing (Human & Sylvari), Utility, and Elite slot skills are available to each race.


  • ArenaNet originally said that they wanted the race chosen by the player to have a "pretty big" impact on the way that character plays.[citation needed]
  • Humans were the only playable race in the original Guild Wars.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Personal Story Overview, Ree Soesbee, official Guild Wars 2 website