Which Race Should I Play?

Guild Wars 2 concept art of all five playable races

Guild Wars 2 offers you five choices of race for your player character:

  • Human: Self-explanatory.
  • Norn: Like humans, but very tall and generally Nordic.
  • Asura: Small gremlins with large, floppy ears.
  • Charr: Big cats.
  • Sylvari: Plant people.

Which Race Should I Choose? Which Race is Best?

The answer boils down to, play the race you like the best. Unlike some games in which different races have different strengths and weaknesses, Guild Wars 2 does not offer any racial bonuses. For the most part, all of the races are the same “under the hood.” With two exceptions – Personal Story and racial skills – the only difference between the races is cosmetic.

Personal Story

The first few tiers of Personal Story are VERY different, based on the race you choose. Dedicated fans will want to have at least one character of each race, to see all the different Personal Stories. In our opinion, the earliest part of the Personal Story is the best part, so this is well worth doing.

Racial Skills

Each race has six racially-themed skills. Most of these skills are less useful than similar profession-based skills, with a few exceptions:

  • Human: Hounds of Balthazar. This elite skill is fantastic, aside from the extremely long cool-down.
  • Norn: No, I’m sorry, all the Norn racial skills are terrible. Yes it’s cool you can turn into a bear or a raven or whatever, but it’s just not useful.
  • Asura: Pain Inverter and Technobabble are both pretty good CC skills, although potentially overshadowed by similar profession skills.
  • Charr: Battle Roar grants 6 seconds of fury and 15 seconds of might to nearby allies (5 within a range of 1200). With a cooldown of only 35 seconds, this skill is quite useful.
  • Sylvari: Seed Turret can be useful, especially in big mobs, and in WVW.

More to the Point

No matter which race you choose, you will probably get tired of their callouts. “This rose has thorns! And here they are!” “I can outrun a centaur!” (Literally everyone can outrun a centaur, u ain’t special.)

Most player characters are human. Whether that information makes you more likely or less likely to create a human character depends on you, I suppose.

Charr is the least-common race. It’s easy to see why: charr players have a (somewhat deserved) reputation for being furries who are super into RP (roleplaying) and ERP (erotic roleplaying).

The Best Thing About Each Race

Humans are utterly inoffensive. No one will ever look at you funny for being a human. Humans also have (in our opinion) the best racial capital: Divinity’s Reach. Fans of voice actor Nolan North will want to choose the male human player character. He really does a fantastic, bombastic, wonderful job.

Norn are fantastically burly (male and female characters alike). If you want a lot of generous cleavage, Norn is the choice for you.

Asura have some of the best character creation options, including their weird eyes, weird ears, and weird hair. They’re just plain weird. Some people also feel asura are best for jumping puzzles, because the character model is so small. My favorite thing about asura is the way their ears perk up when you unsheathe their weapon.

Charr have great coat patterns and horns, and the early charr Personal Stories are some of the best ones. Charr also tend to be sarcastic, which is great.

Sylvari skin and glow colors are fun to play with. Mass Effect fans will appreciate Jennifer Hale’s work as the voice actor for the female sylvari player character.

The Worst Thing About Each Race

Humans are so ubiquitous. So boring!

Norn look like they are running in slow motion, even though they move the same speed as every other race. Nevertheless, it’s distracting. Their large character model can also make jumping puzzles difficult.

Asura I kind of hate the way they go ragdoll when they jump, arms and legs flailing around like that. Asura also have more than a whiff of “Nazi doctor,” culturally-speaking.

Charr running on all fours is cringe-y. Like the norn, charr have large character models, which can make jumping puzzles difficult.

Sylvari I kind of hate the faux-British accent. Plus, The Grove is just way too froo-froo-fairy-lights for me.

What Are the Most and Least Popular Races?

According to results from an extensive Reddit survey, the most popular race is human. The least popular race is charr. (Rude!)

  • Most Popular: Human male necro, human female elementalist, and human female thief.
  • Least Popular: Charr female necro, norn male mesmer, and charr female mesmer.

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