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The Norn, reasons for instinctive associations.

Norn Race

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#1 Olim


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Posted 12 July 2012 - 08:19 AM

Disclaimer: (The purpose of this post is to spark a discussion concerning what I perceive to be a commonly held opinion by numerous members in the community which is; that many people are not head over heels happy with how the Norn race, and particularly Norn men, appear in the game. Some folks have even gone so far as to call them "Overgrown Humans" which is rather untrue as the Norn have such a rich background and rich lore that is rather different from human lore.) Also if this topic is in the wrong discussion board then feel free to move it to it's appropriate location, this is my first forum topic that I've created.

In this Post - Feel free to share what you think about the Norn's appearance as a whole. Why do you think this may be the case? If your not thrilled with thier appearances what might you have done differently if you were designing the race. Lets keep it civil and please no outright Norn bashing here, thank you.

A problem with Norn race is that the race looks similar enough in appearance to humans for us to subconsciously and instantly compare thier bodies to that of the human body. Our eyes upon finding differences see the norn form as a grotesque or altered image of a human a split second before our rational brain says "hey wait this is a videogame and what I am seeing is the Norn." And then we believe we dislike "The Norn's" look as a race.

When making a 3d model to represent a human it is very very difficult to make it a believable copy as we humans are so trained to recognize our own forms. Thus when we see a similar but different form that shares aspects of the human form we are likely to be very judgmental of it. In the Norns case for many people they do not like the look of humans when they are huge and brawny and so upon seeing a Norn since the subconscious equates the Norn form to the human one on some level this distaste of the particular type of form (Brawny) is carried over from human to Norn.

I think if Arenanet made a mistake with the Norn it would be that they look a little too similar to humans to avoid conscious or the subconscious' associations, and thus judgements, comparing them to humans. These mental connections to the human form are a wired part of us, who can blame someone upon first glance for seeing the norn as merely bulked up humans.

I think if Arenanet had made the Norn more visually distinctive in their own right then the race would be much more popular with the community. Well just my 2c anyways.
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#2 Vidal


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Posted 12 July 2012 - 08:57 AM

I agree. Like i've said before, we all know what a human is supposed to look like, so we hold the Norn to those same standards, even subconsciously. It's why no one really complained about Charr faces, but people did say the humans' faces "just don't look right". That's a problem for the Norn that just isn't going away. I did some measurements though, and found that Norn males have more realistic proportions than the humans (and I mean realistic as a human) when it comes to proportions, not musculature. Unfortunately, and this is a huge pet peeve of mine, everyone has been so inundated with long legged imagery on humans that it is now perceived as the norm.
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#3 Andlát


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Posted 12 July 2012 - 09:23 AM

I adore them as they are - cool giants without a notion of androgyny. I am OK with the other races but the Norn are spot on for my tastes. People who complain can always go play another race, it is not like I go and whine that I dislike the way asurans look or that I hate the Sylvari sexual customs. Play what you want to play and let the others enjoy their choices.

What the Norn are imho designed to fit is the archetype of the big, strong race. Some might say that we have the Charr for that, but because of their bestiality it is not the same.

While I do agree that the Norn can sometimes look a bit awkward, after playing for around 50-60 hours as one I must say that they feel just right to me in-game. The asura, on the other hand, make me want to pull my hair out after watching a 10 minute video with one. It is entirely opinion based.
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#4 Leeto


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Posted 12 July 2012 - 09:32 AM

Short version: Wrong proportions? Fck off its norn not human!

Its silly to say norn proportions or w/e is wrong when theres nothing to compare to beside GW1 norn, which is more like early concept than actual display of the race.

For more simple minded people: i just agree with OP
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#5 Beorn The Berserker

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Posted 12 July 2012 - 09:37 AM

There's already a thread on this topic.


I play a Norn and I think they look great. They are 9-foot tall hulking beasts, not humans. You may notice in the character creation most of the faces are ugly as hell. They aren't supposed to look human and they aren't supposed to look pretty. If you don't like it then don't play one.
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#6 Alaroxr


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Posted 12 July 2012 - 09:41 AM

The only thing I don't like about them is when I see a thick-bodied Norn male wearing heavy armor.... their legs look like trees...

I mean... their upper bodies are fine and Norn-like, but their legs look like pillars.


As an aside, has anyone else noticed that the taller Norn seem to be 12-13 feet tall? As a slightly taller than average Human (probably 5'10"-6'), my character was half the height of some Norn I've seen.

Edited by Alaroxr, 12 July 2012 - 09:43 AM.

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#7 Raxzor


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Posted 12 July 2012 - 09:42 AM

Anyone that visits the beta Norn forums after a BWE will notice my posts defending their look. People go there saying they are to big etc.. and even Anet red posts have agreed with me that's the point. They are not human the lore hints that they are descendants of giants.
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#8 Highlander of Alba

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Posted 12 July 2012 - 09:44 AM

As I love the Norn and will def play one Jora was to busty but

I love there attitude to Battle and a famous saying by the Norn in GW1 was

As the Norn say ."If you face a Norn, do so courageously. It will be the last thing you ever do."
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Posted 12 July 2012 - 09:51 AM

I don't see what the fuss is about either, I think they're fine. Their lore and looks appeal to me the most out of all the races.

If i had to nitpick anything, it would be their awkward running animation. Maybe some more face options as well. But, it doesn't really bother me.
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#10 MrLarone


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Posted 12 July 2012 - 09:53 AM

You're talking about the Uncanny Valley:


Personally I experience this most when I travel to the Human areas as a Norn and it's all the little people running around that freak me out...

so add me to the Norn are fine camp.

that said i'm not sure why you're picking on them as being especially Human looking... the Sylvari are as well...
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#11 Chalky



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Posted 12 July 2012 - 09:59 AM

As mentioned, lets try to avoid going over the same ground in multiple threads:

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