The Cats of Tyria

As was wrapping up my next article, I got hit by a brilliant idea: I would write a teaser article, like an appetiser for it. So now this will be my next article and the next one will be the one after that. Or something.

Let’s start with a statement we can all agree with: our Home instance is poor. So poor and lifeless in fact, that no matter how many gathering nodes or personal story NPCs you get in there it still doesn’t feel quite like ‘home’. This is why it needs all the extra love and decoration it cat get (cat, get? There’s a hint here, get it? :p) Gradually items will and do get added to it but nothing beats an animate, living, loving cute thing, like a cat. Even grumpy or bullying ones are nice to have around, not to mention little kittens engaged in snowball fights or playing fetch by themselves!

ArenaNet has added quite a few of these adorable felines in the game over the last couple of years and made the process of acquiring them a fun (my kind of fun at least ^^) scavenger hunt. So there you have it: my next article (or next next?) is going to be a Guide to this! As you will see there, the Hunt, or Journey, is a pretty long one. Long and demanding – in time, effort and (a little) money. Partly to motivate those of you who decide to embark on it and partly to whet your appetite, I decided to do this brief presentation of what you can expept to find the next time you walk into your Home!

(This is the part where I should sugarcoat things… But, sadly for you, I shall be blunt as an ogre’s club)

The first thing you will frequently notice when you step foot in your Home Instance after the Journey is over will be… a dead bird! Disgusting, I know. Occasionally you might catch a grey cat standing next to it, licking its paws. What can you do except clean up? You certainly can’t kill a predator’s instincts, can you? Frankly though, I believe it to be a deliberate distraction on your feline companions’ part, to make the mayhem they’re causing go unnoticed! Read on.

Cats, cats everywhere!

At a first glance, you will notice small groups being playful and funny like you would expect of them. For example, there’s 4 black ones playing with a snowball and 5 orange tabbies just walking around or merely standing by your gathering nodes.

Suddenly you hear soft footsteps, hurrying your way. A mild panting and a purring sound. You turn around and see… a Snow Leopard Cub pouncing at you! It is so lovable and cute and… and… and it won’t stop following you around!

Behind the Raw Candy Corn gathering node you see a dark pointy hat peeking out, and a pair of glimmering emerald eyes. Looks like there’s a tiny witch hiding there. You get closer – and this pitch black skinny cat pops out, grinning at you!

As you sidestep away from her you hear a meowing whine, followed by a soft brushing against your leg. You look down and see the cutest, dearest, most lovable little thing: a tiny kitty wearing a red bow around its neck, staring right into your eyes! Think Puss in Boots, and let your heart melt <3

One thing worth remembering about this one is that it can tell the time. Well, roughly. See, there’s actually 2 of them. When it is night outside, the white one will show up while its black twin (brother or sister?) is sleeping. The opposite happens during the day 🙂

Further on, with the Snow Leopard Cub always hoping about you, you come to the cosiest corner in your stead (canton, lab, etc). A huge fireplace adorns it, spreading its fiery warmth in the room. In front of it there’s a big cauldron where some deliciously smelling soup is brewing. Standing around it are 4 orange cats, mesmerized by the crackling flames, keeping warm and drooling at the soup’s aroma. A funny thought crosses your mind: you didn’t prepare this soup and there are no cooks around so who…?

You shake the funny thought off and turn away from them. In the middle of the stone/wooden floor (or carpet, or dirt etc) before you is a lazy looking cat, flexing and stretching out. She looks like any other lazy cat out there only there’s something about her that catches one’s eye. It’s not so much the strange blue collar around this Scottish Fold’s neck as it is the little baubles swirling in the air around it! On top of it, as if to prove she is special, she has a Title to cap it: “Honors in Applied Jumping” 🙂

You nod at her in recognition, smiling as you walk on by. “Hello Simon”, you call out to a spirited cat to your left. He looks at you amusingly as if entertained at your simplistic attempt to communicate. Besides, his plane of existence does not coincide with yours at all times. Brought in from a fractal of the Mists, this glowing blue intangible feline seems relatively content to have been given a peaceful place to exist in.

A few steps away from Simon is another here-but-not-really-there cat. Its shape shimmers and dims, forming a jagged outline to a semi-transparent body. This kitten is a fine example of applied asura technology, in the area of ‘home decoration’. Yes, it is in fact a hologram but this does not make it any less adorable!

Out of the corner of your eye you vaguely notice the feeblest of movements. Almost unwillingly, you slowly turn to see. Slowly, so slowly… Cause you already know who goes there and you know that she is as meek as she is unreal. A dead quiet ghostly cat is watching you from her little corner, still unsure if or how you could possibly be aware of her presence. But you can sense she needs you to be aware of it. Besides, wasn’t it your own ghost who brought her here?

You stand a few paces away, enough to make her feel at ease and reassured. You smile, and she seems to be smiling back.

All of a sudden you feel a chill on your spine, the hair on the back of your neck suddenly starting to rise. Why? Why is this happening? This little cat is no threat! You know she… Then you realise. It’s her. She’s staring at the back of your head, her fiery eyes piercing through your skull like Rytlock’s flaming sword. You know you have no choice. You’ve got to turn and face her to avoid her rage. Slowly you turn around and sure enough, she is there. Lady Wisteria Whiskington, still bloodstone crazed from her time spent inside her previous owner’s house, feeding on… rather hazzardous material. Her eyes are two burning rubies and when she smiles and purrs… Oh you wish she just didn’t.

Trying to show no fear and no disrespect either (crazed or not, she’s still the decorated winner of Divinity’s Reach Fanciest Cat Competition), you step away towards the staircase leading to the second floor. The further away the better, you think to yourself. Even before you reach the top however, you hear hustle and bustle. “What’s this now?”, you wonder as you hurriedly make your way towards the source of the ruckus. You let out a deep breath as you identify the culprits. These 9 black cats have been brawling since day one and you haven’t been able to understand why. It’s probably their idea of having fun, who knows.

Amidst them, barely noticeable for all the dust and swiveling paws, a lovely, dazed and bewildered juvenile frog. How he got here you got no clue; probably followed one of the cats home. Seeing it dancing through the pounces and punches is actually a funny sight 🙂

Miles away from everyone else, occupying the biggest space in your home, is the last bunch of cats you brought in. Although you are proud of all of them and love them all equally much (or nearly all…), these ones here hold a special place in your heart. It’s not only because finding and feeding them was a real challenge -it was so for most of your feline friends- but also because they put on such a show! You stand back and wait for it to begin.

First, there’s the ‘stare down’ act; the 2 Catmanders exchange fierce glances, surrounded by their loyal soldiers.

Then comes the ‘roar’ act; both let out a mighty meowoar to boost their restless army. And then, the grand finale; CHAAAAARGEEEE!!!

Honestly, you have to see this to believe how incredibly funny it is! I just can’t stop watching 😀

Now that you had enough of cats playing by themselves, how about you entertain them yourself some? Or, entertain yourself by playing with them – which, in many situations, is not the same, as you will undoubtedly find out soon enough 😉

As any cat lover will tell you, cats love two things: toys and food. You can supply yourself with both from Holomancer Netto, in Rata Sum ([&BJUEAAA=]). She sells some amazing stuff for your playful friends and some of them are even safe to use! Let’s not forget, she’s an asura so some risk is always involved in their craft, right?

The first commodity I urge you to purchase (besides the cat food, apparently) is the Feline Holoscepter, which installs a Holoscepter Storage Case in your Home instance. Inside you will find a Model 3 Feline-Calibrated Entertainment Holoscepter to toy with your little friends. I won’t give away any more cause I want you to have fun in discovering how they react to your teasing! Just be sure to try it on all your cats as their response varies greatly 😉

The same goes for the Feline Water Pistol. It installs a similarly named Storage Case in your Home, where a Type 4C Feline-Calibrated Water Pistol is kept. You know how much cats love to play with water no doubt, so why not shoot some with it? ^^

But what if you decide you want some peace and quiet today, for a change? Wouldn’t it be great if they all went away at the push of a button? Well, you can always trust the asura to come up with some ingenious solution. Just a word of advice, however: should you decide to use it, restrain from visiting Caithe in her home ([&BHgEAAA=])…

In conclusion, I hope I have been able to pique your interest and made you want to go out and get as many of these amusing companions as you can! I know MMO(RPG) players typically think of ‘furniture’ items whenever ‘home’ is mentioned, but I don’t think anyone can disagree that a living ‘decoration’ is miles better than any inanimate prop.

In my next article I will guide you through the process of collecting all 35 (!!!) available cats in game. Until then, why don’t you spend some quality time with a friend?

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