2 GUILDMAG ANNUAL 2016 | In This Issue
INK S ON RAIDI NG Legendar y YouTube r a nd Te aTim e gues t M MOINKS shares hi s t houghts on raids.
32 66 WONDROU S WIN TER WEARS Ne ed a new out fi t for winter? Then lo o k no further!
16 A N INTERVI EW WITH V ASBURG We s a t down with c o nc ept artist Vasburg to fi nd out mo re behi nd hi s creations.
LORE & HI S TORY A H ISTORY OF M A GIC Wha t exactly is magic, a nd how do we w i eld i t? Draxynn i c explains all!
06 19 THE WORKINGS OF MODERN M A GIC Leyli n es, blo o dstones a nd Taimi - wha t exactly is going on with magic in Tyr ia t o day?
24 THE CO MM A NDER’S G U IDE TO MURSAAT HISTORY Lazaru s ha s re turned, but is he fr i end or f oe? Ca tch up on you r mursaat history h e re. WINTERSDAY A N D WAR Wintersday in the original Guild Wars wa s a very d i ff e ren t a ff a ir...
42 45 TWO DRA GO NS FOR THE PRICE OF ONE Recap the first t hre e episodes of the Living W o rld in t hi s ha ndy article by St arconspirator.
C OMMUN ITY GUILD S PO TL IGHT Ne ed a new gu i ld? M aybe Rock, Paper, Signet is the r i ght one for you...
A RT & FI CT ION T AKI NG THE HOU SE A c ollaborative story by writers fro m Chronicles of Tyr ia.
COMM UN ITY ART Ha nd-pi c ked ar t i n spired by the c old es t o f fros ts a nd hott es t of fl am es.
FEA TUR ED 12 WINTERSDAY COOKING WITH K ASME ER Cook up some d eli ci ous Wintersday tre a ts with t h es e re cip es fro m Au ro r a Pe achy!
60 QU A GGA N TREE DECORATIONS Le ar n to kn i t a nd cro ch e t by making t h es e ado r able quaggan tre e decorations!
40 LEGE NDARY DEFORE S TA TION H ow ma ny re al-life tre es go into making legendar y we a po n s? We wen t to fi nd out.
ast year’s Annual was a huge success; this tim e around, we’ve attempted to go bigger and better. We’ve worked with some amazing people from across the community to produce one of our largest magazines to date - all of whom you can see overleaf (go and check out their content!). Our own team of writers, editors and designers has also worked tirelessly since September 2016 to fill in the rest of the gaps; this entire magazine has been a labour of love to produce something we can all be proud of, and I’d like t o  extend my gratitude t o everyone involved.
For recipients of the printed version of this magazine, we’ve donated $1 to Doctors Without Borders for each copy sold during the pre- order phase late last year. For this digial version, we encourage you to donate an amount of your choosing at doctorswithoutborde r s.o rg. Making the Annual much more than just a magazine is something that I’m extremely pleased about, and hopefully next year we can raise even more for a worthy cause. There’s almost too much inside this issue to condense into a few short sentences. We’ve included typical articles on lore, fashion and art, but there’s also much,
much more just waiting to be uncovered. I’d suggest grabbing yourself a hot drink and exploring at your leisure - and whilst you’re at it, try making one of Peachy’s recipes in our Cooking with Kasmeer article ! As a final word, I’d like to thank Vasburg for once again producing an amazing piece of cover art. This is the third cover he’s designed for our magazine over the years, and he’s a truly awesome concept artist who takes on numerous projects around the Guild Wars 2 community . Happy reading!
WRITER S Aaron Heath, Jarkor, Kent Benson, NovaI nfuse, Starconspira tor EDITOR S Ferialyn,  Littleboat, Kalabajooie, T alus
DES IGNER Anth on z Join us and get p ublished www.g uil dm oin
We lcome to the Guil dMag An nual 2016. You’r e reading a v ery s pecial m aga zine pr oduced by content creators from across the Guild Wars 2 community - we h ope you e njoy it!
Editor’s L et ter | GUILDMAG ANNUAL 2016
@AuroraPeachy /auror a_peachy
@ KitTheTraveler /kitthetra veler
@sotd_pod cast sotdpodcastblog.wordpres
A huge than k you to all who h elped make this magazine possible!
@talkingskritt /talkingskrit t
@RPS_GW2 tiny rpssignup
@AgeNightroad /agenightroad
@mightyteapot /mightyteapot
6 GUILDMAG ANNUAL 2016 | LORE - A History of Magic
isteners of the GuildMag Podcast ma y recall  a discussion in Episode 52 regarding questions as to the nature of magic, and if I had been present I might have been able to answer some of them. Unfortunately, due to timezone differences, it doesn’t seem to be practical for me to get on one of the shows, so I thought I’d prepare a discussion on what I  might have said if I had bee n on the show. Since the operation of magic is tightly bound up with the history of magic, I will start with a review of the history o f  magic in Tyria. Followin g that, I’ll give my thoughts on how magic is currently used, and on just what the ley lines actually are . Before I start, I should issue a disclaime r: A lot of this comes from my own deductions and extrapolations: ArenaNet has continued to be fairly cagey on a lot of the details. I’m fairly confident in them, but it is worth taking them with a grai n of salt (or your condiment of choice). For those who might draw different conclusions, I’ll
try to identify what is official lore.
Our knowledge of the history of magic largely starts wit h the Seer-made bloodstones. Legends prior to the rise of the bloodstones, originating from the jotun, kodan, and other older races, suggest that magic was wild and untamed in this period, with spirits forming spontaneously out of this environment. Seeking to claim this energy, the Elder Dragons arose as predators, consuming as much magic as they could for themselves. In response, the first bloodstone was created, presumably by the Seers. The bloodstone served to suck all of the ambient magic out of the world, starving the Elder Dragons and putting them into hibernation. Over time, magic returned to the world – partially through being radiated from the sleeping dragons (as seen with Primordus in Eye of th e North) and, possibly, partiall y through controlled release from the bloodstone to
A Histor y of Magic
After the C r e a tio n of the Bl o o dsto ne
LORE - A History of Magic | GUILDMAG ANNUAL 2016
revitalise the world. Over time, this release reintroduced enough energy into the world that the Elder Dragons arose to consume it once more. From the speech of the Last Forgotten in Tarir (A Study in Gold achievement) , this cycle appears to have repeated more than once until the mursaat betrayal and  destruction of the Seers resulted in the loss of the knowledge needed to create new bloodstones. Immediately after the creatio n of the bloodstone and the hibernation of the Elder Dragons, it seems likely that the amount of magic left free in Tyria would have been virtually nil. This is not to say, however, that all of Tyria’s magic would have been bound up in the dragons and the bloodstone.
This is because some magic is required for life. A large enough concentration can result in things coming to life that normally shouldn’t (such as elementals), but any form of sentient life has some in them (for completely sessile life, such as most plants, it remains unclear if they need magic to live). It is this energy that necromancers harves t through Soul Reaping and, in the original Guild Wars, i n a controlled fashion through sacri ficing their own vitality.
The bloodstone served to suck all of the ambient magic out of the world
Other spellcasters rarely ta p into the power of life force (particularly their own) however, stories of heroes sacri ficing their lives in order to power some extraordinary spell or ritual are probably also the result of those heroes tapping into their own essence. Even more appears to be required to maintain genuine sapience. This is the explanation that ArenaNet has given for why some dragon minions are automatons and others are sapient: when a dragon claims a creature as a minion, the dragon can choose to suck that minion dry of all but the bare minimum amount of magic required for it to stay functional (resulting in the automatons we see in most minions - epitomised by the Risen farmers in Orr, which mindlessly and pointlessly continue the tasks they did i n  life unless an uncorrupted creature approaches) . Alternatively, the dragon might allow the minion to retain enough to maintain its own sapience, allowing it to continue to act as it did in life except with total loyalty to the dragon - Labwan the Deceiver encountered in the Personal Story being a good example. Or, if the dragon is genuinely impressed with the potential of a new minion, it might infuse that minion with new power, granting it abilities beyond what it had in life - such as the Eyes of Zhaitan. Some power, in addition to that required for life and
sapience, also seems to be able to be stored by an entity for magical purposes. This is probably the Energ y” of Guil d Wars 1 (now largely irrelevan t due to the greater availability of ambient magic in Guil d Wars 2) and more magically potent beings such as the elder races may be able to store much more than the typical mortal spellcaster . Therefore, since we know that there were survivors (including sapient survivors) of the last dragon awakening, some of Tyria’s magic would have remained free of the Elder Dragons and the bloodstone. However, it’s possible that a lack of free energy forced Tyria to remai n in much the same state of devastation as it had been left in by the Elder Dragons; there was no magic to fuel new life. This appears to be where the gods came in. Whethe r b y  using their own persona l magic brought by them from the Mists, or through their initial act of accessing it from the bloodstones, the gods employed magic to revitalis e Tyria, an act which causes some to credit them with creatin g” the world. However, the amount of free magic remained slim eve n then. It’s likely that the elder races, particularly those tha t are exclusively spellcaster s such as the Forgotten and mursaat, retained some , either in themselves or in external receptacles lesser t o the bloodstone. For most of the mortals in Tyria, however,
8 GUILDMAG ANNUAL 2016 | LORE - A History of Magic
LORE - A History of Magic | GUILDMAG ANNUAL 2016
magic as we currently know i t  seems to have been unavailable. There was, however, an alternative. The world was still filled with spirits that had survived the last dragon awakening, and the spirits of the dead could be contacted within the Mists. Compared to working magic yourself, it seems that it only requires a limited amount of energy to perform a ritual that attract s a spiritual entity, and then to beseech or force it to use its own power on your behalf. According to An Empire Divided, Canthan ritualists used this principle for centuries before conventional magic was available t o humans. O ther relationships with spirits may also have been formed during this time – early rangers using similar practices to commune with the spirits of nature, and perhaps this was also when the ancestors of the norn forged their bond with the Spirits of the Wild. It’s possible that ritualists had also found a second wa y to get around the limited availability of magic in Tyri a: using what was available to open a small rift to the Mists, drawing on its energy and making use of that. There were, however, some regions that may have had usable magic even then, due to power emanating from the sleeping Elder Dragons or from other sources. Race s that had settled in such areas, such as asura settling near
to the sleeping Primordus, may also have been able to develop magical sciences and traditions from the energy that was available in their location.
This might, incidentally, explain why the asura never - to our knowledge - had a religion the way most races do. In the time before the gift of magic, most races relied o n invoking supernatural entities as intermediaries. Asura, o n the other hand, may never have needed to forge such relationships – their power came from the sleeping Primordus, and they didn’t have to make contact with anything to use it. Even then, however, it’s possible that the energy available to the early asura was less than needed for sorcery as we now know it, requiring them to develop devices to collect, store, and utilise magic - forming the basis for the science of asura magitech as we know it now. And then, for reasons unknown to the asura at the time, magic suddenly surged in power… and then died back down just as mysteriously, albeit at a higher level than it had been before.
It’s possible that ritualists had also found a second way to get around the limited availability of magi c
10 GUILDMAG ANNUAL 2016 | LORE - A History of Magic
The moment at which the gods started granting true magic to mortals is unclear . The first indication comes with the human invasion of the land now known as Ascalon – charr records clai m that the humans used spells they had never seen before, and the Scriptures o f  Dwayna can be read as Dwayna granting healing orisons to Doric and his followers. These events, however, are ambiguous, as both could simply mean that the gods were providing their assistance directly rather tha n teaching magic to humans. The Scriptures of Grenth and Lyssa, a little less than fifty years before the Exodus, however, appear to reference those gods teaching the firs t human necromancer and mesmer respectively . As is well known, this did not go smoothly – Abaddon granted power too freely, and wars erupted as a result. Up to now, we’ve largely assumed that this happened because Abaddon was unscrupulous and granted too much to those who would use it irresponsibly. With the observation that bloodstone magic addiction can lead to insanity in Bloodstone Fen, however, we might have another explanation: whether by accident or design, Abaddon literally just gave out too much, and the recipients were driven insane just like the bloodstone addicts in Bloodstone Fen. Such an
explanation would explain the fall of the jotun. In response, the gods split the  bloodstone into fi v e pieces, and in doing so they split magic into four schools: Preservation, Destruction , Denial and Aggression. Each is generally considered to correspond to monk/ guardian, elementalist , mesmer, and necromance r respectively, although only elementalist has been confirmed. This both reduced the amount of energy flowing into the world and, through a mechanism that was never really explained, regulate d it so that no one individual could use the power of all four schools through the bloodstones.
G iven Taimi’s theory in Seaso n 3, Episode 2 that magic is like a spectrum of energy that can be divided into sections with different properties, i t i s  likely that the effect was to split the spectrum coming from the bloodstones: instead of one stone radiating undifferentiated “white energy, each of the stones radiated power from a specific part of the spectrum. So instead of spellcasters being able to conveniently draw in power from the whole spectrum at once, they had to choose specific schools (like a colour in the analogy) to work with.
Immediately after this event, it appears that the level of ambient magic in Tyria was still fairly low. Therefore, spellcasters largely dre w from the bloodstones an d accepted their limitation s as a  result, forming th e four primary spellcastin g professions we know from Pr o ph eci es. According to An Empire Divided, ritualists als o started to augment their spirit binding through adopting true magic, but access to spirit binding gave ritualists a greater degree of versatilit y than contemporary magic - users of other professions. The revelation in Se a o f
The Gift of Magic
Abaddon granted power too freely, and wars erupted as a result
Sorrows that guardians use some ritualist teachings also suggests that the magic they used was the same school as monks and guardians. This was largely how things were assumed to be in Guild Wars 1, however, there are some cracks. Some of the professions introduced in the Fa ctions and Nightfa l l campaigns appear to be using abilities that belong to multiple schools of magic: assassin skills could be linked to the mesmer and necromancer schools, and dervishes could be linked to monks, elementalists, and necromancers. If
it was assumed that these professions were entirely powered from the bloodstones, it would then be theoretically possible to have a dervish/assassin characte r in Guild Wars 1 that drew fro m all four schools. The obvious answer is that these professions are not drawing from the bloodstones. Dervishes, for instance, explicitly dra w power from the gods, particularly with the Mysticis m line – it would be reasonable to assume that the dervish primarily employs elementa l magic, and invokes blessings from the gods in order to heal, smite, and steal life from their enemies. An alternative explanation, however, is that the powers of these professions developed from ambient magic having grown to a level where it becomes useful to mortal practitioners. Whil e assassins and dervishes had a versatility that the four original primary spellcaster s lacked, they also had less magical power than the cloth-armoured professions, suggesting that they may have been drawing from a weaker source than the bloodstones. It’s possible that ambient magic, leaked fro m the dragons and possibly the energies remaining from spells cast from the power of the bloodstones, would have served as this alternative source – being independent from the bloodstones, it would have allowed for its wielder to have a greater
degree of versatility at a cost in total power. In the time of Guild Wars 2, this power has grown further, to the point where it is possible that all spellcasters are now using ambient energies by default and the bloodstones are only serving to provide a boost (if anything at all). The four schools still have an influence – most spellcasters still fall int o one of the four categories  however, this may simply be a product of how magic is traditionally taught rather than a fixed rule. It’s been mentioned in the 201 3 Espirits dOrr interview with Angel McCoy that some younger spellcasters now believe that the four schools are obsolete. As a result, the versatility of the various spellcasting professions has significantly broadened. Along with the loss of knowledge and contact with Cantha when Lion’s Arch flooded, this explains why ritualists have largely disappeared, as their methods have largely become obsolete as explained in 2R P’ s lore interview in 201 4 . This concludes the review over the history of magic. Later in this issue, we will present a companion piece which discusses how magic appears to work in Tyria’s present.
LORE - A History of Magic | GUILDMAG ANNUAL 2016
W i ntersda y Cooki n g wi t h Kasmee r
12 GUILDMAG ANNUAL 2016 | CREATIVE - Wintersday Cooking with Kasmeer
CREATIVE - Wintersd a y Cooking with Kasmeer | GUILDMAG ANNUAL 2016
ello Tyrians and welcome to Cooking with Kasmeer! I’m here with some simple ideas t o spice up your favorite treats for the holidays and impress your friends this Wintersday. Whether you have a taste for sugar cookies, brownies with peppermint, or classic cheesecake, I’ve got a recipe that you’ll love! R esu lts not tes ted on asura. Smi les and wo r ds of thanks not gua ra n teed. Here’s a super easy idea to fancy-up those regular chocolate brownies for the holidays!
Ingredients for your favorite brownie recipe jar of peppermint frostin g bag of York Peppermint Patties Optional: replace pepper m int pattie s with omn omberrie s, if you’re br ave en oug h to ventu re to Orr to pick them! Red or green sprin kles 1 bag of peppermint candies
1 1
1. Find your favorite brownie recipe, whether that be from scratch or a boxed mix, and follow the instructions to make your brow nie batter. 2. Set aside abo ut 1/4th of the batter in a separate bowl. 3. Grease up your pan then pour th e larger portion of batter into the pan . 4. Carefully arrange the peppermint patties in a single layer on top of the batter. 5. Pour the remaining batter on top of the patties, then stick it all in the oven to bake. It might take a little lon ger than usual because of the peppermin ts, but watch it carefully, if left in for too long the mints will ooze ou t the top! 6. Once the brown ies have cooled, spread the peppermin t icing on top in an even layer. 7. Carefully cut into serving-sized squ ares and place on a festive platter. 8. Add a light du stin g of sprinkles to the top of th e brownies. 9. Place 1 hard peppermint can dy in the center of each square, standin g upright so yo ur guests don ’t try to bite in to it!
Peppe rmi nt Omnombe rr y Ba r
Ingr edients
Met hod
14 GUILDMAG ANNUAL 2016 | CREATIVE - Wintersd a y Cooking with Kasmeer
W i ntersday Swi rl Cookie s
For those with a slightly higher rank in cooking and a little more prep time, here’s a yummy Wintersday cookie recipe that’s sure to please in both taste and presentation!
Ingr edients 4 cups all-p urpose flou r teaspoon baking pow der 1/4 teaspoon baking sod a teaspoon salt 1/3 cups bu tter (soften ed) 3/4 cup wh ite sugar eggs, beaten teaspoons vanilla extract Red and green food coloring Optional: ½ teaspoon peppermin t extract
1 1 1 1 2 2
1. Sift flour, baking powder, baking soda, an d salt into a b owl. 2. Beat butter and sugar in a separate mixin g bowl until light and fluffy. 3. To the butter and sugar mix, beat in eggs and vanilla until smoo th . 4. Gradually stir in the flour mixture until even ly blended . 5. Divide the dough into two equal parts and place in separate bow ls. 6. Gradually add small amounts of red food coloring to one bow l of dou gh and mix until the color is even throughout and you have the desired rich ness of colou r. Optional: add peppermint extract for a little extra Wintersday flavor! 7. Repeat with th e other half of your dou gh with the green foo d coloring (or keep it out! ). 8. Set out some wax paper an d set the red dough on it. Then use a rolling p in to flatten out the dough to 1/4 inch ( 5 mm) thickness. Do th e same with the green dough . If the dough is sticky or hard to work with, place a second sheet of wax paper on top, or refrigerate the dough for 15 minutes th en try again. 9. Carefully flip the green dough and place it on top of the red dough, th en remove the w ax paper. 10. Beginning on one edge, roll the two doughs into a log so the two colors spiral together. Wrap the log in wax paper, then in a clean cotton towel, and freeze for 1 hou r. 11. Preheat oven to 400° F (200° C). Lightly grease two baking sheets. 12. Unwrap the dough and place on a clean, lightly floured surface. Cut the log into 1/8 inch (3 mm) thick slices (try using a cheese slicer if you have one). Place on baking sh eets. 13. Place cookies in oven and bake for around 8 minutes. Watch carefully to prevent edges from browning ! Remove from oven and cool on racks.
Met hod
CREATIVE - Wintersd a y Cooking with Kasmeer | GUILDMAG ANNUAL 2016
Ingr edients cups graham crac ker crumbs ½ cu p butter lbs cream cheese (sit out well in advance to soften) ¾ cu p sugar tsp lemon juice tsp vanilla 8 eggs 1 pint sour cream 3 tsp sugar
2 2 1 1
Homem ad e C h ee se cake
Here’s a more classic recipe that everyone will love! This homemade cheesecake is easy to make, and you don’t even need one of those fancy cheesecake pans! Did you even know there were fancy cheesecake pans?!
1. Crush up graham crackers into crumbs and put into a bowl. Tip : Use a rollin g pin to crush the graham crackers inside a sealable ziplock bag. 2. Put butter into a microwave safe bowl and very slowly melt the butter until it’s a liq uid. Use the lowest power setting on you r microwave! 3. Pour the melted butter into th e bowl with graham cracker crumbs and mix with a wooden spoon until b len ded evenly. 4. Put crumbs into a 13”x9” cake pan . Press them firmly onto the bottom of the pan, distributing evenly. This will be your bottom crust. 5. Preheat oven to 35 0° F (1 7 5° C). 6. Put softened cream cheese into a mixing bowl. Add ¾ cup s of sugar and mix until flu ffy and fully blended. 7. Add lemon juice and van illa. 8. Add eggs one by one while mixing. Th e mixture will become thin at this point. 9. Pour the mixture on top of the graham cracker crust. 10. Put in the oven and bake for 35 minutes. 11. Remove from oven and let cool completely. The cake will sink and may crack - don’t worry about it! 12. In a bowl, mix the sour cream and sugar until combined. 13. Spread the mix on top of the cooled cheesecake. 14.  Serve with strawberries or cherries and enjoy!
Met hod
An I n tervi ew w ith


16 GUILDMAG ANNUAL 2016 | COMMUNITY - Interview with Vasb urg
COMMUNITY - Interview with Vasb urg | GUILDMAG ANNUAL 2016
This year’s amazing cover art was produced by Vasburg - a ren owned artist with a passion for the Guild Wars franchise. He’s the person behind creations such as the Call of Cantha, plus previous Guild Mag covers an d various other pieces of art used by con tent creators. We decided to sit down and learn more abou t the man beh ind the name.
Two years ago, we interviewed you for our special Wintersday 2014 issue. H ow much has changed since then regarding your inspirations, your skills, or even your process and tools? Oh, how time passes; just as last time it h as been a blast to work with you gu ys and girls! My tools have changed very little. I work primarily in Photoshop but h ave been trying out 3D a bit recently. In my spare time I like to explore experimental techniq ues and have  been trying out things in the field of traditional art, robotics, paper-engineering and kaleidoscopes. My inspirations, as my skills, have hopefully broadened. Many people kno w you as the artist behind Call of Cantha. What is it about that re gio n that you’re draw n to above Tyria and Elona? How do the artistic aesthetics differ between the regions? Cantha is, in my opinion, very rich an d fruitful in innovation. Many games that reach ou t for an eastern-themed environme nt tend to look very similar in comparison. F ac tions , however, introduced the Echovald Forest and the Jade Sea, along with interestin g lore and w ell thought- out residents that made the content feel believable instead of just being uniqu e for the sake of being u nique. I can answer the “what” qu estion, but n ot the “w hy ” in regards to Elona and Tyria. I know th is might soun d a bit crazy, but every time I stumble upo n the old soundtracks I simply feel at h ome. You have a very uniqu e art style - wh at do you think makes good concept art for video games?
My opinion on that has ch an ged over the years actually. I still see concept art as something very objective, as it is a very specialized tool to solve visual problems. Often times it’s also very technical, speaking of orthographic paintings for later u se in 3 D; style is, in this case, not important. Every painting obeys the rules of design prin cip les and color theory and can be taken apart and planned through that. Person ally, tho ugh, and probably the worst th ing you can say in a job interview, is that I find that really good concept art simply has so ul. Are there other game, film, or TV un iverses that influ ence your w ork? Very little in the realm of visuals, especially games, because I simply don’t have th e time nowadays. I recently discovered listening to audiobooks while I work thou gh, and h ave been enjoying H.P. L ovecraft quite a bit. It’s really nice, but I can ’t help but won der why everything in his un iverse is cyclopean. Ancient folklores (especially African) are also super interesting. The TV comes to use rarely and I usually choo se it as company du ring meals and watch S pongeBob. How much of a role do self and peer critiqu es play in how y ou approach or reiterate y our work? It is fundamental! Critique has a bad image because many see this as a personal matter, but it truly is not. C ritiqu e let’s you see your own mistakes and really only help s you to make something look better, so I appreciate every critique I can get. I sometimes think, “No respect for th e painting.” If it doesn’t work, take it apart again and rear range it. Never get stuck in thinking things like “bu t
18 GUILDMAG ANNUAL 2016 | COMMUNITY - Interview with Vasburg
I already rendered this object for an ho ur; I can’t put something in fron t of it no w.” Which artists do you feel have been inspirations for your own w ork or areas of study? Oh man, there are so many amazing artists out there, but my favorites are probably ( in no specific order) Richard A nderson, Theo Prins, Naomi Baker, Ruan Jia and Thomas S choles to name a few. Daniel Do ciu , however, is to me what Su perman was to many kids. While art interpretation is subjective to the perspectives and experiences of the viewer, can you give us a coup le of thou ghts on some of the themes and emotions you w an ted to convey with this issue’s cover art? I wanted to shoot into a rather grim direction from the begin ning; since tw o dragons are now active, things are getting more tense and I really wan ted to incorporate that. The composition is actually just a b ig hourglass. The characters make the illustr ation very heavy on the bottom so I wanted to balance it out on the to p. There was a mid version in which we exp erimented with orange and blue, but given th at th e change also incorporated complementary colors and a cold-warm contrast, it made the cover look too smooth and appear friendly. I therefore went with blue and red to make it lo ok ruthless. Braham is the focal poin t and has piercing eyes, because he still has a bon e to pick with somebody. Have you been tempted to paint Au ren e yet? She’s quite cute. Ah, yes, she’s sweet, but unfortun ately cu te things aren’t really my métier; if possible, I intend to make my works app ear very serious. However, there are tons of amazin g artists in the Guild Wars 2 community and I bet that we get flooded with great illustrations of Aurene one w ay or another.
You currently do a lot of freelance work; have you ever con sidered applying to ArenaNet as a concept artist? To be very blunt, yes; I’ d love to w ork alongside my childhood h eroes. However, I immensely respect the work of the art direction and find that Aren aNet has established one of the mo st powerful art departments around. I’m in no position to  judge if I am read y or good enough to be a valuable asset to this compan y. It’s a childhood dream, but if they can man age to always find artists that surpass my skill, it’s for the better of everyone, although this might mean that my dreams never come true.
I’m luckily no longer in the position of struggling with how to begin a p roject or having to spend too much time with trial and error. Things like orthographic paintings, vanishing p oints, foreshortening became easier with time, which isn’t to say that th ere are not a lot of things still to learn. Thank fu lly , I have been able to gather many valuable experiences within the gaming in dustry and I’m looking forward to the years to come.
LORE - The Workings of Modern Magic | GUILDMAG ANNUAL 2016
arlier in this issue, we discussed th e history of magic, and how it has in fluenced the course of events in Ty ria and b een changed by those events in turn. Now, we look at the present day. However it may have worked in the past, what rules d oes it seem to be following n ow?
How magic is u sed by mortals is something that appears to have changed quite significantly over the course of Tyria’s history. Prior to the u nlocking of th e bloodstone, all magic wou ld likely have been ritualistic in nature – calling on spirits an d other supernatural entities to wield power on th e caller’s behalf. Such rituals still exist, although it is likely that only the most p owerful spirits can work spells that are b eyond that of a skilled practitioner. It’s also p ossible that some primitive races (such as grawl) are actually using true magic when th ey believe they are calling on an external source. This trap could be particularly easy to fall int o
with guardian-style magic : we have been told their magi cal ability is augmented by th e wielder’s faith, with no requirement that what th e user has faith in is actually rea l. During the period of Guild Wars 1, magic appear ed to have a relatively l imited ava ilability, and mortals needed to gather it (presumably drawing from the bloodstone) befo re it could be used. This would be the fou ndation of the original game’s energy resource, with spellcasters developing a number of skills to increase the rate at which they can gain energy and/or deny it to their enemies. Presently, though, it seems that ambient magic has become so abu ndant that it is literally there for the taking, removing energy as a limitation for moder n spellcast ers. Because of this, only extremely strong forms of energy denial (such as th e draining effect of blo odstone shards) are effective a gainst modern spellcasters. Use of recepta cles, artifa cts and foci can augment th ese abilities, but most users n o
The W ork in gs Of

Modern Magic

Mor ta l Us e of Magic
longer have a limited energy supply that needs to be bu ilt up after it is exhausted. Revenants are a clea r exception to this rule, as the power that fuels their magic is drawn from th e Mists, not from Tyria’s ambient m agic. Fortunately for them, with magic manipulation effec ts having become obsolete, they don’t n ee d to fear being energy-denied by mesmers as could happen in Guild Wars 1. Finally, the magic boun d up in life force is still available. Necromancers seem to have largely ceased using their own vitality to power spells, although this may be th e source of th e conditions generated wh en usin g Corruption skills. They are still quite happy to h arvest it from enemies, although this still seems to be a fairly inefficient process. The powers generated by a necromancer through tapping an enemy’s life force are minor c ompared to the effects historicall y attributed to a spellcaster sacrificing their own life even in times when en ergy was less abundant - su ch as Koro Sagewind, Empress Tahmu, and Naku in Tahnn akai Temple. The process by which spellcasters a re able to burn themselves out in this fashion is unclear. It’s obviously not something that anyone can do, otherwise every magic-user that is defeated in battle would do so. One limitation appears to
be skill – in order to gen erate truly powerful effects, it seems that the would-be martyr must already be an experienced practitioner. The other common factor seems to be a desire to protect (or at least avenge) others - Koro burned h erself o ut to protect the settlers of w hat would become Ebonh aw ke; Tahmu to save her city from naga; and Naku sought to avenge the people of his destroyed h ometown. A spellcaster cannot simply burn themselves out as an act of spite to turn a personal defeat into a blast of mutually assured destruction – such acts have only b ee n achieved wh en something bigger was at stake than the spellcaster’s own desires, something powerful eno ugh to overcome the individ ual’s instincts of self -preservation. As has been p reviously discussed, it’s unclear to what exten t the bloo dstones continue to influ ence mortal use of magic. W hen asked, ArenaNet has generally u sed the analogy of starting with one science degree and then taking up an other as the reason why spellcasters are limited to their profession . However, this is possible in real life, particular ly when fields overlap, or somebod y’s area of interest is partl y in one field and partly in another and they focus only on the subjects of each field that they consider relevant. Moreover, it was kno wn to happen in Guild Wars 1  this was essentially what secondary professions were.
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LORE - The Workings of Modern Magic | GUILDMAG ANNUAL 2016
Some of the current elite specialisations do have a ‘secondary profession ’-type feel, so this may become more common in Guild Wars 2 going forward - and it’s possible that the increased abundance of magic will itself lead to the rise of new elite specialisations empowered by the magic that is steadily growing wilder in Tyria. It’s p ossible that the bloodstones do con tin ue to exert some influence, makin g it easier for someone to, say, become a mesm er or a necromancer than it is to straddle the line between the two, even if the stu dent focuses on areas that the two profession s have in common (such as boon an d condition manipulation ). Alternatively, it’s possible that those asura are right, and the only reason the magical professions remain split as they are is th e passing on of traditions that were formed wh en the b loodstones were more important; nowadays, magic is more of a continu ous spectrum and th e opportun ity is there for n ew professions to arise th rou gh combining different fields of magical study (although the 2 0 13 E sprits d’ Orr interview indicates that there is th e potential for explosio ns to result from attempting to combine different typ es of energy). We probably won ’t see it until Guild Wars 2 gives way to a sequel, but it will be interesting to see if the destruction of the Maguu ma bloodstone has any in fluence on the practice of ma gic.
Alternatively, it’s possible that magic does still come in specific flavours. According to Ela Makkay in H idden Arcana, each dragon has two spheres of influence (some of w hich have n ot yet been identified), while accordin g to Taimi, it seems that the spectrum is composed of these spheres - meaning th at magic is likely composed of twelve different domains. Interestingly, however, apart from nec romancers and Zhaitan, none of the professions clearly line up to a dragon (elemental powers, for instance, seem to be split between the four remaining dragons), and th e plant domain is largely missing from the profession s. This discrepancy may be a result of h ow the gods wen t about dividing th e bloodston es.
While it may be extendin g the metaphor a little too far, Taimi’s metaphor of magi c being a spectru m ( in Season 3, E pisode 2) raises the possibility that th e colours associated with the various magical professions ma y not be arbitrary, but may in fact be an indication of where that profession falls on the magical spectrum. Necromanc ers, guardians, and mesmers are assoc iated with effects that are green, blue and purple
It’s possible that the bloodstones do continue to extert some i n fluence
The C ol o ur s of Magic?
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respectively (unless th e effect manipulates a physical substance with its own colour, such as necromancers siphoning blood). Th is may indicate that guardian (and monk ) energies fall betw een necromancer and mesmer in the spectrum. Elementalist magic is obscured by the colours of th e elements conjured, but arcane spells (which are th e most likely to represent “pure” elementalist magic that ha s not manifested an element ) typically appear white with a greenish yellow tin ge - similar, albeit paler, to the spirit animals conjured by rangers for some of their atta cks. If this is true, then th e tendency of many healing skills to have blu e effects even if th e profession is normally associated with a different colour might be evidence of other professions drawing from the “blue” portion of the magical spectrum (associated with monks and guardian s) in their healing spells. Furthermore, it m ay be that the colours associated with the effects of less magical professions - such as th e aforementioned ranger spirit animals, or the indigo trails of  thief skills - may be a hint as to which forms of magic are being u sed by th ese professions.
One other thing that came up in E pisode 52 of the GuildMag Podcast was the concept of ley lines. Wh at are  they, and could the ley lines be ‘stopped’ in order to prevent the dragon s from feeding? The short an swer to the second question is th at, unless carefully plann ed, it would be a very bad idea. The analogy I would make is to think of Tyria an d the atmosphere surroundin g it as being like a body of soil in a zero-gravity environment (since magic can flow both ways rather than having a ‘dow nhill’ direction in which it tends to flow). W ith in the soil, there are a set of porou s pipes or other channels through which w ater can easily flow. Magic is the water in this analogy – it can seep its way through the soil, b ut a more efficient means for it to flow from one place to another is throu gh the pipes (the ley lines, wh ich for reasons unknown are p laces where magic can travel mor e freely and easily). Generally speaking, then, the ley lines effectively act as a ‘safety valve’ for Tyria’s m agic. They carry power from places where the concentration and pressure is h igh (such as a dying dragon or an explodin g bloodstone) to places where th e pressure is lower or even negative (such
Am bient Magic and the L e y Lines
Guardian energies fall between necromancer and mesmer in the spectrum
as a hu ngry dragon or magic collection device like an intact bloodston e). Blocking a leyline would th en have the result of stoppin g one of these safety valves; that energy still has to go somewhere. O ne possibility for that ‘somewhere’ is that the magic is released at the point of the blockage, flooding the su rroun ding area - an event that would probably be unpleasant for those nearby (probably not quite to the extent of an exploding bloodston e, but certainly enough to reshape the landscape in inconvenient ways, including formin g into hostile elementals). The alternative, however, is tha t the magic could rebo und up a blocked leylin e and fin d an alternate route to a low- pressure area .
It was probably exactly this that led to the awakening of Mordremoth – the Breachm aker disrupted ley line con fluence and redirected magic to Mordremoth that w ould otherwise have gone elsewhere. As a result, if one was to map the behaviour of the ley lines as extensively as S carlet did – and Taimi may well have ambitions to do exactly that – it is possible that selective disruptions of the ley lines
could be a weapon that is useful against th e dragons. Planned carefully, magic that wou ld otherwise fl ow to on e of the Elder Dragon s could be redirected elsewhere. However, anyon e enacting such a plan wou ld have to ensure that the ‘elsewh ere’ is a receptacle or other location capable of handlin g it – otherwise, the magic will likely either fin d another path to a dragon, or be rel eased into th e environment as an additional contribution to Tyria’s growing magic overload problems. This conclud es my thoughts  on the nature of Tyrian magic! As has been  previously noted, much  of this has been speculation and filling in the  gaps in the official lore - however, hopefully this article has provided some enlightenmen t on w hat may be going on beh ind the scenes with magic in Tyria and p ossibly provide some feed material for sparking off further discussion s!
The ley lines e ffectively act as a ‘safety valve’ for Tyria’ s magic
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A brief on the history of the Mursaat, intended for use by Pact officers who may find themselves needing to deal with Lazarus the Dire. Compiled by Scholar Eleanor Dra xynnus in the year 1 329 AE.
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The C o mmander’s
Guide To
Mursaat History
ince the fall of Mordremoth, the unveiling of the White Mantle and the apparent resurrection of one of the ancient mu rsaat have turned this elder race from an academic inter est of Priory historians to a topic that may be of urgent relevance to the Pact’s future operations. While man y among the Priory will likely be familiar with much of the  known h istory of the mursaat, I have prepar ed this docu ment in order to provide an overview of what is known about mursaat history. Readers requiring more specific information are directed to the relevant sections of the Priory archiv es.
The oldest history we know of the mursaat actually com es from one of the most recent finds - the historical tablets found around th e mursaat ruins on the w est side of the island n ow called Ember Bay. While these tablets were written by the mursaat themselves in relatively recent times, they provide an insight - albeit, possibly, a biased on e - into the nature of the alliance of the elder races, and the reason for its collapse.
The tablets speak of a disagreement among the elder races on ho w to respond to the dragons. According to the tablets, only two races chose to go on the offensive. Both being races that exclusively trained in magic rather than the more physical aspects of warfare, the mursaat and Forgotten designed constructs to act as their front line - likely early models of th e Jade constructs and th e Enchanted that can now be foun d among mursaat ruins and in Tarir, respectiv ely. With these artificial soldiers, the mursaat and Forgotten launched an attack on Zhaitan, likely commanding the constructs and
supporting them with magic from behind . Where the Pact - combining as it did the strengths of the fi ve major races and sev eral of the minor races - succeed ed, however, the mursaat and Forgotten failed with great loss of life. Had th e elder races a ll committed to a single strategy as we did, perhaps th e outcome would have been differen t - certainly, the mursaat seemed to th ink so, as they blamed the “desertion” of the other elder races for their defeat and th e losses incurred in the attempt.
Ancient Histor y
The oldest history we know of the mursaat actually comes from one of the most recent finds - the historical tablets found around the mursaat ruins
LORE - The Comm an der’s Guide to Mursaat History | GUILDMAG ANNUAL 2016
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While th e Forgotten were then, apparently, willing to accede to the plan of the Seers to seal and hide magic from the dragons in the original blood stone, the mursaat were not. Instead, they enacted a plan to escape the dragons an d keep th eir magic by slipping into a side- reality that the dragons could not access, abandoning their former allies to the dragons. The other elder races viewed this as a betrayal, with the Seers going to war again st the mursaat. However, the Seers were decisively beaten by the mursaat use of Spectral Agony. Although th e Seers were able to develop a countermeasure using the essence of ma gic-eating eidolons an d their natural immunity to Spectral Agon y, this came too late to prevent the devastation of the Seers or the escape of the mursaat . Curiously, this war goes unmentioned in th e mursaat tablets found at Ember Bay.
It’s not clear just when the mursaat returned to Tyria . The tablets discovered in Ember Bay suggest that they returned after the Ex odu s, as they describe the world as it was after the gods left although the mursaat appear to have assumed that it was the Seers who returned magic to the world an d not the Six Gods. In the same tablet, the mursaat speak of wars breaking out over
control of magic – which may be a reference to th e Guild Wars. It is clear, however, that the mursaat soon became aware of the Flameseeker Prophecies, which predicted their demise through Ascended human h eroes releasing the titans to destroy the mursaat. This motiva ted them to fortify the Fire Islands, build ing obsidian walls and gates d efended by their jade constructs and magic-draining Ether Seals to prevent access to the Door of Komalie. However, there was another aspect to their stra tegy. It’s p ossible that the mursaat had b een keeping an eye ou t for a potential patsy to act as their mouthpiece in a human kingdom or it could be th at Saul d’Alessio’s exile was
simply an op portunity for them, but in either case, it was on e they did n’t pass up.  Was the city of to wers Saul saw in the forest, and of  which we’ve never seen evidence, real, or an illusion created for his ben efit? We may never kn ow the answers to th ese questions, but we do know th at w hen Saul returned, he did so as the prophet of a new religion worshipp ing the mursaat as the Unseen Gods,  and wearing the white mantle that would come to symbolise this new order. However, the mursaat had a sinister purpose for the new religion, one which, according to magica l research performed by the Priory’ s founder, Saul may not have been aware. Through the Tests of the Ch osen administered by th e
The Re tur n of the M ursaa t
The tablets discovered in Ember Bay suggest that [the mursaat] returned after the Exodus, as they describe the world as it was after the gods left
LORE - The Comm an der’s Guide to Mursaat History | GUILDMAG ANNUAL 2016
mysterious Eye of Janthir, those with the potential to Ascend were identified. These “Ch osen” were told that they were to be trained in powerful magic – instead, though, they were taken to be sacrificed on one of th e bloodston es. This allowed th e mursaat to kill two birds with one stone – they elimin ated those who cou ld present a threat to them, while gathering power from th e sacrifices that they used to reinforce the defences of the Fire Islands, including placin g a soul-p owered lock on the Door of Komalie itself. The events surrounding th e Flameseeker Prophecies and the W hite Mantle takeover of Kryta are well recorded in human histories, as th ey ultimately led to Kormir’s apotheosis. To summarise, the discovery that th e Chosen were bein g murdered led to the formation of the Shin in g Blade, a revolution against the W hite Mantle and their mursaat patrons. When th e
Shining Blade seemed b roken through the treachery of one of their own, a group of Ascended human hero es , accompanied by a contin gent of Deldrimor dwarves, a survivor of the Seers an d the undead Vizier of Orr, captured a mursaat port al device and used it to laun ch an assault on the mursaat fortresses in the Rin g of Fire Island chain. Those mursaat that were not slain in th e assault were wiped out by the titans released by Vizier Khilbron or so the heroes believed at the time.
While th e conclusion of the Flameseeker Prophecies left the White Mantle in control of Kryta, the elimination of th eir leaders, both human s and mursaat, gave the Shining Blade the opportunity to regroup and reform, fightin g the W hite Mantle on a more even footing in w hat would become a protracted ci vil war. The first sign that the mursaat wer e not completely extinct came six years later . A high-ran king White Mantle officer, Justi ciar Naveed, ca me to agents allied to the Shinin g Blade seeking help.
The story b ehind th e Eye of Janthir has inconsistencies – the Mantle’s history claims that Saul visited the Isle of Janthir an d brought the Eye back w ith him, but that history also states that Saul travelled south to do so, while Janthir actually lies to the north . It’s p ossible that the truth behin d this apparent discrepancy is that Saul initially travelled south, and then passed th rou gh a mursaat gate to Janthir . All that is known abo ut the inhabitants of Janthir is that they “p ossessed the gift of True Sight”. A number of theories have been raised as to their identity, such as a population of Ascended humans, Seers, Forgotten, or a second mursaat outpost. Also unclear is the question of just h ow Saul ac quired the Eye – was it gifted freely, or taken by force?
The Myster y of Ja n thir
Esc a pin g Extinctio n and the Kr yta n Civil W a r
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Lazarus the Dire, one of the mursaat leaders tha t had been present at Saul’s disappearance, had found a way to hide from t he tita ns by dividing h is essence among his followers, to be reclaimed at a later time. Unfortuna tely for his followers, th e procedure by which Lazarus reclaimed the divided parts of his being were fatal to th e bearers. Deciding that his wish to live was greater than his loyalty to the Unseen, the Justiciar sought a way to remove the aspect so that Lazarus would no longer be able to track him. Even with an asura’s aid to analyse th e aspect, however, Naveed was unable to remove it, th ough his attempts did have the effect of somehow poisonin g it. When Lazarus came to reclaim the aspect, doing so caused his own p ower to turn on himself, leaving him in a crippled state from which he wo uld take centuries to recover. Fleeing the scene, Lazarus swore that “ countless generations” wou ld suffer for the injury that had been done to him. A year later, as th e Krytan Civil War reached its height, seven more mursaat emerged. It’s not clear whether these mursaat had survived usin g the same method as Lazarus or whether th ey simply happened to be emb edded in  Kryta at the time the titans were unleashed, an d therefore the failure of th e titan assaults on Kryta also meant their failure to destroy these particular mur saat.
Regardless of how they survived, when Salma was proclaimed Queen by the Lionguard, these remaining mursaat threw their power behin d the W hite Mantle, reinforcing the Mantle’ s defenses with their magic- draining ether seals and augmenting their armies with jade constructs. In resp onse, the S hining Blade issu ed bounties on th ose mursaat they were able to locate, an d on three who were hun ted down and slain b efore the surviving four struck back at Lion’s Arch. This first Battle of Lion ’s Arch was the last effort of the mursaat and the White Mantle to regain control of Kryta. Refusing to allow the battle to become a drawn- out siege, Qu een Salma opened the gates and invited the W hite Mantle and the mursaat into a killing zone, where th e Lionguard and
the Shining Blade w ere reinforced by p owerful heroes from Ascalon and abroad, and protected against Spectral Agony by a device designed by the ro gue asura Zinn and Blimm. The last known healthy mursaat in th e world charged blind ly into the jaws of this trap and were slain.
An astute student of history will n ote that the downfall of the mursaat came about from their own actions, taken in an attempt to prevent the Flameseeker Prophec ies from coming to pass. Were it not for the sacrifices of the Chosen, the Ascalon ian refugees and the people of Kryta may have accepted the White Mantle as K ryta’s new noble class, and the Shinin g Blade rebellion may never have happ ened. So, did the Flameseeker Prophecies only come to pass because p eople, including the mursaat, knew ab out them? Or would something similar have happen ed anyway? From investigation of the ruins of the Vizier’s tower outside of the Lasciate Gateway in Orr, it appears that Khilbron had a pre- existing grudge against th e mursaat, and a co nnection to A badd on that may have push ed him to o pen the Door regardless. Therefore, it may be that the unleashing of th e titans against the mursaat was going to happen anyway. The mursaat defences, however, meant that the Vizier had to recruit powerful allies to penetrate them, allies who were in a position to take him down wh en his tru e intentions were revealed.
A S elf-F ulf il l in g P rophe cy?
The first Battle of Lion’s Arch was the last effort of the mursaat and the White Mantle to regain control of Kryta
LORE - The Comm an der’s Guide to Mursaat History | GUILDMAG ANNUAL 2016
In the aftermath of the battle, some members of the White Mantle abandoned the cause, claiming to have had their eyes opened by the revelation of what the White Mantle had truly been doing. O thers retreated in to the jungle, from which th ey would spend the nex t two and a half centuries tryin g to destabilise and discredit the Krytan crow n in hopes of toppling it once again so th ey could sweep back to p ower. With the mursaat absen t, parts of the White Mantle would grow to become more of a political organisation for enemies of the Crown than a religious one, although the cult of th e Unseen would forever remain part of its identity.
That was, however, u ntil recently. With the magic released by the deaths of Zh aitan and Mordremoth, those White Mantle w ho still believed in the Unseen saw th e opportun ity to reconstitute their god. We may have had no warning of th is had they not seen fit to ambu sh and kidnap a Pact patrol. An elite Pact squad was formed to rescue them, and in doing so, the squad discovered that the area was not simply anoth er bandit camp. Instead, there was a W hite Mantle fortress nearby, where magic from bloodston es and in nocents sacrificed to the blo odstones
The Re tur n of La za r us
was being collected for something. The squad th en turned its attention s to the citadel, whose mistress, High  Inquisitor Xera, let slip that the purpose was to achieve Lazarus’ resur rection. However, the squad was unable to reach the resurrection chamber in time to find more than an emp ty stasis chamber . And then th e bloodston e exploded – an even t which would have been cataclysmic for all of western Tyria if Lazarus hadn’t sucked the magic back in to restore himself. Surprisingly,
though, his first act was to strike against the new Confessor of the W hite Mantle, rescuing the former Pact Commander from a potentially sticky situation and declaring that he sought more virtu ous pursuits than control of Kryta before making his exit. Since th en, rumours have come from the Tari r delegation that Lazarus was present during the des troyer attack on the city, fighting against the destroyers and promising his aid against th e dragons. The question is, could a being wh o presided over the slaughter of thousands have really turned a new leaf? The drago ns were the first enemy of th e
mursaat, so is it possible that Lazarus is genuine about wantin g to defeat the dragons … even if he might return to the goal of wo rld domination (as laid o ut in one of the Ember Bay tablets) once the greater enemy is defeated? Alternativ ely, though, this facade may simply be part of his plans for revenge – if we are to entertain the possibility that he may be an ally , we must be vigilant against th e possibility that he simply seeks to reach a position where he can un dermin e Tyria’s efforts against the dragons at a criti cal moment.
After all, the mursaat were able to slip between w orld s to escape the dragon s once before : we can not discoun t the possibility that like his people did before, Lazaru s plans to leave th e world to be destroyed by the drago ns while he hides safely in an alternate dimension un til the dragons return to their slumber.
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With the magic released by the deaths of Zhaitan and Mordremoth, those White Mantle who still believed in the Unseen saw the opportunity to reconstitute their god
LORE - The Comm an der’s Guide to Mursaat History | GUILDMAG ANNUAL 2016
MMOINKS takes a retrospective look at raids in Guild Wars 2 and what the future may hold.
Wars 2. As details started to slowly emerge about what we as players could expect from raids, much of my worry started to fade. But h ow difficult would it really be? Before Heart of Thorns, the game wasn’t known for o verly difficult content. Granted, there were some small pockets of difficulty here and there but, on the w hole, the game was targeted towards more casual play. I wanted raiding to be difficult. I wanted a real challenge, and I wanted to be stuck on bosses with my gro up. I wanted the joy of learning the tactics needed to succeed and then refining those tactics to be more and more consistent - to really experiment with, and refine, the party composition . To max out my characters and really push my own
aiding in MMORPGs has been the core of  end-game content for a very lo ng time, and yet Guild Wars 2, until the release of Hear t of Thorns, had nothing like this in the game. Sure there were world bosses, the most difficult being Triple Troub le Wurm, and there were fractals, which do increase in difficulty, but nothing that was like raiding. So naturally when raidin g was anno unced for Heart of Thorns, it was met with mixed rea ctions - though mostly positive excitement. I certainly fall into the category
of positive excitement having raided in o ne form or another in every oth er MMORPG I’ve ever played. There is something very fun and special about raiding; th e draw for me is difficult larger- group instanced encounters that you can learn an d refine. Killing th ese bosses and clearing the instance for the first time is very exciting no matter what level yo u play on, and there is a real sense of ac complishment and progression that you get from raiding. Having said all this, I was both excited an d worried about what raidin g would do and mean for Guild
raid would be slightly d elayed after release, which would give players time to prepare, and to play Heart of Thorns without rushing th rou gh that content. I’ve seen other games in recent years do this as well and I thin k this is certainly the right approach to take. You want your players to play the expansion at a reasonable pace before opening even more conten t; raiders will often rush to experience the new challenge and n ot always take their time with other aspects of the expan sion. Wing 1 aside, the real question was about the pacing of the su bsequent wing releases. L ooking back , I think the pacing really worked o ut well for th ese wings. Th e player base had a good amount of time between these releases to experience, learn and refin e the encounters, without
abilities to the limits. We kn ew we would get several bosses over a couple of win gs mixed with some events. In other MM ORPGs, it’s fairly common to see trash enemies leading up to the boss which can often bog down the p acing of the raid. I was hoping that Guild Wars 2 would find a good solu tion to this, as trash is often seen as a waste of time when th e real prize is figh ting the b osses
themselves. My expectation s were fairly high for what I wanted raids to be in Guild Wars 2 but, at the same time, I tried to temper myself to not set the initial bar too high. After all, this would be ArenaNet’s first real foray into raiding. There was some concern with how often we w ould see new encounters. We knew going into Heart of Th orns that the first of the 3- wing
leaving too much of the raiding community beh ind. Certainly this experience will vary from player to player and group to group but, on the whole, I think the pacing worked out really well. I played with tw o very different groups between wings 1, 2, and th en 3 and I didn’t experience a problem clearing that content in time for the next. I also n ever really felt like I was waiting too lon g. So Heart of Thorns had released and the raid’s first wing was finally open . How did ArenaNet do? Really well, actually. Over all, it met my expectations. The events or trash mobs that exist in wing 1 are there to teach players a few of the boss mechanics they are about to encoun ter, and in that way ArenaNet d id a fairly good job. Th e events can get slightly ann oying
months down th e road, but for wing 1 at least, these events aren’t too bad. There could be an interesting idea down the road where, after clearing the raid a number of times, you could skip some of th ese events, but I haven’t seen anything like this suggested too often and ArenaNet seems pretty content abou t how these events currently work. It’s something I ’d like to see but I am not sure it’s on the tab le.
Difficulty-wise, I felt like the first wing was right wh ere it needed to be for th e raiding community. The achievements included with wing 1 weren’t to o difficult and, therefore, have room for improvement, especia lly with things like the title achievement The E ternal. While you need to kill every boss w ithout anyon e dying, you can do this in batches;
you can even fail several attempts as long as wh en you do kill the boss no one in your party dies. I feel like this sh ould have b een that not o nly do you have no one in the party die, but th at you need to su ccessfully kill all the bosses on your first attempt. Certainly by now there are man y groups doing this withou t too much trouble and it mean s that this title would have had a little more meaning in terms of prestige.
As it currently stands, it doesn’t mean very much. As I am not sure how likely it is that we’ll see a hard mo de, the achievements really need to carry the weight of extra difficulty. With the release of wing 2, I was really hopin g we’d see the difficulty ramp up little. For wing 1, and for ArenaNet’s first time doin g raids, the difficulty was fairly good. Bu t now that I and other players were more experienced with raid s in Guild Wars 2, I wanted more. I wan ted it to be an even greater challenge, and in some ways w ing 2 did deliver this. Both Slothasor and Matthias are great fights and, while there is some debate in the community, I feel as tho ugh it might be the most difficu lt of all three wings currently. Even the achievement Slippery Slublin g is probably the most difficult of the raid achievements currently available. The problem with wing 2, then, is that there aren’t really three bosses bu t
The player base had a good amount of time between these releases to experience, learn and r e fine the encounters
two, with a large boss-ish event in the middle. W hile interesting, the bandit trio event isn’t overly engaging, and th e longer you play and continue to clear wing 2, the more this becomes a rather annoying encounter. At the release of wing 2, players spent some time on Slothasor as he provided a nice challenge, but th en most teams rolled right through the Prison C amp and onto the fin al boss. While Matthias is a fantastic encounter, th e wing en ded up feeling a little short overall because of that. Additionally, the loot you receive from the bandit trio lags b ehind other encounters, just like the event-y nature of its gameplay, which makes it even less interestin g and enticing (and certainly a little more annoying) w hen it comes to clearing months later. That being said, wing 2 was still very enjoyab le and, overall, I do thin k it was a little more difficult without some hu ge ramp up, which is something I like and apprecia te. This leads us up to wing 3, and like last time I wanted and expected a little more difficulty - just a slight bu mp in challenge from wing 1 or wing 2, nothing huge or earth shattering. Sadly this didn ’t come to fruition as wing 3 was more or less on par with th e other win gs. As whole, the raids themselves were being generally well- received within the raid ing community, despite ban dit trio’s lukewarm reception.
Unfortunately, the raids came at a time where the game itself was lacking other new PvE content and it would be some time yet before we would see Living W orld story return. On top of th is, there had been excitement build in g around what was going to happen with th e legendary armor we’d started buildin g in w ing 1. W ould we be able to finish it? What w ere we going to need? Or w ould we find out that legendary armor would still be a distant go al? The latter turned o ut to be true and there was some disappointment from th is, but wing 3 also suffered from other problems. First, there seemed to be a lot more bugs within th e wing  itself. Wing 3 suffers like wing 2 in that there are only
two b osses and a middle event that players either seem to love or get annoyed with fairly quickly over time.
But it did start with a bang in that there is an escort even t that ends with a mini b oss. This was really well received and a lot of fun - certainly something we’d no t seen before in raids. Bu t like a lot of the events over time, this on e has become a little tedious. Th e good n ews is that this event is fairly easier than the starting bosses players would encounter in wings 1 and 2 and it d oes
Like last time, I   wanted and expected a little mor e d i ffi culty - just a sligh t bum p
reward a legendary insight that players need if they are pursuing the armor. Because of this, yo u’ll sometimes see raiding groups jump into win g 3 just to quickly complete this encou nter and then move back to the oth er wings. Still, the bosses that are in wing 3 are a lot of fu n. Both Keep Construct and Xera are visually appealing and have some un ique mechanics to deal with. On Keep Construct there is an or b pushing phase that increases the amount of damage you do depend ing on how many you are able to sink into rifts, w hile the Xera fight interweaves ley- line gliding with a nu mb er of phases that split the raid group into two b efore they meet again on th e final platform. They aren’t rea lly any more difficult than
the b osses of win g 2, and perhaps it’s a little foolish
to thin k that every wing will be more and more difficu lt, but I did ex pect that the last boss on the entirety of the raid would be th e most difficult. This opin ion will vary from player to pla yer but, for me, Xera wasn’t as difficult as I would have liked her to be and her mechanics, while interesting an d fun , aren’t that hard to deal with. Besides position ing and moving Xera herself, the most difficult part for players seems to fall on their ability to leyline glide from platform to platform. Add to this that Xera is also a boss that has suffered (and still does suffer) from a number of bugs, and
it’s tarnished further for me. By now players are fairly
used to what they can expect from raiding in Guild Wars 2, such that wing 3 in general was cleared very quickly in relation to the other 2 win gs. And while I did very much enjoy wing 3, I felt like the difficulty was lacking overall. Well that’s all fantastic isn’t it? Raiding sounds fun an d somewhat challenging. But how easy is it for the average player to get involved in raids and what should you exp ect? Raiding is content that is more difficult than anyth ing else in Guild Wars 2 and it’s meant to be. Yo u might be asked to make concessions depen ding on your play style,
Both Keep Construct and Xera are visually appealing and have some unique mechanics to deal with
your grou p’s composition and so forth, but th e good new s here is that there are a wide array of group compositions and profession builds that work. Browsing sites like qt s can be a great resource in understandin g what oth er players are using and why. It can be difficult to associate raids with other types of content in Guild Wars 2
because other grou p instanced conten t only allows five players and lacks the same type of challenge. However, as of this year, Fractals of the Mists has started to see an overhau l that is making some of those encounters more raid-like. While fractals themselves aren’t a direct comparison to raiding, this is probably the best example of what you can expect to see from raid encounters, albeit smaller and w ith fewer mechanics to deal with. Have patience, not o nly in yourself but in yo ur team mates. Rome wasn’t built in day and you might not kill all the bosses in a day eith er. But that is part of the joy in all of it : spen ding time with like-minded players tackling difficult content. While it doesn’t fi t into the scope of this article, there are a number of other things to consider and some barriers to h urdle past in order to properly prepare for raids. Often, finding a gu ild that is willing to offer guidance is one of the most h elpful
things you can do as a player. All guilds are not for all players so fin d a group of players you are comfortable with and enjoy play in g the game with ; sometimes this takes time. With all that being said, I have seen some suggestions from the community on ho w to make raids even more accessible, including having an easy mode an d a hard mode for th ose looking fo r an even greater challenge.
Not only wou ld this make it easier for players to get involved, bu t there is a narrative in the raid that many players want to experience bu t either don’ t have the time or, sometimes, not quite the skill y et. I can appreciate that this is a controversial subject without an easy plug and p lay fix, but I do think there is merit in the idea of separate easy an d hard modes for players who want to experience the story and lore. I’d like to end this article on a wishlist of 5 thin gs I ho pe to see in future sets of raids: Base difficult y incre ase - nothing crazy, mind you, bu t
While fractals themselves aren’t a direct comparison to raiding, this is probably the best example of what you can expect to see from raid encounters
something slightly beyond that of wing 2, wh ich was the most difficult of Forsaken Thicket, in my opin ion.
Hard Mod e
Total comple tion achievem ent - sometime during wing 1 there was a Soul R iver Glider added to the Gem Store, and not having this be a raid reward for clearing all wings and achievements was a missed opportunity. It wou ld have added a nice goal for players, and d oesn’t have to be legendary by an y means - just a clear indication that you’ve cleared all the con tent. It’s a nice carrot on a stick.
More encounter s - three solid ones minimum, unless this time they end up making a 1-raid mega boss as an “in and out” kind of raid. I ’ve seen this style work w ell in other MM ORPGs. Shortene d / s kippab le events - I like events b ut I want th em to be fairly short; show me some mechanics without being too complicated or long-win ded. It would be great if, after clearing the raid a number of  times, you could simply skip these events as they no longer serve the purpose of teaching and now simply fills time.
So far I am very h ap py with raids. I am very excited for the future and wh at that holds, and even no w as I write this, we’ve seen the next raid portal appear. And while it’s still locked, I a m v er y excited to get my hands on it to see w hat lies beyon d.
2 3
40 GUILDMAG ANNUAL 2016 | EDITORIAL - Legendary Deforestation
Chuka and Cha mpawat
BY ANTHO NZ Collecting short bow skins is an odd hobby of mine. After I   saw the new Legendary weapon journey for a new shortbow, I realized that if I was going to craft any legendary in the game it would be Chuka and Champawat. The first chapter is relatively straightforwar d: follow the tiger trail, do some events, and craft a short bow. After getting stopped by the first crafting gate” of only being able to make one ascended crafting item per day, I decided to look into what I would need to stock up on for the rest of my journey. It turns out I need a LOT of wood. Like, a virtual forest of wood. I understand that the developers want to make the Legendary special and unique, but it seems like each  step beyond that first tiger tracking quest involves crafting something out of wood. This led me towards a new journey of figuring out how many trees, in real life, would be needed to create the Chuka and Champawat.
Before we get started, we need to set a scale of our Tyrian logs to those in the real world. To do that, I measured saplings in the game and estimated their size in the real world. In the real world the saplings are on average about 4 meters tall, and 0. 5 meters in diameter. This gives us about 1 cubic meter of wood per sapling. Given in-game averages of 3 logs per sapling, this means in-game logs are about 0.33m 3 in volume.
How many actual trees would be needed to create some of the legendary weapons that we can now craft? Anthonz and Star paused a moment in their logging to do some calculations.
4 m
0. 5m
So, how many logs would we need to create Chuka and Champawat? In the collection achievements for “The Hunt”, and “The Ambush,” we need to make various pieces to hone our skills before crafting the final Legendary short bow. By the end of all that, this is the wood we will consume: Green Logs 12 0 Soft Logs 1,3 0 0 Seasoned Logs 1,740 Hard Logs 2,61 0 Elder Logs 10,695 Ancient Logs 1 , 086 That totals to 17,551 logs, bringing us to about 5,792m 3 of wood. For comparison, we can look at one of the largest trees known, the 83 .8m tal l sequoia named “General Sherman,” which consists of an estimated 1,487m 3 of wood. This means it would take nearly four General Shermans’ worth of wood to complete our Legendary Quest of crafting Chuka and Champawat. That amount of chopping wood surely gives a weapon legendary status.
• • • • • •
L ege n d a r y Def or esta tion
EDITORIAL - Legendary Defore station | GUILDMAG ANNUAL 2016
Rodgo rt’s Fla me BY STARCO NSPIRAT O R Chuka and Champawat isn’t the only legendary leading to deforestation, though it may be the greatest. While Anthonz has been working toward his prized shortbow skin, for the last several months I have been steadily chopping wood. My goal: Rodgort. I have a thing for fire. When I set out on the first stage of the scavenger hunt, it all seemed so innocent. I ran around the map killing fire monsters, setting other things on fi r e and gleefully satisfying my inner arsonist. Eventually, I reached the point where I could begin crafting the items needed to make the precursor - and that was where the burning ended and the chopping began. To craft Rodgort’s Flame, first I needed to prove my torch- crafting skills. This required five of every non-ascended torch handle available and one spiritwood torch handle. After crafting all the torch handles, this is the amount of wood I needed: Green Logs 3 0
Soft Lo g s
Seasoned Logs 3 0 0 Hard Logs 57 0 Elder Logs 1 50 0 Ancient Logs 30 This totals nearly one and a half General Sherman sequoias... that’s a whole lot of wood for just a torch!
• • •
With all this chopping and proof-of-concept craftin g done, I was ready to build my precursor. With farming guides and a permanent logging tool in hand, I persevered, clearing the forests across Tyria . The precursor required the crafting component Fuel for the Fire: Elder Logs 2 40
Soft Lo g s
Seasoned Logs 3 0 Hard Logs 60 It’s safe to say that these 39 0 logs could be taken fro what was left over fro the previous sequoias. At last, with the precursor triumphantly in hand, I was ready to craft my legendary! ...Until I discovered that I would need even more wood. The Gift of Rodgort, one of the ingredients of the legendary, requires a Gift of Wood; as seen above, this Gift requires just one more General Sherman : Gift of Wood Lo g s Seasoned Logs 750 Hard Logs 75 0 Elder Logs 750 Ancient Logs 750 What’s one more small forest? Crafting legendaries should be a monumental task, and while I have not necessarily enjoyed farming logs in various maps across Tyria, it has provided me with a long-term goal and a sense of accomplishment as each stage was completed. Just as it should be, I think!
• • • • •
42 GUILDMAG ANNUAL 2016 | LORE - Wintersd a y an d Wa r
Wintersday A nd War
intersday festivities a re a long tradition througho ut the lands of Tyria. Marked by gift giving, camara der ie, and special events, the holiday celebrates the coming of th e New Year. Today, Wintersday is marked by the arrival of the asuran toymaker, T ixx, and his amazing workshop the Infinirarium. Th ose who venture into the In finirarium will aid the great toymaker in his struggle to thwart the plans of stowaway skritt and to keep haywire toys from wreaking havoc; all while Toxx, Tixx ’s golem helper, occasionally goes berserk and has to be reprogrammed. The citizens of Tyria can also take part in the famous bell choir or the infamous Winter Wonderland jumping puzzle. Cen turies ago, however, the go ds themselves took part in the festivities, and Wintersday marked a real struggle between the forces of ligh t and dark, led by Dwayna and Grenth. In the ancient past, Dwayna, goddess of life, found herself
facing Grenth, the go d of death, fightin g over the coming of sprin g and the end of winter after the New Year. Th e first Wintersday celebration on record was held in Lion’s A rch in 10 7 2 AE; at that time, Dwayna’s and Grenth’s avatars appr oached the p eople of Tyria and competed for their favor.
In the days leading up to th e avatars’ visit, the gods’ forc es could be found throughou t Tyria : Dwayna’s snow men spreading good cheer and Grenth’s grentches working to keep the season somber. It is said that the necromancer Vehemus created the first grentch potion during this early Wintersday. Made of termites, gunk, unwash ed socks, and garlic, this potion shrunk a human’s h eart by three sizes, turning them into a grentch: a cruel an d heartless servant of Grenth.
Dwayna’s sn owmen, the brrrls, fought against these grentches, hoping to keep the people’s spirits up du rin g the cold days of late winter. The heroes of Tyria could help the children build snow men of their own or work to in crease the n umber of grentches and help th em destroy the gifts. For several yea rs, the celebration of Wintersday spread from Lion’s Arch and Kryta to other areas. Kamadan, in Istan, began hosting the avatars, and the citizens of Tyria saw the war between them escalate. That first year in Elona, Grenth’s forces stole innumerable presents and took them to the underworld to h oard them. However, Dwayna’ s champions fou ght their way through the grentches in  order to return the presents to th e children of Tyria. Also at this time, the people of Istan wo rked to present Dwayna with a small herd of reindeer. The deer became a regular part of the celebration and even today they make an occasional appearance. Stories suggest
A history of the holiday from Guild Wars to present .
The first Wintersday celebration on record was held in Lion’s Arch in 1072 AE
LORE - Wintersd a y an d Wa r | GUILDMAG ANNUAL 2016
that the reindeer of old w ere able to fin d gifts that the grentches had stolen and hidden away and many in Tyria joined in th e quest to return the presen ts to the children. Once th e Eye of the North opened, the struggle over who would win th e war between the gods spread northward. There, Grenth’s forces discovered where Dwayna’s servants, the brrrl, dwelt, and attacked the Lair of the Snowmen. Tyrians who supported Dwayna once again thwarted them and returned the cheer of Wintersday to their fello w citizens. There in th e Eye of the North, the snowball fight even ts began and the tradition has continu ed through to the presen t. Previously, the goal was to simply win a snowball fi ght, while today ’s contests involve collecting gifts for your team. For the first year in the Eye of th e North, the Ebon Vanguard made a special effort to invite the norn to their festivities, although the frivolity was interrupted
by a ban d of charr. The following year, the Eye of the North also played host to several Wintersday events and q uests that focused on the b urgeoning relationship between Keiran Thackeray and Gw en. Stuck on guard du ty during the festivities, Lieutenant Thackeray realized that his fellow Ebon Vanguard, Gw en, was glum and he w an ted to provide her w ith some holiday cheer. He rec ruited a group of heroes and asked them to visit th e nearby norn and collect a p endant for Gwen that depicted her family’s crest. The heroes did so, but the norn felt that the pendant req uired more and
sent them to have it imbued with th e spirit essence of Gwen’s mother, who w as tragically killed in the Searing. The heroes return ed and presented th e gift to Gwen ; Keiran thanked them for their help an d from this begin ning, his relationship with Gwen continued to grow. As time passed, the Priests of Balthazar joined with Grenth in the yearly struggle, tired of frivolity and convinced that humanity needed to prep are for a coming darkness. Priests of Balthazar joined with Grenth i n the yearly struggle, tired of frivolity
44 GUILDMAG ANNUAL 2016 | LORE - Wintersd a y an d Wa r
The heroes of Tyria were able  to join either this team or that of D wayna and the Priestesses of Melandru, who  still fought for joy even though they also felt that something lurked in the future. It can be assumed that they sensed the co min g War in Kryta, which saw Salma ascend to the thro ne in Kryta, and th e Wind s of Change that blew across Cantha, giving rise to th e Ministry of Purity. Althou gh these wars interrupted much  of the merriment, the festivities of Wintersday continued, grow ing from an ever-escalating war to a pitched battle betw een the ava tars. For several years, this pa ttern continued . However, as the Elder Dragons grew in power, the gods’ avatars no longer visited the world. Into this void entered the asura Toymaker Tixx. In his airship toy factory, he flies across Tyria spreading good cheer. The first year of his visit, when Zhaitan threatened th e world, T ixx stopp ed at every major city across the land. At each stop, players were allowed into his worksho p, the Infinirarium, b ut what they found w as the special chaos at which asuran geniuses are best. Tixx ’ golem Toxx was malfunctionin g, and his workshop w as overrun by skritt stowaway s. If people wanted to ys for Wintersday, they were forced to make their own. Recip es and ingredien ts were handy though and th e citizen s were
able to bu ild one of five miniatures. However, the follo wing year, as the war with the Elder Dragons escalated, Tixx’ journey was hampered and recently he has limited his holiday stop to Divinity’s Reach. In exchange, th ough, his toys no lon ger need to be built from scratch ... although his worksh op is still overrun by skritt and To xx is woefu lly prone to violent assau lt. Now that we face two Elder Dragons at once, we need Wintersday cheer more than ever. The ringing of bells and collecting of candies, gifts, and toys is just the break we
need from th e troubles that have plagued our land. A few weeks of merriment will l ift our spirits and strength en us, just as th e festivals did in years past.
Two Dra gons fo r the Price of On e
Season 3 Recap
RECAP - Two Dragons for the Price of One: Season 3 Recap | GUILDMAG ANNUAL 2016
46 GUILDMAG ANNUAL 2016 | RECAP - Two Dragons for the Price of One: Season 3 Recap
eason 3 begins on a sad note with a memorial to Eir Stegalkin who died in the figh t against Mordremoth. For first-timers or those who h ave been away from the game, this first instance provides a recap of Eir’s story in the jungle, some options for revisiting her story, and a retelling of the formation of Destin y’s Edge. Since o ne of th e points of these early stories is th e reformation of a guild to take the place of Destiny’s Edge, Skald Alfhildr’s retelling of the guild’s formation offers the player a chance to find their place in th e history of the world, which I felt was a nice touch. O ther NPCs, Eir’s friends, will also speak with the player regarding her death. During the memorial, we learn that Braham has retreated to the mountains, and L ogan an d Z oj ja are still r ecovering from their wou nds. Rytlock takes a moment to discu ss the new guild with the p layer and the two of them decide on the name Dragon ’s Watch, the guild name that the community voted for previously. In the midst of the festivities, Rox returns and brings Eir’s companion Garm home. The wolf is a w elcome
sight and attempting to feed him with a rabbit brings a touch of mirth to the
otherwise w eighty proceedings … or is it just me who finds it hilariou s that the game won’t allow you to do so? Rox agrees to stay at the steading and wait for Garm to heal. Afterwards, she plans to join Braham. This leaves Rytlock and myself to continue preparation for th e next dragon on ou r own.
As the memorial festivities continue, we receive a letter from Taimi, bragging that she has discovered somethin g new. As everyone else in the newly formin g guild is b usy, Rytlock and I head to Rata Novus alone. Rytlock also hints that there is something he n eeds to attend to but he chooses to see Taimi instead. A special gate has b een set up in Rata S um that will take players to a chamb er
in Rata Novus. There, we meet Taimi and discover that she has hidden much
of her intriguing research from Phlunt. Honestly, I can’t blame her. One of her pet projects is a chak organ that she harvested. As part of the chak’s digestive system, the organ absorbs ley energy and changes it, although she can’t say yet h ow it changes. S he has also been using th e Rata Novan technology to track the dragon energy as it dissipated through the system since Mordremoth’s death, and her map shows the northern bloodston e sudd enly flaring up with power. The banter betw een Taimi and her nemesis/ mentor Councillor Ph lunt is enjoyable, while the chak fights seem superflu ou s. Taking time to explore th e hidden lab will yield mo re information regarding Taimi and lab politics, a hint about the rise of the W hite Mantle, and a su ggestion that General Almorr a Soulkeeper, leader of th e Vigil, has journeyed to Rata Novus. U p on exiting th e lab, we learn from Almorra that the Pact is “hangin g on by a thread” without Trahearne’s leadership and she offers
Res e a rc h in Ra ta N ovus
Braham has retreated to the mountains, and L ogan and Zo jja are still recovering from their wounds
RECAP - Two Dragons for the Price of One: Season 3 Recap | GUILDMAG ANNUAL 2016
me the position of M arshal, describing the position as a desk job. She lost me at “desk job” and I declin ed the position. The General also has a letter for Rytlock, which he seemingly th ro ws away without read ing, and the sylvari Canach’s entrance interrupts our conversation. The sylvari has been sent in search of Caudecus, who left protective custody and travelled north toward the bloodston e. Speaking to Canach before exitin g the instance will provide players with some backgrou nd lore on the Wh ite Mantle. While those who played Guild Wars P rop he c ie s need n o
introduction to the W hite Mantle and the mursaat, Canach explains that the  Wh ite Mantle are experimenting with the bloodston e and attempting to resurrect one of the mursaa t. He believes the White Mantle have waited until th is moment to do so because the sylvari and the Pact are in disarray and he is  certain Caudecus has something to do w ith the increased White Mantle acti vity. Concerned that the former minister is in league with the White Mantle, I order Rytlock to find the rest of our
fledgling guild. He an d Canach agree to meet at the bloodstone and Almo rra offers me a ride on her airship. When the airship reaches the bloo dstone, we are just in time to witness a massive explosion that sends out an en ormou s wave of magical energy. Luckily, just as the magic is abo ut to engulf the airship, it is withdrawn into the cen ter of a large crater. All around, the landscape breaks apar t, and the bloodstone sh atters. From here, the player is able to spen d time exploring the new zone, Blood stone Fen. Four tasks mu st be completed in the map before the story can progress. Th ese tasks enrich the experience, and players willin g to take their time searching for survivors and exploring the ruined landscape learn of the bloodstone explosion an d the sickness that has infected those who survived th e blast. They also hear tales of Jade Constructs that cause never- before-seen magical dama ge. Of course, it is also possible to simply navigate to th e four
Bl o o dsto ne Fe n
48 GUILDMAG ANNUAL 2016 | RECAP - Two Dragons for the Price of One: Season 3 Recap
starbursts on the map, clear them, and move on withou t spending too much time on these open world sto ry steps. This is a nice improvement to the gated story steps in Heart of Thorns, in which players had to grin d for Mastery points before being able to move on; players can now choose how qu ickly they progress and h ow much time they want to invest in flavor text.” Before tra velling deeper into the new map , it is  a good idea to master Counter Magic, th e first Ancient Magics Mastery tier, in order to defend against the Jade Constructs that lurk in the crater. There are so many enemies and encounters in Bloodstone Fen that this is quickly accomplished. After exploring th e ruined fen  and discovering the Pact survivors and Sq uad Leader Bennett, w ho debriefed me regarding some of the story behin d the Forsaken Thicket raids, I reported back to General Soulkeeper, wh o was working to repair her airship. I explained to her th at th e White Mantle and Pact soldiers wh o were caught in the blast had become crazed
with hunger for b lo odstone magic. This discovery led me to follow the afflicted White Mantle and learn where they were taking the bloodstone shards that they were harvesting.
At the bottom of the crater, I discovered magica l scorch marks that led to a floating room housin g a pedestal that seems to be th e nexu s of the blast. Surprised, I also  find Caith e there. She claims to be conductin g her own investigation into the explosion but I am reticent to trust her and I make it a point to confront her. Desp ite my hostility, she joins in search of more bloodston e shards in order to power up th e pedestal and replay the events from before the explosion. Thro ugh the search, we discussed her previous actions and settled on an uneasy truce of sorts - still not trusting the sy lvari but willing to give h er a chance. After collecting the
bloodston e and returning to the floating room to power up the pedestal, we witnessed a being exp lo ding in the center of the room, vaporizing the W hite Mantle who had been present. Assuming that the person responsible for th is was Caudecus, I went in search of Canach to warn him that Caudecus had absorbed a bloodstone’s worth of magic, leaving Caithe to her own devices. We found Canach near the remnants of an ancien t coliseum and he informed us that Caudecu s was inside. Rytlock and Marjory joined us as we tracked down the former minist er, battling past a number of White Mantle. When we reached C au decus at the top of the coliseum, he refused to return to Divinity’s Reach and threatened to take over Kryta with th e help of the Wh ite Mantle. Triumphantly revealing his secret weapon, a subjugated Jade Construct, he attacked our party. After defeating the construct but before Caudecus cou ld do anyth ing more, the mursaat Lazarus the Dir e appeared. Lazarus c laimed he had returned with more virtu ous pursuits in mind than top pling Queen Jenna. Although he th en killed nearly all of the White Mantle present, he shielded us from  his magic! Before we could do anything with this new information, Lazarus departed and Cau decus managed to slip away with
The White Mantle and Pact soliders who were caught in the blast had become crazed
RECAP - Two Dragons for the Price of One: Season 3 Recap | GUILDMAG ANNUAL 2016
the help of th e mesmer Lady Valette Wi. Discovering Lazarus the Dire at the end of  this episode signalled the return of a potentially dangerous foe to Tyria, although his actions left us wondering if the mu rsaat could be a potential ally. While contemplating Lazarus’ return, Taimi conta cted us and announ ced that Primordus, the fire dragon, was now active. Returning to Rata Novus with Rytlock in tow, I learned that Taimi and the asura Moto (of Sup er Adventure Box fame) had been working on a special piece of technology that would simulate Primordus’ minions and h elp prepare us for th e upcoming battles. Durin g the simulation, Taimi infor med us that not only was Primordus active but so was Jormag. Additionally, Taimi and Phlunt had both sent asu ra scouts to the Fire Islands. Finally, Taimi also revealed that ma gic is composed of all the real ms of dragon magic, such as death, mind, and plant. With Zhaitan and Mordremoth dead, their magic was now free for use by other d ragons and Primordus’ minio ns had changed. Before we can take an asura gate to the Fire Islands and investigate, tw o charr confronted Rytlock. He had been ignoring ord ers to return to the Black Citad el and answer questions abo ut his time in the Mists an d his  journey to becoming a revenant. Making it clear that
he was choosing to retu rn on his own, Rytlock - now stripped of his rank - agreed to accompany the charr back to the Black Citadel. We could only h ope he wouldn’t be long and th at he would be ab le to return to the fight in the near future. Alo ne, I journey ed to Ember Bay hopin g to collect a sample of the n ewly changed destroyers in order to confirm th e stories and Taimi’s findings.
Ember Bay, as the second map of Living World Season Three, is a craggy and molten landscape based on the original Fire Islands of th e first Guild Wars game. Players will find a scattered handful of ou tposts, including a castaway circus and a skrit t pirate crew. The water surroundin g the Fire Islands teems with life, most of it neutral, allowing for some relief from the assault on land. A new Mastery tier can be trained upon en terin g the new map: Thermal Propulsion. This allo ws
chara cters to travel between lava tubes scattered ac ross the map similar to Nuh och wallows. Unlike the previous Mastery tiers found in Heart of Thorns , it is not necessary to un lock it before completing the story. Instead, as players traverse the ma p, they will discover that they need to complete variou s daily repeatable Renown Heart tasks to help the asura and locals before b eing able
T a i m i’ s Gam e
W elc o m e to the F ir e Islands
50 GUILDMAG ANNUAL 2016 | RECAP - Two Dragons for the Price of One: Season 3 Recap
to move forward to th e next story step. After find ing a sample for Taimi, an earthquake - perhaps caused by Pr imordus - rocked the islan ds and I set out to explore the area. While exploring, I came across a band of skritt that said they were the Champions of Rock Face. The skritt cl aim that a strange, ancient device has something to do with the seismic a ctivity and, after befriending them, I meet Rock Face, an a ctual rock face … what’s left of the dwarf Rhoban! Rhoban explained that the devices mentio ned by the skritt help to keep the island stable b ut they haven’t been maintain ed and need to be tu rn ed on before the volcanoes eru pt and spew out magical energy and lava. Taking the dwarf’s thumb, I was able to easily turn on three of th e four machines. The final machine, however, lay inside the mursaat for tress, guarded by a phalanx of Jade Constructs. At the base of the fortress, I met the ghost of C aptain Grumby who explained th at only mursaat could enter. By  finding a set of mu rsaat armor, I was able to disguise myself as a mursaat and pass through the fortress’ defences to reach th e final device. With all four devices activated, the vol canic activit y subsided and I retu rn ed to Rhoban. However, my visit with the dwarf was interrupted by a vision showin g Glint’s egg b eing atta cked!
RECAP - Two Dragons for the Price of One: Season 3 Recap | GUILDMAG ANNUAL 2016
I rushed to Tarir to check on th e egg. There, I learned that the egg was about to hatch ! Caithe and Marjory rejoined me but I w as the only one allowed to enter the egg chamber. Just as the baby dragon emerges, Tarir’s defenses falter and Primordus’ minions attacked the hatchling. While the Luminate, the leader of th e Exalted, worked to rebuild the defensive shield, I tried to hold off the min io ns. But there were so many of them! Just as I was being overwhelmed, Lazarus appeared and h elped defen d the hatchling from the Destroyer of Ho pe. Once th e destroyers were gon e and the Luminate had rebuilt the shield, Lazarus explained that he was looking to aid us in the fight against th e dragons and wished to use the W hite Mantle as anoth er army against them. Of course, nobo dy believed h im or trusted that h is intentions were good . However, despite my stern warning, Marjory agreed to look in to his claims and investigate him. He agreed to this an d the tw o of them left. Trusting Caithe to
protect the n ewly-hatched dragon, Aurene, I returned to adventuring. After a time, a vision of Aurene visited me and I hurried to Tarir to see w hat it  could mean. The Luminate informed me that th e baby dragon had been calling for me and that the Exalted wanted me to use th e bond that exists betw een us to begin training the dragon. To that end, the Exalted set up a series of tests for th e
dragon and I helped her complete them. These taugh t the hatchling charity, valor, strength and dedicatio n. The final challenge offered her some early fighting practice as well. All of these trials are games to the youn g dragon and she is adorable through out, but th ey do teach her important lessons - especially for a baby dragon, given h ow most dragons interact with the races of Tyria - and strength en the bon d between herself and the player. It is worth n otin g that, for those players w ho
need extra adorable dragonling in their lives, one  can return to play with Aurene using th e Exalted Portal Stone th ey acq uire from completing this story step. After the trials, Ta imi contacted me again to discuss th e conclusions of her research on th e destroyer samples retr ieved from Ember Bay. As she suspected, the drago ns were absorbing th e power of those
killed before them. She also discovered that another type of magic could co unter Primordus and sh e believed Jormag’s ice magic would do so. Sh e concluded that there might be a way to isolate Jormag’s magic using the chak organ. Doing this rath er than attempting anoth er frontal assault, like that tr ied against Mordremoth, could save countless lives.
D r ag o n Vigil
Lazarus explained that he was looking to aid us in the fight against the dragons and wished to use the White Mantle as another army against them
52 GUILDMAG ANNUAL 2016 | RECAP - Two Dragons for the Price of One: Season 3 Recap
Taimi asked me to find an icebrood sample that had b een tainted with Mordremoth’s and Zhaitan’s influence in order to test her theory in the lab. Wh ile in the Shiverpeaks, I decided to catch up with Braham as well. Stop ping at Hoelbrak for new s on recent icebrood activity, I learned that Braham was looking for a magic scroll in the far north and that Rox, along with Garm, left the day before to catch up to her friend. There were also rumors that a strange icebrood had been
spotted in the far north, in the most dangerous area of the Shiverpeaks. Alth ough it seems at first to be an odd sidenote, taking a moment to discuss norn legend s, players learn that youn g norn hunters believe th ey can prove their strength in battle by chipping Jormag’s fang. However, it is also revealed that this is merely a story the older hunters use to slow dow n those too eager to test their skills and keep the young, u ntrain ed hunters from ru shing to their deaths. I felt this extra norn lore, w hile interesting, was a bit forced an d players may see it as either obvious foreshad owing or an unnecessary distraction. After listening to the lore,
I continued to Frostgorge Sound in search of both Braham and Taimi’s sa mple. In the northern reaches of Frostgorge Sound, players find the kodan an d Kod a’s Flame, a magica l fire that would break through th e icy barrier separat ing Frostgorge Sound from the Bitterfrost Frontier. In the new map, players are able to  learn a new mastery tier, Koda’s Flame, which provides fire magic for use in the bitter cold region s of the far north. This map also contains several features that players have encountered before, including bouncing mushrooms, unbound
magic, and thermal tubes. Ley-line gliding and u pdrafts can also be found here. Th e map’s meta event involves lighting brazier’s and defending the kod an from Jormag’s minions.
Through participation in this meta event and map exploration, it is easy eno ugh to unlock the Koda’ s Flame Mastery, which may make fighting the icy foes easier. However, as with Bloodstone Fen, unlocking the M astery is not necessary to enjoy the map or progress the story. Far to the north, I discovered Sorrow’s Eclipse Sanctuary. The sanctuary acts as a line of defense again st the Svanir, keeping them from the heart of Tyria. There I spoke with th e kodan D eep Water and the quaggan Varo nos Flubbert, leaders of the sanctuary. They explained that an icebrood abomina tion had been seen furth er north but th ey advised against going there. None wh o had gone to investigate had yet returned and the leaders of
Bit terfro st F ro n ti er
In the northern reaches of Frostgorge Sound, players find the kodan and Koda’s Flame
Stopping at Hoelbrak... I learned that Braham was looking for a magic scroll in the far north
RECAP - Two Dragons for the Price of One: Season 3 Recap | GUILDMAG ANNUAL 2016
the sanctuary believed eith er they had succumbed to the bitter cold or the Svanir had killed them. However, that sounded exactly wh ere I needed to go so the leaders told me to consult with Shaman MeeMee regardin g staying warm in th e north. MeeMee told me the Svan ir knew how to survive and I shou ld ask them. This th en led to a quest to collect Svanir armor as a disguise, similar to the quest for mursaat a rmor.
After collecting the d isguise and infiltrating th e Svanir Hive, I discovered the recip e for making a thaw elixir. I gathered the ingred ients quickly - overfilling my inventory as I did so - and brewed the elixir in the Dragon’s Teeth Hot Spring. Protected, I went in search of the abomination an d foun d it in a cave beh ind a frozen waterfall. Once behin d the waterfall, I discovered some jungle and undead larva, confirming th e presence of Zhaitan’s and Mordremoth’s
energies. Then I foun d the Unstable A bomination surround ed by more larva.  Using the plant and death magic to attack the abomination, I was able to defeat it and collect Taimi’s sample. I returned to Sorrow’s Eclipse Sanctuary with this sample and learned that the Svanir had been torturing quaggan! The Svanir were convinced Braham had been the one who tricked them out of the th aw elixir. Dismayed, I sent the sample on to Taimi and went after Braham to try and sort ou t the con fusion and help h im with the Svanir wh o were now after him. Tracking Braham led me to a  cave near Frostgor ge Sound. Insid e, I foun d him and Rox fighting off a horde of Svanir. Once they w ere safe, I debriefed them on all that had happen ed, includin g why the Svanir were hunting th em, Lazarus’ return, and Taimi’s news that  two Elder Dragons were active. Rox mentions during our conversation that Canach believed Minister
Caudecus was heading toward the Isles of Janthir. Braham was dismissive of the  news, focused solely on  finding th e magic scroll that he wished to ad d to Eir’s bow. Braham cr afting a longbo w in th is way, along with his single-minded focus on killin g the Elder Dragons, provides the lore for the rise of the dragonhun ter elite specialization. This joins the tale of Marjory learning to wield a greatsword an d becoming the first reap er and I’m left wond erin g how the other elite specializations will arise through the story. Will Rox become a druid and Kasmeer a chronomancer ? Breaking through the cavern , we found a dark ch amber where a number of creatures appeared to be powering a series of stones. As we approached, a giant minotaur spirit appeared and began charging around th e room. As it rampaged, it destroyed the creatures and ston es until the scroll Braham was searching for was revealed. We retrieved the scroll and Braham used it to enchant Eir’s bow an d defeat the rampaging ice beast. This new bow con vinced Braham that he was strong enou gh to rally the norn an d face Jorma g.
Despite my argument to wait for Taimi’s resea rch, Braham refused to wait and
Survivin g the Bit ter C ol d
Br ah am and R ox
Canach believed Minister Caudecus was heading towards the Isles of Janthir
54 GUILDMAG ANNUAL 2016 | RECAP - Two Dragons for the Price of One: Season 3 Recap
returned to Hoelbrak. At loss, I agreed to let Rox follow Braham in th e hopes that cooler heads w ould prevail. However, with his new weapon, Braham was able to damage the Fang of Jormag and signal that he had the stren gth to fi ght the Elder Dragon. This leaves the impression that th e next Living World release will fi nd the norn rallying against Jormag and we can o nly hop e that Taim i’s r esearch will yield something capable of saving the norn . Overall, this is a satisfying story arc. It moves quickly from one element to the n ext and grants access to a few new maps with max-level content. The meta even ts and repeatable Renown Hearts found in th ese map s should keep many players engaged as we await the next chapter. The Mastery system is also a welcome improvement over the gated con tent foun d in
the Heart of Thorns expansion in that players no longer have to grind through M astery points in order to experience the n ext section of th e story. This same philosop hy can be seen in the u se of the exploration masteries - bouncin g mushrooms, ley line gliding - in th e newest map Bitter frost Frontier. While the skills are good for map exploration and may be necessary to reach all corners of the area, they are not required for any of th e story steps. Of course it’s easier to glide everywhere or take the thermal tubes, for example, but players can just as easily walk. Let’s hop e the next story chapter is just as engaging.
56 GUILDMAG ANNUAL 2016 | GUILD SPOTLIGHT - Rock, Paper, Signet
Gui ld Spotli ght
ver find yourself looking for something fun to do in game but none of your friends are online or logged in? M eet Rock, Paper, Signet [RPS], a casual and open guild th at their leader Tweetiti says “dabbles into everyth ing really: Wv W, Pv P, but mainly PvE .” As an EU guild based mainly on Gunnar’s Hold, [RPS] is best kno wn for th e in-game events th ey began to hold in 2013. Seen as a way to brin g the community
together to revisit open world  end-game zones and bosses, their events are now  themed and are most recognizable because of guild officer Duke’s mesmer, Duke Witherheart. Th e events bring the community together to roam around PvE Tyria, taking players and guild members around for fu n, prizes, and general mayhem against enemies. Begun at Guild Wars 2 ’s launch, Duke tells us the guild was at first “a small place for
members of the Rock, Paper, Shotgu n community to hang out an d play together.” Things evolved from there. Since the guild in itially grew out of an existing commun ity, the gu ild officers had the advantage of know ing each other previously, th ough Tweetiti says they “weren’t real life friends at the beginn ing.” This came about as they spent time together and as some met in real life too. “We are therefore more a guild of friends and we include all our new members
Rock, Pape r, Sign e t [RPS] Leade r: Tweetiti Size: 365+ members Pr efe rr ed game mo de : Bes t known for Pv E ; weekly sP vP; occasional W vW. In-ga me contact: Tweetiti.4905
that way,” she tells us proudly. New members are added to the guild regularly an d organically. Though they don’t actively advertise their guild, [RPS] do advertise their events, sharing w ho they are, and h ow players can join them or find mo re information. Instead of “spamming mapchat or stalking forums to get our name across,” guild officer Vlupius says they are active on “Twitter, Reddit and the
like, and wh en peop le think we’re a fun bun ch to h an g around, they are welcome to ask for an invite (which we’ ll gladly send). Often peop le message us first, asking if they can join, an d then we send them to our foru m to sign up.” Because they are so active, this r ecruitment style works best for them and h as allowed [RPS] to grow to its present-day size of over 36 5 players. With such a large roster, one  might think that guild
drama would be a fac tor yet Tweetiti assures us th is is not the case. They have one simple ru le that they ask everyone to adhere to: “Be excellent to each other.” Because of this, th ey have been fortunate enough not to have any major issues. “W e had the occasional person not following the ru le, b ut they quickly found out th at we wouldn’t indulge th em in their behaviour and left by themselves, Tweetiti say s. Instead, Du ke adds, the biggest problem is usually
58 GUILDMAG ANNUAL 2016 | GUILD SPOTLIGHT - Rock, Paper, Signet
finding the time to o rganise and coordinate all the co ol things we’ve wanted to do.” Some would call th at a fortunate problem ind eed! Their events run the full spectrum that Guild Wars 2 offers, from Living World and in-game festivals to raids, Fractals, s Pv P and Wv W . What they’re most known for, though, are organized PvE mega-events. The goal: “take a wh ole lot of  players on a walk through Tyria and complete any event we come acro ss, all the while accompanied by bad music and w orse jokes,” Vlupius teases. The events themselves are broadly adv ertised and open to everyone playing on EU servers, attracting many pl ayers from outside th e guild as well. On event days, [RPS] also encourages everyone to join the conversatio n on their Discord server, shar ing links for temporary acc ess at  these times. Their events have been quite su ccessful, and th ough th ey’ve become increasingly elabora te, Vlupius is proud of the fact that these have not lost their laid-back atmosphere.
Their events typically start with a simple idea, fo r example doing someth ing around th e three in-game Orders; doing someth ing for new players; or visiting an
area with interesting events they haven ’t seen in a while. Then they choose a rou te across Tyria and give it a titl e “that ideally has something of a pu n or silly joke in it,” Vlupiu s adds. Some examples are their “Mar ch for Mou nt Maelstrom” where they travelled south from Hoelbrak to slay the  Megadestroyer; “The Orrian Express” when they liberated all the temples in Orr; and “Battle of the Five Armies” when they set o ut from all five major c ities simultaneously with five racial armies a nd eventually met up in Sparkfly Fen to kill Tequatl – twice! “Lately, we’ve also been experimenting with role- playing and storytelling, b y
moving along th e journey according to a storyline,” Vlupius contin ues, thanks to guildie RebelMaren, “wh o’s been a cen tral part of th is thanks to his writing abilities
and large number of characters!” [RPS] ta kes c are, though, not to p lan too much so that there’s plenty of room for silly antics and havin g fun with th e guild and the rest of the community who join s in. In between su ch popu lar mega-events, it’s clea r these guys love being p art of their guild. “W e have a great sense of h umour, and we love havin g a joke and a pun while playin g together,” Tweetiti says. Duke agrees: “The people really make [RPS]. The collaboration and teamwork are gr eat. The shared sense of victory and accomplishment from a lot of w hat we do together is something I ’ve never really seen before.” Vlupius elabora tes, “There’s simply so much fu n in the daily interactions with th e guild members that it’s spilled out of Guild Wars 2 and into other games and even real life. If it weren ’t for the great people who make up our guild members and my fellow officers, I would have quit Guild Wars 2 long ago; yet I still return no w and th en when there’s something
Events run the full spectrum that Guild Wars 2 o ffers, from Living World and in-game festivals to raids, Fractals, sP vP and WvW
interesting going on.” This sense of friendship and community has allowed [RPS] to have a fully upgraded gu ild hall, despite not requirin g 100 % representation, and has made organizing real- life meet-ups or joining in Rock, Paper, Shotgun even ts in other games feel like a natural extension of their time in Guild Wars 2. The guild is also committed to helpin g its members achieve their own personal goals. Duke believes 90% of  his jumping puzzle achievements are thanks
to help from the guild, and they ha