Guild Wars 2 | The Story So Far
The Story So Far series is designed to bring you up to date with the current story of a game. These posts will cover previous games and all game content up to the latest release. This post covers the history of Tyria until just before Path of Fire. Unsurprisingly, SPOILERS!
According to lore, the Gods created the world of Tyria (Tyria is both the world and a continent on the world, just to be confusing). Of course, the Gods were likely to say that, given they were Gods and wanted to be worshipped. They were also the Gods of the conquering Humans and we all know conquerors write history.
We do know the Elder Dragons are ancient. They rise and fall in eras that span 10,000 years. Awaking from slumber, they eat everything in sight, thus reducing the amount of magic in the world. Then they go to sleep, the magic seeps out, and the cycle begins again. Likely that's what killed the giants who once populated the continents. And since the Gods didn’t show up until 786 BE (Before Exodus), the whole world creation claim is suspect.
The Gods show up in 786 with Humanity and serpent people in tow. The serpent people, or Forgotten, were once the guardians and peacekeepers of the lands. Gradually, Humans expanded and create a new peace forged by domination. The Forgotten disappeared and Humanity and their gods dominated the world, re-writing history as they went.
In 1 BE (Before Exodus) magic became an issue. It was now freely available and being used as a weapon of war. After pleas from King Doric, the leader of Humanity, the Gods sealed much of it away into Bloodstones, giant red crystals, by some of the other Gods. Then they left, and the modern era began.
The next 1,000 years or consisted of Humans fighting wars. They fought amongst themselves. They fought centaurs. They fought the undead Lich Palawa Joko and his forces. They fought Charr. All the while the Elder Dragons loosed more magic into the world.
Guild Wars Prophecies
Then The Searing happened. This is the start of the player journey in the original Guild Wars, with the introductory content happening just before The Searing. The Charr found their own gods, the Titans. Of course the Titans weren’t actually gods, they were twisted souls from Tyrian hell. Using the powers of the Titans, the Charr enacted the Searing.
Burning crystals rained on Ascalon, destroying its people, its cities and even the land. With Ascalon defeated, the Charr marched south. The King of Ascalon, Adelbern, refused to give up, but after his son, Prince Rurik, failed to turn them back, Rurik and many of his people, including the player, fled to Kryta (a journey Rurik did not survive).
Kryta at this time was led by the White Mantle and their leader Saul D’Alessio. Saul was once an outcast, but, in his wanderings, he found the powerful magical beings known as the Unseen Ones who helped Kryta defeat its enemies. The player joined the White Mantle and rose through its ranks.
At the time there was a rebel faction in Kryta - the Shining Blade. The Shining Blade eventually showed the player that the White Mantle would destroy Kryta. However, the Shining Blade still needed stronger allies, and to deal with traitors from within, before it would be ready to fight back.
As a part of this prepartion, the player visited the Crystal Desert, seeking to Ascend. Years before a man called Turai Ossa, who had defeated the Lich Palawa Joka, had done the same thing with many of his people. He had failed, but helpfully his ghost was still hanging around, ready to help the player. The player passed the tests of Ascension and met with the dragon Glint, who revealed Unseen Ones were the Mursaat, and planned to enslave humanity.
The player managed to find the Shining Blade, defeat their traitors, help them ally with the Dwarves and start to win victories, as players in MMOs are wont to do. The Mursaat were rumoured to have a secret weapon, hidden behind the Door of Komalie. The player attacked it and opened it, only to reveal the Charr's false Gods, the Titans! And then the Vizier betrayed them. He was in fact a Lich Lord who had been attacking Kryta for years, seeking to control the world. The Titans were just what he needed to do so. The player stopped him, but the Titans were freed and rampaged across Kryta., giving the player something else to fight now the Big Bad was gone.
Only Khilbron wasn't entirely gone. With the Char still threatening Orr, and his still being evil, the Vizier unleashed a forbidden spell. It killed the entire Charr army in an instant … and sank Orr and all its people into the Sea.
Guild Wars Factions
Factions moved the action to Cantha. Cantha was suffering a deadly plague that turned people into monsters called Afflicted. It was caused by the spirit Shiro Tagachi.
Long go, when Cantha was divided into three warring factions, Shiro Tagachi met a Fortune Teller. A loyal protector of his Emperor, the Fortune Teller told him that Emperor would kill him on the Harvest Festival. The Fortune Teller was, in fact, a minion of Abaddon, the demonic lord of the Realm of Torment. Driven mad, Shiro killed his Emperor at a peace conference on the Harvest Festival. Ironically, the three factions then allied to kill him. His death released a destruction known as the Jade Wind, but this seemed to be an end to it.
Shiro, however, remained mad in the afterlife. Given the role of an envoy, to ferry the dead, he instead amassed an army and brought it, and the plague of the Afflicted, back to Cantha. Through various trials the player gained the power to defeat Shiro and save Cantha.
Guild Wars Nightfall
Then we went to Elona. Guess what? Elona was having a problem with Abaddon worshipping pirates and military leaders who wanted to destroy the world! This time the player joined the Order of the Sunspears and one of their leaders, Kormir.
The player gathered together allies (the Order of Whispers, pirates, Ishtan and Vabbi) to fight back. Their enemy was Varesh, who was determined to free Abaddon from the Realm of Torment. As she got closer to her goal, various rifts started opening across the world. These had two significant effects - sucking Kormir into the Realm of Torment and awakening the Lich Palawa Joka. This turned out to be handy, because the Lich taught the player how to cross the Desolation to reach Varesh and Abaddon.
After crossing the Desolation, the player defeated Varesh, but was drawn into the Realm of Torment. Here the player found Kormir and received the blessing of the Gods and make a startling discovery. Abaddon was, in fact, the sixth God. In legend Abaddon gave magic to the world (or at least, claimed credit when in fact it was seeping out of the Elder Dragons). He declared war on his brethren when they sealed so much magic away, and they stashed him in the Realm of Torment as punishment.
The player defeated Abaddon, but a God cannot simply die. Its power must go somewhere. The power went to Kormir, who became the Goddess of Truth, Knowledge and Secrets.
Guild Wars Eye of the North/Beyond
The Biggest of Bads was dead. It turns out that Abaddon was pretty much behind everything - the Titans, the Vizier were all his doing. So what next? The answer is not one but TWO expansions spent pottering around tying up lose ends. It probably felt very heroic, but lorewise its a bit limp.
The player returned to Tyria to find it overrun with Destroyers. The Dwarves came up with a way to kill them, but it had the nasty side effect of turning most of them to stone. Then they went and cleared out the White Mantle and crowned Salma Queen of Kryta (oh look, an heir hidden away where you'd least expect). They followed Gwen around until she got married ... it just sort of fizzled out.
The Preparation Phase
Quite a lot happens in the 250 years between the games:
- Ascalon was still at war with the Charr, having entirely missed the near end of the world and all that jazz. King Adelbern had gone a bit mad with vengeance and faced defeat. Once the Charr were inside his city, he called down a magic called the Foefire. A bit like the Vizier's magic before him, it did kill all of the Charr. It also turned every human in Ascalon into a ghost - a vengeful, murderous ghost.
- The Charr claimed Ascalon and founded the Black Citadel. Eventually the shamans who had worshipped the Titans were overthrown. It was 1116 AE and the Charr were now ready to become a playable race.
- In contrast, the Dwarves all turned to stone in 1125 AE. No playable race for them!
- The Norns fled south from Jormag and founded Hoelbrak and the Asura lost both Rata Novus and Rata Arcanum, leaving them focused around Rata Sum. Both had a capital city and a focused area of play. More playable characters.
- If you've wondered where the Sylvari were all this time the answer was nowhere - they didn't exist. In 1180 the Centaur prophet, Ventari, died by the Pale Tree, leaving the Ventari tablet that was to become the core of Sylvari philosophy. The Sylvari themselves first appeared around 1302.
- Tyria was now nicely carved up into map sections for Guild Wars 2. In contrast, Elona and Cantha both suffered the same fate of being taken over by despots. One of which should be familiar - Elona was conquered by Palawa Joko by 1175.
Destiny's Edge and the risk of Bickering
Then the events leading up to the main game began. In 1219 Zhaitan awakened. The Elder Dragon of Death brought Orr and its undead back to the surface. They began to spread very, very slowly. It took another 100 years before Destiny’s Edge forms with the express goal of killing Zhaitan.
Destiny’s Edge would become key characters in your personal story in Guild Wars 2. They represented all the races - the Charr Rytlock Brimstone, the Human Logan Thackery, the Norn Eir Stegalkin, the Sylvari Caithe and the Asura Zojja and Snaff. They had all sorts of skills and a cool name and everything.
Before facing Zhaitan, Destiny’s Edge went to face off against Glint as a practice run. Glint was technically the dragon champion of the Elder Dragon Kralkatorrik. Unlike the other Dragon champions, she had broken free of her master and sought to help Destiny’s Edge when Kralkatorrik rose. At the last minute, however, Logan was called away. The remaining members of Destiny’s Edge and Glint fought Kralkatorrik, but, while they drove off the Elder Dragon, both Glint and Snaff died. The guild fell apart. Zojja blamed Eir for making the decision to fight down one person, and Rytlock blamed Logan for leaving them one short.
Now, call me cynical, but Logan’s presence likely wouldn’t have changed the outcome. He's a good fighter and all that, but one more small human with a sword against an Elder Dragon? Really? And then Zojja blaming Eir is a bit rich because a) the others could have refused, given that the all powerful Logan was gone and b) there were two Asura in a guild with a single member of every other race! Essentially, one of them was a red shirt*. And for a guild with the goal of killing an Elder Dragon, they gave up really easily. Was the threat of Zhaitan not worth overcoming their differences for? Did they think they could face up to Elder Dragons and lose no one?
Guild Wars 2
This is the world into which the player arrived when they started Guild Wars 2. The personal story, as the main thread is called, started differently for each race and is dependent on the choices you made when you started the game. But they all ended up in the same place. You do some heroic stuff and end up coming to the attention of the three bickering organisations who are trying to fight Zhaitan.
The Order of Whispers (spies), the Durmond Priory (Indiana Jones wannabes) and the Vigil (grr, hit things) all wanted to destroy Zhaitan. But they want to do it their way and they won’t play with others. Leading to one inescapable conlusion. All the NPCs in Guild Wars are actually 10 years old and the player is the only one with any sense at all. The player ended up being the peacekeeper and found an ally, the Sylvari Trahearne. That should have meant he was the only one who doesn’t irritate you, right? Nope.
Anyway, the player eventually got the orders to ally in the Pact. They foisted leadership onto Trahearne because who wants to deal with the bickering? And then they went to Orr and got stuff done. Ultimately, they killed Zhaitan.
Living World Season 1
It's a bit quiet for a while (while the devs try to figure out where Trahearne went wrong). Then things moved along again. Various monsters became more active in Ascalon and the Shiverpeaks, leading the player to be asked to take a look into it. They stopped a really dodgy company exploiting people in Southsun. They solved the mystery of the murder of a member of the Captain's Council in Lion's Arch. By this point, a lot of new people have been introduced. Namely:
- Rox, the Charr, who wants to join Rytlock's Warband.
- Braham, the Norn, the estranged son of Eir Stegalkin.
- Marjory, a Human detective and her partner Kasmeer, a Human noble of a disgraced house.
- Canach, the Sylvari, a sardonic criminal
- Taimi, the Asura, a child prodigy with a disability she overcomes by riding around in her Golem, Scruffy
- The Aetherblade pirates who were up to No Good
- The Zephyrites, who wander around in their airships and put on big festivals
- E, Majory's mysterious benefactor who seemed to have the inside line on a lot of the bad stuff going down
Then Queen Jennah decided to celebrate her Jubilee by unveiling a new invention (and no, it hasn't been explained who the inventor was) the Watchknights (clockwork knights) to protect Kryta. The Aetherblade arrived to disrupt things and with them came a new figure - Scarlet Briar.
Scarlet Briar was a Sylvari, given the name Ceara at her birth. She rejected the idea that the Pale Tree would direct her life’s purpose and went out into the world to study. She learnt smithing and metallurgy from the Norn, and about firearms from a Charr, before going to the Asura. In Rata Sum she quickly progressed through the courses the Asura gave her and joined Headmaster Omadd of the College of Synergetics, working on his project to solve the Eternal Alchemy. However, his machine drove her mad.
Throughout the season, Scarlet continued to work towards her mysterious ends. It becomes clear she was behind most of the recent troubles. She brought together various groups - the Krait, the Aetherblade, the Nightmare Court - who rejected the current order and had them working on … something. She raised a massive tower in Viathan Lake, she constructed a mammoth Watchknight. Then she destroys Lion's Arch.
Yes, ArenaNet blew up their capital city. The Lion’s Arch you see to today is the rebuild. The original is gone. It turns out Scarlet had been tracking ley lines and was seeking to access one that ran right under Lion’s Arch. The team defeated her, but her machine had already hit the leyline.
Sadly, you can’t play this part of the game now, but you can watch this cool video.
Living World Season 2
The next season follows what is now the established pattern for the game, this season was released gradually in a series of episodes. You got each one for free as long as you logged in at least once during the period it was current. If you missed them, you can buy them on the gem store or get a friend to take you into their version. Or you can read this.
The characters from Season 1 were back and investigating a letter from E. It directed them to investigate the newly found entry into the Maguuma Wastes. Travelling to a new zone, Dry Top, the player discovered a crashed Zephyrite airship. The ship appeared to have been sabotaged and the Master of Peace, their leader, was now running from another crazed Sylvari. The player defeated him, but, whilst hunting for more details about him, they instead discovered a secret lab that had belonged to Scarlet Briar. Various waypoints were suddenly attacked by vines and vine creatures and this, alongside Scarlet's finding led to one inescapable conclusion - the Elder Dragon Mordremoth was rising. I say inescapable conclusion, but probably that was only true for Taimi. You see, if you have a genius handy, its totally fine to present only a few sparse clues and have them put it together because, they are a genius!
After accidentally ending up in the machine Omadd designed to see the Eternal Alchemy (totally Taimi's fault), the player saw a vision.
The player visited the Pale Tree who agreed they needed to get all the people of Tyria on board with the dragon killing this time. She agreed to host a meeting to discuss the threat of Mordremoth. In attempting to get everyone to attend, the player did various tasks. Notably, they tried to help Rytlock attempt to lift the curse of the Foefire from Ascalon. It didn't work and Rytlock disappeared into the Mists. Ooops. The summit did, eventually, happen. Of course it was attacked by Dragon Minions, leaving the Pale Tree injured.
Investigating the Modrem, the player discovered the mysterious purpose of the Zephyrites - they had an egg from the dragon Glint. Of course, that egg was a target for many enemies including the Mordrem. They player tracked him down, only to watch him die and watch the egg being taken … by Caithe.
Hunting Caithe, the player learns a little more of her history and the history of the Sylvari. Caithe was another of the Firstborn Sylvari. She was in love with her fellow Firstborn, Faolain who was a bit of a rebel. Faolain was obsessed with a secret apparently known to a third Firstborn, Wynne. She attempted to discredit Wynne, and then torture her. In the end, Wynne asked Caithe to kill her so Faolain could never learn the secret - that the Sylvari were created by Mordremoth to be his minions. Caithe did so, and Faolain left to become the leader of the Nightmare Court.
While the player followed Caithe, the Pact airships flew to the Heart of Maguuma. They were instantly struck down by the vines of Mordremoth. He was awake and, as the ships fell, he took control of many of the Sylvari, leading them to attack their allies.
Heart of Thorns
Heart of Thorns continued where season 2 left off. The player traveled to the Heart of Maguuma, looking to find the Pact and Destiny’s Edge. The area was overrun by Modrem, but that was okay because Rytlock, imbued with new powers, appeared from nowhere to defeat them. The player managed to find Eir, trapped with Faolin. Faolin rejected Mordremoth just as she did the Pale Tree - she wanted no master. Attacked by Mordrem, however, she betrayed the player and their allies and killed Eir.
The player continues on to find Caithe, being attacked by a Faolin Modrem Monster Thing. They grabbed the egg and ran, travelling south to Tarir, the city of the Exalted. Tarir was founded by the Forgotten and the Exalted in 1128 AE for one purpose - to protect the legacy of Glint, the egg. Now that's planning. The player leaves the egg in the chamber beneath the city. The same city that gets attacked by Mordrem every few hours. Good plan.
Next, the player rescued Zojja and Logan who were being used as templates for new types of Mordrem and finally killed Faolain. They also found, Trahearne, who was fused to Mordremoth, and through him entered its mind and defeated it. In order to rid the world of it forever, they player also has to kill Trahearne, within whom its remnants reside. As they do so, the magic it absorbed exploded out along the ley lines.
Living Story Season 3
This sought to tidy up the threads of Heart of Thorns, but also to lead you to the next threat. Which Elder Dragon was next? Well, it turned out that there would be two of them - Jormag and Primordius were stirring. And even worse, it turns out that when you kill one Elder Dragon, all of the others get some of its power. So Jormag and Primordius now also had some of the powers of Zhaitan and Mordremoth. Ooops.
Meanwhile, the White Mantle were back. They manage to destroy a Bloodstone in an attempt to raise their former Mursaat overlords. They seemingly succeeded, bringing back Lazarus. Lazarus wasn’t that impressed by the White Mantle and promptly vanished.
Some better news now - Glint’s egg hatched. The baby dragon, Aurene, was immediately attacked by Destroyers. Only for Lazarus to show up and help protect her. He claimed he wanted to help. It wasn't entirely convincing. In the end, Marjory and Caithe agreed to shadow him. Braham stomped off, having seemingly been infected by the whole heroes who act like children virus when the player won’t agree to rush headlong into the frozen north to kill Jormag and, in dismantling the White Mantle, they discover that whatever Lazarus is, he is not a Mursaat brought back from the dead.
He is in fact, they player next discovered, one of the Human Gods - Balthazar. He escaped with a device Taimi built to kill both Elder Dragons at once. While the player tracked him, Taimi did some further research and discovered that killing another Elder Dragon would probably destroy the planet. Another ooops. The player stopped Balthazar using the device to kill Primordius. Balthezar did manage to steal some of its power, but only enough to send it back to sleep. Jormag, likewise, goes back to sleep (though Braham is still hellbent on killing it, destroying the world not being too high a price apparently).
The player finished up by joining the Shining Blade. Alongside another hero who lived a very long life, Livia, they defeated the real Lazarus - the last of the Mursaat. And discover the location of Balthazar. Hes in the Crystal Desert. Which brings you right up to date.
*For anyone who has not watched Star Trek: The Next Generation, you can go and watch it to get this reference because it's awesome.