Real Life Lore: Tyrian Settlement Through 12th Century Eyes

As a medievalist I read a lot of books which form the basis of fantasy worlds like Tyria: Arthurian romances, tales of chivalry and myths of exquisite beasts which have been told and retold for centuries and have become embedded in our culture. In the present day, people draw upon these legends for inspiration, be it for books, films or videogames, and the world of Guild Wars is no exception.

What I’d like to do today is begin to look at possible sources of inspiration for Tyrian lore, beginning with the pre-history of the world, and what the game creators may have drawn upon in the birth of Tyria.

A brief gloss of Tyrian pre-history is possible through archaeological evidence in-game, however there are little surviving texts from that period which makes it difficult to have a true understanding of the events of that time. The Giganticus Lupicus, or true giants, are believed to have walked Tyria before 10,000 BE (before the Exodus of the Gods), when they went extinct at the hands of the Elder Dragons. They can be seen as the ‘true inhabitants’ of Tyrian land, having been the original occupants. Far later, around 786 BE, the Six Gods settled in Tyria and brought humanity to the world, who pushed from Orr into Kryta and Ascalon.

A similar situation is recorded in Geoffrey of Monmouth’s Historia Regum Britanniae (published c. 1136), which tells the tale of the original settlers of the British Isles, their battles and struggles, and the stories of the kings who ruled, including Arthur. Brutus, who is exiled from Greece for the accidental murder of his parents, sets sail with the Trojans for a new land free from persecution and attack. In his hunt, he comes across a Goddess in a dream, who tells him the following:

 “There is an island […] once inhabited by giants,

But now it is deserted, ready to receive your people.

There kings shall arise from your line, and unto them

Shall all the lands of the Earth be subject.”

 

If we look at what this passage says, we can clearly see the parallel between the message from the Goddess, and the assumed message from the Six Gods of Tyria: humans go to a land which was once dominated by giants but is now empty (in Tyria, this is due to the rampage of the Elder Dragons, from which the land is still recovering), and are sent to rule. The humans in Tyria’s eldest age, with the assistance of the Gods, assume power over three kingdoms, and conquer the natives in those areas, such as the Charr in Ascalon.

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Swimming in GW2: Long Walks Off Short Piers

I am often stunned by the sheer level of detail that went into the design and implementation of Guild Wars 2. Yes, I love questing, but when I don’t have the time or just want to do something relaxing, there’s so much more to do in Tyria. One of my favorite GW2 pastimes is swimming (no jokes about the natural buoyancy of sylvari, please…).

GW2 really hit the mark here. Not only is the water beautiful and realistic, but swimming feels authentic. On my first full day of GW2, I spent over an hour just splashing around, swimming and exploring in a single area. I love that there is no timer for underwater areas, no oxygen meter to keep up with. Swimming is hassle-free. I’m not great at underwater combat; spear guns and harpoons really aren’t my forte. Combat feels as it should though, and I have to admit, trying to fire an arrow or swing a greatsword would be pretty ridiculous in those situations.

I thought I would share a couple of my favorite splashy haunts, which I love for varying reasons.  There is so much more than scenery to be had on your aquatic adventures (though there’s plenty of that, too!).

For the player seeking relaxation and peaceful vistas, I recommend swimming to the area just east of Laughing Gull Island along the Bloodtide Coast. GW2 Laughing Gull IslandHere, if you don’t mind fighting your way across the island, you will be rewarded by spectacular views and water that you just know is warm and inviting. The weather and the time of day play games of light and shadow with the water, the sky, and the picturesque islands directly opposite Laughing Gull. If you’re screenshot-happy like me, you’ll thoroughly enjoy the 360-degree beauty of this spot as you swim through the narrow channel (the chef in me insists on reminding you that there are sugar pumpkin nodes, lots of them, on Laughing Gull Island, though they’re surrounded by angry trolls — soloing them is not your best bet if you’re not playing a melee char.)

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Elementalist 101 – History and Systems

Guild Wars 2 Elementalist Guide

Severe Weather Warning!!!

Good ol’ Master Bronk taught me the benefits of superior firepower. He liked to say, “When it comes to besting the enemy, there’s no such thing as overkill.” – Asura Biography

Elementalist Profession Series Part 1

So…you are considering making an elementalist in GW2? You wanna control the weather, eh? Make things go *BOOM* *ZAP* *SPLASH* and *CRUNCH*? This article series can help with that decision. In this first installment, I plan to talk briefly about the history of the profession from GW1, race-specific skills that complement the profession, attunements, and weapon skills; all of which are important to consider from levels 1-30 or so (the history lesson is a bonus).

What this article series is: This series is meant to be a quick and dirty guide and advice column about the elementalist profession. I hope to promote discussion and encourage people to play this fun and versatile profession. This is primarily written for PvE gameplay.

What this article series is not: This is NOT a comprehensive strategy guide on how to play the elementalist profession. It does not include a list of all of the skills/traits with commentary. It does not discuss PvP strategy.

I can be long winded in my articles, but I’m also a big fan of tl;dr, so I’ll include that at the end of each section.

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The World of Tyria; Meet your Guild Wars 2 Lore Heroes.

As an avid explorer (no, my name’s not Dora, I’m talking Guild Wars 2, here), I find it captivating to walk around Tyria and discover places I recognize from the Lore – ruins from Guild Wars 1, villages rebuilt, cities still standing. I think it’s worth mentioning how far ArenaNet has gone to really make us fanboys and fangirls squee with happiness when we see one single character we used to know in Guild Wars 1 or even some we’ve read about in Ghosts of Ascalon and Edge of Destiny. During the last beta weekend, I managed to get one of those moments for myself to keep and immortalize into a screenshot that is now my desktop background.

Dougal Keane

Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you Dougal Keane, Ghosts of Ascalon’s main character. I’m not going to explain in depth who he is and what he did, because I’m sure there are people out there who do not want any spoilers, but I will tell you this; he’s a major character in the book and is hired to retrieve the Claw of Khan-Ur from Ascalon City. With one of each race (Riona Grady a human, Gullik Oddsson the norn, Killeen the sylvari, Ember Doomforge the charr and Kranxx the asura), he travels across Tyria to the city of Ascalon, now ran by ghosts ever since the Foefire. I was going around Lion’s Arch with my asura and when I saw his name, I instantly “eeek”ed and immediately told my guildies through a Ventrilo conversation which typically went like this; “OH. MY. GOD. GUYS. EEEEEK!”. Major fangirlism? Check. Needless to say, I took several screenshots, one of which is displayed on the left. Compared to an asura, he is pretty tall! But then again, who isn’t, when compared to the asura. Continue reading

New Krytan; the language of Tyria

Running around Tyria, exploring hidden places, jumping puzzles and overhearing NPC conversations are some of the things that make Guild Wars 2 such a great game. The world of Tyria is filled with details, most of which we walk by and leave unnoticed. Not because we don’t care, but because they are so very well camouflaged into the world that we don’t pay attention. Just like “in real life”. So much to see, so much to do, so very little time to get everything done!

One thing I’ve grown to absolutely love in the game is New Krytan. For those who don’t know, New Krytan is a language of Tyria, used by many cultures and races. It’s the equivalent of the ‘real world’’s English. If you were to travel many places, this is the language you would use to have a better chance at being understood by others.

Here’s a little bit of history concerning New Krytan, as written on GW2 Wiki:

New Krytan alphabet as seen on GW2 Wiki

New Krytan was designed by the Durmand Priory as a compromise between the Old Ascalonian and Old Krytan alphabets and accepted as an official language in 1105 AE.

Over the past 220 years, New Krytan has become the standard writing system in Tyria and is used widely throughout the human kingdom, the asura colleges, and by the norn. The Durmand Priory set out to promote literacy and make the use of the new alphabet commonplace, so that all intelligent beings could understand the new language appearing all around them.

The New Krytan alphabet can be found everywhere in game; from street signs to engravings on shields, even spending time in the cemeteries found in Tyria can be fun! It’s another facet of exploring this gigantic world; several layers of terrain, tiny details everywhere. Those who love exploring will be satisfied just by spending a single day in Divinity’s Reach: Libraries, book stands, signs and NPC clothing, all of those have New Krytan waiting to be deciphered.

Now, you don’t have to learn New Krytan to be able to play Guild Wars 2. That said, as the language lover that I am, I couldn’t help but notice that the world of Tyria was filled with New Krytan content and was compelled to translate everything I could find. I have deciphered so many signs that I can now read New Krytan! A little geeky, or very dedicated? Who knows! What I know is that I can share some of the findings I, along with other players, have found through the world of Tyria. Continue reading

Dyeing From The Colors

Of the countless features in Guild Wars 2, there are those which receive nought but praise, of these there are some that are easily missed until presented in front of the players. Almost everyone thinks about WvW, or Dynamic Events, or the ever branching Personal Story, but what about armor dye? The dye system introduced in Guild Wars 2 has come a long way from the original system in Guild Wars; having been over hauled completely in the first game to the point of being unrecognizable, similarly this new system is constantly being changed with every step towards the game’s final release. Still, the changes to the dye system in Guild Wars 2, hasn’t been the first time players of Guild Wars have seen changes to the way they dye their equipment.

The amount of dye combinations available to players meant that anyone could find just about any shade they needed.

Firstly, each vial of dye is still treated as an individual item, and as such still takes up slots in a player’s inventory. With the addition of three colors, then a fourth later on in the form of pink dye, the total number of base color dyes available in Guild Wars is twelve (luckily additional storage options have had been made available to players in the form of buy-able storage panels). Secondly, and this can be subjective from player to player, most armor sets in Guild Wars tend to limit the way a player can dye their armor set as a whole. While most sets, such as some found on mesmers and rangers, allow for flexibility by having pieces appear to be separate from one another (such as coats, pants, boots, etc.); several sets available to professions such as the warrior, assassin, and dervish tend to appear as if pieces of a set were meant to be one large part. That is to say those players can easily dye these parts differently, but visually they would stand out oddly. This limitation makes dying armor in Guild Wars rather dull in terms of customization options for players. Luckily, with the reboot of the system in Guild Wars 2, players will be able to expand the way they dye their armor in ways that are not possible in Guild Wars. Continue reading

Belenos’ Engineering How To: Item Transmutation

Greetings fellow Tyrians! It has been a little while since I have chimed in on a subject, but I had the opportunity to play around with this particular game mechanic in the recent BWE2, during June 8-10, and came away impressed. The mechanic I am referring to is, of course, item transmutation.

 

While certainly not a totally new mechanic to the MMORPG world, it is most definitely one of the most intriguing mechanics; both in its innate simplicity, and its ability to give us – the end user, what we REALLY want! What exactly IS item transmutation, you say? Well, let me elucidate-

Safely tucked away in my bank at Divinity First Credit Union

In your travels on Tyria, you may loot, or otherwise obtain a weapon that looks amazing… or perhaps armor that makes you look like you have “just that look” for your roleplaying character. By their very nature, MMO items are meant to be outgrown. That same item you found several levels ago might be outclassed by higher level items you find later, and while it pains you to have to ditch the super cool looking item in favor of the one with better statistics, often times we will do this in order to keep up with the higher damage output and hitpoints of the mobs we encounter. Item transmutation allows you to use a special item called a Transmutation Stone (a depletable item), in order to have the best of both worlds! You can have the look of the item you want (which you have outgrown the stats for), combined with the raw power of the better statted item, to make an essentially upgraded item that you can continue to use, and feel good about using!

 

How is it done, you wonder? Continue reading