Issue 15



Season 2 Recap
Maguuma: A Primer
02 GuildMag Issue 15 | Editor’s Letter

editor’s Letter

Welcome to Issue 15! With the community ab uzz w ith Heart of Thorns speculation, how could we not dedicate o ur latest magazine to that very topic, and brave the depths of the jungle? As Guild W ars: Proph ecies enters its 10th anniversary, we’ve taken the time to look tow ards th e future of the franchise, lying deep in th e Heart of Magu uma. We’ve packed this issue with as much Heart of Th orns goodness as we can muster. Beginning w ith a comprehensive recap of Living World Season 2, you’ll also find a great lore primer on wh at to expect from the Maguuma region (great if you’ve never played the origin al game, or just need a reminder!) and an in terestin g piece on th e druids from Aaron Heath. Kriss Watt also poses the question “what does ‘ch allen ging content’ mean for Guild Wars 2?” in his editorial piece, and ou r back pages are filled with the usual assortment of creative fan fiction th at’s absolutely worth a read . All of this isn’t possible without the amaz ing team of ind ivid uals working behind the scenes to produce each issue. If yo u fancy bein g part of this team – as a writer, editor or designer – then get in touch! N avigate yourself to, or to the back pages of th is magaz in e, for all the information. Now sit up, don’t relax, and prepare yourself as we jo urney into th e Heart of Magu uma . - Valiant
04 GuildMag Issue 15 | A Recap of Living World Seaso n 2

A Recap of

Living World


on 2

Written by Ferialyn
When the living story’s season one ended, the play er had defeated Scarlet Briar and her armies in the massive Batt le for Lion’s Arch, but not before the coalition of Aetherblad e, Molten Alliance and Toxic Alliance forces raz ed the city while  the twisted secondborn sylvari formerly known as Ceara achieved whatever she had been d oing at the site of magical ley line in the city’s waters. After the roar heard across Tyria, a new generation of heroes--Braham Eirsson, Rox, Kasmeer Meade, Marjory Delaqua and Taimi--priva tely expressed concerns, uneasy with th e idea that their trials were merely beginn ing. With Heart of Thorns and a (possible) upcoming battle against yet another Elder Dragon on the horiz on, it’s time to recap what ArenaNet’s colorful characters have accomplished in th e releases that comprise season two. Festival of the Four Winds In the season’s retrospective prologue, the Zephyrites’ agreed-upon return to Labyrinthine Cliffs, cou pled with Queen Jennah’s reopening of the Crown Pavilion , were cau se for celebration in the wake of Scarlet’s destruction of Lio n’s Arch, and Tyrians soaked in the fl yin g community’s zen or raised funds toward the beleaguered city’s recovery. W ith parts of your newly formed guild, you re-exp erienced some of the simpler pleasures missing these last several month s.
Whispers in Kryta suggested an unkn own female hu man noble freed secondborn sylvari Canach, the guerilla fi ghter who waged war against the shady Conso rtium (an d you) on Southsun Cove, through a type of inden turemen t, th ough nobody seemed able or willing to explain why. Ad ditio nally , several traders in Lion’s Arch privately mourned th e loss of their livelihoods due to the assau lt, which coinciden tally left one trader not just un to uched by the tragedy, but thriving in the post-battle economy: Black Lion Captain Evon Gnashblade. Gates of Maguuma Following clues in yet another missive from th e mysterio us E, your guild traveled to a corner of Bris ban Wildlands where sentient vines were tearing throu gh the ju ngle. A brief reunion with Seraph Belinda Delaqua was marre d by skirmish with vines and Inquest that forced the younger
Delaqua back to Fort Salma as the hero es headed ou t west to an area called Dry Top… ... Where the first sign of life was the burning sh ell of a Zephyrite ship. Through ap plication of the Z ephyrites’ aspect crystals, Marjory, Kasmeer and the player were able to cautiously explore the wreckage despite occasional clash es with Inquest agents. The allies learned that a sylvari named Aerin, who had recently joined the n omadic sky people, attacked several Zephyrites prior to the crash and likely sabotaged at least one airborne vessel for unknow n reasons. Morning, a crash survivor on the verge of death, implored th e heroes to find and protect the Zep hyrite lead er, th e Master of Peace. However, Kasmeer later said the dying Zeph yrite’s words were less than 100 percent truthfu l. With h alf-truths and clues about the crash in hand, the heroes headed for Prosperity, a small mining town in the north ern reaches of Prospect Valley. There, the truncated group located anoth er set of clues after finding a dead merchant in the tow n, this time leading them to the Master of Peace’s trail. Th ese excerpts from a faded manuscript also offered snip pets of knowledge about the Elder Dragon s and their in nate absorption, not destruction, of magic in Tyria.
Aerin, the saboteur, quickly painted a stark comparison to the departed Scarlet Briar upon his discovery in Sp urb end Canyon, though without any of her d emen te d charisma or unhinged lucidity (or style, according to a disgru ntled Taimi) as he frantically searched through san d and sp oke with an unknown entity. A brief moment of morbid clar ity assailed the doomed sylvari when the Master of Peace ap peared, w eighed down with an unquestionably larg e pack as he w atched the battle. Though grateful for their help, the Master of Peace refused to return to his people and respectfully declin ed additional assistance from the heroes, choosin g instead to continue on h is mysteriou s journey. A note fou nd on Aerin’s body left an ominous message ab out the p ending d eath of a leader as “the rest will fall in lin e.” The heroes then learned S carlet once frequ ented Prosperity, and even left a number of prototypes and writin gs at her former residence. As Taimi rejoiced over the un iq ue glimpse at Scarlet’s earlier years, including an unsettling drawing of six  spheres revolving around the Pale Tree, the adult heroes mulled over the chilling realization that whatever madness afflicted Scarlet may not have been a one-time occurre nce.
Labyrinthin e Cliffs
Zeph yrite ship in ruins
A Recap of Living World Season 2 | GuildMag Issue 15
06 GuildMag Issue 15 | A Recap of Living World Seaso n 2
Entanglement Vines similar to the growth in Brisban presented a double- edged sword after an attack on Prosperity by th e now- named Elder Dragon Mordremoth: Thou gh many of the town ’s shady residents were gruesomely displayed post-mortem, the heroes also found a hidden passage in the aftermath th at led to a new area of Dry Top inhabited by friend ly centaurs, unfriendly skritt, enterprising Inquest and the ench an tin g majesty of Scarlet’s first ley line hub. Bu t when trou ble began to strike at random waypoints across Tyria, Rox and Braham left with the hero to investigate at th e Pact’s Fort Concordia in Timberline Fa lls. Despite its location in the Shiverpeaks, far from both desert and Dry Top, vines destroyed the Pact’s fort an d forced its inhabitants and travelers to retreat into caves and nearby Goldenlight Hallow Lab. After either escorting a caravan to the lab or locating and rescuing a Priory team--in poss es sio n of a powerful Krytan artifact said to always carry an image of the throne’s current heir--Rox and Braham elected to stay behind as the player pushed on to the Serap h’s Fort Salma in Kessex Hills following reports of an other attack. Regrouping with Marjory and Kasmeer (along w ith Belinda and her squad) at Fort Salma allowed for a split def en sive against the plant-based enemies, with the Seraph attemp tin g to contain the fort’s western perimeter as Player an d Co. battled a lone boss. Tragedy swiftly struck followin g the attack as Jory faced the aftermath of Belinda’s brutal death, forcing her to leave the company in order to transport Belin da’ s body for burial.
The guild mourned Belinda’s death even as Taimi relay ed her findings at the hub, the site of Scarlet’s first to yed-with le y line. The tiny asura explained that the vines and attacks were concentrated extensions of Mordremoth’s power targetin g waypoints across Tyria. Taimi posited that a recalibration device could make the waypoints less attractive to the dragon’s attentions, preserving other waypoints. To th e young prodigy, though, that problem paled in comp arison to her discovery of Omadd’s machine, the cause of Scarlet’s shattered psyche, in an antechamber. In h er enthusiasm, Taimi raced into the machine to emulate her idol, promptin g the player to rush in and switch places--th us revealin g the Eternal Alchemy, along with several images of the Pale Tree that could only be explained by th e tree’s avatar herself.
The Dragon’s Reach: Part 1 Meeting with the Avatar of the Pale Tree, however, yield ed more questions than answers. She claimed to be th e single obstacle between sylvari and “the greatest darkn ess” of dragon corruption, a role sh e could n ot fulfill for th e Soundless or the Nightmare C ourt who had shu nned h er protection or Ventari’s teachings. That said, she offered The Grove for a summit between the five racial leaders an d Marshal Trahearne. In order to secure the presence of each leader, however, Hero and Co. first performed a series of tasks geared toward easing the problems each race faced on their own . Within the Iron Marches, th e player investigated Mordrem activity. Afterward, Taimi sent word that Zojja had convinced Concillor Phlunt of the Arcane Council in Rata Su m to examine her device. Though she made the device fu nctio nal despite the Councillor’s rude interference, results were not immediately forthcoming, leaving Phlunt’s attendance in question as his guards dis cu ssed additional monitoring of Taimi and Zojja, her mentor.
The player then journeyed to Hoelbrak for a rendezvou s with Braham and his estranged mother, Eir, about Knut Whitebear’s attendance. Tho ugh sympathetic to th e idea of another Elder Dragon’s awakening, Eir surmised that Whitebear’s focus would remain on the known th reat p osed by Jormag and his Icebrood--likely right up u ntil Mordrem appeared on Hoelbrak’s doorstep. To combat this, the le ader of Destiny’s Edge proposed a raid in Svanir territory to lig hten the norn’s burden, freeing up time to atten d the su mmit. Battle proved a bonding moment for mother an d son as th ey bore witness to the other’s combat prowess for the first time. Trouble with Ascalonian ghosts rou nded o ut this episod e’s set of instances as Ro x finally reported to Rytlock Brimstone following her failure to kill Scarlet personally. Publicly unamused, but privately unconcerned about the fe at, Rytlock said the Branded and Ascalonian gh osts were of greater concern to Imperator Smodur the Unflin ch ing. To convince him, Rytlock enlisted the player and Rox to assist with a ritu al created by the Six human gods in an attempt to break the Foefire curse with his sword, Sohothin. The ritu al overall failed, causing Rytlock to lose and pursue h is sword in to the Mists, but removed enough of the gh osts to en su re Smodur’s attendance.
Marjory and Kasmeer mourn Belin da’s death
Vines in the Iron Marches
The Dragon’s Reach: Part 2 Queen Jennah’s presence was put into qu es tion when rumors  of a Jubilee-era conspiracy between the royal and Scarlet Briar emerged. With quick thinking from Kasmeer and Countess Anise, revealed as the human noble who purch as ed Canach’s snarky freedom to serve as a bodyguard (of sorts), Minister Estelle was outed as the sou rce, freeing up Qu ee n Jennah’s calendar. A final demonstration of Taimi’s Waypoint Recalibration Device, which would keep interfaced waypoints run ning at the lowest minimum energy, thereby sp oilin g their appeal to Mordremoth, was carried out to Councillor Phlun t’ s satisfaction. However, the Arcane Council spoiled h er success by securing rights to the device an d anythin g else Taimi created, causing her to run off inside Scruffy. Braham and the player quickly rescued Taimi and an unresponsive Scruffy from greedy Inquest agents. Shaken by th e harro wing experience, and bitter about the sacrifice necessary to make the summit reality, Taimi relinquished the W.R.D. to a smug Phlun t.
The mid-season finale saw the summit commence, w ith each major leader escorted into the Grove, though there was more to the spectators than initially appeared. After a well-placed remark by Canach abou t a disguised Countess Anise’s illusions provoked th e sharpest response on record  from the unflappable Shining Blade leader, her tru e intentions in purchasing his billet--to be “a knife that can be employed before anyone realizes it’s struck”--were revealed. A conversation with Trahearne confirme d that the Pact wo uld begin staging for battle against Mordremoth, stalling its initial plans to seek out Kralkatorrik. Finally, a brief interaction with Caithe suggested the Firstborn was also lo okin g for ways to stop the jungle dragon, b ut with no elaboratio n.
The summit itself was cut short after the player tentatively convinced each leader to unite against the dragon as the Shadow of the Dragon, a familiar foe to sylvari players, appeared at the Pale Tree. Defending against the pow erfu l lieutenant left the Pale Tree gravely wounded, forcing the player to keep the dragon minion at bay. After the S had ow of the Dragon retreated, the Avatar of the Pale Tree shared an ominous vision of wilting flora, beams of light and an artifact -- but of what that all signified, exactly, the Co mmander w as unsure. While leaders hurried to report th eir experience to their respective colleagues, Trahearne privatel y suggested that the attack was too convenient to be an accid ent or luck: Someone in the know had ordered the assault. As the Marshal departed, Canach commented that he would be shadowin g the Pact’s movements on the Co untess’ orders. Echoes of the Past Season two’s return opened with an un ex pecte d rescu e mission of a Durmand Priory explorer fro m the violent, Ascalonian-esque Serap h spirits wh o perished at Fort Salma, Belinda Delaqua included. A brief in terlu de with her departed sibling led to Marjory being gifted with her sister’s sp irit, which possessed and imbued h er old sword with an u nknow n power. Following that, the player reunited with the Pact, Destiny’s Edge, and their guild at Camp Resolve, the coalitio n force’s staging area in The Silverwastes. As th e members of you r guild worked on various personal errands, th e present members of Destiny’s Edge--Eir, Logan an d Zojja--commented briefly on Rytlock’s continued disappearance in the M is ts without serious concern. Unexpectedly, three Zephy rite Masters of the Aspects were there and thanked th e player for assisting the Master of Peace with Aerin. That said, they also offered no insight into his final des tin ation or goal before departing on their own journey to find h im.
A Recap of Living World Season 2 | GuildMag Issue 15
Convin cing world leaders at the Su mmit
Glint’s Lair
08 GuildMag Issue 15 | A Recap of Living World Seaso n 2
Caithe and Canach, the Commander soon learned , were out  on a reconnaissance mission that required extractio n. Following the trail of Canach’s specialty mines to th e Firstborn, the defensive battle proved informative as th e recon team located a glowing Mordrem (later identified as the Mordrem Vinewrath, a PvE meta event in The Silverwastes) behind thick vine walls before being ex tracted by a Pact chopper. Explorer Campbell, the Priory member saved at For t Sal ma, provided the player with a cipher necessary to reach th e order’s research rooms in Lornar’s Pass, leading the player, Kasmeer and Marjory to Magister Ogden Stoneh ealer in Special Collections, who immediately revealed his knowledge of the player’s visio n from the Pale Tree. After assuring the  player that his information was provided by those who “have Tyria’s best interests at heart,” he dire cted the group to an ornate hourglass, wh ich transp orted them to Glint’s crystalline lair. There, the player witnessed echoes of the Master of Peace retrieving Glint’s egg as Jory an d Kas recounted the story of Glint, who was freed from th e Eld er Dragon Kralkatorrik’s control by the Forgotten before quietly allying with humans. Tangled Paths With the Pact on the verge of deployin g for the M agu uma Jungle’s heart, the player politely declined an opportunity to  fight once more with Destiny’s Edge, impartin g their knowledge of Glint’s egg to the fo ur present members before picking up Caithe as a surprisingly kn owledgeable companion and departing with Rox to track the Aspect Masters. Kasme er revealed that Marjory had picked up swordplay, tho ugh the necromancer shared that her sole drive was to end Mordremoth with the b lade.
The trail of the Aspect Masters proved easy en ough to follo w, but the group could not reach th em before Mordrem struck down the Master of Sun. In thanks for savin g the other Aspect Masters, the Master of Lightning shared in formation about a Zephyrite symbol they had been using to track the Master of Peace, which led to an underground cavern. With their guild and Caithe, th e player foun d themselves unexpectedly separated from th e others, forcing them to regroup in order to battle a Mordrem Predator loomin g over the Master of Peace. With his d ying breath, he sp oke of the egg’s importance to Tyria’s future and requested th e player safeguard it, but his request was quick ly buffeted by Caithe’s immediate theft of the egg and parting word s as he d ied : “No time to explain.” Less than quietly, the guild wond ered if Caithe had fallen to Mordremoth’s corruption, though the player’ s remarks placed only confidence in her actio ns. Seeds of Truth The only clear path to Caithe’s motives appeared to lay with the Pale Tree, still badly wounded from th e Shadow of the Dragon’s attack. While Jory complained about a seemin gly pointless goose chase against the backdrop of a murdero us Elder Dragon, the Pale Tree provided four memory seed s that would offer key glimpses into Caith e’s past, perhaps better illustrating her though t processes. The seeds, which transported the player in to an echo of Caithe, followed some of the sylvari’s earliest days in Th e Grove when the race was new and Caithe traveled w ith Faolain, her sharp-tongued lover, as th e firstborn--th en called  the elders--administered their younger siblings. Foreshadowing took the form of a tin kerin g secondbo rn named Ceara, fiddling with asuran technology, an d a disgruntled Cadeyrn discussing his criticisms of Ven tari’s Tablet, part of what became the Nightmare Cour t’s foundation. Tension erupted between a cau stic Faolain and the firstborn Wynne, mediated by Trahearne, as th ey argu ed over the merits of forcing the newly awaken ed to adh ere to the tenets of a long-dead centaur vers us allowing th eir free will to reign. Privately, various firstborn expressed concern s about the quickening pace of new aw ak en ings overrunnin g the tree’s protections, exposing inexperienced sylvari to th e dangers of the wilderness, the Inquest an d each other. Faolain, on the other hand, u nsuccessfully focused on wheedling a powerful secret o ut of W ynne, wh o soon departed for The Silverwastes to research Ventari with a peaceful centaur tribe. A distress signal from a newly awakened sylvari soon led Caithe and her tempestuous partner to the secon d memory seed site, the Inquest
View from the Tan gled Labyrinth
base at Hexane Regrade, where Canach and several other secondborn were bein g experimented on to pow er Inquest golems. Aware of the dangers, Faolain actively destroyed several golems, leading to the deaths of several captive sylvari as she attacked the asura Vorp p. Securing th e remaining sprouts’ safety, the future duchess said their next mission would be to learn Wynn e’s secre t, w hich “could exert unspeakable power over all sylvari.”
A third memory seed, planted in th e sand of the Far Silverwastes, explored the cou ple’s journey to the peaceful tribe. Though Faolain expressed confid ence in th eir ability to convince Wynne, she had enlisted se veral “shadow y” compatriots along with Cadeyrn to accompan y them, allegedly as protection against the centaurs. Though the tribe was welcoming toward the Pale Tree’s children, Faolain ’s blunt insults against their appearances and w ay of life soured their opinion of her. During Caithe’s con versation w ith the tribe’s leader, Nekhii Burnthide, an unseen commo tion “forced” the hand of Faolain’s shado wy companions, w ith her claims of betrayal leading to the annihilation of the tribe by Faolain, the companions and Caithe. Sicken ed by th e actions of her kin, Wynne’s discovery of this massacre led to her immediate departure through a rock wall ad orn ed with strange symbols. Point of No Return The door’s strange symbols were seals left by the Forgotten, said Ogden Stonehealer, and a set of trials similar to Ascension were conducted in the Durman d Priory ’s Special Collections to provide the hero with a tool nece ss ary to open the door. Though the trials would n ot cau se the p layer to Ascend, the spirit of Turai Ossa, facilitator of those ancien t rites, helped the player attain Divine Fire, w hich they were able to use on the sealed cave’s door in the Far Silve rw astes. With one memory seed remaining, the player and companions returned to Camp Resolve just in time to defend against a harsh Mordrem attack on the base. Th e battle’s aftermath revealed a few aspects of the Destin y’s Edge dynamic: Though the guild’s members had fou gh t fiercely to defend one another, they knew very little of their personal lives, as evidenced by Logan and Zojja’s surpris e upon being introduced to Braham. The Pact u nderway, the p layer and their guild left to complete their own missio n with the last memory seed.
That seed, planted near a pallet in the in ex plicably golden cave of an unknown civilization, revealed the critical turn ing point for sylvari as Caithe and Faolain located Wynn e. Under threat of torture from the vicious Faolain, W ynne surreptitiously told Caithe a secret that co uld destroy th eir race: Their existence was not to become the free-thin kin g beings they were, but to serve as Mordremoth’s minions ak in to the Icebrood, Branded, Destroyers and Risen. Faced w ith the knowledge that her lover would do more harm than good with this information, Caithe fulfilled her sister’s pleas for help with a merciful death; the only way to ensure that th e secret would remain such .
As the memory faded, present-day Caithe app eared, forthcoming with information about the eve nts that led to Wynne’s death. Providing co ntext on her willful separatio n from Faolain and the realization that her actions only delayed the inevitable, Caithe outlined the bare facts: Tyria would know of the sylvari’s secret soon enough , if they didn ’t already, and Glint’s egg would be critical to their futu re. Th e firstborn used the Shadow of the Dragon’s reappearan ce as an exit cue, escaping with the egg and leaving th e player guild to vanquish the first true enemy of th e Dream. However, even as the heroes b asked in their momentary success, the dragon was risin g.
A Recap of Living World Season 2 | GuildMag Issue 15
Memories of the Firstborn
Insid e the gold en city
10 GuildMag Issue 15 | Preparing for Maguuma: Wha t to Expect
Written by Darryshan
Preparing for Maguuma: What to Expect
Far west of the main population centers of Tyria lies a wilderness, part desert, part jungle. Known as the Maguu ma Jungle, we recently learned that this region of the w orld is home to yet another Elder Dragon, Mordremoth. We were first brough t here during the conflict betw een the Shining Blade and White Mantle in Prophecies. Later, th e Tarnish ed Coast took on greater importance in Guild Wars: Eye of th e North when the Great Destroyer, a minion of Primordu s, drove the asura to the surface. Due to their tech nological prowess, the asura are now the dominant race n ear th e Maguuma Jun gle.
Preparing for Maguuma: Wha t to Expect | GuildMag Issue 15
Although they are absent from the Heart of Thorns pr eviews, the most notable current natives of the inlan d Maguu ma area are the centaurs. Those remaining in the region have stayed out of the conflict in Kryta with humanity, appearin g to share the pacifistic philosophy of Ventari. This includes the principle of hospitality that led Ventari to establish a refuge for humans and centaurs alike over two hund red an d fifty years ago. Conflict around the original site forced him to relocate to the Tarnished Coast, where the Pale Tree would later be planted. In 1302AE, the sylvari emerged from the pods hangin g from the large and mysterious Pale Tree in Arbor Bay, swiftly becoming a close second to th e asura in terms of population. It is possible that an other Pale Tree exists deep in the Maguuma Jungle, w ith the sylvari Malyck seeming to have woken up by the ban ks of a river, far from the original tree. If this is the case, Malyck’s relatives may be affected more by Mordremoth’s in fluence, du e to lacking the protection of the Dream of Dreams. Unlike the heavily populated coastlines, the already explored part of the actual Maguuma Jungle (or Wastes, rath er) is fairly uninhabited, with only a few town s and en campments dotting the maps. While there was at least one important settlement, Prosperity, the centaur settlement in Dry Top is more populous. With Heart of Th orns, we’ll be travelling even farther into the jungle, most likely to lan ds never explored before in any previous campaign. Tho ugh most of what we’ll find in the M agu uma Jungle is a mystery, we can make some educated guesses based on previo us games and the lore.
A quick glance at the in-game map sh ows a large stretch of desert north of the Tarnished Coast. Th e Maguuma region was once more jungle-like, with th e plant life flou rish ing in the many canyons criss-crossing the land. Th e tops of the canyons were desert-like, much as Dry Top and The Silverwastes are to this day. But through mysterious forces, often (perhaps mistakenly) attributed to the Elder Dragons, the jungle began to dry out. From wh at we’ve seen in previews of Heart of Thorns, the climate is similar to areas seen in Guild Wars 1, so one can safely assume th at there are regions of Maguuma that remain lush and fertile. Either this means that the force which dried up th e landscape is not present here, or it deliberately condensed the plant life into a much smaller area. The hypo th esis that Mordremoth caused this change would fit with the latter explanation , while another force leading to the rising aridity w ould favour the former. Nevertheless, the Heart of th e Jungle is, from what w e’ve seen, an ideal location for a w hole host of tropical plant life.
It is possible another Pale Tree exists deep in the Maguuma Jungle
12 GuildMag Issue 15 | Preparing for Maguuma: Wha t to Expect
A landscape full of plants inevitably means a lan dscape full of other lifeforms, both intelligent and n ot. The Maguu ma region is perhaps best known for its faun a, ranging from insects to dinosaurs, jungle stalkers to dust mites. Th e dinosaurs in Guild Wars 1 were located in the Tarnished Coast, but the recent settling there has most likely pushed them further into the jungle, toward the areas that will be playable in Heart of Thorns. If what we see in the trailer are dinosaurs, which seems likely, then we could perh ap s expect more animals from the Tarnished Coast to make their way inland, such as hippopotami and simians.
The hylek are another race seen both in Guild W ars 1 and in the Heart of Thorns pre-release material, seemingly having thrived in the deeper Maguuma region due to the lush climate. But these hylek, the Itzel and th e Nuh och also seen in the trailer, vary in appearance to the oth er subspecies by a large amount, more than the difference between th eir nearest-known relatives, the Cuatl, Michotl and Duro tl in Metrica Province. Perhaps the influence of the force s which dried up the Maguuma Ju ngle have created a sort of island, separating the species from the rest of the world, leadin g to a much greater range of biological diversity. The Heart of  Maguuma has a very similar climate to the areas seen in Guild Wars 1, as well as the Tarnished Coast in both games. As a result, we can expect to see some fau na from Guild Wars 1 re-emerging in the expansion, like ro ot behemoths and various insects. If w e are to mention the hylek, we mustn’t forget the most prominent race in the trailer: the Exalted. Located in h uge golden cities, these mursa at-like entities appear to hold some power in the Maguuma Jungle, their magic c apable o f shaping and restoring the ruins of long-lost civilizations. We should see a lot from the results of these magics, as the Maguuma Jungle was absolutely full o f ruins in Guild Wars 1. There are four ruined for ts in the Silverwastes alone. And in Dry Top, the town of Prosper ity bears a resemblanc e to the pueblo-like structures seen throughout the M agu uma Jungle’s canyons. Perhaps we will fi nd yet mor e r uins repurposed by rac es other than the Exalted? The Maguuma region is one of th e more magically mysterious areas of the world, home to a bl oodstone in a location aptly named Bloodstone Fen . This was th e source of a constant e ff or t between the mursa at and the White Mantle to unlock its powers, an e ff ort that may still be
Preparing for Maguuma: Wha t to Expect | GuildMag Issue 15
ongoing. It could also be the source of con fl ict between other groups, even involving Mordrem forces. It w ould be foolish to assume that the bloodstone shard has been left alone by the jungle’s denizens since Guild Wars 1, due t o its immen se power an d signi fi cance. This bloodstone may have caused some of the magical features of the region, such as the healin g properties of water and floating rocks, w hich were ever-present in Guild Wars 1. These unexplained curiosities of the M agu uma Jungle may even be due to ley lines, which certainly exist in the area . In the expansion ’s trailer, we also see creatures that seem at home in lava, and are almost made of stone. The Elder Dragon Primordus, who awoke in th e Depths of Tyria in 112 0AE, has minions across Tyria, from Mount Maelstrom to Kessex Hills , with a presence recorded near the Magu uma Ju ngle and Rata Sum, as chronicled in “Edge of Destiny.” Therefore, it would not be too much of a stretch to see th e first Eld er Dragon to awake to be present in the Heart of M agu uma. But if this is the case, will we see a conflict b etw een Destroyers and Mordrem? It is clear that the Elder Dragons are not allies, but merely similar entities feeding on the same food source: magic. When multiple creatures share the same food source, conflict almost becomes a certainty. An d if these fire-imbued creatures in Heart of Thorns are in deed Primordus’ minions, we may end up fightin g a war on tw o fronts. With the limited resources available right n ow, not much can be said for certain about the Heart of Magu uma. Th e limits of what we know for sure come from gameplay which, lorewise, took place over 250 years before the even ts of Guild Wars 2. A lot will have changed in a region as remo te as the Maguuma Jungle. On e thing can be said for sure: expect surprises.








My journey has onl y just begun. Be ready for anything.
16 GuildMag Issue 15 | What does ‘Challenging Content’ Mean for Guild Wars 2?

What does ‘challenging

content’ mean for

Guild Wars 2?

Written by Kriss Watt
Dungeons Very little has been said in response to the various pokes an d prods from recent interviewers on the subject of wheth er or not we’ll be seeing more dungeon s released in the expansion. While there are a lot of players who comp lete dungeo ns every day—mostly as a consistent and reliable source of gold—the system has remained relatively untouched sin ce the release of Guilds Wars 2; Twilight Arbor received o ne new path as part of a Living World release, an d there were tw o other temporary dungeons (Molten Facility and Aetherblade Retreat) which were eventually recycled into Fractals of the Mists. Dungeons aren’t something that have ever been a big focus for me, not because they are in any way insufficient, bu t because the experience can be very hit an d miss. The id eal situation is to have a group of frien ds that know the con ten t and can blast through it for fun and pro fit, but the reality
for a lot of us is often having to u se the ‘lookin g for group’ tool; where you en d up in that scenario is very much a mixed bag. If you’re lucky you might end up in a team who kn ow the  dungeon well and are happy to walk you through it. If not, you could en d up in a group whose only interest is in completing the content in th e quickest w ay possible, usually to the detriment of those of us w ho are still trying to fin d our way. At present, whether or not we’ll see more du ngeons add ed could definitely go either way. The community has said ag ain and again that it would like to see more dun geons added to the game, and there is an established system in place (i.e. running story mode to unlock explorable paths, d aily token/ gold rewards) that is sufficiently distinct from the w ay that Fractals work so as to make 5–man dungeons w orth while. On the other hand, it’s difficult to gauge from the ou ts id e quite how much work needs to go into creatin g a new dungeon with multiple paths. It n eeds to make sense as part of the unfolding story of the Maguuma jungle, an d wou ld likely—as
When Guild Wars 2: Heart of Thorns was revealed to th e world at PAX South, it came with the promise that we would “tackle challenging group content” as we probe the dep th s and scale the heights of the Maguuma Jungle. Th ro ugh Poin ts of Interest we’ve seen glimpses of an impressive battle with a flame–spewing Legendary Wyvern, and h ave been introduced to the reworked defian ce bar, which should prove key in making crow d control useful against powerful enemies. Here, we’ re going to discuss wh at we know so far and h ow it can give us an idea of th e challen ges that might  be p ut before us in the upcoming expansion .
What does ‘Challenging Content’ Mean for Guild Wars 2? | GuildMag Issue 15
with th e current set of d ungeons—come w ith a new set of armor and weapon skins, paid for with yet another token currency. Given the long development sch edule for th e expansion none of these factors should rule ou t the creation of new dungeon content, and it wou ld be a very po sitive sign to the player base to see at least one new ch allen gin g dun geon created. Small–scale instanced content should be the *perfect* sandbox within which to push the bou ndaries of what is possible with new game mechanics such as the aforementioned defiance changes, and it wo uld be a missed opportunity if the d ungeon system wasn’t added to in any way with Heart of Thorns. If we do n’t see any developments in this area, the implication is—potentially—that the concep t of du ngeons is being abandon ed. Fractals One part of the current endgame grou p content that has been mentioned—albeit during coverage of th e Mastery system—is Fractals of the Mists. For those who aren’t familiar with Fractals, they are accessed via a portal in Lion’s Arch and challenge you to complete three randomly selected instan ces, followed by one of three possib le bosses, reward ing ascended rings and some of the best weapo n skins availab le . When entering Fractals, the grou p selects a difficulty from 1 to 50, which changes encounters in various ways in ord er to  increase the challenge; higher level Fractals require characters to have agony infusions on their ascend ed items in order to resist otherwise largely unavoidable damage. Master Fractals: Uncover new depths in the Fractals of the Mists to gain powerful n ew abilities to overcome difficult fractal challenges, garner grea ter rewards, and unlock more powerful infusions. — official b lo g post It seems likely that Fractals Masteries will pave the way for the difficulty cap to be raised from 50, and that the n ew abilities unlocked through this track will be re quired to
negate increasingly deadly agony–based attacks, possibly giving skilled players a way to temporarily b oost their agony resistance above what can be achieved solely through infusions; they might also fu nction as a w ay of boosting players who are new to Fractals that have low resistance (which can only be a good th in g). At present, th ose runnin g at  the highest difficulty are generally doing so because they enjoy what is realistically the most challenging, small–scale content in the game, and also to roll th e dice for specific weapon skins (randomly dropp ed above level 10 difficulty, and anecdotally often extremely frustrating to get a specific skin) or the Endless Fractal Tonic, which only dro ps at level 50. Higher difficulties, besides providing a greater proving ground for elite Fractaliers, would no doubt require even greater rewards: could we see a new set of weapon sk in s—or perhaps even armor sets—for the most determined players? There has been nothing in the an noun cemen ts thus far to indicate that new Fractals will be added, although it seems probable, whether it be with the release of Heart of Tho rn s or afterwards. The Thaumanova Reactor Frac tal that wa s created after Ellen Kiel was elected to the Captain’s Council of Lion’s Arch (a mistake that the community ou ght to rue to this day) shows that th ese short instances can be used to give backstory: maybe they’ll use Fractals as a way to let us play through Rytlock’s adventure in th e Mists and have us aid him in reclaiming Sohothin and becoming Tyria’s very first revenant, an idea that wen t down very well recently w hen pu t to people waiting in lin e to play the Heart of Thorns demo at EGX Rez zed in Lon don! Using Fractals as a way of telling tangential (but super exciting) stories like this could work well at te mp tin g unfamiliar players in, alth ough somethin g would need to be done in order to allow them to play through certain instan ces without coming up against th e existing random selection mechanism, such as a ‘story mode’ as was don e for the Thaumanova Reactor Fractal when it was first introduced. Utilising the map votin g system that was recently added to structured PvP would certainly be an option, but would definitely lead to groups only choosin g to run th e optimal
18 GuildMag Issue 15 | What does ‘Challenging Content’ Mean for Guild Wars 2?
Fractals and ignoring those which are particularly tough or time–consuming. While this could potentially be coun tered by tweaking the reward structure, it would probably make more sense to allow story–heavy Fractals to be run as individ ual instances which don’t count to to wards upgrading you r personal reward level. Open world In a continuation of their design goal of making Ty ria feel vibrant and active, it’s likely that a lot of th e challenging group content that we’ll be seeing in Heart of Th orn s will play ou t in the open world where anyone can jump in an d particip ate. While this can make life difficult for sup er–gu ild s who want to fill out a whole map with their ow n members, it has become a proven formula for encounters ranging from 5 to 50+ p layers, and worked to great effect in the Silverwastes, culminating in the fight against the Vinewrath. We already know th at Outposts (content hubs in th e new Heart of Maguuma maps) will be a fulcrum for large meta –event chains, and it’s very likely that these might lead to large–scale coordinated b oss encounters; facing something the scale of Tequatl or Scarlet’s Twisted Marionette on a daily basis—and having a very real chance of failing if not sufficiently well organ ised—is a very exciting prospect. So far we’ve seen players battle a Wyvern (pro nunciation left to your imagination) in a pre–beta Heart of Thorns convention demo: a fun example of n ew fire animations, visual ability cues, and how the defiance bar can be used to preven t certain enemy abilities from being u sed. ArenaNet developers have said that this particular battle is somewhat ton ed dow n in order to make the demo accessible to people who migh t not be so familiar with Guild Wars 2, and it’s an en ticing prospect to imagine how these new mechanics can be utilised going forward, particularly when you factor in abilities that will be unlocked via various Mastery tracks to be used while facing specific jungle d enizens. Taking existing large–scale encounters as a baseline, there is both cause for hope and room for improvement. Tequatl— completely overhauled last year—is an enjoyable fi ght, but pretty much on farm status a t this point, assuming a t least a couple of commander s who know what they’ re doing. Triple Trouble, the three great wurms that appear in Bloodtide Coast, proved tou gher to take dow n but are now very much a known quantity. M y personal highligh t would de fi nitely be the Tw isted Marionette fi ght, created by Scar let Br iar in season one of the living world. The ‘r aid’ has to split up between fi ve lanes, defending it again st a tide of mechani cal constructs, before taking turns to defeat a di ff erent sub–boss on each of fi ve fl oating platforms to break a chain holding up the giant Marionette. While fairly routine for properly organised teams, it failed often, but rewarded player s based on how man y chains were b roken . While elements of the fi ght were distilled into the Vinewrath en co unter in th e Silverwastes, the sheer scale of the Marionette made it feel
epic; it stands a s a high watermark for boss design in Guild Wars 2, and would be very much welcomed bac k in some form, perhaps as a guild raid? Guild raids Last, but by no means least, there’s the eve r–present elephant in the room when discuss in g group con te nt: raidin g. A staple of some incredibly popular MMOs, it’s somethin g that a lot of Guild Wars 2 players are hankering fo r, b ut will it ever happen? There was cause for hope last year w hen a CDI discussion was opened up in order to gather feedback on the subject of guild raiding; around th e same time a job postin g appeared looking for a game designer with a focu s on raid content. Taken together, it certainly looks like some kind of content targeted at large group guilds could be in the works. Guild halls were announced at PAX South—to great applause—as a way to very much put guilds back in th eir place as a core pillar of the game, but there has been no subsequent guild information released. Given every th ing that has gone before, it seems likely that these halls an d wh atever new systems they encapsu late are an important first step that  could conceivably lead to raiding done ‘ArenaNet style’. We’re not closer to figuring out wh at ex actly that might be, but game director Colin Jo hanson almost seems more excited for us to learn about the guild system changes th an anything else, which has to be an encouraging sign. It’s conceivable that instanced raiding could be lau nched from inside guild halls, with a portal taking us deep into the M ists in order to take down legendary foes of p ast, present, and future. ArenaNet would n eed to d etermine w hich approach suits Guild Wars 2 better betwee n fixed gro up sizes (e.g. 20– man, 40–man), or a scaling approach as currently happen s with open w orld mega–b osses like Tequatl. The former would almost certainly be easier to balance, but would result in people being unable to join in; the subs ben ch for raid night in other M MOs was n ever a fun p lace to be. Whatever decisions are made, assuming that we’re not barking up the wrong tree entirely, raiding is somethin g that a lot of people are looking for from an MMO endgame (myself included) an d forays into that territory could really expand the appeal of Guild Wars 2 to a wh ole new set of players. Lead game designer Isaiah Cartwright, speaking to community workhorse WoodenPotatoes at an NCSo ft event in Brigh ton, explained how they’re eager to pu sh challenging content across the entire game world. They want to put en cou nters before coordinated groups of players that “beat the snot out of them until th ey figu re it out”, growing and improving their skills in th e process. Bring it on !
Written by Aaro n Heath

Druids: Fact or Fiction?

With the upcoming release of Heart of Thorns, we w ill soon be venturing into the heart of the Magu uma Jungle. Its deepest reach es will be home to all manner of fantastical beings, from dinosaurs to the mysterious “Exalted,” but one particular group of entities transcen ds mere habitation to resonate with the Maguuma region on a mu ch deeper level. The druids, as they are known to the races of Tyria, were a pivotal presence in the Maguuma Jungle circa Guild Wars Prophecies, an d it would be almost ludicrous to suggest that they would not be granted a role in Heart of Thorns. But what are th e druids? Wh o were they?
The druids were a group of nature a fi cionados w ho, at a time unbeknownst to history, ventured into the Maguuma Jungle to strengthen their ties with Tyria. It is not known whether th ey were humans, non-humans, or a faction made up of assorted races. Human history dictates that the druids were once human, and some sources state that they were ardent devotees of Melandru, the human goddess of nature, earth, and growth. These accounts ar e supported b y druid ruins in the Maguu ma Jungle that fea ture Old Krytan runes, a language un i que to th e human r ace. It is sa id that the dru ids vanished mysteriously sometime around the year 970 A.E. (After Exodus), though in truth, according to the Guild Wars 2 Wiki, they shed th eir physical forms in a druidic r itual in order to become one with the jungle. After this point, they became a part of nature itself, imma terial, save for when they chose to manifest themselves physically as druid spirits in both Guild Wars Prophecies and Gu ild Wars 2. But were the druids actually human? Other sources of histo ry claim they were beings alien to humans an d were d riven into the Maguuma Jungle by force. While their history is too murky to be able to know for certain, recent eviden ce would suggest
that druids were, and still are, made rather than born . One of the biggest features included in Heart of Thorns w ill be profession specializations. These will work as a so rt of sub-profession that characters can opt in and out of, gaining new abilities and losing old ones. As of righ t now, only one of these has been revealed: the  ranger’s druid specialization. This is one of those rare cases in w hich a gameplay feature serves to clar ify a hazy bit of lore. With players now ab le to learn druidic abilities, it would seem that the druids were never some mystical race with innate magical abilities akin to the mursaat or seers. Instead, they were simply ordinary Tyr ia- goers who developed their own u ni que branch of magic through study and practice. Regardless of their humble beginnings, h owever, the druids eventually succeeded in transcending their mortal bodies and became one with th e Maguuma Jungle. Th ey themselves are the only beings w ho fully understand the ramifications of  such an act, though there are some clear implications. By effectively dissipating into the collective consciou sness
T hey shed their physica l forms in a druidic ritual in order to become one with the jungle
Druids: Fact or Fiction? | GuildMag Issue 15
20 GuildMag Issue 15 | Druids: Fact or Fiction?
of nature, one could theorize th at the druids now p ossess an innate connection to all things naturally born of Ty ria, including a certain recently awakened race of bipedal plant people. The sylvari possess a particularly interesting ra cial elite skill: Summon Druid Spirit. This skill is fairly straightforward in its execution in that it, well, summons a dru id spirit. But w hy can the sylvari do this and not the other races? In ord er to possess this ability, would th ey not h ave to have a un iq ue connection with the druids? Due to the fact that the sylvari Pale Tree grows from the so il of the Maguuma Jungle, it is likely that the druids, w hose collective spirit is now an innate part of the jungle itself, possess a strong connection w ith the Tree, its “Dream of Dreams,” and by extension, its fruit. However, thou gh it is clear why such a connection exists, it is unclear why th e druids acquiesce to being summoned at a sylvari’s le isu re.
It is extremely likely that the druids’ fu sion w ith the jun gle and implied connection with the sylvari will affect the narrative of Heart of Thorns. It is possible th at the druids hold so much sway over the jungle that th ey could be vying w ith Mordremoth for control over it. Similarly, they could even have direct access to the Dream, and could therefore play some role in its protection. However, heavy foreshadow in g in both Guild Wars Prophecies and Guild Wars 2 suggests that the druids may not be as helpful as th e players might like them to be. In Guild Wars Prophecies, players could in teract with the druids via their spirit forms several times throughout the Maguuma Jungle. During the quest “Wisdom of the D ru id s,” the player is allowed to witness a druidic ritu al in person. During this ritual, the phrase “all that exists is all that must be” is repeated numerous times. While th is phrase seems docile at first, it bears new meaning when applied to th e Elder Dragons and the Pact’s mission to annihilate th em. Theoretically, the dragons exist to maintain a cyclic sta te of  balance in Tyria. It is likely that when th e druids became one with nature, they also gain ed incredible know ledge concerning Tyria and its place in the u niverse. It is entirely possible that they then became aware of the Elder Drag ons and their role in Tyria’s life cy cle, w hich could be wh y that repeated phrase in their ritual supports similar warnings given by two other figures in Tyria’s history. The first figure was a margonite called Th e Apostate. A book by The Apostate titled “The Map of the All” can be fou nd in
the Durmand Priory’s Special Collections area. Th e book suggests that Tyria is a part of a greater abstr act cosmic mechanism known as “The All.” In this book, the Apo state states that “Should the energies become imb alanced, the world will tilt and all beings will fall off it into the vo id .” It is likely that this refers to the balan ce the Elder Dragons bring to Tyria, and by extension “The All.” Essen tially, it is a w arnin g against meddling with the natural order of th ings, something which the druids were also staunch advocates of if th eir own cryptic admonishments are anything to go by . The second figure is one of th e druids th emselves, a spirit known as Dark Oak. This druid, fo und deep in th e Maguuma Jungle in Guild Wars Prophecies, p resen ts the player with bit of intriguing dialogue: “Darkness and ligh t, go od and evil... all are a part of nature. There is no regrowth without death... witho ut decay. Such is the lesson that I can teach yo u, stripling.” This could be taken to mean th at the destruction of Tyria by the Elder Dragons is not a process th at sh ould be meddled with, but rather acce pted. Bearing this ominous information in mind, it seems very likely that the druids have intimate knowledge of the Elder Dragons and Tyria’s place in the un iverse. If this is true, they are almost certain to come into play in Heart of Thorn s in some capacity, if not many. The proximity, foreshadowin g, and opportunity are simply too perfect for ArenaN et to ignore them. So there it is. When it comes to the Maguuma Jungle, the druids are in the very woodwork. Nothing that pertain s to the jungle does so without p ertaining to the druid s as well, for they are one with th e jungle. W hether it be as an entity of great wisdom providing cryptic council, a dormant force rising up to aid the player, or a formerly neutral entity n ow turned enemy, the druids will have their say in the in vasion of their home, for better or for worse.
Written by Miko Riel
Does Guild Wars 2 Really Need Heart of Thorns? | GuildMag Issue 15
EDITORIAL Can you remember how you felt w hen ArenaNet ann ounced they’d begun development on Guild Wars 2? Did you feel you had enough to do in the existing campaigns betw ee n March 2007 and the launch of Gu ild Wars 2 in Augu st 2012? When it did lau nch, ArenaNet brough t to the in dustry a title that changed the way it delivered its content and pro mised to bring its players an actual living and changing w orld through its quest system and story. Yet, it’s taken tw o and a half years for ArenaNet to finally announce an expansion to this game - very differen t when compared to the original Guild Wars which had two expansions already in the same amou nt of time. Many players with experience in other MMOs (such as World of W arcraft, Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn, or EverQuest) have been vocal ab out the need for an expansion to Guild W ars 2: there isn’t enough “end game” to sustain play ers’ interests, and the Living World, though introducing content updates every two weeks, holds o ne’s attention like a TV show – while the season is active. On ce a seas on ends, players are left with repeatable conte nt that hasn’t changed much since launch. The counter sometimes heard is that ArenaNet have added one new path to one of the eight rep eatable du ngeons (Aetherpath in Twilight Arbor) w hich is challenging en ough
to be a dungeon on its own. Th ey also added Fractals of the  Mists, randomized dungeons requiring you to negotiate four separate encounters to complete, and which can also be increased in difficulty should the d ungeon party ch oose it.  Add to this two separate game mod es to play in should a player wish, and it would seem there’s plenty to do in Tyria and th e Mists. And yet, when ArenaNet annou nced at PAX Sou th that an expansion – Heart of Thorns – will be released soon™/w hen it’s ready™, th e overwhelming reaction from the community was one of joy, follow ed quickly by an “It’s about time!” A new class; a new progression system; a new explorable regio n with  maps built vertically as well a s horizontally; expand ed profession abilities; more challenging content; new WvW and PvP maps; and finally guild halls, will all be introduced with Heart of Thorns. Since the announcement, ArenaN et have shared more information about almost all of these new systems an d given players the chance to try out the new class, part of one of the zones, and the n ew PvP map. One question still remains, though : how are th ey addressing “end game” content? Thus far, we know bo ss encounters w ill have a change to the defiance mechanic with the add ition of

Does Guild Wars 2 Rea


Need Heart of Thorns?

22 GuildMag Issue 15 | Does Guild Wars 2 Really Need Heart of Thorns?
a break bar that shows when a boss is su sce ptib le to crowd control skills. We’ve also seen and heard reactions from players who’ve played through the w yve rn encounter. Some of those with raid exp erience in other MM Os have said th e wyvern fight feels like it could be a raid boss, esp ecially w hen taking Colin Johanson’s comments that th e difficulty of th e encounter was scaled down for the demo an d first closed beta stress test. If this “baby wyvern,” as Joh an son called it, is an easier introduction to the more challenging con te nt man y veteran MMO players are used to, then ArenaNet may have some treats up their sleeves. Will this be enough to bring players back to Guild Wars 2? It’s no secret that man y players left the game because th ey did not feel challenged enough; so far the several 75% off sales have brought in new p layers, but few returning o nes, with many holding ou t until more is announced regarding this promised “challenging co ntent.” What Heart of Thorns promises in terms of gameplay conten t, though, must also be balanced with story content for many fans of the franchise. The original Guild Wars campaigns were rich in lore, each campaign interconnecting in some way w ith the previous expansio n’s storyline, even if this seemed tangential at fi rst. ArenaNet have showed they are committed to their original changing game world concept and have built their future Living World updates directly into the Heart of Thorns expansion. This model will require players w ho want to continue th e Living World stor y to buy the expansion when it is released. This i s a n interesting departure from ArenaNet’s previous strategy of creating standa lone campaigns that ar e interconnected with existing game lore bu t did not truly require the other expansions to be able to play through and en jo y the story. Now, withou t the context of the base game’s lore, new players will be a t a disadvantage, which could provide another reason for the frequent discounted sales on Guild Wars 2 recently. While it’s true that the o ffi cial wikis and fan-prod uced lore pieces like those produced here a t GuildMag can help catch players up, some may still feel that fi rst-hand experience will be best (something that’s still not possible with Living World season 1). The question, then, is: how much time and mo ney are these players willing to invest in order to understand a new expansion ’s content?
Delving deeper into the heart of the Maguuma Ju ngle allows ArenaNet’s writers another opportunity to con tin ue tying back into the original game lore. In Guild Wars: Pro phecies, players met the centaur Ventari and his human companion Ronan. Through exploration, adventurers learn ed of a seed that Ronan found and planted with Ventari. Play ers were able visit the tree that sprouted from the my sterious seed and bask in its purity. Fast forward 250+ years in Tyrian history and we have the sylvari, born of the Pale Tree that Ventari and Ronan planted and tend ed. Clearly, the sylvari’s introduction as the new playable race in Gu ild Wars 2, complete with a tutorial instan ce fight against the now recognizable Shadow of the Dragon, should have plan ted foreshadowing seeds in attentive story watch ers’ heads. With this mind, ArenaNet’s choice to head west in Tyria’s futu re, with its ties to the Prophecies campaign, makes sense. Following Prophecies storyline, with its ties to Ve ntari, the Ascension trials, and Kralkatorrik’s champion-turned-goo d dragon, Glint, it would seem ArenaNet may be plan ning to open more of Tyria’s landscape before heading to another continent. By choosing to pu rsu e Mordremoth first, connecting in Glint and her rebellio n again st Kralkatorrik and what this might mean for the future of the Eld er Dragons, ArenaNet can explore the sylvari storyline first before possibly heading southw est into the Crystal Desert or elsewhere. This echo of the past story, with its connections to the ear lier trek through Maguuma to uncover the secrets of th e White Mantle and their ties to the mursaat, requiring Ascension in order to meet Glint and confro nt the mursaat, seems to be coming full circle n ow. In order to understand the original campaigns, it makes sen se to start from the beginning. Guild Wars lore not o nly needs Heart of Thorns but Guild Wars 2 itself needs it for its survival. Th e game has been out long enough . It’s abou t time !
the several 75% off sales have brought in new players, but few returning ones, with many holding out until more is announced
24 GuildMag Issue 15 | A Shattered Pact: Part II

A Shattered pact

: Part II

Written by Aaro n Heath
“Agh! C onfoun d this confo undable jun gle and its murderous botanical inhabitants!” Drixx howled angrily, snapping h is fingers and setting the thorny vine that had been tryin g to throttle him ablaze. “Drixx, put that out this instant, this is a highly flammable environment!” Flune admonished, looking alarmed. Scowling, Drixx snapped his fingers a second time an d the dancing flames sizzled as they were doused with water. The vine writhed and twisted violently, but did not attack again. “Better,” said Flune with a hint of smu gness. “You and your precious plants,” scoffed Drixx . “We’ve been wandering around this infernal ju ngle for three d ays now, eating roots and berries, the wildlife attemptin g to murder us  every waking moment, and searching for a bunch of charr who in all honesty are most likely dead, and yo u want to lecture me on lab safety procedure!” “They aren’t dead,” Arcadia Steelfur cut in before Flune co uld respond. She was several paces ahead of the two asu ra, staring at the jungle floor resolutely. “They can’t be.” Drixx reddened, clearly regretting losing his temper. “I didn’t mean...” “To speak your mind? You think my warband’s ly in g dead in a pile of jungle thorns somewhere out there , do you?” A rcadia continued, her tone omin ously calm. “I, I, um ,” “Well, let me clue you in. If a pea-sized, floppy eared, whiny, sorry excuse for a scientist like you could survive that fleet going down, I think my friends are ju st fine. No one’s making you come with me. I can search for them on my own, and if you and your little girlfriend can’t han dle it, perhaps you should run along back to your Priory with your qu ills an d your ink and your cozy feather beds and let me get on w ith saving my warband!” At this, both Flune an d Drixx stood dumbfou nded b eh ind Arcadia, eyes wide and ears standing straight up. Then , after  several seconds of silence, the two asura erupted in indignation. “I object to your insin uation that Drixx and I are voluntary lab partners! “Her?! My what?! The very co ncept is ludicrous!”
“Are you two listening to yourselves!” Arcadia bello wed, finally turning to face the two babbling asura, “the Pact is in ruin s, thousands of our comrades are dead and thousands mo re are either dying, lost, or both! Not only do I not need your help, I don’t w an t it!” Arcadia stormed angrily into the jungle, shredding th e obstructing vegetation with her claws. What use were tho se two b uffoons, anyway? The only thin g they care about is bickering. “Tell us about your warband, Arcadia .” The big charr whirled around to see the two asu ra stand in g feet from her. “I thought I told you two to get lo st.” “And yet, here we are,” quipp ed Drixx. Flune silenced him with a sideways glance, then co ntinued, “We apologize for our inconsiderate behavior and req uest that our partnership continue. That is, the thre e of us searching for your warband, not, um, what yo u suggested was going on between Drixx and I earlie r...Are you alright, Arcadia?” The charr was doubled over, her sides heavin g as she laughed hysterically. Looking up, she bru shed tears of mirth from her streaming eyes, finally calming dow n enou gh to reply. “You sound like a cub asking for extra ration s!” “Be that as it may, we’d still like to accompan y you,” said Flune, “This is a hostile environment, and our odds of survival are higher if we stick together.” “Yes I suppose you’re right,” Arcadia acquiesced, “I owe you for saving me, anyhow .” Flune smiled and fell into step next to Arcadia, thou gh she nearly had to jog to catch up with the ch arr’s en ormou s strides. Drixx ambled along behind th em, h is expression resigned. “So, Arcadia, tell us about your warband,” Flune chirped conversationa lly. Arcadia smiled sadly as she replied, “Well, there are four of us in total -” “Four? From what I understand, charr warban ds generally consist of five soldiers,” interjected Drixx .
A Shattered Pact: Part II | GuildMag Issue 15
“You’re right, they do, in charr society. We all met after we’d joined the Vigil. I’m a gladium, as is everyone else in my warband. When I joined the Vigil, they had already formed a warband, and I was allowed to join. So you see, we aren’ t an official cha rr warband.” “What happened to your original warban d?” asked Drixx. Arcadia did not respond, but instead stared off into the thick jungle canopy with a faraway look in her eyes. Flun e dealt Drixx a hefty blow to one of h is large ears. “You don’t have to answer that, Arcadia, Drixx was ju st shutting up. W hat were their names?” At Flune’s words, Arcadia snapped out of h er reverie, “Oh, yes, well, there’s me, Gron Steeljaw, Novia S teelcurse, and Faze Steelfiend. Gron and Faze are Blood Legio n, and Novia’s Ash.” “What legion are you from, asked Flune ten tatively. “I’m Iron Legion. I specialize in ballistics engineerin g, but I don’t mind working the engine ro om when I’m in th e air. To tell you the truth, I feel pretty useless with out all my gadgets. What about you two? What did you do at the Priory?” “Well,” chimed in Drixx, puffing up his chest an d looking very pleased with himself, “I graduated from the C ollege of Synergetics with special honors for my thesis on the properties and effects of magical energy, and -” “He’s an expert on dragon magic,” said Flune in a bored ton e, cutting Drixx short. “Savant in applied magical analysis!” Drixx corrected her indignantly. “And I’m the Priory’s senior historian on the Maguuma Jungle,” Flune continued, ign orin g Drixx’s protests. “Wow, so you must know all abou t this place, said Arcadia, looking impressed. “In theory. Now that Mordremoth is rising, it isn’t clear what sort of effect his influence w ill have on th e jungle.” “I’m going to go ou t on a limb and hypoth esize increased hostility,” said Drixx impishly. “Aren’t you just the cleverest,” retorted Flune, rolling her ey es. At that moment, Arcadia’s ears twitched as she heard what sounded like excited sh outing ahead. S he held up a h an d and stopped, dropping into a crou ch and listening intently. “Do you hear that?” Arcadia w hispered. The two asura nodded but remained silen t. “We n eed to get closer. Follow me, and stay as quiet as possible.” On all fours, Arcadia stalked forward through the undergrowth like some fierce predator, her tail swaying hypnotically behind her. As the trio moved forwa rd, they were
able to make out what the shouting voice w as sayin g. “Have at ye, you thorny toads! Come, w ho will be the first to taste the cold kiss of steel!” Arcadia’s brow furrowed, and Flune and Drixx glanced at each other, their eyebrows raised. Finally, the trio reached th e edge of the large clearing where the commotion was takin g place. Parting the leaves of an enormous bush, Arcadia, Flune, and Drixx stared out into the clearing. A tall, thin, bright green male sylvari dressed in Order of Whispers attire was brandishin g an elegant, slender rapier at three hulking Mordrem husks. The hu sks were attacking him relentlessly, but the nimble sylvari was too quick for them, dodging their attacks and hurling challenges and insults at them all the w hile. “Whoops! Haha! Too slow again! You ’ll have to work on that, er, swipe, my large friend. Woefu lly slow.” “We have to help him,” said Arcadia, starting to rise. “No, don’t,” said Flu ne sharply. Turning to Drixx, she looked at him expectantly. Drixx grimaced and sighed, “Fine.” Springing to his feet, Drixx leapt ou t into the clearing, brandishing his peculiar staff. Th e husks spotted him and made for him immediately, tired of their evasive ta rget. The strange sylvari seemed thoroughly unsurprised by Drixx’s appearance, waving at him as the h usks charged. “Splendid timing my good man ! My sincerest thanks, the scoundrels don’t seem to tire out! A couple mo re swings and they may have had me!” “Er, right,” replied Drixx, but the time for pleasantries was over. Raising his staff over his head, he brought it swishing down through the air. An en ormou s column of flame burst from the head of the staff, tearing into the Mordrem an d incinerating them within seconds. W hen th e flames abated , the only remnants of the husks w ere three small piles of grey ash. Flune looked at the shocked expression on Arcadia’s face with satisfaction, “Now do yo u see w hy I keep him around?” Arcadia shook her head in w onderment as she replied, “I don’t even know any elementalists in the Vigil th at powerful.” Flune smirked. Pact or no Pact, there would always be rivalry between the three orders of Tyria . Emerging from their secluded position, Arcadia and Flu ne stood next to Drixx, eyeing the stran ge Sylvari. He hailed them as he approached, co ntinuing to speak to them in his excited, enthusiastic manner. “Spectacular! Marvellous! Most impr essive, sir,” he said jovially, drawing level with the trio and extendin g his h an d to Drixx, “I am Delwyn n, the fin est swordsman alive. Whom do I have the pleasure of addressing?”
26 GuildMag Issue 15 | Night of Terror: Part I

Night of Terror: Part


Written by Kent benson
“I never asked for this. From the moment I woke from u nder the boughs of the Pale Mother, my last hours in The Dre am have plagued my thoughts . Th e menders and eventually Mother, they all tried to comfort me, ease my burden,” the lone sylvari whispered, her hands grippin g the cold metal railing in front of her. She was speaking to a small moth peacefully resting on the warped railing. It fluttered its wings in response. “Mother explained that in her grief over Scarlet’s attack an d eventual death, sh e had exp osed me to secrets that could compromise the stability of our people.” A tear fell to th e metal flooring underneath her feet. “So I left The Grove after a couple of months for th e Durmand Priory. I cou ldn’t be around so many of my own p eo ple, not with what I knew. The guilt… was unbearable. At least when I was around the other races, I didn’t feel as bad; I didn’t feel like I owed th em the truth.” The moth crawled onto her gray hand. The sylvari lifte d it to eye level before it fluttered away towards th e jungle canopy , still smouldering from the fleet of destroyed Pact airships. The smoke blotte d out th e evening th e sky. “I was wrong,” she wept, sobs seethin g though her clench teeth. Frost began to form around her han ds and spre ad to the railing. She let go as soon as she noticed. “Th e cre w will want to know. They’ll make Braskiir do it; h e’s a pow erfu l mesmer. I-I’ll have to ru n, but I have now here to go.” Without warning, there was the sound of heavy fo ots tep s clunking against the metal floor. The sylvari fell silent. Someone else had entered the wreckage. She q uickly checked the sides of her petaled dress for her sh eath ed daggers before dissolving into a cloud of mist. In th is form, she retreated to the captain’s station inside the wreakage of The Illusive, an airship once commandeered by Cap tain Amanda Carlisle, now a crashed husk decorating the cliffs of the Maguuma Jungle. The the main body of the vessel had managed to survive mostly intact, but th e wings had been ripped off and the p ontoon, ruptu red . From her vantage point, she’ d be able to spot the unwanted guest before they fou nd her, allowing her to make the first move. Finally, the intruder emerged from the ramp that lead below deck to the engineering and arsenal stations. “Toiraesa? Are you still here?”
The sylvari, Toiraesa, shook her head silently, holdin g back tears. She was crouched low and barely peeking, bu t she recognized the voice. It was her priory mentor, M agister Bra skiir Vroanson. The brown-skinned norn was massive, even fo r one of th eir race, and the sylvari had seen a sizable number of th eir kind in her almost one year alive. Like some norn, he wore his red hair long and braided with a decorative headb an d to keep it all out of his face. He was an orp han. The yo ung n orn had been rescued by human nobles who were hun tin g foxes and wolves in the foothills of the Shiverp eaks. O ne of th e youn ge r nobles brought the child home to Divinity’s Reach where he and his wife decided to raise him as their adopted so n. “Why him? Why did it have to be him?” she lamented. “Here  you are!” said a voice from behind. Without a second thought, Toiraesa rolled on her b ack, whipping one of her daggers at the seco nd figu re before she realized it was the norn. The projectile hit its mark, b ut this second visage shattered into a flock of pink ravens. Her dagger fell to the floor, clanging hard again st the metal. “A clone,” she gasped, jumping to her feet, whippin g arou nd to where she’d first seen him. That Braskiir had also shattered , his arm pointing toward s where sh e’d originally come from: the outer front platform. Now outside, Toiraesa spotted her mentor casually watching a single moth flutter around his outstretch ed hand . She saw the warm smile across his thick bearded face vanish as she approached. “You… you look like you haven’t slept since the cras h. It’s b ee n two days,” he scorned. “How could I sleep, Braskiir? How cou ld anyone sleep? Each night… the screaming…,” the sylvari said, limbs flailing about before she sunk into a sulky d emeano r. “A few of the crew are still recovering from injuries. The captain recommended we rest as much as possible bef ore we attempt to rally survivors in the ju ngle.” “That’s suicide!” The norn shrugged and heaved a h eavy sig h. “Sure. It’s not the safest course of action, but it’s the righ t thing to do.”
Night of Terror: Part I | GuildMag Issue 15
Toiraesa broke into tears. “Braskiir, please, I’m begging you; don’t force me to go in to that jungle!” Silence came between them. The w in d picked up, whistling over the red sandblasted stone, wh ich the tw o had come to see much of since their arrival in the Maguuma Was tes. Braskiir’s expression softened as he gestured h is novice to come to him. His smile returned as her paranoia appeare d to give way to his welcoming arms. The sylvari did h er best to hug back, but her arms could o nly encompass the fron t of the norn’s lower torso. The silent embrace only lasted a co uple of minutes before the Magister spoke. “The sylvari crewmembers on the aircraft, you’ve been thinking ab out them, right?” “I still see the rage in their crims on eyes and the terror of the one wh o had n ot turned,” Toiraesa replied, gloom hanging from each word. She looked past th e norn to th e small campfire glowing beyond the airship wre ckage. Three silhouettes stood watch around the perimeter. Th ere were nine crewmembers left from the original twenty three. Of the six missing, two had been other sylvari that had gone mad, one, a sylvari who begged the crew to kill her b ef ore she succumbed. Braskiir and Toiraesa were not members of th e airship crew, but researchers who wanted an o pportunity to explore the ruins of the Maguuma Jungle and thought to hitch a ride with the Pact fleet. Unfortunately, the Elder D ragon Mordremoth had other plans. “They’ll want answers. Answers I did n ot have the cou rage to give; answers that have stained my hands with the blood of hundreds. What I’ve kept is u nforgivable; I can not t-” The norn shrugged again. “Tell me? There is no need; I already have several conclusions, he said. “As for the others, they’re conten t to make any assumptions they want, b ut I’ve made it clear to them that you are my re sp onsibility.” “I am grateful. I hope you know,” she re plie d, pulling away slightly, Braskiir’s hands clasped against her sh oulders. He lowered into a squat. “Toiraesa. I wou ldn’t h ave ch osen to  mentor you if I felt you couldn’t be trusted. Just remember that it goes both ways. I won’ t betray you, but I also won ’t let you shut yourself away from th e world. Eventually, your actions will weigh more than the burden of the secrets you carry and the quality of your character will be how people remember you. Consider that in the days ahead.” The sylvari wiped away the last of h er exhausted tears before fully leaving the embrace of the norn, her confid en ce rekindled enough for a feig ned smile. Together, they slow ly wandered through the airship wreckage to the campfire. The perimeter guards paid them a brief glance before returnin g their attention elsewhere. Around th e fire was A mand a Carlisle, the human captain; Luzon, the ship ’s lead engineer, an asura; two charr: first-mate, Jedrikk Cinderedge and the helmsman, Sidcar Gunsling; another human, Navigator Yahli Gemesh; and Quartermaster Johanna Ullasdottir, a norn. Only a couple appeared happy at Braskiir and Toiraesa’s return. Most of them seated on moved boulders or seats made of debris.
“I’m glad you two made it back. I’ve just started to prepare dinner,” the quartermaster spoke. “It was kind of you to make anythin g at all,” Toiraesa responded with as much cheer as she cou ld muster while masking her unease. She knew she’d have to test the mood to discover who her allies were. Johanna bought into her act. “Nonsense! We may not h ave a ship, but I still have my d uties and most of our supp lies. Moreover, I’m sure no one is in any hurry to refuse a cooked meal, especially someone with as legendary an appetite as your mentor.” The captain chuckled tiredly as she polish ed her two pistols, her red, jaw-length hair glowing in the fire ligh t. “Lay off the magister’s portly stature, Jo. If he takes a swing at you, he’ll take the whole cliff side with him,” she said. One of the two charr snickered just before Toiraesa quickly slapped a hand over her mouth to ho ld back her own grin. Having been with Braskiir for over half a year, the sylvari had heard many comments about her mentor’s size. W hile she found the jokes cruel, Braskiir’s pouty expressio n amused h er greatly. Most norn reveled in their size, bu t having grown up with humans, Braskiir had always had trouble fi ttin g in. The jokes still soured his mood, if o nly briefly. Johanna was quick to remember. “My mistake, Braskiir. I meant it as a compliment; I’ve heard some impressive moo t stories about you around Hoelbrak,” The magister accepted her apology with a shameful smile. “I was younger and wished to immerse myself in my native culture after leaving the human capital. W hen I finally woke from the stupor of the moots, the rites, the hun ts , I was seven years older and about a drum heavier,” Braskiir said, finishin g with a loud singular laugh an d slap to his gut. “In the en d, I’d be liar to say that I hadn’t enjoyed tho se days.” The two charr quickly chimed in with celebratory tales of their own, but the humor and sh ared stories were short- lived. A piercing scream echoed in the ju ngle below followed by several gunshots. The crew sat quietly . Many similar disturbances occurred the previou s nights. Everyone in the camp knew in their guts what was happ en ing, but were not  prepared to descend into the jungle to search for Pact survivors. The blue-furred charr rose from the fireside, his sniper rifle in hand. “Sid, the sun’s almost gon e. You wo n’t be able to see a thing,” the captain said, shifting her position on her bo ulder seat to watch her helmsman scan the terrain through h is rifl e’s scope. The cries of stranded Pact survivors pierced the evening air for nearly an hour. The rest of the group was silen t and w id e- eyed. The charr finally lowered his rifle an d lumbered b ack to the campfire with a slight hobble. He’d twis ted one of his feet in the crash, but wasn’t about to let a minor in ju ry keep him from moving about. Johanna had hea led it as soon as she was able with her guardian magic. Th e other survivors were still standing due in no small part to the n orn ’s talent for healing and her constant threats to crewmates that tried to overexert themselves.
28 GuildMag Issue 15 | Night of Terror: Part I
“It’s as I suspected; the Mordrem appear to be more active in the dark,” the helmsman growled. “I saw a few isolate d Pact groups picked-off, with the exception of th e sylvari; th ey’re being taken prisoner. Have any theories as to why, sprou t?” Toiraesa watched as the charr’s yellow eyes pierced hers. She could feel a lump in her throat as she looked to Braskiir. The other crewmembers averted their stares. Johanna, whose back was to the charr, sneered disapprovin gly. “Don’t look to your mentor to protect you, sylvari. Your silence is as incriminating as a dagger in the back, or several, as your kind appears to be aband oning us in droves,” the helmsman spat. “I suggest you add ress your question to someone with proper field and research experience. Toiraesa is one of the brighte st pupils I’ve known, but I have been with th e Prio ry for five years; you can direct your questions to me in th e future,” the norn said, gripping the hilt of the orn ate b uster sword strapped to his back. “Know that if you push hostilit ies a gainst my pupil any further, I won’t hesitate to take what little san ity you have left.” Sidcar reached for one of his pistols, but was qu ickly sto pped by the other charr, who grabbed his wrist. Johanna had tak en hold of one of her butcher blades, poised to sp in aro und an d atta ck. “Enough!” the captain cried, spearing the charr with a glare . “Sidcar. A word. Now!” The two stood. The rising tension p ushed th e sylvari to intervene. “No! Wait,” she said, arm lazily stretched towards the captain and her helmsman. “I can answer his question .” Captain Carlisle and Sidcar remained standing, waiting fo r the  novice’s explanation. The fire crackled between them; another distant terror-filled scream came from the void. She took in a meditated breath and exhaled like h er men tor when he would practice his mantras. “We, the sylvari, are vulnerable to Mordremoth’s power; we can be corrupted. First, it was Scarlet and then we heard about Aerin . Both h ad been broken by the dragon’s w ill. It is likely that the Mordrem are taking my brothers and sisters captive to force them to turn.” Johanna was the first to comment as sh e continued to stir the  stew. “So what? The Sons of Svanir and the Icebrood are similarly corrupted, lured in by Jormag’s promise of p ower. It just means y our people—” “It’s not the same!” Toiraesa interrupted, her face distraught, on the verge of tears. She to ok another deep breath to rally herself. “The norn were never created to be servan ts of Jormag, but we, all sylvari, were born to eventually serve Mordremoth.”

The History

of Wintersday

Written by Draxynnic

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30 GuildMag Issue 15 | The Back Pages

The History

of Wintersday

Written by Draxynnic



ocial Media

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The Back Pages | GuildMag Issue 15
© GuildMag 2015. All Guild Wars 2 assets © 2015 ArenaNet, LLC. All rights reserve d. NCSOFT, the in terlocking NC logo, ArenaNet, Guild Wars, Guild Wars Factions, Guild Wars Nightfall, Guild Wars: Eye of the North, Guild Wars 2, and all associated logos and designs are trademarks or registered trademarks of NCSOFT Corporation. All other trademarks are the property of their respective owners. Social media icons by Lee Gargano. Cover concept art by Vasburg.
© GuildMag 2015. All Guild Wars 2 assets © 2015 ArenaNet, LLC. All rights reserve d. NCSOFT, the in terlocking NC logo, ArenaNet, Guild Wars, Guild Wars Factions, Guild Wars Nightfall, Guild Wars: Eye of the North, Guild Wars 2, and all associated logos and designs are trademarks or registered trademarks of NCSOFT Corporation. All other trademarks are the property of their respective owners. Social media icons by Lee Gargano.