The Moms of Guild Wars

What if your mom looked like this...

Liore of Herding Cats notes in an interesting post that the Moms of Azeroth appear to be typecast as baby-making machines, appearing long enough to pop out a famous heir and getting shunted back out of the spotlight.

Or they become drama engines, fueled by a tragic death that conveniently removes them from the story while leaving their offspring motherless and bereft of a functional family unit.

Automatically, I think about the game I’m playing. Are there any famous mothers in Guild Wars lore?

This is, of course, a game that has had some criticism thrown its way for the efficiency of materials usage in female light armor designs (ie. very little cloth or leather required.)

Would their character stories potentially be any less sexist?

On the surface, looking at the famous characters of Destiny’s Edge, it’s hard to say. No one mentions the mothers of Zojja, Rytlock, and so on. We know Logan has had a famous great-great-however-many-greats grandmom in the form of Gwen, is about it. Those NPCs may as well have sprung up from the brow of Athena for all that their mothers are referenced.

(The Sylvari as a race, are right out of the runnning, of course,  since they don’t have mothers per se. The Pale Tree is as close as it gets, and she’s more of a… steward, caretaker, guardian figure?)

Then again, is it simply a case of being too ordinary an origin and unnecessary to trace back and mention the lineage of every famous character?

On further deep thinking, I managed to locate a number of notable mothers in the GW lore.

eir

In the Living Story, Eir is revealed to be a mom herself.

The relationship between her son Braham and her is an estranged one, but neither party is dead, so I guess that’s something.

In fact, both are leading their own lives and fighting their own separate fights, rather than the mother being overshadowed by the son.

There are likely to be some abandonment issues to be resolved in the future – their relationship is a promising character story to learn more about, at any rate.

almorra

Almorra Soulkeeper, the head of the Vigil, is also a mother.

(Spoilers for one part of the Vigil storyline follow.)

Her son turns out to be Ajax Anvilburn, the leader of the renegades disrupting the human-charr peace treaty talks near Ebonhawke. That relationship is buried rather abruptly when she gives or approves the order to protect the talks at all costs, including over the dead body of her son.

Who’d have thunk? A mother that thinks some causes are greater than flesh and blood, and willing to make sacrifices for it. “Like many in the legions, Ajax never looked beyond the charr. I will grieve for my son, but I will not look back.”

(End of spoiler.)

Moving back in time to Guild Wars, we have a non-human mother, Glint.

glintandeggs

Considered a dragon back in GW1, but apparently an enslaved champion of the Elder Dragon Kralkatorrik, she has a long history of being a mover and a shaker, heavily involved with the GW1 player heroes and then with Destiny’s Edge up to the point of her death.

No disappearing out of the spotlight for this mom.

In GW1, players had a challenge mission to protect one of her offspring, a baby dragon. It’s rumored that the child may have been hidden and still lives to this very day – a lore thread that should be pretty promising if ever picked up again (assuming that joker Scarlet doesn’t get her hands all over it.)

And finally, back to humanity and the most famous character in GW lore, Gwen.

The girl we see grow up from the ashes of a charr invasion and get romantically involved over the course of one game and three expansions. We know, of course, that she marries Keiran Thackeray and spawns a whole line of descendants down to the current less-than-impressive Logan, so she’s technically quite the uber-mom.

But that’s not who I want to highlight today.

No, let’s talk about HER mom.

Sarah.

While she does suffer a tragic death from the Searing of Ascalon and leave Gwen orphaned at an early age, does this mom quietly fade away?

Hell no, it turns out she’s quite a lively ghost in the Underworld.

gwenandsarah

And if you bring Gwen in your party along with you when visiting, they engage in some rather delightful dialogue.

Fer instance:

Sarah: “Husband? By the six! My little girl is all grown up now! Keiran is it? Come, come, tell me about yourself. I want to know everything!”
Gwen: “Everything mom? That might take a while.”
Sarah: “Sweetheart, I’ve got all the time in the world.”

Now that’s one mom you’re not going to get away from in a hurry.

Those are the major moms that I can think up offhand in the Guild Wars universe.

Have I missed out any others?

GW2: Endgame is Everything

Finally got story mode done on the warrior, after an uncountable number of exploration mode runs...

Scree from the Cynic Dialogues has a post-mortem up on why he lost interest in Guild Wars 2 after six months and couldn’t get back into the game despite repeated tries.

His main issues appear to be a foundational disagreement on how traits were designed in the game, and unhappiness with the speed of developer fixes and response.

Which I happen to agree are very good reasons for why one shouldn’t play a game that one dislikes.

I personally have foundational disagreements on how World of Warcraft raids are the be-all and end-all of anyone wanting to play their game in a hardcore manner (with item level and ever-increasing stats being so emphasized), and would probably go berserk trying to deal with pithy Ghostcrawler posts in between the drastic game changes that seem to happen with every WoW patch.

Nor can I really deal with the fundamentally Eve Online concept of paying a good $15-30 a month for the privilege of getting beat up while learning valuable lessons “to get better, for the future” for at least 2-3 months while you skill up, plan, plot, join organizations and eventually get good enough at the game to do well, earn sufficient isk to possibly pay for your account(s) and then proceed to beat on each other and any newbies who stray into your path in an endless political war of power and greed-mongering.

(Though from afar, I do like the episodic pace of change the Eve devs put out with every update.)

So I don’t play World of Warcraft.

Or Eve Online.

And Scree doesn’t play Guild Wars 2.

But I find his outlook on endgame most interesting. He’s not happy with games that don’t have a stated, defined plan for “the end game,” especially if the speed of tweaks to it are glacial to boot.

To him, GW2′s endgame is possibly WvW – which tends to spawn a myriad of similar complaints from primarily WvW players about the game type being ignored or new fixes that make things even worse.

Or it is dungeons and possibly the fractal dungeon which ramps all the way up to fractal level 50 with increasing stat difficulty and the need to grind for a particular Agony stat in order to qualify for higher leveled fractals. Except the rewards are mostly all cosmetic, which makes them optional, and this somehow grates on him.

To him, the endgame is everything.

If it’s not clearly stated and defined, and given substantially tempting rewards and focused developer attention, he loses interest. Fast.

On the other hand, here’s me, five level 80s and 408 days in (2,561 hours – the average is really kinda scary, all those weekends and waiting for Tequatl must have skewed it…) and still not bored.

I haven’t seriously played WvW in easily three months, nor have I visited a fractal dungeon for a long long time.

So what in the world have I been doing?

This week, I’ve been evolving a comfortable routine of trying to catch at least one Tequatl kill a day via the TTS guild, maybe two or three with other characters if I have the time.

Then I work on finishing up the daily with some easy extras for ~7-9AP, the daily reward laurel and that nice sense of checklist done easy satisfaction.

If there’s more time to spare after that, I pull up the LFG tool and see if I can get in on a few easy CoF p1 or P2 runs, or a definitely less easy TA new Aetherpath attempt (two more dungeon-related achievements to go).

scarletisastalker

Or if I’m feeling brave, some of the dungeons I’m less familiar with to become more habituated to them, and maybe even get one of my last few completely unfamiliar and undone paths finished on the way to the Dungeon Master achievement.

1-3 dungeons later, I am decidedly dungeoned out for the day.

(But several gold richer.)

I may pop into Southsun for twenty minutes peaceful farming with a magic find cupcake for incredibly incremental progress on T6 mats for a Legendary.

I definitely visit the Under New Management puzzle for empyreal fragments, and one weekend I visited Skipping Stones on a whim to discover that the Super Adventure Box had decidedly improved my jumping ability yet again.

Or I jump over to one of the Orr zones to run around in the most haphazard manner gathering resources and maybe stumbling across an orichalcum ore or ancient sapling as a bonus – it’s really just peaceful solo time.

Depending on my mood, over the last few weeks, I have also:

  • used a GW2 node website for more focused and targeted node gathering
  • gone to farm Champions in the Frostgorge loop
  • stopped by a world boss or two
  • visited and revisited some jumping puzzles new and old
  • made an attempt at map exploration on alts
  • tried to level up my mesmer further via lowbie zones and personal story
  • bought a new character slot
  • made a temporary necro to regain the skull mask I must have accidentally salvaged off my level 80 necro
  • experimented with various races of warriors while working towards accumulating Black Lion Keys

(By level 7, you can generally get the level 10 Personal Story done, then clean up character, getting a few lucks via salvaging along the way and delete.)

Plus, you get to see all the branching level 10 stories. Hot golemic love action!

Plus, you get to see all the branching level 10 stories. Hot golemic love action!

I also recently discovered that the Daily Activity Participation is rather fun and easy to do. Just talk to the NPC in Lion’s Arch, putz around for one game (and maybe even win it) and then exit one reward chest richer.

I’ve been deriving a certain satisfaction in accumulating and salvaging a ton of blues and greens from my Teq and dungeoneering and oh, Scarlet invasion efforts. Each day, my magic find slowly increments by 1-2% back towards the 180% I was used to previously, except now it’ll apply for the entire account.

I have yet to properly inventory and tidy up my bank and guild banks once more or figure out what kinds of stats I want on each character for Ascended armor and weapons and work towards those. My Artificer is only 465 on crafting, and nothing else has been incremented past 400.

In the past update before Tequatl Rising, my daily routine involved at least one visit of the Super Adventure Box for a round of bauble farming or an achievement or Tribulation Mode attempt.

And so on, following whatever was new per Living Story update.

In a way, this very comfortably harkens back to Guild Wars 1 for me.

There was so much lateral progression you pretty much had to pick and choose what you wanted to get done for the day, according to your own personal goals.

You could PvP with various formats. You could work on your story missions across four chapters till you were done. You could do it all over again in hard mode. Or do it yet again with books to keep track of your repeat progress and reward you. You could vanquish every zone. Or work on map exploring and scraping every last corner of the world. You could run the harder ‘dungeon’-like zones Fissure of Woe, the Underworld, Domain of Anguish with a group or solo with your own heroes. Or follow the Zaishen ‘daily’ and do the highlighted goals. And lots more besides.

The Hall of Monuments worked as a sort of focused vertical progression ‘endgame’ where you could do a whole bunch of lateral activities but gradually increment that final number.

In GW2, ArenaNet points and achievements appear to be a method of coming close to that idea.

I’m a dabbler. I putz around casually a lot, hoard a ton of stuff that may never ever get used, pick a goal at random from a big list and work towards that for a while, then find something else to do.

The cool thing is that everything I choose to do, benefits me and my account in the end, somehow, someway.

Other players, I am sure, do this very differently.

Some spend all their days in WvW, zerging or roaming as their interest takes them. Some fixate on a Legendary they want and single-mindedly work towards that. Some chase dragons, or world bosses, or champions all day long. Some are happy just perfecting the cosmetic look they desire for their characters. Or creating the world’s largest collection of alts, or miniatures, or what-have-you.

For instance, one of my guild leaders seems to be quite a PvP fan, and half the time, I see him on one sPvP map or another. The other half he seems to spend running guild events (which include WvW) and missions and maybe taking some time out to PvE and follow the Living Story.

Another of my guild leaders has 15k ArenaNet Points and still counting. so guess where his focus must be.

The leader of the TTS guild I joined appears to be enjoying himself spending nearly all his time online in Sparkfly Fen organizing one kill after another, and wrangling six (yes, it’s now six) guilds with all the attendant leadership and administration challenges that must follow.

And of course, some content themselves hanging out in Lion’s Arch, or just finishing their dailies, or wandering the open world or roleplaying with a guild.

In Guild Wars 1 -and- 2, the endgame is literally -everything-.

GW2: The Cliffs and the Colossus

So many times we see this guy...

It’s me again, back to share another “down the rabbit tunnel” trail of maybe-lore with you all!

This one is more of a foggy could-be, mostly via neat visual thematic links that were -probably- done on purpose (and also convenient in terms of saving development assets.)

As serendipity would have it, while cycling through the fractals by my lonesome to get to the Uncategorized fractal to take the last post’s screenshots, I got into the Aquatic Ruins fractal.

Yeah, yeah, we know, fisherfolk, krait, slaves, dime a dozen, seen it before. Whatever, glowing plants, dolphins, big freaking jellyfish, generic aquatic environment, no?

aquaticfractal

Then I stopped.

Self, I said. I have seen this style of wooden architecture before.

In fact, come to think of it, I think I’ve seen this sort of grey cliff terrain before, with these kinds of plants… as I looked -up- at my surroundings.

aquaticcliffs

Come on, haven’t we all seen this sort of glow before? (Or after. I get so confused with time, damn fractals…)

labyrinthinenight

Ok, this is a night time pic, but yeah. Towering grey cliffs, bushy trees, wooden bridge architecture.

bazaarof4winds

It’s obviously not at the same point in time, of course.

Let’s hold off for the moment on trying to track down their origins, besides a faint nagging suspicion that these fisherfolk (a sea-faring people? their architecture seems to suggest it) could be the proto-Zephyrites of today.

I dived into the aquatic fractal for fun and to look around a bit since I was alone.

statuesunderwater

Oh man, more of these guys.

If you look up to the first two pictures, you’ll see that the folk in the aquatic fractal have been both busy using these statues as part of their impromptu raised platforms and trawling them out of the water with makeshift cranes.

We all know who these statues depict, right?

colossus

Yep, him again.

Self, said I.

I HAVE SEEN THESE GREY CLIFFS BEFORE.

And this freaking type of plant.

And the wooden scaffolding, for that matter.

W.

T.

F.

All right. Assuming these aren’t just all a lazy reuse of assets, they all have to be linked in some manner. Just… possibly at very different points in time.

Let’s get ourselves geographically located.

lcliffmap

Whyever did they dump the Labyrinthine Cliffs all the way over here?

Where is here and what was around here way back in the past?

The furthest past map I could find was naturally, were Guild Wars 1 maps.

Also, this is a beautiful fan-made one by Redditor that_shaman circling around the intarwebs that overlays GW1 landmarks over a GW2 map – I embed a copy here for your reference.

guild_wars_2_points_of_interest

It doesn’t include the Labyrinthine Cliffs, but we can use the prior map pic to fit it in along the coastline of Tyria, just north of the continent of Elona, sorta southeast of Kryta and south of Ascalon.

All that surrounds this place is a bunch of dwarf-related missions in Guild Wars 1. That doesn’t seem related at all. Dead end, perhaps.

So again I began trawling through the lore.

How about the krait? Where do they come in?

There’s a surprising amount of lore about the krait in the above link, which I think we’ll see more of when we start exploring Bubbles and underwater-related stuff, but the wiki doesn’t say much about their past history:

Krait history, especially prior to fifty years ago, is still mostly unknown. During this time all that’s known is their activities of enslaving shipwrecked sailors and that in 1078 AE, they already had a presence on the Tarnished Coast. Fifty years ago, however, they were forced out of the Unending Ocean’s deepest trenches, their former homeland, by the deep sea dragon‘s forces.

Well, that doesn’t help us very much, especially since we know krait were present in Guild Wars 1 too, so they’ve always been around being nasty slavers. But hang on, what and where is the Unending Ocean? Says the Guild Wars 1 wiki:

The Unending Ocean, also known as the Great Sea and the Clashing Seas, is the giant body of water that separates the continents of Tyria and Elona from the continent of Cantha. The island chain known as the Battle Isles resides within the Unending Ocean, between the three continents. In ancient days before the Exodus of the Gods and the distribution of magic, the Margonites ruled this ocean before they lost their humanity.

The Krait are known to live on the ocean floor of the Unending Ocean.

The Unending Ocean proper is marked on the GW2 map as being southwest of the Ring of Fire island chain. Cantha, in the lore, is southwest of that.

It’s a bit of a stretch, but technically, the Unending Ocean could maybe touch the Labyrinthine Cliff area since it’s all one big patch of water. The Elon River flows into the sea, but that sea seems to be unnamed.

But hang on, what’s this reference about the Margonites?

They were a bunch of demonic followers of Abaddon that we fought in Guild Wars 1. They were apparently previously humans before Abaddon transformed them, and my jaw dropped as I read further:

Before the Exodus of the Gods, the Margonites were a seafaring people who chose to worship Abaddon exclusively, rather than all six gods. In 175 BE, they ruled over the Unending Ocean and they began to create settlements on the coastlines north and west of Elona.

Sea-faring people?

Settlements on the coastline north of Elona?!

Reading further still:

Finally, at an unknown point in time, but presumably after the Exodus, Margonites who were still human reached the Crystal Desert by sailing over the Unending Ocean, and built the structures in the Thirsty River and everywhere around the Mesa.

I’ve made a little love and gratuitous screenshot post about the Crystal Desert before. The civilization that existed in the Crystal Desert once upon a time was culturally obsessed with building giant statues.

What do we have in the Aquatic and Cliffside fractal but a whole bunch of giant statues?

Are the people we see in the fractals ancestors of…descendants of…argh, somehow related to- Margonites, or the seafaring human stock that would spawn the Margonites some day?

I’m going to take a random stab at placing the Aquatic fractal in history.

It’s got to come after the Cliffside fractal because all the giant statues are sunken underwater, and there’s stone ruins in the depths too.

At what point in time in Guild Wars history do we know there was a humongous flood?

1219 AE Zhaitan, the Elder Undead Dragon, awakens. Orr rises from the sea. Lion’s Arch floods. Contact with Cantha severed.

That’s my best guess.

The fisherfolk may be the ancestors of our modern day Zephyrites of Canthan or Elonian descent and may have also been the descendants of a culture of seafaring humans.

Some of those seafaring humans may have been Margonites who worshipped Abaddon and got sucked into the Realm of Torment with him, and some of whom (who probably did not worship Abaddon) survived and turned southeast across the Crystal Desert/Sea (or were there to begin with.)

Incidentally, there’s one other GW1 reference I found interesting,

According to An Empire Divided, historians believe the Luxons once sailed in the Crystal Sea over a thousand years ago. Incidentally, this may be where the Margonites sailed. Due to the removal of knowledge of Abaddon, some knowledge of the Margonites has been removed, leading scholars to view them as myths, thus possibly causing a confusing between the two sea-faring people.

Maybe there aren’t two sea-faring peoples. But the very one and the same.

How about the Cliffside fractal? At what point of time is this situated in?

For this we have a source:

“The idea was that that particular fractal was that it reflected something that happened in the distant past. Something that happened in Tyria’s beginnings where there was this kind of colossus around.”

So we know it took place in very early history, possibly even prehistory.

We know that there was an Age of Giants very early on before the Age of Humans, though different tellers differ on the specifics since it’s sooo far back in time. Giganticus Lupicus was one of the giant races that may have roamed the land around this time.

The Colossus most probably isn’t a Giganticus Lupicus, since those have dog-like heads and the Colossus doesn’t. It’s possible it was a Giant of some other sort that was trapped and chained by the early humans of this period.

But here’s where it gets really interesting, it has been suggested that this fractal was inspired by the myth of Prometheus, or at least one of the designers makes reference to it in a podcast.

What is the myth of Prometheus?

Prometheus was a god who brought fire down to man. And for his hubris, he was chained up as punishment.

Is there a parallel myth in Guild Wars lore?

I bring your attention back to the GW2 timeline, coincidentally at the beginning of one era of history, where the very tame description awaits:

0 AE The Exodus of the Human Gods.

1 BE The Human Gods give magic to the races of Tyria.

Really? The human gods, plural?

The Guild Wars 1 wiki (and further links off the GW2 wiki) tell the real story:

Abaddon was the God of Water and Secrets, though has since fallen. Like the other gods, Abaddon’s origins are shrouded in mystery. The Apostate speaks of Abaddon gaining his power from an older, deposed god, however nothing more is known about this. Abaddon was once fanatically worshiped by the Margonites, a nation of sea-faring humans. The phrase “act with magic, act within reason, act without mercy” is attributed to Abaddon’s teachings. He also had a temple in Orr, the Cathedral of Hidden Depths.

In 1 BE, he spread magic to the races of Tyria, and thus indirectly responsible for the wars that came afterward. King Doric pleaded to the gods and they rendered magic into the five Bloodstones, diluting their gift. Abaddon was incensed and went to war with the others, and he was eventually struck down at the Mouth of Torment, in a blow that turned the Crystal Sea into a desert. There, Abaddon was sealed within the Realm of Torment and the city of Morah was established to watch over the spot where he fell. Shortly after his defeat, the gods left the world in an act that came to be known as the Exodus.

ABADDON gave magic to the humans. And eventually, he was attacked by the other five gods and locked in the Realm of Torment. Is he our sad Prometheus?

prometheus

This is how The Colossus looks at the beginning of the fractal. Sad, tired, head lowered, staring at the Archdiviner kneeling at his feet.

divinerfeet

The Margonites are said to have fanatically worshipped Abaddon to the exclusion of all other gods. This particular group of humans has also (eventually) fanatically constructed a ton of Colossus statues.

The GW1 wiki provides us with another intriguing drip of lore:

And so it came to pass that Jadoth, being persecuted by the horrific Forgotten armies, and hounded from his home, did seek refuge among the cooling mists of the Crystal Sea. Untold weeks passed as Jadoth huddled in his sanctuary, with nothing to see save the endless ripples of the boundless ocean.

On the 51st day of his exodus, a frightful sight manifested before Jadoth’s eyes: the unmistakable shape of Forgotten warships upon the horizon’s shimmering edge.

And prayed Jadoth, “Abaddon! Lord of the Everlasting Depths, Keeper of Secrets, open mine eyes and bestow upon me the knowledge of the Abyss that I might smite mine enemies and send them to the watery depths!”

An unsettling silence swept across the waves. The twilight sky shattered and stars streaked down upon the Forgotten armada. The seas boiled and ruptured, and gave birth to a maelstrom from which not even light could escape, and transforming the sky above into a midnight void.

And thus was magic gifted to Jadoth, chosen of Abaddon, the first of the Margonites.

— Scriptures of Abaddon, 1 BE

Does the Archdiviner represent Jadoth?

Yes, I will die just to give you all a relatively close up shot.

Yes, I will die on purpose just to give you all a relatively close up shot. He’s a Legendary, I don’t think I have the hours to kite him, assuming he doesn’t regen.

Did he, in fact, trick or fool an initially well-meaning Giant by name of Abaddon into gifting him with magic, and then turn around and entrap the Colossus into becoming a living idol for his people? And for a whole new fanatical religion that would later be the basis of the Margonites?

The Margonites of GW1 have a purple glow about their demonic form. The Archdiviner of the Cliffside fractal shoots purple magic bolts (and he’s certainly no mesmer.)

demonicseal

Those seals/chains are purple and demonic.

History, after all, is often rewritten by the victors.

The wiki, by the way, includes some pictures of Abaddon:

File:Abaddon mural (Gandara).jpgFile:"Abbaddon God Statue" concept art 1.jpg

Good lord, you say. Look at his face. That’s not anything like the Colossus. Surely you’re not going to tell me he’s just wearing a mask or helmet? How about them clawed hands?

Remember, he was imprisoned within the Realm of Torment, which probably twists anything residing within after some time.

And it would be quite possible for him to have descended into madness and desire revenge for what the Five Gods did to him, pre- or post-imprisonment, and to have eventually welcomed the role his fanatic followers thrust upon him.

How about a GW2 source? Also from the wiki, Abaddon has one temple, the Cathedral of Hidden Depths, accessible via one personal story chapter:

File:Cathedral of Hidden Depths.jpg

I dunno. But there seems to be some resemblance.

A more tame version would be that the Colossus is the older, deposed god that Abaddon and his followers obtained power from. Which would make the Archdiviner Abaddon and the fractal an echo of him conducting a ritual to steal that power, except we get to set the Colossus free in the fractal.

Still, if the Human Gods were actually Giants with magic that the human race worshipped once upon a time, that might explain why all statues of them are so bloody huge.

All rather interesting in the light of the new short story about Scarlet that Anet has released and further speculation on Reddit that Scarlet may or may not have absorbed the powers of Abaddon or become a god herself in some fashion, no?

Here’s looking forward to more story revelations from ArenaNet, per Living Story episode, just to see how many things I get right or wrong. :)

Exciting times ahead in Guild Wars 2!

Feel free to leave your sobbing about how we’re never going to see a Fall of Abaddon fractal now in the comments…