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.
(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.
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.
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.
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).
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.)
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-.
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?
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.
Come on, haven’t we all seen this sort of glow before? (Or after. I get so confused with time, damn fractals…)
Ok, this is a night time pic, but yeah. Towering grey cliffs, bushy trees, wooden bridge architecture.
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.
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?
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.
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.
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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.)
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?
“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?
This is how The Colossus looks at the beginning of the fractal. Sad, tired, head lowered, staring at the Archdiviner kneeling at his feet.
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.
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.)
Those seals/chains are purple and demonic.
History, after all, is often rewritten by the victors.
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:
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.
I did the level 55 Personal Story quest: A Light in the Darkness a day ago or so, and it is one of the most awesome experiences I’ve had so far in not just this game, but my MMO history. Crazy good level design. Huge kudos to all the folks involved in creating this.
If I weren’t already a die-hard alt-holic, this would make me take quite a few characters up high enough just so that they could go through it too. I’d classify it along the lines of the sort of rousing heroic storytelling sort of on-par with the Nightfall ending and the Eye of the North finale, so you can have an idea of whether you’d like it or not, if you’ve played the original.
It’s the sort of thing that makes me feel “oh no, I’m getting near the end of this great story, and I really hope GW2 comes out with another chapter, another sequel, another expansion soon, cos I want MORE, dammit.” (Yeah, barely one week into the game’s launch, realistic, much?)
Some spoilers follow, so be duly warned:
When you see such a grand painting on the loadscreen for the mission, you know you’re in for something really special.
Essentially, A Light in the Darkness sets up foreshadowing for (I presume) the eventual moment that you hit level 80 and get to go to Orr and Arah and (maybe) confront Zhaitan.
Just as the Ringbearer seeks out Galadriel for a vision of the future, you seek out the Pale Tree for a vision of the future by entering the Dream (which is ever so slightly more hazardous than looking into a bowl of sacred water.)
There’s some wonderful storytelling and voice work. The NPC companion whom you would have met in an earlier part of the story narrates the history of Orr as you progress through the map, mentioning key characters like Vizier Khilbron’s reading of the Lost Scrolls to stop the Charr invasion (which caused a Cataclysm that sunk Orr) and it immediately made me want to run back to Guild Wars 1 to see the Vizier again in the missions where we meet him, and check out all the references in the first game.
God, I love GW lore. Those of you coming into GW2 completely new to the world don’t know what you’re missing. (Take some time to work through GW1 later, if you can.) The lore bible is thick and goes back way more than 250 years in history and there are all kinds of references all over the place, ArenaNet pays so so much attention to immersion.
Speaking of which, this was the first time my Charr, who has been primarily staying in human and Charr zones working to help the peace treaty to stay more or less RP background and lore-appropriate, got to the Sylvari areas. And got to see Ventari’s tablet. (Screenshotting it was not easy, the stupid camera still needs some work done on it.)
It looks like the real deal, all right, and if you bothered with a New Krytan translation, you’d see that someone took the trouble to inscribe the tenets onto it.
I only bothered to check the first two lines, “Live life well, and fully, and waste nothing” and “Do not fear difficulty. Hard ground makes strong roots” so the rest of it could be an ad for dish soap as far as I know, but I doubt it, GW loves their lore. (The rest of the tenets can be read by referring to the Ventari Tablet wiki page.)
When you’re in the Dream, Arah looks glorious. Golden foggy and far away, but glorious. I can’t wait until I can get there for real, and see what has happened in the wake of the Elder Dragon, which I guess, is the point of setting up the foreshadowing.
There are a couple more optional conversations with Dream reflections of Destiny’s Edge, which allude to the storyline in the book, and explains a little more on why they’re all so screwed up now.
In a way, it’s very clever. One needs signature characters in an MMO in order to have some lore, but the signature characters, if too heroic, are always in danger of overshadowing the player character, making the player feel like Gandalf’s errand boy or playing a second-string story alongside the real protagonists’ stories.
GW1 lucked into avoiding this when players developed a fondness for Gwen, a happy child who hero-worshipped the PC in the tutorial (so we still feel important) and a general tragedy befell everyone, making folks wonder about her fate. Then the clever writers decided to revisit her and screw her up a little by the time we meet her again all grown up. A good story is all about characters who change, in significant ways.
In GW2, we have a merry band of adventurers, who, opposite from stereotype, are no longer all together and one big happy family. Quite the opposite, they’re all at each other’s throats, and while it would be a pretty grand culmination to see them working together to defeat the dragon -based on you, the exceptional hero actually managing to resolve their differences – some days, it feels like you’re never really going to get to that point. We’ll see. (I attempted Twilight Arbor storymode a while ago and -somebody- ran away again. My Charr bias is showing.)
There’s a rousing general’s speech and a grand melee involving the three combined Orders of the land and a couple of undead giants (remember giant of Nageling? Corrupt it, then x2, but scale it down somewhat for being on your lonesome.)
I never fail to be awed by the number of NPCs, friendlies and enemies, this game can put out at any one time. And really, why not? I’ve always thought more MMOs should give a player more NPC allies. If you’ve a support or healing focused build, this may give you more a fighting chance, and the downed/defeated/revival mechanic means that even if smashed into the dirt, you can still get the NPC up again and it’s not the end of the world, game over, repeat escort mission and curse the NPC AI.
Some of the Orrian mobs also reminded me of Enchanted Weapons of GW1 fame. That’s all you see of them, their weapons. Egads, so you sort of end up guessing their class/skills, moving out of their attacks and prioritizing through guesswork based only on that. On the bright side, they drop heavy bones. I haven’t seen much of bone chips and bone shards and their ilk, it’s probably the zones I’ve been staying in, but I really want them to craft armor with stats I want.
And at the very end of the entire vision, you see this,
as the most spectacular Jeremy Soule music begins a triumphant heralding as you finish one last conversation with the Pale Tree’s Avatar, who tells you, it is time to face The Gate Guardian.
Ascending more steps into the golden glow, and it really is like Ascension in a sense, where you’re symbolically confronting some manner of guardian being (though not a doppelganger in this case,) you see It as a silhouette in the distance as the music swells to a crescendo, leaving you charged with maximum awesome.
It was one of the most spectacular fights ever, thanks to all the buildup. Also, thankfully, not too difficult, as it would really have ruined the whole experience if I had to keep restarting from a checkpoint. Just watch for the queued up big attack, avoid it, and one should be fine.
And just when you think it cannot get any better than this and the Dream ends and you’re back to “reality” in the Pale Tree’s Grove, they give you the absolute kicker of a choice.
Big big spoiler warning in the following pic, watch out:
Oh god. Your metagaming self knows -exactly- what is going to happen. Your worst fear is the one that is going to come to pass. That’s what choice picking in this game does, after all, it sets up the branches of your storyline.
It’s beautiful storytelling. How can you be a hero, a proper changed hero with a character arc and all, if you do not confront your fears?
There is no best choice. They’re all bad, in a good way. Potentially devastating to the character, but awesome roleplay story potential and sets up crazy anticipation waiting for the shoe to drop.
Immediately I want to make more alts so that I can see all the branches of the storyline again, dammit. I hope their maximum number of character slots is a really high number.
For the record, I’m playing a paladin-like goodhearted compassionate Guardian on this playthrough (he even helped the Skritt cos they’re so cute, even though most Charr must think of them as little thieving pests), so I went with the first choice. It’s going to set me up for tragedy later, I’m sure.
I’m dreading the arrival of that fate already. (But in a really good way.)
Stand in the desert. . . . Near them, on the sand,
Half sunk a shattered visage lies, whose frown,
And wrinkled lip, and sneer of cold command,
Tell that its sculptor well those passions read
Which yet survive, stamped on these lifeless things,
The hand that mocked them, and the heart that fed;
And on the pedestal, these words appear:
My name is Ozymandias, King of Kings;
Look on my Works, ye Mighty, and despair!
Nothing beside remains. Round the decay
Of that colossal Wreck, boundless and bare
The lone and level sands stretch far away.”
— Percy Bysshe Shelley, 1818
All right, all right, so it’s really a female warrior statue known as The Lonely Vigil. Maybe Turai Ossa (aka the Ghostly Hero) can be Ozy.
And when you get up closer, it ostensibly falls and collapses to form a bridge, though the wiki says one never sees it actually happen.
With that, the Wayfarer’s Reverie of Tyria ends. Being an opportunist, I poked my head into the Crystal Overlook to pick up the teleporter waypoint for the Elona quest too, getting fantastic screenshots along the way.
I love the Crystal Desert and the Arid Sea. Besides it being the place of Ascension, which makes it feel especially memorable, it is wide and flat and open, making loop backs and cursing and swearing less likely. And despite it being desert, there’s so much to see.
The gorgeous sky, the bones, the ancient ruins that keep calling to mind Ozymandias and wonder about this specific set of fantastical ancient peoples whose civilization has been lost to the sands, not to mention, Forgotten (pun intended.)
Oh, and hydras. (Ancient farming memories, anyone?)