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?)
Here’s a whirlwind screenshot tour of the rest of the Wayfarer’s Reverie: Tyria.
Picturesque minotaur corpse contributed by a friendly volunteer who jumped me with heroes flagged away, while I was in the midst of waiting for snow wolves to wander into the frame. None of the wolf shots were too great, but he was perfect.
Makes me want to scream “Dovahkiin!” at the top of my lungs. Yes, it does. It’s no Throat of the World, but comes pretty close.
Again, the tiniest of immersive details struck me while in the snowy landscape. Your breath mists.
There’s no real game reason why one would need to establish that this map is cold, snowy and that you’re at high altitude. Who the hell turns to look at their mouth while coming across and fighting a swarm of red dots every minute? But the detail is there anyway.
If you are still, as I was, with the interface hidden away and waiting to take a screenshot, you may also notice, as I did, that the trees in this area move. They sway ever so subtly in the wind.
I truly wonder how much subconsciously this creates an impact in our minds, that leaves us with the impression that this landscape is… hyper-real, almost, with that beautiful fantasy acrylic painting look.
I wonder how much of the overarcing story was known then during Prophecies. Whether he was just a random NPC in a teeny outpost that someone later decided to give extra meaning to, or if he already had some manner of grand destiny from the get go.
I managed to stitch two screenshots together (somewhat) to show The Falls from top to base. It’s nice, but honestly, imo, not worth the trouble to get here. The jungle sucks, with all that necessity to double back and climb on non-obvious tree trunks to get from place to place. There’s a better waterfall in Pre-Searing, if I recall. Perhaps we’ll go there one of these days.
Cool immersion detail: check the featured image of The Falls at the top of this post to see the little carnivorous plant in the lower right corner. Jungle. So yep, carnivorous plant. Flytrap of some sort, no doubt.
If you ask me, these are much nicer to look at in the jungle areas. I keep wondering what they are. Are they the alien dwellings of some strange race in the jungle? But you don’t see much of anything besides lots and lots of spiders, scarabs and oakhearts.
On the other hand, they are distinctly plant-like, they look like they’re growing from that gigantic root/stem/branch thing, and have sundew like structures on the “roof.”
Could it be?
In this jungle of carnivorous plants, have these things adapted their traps to capture -humans- that wander in, attracted like moths by the light, seeking shelter?
Off to the Ice Cave to find the Temple of Lyssa.
Interior of the Ice Cave. What a stark contrast to the outside.
ArenaNet is in love with god rays, but you gotta admit, they use them to such stunning effect.
I couldn’t resist jumping the Ice Beast at the back of the cave, and it took some wiki’ing to remember what the Spectral Essence it dropped was for. Oh, armor infusion! How long ago it was since I needed to worry about that. I normally infuse with the story mission, but it was good to see there was an alternative.
And it was, that a stranger came to the village of Wren seeking shelter and employment. Though young in years, her body was stooped and twisted, her flesh eaten by disease.“Ye have the mark of plague upon ye,” said the citizen named Gallrick. “Leave this place lest you sicken our people.”
“I’ve lost my family and my home,” cried the desperate woman. “Have you no heart?”
Yet each person, in turn, did look away.
Then from the crowd came a young woman, Sara. She looked upon the woman with pity. “If you need help,” said Sara, “I will give it.” And Sara did approach the gnarled, bent woman and did offer her a helping hand.
Then the sickened woman pulled from her body the robes of plague, revealing Herself to be the goddess Lyssa.
The people of Wren fell to their knees, begging Lyssa’s mercy. But lifting Sara gently, saith She, “True beauty is measured not by appearance but by actions and deeds. Many have eyes, but few have seen. Of all here, you saw the beauty behind the illusion. And you alone shall be blessed with My gifts.”
Scriptures of Lyssa: 45 BE
I knelt to invoke the avatar of Lyssa, since I couldn’t remember what it looked like any longer.
Well, it morphs. From something feline-like, to that of a woman’s face. And suddenly, I realized that the face on the pillars that I wondered about two or three posts earlier, well, it’s probably Lyssa. Perhaps this was a ruined temple of Lyssa’s once upon a time.
Coming up, one of my favorite places in Tyria, the Arid Sea and the Crystal Desert.
I have no Ancient Times stories about Rotscale. I doubt I explored that far.
Even if I did eventually wander into Majesty’s Rest, it was generally a case of “I came, I saw, I died. Repeatedly.”
But I do have tremendous respect for him. How could you not? He sits up on a rise, the King of the Dracoliches, flanked by the most scary-looking Council of Undead Dragons of Way Higher Level Than 20, ready to challenge all comers.
The flaming Balthazar statue and the entourage of smoke phantoms herald the path toward him.
It was probably only a couple years ago that I felt ready to attempt taking on Rotscale, with a more sturdy Paragon and slightly better built heroes. There were a lot of solo experiments, failed attempts to pull, many deaths, frustration with Frozen Soil, much Googling of ancient forum posts dating back to 2006-2007 and in the end, maybe a 25-50% chance of defeating him and his gang on Normal Mode, don’t even begin to talk about Hard Mode.
There were vague memories of having a much easier time during the Halloween festival. At the time, I wasn’t sure why, but the next Halloween refreshed my memory as to why. One got a whole contingent of Candy Corn Men to help out.
Somewhere through the painful learning process, it eventually hit me that the statue of Balthazar might be there for a reason, and there was such a thing as /kneeling in front of altars. Oh hey, a buff! Many buffs!
I might have wanted to prove that I could do it without ‘outside’ help at the time. These days, my advice to anyone wanting to fight Rotscale. Take the buff. Take all the buffs you need. It’s a lot less painful. The key is not to let anyone die and Frozen Soil screw you over, so buff up those heroes’ hp and their regen (and your own) by any means necessary.
A year ago, in 2011, I decided it was finally time for the ultimate test. A Majesty’s Rest vanquish. Yep, Hard Mode Rotscale. He still kicked my ass around the place, so eventually, sometime during Halloween, this happened:
Note the insane number of buffs I threw on. Consets, the altar buff, probably candy of various sorts or whatever. The Candy Corn Men came along for the vanquish too, but I think they all wiped during the big push. Even my heroes have been downed twice somewhere along the way.
The fight was pretty colossal and raid-like in scope for me being by my lonesome. Literally minutes went by as we kept stalemating his hp and trying to drive it ever so slightly lower.
Eventually, it gave out and I was the happy owner of a golden icon signifying a successful area vanquish. Epic.
I gotta admit in retrospect that my hero builds were still not as good as they could be. Their gear is not entirely ideal. And didn’t have Panic yet, for example.
These days, I take Gwen and Vekk around as double mesmers, able to switch between panic or energy surge builds as needed and very interrupty. (I take Vekk for a number of reasons: I spent quite a while kitting out his gear with ludicrous amounts of +energy, I hate the look of the other mesmer heroes, and who can resist a snotty Asura? He can also switch to searing flames elementalist as needed.)
But hey, a win is a win, even if it’s 5 years after others have done it and with more effort than thou.
For the Wayfarer’s Reverie, I went in Normal Mode, something I was confident of getting done with just altar buffs and no need for strange confluences of buffs and overkill.
While taking screenshots, in extreme nostalgia mode and thus paying close attention to the scenery, I noticed something I never took conscious note of before.
Bugs. Red bugs. In the grasses off the road, if you walk into them, there are huge swarms of little red bugs flying around, and if you listen to the ambient sound, there are distinct cricket-like insect-y sounds.
They’re tiny little sprites at best, but, I mean, wow. Someone went through the trouble of putting such tiny barely noticeable detail into the map. Just for… I dunno, subconscious ambience?
Seriously, who pays attention to itty bitty red beetles when one is worrying about how to best place oneself to defeat Rotscale?
But they’re there. Just because.
Talk about immersion and ArenaNet not doing things halfway. Mad props and kudos.
One hectic fight later, where happily, no one died, it was time to claim the quest waypoint in style.
ArenaNet has to be the cleverest game company there is. In the wake of the ever-so-successful Hall of Monuments (the best tribute to lateral progression and over-achievement there ever was) and the build up to Guild Wars 2, what do they do but give Guild Wars 1 its last hurrah, so to speak?
Or rather, one final celebratory encore (since GW1 is not going away, even as the great beast of GW2 at last slouches around the corner,) inviting all of its players to revisit and pay its beauty a respectful toast?
To absent friends, lost loves, old gods, and the season of mists…
Moreover, they are so clever, that they’re making it a shared experience with the excuse of the festival/event of the Wayfarer’s Reverie. Without it, surely some of us would still have made our way in trickles to say farewell (for now), but by making a quest out of visiting some memorable scenic sights, what better way to make sure that more people are able to follow the structure and see what they might have missed (having not seen it for years, or perhaps even, not seen at all.)
As usual, the difficulty level of the quests in Guild Wars has an interesting structure. The more you’ve played, the more you’ve explored, the more places on the map you’ve unlocked with a character, the easier the quest is to get to, generally speaking. Newer players (or a not-so-much played character) tend to find cross country quests more intimidating, as there are so many towns and outposts that aren’t unlocked that one could shortcut from. So it ends up a quest to get TO the outpost (fighting through however many necessary zones or story missions), before the actual quest.
Then there’s the additional layer of player set difficulty. For ultimate face roll, go on normal mode, dump in as many heroes as you can, and presumably all your characters have uber PvXwiki builds like Discordway necros, SoS rits, panic mesmers and what not. Or wander around solo if your build is strong enough. Hard mode generally ramps up the time taken and challenge factor. If you want to min max on time, it’s probably possible to equip a running build and just runrunrun like hell to the quest spots.
I popped in to work on the Wayfarer’s Reverie: Tyria quest. I’m not in a blinding hurry to rush through quest completion, I hit 30/50 some time ago and pretty much decided I’d scraped the ceiling of what I could do without insane grinding, so I experimented with a number of those difficulty levels as my mood took me. A Tormented weapon would be nice if I manage to make it to the end of all four quests by the 25th or 30th, but it’ll only give me 1 more point, fairly meaningless in the larger scheme of things. The true goal was nostalgia.
My wannabe Imbagon paragon was the main of choice, though I was still halfway through getting all the Old Ascalon areas unlocked and accessible for him. My original Prophecies character, a ranger, has been sadly shelved for a long time. I just couldn’t get my head around how to play at long range and he just seemed weaker than the paragon at keeping the whole pack of heroes alive.
I don’t recall how much of Factions I’ve unlocked on him, I may use the Factions warrior when the time comes. Ditto for Eye of the North, which was both attempted on the ranger and the paragon. (Oh, what utter confusion it is to try to have a native character per campaign. In hindsight, should have stuck with one, but how was an altholic supposed to know and resist?)
The paragon didn’t have Serenity Temple unlocked, so I ended up tromping my way through Pockmark Flats and hit the crystal first, before making my way to the temple. I did this one solo, on normal mode, and got pretty good drops of the Wayfarer’s Reverie token while 2-3 shotting every teeny lowbie mob that crossed my path.
I also found some really old screenshots while preparing this post, so old, they were saved in .bmp format, which was an extra nostalgia hit. They were taken in January of 2005. Which presumably means taken during the beta preview weekends, since Guild Wars launched in April 2005. I’ve only edited out my character’s names, since I wasn’t smart enough to remove UI then. Everything else is as it was, lower monitor resolution and graphical setting, no henchman names or levels in the party UI, etc.
I get huge hits of emotional resonance whenever I look upon a Shrine of Melandru. I figure this has to do with my first character being a ranger, and the pre-Searing ranger quest which has you go up to a Shrine and tame one of Melandru’s stalkers as your first ever pet.
That said, mad props and huge respect to Guild Wars for creating such a believable pantheon and putting those graphical touches EVERYWHERE in the game. One look, and you know which altar belongs to Grenth (the Death dude), Balthazar (warrior, sword, fire), Dwayna (blue, angel wings, air), Lyssa (twins) and so on. The lore seeps into you, whether you’re aware of it or not.
And I’ve always thought it such an awesome touch that you can /kneel before the altars and to reward that tiny bit of roleplaying, an avatar of the said god will actually pop up. In some special instances, they’ll offer buffs (but they’re not adverse to you paying them first!) or transport you to really special places, and so on.
I had a fair bit of trouble getting to Flame Temple Corridor for the next landmark on the sightseeing trip, mostly because everything was a big patch of fog in that area. A long time ago, I’d started the paragon on the Great Northern Wall mission, intending to work on the Young Heroes of Tyria book in hard mode, stopped at Fort Ranik and happily dropped everything the moment I hit 30/50 on the Hall of Monuments.
So I made myself cleave slow and steadily through Fort Ranik and Ruins of Surmia missions on hard mode – not that they’re hard, mind you, but they’re time consumingly tedious to roll through – a million and one ‘trash mob’ fights, back and forth to finish the bonus and to wind one’s way around paths one cannot jump down and purposefully placed to make one loop around in circles wondering when one’ll ever get to the end, each eats about an hour just jogging from fight to fight.
It was surprisingly nostalgic to go through them though. At the time, it all looked brown and barren and depressing and filled with endless charr and scorpions and neverending. Now, it still looks like all of the above, but with a little extra spice to the grim bleakness.
Hey, look, it’s the Wall. The one you spend so much bloody time climbing and jumping and clambering over in Guild Wars 2 to get a skill point! Likely not the exact same section of it, but there’s that link, that connection.
And then there are the Flame Effigies. These don’t move, but the family resemblance is there. And it’s amazing how Guild Wars 1 manages to light and make these things look like they’re burning away in such an old game.
I was quite amazed to realize I’d taken a screenshot of the same thing 7 years apart, without prior reference back to the old one. I guess I really like shooting siege machines and wanted to remember it.
Prince Rurik in the Ruins of Surmia. Ah, the horrifying thrill of escort NPC quests as you chase them down screaming, OMG DON’T DIE DON’T DIE, WAIT FOR TEH HEALZ. His redeeming quality, that beautiful flaming dragon sword everyone covets. Wish we could have let him die and then picked up the sword.
Despite better behaved AI, having his hp bar in the party UI, three discordway necros – two sporting rit heals and one with prot monk aegis and stuff – and my paragon’s “there’s nothing to fear,” he almost contrived a successful suicide when I had gotten too comfortable with him behaving and following my party and took a right turn to begin working on the bonus. Then I suddenly realized he’d taken the left turn, towards a closed drawbridge with two Charr and no one else following him except maybe another NPC. Mind you, hard mode, so I couldn’t trust his level 20 self to finish them both at lvl 23 without a scratch. I credit my heroes being able to cast spells through the cliff wall for saving his bacon as I raced back around and up to pull his arse out of the fire.
Now this really brings back memories. The confusion of trying to find “Flame Keepers” to follow, while the Ember Bearers troop down the hill behind you. The ignorance and impatience of youth freely aggro’ing them on purpose and by accident (aggro radius, aggro circle, what the heck are those? See red dot means KILL!) before they can even get to the gate they’re supposed to unlock. Finally, slowly working out that you can indeed let mobs remain alive for 15 or so seconds longer, long enough for them to pull open the gate before you charge.
But now, of course, piece of cake. And all the previous pain of Charr fire elementalists throwing around meteor shower, gone, the only real uncertainty is whether you’ll kill them normally through a steady spear barrage while your heroes discord them, or whether pain inverter will recharge fast enough to watch them blow themselves up by meteor showering the minions swarming them.
I eventually got to Nolani Academy, and then sidetreked off to find the Flame Temple corridor. Now this one I don’t really have memories of. I didn’t even know the place existed until it came time to do the Titan quests, which was only a few years ago, fairly recent. I suspect I must have just gotten pasted by the massive packs of Charr, and hurried away, unwilling to explore a bonus zone without any quests pointing me that way. Or maybe I got there but pushed into Dragon’s Gullet without ever looking backward because it was just a halfway zone.
Not bad looking, but no nostalgia value for me. I poked my head into Dragon’s Gullet long enough to get a screenshot of a rock painting that held distinctly more nostalgia value and remembrance. It’s probably meant to depict Balthazar.
Up next, looking back on the absolute ultimate nostalgia quest of Prophecies – the Villainy of Galrath.