The secrets hidden in Season 3 laid bare for the first time at GuildMag.








Explore the meaning behind On e Path End’s sacred texts of the human gods.
We uncover the impact of June’s PvP update with Jebro and Gladomer.
LORE & HI S TORY SHADOWS & FLAMES Recap the entirety of Season 3 with Starconspirator.



39 WHO ARE THE D RUID S? Draconis Mons revealed more about these ancient spirits, as we uncover.
54 TO SOW THE WIND What might the origins of the tempest be? There’s more lore than you may think...
Looking for a casual-friendly guild? Minions of Grenth might be just what you’re after!


ART & FI CTION COMMUN ITY ART Delve into this issue’s collection of inspiring art, curated by Kent Benson.


WAR PR O FITEERS: PART IV - FI NALE War Profiteers concludes in Kent Benson’s last piece of writing for GuildMag.


LEGA CY Zachariah’s story continues in Inheritanc e as he comes across an old face...




SEA SON 3 LORE: THE IMPOR TANT PARTS There were many plot threads in Season 3; here’s the important lore you missed.
22 INTERV IEW: COMPE TITIV E FEATURE PA C K We interview popular streamers Gladomer and Jebro on the latest PvP features. EDITORI ALS 16 CHA SING D R AG ONS How does Season 3 compare to its predecessor? Miko takes a closer look.
59 THE DIFFERENC E ELITE SPECI ALI SATIONS MAKE With Heart of Thorns truly over, Draxynnic explores how elite specs changed the professions.
2 GUILDMAG #20 | In This Issue









We lcom e to our tw entieth m agazine is s ue! Path of Fire is ext rem ely close, so in t hi s i ssu e we’r e t a k ing a r e tr os pective look at Season 3 in preparation for the e xpan sio n!

the team

WRITERS Kent Benson, Starconspirator, Vian de Bod COP YEDITORS Talus, Kalaba jooie
D ESIGNERS Xeroe CONTRIBUTORS Miko, Kora Join our aw esome team
It’s happenin g - Path of F ire is almost upon us! Th e game’s second expansion is just about to hit, and although we’re r eleasing this magazine la ter than planned, the conten t inside is just as r elevant as ever. In this issue, we delve into everything Season 3 has to o ff er: Draxy nnic reveals the important lore you may have missed; Starconspira tor recaps the story i n its entirety; an d Miko explores how this lates t season compares to that of its predecessor. On top o f that, you’ll also fi nd insights
into each of the parables of the human gods scattered throughout the magazin e. Both Drax ynnic and guest writer Kora (@GuildLores on Twitter) have worked hard to decipher the meaning behin d these sacred texts u ncovered in Siren’s Landi ng so start flicking through these pages to find them! Just as in previous issues, art and fiction also fea ture in this magazine. Kent Benson presents his last ever round- up of community artwork (don’t worry, we’ll con tinue publishing aw esome pieces in future issues!), this time featuring pieces inspired by Season 3. He also contin ues
his War Pro fi teers fi ction series with i ts fourth and fi nal chapter, whilst writer Vian advances Legacy wit h its second instalment. We’ve also lined up a n interview with Gladomer and Jebro two popular Guild Wars 2 streamers taking a look a t June’s updat es for PvP and WvW and the e ff ect o n the competitive community. Finally, I’d like to thank you for continu ing t o support GuildMag. Our next magazine will b e o ur 2 017 Annual, w ith proceeds going towards char ity - so stay tuned to!
Editor’s Letter | GUILDMAG #20





FR IE NDS In this issue we say goodbye to two veteran team members: Miko and Kent. As both move on to bi g ger thin gs , w e wish them the best for whateve r the future may hold and thank them for their years of dedication to GuildMag.



hen Guild Wars 2 launch ed, I was oblivious to the fan community out there and the amazing talent to be fou nd amongst its con tent
creators. As I leveled up my fi rst characters to 80, I started searching online to see what othe r players might b e discussing abou t the game and what builds they were experimenting with . Then I foun d GuildMag. Th e fansi te cau ght my a ttention in th ree w ays: its weekly commu nity rou nd-up posts; its podcast; and its digital magazine. Gu ild Mag was m y gateway to connect with pla yers creating builds a nd theorycra fting their e ff ectiveness; it brought me in touch w ith fan fi ction writers and fan artists; it helped me understan d Guild Wars lore; and it helped me fi nd players excited by the ways Tyria changed because of the Living W orld ArenaNe t created. Of these three types of content, it was GuildMag’s podcast - called Dynamically Spoken in those d ays - that made me a fan of this group of content creators. So when a call went out on Twitter that they were lookin g for writers, I jumped at the chance to see if the admins thought I could help them tell Tyria’s stories. I joined the team
in the winter of 2 013 with GuildM ag Issu e 10: F rozen Tales , writing the opening exploration article of one of my favorite areas of the game : the Shiverpeaks (and stealing my character’s name for my penname). A year later, Valiant asked me to become the content manager for the site as he began his tenure as sole administrator and the team set for th on a new chapter of our history. I never imagined in 2 013 that I’d get involved with so man y of GuildMag’s productions from website articles, the GuildMag Podcast, to magazine editorshi p and print magazines. It’s with a heavy heart that I walk away from GuildMag eleven issues later, but I’m proud of the team I’ve worked with, and how everyone has grown and become stronger in the conten t we’ve created. I’ll miss collaborating with this wonderful team who I kn ow w ill continue to delight all of us with their professi onal and fun magazines, and so much more. I’ll especially miss collaborating with Valiant w h o’ s taught m e so much about magazine design, podcasting and streaming, and in dulged a lot of my craziest ideas for the site, and who, in the end, has made a raider out of me. Thank you GuildMag! You’ll forever have your bigges t fan in me. <3
’ve never liked endings because of the uncertainty that follows afterwards, but here I a m at such a point. I joined GuildMag over three years ago, and wrote m y fi rst magazine artic le for Issue 11: Scarlet’s Journal titled “Lightn in g Strikes: The Rise of the Aetherblades.” It was a lore piece detailing what we kn ew abou t the group, which I took becau se I fou nd the Aetherblade pirates so interesting. I think what I was so impressed with back then was the digging I had to do through interviews and articles for lore on the group because there wasn’t a lot. I had to dissect the facts and attempt to decipher what their origins were and w here they w ere going and i t s still a loos e thread to this day. Mai Trin is still at large and who kn ows what the Aetherblad es have been up to? I’d love to see those high-tech tough customers again, honestly. See what I’ve done? I’ve distracted myself with all of this nostalgia, though I’m not sure it can be h elped. I’ve enjoyed much of th e work I’ve d one for GuildMag over the past 10 issues I’ve been a part of, sans my totally NOT awkward interview with Colin Johanson an d Isaiah Cartwright a t PAX East (they were still gracious about it, thank the gods). Ultimately,
things changed a bit when I started my work in QA, so I turned to writing “Thrifty Threads,” “Community Art Spotlight,” and m y fan- fi ction “War Pro fi teers.” That’s where I’m choosin g to close this particular chapter in the Guild Wars 2 fandom, with Rilana, Iyone, and Greer’s own fi nale. I’m shooting for slightly further stars and I need all the time, energy, and focus to get there. I’ll miss all of you readers and I’ll de fi nitely miss the GuildMag team. There’s noth i n g quite like GuildMag in the community , at least, not that I’ve seen. So if you’re a fan of the game looking to write about Guild Wars and its lore, I recom mend applying. They’re always looking for fresh faces and new stories . See you in Tyria, Kent B.





6 GUILDMAG #20 | LORE - Season 3 Lore : The Important Parts
s the third Living Story season reaches its conclusion, we have seen a number of revelations being dropped about the lore of Tyria. Some of these have been tied directly to the main plot and are di ffi cult to miss; these include th e spectrum theory of the nature of magic and its interactions with the Elder Dragons, and the apparently fi nal conclusion of the long- running plot thread of th e White Mantle and the last of the mursaat. However , the third season has also been fi lled w ith a number of various lore tidbits t ha t can be found through letters and conversations within the instances and the maps of each episode. In this a rticle, I seek to highlight some of these side piec es of lore in each episod e that might
have been missed, and the ram i fi cations that these items might have for future storylines. The primary focus o f the fi rst episode of Season 3 is th e bloodston e and, accordingly, most of the lore that ca me in this episode related to the bloodstones, mostly throu gh the journals of Bauer, Valis, and Kasandra. For a star t, we received con fi rmation of something that had been long suspected : the W hite Mantle have a means of transferring soul s trapped in th e Bloodstone into a n otherwise unidenti fi e d ‘auxiliary storage device’ (possibly similar to those use d b y the I ron Legio n ). This woul d explain how souls sacri fi ced on bloodstones close to Kryta



Out of the Shadows

LORE - Season 3 Lore: The Important Parts | GUILDMAG #20
could be transferred t o the ‘soul batter ies’ that locked the Door of Komalie in Abaddon’s Mouth . In addition, w e get our fi rst real descript ion of what a bloodston e physically is. In the journals, the bloodston e is described as having a rocky exterior (which is what we see in Guild Wars: Prophecies and Eye of the North ), but the inside i s described as being like a geode, hollow and fi lled with red crystals. It would be interesting if blood stones of other magic sc hools had di ff erent colours, but Aren a Net seems t o have gon e with the blood’ theme, makin g the crystals of all of the stone s red. These crystals seem to be h ow the bloodstone ‘stores’ magic - as th e bloodston e absorbs magic (as it did when the Dragon s died) it expands, likely to make room for more cr ystals. Wh en th e bloodstone is cut open, magic seeping out leads to form ation of crystals on the outside, near the location of the opening. While bound up in the crystal, the magic appear s to be difficult to extract, but can be accessed through implanting the crystal i nto a subj ect, or extra cted using specia l tools created by the Seers. One particularly interesting plot point is the insanity and magic a ddic tion caused by bloodstone magic, w hi c h raises an interesting q uestion:
is i t bloodston e magic speci fi cally that ca uses this addiction, or is it a property of h igh concentrations of magic generally? If the latter, it might explain the beha viour of the Elder Dragons: while dragons appear t o have higher tolerance for ma gic than humans, charr, and asura do, i t is possible tha t the Elder Dragons were once less destructive beings that overgorged themselves on magi c. Most of the revelations from Episode 2 were made in the form of major plot revelations , which have been discussed elsewhere. Namely, that magic appear s to be divi ded into a ‘spectrum’; and that the surviving Elder Dragons have been absorbing parts of the magical spectrum that ha d been released by the deaths of Zhaitan and Mordremoth. One interesting r evelation from the lore tablets scattere d around the mursaat ruins is that the Forgotten and mursaa t worked closely together before the latter’s desertion, launching a joint attack on Zhai tan t ha t fa iled due to lack of support from the other races. From th e perspective of the mursaat, this lack of su pport was itself a betraya l, which justi fi ed their l ater abandonment of the cause. However, this does support the theory that the similarity o f a ppea rance between mursaat armour
and Forgotten constructs may be n o coincidence, but may be a consequence of th e time when the mursaat and Forgotten cooperated against the Elder Dragons. Perhaps more signi fi cant, however, is w hat we see on the dwarves. While the dwarves ha ve been presented as being relatively light on m agic compared to the mursaa t and Forgotten (although still competitive against modern races at the time o f the origina l Gu ild Wars ), in Rising Flames w e see t h a t t h e d warves have device s capable of holding back a volcanic eruption. If they can do s o here, could there also be other pla ces which are held back by similar means? And could th e technology being used by asura in Mt. M a elstro m be related in som e manner? More interesting, potentially, is the fa ct of Rhoban’s survival despite having been liter ally broken to pieces. While the dwarves have generally been considered to have fo ught their way into e ff ective extinction, this does render the possibility that any stone dwarf could be rendered totally unable to fi ght or move on his or her own accord, b ut still ‘alive’ enough to in teract with other races if found. Might there be other similar ly im mobilised dwarves in the Depths, with further knowledge to impart if they were to be located and recovered ?

Rising Flames

8 GUILDMAG #20 | LORE - Season 3 Lore : The Important Parts
Episode 3 brought a considerable amount of new lore, m ost ly related to the kodan. W hile we’ve know n for a while that the kodan believed that their role in ancient times was to shepher d the ancient spirits of Tyria in Koda’s name, her e we have the fi rst case wher e this belief has evidence to back it up. The kodan of Sorrow ’s Eclipse were apparently tasked with guid in g the ‘Spirit of Fire’, teaching it to balance the destructive and creative aspects o f fi re u ntil it had learned all it could from the kodan and moved on from Tyria . The ancient ma gic of Koda’s Flame i s formed from the fl ames the fi re spi rit left behind, which have been maintained by the ko dan of Sorrow’s Eclipse ever since. The departure of the Spiri t of Fire from Tyria does raise for a n interesting lin e of speculation, given that the plot of Season 3 has n ow
turned out to be the return of a powerful entity of fi re t o Tyria from the Mists. Could there be some connection between the spirit o f fi re once tended by the kod an and Balthaza r? Might the spirit have then gone o n to be the fi rst god to take Ba lthazar’s role i n the pantheon, having been replaced and absorbed by new entities over time unti l Balthazar came to b e the mos t recent holder o f the mantle? Furthermore, this is not the only spirit that ha s been guided by the kod an . The Flamebearers mention tha t other kodan tribes hav e guided other spirits; those o f stone, water, plants, birds, an d “creeping things” - and this list may not be all-inclusive. This raises the possibility that other spirits, including t he animal spirits of the norn, might once have been raised by kodan. In turn, this raises up the possibility that we have seen evidence of past con fl ict
between the kodan and the norn. Pl ayers of E ye of t he North may remember Egil Fireteller describing spirits of “mountains, seasons, fi re and darkness” as adversar ies to be fought. Such a descrip tio n may indicate that there have been hostilities between the norn and the tribes of kodan responsible for guidin g those spirits in the past, leading the norn t o believe that those spirits are hostile. This m ay lend some credence to the kodan story that the norn originated from a band of fallen kodan. With regards t o the current band o f kodan, w e n ote that the Flamebearers a ppea r to be training quaggans to take their place. An aqu atic specie s seems a curious choice for a race t o safeguard their h oly fi res, but perhaps desperatio n has resulted in this m ove. Rela tively few kodan ar e to be seen aro und the Sorrow’s Eclipse sanctuary - the kodan there might fear that they ma y soon be extinct, and t hu s the y

A Crack in the Ice

LORE - Season 3 Lore: The Important Parts | GUILDMAG #20
need to pass o n their legacy t o another race to avoid it from being lost forever. And that may be an importan t legacy to maintain. While Taimi believes that Jormag an d Primordus are each other’s weaknesses, her r esearch seems to indicate tha t it is fi re ma gic that is Jorma g’s weakness, not Primordus speci fi cally - the other Elder Dragon i s simply th e biggest concentration of fi re magic around.
The fl ames left behind by the Spirit of Fire, however, might also be su ffi cient to destroy Jormag, should a sc ena rio arise where that is better tha n the alternative. I t may b e no coincidence that the resting place of the scroll Braha m used to enchant Eir ’s bow was foun d nearby. Similar to Episode 2, most of the lore that came in Episode 4 was part of the main p lot and thus di ffi cult to miss. The letters found in Cau decus’ Manor con fi rm that he was pretty much responsible for everything bad that has happened to Kryta in previou s years that were not r elated to the Dragons or Scarlet . This included some things that had n ot previously been clea rly linked: the Floating Grizwhirl, the attempt on Jennah’s life at Caudecus’ Manor, and possibly even the intensi fi cation of the centaur war through the massacre of the Ulgoth’s family. Interestingly, it also turns out that Caudecus might have been partially responsible for saving the life of th e human orphan PC, by giving E warning of the a ttempted assassination - an action apparently motivated by Caudecus’ desire t o eliminate Confessor Esthel so h e could claim the title for himself. Speaking of E , w e a lso get another hint as to their identity and history, in their
usage o f Order of Whispers codes: suggesting that E is either a Whispers agent, or someone who has worked with (or in fi ltrated) them before. Most o f the obscure new lore that c ame with Season 5 related to the druids. Sin ce this represents a full top ic entirely in its own right that expands on a mystery that wa s presented in the original Guil d Wars , readers ar e r eferred to the a rticle “Who Are The Druids?” o n page 39. This article explores the dr uid’s origins as once-corporea l beings that ascended t o spirit form and their beliefs in the balance of nature, drawing on material from the original Guild Wars a nd earlier Guild Wars 2 m ateria l as well as Episode 5. Questions can be raised abou t Zinn’s terraforming device and his means of a rriva l, however. Z inn apparently evacuated Rata Novus into Draconis Mons via asura gate, but gates normally require a receiving gate, espec ially in Zinn’s time. Did Zin n have a gate that did not require one, or had h e sent an expedition to Draconis Mons in advance? If so, how did it get there to set up a gate? Did they come in through the w ater, as we did, or did they dig their way in through the rock? If Zinn’s ter raformer is recovered, it could prove to

Head of the Snake


10 GUILDMAG #20 | LORE - Season 3 Lore: The Important Parts
be a threat or a n asset in the future, depending on whethe r it is retrieved by the In quest or the Pact. Zinn ma ximised its power by fuelling it with captive druid spir its; if the Inquest were to build th eir own, they may seek to p ower it through similar means, and possibly to use it as a weapon rather than Zinn’s more constructive goals (however devastating those goals might have been t o Dracon is Mons’ pre-exis tin g biome). Conversely, if the Pact was to obtain it and fi nd a suitable power source, it c ould be valuable in restoring location s that have been corrupted by Dragons or devastated by other disasters, such a s the ruins o f Orr . Speaking of the ruins of Orr, the fi nal ep isode gives us our fi rst real look a t what has been happening in Orr since the fall of Zhaitan and the archaeological expedition s into Arah that followed.
Here, we see e ff orts of the sylvari (including the Firs t bor n Dagonet, formerly the Pale Tree’s ambassador to Divinity’ s Reac h) not only to restore Orr , but to redeem the Risen. The interesting thing here is that we’ve know n for some time that a means to do so does exist i n Orr, using the Altar of Glaust within the Forgotten path o f the Arah explorable dungeon. So w hy are n’t the sylvari using that? Is it out of reach? Has it alr eady been used on the captive Risen, but the Risen still cling to their old loyalties despite now having the choice to d o otherwise? O r is it simply that the Altar can only process so many Risen, and the sylvari are looking for a faster a lternative? Whatever their motiv ations, what w e see suggests that most of the sylv ari experiments have b een failing. Also taking center stage is the reliquari es themselves. I t is suggested that the reliquaries
were v eiled during the time between the Exodu s and the Cataclysm, hiding th e statues of Abaddon that are, apparently, an inherent part o f the system. However, we see clear evidence that Balthazar has visited the reliquaries at some point, and in fact, this is why one of Lazarus’ aspects was here. I f this was n ot the fi rst tim e Balthazar visited the reliquaries, could this, as hyp othesised by the S hadow of the Dragon podcast, be how he acquired one of Lyssa’s mirrors with which to perform his deception ? Possibly more interestingly, could the reliquar ies hav e been visited by a m ortal just prior t o Orr’s f all? The reliquari es a re, after al l, positioned reasonably clo se to Kh ilbron’s tower, and as a powerful spellca ster and, apparently, a secret fol lower of Abaddon, it seems q uite likely that he had the means to penetrate the veil that onc e protected the reliqua ries. Could the reliquary of

One Path Ends

Nunc tempor luctus interdum | GUILDMAG #99
LORE - Season 3 Lore: The Impor
tant Parts | GUILDMA G #20
Abaddon be w here Khilbron foun d th e forbidden scroll s h e employed to invoke the Catac lysm? Beyond Orr itself, the fi nal episode of th e season did pu t the spotlight o n two importan t artifacts, both of which have ra mi fi cations for the history of Tyria - even if the one that people were expecting to see w ith L ivi a’s return , t h e S cepte r of Orr, r emains c onspicuous in its absence.
The fi rst artifact is the Shining Blade, which also serves as th e model for a newly-introduced legendary. I t is m entioned, quite casually, that the artifac t was passed onto the S hining Blade by the last of the Seers in order to be used to kill the last mursaat, before the deat h of the Seer. This revelation casts new light on a qu estion that has been hanging since t h e War i n Kryta. During that content, a Seer could be seen in the bac k of the lab being used b y Z inn and Blimm, apparently being experimented on in some fashion. Q uestions have been raised since on whether the Seer was a voluntary part of the experiment, a captive, or simply a body that had b een obtained b y the Shining Blade . The reference to an a rtifac t being gifted to the S hining Blade, one that seems to be custom-made to match their symbol (not the other way around, as the Shining Blade was formed before they fi rst encountered the Seers), suggests that the Seer was a willing ally. The second, of course, is the Eye of Janthir itself. Where previously the Eye had only been known to p erceive what is in its general ar ea, in the fi nal scene w e see it being used a s a sc rying device. While the exact method of its use is d i ff erent, could there b e some connection between th e Eye of Janthir and the scrying pool at the heart of the Eye of the North?
Upon a cold, moonless night, there came a man to a farm. The night was so dark, he carried a lit candle to find the path. The farmer heard him and called out. “What business have you here?” The farm was dark as pitch. “I seek shelter from the coming storm, said the traveler. “Would you invite me to your hearth?” The farmer feared riding out the storm in the dark, but more than  that, he feared strangers. The farmer replied, “No, I cannot.” Saddened, th e traveler wishe d the farmer well and forged onward. Farther down the hill, he found a family who gave him hospital ity. The farmer s u ffered the darkest night of his life. A tre e fell on his hous e, cru shing his leg. He did not call to Dwayna for help as he knew he didn’t deserve it. For him , the morning neve r c am e.

The Parable of


14 GUILDMAG #99 | Nunc tempor luctus interd um
t fi rst glance, the pa rable of Dwayna appears to be a simple morality tale. The farmer disobeye d Dwayna’s strictures of mercy and compassion, and therefore he could expect no help from th e goddess in turn. However, there are aspec ts t o this tal e that might indicate that something deeper is happen ing here; a context that the devout Orrians might immediately recognise w hen Krytans today might not. Wh ile the storm might appear to simply be the context for this tale of morality, i t may be signi fi cant that the danger which threatened the traveller and claimed the farmer’s life was a storm and not some other threat. After all, Dwayna is most commonly worshipped as a gentle goddess o f life and healing, but she is also the goddess of air, wind, and storms. Thus, the presence of one raises the possibility tha t this series of events was no mere happenstance, bu t instead a story of Dwayna taking vengeance on the farmer. Both Lyssa and Dwayna have been kno wn to disguise themselves to test mor tals. For instance, the Canthan hero Karei was chosen for greatness by Dwayna a fter h e refused payment from the n oble sh e had disguised herself as, and a similar test in t h e Scr i p ture o f Lyssa is well known to any scholar who studie s the gods. To the Orrians, this might have been interpreted as another test with Dw ayn a having created the storm herself and taken th e disguise of a male traveler i n order to verify the farmer’s compassion... or lack thereof. Thus, the farmer’s choice not t o beseech Dwayna for help may not simply be out of a general awareness that he could little expect help after d enying it to anoth er; instead, it may be because h e was brough t low through a means related to the goddess so soon after refusing hospitality. Thus, he may have concluded that he had been tested and found
wanting, the tree falling onto his hou se as Dwayna’s punish ment. An d if a god sees fi t to punish a mortal, can the mortal really expect the go d to help him through the pu nishment? In truth, perhaps he could have received that help had he asked if the stories of Dwayna’s mercy and compassion are true. M ayb e if the farmer had called out and asked forgiveness for the wrong he had committed, Dwayna would have relented. Alternatively, perhaps Dwayna had know n of the possibility th at the tree would fall on his h ouse, and had sent the traveller so he could have someone to help hi m in h is tim e of n eed . Ei th er way , t he fa rmer did not call for help, and for him, the morning never came.



Nunc tempor luctus interdum | GUILDMAG #99



he story starts o ff by providing the setting: a cold and dark night. Ther e is no moon in the sky t o illuminate neither the path nor p otential danger. T raditionally, societies instill a fear of moonless n ights a s times when monsters, both real and imagined, roam freely. Yet, this night, a man travels alone as he searches for a place to rest. With him, he carries a candle, a symbol of his hope that h e will be kept safe and fi nd h is way to safety. As the travel er app roach es sh elter , th e f armer who lives there hears the man and calls ou t to halt the traveler. To venture out on a night like this i s dangerous, but the farmer doesn’t ask if the traveler is in need of help. Instead, his phrasing is only concerned with what the traveler seeks to gain from the farm er. T he words the farmer uses, whil e not especiall y harsh, are also not inviting nor kind. The farmer expresses no concern for why this traveler would b e out on such a hazardous night; his only con cern is for himself. Here the t raveler n ot o nl y makes a req u est fo r aid from the farmer, he also o ff ers a gift. He gives the farmer a warning: a storm is coming. The impli cation is that b y asking the far mer to share the warmth and safety of his home, the t r av e l e r, in retu rn , o ff e rs the f a rm e r the safet y of n ot being alone when the storm hits. However, the farmer is ruled by his fear: of th e unknown; of the storm; of the dark; and most of all, of strangers. The farmer turns away the traveler and in doing so turns away his own hop e that th e world is n ot so dangerous a place. The traveler too could allow himself to be ruled b y these same fears. He could have stayed wherever he’d been before the start of the story and tried to weather o ut the storm there, but instead, he lit a candle and let his hope guide him so that he would fi nd safe refuge.
Moreover, rather than resent the farmer and throw curses at him, the traveler wishes the farmer well and continues down th e path, hoping to fi nd shelter. A family does en d up taking the traveler in. W e don’t kn ow the speci fi cs, but based on the word “family,” we can assume two parents, perhaps a child or two, and m aybe even an elder living in the residence. The old and you ng could b e easy victims t o a stranger with violent desires; i f t h e traveler wished to do so, it wouldn’t be hard to wait until the family slept to do them h arm or steal from them. A nd yet, the family takes the traveler in. They see his hope and meet it with their own. A hope that they all survive thi s night unscathed. But for the farmer who turned his back on hop e and gave into his fears, this night w ould be his last. The traveler’s warning came true. The storm arrived and brough t wreckage down upon th e farmer’s home. Injured and alone, the farmer could not escape, but h e als o c ho se n ot t o c al l o ut t o th e g od s fo r hel p ; e ve n from Dwayna, w ho was known to be merciful. He felt undeserving of her aid due to the fact that when the traveler came to him and cal led for help, he turned the man away. In his mind, why would the god dess help someone who refused to give help to others? If we look back at the de fi nition of w hat a parable is, “a simple story used to illustrate a moral or spiritual lesson, then one could say the lesson is to not give into fear, o r perhap s to not turn aw ay a person in n eed of help; however, there is also another lesson. Dwayn a is the goddess of light and life. It is h ard to believe that had the farmer called out to her - asked for her aid, and promised to spend th e rest of his life providing aid to others - that sh e would have ignored his plea. So, perhaps the real lesson in this story is in believing in your own self worth - in believing th at everyone deserves to b e saved and to have a second chance… even on e’s own self.





e’re heading back to Elona! And with Path of Fire nearly upon us, many player s are ta king a lts through Living W orld S eason s 2 and 3 as they get ready for the expansion’s story and farm materials and gold for a ny more surprise legendary trinkets Arena Net may have u p its sleeve. Replaying these stories provides a strik i ng contrast i n how t he Commander’s guild came together before Heart of Thorn s and then seemingly fail s to stay together once their objectiv es diverge and become less clear.
One of the most frequently heard op inions is that Season 2’s story is more cohesive and interesting, and does a better job of setting u p the expansion that came after it. Throughout Season 2, the Commande r and the rest of th e main characters worked toget he r t o solve th e mysteries and dangers which Scarlet Briar’s destruction of Lion’s Arch unleash ed. From the fi rst episode, “Gates of Maguuma,” the group is forced to come together and rely on each other to try and fi gure out why massive vines are invading areas and how, if at all, thi s is connected to Scarlet’s m a y hem. Right away , the characters become a bit more invested in the Seraph outpost they help to d efend in Tangle Root since Belinda Dela qua, Marjory’s sister, is sta tioned there. This reliance on

Discovering Scarle



Comparing the stor ytelling across Living World seas ons.
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character relationships becomes a common thread throughout the season . As the grou p move o ut to Dry Top, their investigation shifts to open u p two narratives : the story of Scarlet’s motives and the stor y of the Z ephyrites. These two threa d s continuall y intersect so that learning more about Scarlet’ s motives and origin weaves and helps drive th e player’s desire to know more ab out wh y the Zephyrites were attacked by another sylvari, and why their leader, the Master o f Peace, h a s fl ed. As Mordremoth’s power and reach grow , so does the story build as th e Comman der’ s group discovers the Ley-Line Hub, Omadd’s Machine, the e ff ect of magic o n the Waypoint Network, and con fi rmation that an Elder Dragon has awo ken.
Even side stories like Rytlock’s attem pt to cleanse Ascalon of the Foe fi re Curse, his subsequent disappearance into the Mists afte r Sohothin’s descent, and the still unexplained detail that the Priory holds a relic connected to the current heir of the Krytan throne, serve to create greater tension through what they foreshadow and also reveal about the season’s main plot. Players felt the shock of Rytlock’s disappearance, and while Belinda’s death might not have touch ed them deep ly, its e ff ect on Marjory did. Season 2 ma de us c are about these charac ters. We ca red about how they hurt and, when the guild was seemingly betrayed by Caithe and her theft o f 17
EDITORIAL - Chasing Dragons | GUILDMAG #2 0
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Glint’s egg, we felt that betrayal. Chasing  after Caithe and learning where she m ight b e b y learn ing abo u t her past indirectl y - through memory imprints left beh ind - cleverly made the Commander (and through the Commander, us) sympathetic t o her. W e could see how Caithe and the Firs t born sylvar i struggled t o understand the w orld and ho w their nearest neighbors, the asura, regarded them. We could feel Caithe’s growin g unease with Faolain’s obsession to unearth Wynn e’s secret. And, fi nally, we felt her pain at killing Wynne in order to protect her from Faolain , and protect the secret tha t the sylva ri are actually minions of a n Elder Dragon. An d this moment mad e the earlier attack by the Shadow of the Dragon on the Pale Tree all the more poignant. By the time the Commander wrote in the Story Journal at the end of “Point of No Return” that “Saving Glint’s o ff spring is paramount to Tyr ia’s survival against the Elder Dra gons. I must recover i t,” players were all in. The cinematic trailer surprised us at the end o f the season because, n ot only w ould we continue the story, but i t would b e through a n expansion t o the game, leaving players elated. We wanted to know where th e story w as going, how we could fi nd Caithe and Glint’s egg, an d w hat had happened to Rytlock. With Heart of Thorns , w e got answer s to some of those questions. We saved the egg, called a reluctant truce with Caithe for the bene fi t of the greater good - ki lling Mordremoth - and we got Rytlock back (though he refused to tell us anything abou t his time in the Mists). Season 3 of the Living W orld, th en, began with cemented bonds betw een th e Commander’s friends, born by the trials and triumphs they endured and share d in the jungle. Yet unlike Season 2’s cohesive two- pronged narrative, Season 3’s two-pronged focus had many side shoots that seemed t o detract from the story. I ronically, this is not unlike the seemingly scattershot approach
that left many player s ba ffl ed by Season 1 while it was happening. And just as that fi rst season’s heavy foreshadowing was complete d through the endpoints i n Season 2 and Heart of Thorns , I believe we won’t understan d the full impact of the various side thre a ds Seaso n 3 began pulling until w e get thro ugh Path of Fire , and perhaps into Season 4.
The major story arc o f Season 3 is centered on the m a c hi nations of one character , Balthazar , human god of fi re and war. And just as it took time to unmas k Scarlet a s the main plot driver in Season 1, i t took until the penultimate episode in Season 3 to learn that Balthazar was the shadow we’ d been chasing all along. To dispel t h a t shadow , however, the Commander had to follow tw o dispara te narr atives: the White Mantle and the truth behind its leaders and impact; and the growing power and threat of the Elder Dragons. What one h ad to do with the other is still not fully apparent.
We could see how Caithe and the Firstborn sylvar i struggled to understand the world and how their nearest neighbours, the asura, regarded them.

Re-enter the Human


EDITORIAL - Chasing Dragons | GUILDMAG #2 0
To get to the end of the fi nal episo de, “One Path Ends,” the Commander had to learn things both within th e major episodes and also via optional gameplay like Current Event s (now called S ide Stories in th e Achievements section of the H e ro p a ne l) and r aids . Of thes e two, raids provided the greater nar rative a ff ecting the Commander’s main story in Season 3: the story of the White Man tle’ s fortress in the Forsaken Thicket, and the trut h about the disappearance of the founder of t h e White Mantle, a s revealed through the Bastio n of the Penitent. Through these w e learn that the White Mantle never truly disappeared, and that Caudecus Beetlestone of the Krytan Ministry was their current leader ; and that the Eye of Janthir still exists. And th ough out- of-raid, in-game narratives are available for those w ho didn’t pursue this content; the narrative impact of encountering these story details fi rsthand, in m y o pinion, adds a b it more fl avor to a player’s experience. Compou nding th e disjointedness o f Season 3 i s how the Command er’s group begins to splinter almost from the minute they choose a name for themselves. Rytlock is a rrested by the charr legions and disappears (agai n) for th e rest o f the season; Caithe’s timing contin ues
to be awkward, choosing to apologize for her past behavior w hile investigating the exploded bloodstone in “Out of the Shadows ”; Marjory decides to keep “Lazarus” company against our advice; Braham is ticked o ff the Commander and Rytlock chose to start a new guild for everyone and that we’re not chasi ng the Dragons with him; Rox doesn’t have muc h to say for herself other than sh e’s watching over Braham; and Ka smeer doesn’t appear until the penultimate episode - with her nobl e title restored (which is not shown on screen or commented on ) - only to disappear again when we unmask Lazarus a s Balthazar. Even Dragon baby Aurene hatches, is bond ed with, and then seemingly forgotten. The only constant in Season 3 is Taimi, who h as slowly earned the Commander’s respect and trust, particularly since Sea son 2. Much to many players’ dismay, however, the disappearance of the guild’s main characters was made worse b y the fact that Taimi was used heavily as a deus e x m ac hina devic e rather than fl eshing out her character more interestingly. Of course, the counterargumen t to this is that it’s natural that Ta imi would be the one to solv e the mysteri es of the excess magic released b y two dead El der
Dragons and an explod ed b loodstone: she’s a scientist and a n asuran scientist at that; her character as an eager, incorrigible genius is legend! Both of these arguments have some merit, and both fail to recognize that Taimi is learning from her mista kes and i s now taking steps to r ectify or atone for these. “This is my fault,” she tells the Commander near the end of “Flashpoint, after Balthazar pinched her machine in order t o use it to d estroy the Dragons for his own reasons. “I wasn’t going to let yo u go it alone.” The cohesion of Season 3 is strained again in its fi nale episode, “One Path Ends.” If Balthazar’s r eappearance in the Guild Wars story wasn’t enough o f a nostalgic shock for some players, in Episode 6 the Commander gets to close o ff the White Man tle thread by tracking down the real Lazarus w ith h elp from another Guild Wars surprise: Livia. Why this reveal is saved for the fi nal episode is still unclear. After all, the Eye of Janthir shows us w here Ba lthazar has g one: th e C rystal D e sert . Where Season 2 left us feeling satis fi ed and eager to pursue a Dragon, Season 3 ends wit h too many questions un an swered, the two most important being: Wh y did Balthazar have to disguise himself as Lazarus, of all people? Why were the White Mantle and the mursaa t the vehicles necessary to re-introduce the human gods into Tyria’s story? Luckily, we will only have had t o w ait six weeks to, hopefully, get some answers in Pat h of Fire . We may not have the same hype we had before Heart of Thorns , but w e also don’t have to wait 10 month s to get back in to the story. Let’s hope we’ll see Season 3 ’s crinkles smoothed out wh en we get there.
• •
20 GUILDMAG #20 | EDITORIAL - Chasing Dragons

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22 GUILDMAG #20 | INTERVIEW - Competitive Feature Pac k



Feature Pack

ith the release of an update intended to remedy some of th e issues involving PvP and WvW, w e felt it was time to ask the community a ff ected by these changes and see what their thoug ht s are. I n this intervie w, we spoke to two prominent member s of the PvP and WvW community : Jebro and Glado mer.
Has the feature pack given you mor e content to util ize and m a ke your time mor e enjoyable? I think the feature pack gave me more stu ff to d o and spen d m y time on. It gave me more stu ff to g o after a s far as skins. Have you seen a higher popul ati on of players return to the Mists? I did see a lot of returning and new players come back to WvW after th e feature pack. Do the new WvW sets represent the grandeur and style you would associate with skirmishing in the Mists? I think the WvW sets look ok; I think the top tie r WvW set i s amazing w ith th e e ff ects and with the high level requirement it’s not a s easy for newer WvW players to just come in and get, which is nice. Is it on par with where the res t of the gam e is at for rewards? I would say W vW is in a better spot now than before the feature pack in terms of rewards, but I think it should have been added to WvW sooner. I think it’s in a decent spot compared to the rest of the game.
W as the addition of the new leg endary backpiece for WvW something you thought should have been added long ago? The  addition of the W vW backpiece should have been added a long time ago back when other modes like PvP were getting the updates to its reward tracks and when th ey add ed th e other legendary backpacks. What future impr ovements o r features would you like to see in you r respective game mod e? I’m not sure w hat I’d like to see as most of my thoughts were implemented with th e featu re
pack. I think mainly for me, being a roamer, I would like to see some incentive for roaming- type gameplay groups of 1-5 instead of most just zerging.

Gladomer (WvW)

INTERVIEW - Competitive Feature Pack | GUILDMAG #20
Wa rbrin ge r The New Legendary W orld versu s W orld Backpiece introduced wit h the Competitive Feature Pack .
What future improvements or f eatu res would you like to see in you r respective game mode ? I’m not sure what I’d like to see as most of my thoughts were implemented with the featu re pack. I think mainly for me being a roamer I would like to see some incentive for roamin g type gameplay groups of 1-5 instead of most just zerging.
What are your thoughts on the n ew PvP lobby? Compared to its previo us version. The new lobby is d e finitely a breath o f fresh air. I don’t really think a lot of i t i s used for perhaps the purposes they envisioned; the dueling are a is all vs all, which is fun to a degree but is rarel y visited now the novelty has w orn off. Ad ded to this, only a certain amount of players have a c cess to the controls for t he a rea, such a s the monthly AT winners. Those controls are fun , adding bosses from the forest map and other effects to the dueling area. The addition of the llama hunting was a fun addition to the lobby but again lasts 3 0 mins or so and that’s out the way. Really it’s abo ut the gliding I suppose, but more often than not you see the sa me peop le everyd ay stan din g in th e ma p wait ing for a que u e p op . T her e i s a l s o a daily jump puz z le, but again it’s not likely tha t many PvPers are using that on a daily basis; I
know I’ m not. All in all it’s a vast improvement on the last area, but really I’m not sure what they could add to improve it further. Possibly a que ue d dueli ng a rea w here the w i n ner stay s on or several mini rooms that could o ff er the same thing. Have the new tour naments given you a satisfactory amount o f replayabil ity and reward? Personally, I have enjoyed them. I have been able to form teams via the LFG and through m y stream, and even map chat is fairly active wi th people looking for other players. That said, I can only speak for NA at presen t a s that’s my current region. Obviously since th ey were introduced there are less teams, but also it’s summer which, as we all know, is a pretty quie t time in MMOs generall y! We’ve also seen mor e players since the daily AT tourney changes to gold rewards.

Jebro (PvP)

24 GUILDMAG #20 | INTERVIEW - Competitive Feature Pac k
Has the addition of the new styles of PvP (2v2, e tc.) been su r el y needed since PvP ha s b een in play? To be honest, I have barely tried the 2v2 - I prefer the 5v5 game mode personally. W e are thinking of running 2v2 tournaments shou ld the interest be there for the Unity Gaming Org. I think Arenanet learnt their lesson with Stronghold; players love that conquest mo de, but it doesn’t mean a 2v2 ranked mode shoul d be overlooked. Possibly a 2v2 AT tournament could really bring more interest, especially in the down time betw een the daily 5v5 ATs. Do yo u th ink the new 2v 2 deat hmatch map will be turned into a nother form of ran ked play? From my previous question, a t present no. I believe they will want a few more maps or community tournaments to rea lly see if the community’s interest is there. 2 v 2s are a toug h one, it’s really going to have to be a communit y driven thin g in my op inion presently. Since ranked is only on the 5v5 scale, do you think something like the arenas was needed to k eep some of the community aroun d? I don’t think it was introduced t o keep p eople here per se. Players want the 5v5 game mode the most, but arenas give players the option for that 2v2 death match a lternative. Also because of Stronghold, I feel they are testing the waters. More 5v5 competitive maps ar e
really what the community wants. Do you think it s a better idea for competitive updates to be bundled w ith other content or stick to feature packs? Feature packs are good. The argument has always been to have more frequent balance patches to mix up the meta;. this really keeps the mode from being stale, rather than playing the same build for 1 year+ and slight balance changes having little or no impact on gamepla y. Frequent balance changes in any PvP game are important to bring variety whic h keep the player active and interested . What future improvements o r features would you like to see in you r respective game mode ? AT tournaments having a solo/duo join ability. ATs a t present only allow a 5-man team to enter. This might be tough, o f course, bu t perhaps a player assembly option so if you do queue up solo o r duo, you are then matched with other players in a team and are put into the tournament, giving more players access. Genuinely, I want more bal ance patches mor e frequently, but I know this isn’t something tha t is viable. The other main feature w ould be spectator mode for ATs so t ha t I or others c an showcase matches. This would be restricted though a s it could be taken advantage of, unless of course there is a signi fi cant delay in spectating.
Tr ium phant Armou r New armour sets introduced with the Competitive Feature Pack .
INTERVIEW - Competitive Feature Pack | GUILDMAG #20
Does the addition of needing to craf t certain tokens for the new PvP and WvW rewards he lp or hinder the experience for acquir ing them? Glad: I think the tokens you need to craft for the armor are only there for the sake of trying to balance all the ascended armor vendors in the game modes. I don ’t thin k it hinders the experience since it ma kes it more of something you ju st walk u p and get, compared to something you put a little bit more e ff ort into getting. To m e it makes it