Defining the Lore of Guild Wars 2 - A Q&A with Jeff Grubb
This week Ten Ton Hammer takes a look at the upcoming MMOG,
style="font-style: italic;">Guild Wars 2. While ArenaNet is not
yet ready to disclose too many aspects of the gameplay, we were able to
catch up with ArenaNet Game Designer, World Builder and all-around Lore
Guy, Jeff Grubb. We asked Jeff about the Elder Dragons' awakening in
GW2 and how the world will have changed over the 250 year time span
between the original title and Guild
Wars 2. Read on as Jeff tells us a little about the art of the
game and a whole lot about what's coming in the way of lore.
Ten Ton Hammer: We know that in style="font-style: italic;">Guild Wars 2 the Elder Dragons are
awakening. Can you give us some insight into the dragon Zhaitan
that players will encounter in the game and why the Elder Dragons are
Jeff Grubb: Zhaitan is the
Undead Elder Dragon. Its lair was beneath Orr, so when it rose to the
surface, it brought that sunken nation back up from the depths. Zhaitan
now makes its lair in the former City of the Human Gods. Yes, Zhaitan
is that powerful and yes, you do encounter it. But first, you have to
face the dragons minions, from the undead plaguing the shores of Tyria
to its more powerful and twisted champions.
The whys of the Elder Dragons are not yet revealed we toss around
some theories in-game, but we dont reveal their complete origin yet.
At the start of the game, the dragons are considered elemental
forceslike earthquakes or tidal wavesthat are uncaring and deadly to
Ten Ton Hammer: Dwarves are believed
to possess more knowledge about dragons like Zhaitan, but what remains
of the dwarven race has been scattered? Will there be dwarves in the
game that might possess information related to the dragons and perhaps
Jeff: The dwarves knew of the
Great Destroyer, the harbinger of Primordus, and knew of Jormag, and
may have had knowledge of the other dragons as well. However, in style="font-style: italic;">Guild Wars 2, the dwarves have
transformed into stone forms and have descended into the depths to
battle minions of Primordus. There are a few remaining dwarves on the
surface that may be of some help to players, but for the most part, the
dwarves have taken their knowledge of the dragons with them deep
Ten Ton Hammer: Will players
eventually encounter the other Elder Dragons?
Jeff: The effects of all the
Elder Dragons are ever-present on Tyria and all the races in style="font-style: italic;">Guild Wars 2. Encountering them in
person is an opportunity for future expansions. But thats getting
ahead of ourselveslets see if you make it past the first dragon.
Ten Ton Hammer: Some of the races have
been at war with each other and have some pretty bad blood such as the
human and charr feud. With the awakening of the dragons, old rivalries
of Tyria have found a common enemy. How will each race interact with
members of other races because of this? Have some found new alliances?
Are the relationships strained between some and are others still at war?
Jeff: The first of the Elder
Dragons woke up 50 years after the time of style="font-style: italic;">Guild Wars: Eye of the North, and
others such as Jormag and Zhaitan have showed up in the two centuries
since. So the mere appearance of dragons has not been enough to
force the free races to put aside their differences. The charr/human
treaty is still a new and fragile thing, and peace talks are still
ongoing within sight of the walls of Ebonhawke. The norn dont consider
themselves as vanquished by Jormag, the Elder Ice Dragon; they think of
their situation as a temporary retreat. The asura, as they always do,
have their own agendathey regard the other races as merely pieces of
the puzzle. Yes, the other races know this about the asura, and
they hold a strong distrust regarding them and their schemes. The
sylvari are looking for their own place in the world. Of all the races,
they are the ones who are directed against the dragon minions. The
other races dont know what to make of the sylvari, and the sylvari use
that to their advantage.
Ten Ton Hammer: What role will the
player play in uniting the races of Tyria?
Jeff: The players grow
personally throughout their quests, going beyond the race-specific
challenges of their people to the point where they join one of the
multi-racial orders (Durmand Priory, Order of Whispers, or the Vigil),
which transcend racial agendas and face the greater challenge of the
Elder Dragons. The players are keystones in pulling other people
Ten Ton Hammer: How has the world
changed since the first game?
Jeff: Physically, a great
Orr has risen from the depths of the Sea of Sorrows. Lions Arch has
been flooded and rebuilt. The Elder Dragon Kralkatorrik has left a
long, deep scar across the land in its flight south. The charr control
Ascalon, but Ascalon City is literally a ghost town. New human cities
have grown up, like Divinitys Reach and Ebonhawke, along with the
asura seriously expanding Rata Sum and the sylvari Grove growing up
around the Pale Tree. There are a lot of places familiar to GW1
players, but it has been 250 very tumultuous years later. The Elder
Dragons, they tend to redecorate.
Ten Ton Hammer: Can you tell us a
little more about the humans and their gods? Will we learn more about
the human gods and their facet depiction as dragons in the style="font-style: italic;">Guild Wars quest The Path to
Jeff: In the wake of style="font-style: italic;">Guild Wars: Nightfall, the human
gods stepped back from meddling with the world, letting humanity stand
on its own two feet (and humanity is wobbling, but hasnt fallen down
yet). The gods remain important in the lives of humans, even if they
are no longer on speed-dial, so to speak. The worship of these
distant gods remains a strong part of what it means to be human. The
charr deny the importance of gods, the norn have animal spirits, the
asura have their Eternal Alchemy, and the sylvari are still shopping
The facets are interesting (this is a reference to a set of quests in style="font-style: italic;">Eye of the North in which the
player tracks down the facets of the various gods for a researching
asura). They are not the gods themselves, but rather ghostly servants,
and are tied to the Forgotten, who are not minions of the Elder Dragons.
Ten Ton Hammer: Underwater exploration
is something many players are excited about in style="font-style: italic;">Guild Wars 2. What inspirations did
you draw from when creating the art and design of the underwater areas
and what sort of places can players expect to see?
Jeff: From a design side the
big challenge is the addition of a third dimension our initial
battles in the underwater asura labs have been wild. From an art
perspective, the underwater areas are as rich and varied as the surface
environments are, with a wide diversity of sea life and settings. The
area beneath the frozen lakes of the Shiverpeaks will be very different
from the wreck-haunted straits off the coast of Orr.
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