The Changing Landscape of Tyria in Guild Wars 2

For the release of the first novel set in the Guild Wars 2 universe, Ghosts of Ascalon, ArenaNet has also given fans a sneak peak into the major regions of Tyria and how they've changed since the original Guild Wars by providing a new world map. While many of the marked locations no doubt tie directly into the storyline of the new novel, this new map of Tyria still sheds plenty of light on the size and scope of the world as players will experience it in the upcoming MMOG.

Shown above: The original Guild Wars: Prophecies map, the orignial map overlayed with the new map of Tyria, and the map of Tyria provided on the Ghosts of Ascalon page at the official game site.

As you can see in the above images, Tyria has remaind somewhat consistent between the original Guild Wars and Guild Wars 2, though you can also see a number of areas where the desctruction caused by the elder dragons has forever changed the landscape. The new map of Tyria can be broken down into a number of major regions, five of which can also be loosely associated with the five playable races of Guild Wars 2. These include Ascalon (charr), the Shiverpeaks (norn), Kryta (humans), Maguuma Wastes (sylvari) and the Tarnished Coast (asura).

Below you'll find a detailed breakdown of each of these regions along with pertinent info on the main locations marked on the new map of Tyria for Guild Wars 2.

Once a proud kingdom of humanity before being violently overtaken by the charr in a catastrophic event known as the Searing, Ascalon as it stands in present day Tyria has been reduced to little more than ash and rubble. It is here that players in the original Prophecies campaign embarked on the first leg of their heroes journey, eventually moving westward across the Siverpeaks and beyond in an attempt to save the survivors of Ascalon's war with the charr.

In Guild Wars 2, the ghosts of the previous era now inhabit the ruins of Ascalon. It is here that the charr also reside as described below. Key points of interest include:

Ascalon Catacombs - Originally only accessible in pre-Searing Ascalon, the Catacombs have notably been marked on the new map of Tyria. The location marked is roughly at the former Sardelac Sanitarium entrence, though it remains to be seen just how much of the once extensive network of caverns remains intact.

Black Citadel - Built upon the ruins of the former human city of Rin, the Black Citadel is now the headquarters of the charr's Iron Legion, and serves as the charr capital city.

Dragonbrand - This massive scar which cuts south across the landscape of Ascalon was left by one of the elder dragons, Kralkatorrik, on its way to the Crystal Desert where it is believed to currently reside.

Ebonhawke - The last vestige of humanity in the region, Ebonhawke is a fortress nested along the foothills of the Blazeridge Mountains on the eastern boarder of Ascalon. Originally founded by Gwen and Lt. Thackeray, survivors of the Battle of Ascalon fled here after King Adlebern's fall.

Separated geographically from Ascalon proper by the Dragonbrand, travel to and from Ebonhawke is made possible due to use of the asura gate network.

Flame Citadel - Not much is known about the Flame Citadel currently, though its location on the map is north of the shatterd human lands of Surmia, and just northeast of an area in Prophecies known as Dragon's Gullet. It would seem likely, however, that the Flame Citadel is of some importance to the Flame Legion, one of the four charr High Legions which has been outcast from charr society.

Once the home of the proud Deldrimor dwarves and the dasterdly Stone Summit dwarves, after the events of Eye of the North the norn were forced to flee into the southern Shiverpeaks due to the awakening of the elder dragon Jormag. Prior to these events, heroes in the original Prophecies campaign lead the refugees of Ascalon on a perilous journey across these mountains in hopes of reaching Kryta, eventually returning to the southern peaks to prepare for the final confrontation with the Lich and his army of Titans.

On the new map of Tyria, a number of key locations have been highlighted:

Durmand Priory - One of the three main orders players can join in Guild Wars 2, Durmand Priory is a monestary hidden in the Shiverpeaks which houses many volumes of information rescued from Lion's Arch. The monks of the monestary are a collection of fighter-scolars that come from multiple races, and seem to be likely candidates for those players interested in seeking out profession challenges to unlock new traits.

Frostgorge Sound - This area seems to be a large bay in what was formerly known as the Far Shiverpeaks. It is likely that the awakening of the elder dragon Jormag which forced the norn south plays a role in the creation of this massive new landmark.

Hoelbrak - After being driven south by Jormag, the norn established Hoelbrak, the largest of their settlements in the Northern Shiverpeaks. 

Sorrow's Embrace - A key location in Guild Wars history, Sorrow's Embrace is in the former location of Sorrow's Furnace, the Stone Summit mine where the Tome of the Rubicon was thought to be forever buried beneath age old ruins. It's this tome that contained the true name of the Great Destroyer which, when spoken aloud would bring about the return of the elder dragons.

Vigil Keep - Vigil Keep was established by the Vigil, one of the various multi-racial orders which players can choose to join in Guild Wars 2. The Vigil consists of crusaders who believe that by facing and testing the powers of the elder dragon Zhaitan directly, one day such knowledge can eventually be used against it in battle.

The human lands of Kryta have seen a number of significant events over the years. It is here that the White Mantle rose to power before eventually being defeated during the War in Kryta in-game events. Prior to the war, the refugees of Ascalon's war with the charr settled in the lands north of Lion's Arch, though eventually the great human city fell pray to floods upon the arrival of the elder dragons, forcing the survivors northward where they eventually established the city of Divinity's Reach.

As with Ascalon and the Shiverpeaks, a number of key locations have been marked in the lands of Kryta on the new map of Tyria:

Divinity's Reach - The new capital city of Kryta, it is here that human characters will call home in Guild Wars 2. Players of the original Prophecies campaign will likely recognize this area from the Divinity Coast mission. This area is also of special significance during the chain of events currently in-game for the War in Kryta as part of Guild Wars Beyond.

Dominion of Winds - This is a small island chain located just south of mainland Kryta. In the original Guild Wars, this is where Sanctum Cay and Wizard's Tower can be found. It is uncertain what role this area will play in the upcoming game, though its inclusion on the new map of Tyria does point to this being an area of some importance.

Lion's Arch - Lion's Arch as we know it today has undergone a number of devastating changes. Not only was the city destroyed by the floods caused when Orr rose from the ocean, but it is now home to numerous mercenaries and corsairs whereas it was once the seat of power in Kryta. It's also said that the former battles of the Hall of Heroes have been moved to the Free City of Lion's Arch as it is called in Guild Wars 2.

The Maguuma Jungle is located directly to the west of Kryta, and it is here that the centaur Ventari originally resided before he eventually made his way to the area now known as The Grove. It was there that he created a tablet containing his morals and philosophy which were imprinted on the sylvari race which would eventually emerge from the great Palm Tree. So while the sylvari race technically came into existance along the Tarnished Coast, it is due to the role of Ventari that I've loosely associated the race with the Maguuma region for this article.

Little is known about the impact of the elder dragons on this region leading up to Guild Wars 2, though the fact that it is now being called the Maguuma Wastes should give some indication that the jungle did not remain unchanged over the years.

On the new map of Tyria, only two major landmarks have been added, though each likely contiunes to play a major role in the world just as they did in the original Prophecies campaign:

Bloodstone Fen - In the original Prophecies campaign, players will recall the Bloodstone Fen mission as the location where it is discovered that the White Mantle are sacrificing the "chosen" viilagers from Loamhurst, whom you previously helped select during the Divinity Coast mission.

The Bloodstones themselves are the five shards of a massive stone created by the gods of Tyria. Four of these shards represent the four schools of magic, while the fifth serves as a keystone which is required to reassaemble the completed Bloodstone. The locations of only three of the five stones are currently known.

Ruins of Denravi - The Henge of Denravi in the original Guild Wars could be reached upon completion of the Aurora Glad mission, and served as a base of opporations by the Shining Blade during the early days of the White Mantle occupation of Kryta. In Tyrian history, this was also once a sacred meeting place for the druids of the jungle, though they have long since disappeared.

As with Bloodstone Fen, it is likely that the Ruins of Denravi will prove to be an important location to the ultimate defeat of the elder dragons considering their connection to the most ancient of magics in all of Tyria.

The area known as the Tarnished Coast was first introduced to players in Eye of the North. Reachable only by use of the Asura gate network, the area has a very "Land of the Lost" vibe due in part to the abundance of prehistoric wildlife. Once the Great Destroyer appeared, it's minions all but forced the Asura to move above ground, and it's along the Tarnished Coast that they quickly erected the great city of Rata Sum.

As with the Maguuma Wastes, only two key landmarks have been added to this region on the new map of Tyria:

Rata Sum - First appearing in Eye of the North as a hastily erected outpost after the Great Destroyer's minions forced the asura above ground, Rata Sum has since been built up into the massive capital city of the asura. As an interesting bit of trivia, Rata Sum is actually an anagram of 'Mursaat', a name that should be all too familiar to anyone that's completed the Prophecies campaign.

The Grove - Last but certainly not least we come to The Grove, which is the sylvari capital. Hundreds of years ago a human exile named Ronan resided in a village in this location. It was here that he planeted the great Pale Tree which he watched over with the centaur Ventari. Eventually the tree would spawn the sylvari race, and remains their racial home at the start of Guild Wars 2.

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