Editor’s Letter

201 5 is over, and with it ends the year of Guild Wars 2’s first expansion: Heart of Thorns. This special edition magazine has been crafted by the GuildM ag team to celebrate this fantastic year in Tyria; it’s something we’ve b een plannin g since our 2014 Wintersday issue, and I’m proud to finally be able to release th e first GuildMag Ann ual to everyone. We’ve taken some of our best articles from previous issu es and ou r website, and combined them with a plethora of brand new ones ju st for you. I nside these digital pages, you’ll find lore on the Exalted, the druids, revenants an d more. We’ve also p ut together a fantastic Heart of Thorns screenshot gallery, plus Starconspirator ta kes you  on a tour of Tangled Depths in “Off the Beaten Path”. For art and fiction lovers, there’s our usual selection of works (including some great community- con tribu ted illustrations and cosplay), plus articles on in-game fash ion for different b udgets, the evolution of gameplay from Dry Top to Dragon’s Stan d, and many more just waitin g to be discovered. As if all that wasn’t enough, there’s also a comp etition to win 800 gems included in this issue, so make sure you enter for your ch an ce to win! Last year, we attempted the first physical GuildMag magazine in the form of our Wintersday issue. Shortly after, we received a tonne of fantastic feedback, with many asking where they could get their hands on one. As a limited run of just 13 copies, we were unable to accommodate req uests at the time - but that’s all changed with this issue. The GuildMag A nnual 20 15 is the first in ou r 5+ year history to be openly available for anyone to buy a copy of; in early December, we open ed up pre-orders and received an amazing response. It is ou r hope to be able to contin ue to create annual physical magazines moving forward, and to do th at we rely on the constant support of the Guild Wars community. If you’re interested in becoming more in vo lved , joining th e GuildMag team is a fantastic way to sp end some of your free time to produce awesome content for everyone. We have positions for writers, ed itors, designers and more, and pride ourselves on accommodating peo ple of all ages, skills and interests. You can visit to learn more abou t our available positions, and to apply. I hope that you have a fantastic 2016, and that you en joy this fi rst Gu ild Mag Ann ual. - Valiant
02 GuildMag: The Annual 2015 | Editor’s Letter



Exalted and Mursaat: Coincidence, or Connected?


A Purpose Found


Heart of Thorns Story Summa



From Dry Top to Dragon’s



Druids: Fact or Fiction?


Thrifty Threads


Heart of Thorns: Flaws

and Follies


Razah and the Revenant


Off the Beaten Path in Tangled Depths


A Study INto the Nature of the Mists


Community Art: The brave and the Bold


a Shattered Pact: P

art I

GuildMag: The Annual 2015 | In This Issue

Exalted and


When we caught our first glimpse of th e Exalted at the end of Season 2,  people were quick to interpret this as our first tease of a mursaat in Guild Wars 2. This impression grew stronger as we saw the gate of Tarir bearing a symbol similar to those associated with the Wh ite Mantle, followed by a council of three Exalted (keeping in mind, of cou rse, that it was a similar council of three mursaat that aided Saul near Demet ra). Add in the belief that the shining city of the mursaat first se en by Sau l was somewhere in the ju ngle, and it seemed a done d eal. Over time and further scrutiny, however, questions began to be raised. How could the notoriously selfish mursaat n ow be our allies when, if any beyond Lazarus the Dire had survived at all, th ey could simply phase out of Tyria and hide from the dragons like they did th e last time the dragons were awake? And how could the high ly mag ical, but still corporeal, mursaat we saw in Guild Wars 1 be the same as th e glowing beings of light we saw in the trailers? With th e visio n from the Pale Tree indicating that the golden city w as to be the incubator of Glint’s egg, why would the Zephyrites trust Glint’s heir with a race th at Glin t had schemed to push to the brink of extinction? Finally, ArenaNet answered these questions when the true nature of the Ex alted was reve aled shortly before Heart of Thorns released, with an additional ‘take that’ in the form of a Priory scholar in Tarir expressing that sh e had feared a connection, but found no evidence of on e. What visual similarity th ere was appeared to be coincidence. This is not the first time that something associated with the Fo rgotten has been connected to the mursaat. Early in the days of Guild Wars 1, one of the lore community’s early theories grew out of an observatio n of similarities in appearance between the armour worn by th e mursaat, and the Enchanted armours used as foot soldiers by th e Forgotten. The conclusion was that the mursaat themselves were the very first humans to ascend, and that the Enchanted had been created from the tarnish ed armour of proto-mursaat that fell along the way .
This theory was debunked during the lifespan of the original Guild Wars, but it remains possible that the similarity in appearan ce is no coincidence. In ancient times, before the mursaat chose to flee, th ey were part of an alliance of races against the previous awakening of the Elder Dragons – an alliance that included the Seers, dwarves, jotuns, and the Forgotten. Each of these races appeared to bring something to th e alliance, w ith the mursaat, through their Spectral Ago ny, being th e best at destroying dragon minions. The elder races, however, had a problem. While the elder races appeared to have a greater understanding of magic than the mod ern races (possibly even the asura), what technology they had app eared to be completely reliant on it. Only the dwarves, an d possibly the jotun , show evidence of having any technolo gy that does n ot rely on magic, and even that was quite primitive compared to that of the Iron Legio n or the Pact. When fighting against creatures that feed on magic, this presents a problem: You want yo ur soldiers to be th e best equ ipped as  they can be (even if many of them are primarily spellcasters in turn), but any magic items they have is just more fo od for the dragon s if they fall. This may be where the Forgotten came in. Th e Forgotten’s speciality appeared to be in dealing with dragon corruption. The Forgo tten path of Arah shows not only that the Forgotten had a ritual th at cou ld reverse some of the effects of dragon corruption in a soon-to-be- former  dragon minion, but also that Forgotten ar tifacts are difficult for Zhaitan to claim. This could have made the Forgotten extremely important to the alliance as smiths and armorers. Only th ey could provide their allies with weapons and armour that co uld resist dragon corruption, and, perhaps, protect the wearer from rising as a dragon minion afterwards. And at the time, those allies included the mursaat. Thus, while there is no direct connection between the mu rsaat themselves and the Exalted, there may be a genu in e connection through the armour they wear. Since the mursaat ab an doned th e other
04 GuildMag: The Annual 2015 | Exalted and Mursaat: Connected, or Co incidence?
Written by Draxynn ic


nce, or connected ?

races in the first place, it seems q uite likely that they would n ot have shown the courtesy of returning the armour th ey had b ee n given. Even if the original armour that the mursaat had received from the Forgotten was lost or discarded, it is possible that they retained th e style. It is even possible, since the Forgotten have a different body sh ap e and do not appear to wear any armour themselves, that th e Forgotten simply crafted the armour they made according to the styles preferred by the mursaa t. Whether it was the mursaat or the Forgotten that initially sp ecifi ed the design, it stands to reason that not only w ould the mu rsaat continu e to use the perfectly functional armour, the Forgotten w ould also continu e to use the design . A heavier form of the design, intended for direct physical combat rather than the lighter armour used by sp ellcasters, would likely have been animated as golems to become the firs t of the Enchanted that bulked out the n umbers of the Fo rgotten in the Crystal Desert… and which have possibly done so sin ce before the dragons last went into hibernation. It was this design that we are told was improved to create the Enchanted Armours that can be in habited by player characters in the defence of Tarir, and, given the similarity in appearance, it is likely that a modified form of the same design was used for the golden casings of the Exalted th emselves. So, while the mursaat and the Exalted are entirely different b ein gs with separate goals, loyalties and motivations (to the point where they would likely be mortal enemies should the mursaat ever show their face on Tyria once more), there may nevertheless be a connectio n between them that explains the similarity in appearance. It may be that both are wearing sets of golden armour that was provided by the Forgo tten ; a design that stretches back to the last time that the dragon s sought to consume all of the magic of the w orld .
GuildMag: The Annual 2015 | Exalted and Mursaat: Connected, or Coi ncidence?
Written by Starconspirator

Heart of Thorns

Story Summary

As the Pact fleet descended on th e Maguuma Jungle, Mordremoth lashed out and tore the ships from th e sky. Pact forces were scattered across the edge of th e jungle, w hile Mordremoth claimed the weaker-willed sylvari soldiers for his own. The enthralled turned against friends, hurling exp lo sives on the ships and killing fellow Pact soldiers. This sowed the seeds of distrust and sylvari survivors foun d themselves alone in the wilderness.
10 GuildMag: The Annual 2015 | Heart of Thorns Story Su mmary

The Pact Fleet Lost

As word reached the Commander and B-iconics of th e fate of the fleet,  they rushed to the devastation. Braham, Eir Stegalkin’s son, was especially anxious to discover the fate of his mother, from w hom he’d been estranged until recently. Upon entering Verdant Brink, th ey were met with the remnants of Pact sh ip s strewn across the canop y. Witnessing the burning wood and metal, the Commander took ch arge after locating a nearby struggling gathering of Pact soldiers. The Commander (and player) was faced with a decision: rescue nearb y sylvari from the mordrem, or reinforce the soldiers’ position for th e coming night. Choosing to scavenge supplies, the Pact Command er’s forces were able to set up a defensive perimeter, includin g a small cannon. However, if the Commander ch ose to rescue those taken prisoner by the mordrem, a number of rescued sylvari bolstered th e camp’s defenses instead. As the defenses were completed, the mordrem attacked. Du rin g the onslaught, a strange creature appeared from the Mists: Rytlock Brimstone, now a revenant and wielding a new ty pe of magic. With h is help, the battered soldiers were able to survive the night and drive back the jungle. Regardless of the Commander’s choice, Laran thir of the Wild took this opportunity to form a sylvari-on ly unit composed of the Pale Reavers that could take care of each other sho uld Mordremoth claim any of them. Finally reunited with Rytlock, following his disap pearance in Season 2, the Commander’s improved party set out to track dow n the remaining members of Destiny’s Edge, and Trahearne, who’d been taken prisoner in Mordremoth’s domain.
Now in unfamiliar territory, the party sought to enlist th e help of the local hylek tribe, the Itzel. While searching, they came acro ss two h ylek fighting against the mordrem: Ibli the Itz el an d Tizlak the Nu hoch, the last survivors of a scouting expedition. The Commander offe red to help the pair, and the party cleared away the remaining mordrem. With the enemies defeated, these new allies agreed to take them to the nearby Itzel village, Jaka Itzel, and ask the chief for aid in fin ding their missing friends. Braham, still impatient to find his mother, paired with Rytlock and separated from the main group to contin ue their own tracking efforts.

New Allies and Old Enemies

At Jaka Itzel, the tribe’s chief informed the Pact Commander that a mordrem assault against the village was imminent. To gain their favor, the Commander had to choose: stay and defend the village, or take the  fight to the mordrem. In choosing to stay, the mord rem attacked Jaka Itzel in multiple waves as predicted, but were h eld back by th e Itzel and the Commander’s remaining party. In th e aftermath, the hylek tribe suggested the Commander track down tw o of th eir finest scouts and ask if they had knowledge of the prisoners. On the oth er hand, choosing to attack the mordrem foothold meant the party would fo llow the Nuhoch Tizlak to the musterin g ground an d destroy all mordrem present, including several Blighting Pods, that the party mu sed were used to convert the dead to minions. A fter fen ding the enemy off, Tizlak offered a horn that alerts nearby Nuhoch to ask for their aid.
Pushing onwards, the party sought ou t hylek scouts who w ere tracking Rytlock and Braham. The scouts reported that prisoner caravans were moving deeper into the jungle and that Caith e an d Glint’s egg had been spotted. Despite the concern for Caithe and the egg, th e Commander first had to regroup with Braham and Rytlock and see if they had been able to pick up the trail of Destiny’s Edge. With aid fro m the scouts, the duo were located and informed that a group of key prisoners were being held nearby. Storming the prison camp, the group disco vered both Eir and Faolain, the leader of the Nightmare Court, being held captive. Re united w ith Eir, an elite Vinetooth mordrem attacked. In the group’s attempt to escape, Faolain stabbed Eir with a vine thorn, leaving her beh in d to slow the creature. Downed, Eir ripped the thorn fro m her side and hurled it at Faolain, landing in her back. With both woun ded, the Vinetooth extended its deadly tail, piercing Faolain’s back and claimin g her bod y for Mordremoth. As the rest of the group looked on, the Vin eto oth moved behind Eir and landed another deadly b lo w. Stirre d into a bloodrage, Braham and the rest of the party attacked an d slew th e Vinetooth, avenging Eir’s death. Following the battle, and grieving for his lost mother, Braham stayed behind alo ng with Rox to perform funeral rites for her. With one chapter over, the remaining party members journeyed into Au ric Basin.

Lost CitY of Secrets

Travelling deeper, the party came across a Priory cam p: survivor s of the crash had headed into th e jungle to explore a nearby ruin. Th ey reported that when Caithe arrived with Glint’s legacy, the ru ins began to  glow and react to the egg’s presence. Shortly afterward, the party discovered a strange creature made of pure energy an d wearing golden armor: Ruka the Wanderer. He claimed to be tracking Glint’s legacy and invited the Commander to accompany him as he searched for it. The party eventually caught up w ith Caithe, now in great danger from an extraordinary creature: Faolain, returned as a Vinetooth. Taking the egg, the Commander and Ruka ran from the creature, determined not to let Mordremoth take it. Faolain gave chase, but by h arnessing the egg’s powers and using Ruka as a guide, the Comman der was able to evade the Vinetooth through secret passages and places imp ossible to reach otherwise. Frantic but alive, they entered the sanctuary of the Forgotten City of Tarir, where Ruka explained that he was one of th e Exalted: a race of people who had sacrificed their mortal existence to act as guardians for Tarir - a city built by th e Forgotten to h ouse Glint’s legacy. According to the Exalted, a new portal had appeared in the city when the egg had entered the area. Leading the Pact C ommand er underground, Ruka said that the egg belonged beyond th e portal but that only the Commander cou ld proceed. Beyon d it, to challenge the egg bearer’s worth, the Commander faced three tests (strength , wisdom, and leadership) devised by the Forgotten. Navigatin g the three trials, the Commander finally came across the egg’s resting place and placed it in the safety of the Exalted. As th e Comman der did so, a beam of brilliant light shot into the sky, and the egg shared a visio n of the future with its bearer: Zojja, Logan and Trahearne claimed by Mordremoth, and Tarir under attack from the Jungle Dragon .
Pact ships lie in ru ins atop th e jungle can opy.
New allies, th e Itzel and Nuh och.
GuildMag: The Annual 2015 | Heart of Thorns Story Summa ry
Determined now to stop the vision coming true, th e Pact Comman der hurried to catch up with the B-iconics and Rytlo ck using a series of hologram disks left behind by Taimi. The trail led to Taimi and an offline data station that the Exalted had built with the asu ra, wh ich she wanted to re-activate. After collecting saurian bones, the asuran prodigy brought the station back online, revealing a map of ley energy concentrations. Kiru, an Exalted charged with its main tenance, appeared before them, revealing the existence of the lost asuran city Rata Novus, with whom the Exalted had allied. Returnin g to the party waiting outside, including Braham and R ox (n ow returned), th e Pact Commander chose to detour to the revealed Rata, thinking th e ancient asura may have known how to combat the Elder Dragons. Moving into Tangled Depths, the party came across Canach an d a camp of Pact soldiers with news of Zojja and Logan; tasked with figh tin g through the monstrous chak to save a Pact magister, the Commander learned that the members of Destiny’s Edge had sacrificed themselves so that the soldiers could escape, and had been taken further south into the jungle. In order to pursue both goals, the party decided to sp lit, with the Commander, Braham, Taimi and Canach going to Rata Novus and the rest continuing to track Zojja an d Logan.
After helping the local Nuhoch hylek combat an in festation of chak, the Commander’s party, entered Rata Novus. The city was aban doned, with only golems and chak inhabiting the Rata. Con vin ce d that the ancient asurans’ knowledge could help them, the gro up search ed for a way to access the data, fending off chak attracted to the activity . While searching, Taimi uncovered a disused asu ra gate and an angry chak blitzer. Having successfully defeated the chak, Taimi powered up the gate and the party stepped throu gh, moving further into the research lab. There, they found their passage blocked by a sealed b last d oor bearing the emblem of the Elder Dragons. To power it, Taimi was fo rced to sacrifice her bodyguard and companion, Scruffy, to complete th e damaged power circuit. Now vulnerable, Taimi moved into the lab along with the others. Facing a horde of chak, the three d ef en ded Taimi as she worked to power up the lab’s giant microscop e, weaponizing it to destroy the remaining foes. With the Novan’s research, Taimi uncovered that each Elder Dragon has a distinct weakness, though these remain ed unknown. Nevertheless, the party was bolstered by the fact that Mordremoth c ould be killed. Leaving Taimi behind to continu e her research, the Commander hurried to catch up with th e others, anxious to rescue the Marshal and the rest of Destiny’s Edge.

The Heart of Maguuma

Following a trail left behind by Ro x, th e Commander’s party entered Dragon’s Stand, and the center of Mordremoth’s power. Figh tin g through hordes of mordrem, they en countered the rest of their squad, pushing forward to fi nd Z ojja and Logan. At a fork in the path, the Commander split the party to follow both, on e heading to Zojja and the other to Logan. Continuing to fight, the Command er’s party finally reached their imprisoned target first, breaking them out of the Mordrem Pod before moving to th e next. Drained of most of their energy, neither Zojja nor Logan were in an y shape to fight, and were forced to return to the nearest camp with Kasmeer an d R ox. Unexpectedly, Caithe had reappeared to help in freeing the seco nd prisoner, determined to put an end to the creature using Fao lain’s body. Reluctantly, the Commander agreed to work together to save Trahearne and end Mordremoth. With that, the party pressed further into Dragon’s Stand, pursuing Faolain as she taunted th e group from afar, to the top of a twisted dou ble helix w here Trahearne w as being held prisoner. There, they battled the creature, avenging Eir’ s death and leaving the Vinetooth dead. In that instant, Trahearne was pulled d ee p into the bowels of the structure, and the party followed su it, en terin g Mordremoth’s inner sanctum. Battling past ambushes, the Pact Commander once again found Trahearne as Mordremoth sough t to absorb him and fulfil the egg’s vision. Still conscious, however, the M arshal was in a uniqu e position to help the party into the mind of Mordre moth - into the Dream - where they could battle the Dragon and pu t an end to it. Rytlock and Marjory offered to stay behind to protect th e bodies as th eir minds entered Mordremoth’s, while the Commander chose two companions to accompany them inside, the third also stayin g behind . Using Trahearne as a link, they entered Mordremoth’s domain. Th e Commander awoke in a strange world, faced against illu sions based on the two companions, designed to torment and break th e Comman der. Finally, the trio came face to face with the mind of Mord remoth . In the ensuing battle, the Commander once again fought illusion s of all their companions, utilizing rifts in the Dream to turn them again st their master. After a long battle, the mind of Mordremoth was fi nally broken. Returning to the real world, Trahearne revealed grave news: a se ed of Mordremoth remained inside the Marshal, and must not be allowed to grow. To end the Dragon, he insisted on the C ommander en ding h is life with Caladbolg, his trusted sword. With little time, the Commander reluctantly agreed, and with Trahearne’s passing, an enormo us wave of magical energy was released into the world, surging through Tyria’s ley lines and into Tarir, and th e egg.
The mysterious Ruka guides th e egg to Tarir.
Mordremoth attempts to absorb Trahearn e.
12 GuildMag: The Annual 2015 | Heart of Thorns Story Summa ry
With Heart of Thorns out for a few months now, it’s hard to rememb er that feeling of anticipation as to whether or not ArenaNet w as going to  release a full expansion for Guild Wars 2. We were getting regular updates, sure, but a vo cal part of th e fanbase was lookin g for something more. Guild Wars had expansions. Other popu lar MMOs had expansions. Surely Guild Wars 2 would get at least one as well, right? It turned out that those regular updates, billed as the “Livin g World”, were all working towards the Heart of Thorns expansion both narratively and in the gameplay, most notably in the the tw o new perman ent maps: Dry Top and The Silverwastes. By creatin g and maintaining th ese new areas with the Living World format, ArenaNet was ab le to fine tune and test the types of new content they wanted to add in Heart of Thorns. With the introduction of tho se two maps, we saw man y firsts for what would become the standard in th e new maps included w ith the expansion. Dry Top and The S ilverwastes are where we wou ld first experience the precursors to new elemen ts like the masteries, map- wide meta events, unique ven dors and currencies, and collections. One of the first th ings players are introduced to in Dry Top are the Aspect crystals. These crystals, each corresponding to either the Wind, Sun, or Lightning Aspects, allow players to explore the area of Dry Top with a specific new skill that affects their mobility. The Wind an d Lightning Aspects, which allow players to jump high er an d jump to a target area respectively, provide the means to explore the rocky terra in in ways that would be impossible in the rest of Tyria. These mechanics also allowed ArenaNet to create a map with more verticality than w as previously seen in the core game. Players could jump to h ard to reach areas for more challenging jumping puzzles, or just to get arou nd the map more quickly. Simiarly, the Silverwastes has its ow n map-wide mobility mechanic in the skritt tunnels, wh ich allow players to get further into the map and jump into on going events, wh ere waypoints are typically contested or just n ot present. In Heart of Thorns, there are Mastery tr acks that, once completed, provide players with access to similar mechanics. Where a player w ould normally get a new experience level for filling their bar before reachin g level 80, in the Heart of Thorns maps players can choose which Mastery to level up. The Nuhoch Wallows, present in all Heart of Thorns maps, are a direct translation of the skritt holes in The Silverwastes, while other Mastery mechanics like gliding, bouncing mushrooms, an d speed boost mushrooms, are spiritual successors to the Aspect crystals. At the very start, many of the Mastery tracks provide access to th ese new abilities, adding a level of excitement to exploring the vast n ew terrain of each map. However, one of th e drawbacks to having p layers rely on the new skills to get around a map is that it now takes some time and effort to unlock specific masteries. To their credit, Aren aNet does indicate which masteries are required to progress the Heart of Thorns story, but working on someth ing like map completion is now gated
behind specific masteries. This can become tedious if a player chooses to put their effort into other masteries rather than the on es that give them access to areas that are blocked by a Mastery skill, making something like map completion arbitrarily difficult. It’s a good thing th at there are plenty of events to help fill that experien ce bar. Event chains are nothing new to Guild Wars 2. There are plenty of areas in Tyria that have their own cycle but, for the most part, these events are not on a map-wide scale - at least not on the scale that was started in Dry Top. There, each event contributes to th e map -meta event of the Favor of the Zephyrites. The more events completed , th e higher the Favor tier achieved. Higher Fa vor tiers mean better rewards and cheaper prices at vendors. Th is is all done before the map-wid e dust storm hits which, w hen completed, resets the Favor tier. The Silverwastes has a similar meta system in place, but relies more heavil y on groups of p layers d efending or claiming specific ou tposts for a time, pushing to the final boss meta even t, th e Mordrem Vinewrath. The Vinewrath is an event in its ow n right, requiring players to d ivid e and conquer specific lanes before conquerin g the Vinew rath itself.
All of these types of events can be seen carried over to Heart of Thorns. In all four of the new maps, players will fin d that the events are working towards the same goal. In Verdant Brink, players can work on one of several camp preparation event chains, each with its ow n un ique side story, to help defend the camp against the increased attacks that o ccur during the night. Additionally, several b oss battles occur in the highest level of the map - the canopy - at n ight, givin g players plenty to do.
In Auric Basin, events are split up by their cardinal direction : north, south, east and west. Just like the camp preparation even ts in Verdant Brink, each chain has its own unique sid e story, with all events leading to the Defense of Tarir meta event. This event is broken into four paths, each path with its own Octovine to defeat in a different way. Tangled Depths also shares this type of meta progression, with several lan es converging to a final boss. Participating in the metas for all these maps help players learn th e mechanics of the fight against Mordremoth himself in Dragon’s Stand: Pick a path an d form a group of players;
Written by Anthonz

From Dry Top to

Dragon’s Stand







are where we








new elements found in heart of thorns

GuildMag: The Annual 2015 | From Dry Top to Dragon’s Stand
continue down that path to a b oss and d ef eat it using a un ique set of mechanics. In fact, Dragon’s Stand is tied so closely to its meta event, that the entire map is on a timer to complete it. On ce the timer runs out, the entire map closes, forcing players out. That concept of the map-wide timer, as well as the timer for the day/night cycle in Verdant Brink, have roots in the Dust Storm timer in Dry Top. The idea of having players divide and conquer specific lanes or areas simultaneously to reach a final boss was show n to w ork with Vinewrath in the Silverwastes. To incentivize players to stay around for the complete meta event cycle, ArenaNet introduced Participation and Map Bonuses. The more events a player does in a map, the better their rew ards become, including the final boss chest at the en d. How eve r, placing so much emphasis on the meta events makes it harder for play ers to explore freely, to the point where in Dragon’s Stand, play ers only have a small window of opportunity to even co nsider map completion after a successful run on Mordremoth. This makes it particularly difficult to take the time to explore and find reward chests that h ave b een placed through out the map. With th e introduction of Dry Top, we were also introduced to the buried treasure and key concept. By completing events or visiting vendors in the map, we cou ld obtain Z ephyrite Lockpicks to open the Buried Locked Chests that appear during the Dust Storm. Th e chests would have the chance to contain some rare loot and other items. Th e Silvewastes took this idea a step further and added sh ove ls into the mix, creating bands of players roaming the map together, unearth ing one chest after the other. This idea mu st have been popular with ArenaNet since now each new map in Heart of Thorns has its own key and chest combination. They dialed it back a little, removing the d iggin g up requirement, b ut rewarding the keys for completing meta events remains a staple of the Heart of Thorns map s. Another map staple is the unique vend ors an d currencies for each map. To draw players back to specific maps after they have become familiar with them, ArenaNet has rewards that can only be obtained through vendors on that map that are purchased with a cu rrency only obtainable by completing content in that map. While instance-sp ecific
currencies have been around since d ungeons, th ey weren’t exp an ded on until Dry Top an d the S ilverwastes. In Dry Top there are Geodes that can be used to purchase specific crafting materials, recipes, and oth er exclusive items from the Z ephyrites. The Silverwastes takes it one step further and includes exclusive armor boxes as well as other materials necessary for completing the Luminescent Armor collection, one of many collections players can work towards in Guild Wars 2. With the release of Heart of Thorns, we saw the introdu ction of several new armor and weapon sets, each with its ow n collection and achievements. These new armor and weapons are ob tainable o nly by completing specific content in the new maps and occasion ally rando m drops. Again, this idea is an expansion of th e Ambrite Weapons in Dry Top and the Luminsecent Armor in The Silverwastes. But collections aren’t just for crafting armor weapons: players can also work towards specific Order backpieces in a similar way they worked tow ards M awdry in Dry Top. Collections also play a heavy role in the n ew precursor and legendary crafting that was implemented with Heart of Thorns. And while they can make content more available, su ch as precursors for legendary weapons, a lot of items in the list are left up solely to ran dom drops. While I don’t mind replaying con tent, it seems like the d rop rate for these items make it more of a chore to complete a collection than it is a reward for playing the game. Despite some minor shortcomings, I think it is clear that ArenaNet made the right choice in regularly updating con ten t before jumping head-first into a full expansion . They could use the updates to test n ew types of gameplay on the entire player base, making sure that players would continue playin g the con ten t long after it had been released. And while it would’ve been nice to see some of th at classic exploration we get in Tyria, I think Heart of Thorns added something wo nderfully fresh to an already well-conceived game.
C a n’t k e ep your m a ps s tr aight? Use t h is tabl e as a refe re nc e fo r what e a ch m a p’s special ty is.







Ambrite W eapons
Luminescent Armor
Bladed Armor
Auric Weapon s
Chak Weapon s
Leyston e Armor / Plated W eapons
Ze phyrite Lockpick + Buried Locked Chest Bandit Skeleton Key + Bandit Chest (+ sho vel) Pact Crowbar + Ai rship Ca rgo Exalted Key + Exalted Chest Vial of Chak Ac id + Chak Ca c he Mac hete + Noxious Pod
14 GuildMag: The Annual 2015 | From Dry Top to Dragon’s Stand


Written by Aaro n Heath

Druids: Fact or Fiction?

The druids were a group of nature aficionados w ho, at a time unbeknownst to history, ventured into the M agu uma Ju ngle to strengthen their ties with Tyria. It is not known wheth er th ey were humans, non-humans, or a faction made up of assorted races. Human history dictates that the druids w ere once human, and some sources state that they were ardent devotees of Melan dru, the h uman goddess of nature, earth, and growth. These accou nts are supported by druid ruins in the Maguuma Ju ngle that feature Old Krytan runes, a language unique to the human race. It is said that the druids van ish ed mysteriously sometime around the year 970 A.E. (After Exod us), though in truth, according to the Guild Wars 2 Wiki, they shed their phy sical forms in a druidic ritual in order to become one with th e jungle. After this point, they became a part of nature itself, imma terial, save for when they ch ose to manifest themselves physically as druid spirits in both Guild Wars Prophecies and Guild Wars 2. But were the druids actually human? Other sources of history claim they were beings alien to humans and were driven in to the Maguuma Jungle by force. Wh ile their history is to o murky to be able to know for certain, recent evidence would suggest that d ru id s were, and still are, made rather than born. One of the biggest features included in Heart of Thorns will be profession specializations. These will work as a sort of su b-profession that characters can opt in and out of, gaining n ew abilities and losin g old ones. As of right now, on ly one of these h as been reveale d: the ranger’s druid specialization. This is one of th ose rare cases in which a gameplay feature serves to clarify a hazy bit of lore. With players now able to learn druidic abilities, it would seem that the dru ids were n eve r some mystical race with innate magical abilities akin to the mursaat or seers. Instead, they were simply ordinary Tyria-goers who develo ped their own unique branch of magic through study an d practice.
Regardless of their humble beginnings, however, the druids eve ntually succeeded in transcen ding their mortal bodies and became one with the Maguuma Jungle. They themselves are the on ly beings w ho fully understand the ramifications of such an act, though there are some clear implications. By effectively dissipating into the collective consciousness of nature, one co uld theorize th at th e druids n ow possess an innate connection to all things natu rally bo rn of Tyria, including a certain recently awakened race of bipedal plant p eople. The sylvari possess a particularly interesting ra cial elite skill: Summon Druid Spirit. This skill is fairly straightforward in its execution in th at it, well, summons a druid spirit. But why can the sylvari do this and not the other races? In ord er to possess this ability, would they  not have to have a unique connection with the druids? Due to the fact that the sy lvari Pale Tree grows from the soil of the Maguuma Jungle, it is likely that the druids, whose co llective spirit is now an innate part of the jungle itself, possess a strong connection with the Tre e, its “Dream of Dreams,” and by extension, its fruit. However, though it is clear why su ch a connection exists, it is unclear why the druid s acq uiesce to bein g summoned at a sylvari’s leisure. It is extremely likely that the druids’ fu sion w ith the jun gle and implied connection with the sylvari will affect the narrative of Heart of Thorns. It is possible that the druids hold so much sway o ver th e jungle th at th ey could be vying with Mordremoth for control over it. S imilarly, they could even have direct access to the Dream, and co uld therefore play some role in its protection. However, heavy foreshadowing in both Guild Wars Prophecies and Guild Wars 2 suggests that the druids may no t be as helpful as the players might like th em to be.
originally published in issue 1 5









a druidic

ritual in order to become one

with the jungle

GuildMag: The Annual 2015 | Druid s: Fact or Fiction ?
In Guild Wars Prophecies, players could interact with the druids via their spirit forms several times throughout th e Maguuma Jungle. During the quest “Wisdom of th e Druids,” the player is allowed to witness a dru idic ritual in person. During this ritual, the phrase “all that exists is all th at must be” is repeated numerous times. While this ph rase seems d ocile at first, it bears new meaning when applied to the Eld er Dragon s and the Pact’s mission to annihilate them. Theoretically, the dragons exist to maintain a cyclic state of balance in Tyria. It is likely that when th e druids became one with n ature, they also gained incredible knowledge concernin g Tyria and its place in the universe. It is entirely possible that they then became aware of th e Elder Dragons and their role in Tyria’s life cycle, w hich could be wh y that repeated phrase in their ritual supports similar warnin gs given by two other figures in Tyria’ s history. The first figure was a margonite called The Apostate. A book by The Apostate titled “The Map of th e All” can be fo und in the Du rmand Priory’s Special Collections area. The book suggests that Tyria is a part of a greater abstract cosmic mechanism known as “The All.” In this  book, the Apostate states that “Should the energies become imbalanced, the world will tilt and all beings will fall off it into the void.” It is likely that this refers to the balance the Elder Dragon s bring to Tyria, and by extension “The All.” Essentially, it is a warning against meddling with the natu ral order of things, something which the druids were also staunch advocates of if their own cryptic admon ishments are anything to go by . The second figure is one of th e druids th emselves, a spirit know n as Dark Oak. This druid, found deep in the Maguuma Jungle in Guild Wars Prophecies, presents the player with a bit of in triguin g dialogue: “Darkness and light, good and evil... all are a part of nature. There is no regrowth with out death... with out decay. Such is the lesson that I can
teach you, stripling.” This could be taken to mean that the destru ction of Tyria by the Elder Dragons is not a pro cess that should be meddled with, but rather accepted. Bearing this ominous information in mind, it seems very likely that the druids have intimate knowledge of the Elder Dragons and Tyria’s place in the universe. If th is is true, they are almost certain to come into play in Heart of Thorns in some capacity, if not many. The proximity, foreshadowing, and opportunity are simply too perfect for ArenaNet to ignore them. So there it is. When it comes to the Maguuma Jungle, the druids are in the very w oodwork. Noth ing that pertains to th e jungle d oes so with out pertaining to the druids as well, for th ey are one w ith the ju ngle. Whether it be as an entity of great wisdom providing cryp tic cou ncil, a dormant force rising up to aid the p layer, or a formerly neutral entity now turned enemy, the druids will have their say in th e invasion of their home, for better or for w orse.
16 GuildMag: The Annual 2015 | Druid s: Fact or Fiction?

the guildmag podcast


The Secret Sylvar


Since the revelation that the sylvari are creations of the Elder Dragon Mordremoth, the children of the Pale Tree have faced discrimination and suspicion from the other races of Tyria. While there are gorgeous armor pieces that allow the sylvari to show their roots, in these troublin g times it might be best to dampen their bioluminescent glow and blen d in w ith their allies in the fight against the Ju ngle Dragon. I created this look with armor that did n ot cost much gold an d could allow a sylvari to pass for a human. It is designed for the mediu m armor
class in an effort to aid any sylvari thieves or rangers that might face extra suspicion due to their profession. It certainly looks fantastic for the value, and those who appreciate a more subtle, gritty app earance will get the most out of this setup! This set was assembled to sh ow th at with the right colors and combination (an d graphics settings) even the cheapest of armors can be used to create a stylish, affordable lo ok for your character. Good luck, brothers and sisters of the Pale Tree, in your fight against the slavery of Mordremoth.
Written by the guildmag te am


This year, our team tasked themselves with finding Tyria’s best getup fo r their gold. This is a collection of some of the most popular outfits from the GuildMag blog.


HEAD: Mi st Walker Cap (295 Badges of Honor) The wide brim and bandana help hid e your sylvari’s face, while also staying fashionable in the Jungle. You can purchase it in you r server’s Borderlands from the Armor Trader for 295 Badges of Honor. SHOULDERS: Privateer Shoulders (~2s) This piece is probably the easiest to obtain. It is a very common drop from most mobs and b ags, and can be purchased on the Trading Post fo r under 2 silver. CHEST: Rogue Coat (182 karma) This coat can be unlocked for free as a level-up bonus, or purchased from Paden in Beetletun for 182 karma. HANDS: Sn eakthief Gloves (~1g) Just like the shoulders, this is a very co mmon drop as well as a reward when leve lin g up a character. It can also be purchased on the Trading Post for about 1g. LEGS: Sneakthief Leggings (~45s) The Sneakthief pan ts skin can be obtained through leveling up a character, or purchased on the Trading Post for u nder 45 silver. FEET: Ascalo nian Sentry Boots (180 Ascalonian Tears ) This skin is purchased from the dungeon armor vendor in Fort Marriner for 180 Ascalonian Tears. Alternatively, you can level up  the Ascalonian PvP track to claim this skin as  a reward.

DYE Scheme

I chose a dye scheme that wouldn ’t draw too much attention from allies or th e Modrem of the Jungle. All the dyes I u sed are available on the Trading Post for under 1 gold.
Midnight Olive (9s) Old Nickel (79s) Clov e (18s)
originally published on
18 GuildMag: The Annual 2015 | Thrifty Threads

The Gladium Warlock

Ever since launch, the way most armor pieces look on charr characters has bothered me immensely. It’s no secret that the charr got seriously snubbed by ArenaNet in terms of armor model qu ality and tailoring, and for those of us with charr characters, findin g the right look has always been limited to a handful of in-game armors. Most charr play ers end up purchasing expensive tier 3 cultu ral armor or Gem Store outfi ts just to keep themselves from looking laughably absurd! In particular, I’ve noticed that charr players who wear light armor suffer from this
debilitating lack of wardrobe options even more than medium and h eavy players, so I decided that I w ould take it u pon myself to create a decent looking and affordable alternative to the cliché Citadel of Flame armor, cultural armor, and Gem Store outfits worn by most light armored charr  players. When designing this ensemble, I wanted to go for something th at w ould not only look at home on a charr, but also resonate with their cultural background and lore. Thus was born the Gladium Warlock. In charr culture, gladiums are soldiers who have lost their w arband in some way. Charr w ho fin d themselves withou t a warband, even if it was through no fault of their own, are branded gladiums: aimless w an derers outside the chain of command, rejected by ch arr society. The Gladium Warlock is a seasoned traveler, ragged and worn, w ith no flashy baubles or gaudy adornments festooning th eir cloth ing. He or sh e is a skilled mage and is deadly in combat, their prodigious skill born from years of fending for themselves in th e wilderness. While this may not be the best looking option across the board , it certainly looks fantastic for the value, and those who ap preciate a more subtle, gritty appearance will get the most out of th is setup!


HEAD: Diviner Helm (88s + 150 Badges of Honor) This is one of th e few charr headpieces available through in-game means that d oes not hide the player’s horns. It can be p urch ased from an Armor Master in the staging area on each of the WvW Bord erlands maps. SHOULDERS: None! No shoulder armor!? That’s right! The Divin er Helm will override any equipped shoulder skin , so wear what you wish in your should er slo t. CHEST: Winged Tun ic (~30-50s) This tunic can be crafted by Tailors who are at least level 225. It will cost 1 Lin en Coat Linin g,
1 Lin en Coat Panel, and 1 Linen Insignia of th e player’s choice to craft, which equates to about 30-50 silver depend ing on the price of linen . HANDS: Whisper’s Secret Glove s (Light) (1g 12s) These gloves can be purchased from A rmor Requisitioner Betje on the second level of the Chantry of Secrets. Remember, you must be on a character that has joined th e Order of Whispers to buy these, but on ce bough t, th ey can be skinned to any character you lik e. LEGS: Primitive Le gwraps (40 Badges of Honor) When compared to the ty pical h oopskirt
aesthetic most light armor leggings provide on a charr model, these paint a much more viciou s and intimidating picture. The easiest way to obtain these leggings is to buy the Tactical Leggings Skin from an Armor Master in W vW. FEET: Path of Koda (180 Symbo ls of Koda) These boots round off the vagabond lo ok we’re going for nicely. They feature an iron- ban ded leather boot, and their design suits both ou r vision and the charr in general very well. They can be purchased from Dungeo n Armor and Weapons in Lion’s Arch for 180 Symbols of Koda, which can be earned by runn ing the Honor of the W aves dungeon .

DYE Scheme

If you like the dye scheme I’ ve used for my setup, feel free to use it! Below is an image of the dyes with a color key below th e image (all dyes can be purchased on the Trading Post for less than 2 gold).
Walnut Midnight Ru st
Clay Blood
GuildMag: The Annual 2015 | Thrifty Threads

A Revenant’s Regalia

In this piece I’m going to explo re what it means to b uild an ou tfi t that tells a story. As a self-proclaimed lore enthusiast, I am thrilled that Heart of Thorns has included new sp ecies, n ew places, and many references to the original Guild Wars throughout the wet, muddy, an d tangled mass that is the Maguuma Jungle. However, I felt that one important asp ect of the new expansion, the introduction of the re ven an t profession, was missing all historical context. Unlike the guardian professio n, which was explained in blog posts and the Guild Wars 2 novelizations, the revenan t has near to no information about it, b ut appears to have a history th at predates Rytlock’s transformation, as players can obviously begin th eir revenant’s journey long before Rytlock abando ns the corporeal world for the Mists. So what is a player to do? How are revenants made? How are th ey chosen? H ow does one create a look that embodies what it means to be revenant if there isn’t much lore to go by? The simple an swer for now is:  make your own story. An alternative to jumping on the Mistward bandwagon (while it is an impressive armor set in its own righ t) is to
create an outfit that weaves a tale of how your new ly created legen d- communing master came to be. For me that story begins with a human thief, Lu Tian. My written background for Lu is that she gre w up in a nob le family, trained u nder Lady Wi to be a spy, thief, informant, and eventually, as sassin for the Order of Whispers. At some point, she’s b adly injured in a mission against Mordrem in the Silverwastes. Durin g her do wntime in Divinity’s Reach, she acquires a tome said to be written by tw o norn legends, titled “The Untold Hero, from a co ntact in her Order. Wh en she breaks the enchanted seal that holds th e book closed, sh e find s the book’s pages to be blank except for the first, w hich is h ead lin ed “The Beginning.” Out of excess frustration an d a little bit of d ry humor, she pens in “My name is Lu Tian and this is my legen d.” In an instan t, Lu is spirited away, sucked into the Mists th ro ugh the book. There, she meets the two norn that created the portal, Sif Shadowh unter and O laf Olafson. Together they help Lu regain her strength and teach her how to channel the power of the revenant to sow h er own legen d.
20 GuildMag: The Annual 2015 | Thrifty Threads

DYE Scheme

One of the challenges (albeit a fu n challenge) that comes with mixing and matching armor is that the metals, leather, and cloth don ’t always dye the same on d ifferent armor sets. For certain pieces to match, sometimes you have to play around with darker or lighter versions of a color between several armor pieces. The effort usually makes up for it in th e end with a kickass outfit. Gray
Amenit y
Silver Lead
Taup e
Copper Coco a
GuildMag: The Annual 2015 | Thrifty Threads


HEAD: Re splendent Curtain (character creation) The first piece is one of the headband s a revenant can choose from during character creation. I prefer it over the other two because of its sleek, but finely plated, mod el. It has an almost science-fiction look to it that accent ua tes that the revenant is something other-w orld ly . SHOULDERS: Braham’s Pauldro ns (800 gems for Braham’s armor skin set) The  inclusion of pieces from Braham’s armor allows to me to give Lu Tian’s ou tfit a norn aesthetic that would normally be harder to convey with out them, and while the shoulder piece isn’t 100% necessary, I really feel like it helps to complete the ensemble. Sadly, to acquire this and the leggings, you ’ll have to dip into your gem savings and d rop a hefty 8 00 gems in th e in-game store. CHEST: Brawn of Koda (330 Sy mb ols of Koda) While I could’ve made use of more of Braham’s armor, I decided to play around with some of my other northern-style option s to see if I could avoid set conformity; the Brawn of
Koda became my solution. Wh at I like most about this particular piece is that th e side cloth  appears to flow with the “battle skirt” of the leggin gs. It’s also sleeveless so, like a norn, Lu can show some muscle in th e most literal sense. The breastplate part, while curvy, reminds me a little of Marvel Comics’ n ew Thor and her outfit. It’s powerful, it’s bold , it’s tough, and it’ll cost you 33 0 Symbols of Koda to buy. Time to rally the guild for some Hono r of the Waves du ngeon run s. HANDS: Dragonhunter’s Gauntle t (free - unlock Dragonhunter elite spec) Proof that the dragon hunter d oes hold a gridlock on dragonhunting swagger, th e Dragonhunter’s Gauntlets can either pay homage to Glint as a herald or represen t a character’s role in the ongoing war against the Elder Dragons, specifically for Lu’s story, the norns’ greatest foe, Jormag. The asymmet ric look doesn’t always work, but I liked th at th e main armor piece is opposite the shoulderplate. This armor piece is earned by fully unlo ckin g the dragonhunter elite specialization .
L E GGING S: Braham’s Legplates (800 gems for Braham’s armor skin set) Its  rough-and-tough but flexible design is proof that hunters have to occasionally weigh mobility and speed against protection, and in true norn fashion that usually mean s exposing some amount of skin to th e frigid Shiverpeaks air (because nothin g says “we’re the toughest more than the constant threat of hy pothermia). Humor aside, the leggings mesh w ell with the top and provide the decorative metal buckle and the hip fur to match the sho ulders. Like the shoulders, the leggings come as part of a normally 800 gem set. FEET: Avenger’s Footg ear (80s) I picked out these plated boots as th ey provide knee guards, and they have a distin ct an d sleek design that really gives my character a bit of a valkyrie vibe. The name, of course, is amusing for reasons that one might un derstand if they read the chest armor blurb. Th e Avenger’s Footgear is purchasable at the Cultural Ar mor vendor in Divinity’s Reach on the top fl oor for 80 silver. Note that these are only availab le for human character s.
After waiting a reasonable but nevertheless excruciating 10 mon th s for the release of Heart of Thorns, players have finally been able to experience the long-awaited expansion content. Ho wever, th e 16 story quests featured in the expansion were met with lukew arm to ou trigh t negative reception. While not universally panned, the Heart of Thorns narrative definitely failed to meet the standards an d expectations of many players, though it did achieve certain things rather well, su ch as broadening the Living World idea of integratin g public even ts into the narrative structure. However, on the whole, the storytelling in Heart of Thorns featured a few key issues that held it back con siderably, keep in g it from reaching its full potential. We start off right where Season 2 left us: the Pact fl eet has been reduced to a smoldering ruin, Pact forces are scattered and b roken , and the player character and their posse are searching high and low for what remains of Destiny’s Edge. Unfortunately, we th en proceed to spend the entirety of the plot chasing Eir, Logan, and Zojja. Th is cripp les the narrative more heavily than any of the other writing ch oices in the expansion because it directs the p lot in such a way that it restricts other, more interesting stories from unfoldin g.
EDITORIAL Written by Aaro n Heath

Heart of Thorns:

Flaws and Follies

22 GuildMag: The Annual 2015 | Heart of Thorns: Fla ws and Fol lies
Part of the problem with the sto ry in Heart of Thorns is that it is rushed , the reason being that the player character is constantly motivated to disregard fascinating discoveries like the Exalted and Rata Novus to instead continue their frantic search for Destiny’s Edge. If ArenaNet had had us discover and rescue Destiny’s Edge within the fi rst cou ple of quests, the narrative would have been freed up to spend mu ch more time interacting with the Exalted, the Itzel and N uhoc Hylek, and Rata Novus, and would have also been able to explore some po ten tial p lo t points that never made the final cu t.
A common counter to this su ggestion is th at if we rescued Destin y’s Edge in the first two or three quests, the story would lack th e serio us consequences we see in both the death of Eir an d the n ear corruption of either Logan or Zojja (depending on who was saved first). Well, that simply isn’t true. These events could take place at literally any p oin t in the story and have the same effect and impact. The story feels like it’s not sure whether the primary objective is finding Destiny’s Edge or defeating Mordremoth, and making the transitio n from one to the other earlier in the plot would only serve to strength en and en rich the narrative as a whole. Let’s take a moment to discuss Eir and her untimely demise. Overall, this was a poor writing decision, but not because of who died. While I would have preferre d a more interesting end to Eir Stegalkin, I cede that the jungle is a dangerous place, and that Faolain is a cu nning and treacherous enemy. Furthermore, her death allowed us to witness a side of Brah am we were unfamiliar with . No, the tragedy here is the casual writing off of one of the most compelling and interestin g villains in the game: Faolain. The Nightmare Court prides itself on its independence from authority more than anythin g, an d it would have been fascinating to experience Faolain and th e re st of the Nightmare Court struggle with the decision of either joining or fighting Mordremoth. Furthermore, it would have been equally intriguing to see how Faolain’s presence in the story affecte d Caithe, and w hat their interactions might have led to. In discarding Faolain as a gen eric (though admittedly nightmare-inducing) dragon minion, ArenaNet missed out on the portrayal of a fascinating character stu dy exploring the concepts of love, morality, redemption, and treachery.
So, after progressing through a very rushed storyline in which we b ru sh past monumental discoveries such as the Exalted and th e city of Rata Novus, the latter of which was more or less completely unn ecessary to the plot and could have been cut entirely, we arrive at a fi nal mission that, despite its gameplay flaws, I actually found relatively satisfyin g. The idea that Mordremoth is more of an abstract presence than a physical being makes a lot of sense considering his domin an ce over the mind, and in turn it makes perfect sense that the on ly way to d efeat it would be throu gh a mental confrontation. I also thought it fitting that Trahearne died, though it would have been more compellin g if he h ad been turned completely and was an actual boss. The final cutscene features the fallout magical energy from Mordremoth’s death being transferred into Glint’s egg, which len ds aid to a couple of theories. One is that Glint’s offspring has the po ten tial to become an Elder Dragon under the right circumstances, an d the other is that when an Elder Dragon dies, the astronomical amount of magic stored within them has to go somewhere. It’s similar to w hat happened with Abaddon and Kormir in Nightfall. ArenaNet deserves a tip of the hat here, as these were concepts that they allu ded to in the Living World, and delivering on them in a way that d oes not feel sh oehorned or forced is commendable. ArenaNet also improved on the concept of using public dyn amic events to tell large portions of the story. One of the ke y reason s why we see so little of Tarir and Rata Novus is most likely because those regions are featured heavily in map-wide event chains that explain a great deal about the Exalted and the technology and lifestyles of the extin ct Rata Novus asura. The Tarir meta event chain in Auric Basin establishes several Exalted characters, though they lack very distinct personali ties and serve relatively standard event-NPC roles. Furthermore, the meta event in the Dragon’s Stand map tells the story of a vastly sig nifican t plot point: that of the major final military conflict against Mordremoth and his armies. Many agree that this event should be comp le ted prior to starting the final story quest because of its significance to th e plot. While it is an intriguing concept in theory, it also h as its flaws. Even w ith the Mastery gates in the story that force players to explore the jun gle and do events, there is no guarantee that players will experience th e full extent of story content the dynamic events have to offer. Overall, ArenaNet did a fairly decent job of keep ing the dynamic eve nt story content fairly light and non-pertinent, but th e disconnect betw een the instanced and public story content still confused a lo t of players and ultimately did not add enough to th e overall story to justify the lack of complex narra tive. Originally, I think the writing team at ArenaNet had big plans for the Heart of Thorns stor yline. Remember, story concepts get drafted months an d even years in advance of their release. But the unforeseen need for all th e new features contained in the expansion slowly bit into the story resou rces until we were left with a fragment of what the original vision for th is story likely was. Furthermore, despite its many flaws, the story achieved an exciting setu p for Season 3 of the Livin g World, which will be more story focused than a feature-laden expansion. Heart of Thorns also laid a comprehensive groundwork for future expansio ns to bu ild upon , so hop efully subseq uent expansion s will feature more expansive and complex narratives. It’s unfortunate that the story in Heart of Thorns ended up being such a major step backward from Living World Season 2, bu t I also think that it will serve as a learnin g experience for all involved, and that with these new mechanical systems in place, story co ntent will reign supreme in future content releases.




















interactions might


led to

GuildMag: The Annual 2015 | Heart of Thorns: Flaw s and Fol lies

part i: Razah the revenant

Ever since the revenant was revealed at PAX South, theories abou t the new profession’s origins and how it might fit into the wo rld lo re- wise have been circulating through the commun ity in abun dance. As an avid  fan of the original Guild Wars campaigns, my personal favorite of these theories is the no tion that the revenant’s powers originated with Razah, a character encountered in Guild Wars Nightfall. I love this theory not only because it fits so well with the class, but becau se examin in g it in greater detail actually taught me a great deal about the Guild Wars universe and cleared up a few misconceptions I had ab out ho w things work in the lore. Due to the learning experien ce that was the fl eshing out of this particular theory, I want go over it from the beginn ing so th at people with the same misconceptions can rectify th em. I suppose everything starts with the character itself: Razah. But w ho was Razah? At the end of Guild Wars Nightfall, the player character was required to enter a realm of the Mists known as the Re alm of To rment. After the defeat of the fallen god Abaddon at the h an ds of the play er, the player could acquire the loyalty of a mysterious entity foun d deep within the Realm of Torment. This was Razah. A ge nderless, bipedal entity spawned by the Mists throu gh methods unkno wn, Raz ah was not quite human. It had the body of a human, an d its mind was similar to that of a human, but sin ce it was spawned by the Mists so mysteriously, its true nature will likely remain largely un known .
This is where we can draw parallels with the revenant. Revenants wield magic tied to the Mists, which is also kn own to be the source of Razah’s life and power. However, in and of itself, that isn’t mu ch to go on. To get a better idea of why Razah being Tyria’s first revenant makes so much sense, we must compare the skillsets of the two parties in question. In Guild Wars, Razah was a Hero, an NPC that players could add to their party and micromanage. However, Razah w as unique in its role as a Hero , as it was the on ly one in the game that could have its primary profession changed at will. This unique ability correlates well with the revenant’s ability to chan nel the abilities of characters from the original games and swap between them at will, especially since each legend has such a different skillset. This is also where I developed a bit of a plot hole in my original theory. At first, I believed that the Bloodstone, which was cre ated by the Seers during the last Elder Dragon uprising to hou se the magic of the races, effectively starving the Dragons, should prevent the revenant from being able to wield so many diffe ren t types of magic. I believed that the same went for Razah, so I came to the conclusion that since their magic w as born of th e Mists, it must be completely outside the Bloodstone’s realm of con trol. However, after double-checking with Gu ild Mag’s resident scholar on all things Tyria, Draxynnic, I’ve come to th e conclusion that it’s a flawed theo ry. I bring this up because I believe it to be a commo n misconception in the conceptualization of this theory. The Bloodstone merely limits what type of magic can be wielded by a p erson at any given moment, so it actually has no boun ds over the ability to, say, give up the ability to cast one type of magic in favor of ano th er, w hich
Written by AARO N HEATH & Draxynnic


The Revenant

LORE originally published on guildma
24 GuildMag: The Annual 2015 | Razah and the Revenant
is exactly what both Razah and the revenant do. Su re, p rimary profession swapping for player characters in Guild Wars was not possible, but there is sufficient evidence to suggest that th is was pu rely a balancing decision and holds no weigh t in lore. First of all, there’s Razah and the revenant, not to mention Rytlock Brimstone, w ho has officially changed primary professions. Furthermore, the chara cter Keiran Thackeray, ancestor of Tyria’s favorite pillock, went from a ranger to a paragon in Hearts of th e North. So the changing of one’s profession does hold gro und in lore. However, that doesn’t make it any less likely that Razah cou ld have been a revenant, or at least an early p recursor to w hat the M ists (or some entity within them) has now refin ed into th e reve nan t. It simply means that the Bloodstone cou ld still hold sway over Mists- based  magic, which just makes the Seers’ magical power all the more impressive. I mean, they may have successfully shackled the M ists . That’s serious… Erm… Stuff, right there. Serious stuff. So it’s clear that there are undeniable parallels between Razah and the revenant class. They both have close ties to th e Mists, and th ey both  seem to be able to swap the type of magic they wield at any given moment with much more versatility and ease than other profess io ns or  entities. What is important to remember is that that really does not prove anything. In fact, I’d go as far as to say it’s flimsy, circu mstan tial evidence at best. There are numerous other possible re ason s as to wh y Razah functioned the way it did, and the same go es for the revenant. Razah’s profession swapping could hold no basis in actual lore, and could have been a purely mechanical choice as an endgame reward . Razah’s mind could simply be sharper than a human’s w hen it comes to  magical and martial aptitude. Its connection to the Mists could have granted it the ability to quickly mimic the magical abilities of others , or it  could be something else entirely. The fact is that Razah was such a mysterious specimen that no conclusive evidence can be drawn as to what it was, what its purpose was (if any), and how its powers worked. Now, that is not to say th at th e theory h olds no weight, because it does. I personally find it to be b oth a likely theory and one th at would be very pleasing for the developers to confirm in some way, or at least drop subtle hints at (knowing ArenaNet, it w ould be subtle h in ts). My personal spin on this theory is that ArenaNet w an ted to create the revenant in Guild Wars, but lacked the technology to make it work th e way they wanted it to. Thus was born Razah , an incomplete template for an idea that would eventually be brought to life years down the road in another game entirely. Viva la revenant!

part ii: copying legends

As Aaron observes, one of th e properties of the Mists is that they have the potential to spawn new creatures and locations th rou gh forming themselves into a refl ection of that life form or environment. The accuracy of these reflections varies, du e to processes that are not fully understood – from uncann ily accurate even to an individual (as Dessa appears to be until sh e atte mp ts to leave the Mistlock Observatory) through slightly off (the Searin g fractal) to a twisted mockery of the original (such as most Torment demons). Razah fits in the middl e c ategory it is in many ways like a human, but also in man y ways clearly not. Razah’s main distinguishing feature is that, while it starts off as ritualist due to its affinity for the Mists, Razah gains the ab ility to switch between primary professions with relative ease. Wh ile it is possible for mortals to do so, this u sually occurs as a result of years of retraining (ArenaNet has compared it to a scientist sw itch ing disciplines) or a life-changing epiphany. Razah, h owever, does this with apparent ease.
But how? If Rytlock learned the skills of the revenant from Razah... then how did Razah discover them? Possibly the simplest answer is that Razah retain ed some of the mutability and potential to mirror other beings of its Mists origin s. To change profession, Razah doesn’t need to undertake th e lab orio us process of unlearning the habits of the o ld profession and learnin g anew Razah might simply duplicate the powers and skills of a memb er of the new professio n directly into its ow n mind, overwriting th e profession it ab an doned: a skill at stealing the knowledge of others that any mesmer might envy. During the period between Razah’s liberation from Abaddon and the end of the Guild Wars 1 timeline, it would have mostly had th e PCs and the NPC heroes and henchmen to serve as templates, and hence he could only borrow the same abilities available to everyon e else. However, while those characters changed the course of history in their time, they did so by cooperation: Individually, they w ere (w ith the exception of certain builds, anyway) n ot the match of th e likes of Sh iro, Mallyx, or the Great Dwarf as embodied in Jalis Ironhammer. As Razah’s mortal friends began to die off and retire, it would be natural for it to seek to further develop its abilities by seek in g out more p owerful ‘templates’ – such as the vestiges of these legendary figures th at remain in th e Mists. Such an explanation for the source of the revenant would neatly explain why all of the legends announced or suspected thus far date from Guild Wars 1. Razah would have had the opportu nity to meet S hiro an d Mallyx while still under Abaddon’s thumb , an d if it accompanied the heroes into Eye of the North, then it would have met Jalis and Ventari there. This would grant it the impetus to seek ou t the vestiges of th ese legends in the Mists, and explain w hy it was able to impart th e powers of these legends upon Rytlock. The source of the suspected Glint-oriented specializatio n, however, may not have come directly from Razah. Canonically, the player’s meeting with Glint occurred years before Nightfall, and thus well before Raz ah was first recruited as a hero. It is possible that Razah was able to experience Glint’s power through some other means – such as helpin g to protect Glint’s hatchling in Eye of the North – or that it visited Glin t at some time outside of the scope of Guild Wars 1. Unlike Razah, however, we do know that Rytlock has met Glint in person… and, furthermore, has carried an anger ever since that the deaths of Snaff and Glint pro ved to be in vain. It is, therefore, possible that it was Rytlock who provided th e impetus to seek out Glint’s vestige and add her legend to his repertoire. Such an event wou ld explain w hy it might be Glint’s legend, out of all of them, that b ecomes th e elite specialisation while the others are ‘core’. Jalis, Shiro, Ventari and Ma llyx are all part of Razah’s core teachings, while the a bility to channel Glint’s power comes from Rytlock’s own contribution to the p rofession . With all that said, it is possible that Razah is not technically a reven an t. While in this theory Razah has been able to develop techn iq ues that allow mortals to take on some of the “mirroring” qualities of the Mists through channelling th e legends, it is d oubtful th at mortals can achieve this with quite the proficiency of one wh o was born directly from th e Mists. In game terms, this is represented by a core set of revenant skills (specifically, the weapon skills) that do n ot change accord ing to the legend that is channelled, making the adoption of a legen dary stan ce only an imperfect mirroring of the vestige. Razah, on the oth er hand, might have no such limitation: when Razah channels a legen d, Razah may be able to mimic the legend in all particulars. Thus, Razah may not truly be a revenant, but the ideal to w hich revenants strive to reach – but can never achieve.
GuildMag: The Annual 2015 | Razah and the Revenant





Off the Beaten Path

The immenseness of the ju ngle floor map can be seen in a short run from the Order of Whisper’s camp near the entrance to Auric Basin. Heading south, you will come to a stream an d followin g it will lead you to a precipice where the stream tumbles away as an amazing waterfall. Below you, in the underground cave systems , you will see a seco nd Order of Whispers encampment. There, you will find th e sylvari Arw yna who asks to be escorted safely to the Ogre C amp. “A rw yna’s Camp” is a good landmark and starting point for several forays into the jun gle : For example, by running south along the green path ou t of “Arwyna’s Camp” you will reach an eerie pitch black tun nel. If th e bones an d green ambient lighting aren’t en ough to dissuade yo u from entering, you will  find the perfect setting to show off an y luminescent armor you’ve collected, and there are no hostile creatures in the darkest portions of the cave so it is saf e to linger.

The Ogre Camp and Teku Nuhoch

By following Arwyna from her camp, you can unlo ck th e Ogre Camp waypoint. If you don’t wish to follow her, tak e the upward sloping road just north of camp past the mushroom enemies. When you reach th e mordrem, look for another upward-sloping path on the so uth side of the cavern. It will lead you into the Great Tree - now mere ly a stump - and beyond this lies the Ogre C amp. The hollow interior of the tree is littered with ogres who lost their lives explorin g the structure, and by following the spiral path upward, you can climb to th e top of th e stump. Near the top, a series of shelf mushrooms leads to the high est re aches where you will find the Arboreal Overlook Point of I ntere st. Beyond th is point, a series of updrafts lead to a mastery point, the Stron gbox of th e “Shard of Brilliance” and the Order of W hispers Camp near the en trance to Auric Basin. Southeast of the tree, not far fro m the Ogre Camp, you can use bouncing mushrooms to climb the cliffs and discover th e ogre crash sight. Exploring the crash sigh t will yield b oth an amazing view and a sple ndid treasure. To reach the village of Teku Nuhoch, begin again at “Arwyna’s C amp.” From here, take the same upward-sloping road you took to th e Ogre Camp. This time, follow the road past the mushro oms as it loops south  and then turns east again. Along the eastern wall, you will find spiderweb-lined cave full of chak. Push past them and as you exit the  cave you will see a stump in the mid-distance, which houses Teku Nuhoch, offering a welcome respite for those traversing the ju ngle. Recuperating in Teku Nuhoch gives you a chance to converse with th e villagers, help them to hunt delicious beetles, an d sit in on a lute jam session.
The Heart of Thorns release brought us four new maps, each with their own special flavor and challenging content. One of the most challenging to navigate is the jun gle floor map, Tan gled Depths, with its four twisting layers of paths, caves, streams, and waterfalls. Players fi nd their way here after exploring Auric Basin and once trapped in the maze, many may have a hard time finding their way out. Some players have expressed exasp eration with the new maps, finding them difficult to navigate, and the meta events exercises in frustration. How ever, Tangled Depths has much to offer; straying from th e road s, not referencing the map, and fearlessly getting lost are the keys.
GuildMag: The Annual 2015 | Off the Beaten Path in Tangled Depths

The Ley-Line Confluence, Rata Novus, and SCAR


From Teku Nuhoch, the path to the Central Confluen ce an d Rata Novus is a straight-forward pu sh through a chak-infested cave system. Despite the infestation, the chak tun nels are wide, well-marked and form natural lanes to each main area. Rata Novus can be reached along the Confluence paths, as can SCAR Bivouac, how ever th ere is a second way to reach the bivouac: From the Rata Novus waypoint, lo ok for the large waterfall to the southeast. By using bou ncing mush rooms, you can scale the waterfall and follow the river out to the surface near the Cascade Descent Point of Interest. The SCAR Bivouac is a sho rt run southwest of Cascade Descent.

The Cascade Descent

By dropping down the Cascade Des cen t, you will reach the lowest level of the map: an underground river. This tunn el is the gateway to a fe w secret areas, as well as a quick way to travel between points on the map with few enemies. It isn’t as fast as waypointin g, of course, but it is an interesting journey. Be warned, however, that many of the en trances to the tunnel are protected by environmental barriers, including hungry piranha, laser beams, and poisonous water. To pass the p iranhas, the Exalted Beacons that appear in the tunnel provid e the answ er, plu s a welcome speed boost. Beginning at Cascade Descent, the tun nel first leads to Rata Novus. If you continue north past the city, you will find the secret asuran lab from the Rata Novus story instance. Continuin g west from Rata Novus, the water tunnel branches north a se con d time to exit n ear Teku Nuhoch in the subterranean lake. However, the environmental barrier here is the lake’s poisonous waters so entry an d exit will requ ire Itzel Poison Lore. Poison will also greet you inside the chak strongh old, the n ex t water tunn el exit as you swim along the southern fork. Beyond the stronghold, journeying w est and sou th along the water tunnel will bring you to a short eastern sp ur near the O gre Camp. Look for the exit along the top of th e water tunnel. Here, y ou will fi nd yourself in a deep pool surrounded by crystals . By climb ing along th e crystal path and then ascending through the in terlacing roots, you will find the ancient golemancer Zinn’s long-lo st lab . 28 GuildMag: The Annual 2015 | Off the Beaten Path in Tangled Depths

Deeproot Sink and Dragon’s Passage

Continuing sou thwest from Zin n’s lab, you will find the Jellyfish Grotto Hero Point and just beyond that, another ex it into the upper world at the bottom of a deep crevasse. You can u se updrafts to escape from the crevasse, and by floating to the very top you w ill find a chest an d an exit into Deeproot Sink. Then, from Deepro ot Sink, it is a sh ort but dangerou s jaunt south and west to Dragon’s Passage and th e exit into th e final area of the Heart of Thorns expansion: Dragon ’s Stand. However, there is no reason to fight your w ay past the chak. In stead of dropping into Deeproot Sink after gliding up the crevasse, retu rn to the bottom and the water tu nnel. Ride the first updraft and land on the green ledge near the start of the second up draft, then turn sou th . Although dropping to the path below will take you to Dragon ’s Passage (north of the Dragon Passage waypoint), by usin g the series of n earby updrafts, it is possible to glide from the green ledge to th e waypoint with very little time on the gro und. With main waypoints open and kn owing a few key landmarks, shortcu ts, and alternate routes, navigating Tangled Depths becomes easier. Th e labyrinthine map earns its name and the UI map can only o ffer vague guidance as it lacks the ability to properly convey th e elevation changes, twists, and turns that make up this map. Like other Heart of Thorns maps, the Tangled Depths is amorphous instead of linear and it offers uniqu e challenges and an amazing variety of lo cales: From ancient cities and long-forgotten labs to poisonous lakes and tree stu mp villages. Exploring these, spending time off the beate n path can p rove quite rewarding.
GuildMag: The Annual 2015 | Off the Beaten Path in Tangled Depths

The Mystery of the Mists

While scholarly interest in the M ists has persisted for hu ndreds of years, recent events have been increasingly drawing the Mists fro m being primarily of academic interest to a topic that may have important ramifications on Tyria’s future. The opening of a portal d urin g a ritual intended to reverse the Foefire might indicate th at the answer to a permanent solution may lie in the Mists, while the ap pearance of a new branch of magic drawing power from “legends” – ech oes of p owerful beings from Tyria’s history – suggests that the Mists may contain as- yet-untapped magical resources. Alternatively, these “legends” may be more of a risk than they’re worth, allowing th e personalities of defeated villains to once more exercise harmful influence over Tyria. In the following treatise, I discuss what we know of the n atu re of the Mists, and how some of the regions within the Mists are divided. In the second part of this study, I will give an overview of the b ein gs know n to reside in th e Mists.

The Nature of the Mists

The first thing we know abou t the Mists is that they are a force of limitless creative potential. Legend holds that Tyria itself was born from  the Mists, although whether this was a true case of spontaneous creation, a copy of some other world, or called into bein g by some unidentified creator is unkn own. Most of our own experience with creation in the M ists , however, involves copying some aspect of Tyria that serves as a ‘template’. In some cases, such as the fractals, this copy is almost perfect – creatures are indistinguishable from Tyrian natives, and even the terrain and events within the fractal may match up, to a greater or lesser degr ee, with historical events in Tyria. Other copies show greater imperfections, such as the Torment demons that rep ortedly occasionally resembled nightmarish jumbles of limbs and other parts. Exactly what the criteria is for something to be used as a template by the Mists is u ncle ar, but it does seem that the more significant an object, creature, or event, the more likely it is to be copied in the Mists. Certain powerful beings, such as th e gods, also appear to h ave a limited  ability to shape the Mists through conscious direction. While it is likely that each of the realms of the go ds has been shaped by the god that owns it, the clearest example may be in th e changes wrough t by Abaddon in the Realm of Torment in order to bring th e Realm to Tyria. From research into accounts during that period, it seems that the main ‘crack’ that Abaddon needed was for someone w ith in Tyria to have knowledge of him. This knowledge formed a lin k between the mortal’ s mind and the fallen god, allowing Abaddon both to send min io ns to ou r world and to draw current knowledge from that person’ s surro undings in Tyria. With that knowledge, he could shape a portio n of th e Realm of Torment to match the victim’s surroundings – and through a fo rm of sympathetic magic, this allowed Abaddon to project this portion of the Realm of Torment into the world of Tyria, merging with the target location and providing Abaddon with a fo oth old. While some less-directed ‘leak through’ occurred as the barrier b etw een Tyria and the Realm of Torment was weakened by Warmarshal Varesh, major incursions of this nature did not come withou t a warn ing. It seems the link worked both ways, and as th e Nightfallen copy was made, the victim would begin to see it in their d reams. In one case, heroes employed a ritual to enter the victim’s dreams and destroy th e Nightfallen substitution from within, removing the threat. In th e other, however, the sacred Garden of Seborhin was corru pted, and w hile the corruption was contained by the efforts of heroes an d the sp irit defenders of the place, it was not fully restored until after A bad don’s defeat. This potential for creation may not be restricted to powerful en tities such as the gods alone – it is possible that magic itself may be derive d in some manner from the energy of the Mists, with mortal u se of magic being a form of conscious or semi-consciou s direction of en ergy to generate a crea tive effect.
LORE Written by Draxynnic Part 1 of a review into the nature, divisions, and denizens of the Mists, penned by Scholar Eleanor Draxyn nus in the year 1328 AE.





30 GuildMag: The Annual 2015 | A Study into the Nature of the Mists

Regions of the Mists

When talking about the Mists, there are two distin ct realms that we have experienced, and a possible third th at we have n ot. While there is likely no explicit barrier between them as there is between th e Mists  and the Tyria we live in, the two appear different enough to be considered separately. The first is what, in lieu of an existing formal term, I shall refer to as the ‘Tyrian Mists.’ While according to legend Tyria was born from the Mists, and a ‘veil’ partially separates the Tyria we live in from th e Mists, there are, in fact, two versions of Tyria: the Tyria we live in, and a Tyria th at is found in th e Mists. It is unclear whether the Mists’ version is a cop y of Tyria or simply a reflection that, like spirits who manifest in our w orld , Tyria exists both within and outside the Mists. Either way, the Tyrian Mists behave as a spirit analogue to our w orld – wh ere th e spirits of the deceased first fin d themselves, as well as the home of animal spirits and other beings that remain closely linked to Tyria. The Tyrian Mists are relatively easy to reach – in some places the veil grow s thin and the two overlap, and some mystics, the norn havrouns in particu lar, have the ability to step into and out of th is spirit world.
A region of the Tyrian Mists is clo sely boun d with its equivalent region in Tyria, and events in Tyria reflect on the Tyrian M ists, and possibly vice versa. The Nightfall events provoked by Ab add on, for instance, might be caused by Abaddon shaping a regio n of th e Tyrian Mists to match an analogous region of the Realm of Torment, causing the Tyria of th e living to physically reshape itself to match . Some correlation seems likely between the Tyrian Mists and the Dream of Dreams. Like the Tyrian Mists, regions within the Dream will match their physical analogue, and these regions can be considered similar to those regions where the veil is thin b etw een the physical world and the Tyrian Mists. As sylvari also say that dead sylvari return to th e Dream – as souls of other races enter the Mists – it may be that th e Dream simply represents a region of the Tyrian Mists of particular interest to, and influenced by, the Pale Tree and the sylvari. Alternatively, it may be another realm within the Mists that hap pens to be a particularly close analogue to the physical realm. The second are the True Mists, the chaotic region that man y adventurers think of when they con sid er the Mists. This is the region where the various realms of the Mists can be foun d, whether th ey be fractals, realms of the gods, the battlefields of the Mist War, or the Hall  of Heroes. While these realms are distinct from Tyria, many are still formed from imperfect copies of places and events on Tyria, or
are at least similar enough to Tyria that we are able to su rvive in those environments. A possible third region may exist, which I sh all call the Deep Mists. This would represent a region sufficiently far from Tyria or any oth er physical world, such that the Mists there are unable to use a phy sical world as a template to form realms. Thus, these regions may contain realms that are entirely unrecognisable (and possibly inhosp itable) to Tyrians, or even lack stable realms altogether. If any have ventured to such places they have not returned to tell the tale. H owever, some accounts of the fight against Mallyx th e Unyielding speak of rumours that the Ravenheart Gloom may have led to such a p lace. If the Realm of Torment did sit on the edge of the Deep Mists, th is wou ld explain the twisted shapes of the torment demons that inhabit it. While creatu re s formed within closer sections of the Mists (such as th e fractals and th e realms of the Mist War) are inhabited by creatures which are p erfect or near-perfect copies of creatures from Tyria, the reflections of Tyri an creatures into regions deeper into the Mists may be distorted by the greater distance, resulting in the misshapen forms of the d emo ns that form there. In the second part of this treatise, I will go into greater dep th on how the Mists behave as a spirit realm for Tyria, including a discussion of the denizens of the Mists that have infl uenced Tyria: the so uls of th e dead, the Spirits of the Wild, an d the god s.











the Tyria we live








in the Mists

GuildMag: The Annual 2015 | A Study into the Nature of the Mists
Written by kent ben son



As an amateur artist, I often find it difficult to stray from my comfort zon e. Whether it be my reluctance to take on building a detailed lan dscap e or drawing an action scene from a challenging point of perspective, making and impro vin g one’s art is all about putting yourself out there, taking risks, and letting go of wh at feels safe. For this issue, I decided to choose art that I felt made bold stateme nts or tackled a significant challenge in one form or anoth er. Of course, this is art; my opinions and perspectives are subject to my preferences an d to th e limits of my artistic knowledge. However, these are ultimately bou nd to one important rule: I’m here to have fun .

“Nivh Portrait” by Kaiyela

Immediately what stood out to me ab out this p aintin g is the face; it’s the focus. I love that the head app ears larger, that it’s all up in my face while the rest of th e body is mostly non-descript, opaque, and smaller. In th e case of  this piece, less is obviously more. The charr, “Nivh” presumably, is fierce, alert, and likely less than pleased (though some charr are known to have naturally grumpy expressions). The creases around the muzz le, th e snarl of  the nose and mouth, are indications of both age and emotion. The cherry on top, for me, are the tiny, sparkling pu pils in her eyes. Like the shimmering of distant head lig hts on a highway, Nivh’s eyes pierce the dark of dusk aroun d her. It is a subtle but powerful detail that helps make th is piece as bold as I think it is. Finally, fo r a few last notes, I lo ve that the setting is also not too descrip t. It’s enou gh for me to build the scene and story in my head . The time of d ay, th e season, it’s all here.

“Charr Elementalist” by Dandzialf

Since we’re already taking a ride on the charr train, let’s stick around a little longer with Dandzialf’s “Charr Elementa list 6.” One aspect of the charr that give players some amount of grie f is the lack of armor sets that are designed around the ch arr bo dy. What Dandzialf has done with this character concept is design their own outfit, which fran kly, I’d throw on my dared evil in two shakes of a ch arr’s tail. The outfit is not absu rd ly elaborate and plays to many of the same design features of some charr racial ar mor: banded leather, straps, folded robes, and open toes. That said, the specific design is a little mo re elegant than I’ve seen w ith most charr apparel, though not abundan tly so. The color scheme focuses more on faded blues and browns, with some parts tin ted slightly green and embroidered with gold. 32 GuildMag: The Annual 2015 | Community Art: The Brave and the Bold

“Offensive Golem Support” by Enayla Cosplay

On the topic of outfit design, th ere’ s nothing more artistically bold than taking on a cosp lay project - especially wh en that project leads to the construction of a ridicu lously large asura golem battlesuit. Enayla’s signature white, blu e, and gold Inqu est outfit and blue-h aired asura cosplay has been making splashes in the Guild Wars 2 creative community for some time n ow. I first saw her at PAX East w hen sh e was sporting a model of the basic glider skin. Little did I know that she was going to take her asura cosp lay to its technological conclusion. The golem suit is nearly perfect in detail (obviously there isn’t real magic holding its limbs together because that’s, you know, imp ossib le) down to the occasional scuffs an d fades in th e paint and around the hard edges that give its faux metal armor that “tempered and tested” look. The feather in the cap, however, is the fact that Enayla can actually climb into the su it by standin g on platforms that she built into the legs. Add on the fact she also made a ley-line bow lin ed with wispy blue magic, every crag and crack chiseled in, and the whole getup becomes the stu ff of cosplay legend.
GuildMag: The Annual 2015 | Community Art: The Brave and the Bold

“Journey Through Tyria” by Rienlen

Cosplay and digital character design are functionally fascinating, but my passion in art belongs to illustration. Taking characters and putting them in some form of context, that tells a sto ry. With Rienlen’s triptych piece, the artist does just that in a very distinct and loveable cartoonish style that is dynamic and expressive. The first image features a female sylvari (at least , I think so, judging by the outfit design) in Orr, engaged in elemental combat. I love the liveliness of this panel, w hich is sort of ironic considering the setting. The b right golden light, the whirling elemen tal magic, the appropriate use of action blurring effects and perspective tilt give the firs t image its punch. I can’t help but loo k at it and think about h ow cool th is would look as an animated sequen ce.
The center image, for me, is all about expression an d perspective. Sure, it has lot to do with the human and asu ra reacting at… something (probably a brood of spiders; it’s always spiders). One th ing I love about more cartoonish styles is that it allows the artist to really exagger ate and magnify facial expression beyond wh at is normally possible; Rienlen doesn’t h esitate to do that, and it pays off in a big w ay. It makes me, as the viewer, curious abou t what is happening in that scene, and of course, humors me to see an asura mak e such a face.
The final image in the trio appears to be more scene-focused. The way th e scene is  lit is meant to draw our eyes to th e horizon, th e mountains in the distance, and the dragon circling them. The feeling I get when looking at this last image is on par with the feeling I get wh en I’m in Lornar’s Pass or Timberline Falls, when you come to the top of a hill or tu rn the corner of a cliffside path to see a green and white valley ahead of yo u. You p au se and think “woah,” before jou rn eying onward, propelled by the need to se e what adventure lies over the next h ill.
34 GuildMag: The Annual 2015 | Community Art: The Brave and the Bold
What brought me to h1fey’s piece is how w ell it embodies h ow I imagine the reaper elite specialization. Reapers are known as bringers of death, destruction, and are often considered a force for evil, tearin g away the things we love. However, as Guild Wars 2 is a story about heroes and th eir war against the Elder Dragons, it allows the reaper to be put in this u nique role of being fiercely grim and terrifying, but also h eroic. The subject (what I can only assume to be a sylvari reaper) is traversin g a world of shadow, stalking its target. The scenery is almost n on-descript to avoid drawing the viewer’s eyes from leaving the figure, as it shou ld; even the figure itself ultimately blurs into a fl owing sh ado wy mass. The reaper’s scythe is appropriately wispy in form and doesn’t go overb oard with the green glow, while the armor has just abo ut the right amoun t of detail so that it looks like actual armor. Ideally, I would have liked to see a little bit more “texture” or differentiation in the black mass that makes up the legs. Monochromatic (mostly) painting can be difficult in that shapes of color can blend together if they aren’t defined, w hich the artist skillfully avoids in their work.

“ReaPer” by h1fey

GuildMag: The Annual 2015 | Community Art: The Brave and the Bold
Written by Aaro n Heath





Sound was the first thing that penetrated the silent, un ending pit of utter darkness that was Arcadia Steelfur’s reality. She co uld hear a soft, rhythmic thrum all around her, punctuated by sharp cracking noises like twigs breaking underfoot. Wind? No, too warm, thought Arcadia dully, and no breeze. Fire! At this sudden realization, her eyes snapped open . She w as lying on her back in the middle of a small clearing in wh at loo ke d like a forest, but was unlike any forest Arcadia had ever seen . The trees grew this way and that, crisscrossing and intertwining with one an other. Thick, ropey vines hung from their branches, trailing dow n into an impenetrable undergrowth of multicolored and vib rant vegetation. The flames that had awoken her appeared to be emanatin g from burning piles of charred wood and twisted bits of metal. Are those airship parts? As she continued to take in her surro undings, A rcadia finally realized where she must be. The Maguuma Jungle. But if I’m there, then- h er thought trailed off as she realized what mu st have become of th e Pact’s assault on the elder dragon Mordremoth’s inner sanctum. Involu ntary tears welled in her eyes, and she blinked th em back furiously as she tried not to think about what might h ave h ap pened to her fellow warband members. Charr don’t cry, Arcadia, get it together! They can take care of themselves. Right now, you need to focus on getting yourself out of this mess! As that thought crossed her min d, she realized she was unable to move. Looking down at her prone form, still clad in her Vigil un if orm, she could see that she was trap ped ben eath an enormous pile of airship wreckage and smoldering vegetation. S he struggled feebly to extricate herself from the oppressive mass, but her efforts met with little success. She slumped back in defeat, her long ho rn s digging into the soft earth as she stared up in to the impen etrable b lackness of the jungle canop y. What was that? Her four ears twitched as her heightened sense of hearing picked up the sound of multiple high- pitch ed voices drawing near. Lying still, Arcadia listened warily. “The plan failed, Flune!” said a shrill, in sisten t voice; it sound ed male. “The fleet is in ruins, Trahearn e and Destiny ’s Edge, well, the members of Destiny’s Edge that bothered to come along at any rate, are missin g, presumed dead, and the likelihood that anyone els e survive d this mess is minimal at best! We need to evacuate the area, now!” “We survived, didn’t we?” Countered a new voice, female this time, her tone sharp, “I don’t suppose yo u factored that statistic into your calculations, Mister ‘dragon ma gic analyst exper t.’ If there are survivor s, Drixx, we have to stay and look for them. It’s ou r duty to th e Pact.” “It’s ‘savant in applied magical analysis,’ thank you very much. N ot that you’d care, Miss ‘glorified tree historian .’” “For your information, the Priory considers me their senior-most
authority on the Maguuma Jungle, which makes me imperative to this effort. “Well thank the alchemy we had you with us, or else we wo uld have really been in trouble. Oh wait…” “I don’t have time for your foolish antics, Drixx. I’m goin g to search the area for survivors and help anyone I can. I’ll be sure to re port your desertion when I regroup with what remain s of our allies.” “I see no reason for that typ e of beh avior. I –“ “Would you two stop squabbling like a pair horn less cu bs and get me out of here?” Arcadia asked loudly, cutting off the conversation . She still  could not see where the voices were coming from, but they were clearly with the Pact and at least o ne of th em sounded like they w ould be willin g to help. “Who said that? Where are you?” shouted the female voice, clearly caught off guard by the sudden in terrup tio n. “I’m in the clearing, underneath all this junk!” Arcadia sh outed b ack, wincing at th e effort. Arcadia heard the muffled shuffle of hurried footsteps from somewher e behind her, and after a few seco nds, two sq uat figures appeared through the gloom. Arcadia had assumed they were asura, an d their large, floppy ears, disproportionate heads, and unusually short statu re confirmed her suspicions immediately. Catching sight of her torn and soiled Vigil garments, they hurried over and knelt by Arcadia’s side. “Alright, let’s get you out of here,” said the female asura, w hose bright pink hair shone merrily in the dull firelight, “Drixx, we n eed to d isp lace the debris impeding this charr’s mobility. Wo uld you min d doin g the honors?” “Um, ah, yes, of course, stand back, Flune,” said Drixx, fl ushing sligh tly. Brandishing a short staff with an odd, rectangu lar mechanism wh irring at its tip, he pointed it at the immense heap of wre ckage and waved it once. A powerful gust of wind emanated from the staff, cau sin g Drixx’s dark hair to stand on end and sending both th e debris and Arcadia flying across the clearing into a nearby clump of vegetation. “Drixx, you dolt!” Flune shouted angrily, “look wh at y ou’ve don e now! We’re trying to rescu e survivors, n ot kill them!” Drixx rolled his eyes as he retorted, “Relax, sh e’ll be fi ne. The charr are very durable specimens. You should see what kin d of p unishment th ey can take in the lab .” At that moment, Arcadia staggered out of the trees, brushing leaves off her fur and looking disgru ntled.
Originally published in issue 14
36 GuildMag: The Annual 2015 | A Shattered Pact: Part I
“You could have been more diplomatic about it,” she said hu ffily , “b ut thanks. I’m Arcadia Steelfur, Vigil Engineer and Pact Airship Technician. I’m from the Firefang, though I doubt it’s an y more than a smoking heap of garbage at this point. I don’t remember much, one minu te I’m in th e engine room making sure everything’s ship shape, the next I’m w akin g up down here beneath a pile ru bble. Do eith er of you know what happened?” Flune walked over to Arcadia and shook her outstretched p aw , wincing as she made contact with Arcadia’s razor sharp claws. “I’m Flune, and this b umbling idiot is Drixx. We’re both with the Durmand Priory. We were aboard the Raithwyrm when it happen ed. We had been bombarding the jungle with everythin g we h ad for several minutes, when enormous vines shot out of n owhere and made lab fodder out of our ships! The fl ee t didn’t stand a chance. Drixx and I have been searching for survivors, but you’re the on ly one w e’ve encountered thus far.” Arcadia frowned and looked at the ju ngle floo r, a pit of worry growing in her chest. Looking up at Flune, she said, “Vines, eh ? If it weren’ t some Durmand Priory know-it-all telling me, I wouldn’t believe it. I didn’ t think they made bigger vines than the ones b ack in the Silverwastes. My warband were all stationed aboard the Firefang, and find in g them is my first priority. Thanks for the save, but it looks like th is is where we go our separate ways.” “You want to go deeper into that deathtrap of a ju ngle?” Drix x cried , almost incoherent with disbelief. Arcadia looked at him with dislike and remarked flatly, “You wo uldn’t understand.” Turning her back on the two asura, she began her trek into the Maguuma Jungle. As Arcadia disappeared into the dense overgrowth, Flune bit her lip, looking first at the retreating ch arr, then at D rixx. “You can’t possibly be considerin g going w ith her…” Drixx asked incredulously. Flune gave him a half smile, “S he’s goin g to need our help, Drixx. S he’ll die out there on her own. I’m going with her.” Turning aw ay fro m Drixx , she scuttled off after Arcadia. “Are you insane?” Drixx cried after her, not bothering to hide th e panic in his voice, “That’s literally the home of an Elder Dragon! W hat you’re doing is suicide! Are you listening to me?! Get back h ere now!” Flune merely waved over her shoulder as she continu ed after Arcadia, not even bothering to look back. Irate with in dignatio n, Drixx stood alone in the clearing for several secon ds before sighin g and run ning after her. PART II is continued in issue 15
GuildMag: The Annual 2015 | A Shattered Pact: Part I
Razah stood on the precipice of Hallow ed Point, its sightless gaze boring into the abyss before it. All around it, the rocky gre y lan dscap e of the Desolation stretched endlessly in all directions, all juttin g crags and sickly, sulfurous haze. Razor-sharp gravel grated beneath its feet as  it leaned forward over the seemingly bottomless crevasse, probing outward with tendrils of magic. Could it have foun d it at last, after all this time? Was its search finally at an end? No, it finally decided without the slightest trace of disapp oin tme nt or weariness. It did not detect any trace of the immense magical en ergy the staff would surely emit. In fact, it sen sed that the pit before it was not only bottomless, but also a portal of some sort, a fissure in th e fabric of reality, linking one alien dimension to another. Th e staff would be somew here on th e other side. Looking up from the pit, Razah contemplated w hat entering the ab yss might entail. As a product of the seemingly ran dom wh ims of the M ists, it was acutely aware of the danger involved in traversing them an d their various worlds and planes of existen ce. I must have the staff, it reasoned, for only it can provid e me with th at which I seek, registering the possibility of bodily harm briefly , th en brushing it away, unconcerned. All humans seem to have a reason for their existe nce. It is time I discovered mine. Reaching up, Razah adjusted the swathe of fabric that co vered his head and eyes, the bones and metal trin kets dangling from it jingling softly in the eerie silence of the Desolation. Then, stepping fo rw ard as casually as if it were out for an evening stroll, Razah plummeted downw ard in to oblivion. It felt the magic starting to work at once. Its h eig htened sen ses and numerous magical wards alerted it to the strands of magic weavin g their way around its body, immobilizing it an d hold in g it fast as it fell. Razah let the spells take effect without protest, registering with academic interest that the magic was completely alien in nature, unlike  any force it had ever encountered. It wasn’t magic, not in the traditional sense. It was something older, something far bey ond its comprehension. Then Razah felt a sharp chill surge thro ugh th e length of its body, and it kn ew no more. When it awoke, Razah was faintly aware of a light breeze ticklin g its face, causing a few of the ornaments on its vest and leggings to rustle softly. It stirred, its mind hazy and slow, then began to reme mb er entering Hallowed Point, and its reasons for doing so. Liftin g its head, it slowly pushed itself to its feet. It stood in the center of an immense golden plaza, its shimmerin g floors stretching for hundreds of feet in all d irections and ending in shallow, sloping golden walls. Bey ond the walls it could sen se nothin g but empty, white horizon. Immense, winged statu es rin ged the enclosure, their architecture finer than any Razah had encoun tered before. In the center of the vast golden plan e was a rais ed dais with an ornate walkway leading up to it. Strange carvings were etched all alon g the thoroughfare, their origin an d meaning u nknow n to Razah. Atop the platform stood a lone figure, too faint for Razah to make out. Razah could sense it was aware of its presence, th ough th e figure made no indication that this was the case. Cautiously, Razah started toward the dais, probing and searching with his magic all the while, alert an d read y to react to danger at a moment’s notice.
Written by Aaro n Heath

a Purpose Found

38 GuildMag: The Annual 2015 | A Purpose Found
As it walked, Razah thought its situation over. It knew it was no lo nger in  Tyria; its attunement to the Mists told it as much, but beyond that, it had no idea where it might be. Nor did it have any idea as to who the  figure atop the dais was. It recognized that an enco unter with th e figure could be fatal, but, it reasoned, there was a chan ce the figu re knew something of the staff. Of course, there was no guaran tee of this. Razah had no idea if the portal would have taken th e staff to the same place when it was cast into the abyss at Hallowed Po in t all those years ago, and if it hadn’t, Razah knew it could be stu ck in this fo reign plane of existence for an interminably long time, possibly fore ver. It went over  all of this information quickly and matter-of-factly, a sentient being outlining its situation, nothing more. As Razah drew level with the dais, the figure atop it tu rn ed to face it. “Long have I awaited your arrival, Rift Warden.” “You know of me?” Razah asked, perplexed, but not su rp rised. “I know of all, child of the Mists. In my mortal life, I travelled the Mists freely, traversing lands and realities no mortal being was ever meant to behold. I paid for my trespass with my life, and now it is my duty to guide those who seek greatn ess toward the pro per path. For you, Razah, I am the end of one path, and the begin ning of an oth er. However, which path you choose to set foot up on remain s a decision for you alone. Do you know who I am, Rift Warden ?” Despite its initial confusion, Razah found that it did, “You are Lord Odran.” “The very same. Do you know where y ou are?” Again, Razah instinctively knew the answer: “This is the Hall of H eroes.” “Yes, yes, you are the one. You seek a powerfu l talisman, know n in your  world only as the Staff of the Mists. You hope it will provide you the answers you seek. You desire a path to tread upon, a w ay forw ard illuminated by fate. The talisman is fate incarnate, and will grant y ou what y ou seek.” “You know of the staff?” asked Razah. “I am its protector, its warden, I keep it safe from those w ho wo uld misuse it. As I once did.” Odran replied, a faraw ay look in h is eyes. “You wielded the staff?” Razah asked, surprised . “Long ago. The staff allows the user to traverse the Mists at th eir whim, though such activity incurs the wrath of bein gs beyond the comprehension of you or I. Misuse the staff, an d you shall end up as I, warden of destiny, a custodian of the Mists. You are fated to carry the staff, to use it, bu t only for a time.” “It is my fate? My purpose?” Razah asked, a strange feeling blossoming within it. “It is. However, nothing is set, an d what yo u choose remains to be seen. Know that your actions here will influ ence the fate of the world in to which you w ere thrust.” “Will you give me the staff?” Razah asked, its body tensing, preparin g for  a confrontation. Odran radiated power, and Razah decided it would rather not engage in a contest of p ower with th e ancient being. “I shall give you a choice, Rift Warden. You may have the staff, as it is your right to possess it. However, kn ow that in receiving it, yo u will never again return to the place from whence you came. You w ill become a Watcher, an entity fated to oversee and infl uence the physical realm from within the Mists. You will shape the fate of Ty ria throu gh the power of the staff, guiding and hin derin g the peo ple of that w orld as you see fit. But you will never go back. Is th at a fate yo u are willing to
accept, Rift Warden? “And if I refuse the staff?” asked Razah. “I shall return you to Tyria, and you shall continu e to wander its land s in search of your place in that world. As for wheth er or not you will find it, I cannot say. Which shall you choose, Razah, child of the Mists?” Razah hesitated for a moment, then spoke the words that sealed its fate, “Give me the staff.” Wordlessly, Lord Odran held out his hands, his palms facin g upw ard, and in the next instant, a shimmerin g blue light blossomed from them, twisting and expanding as it formed into the shape of an imp ressive staff, its tip adorned with a large, pulsating blue stone. Odran ’s eyes opened, and he held out the Staff of th e Mists to Razah. As it reached out to take it, Razah suddenly realized that the peculiar sensatio n it was feeling was the human emotion of joy. For th e first time in its ex isten ce, it was hap py. “Wield this mighty talisman with honor and grace, Razah, Watcher of Tyria. Go now, begin your destiny, embrace yo ur fate.” With that, Odran’s form began to fade, melting back into the fabric of the M ists to wait for another hero to come seeking their destin y. Razah stood alone atop the golden dais, the Staff of th e Mists held reverently in both hands. Then, turning to face th e pale, empty horizon, it raised the staff overhead, turning sightless eyes toward th e heavens as it felt the staff’s power begin to suffuse it. It had foun d its pu rp ose.


Rytlock Brimstone opened his eyes an d looked aroun d, his mane prickling. Where was he? Probably somewhere in the M is ts, w ho could tell where that blasted portal had spirited him off to. Th e ground beneath him was rough and dark, composed of pitted, vo lcanic rock. The smell of sulfur hung thick in the air, and the sky ab ove him was painted a dark, unsettling red. The landscape abou t him was dotted with jagged rock formations, mesas, plateaus, and cliffs. Far off in the distance, he could see a mountain spewing fi re in to the crimson sky. “Long have I awaited your arrival, Rift Warden,” said Razah from behin d the big charr, causing him to whirl around in alarm and let out a d ee p, guttural growl. “Who are you?! Where am I?! Wh ere’s my sword?! Speak, demon!” Rytlock spat, claws extended, ready to fight to th e death. “Come, Rift Warden. Follow me. I have much to show you, and we have little time.” said Razah placidly, turning and beginning to walk down a narrow canyon. As it walked away, Rytlock noted the peculiar staff it wielded. “Why should I follow you?” shouted Rytlo ck, teeth bared . “You seek the sword Sohothin, do you not?” Razah rep lied , not looking back. Withou t another word, Rytlock tore after it.
GuildMag: The Annual 2015 | A Purpose Found


It’s a new year, and with it a new addition to the GuildMag magaz in es: competitio ns! Starting in this Annual, we’ll be giving away 800 gems to one lucky winner in every future magazine issue. Keep reading to find out how to en ter th is issue’s competition. We love to fill our magazines with in-game screenshots, and that’s what this competition is all ab out. We’re lookin g for a scr eenshot that best sums up y our experien ce of Guild Wars 2 in 2015. As a celebration of the past 12 months, we’re  eager to see what everyone else gets up to in-game! Do you have a favourite moment of 2015 that you’ve taken a screenshot of? Do you spend all your time cooking up tasty treats, or maybe this was the year that you finally crafted th at Legendary? Whatever 2015 meant to you in-game, we w an t to see it!

How to Enter

To enter, send your screenshot, along with your name and in-game account name, to no later than 29th February 2016. Entries sent after this date will not be accepted into the competition. The winning entry will be chosen by a panel of GuildMag te am members based on creativity, framin g and gen eral awesomeness. The winner’s screenshot, along with additional special mentions, will be displayed in our n ext magazine issue, and the winner co ntacted through email. If you have any questions about your en try, please email the above ad dress. Go od luck!


Each individual may submit only ONE screenshot. The screenshot should be of Guild Wars 2 (in cluding Heart of Thorns) ONLY. No other games are eligible. The screenshot should not show any UI elements, or player n ames. The screenshot may not be enhanced in any way from the base game, in clu ding: post-p rocessing effects (SweetFX, GEMFX etc); image modifications (Photoshop or any other image editing software); or an y other changes from w hat’s visible in-game. The image submitted may not contain obscene or offensive material. Any images deemed unsuitable for publicatio n will be immediately discarded.
• • • • •
40 GuildMag: The Annual 2015 | Screen shot COntest


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42 GuildMag: The Annual 2015 | The Back Pages - Get Involved


Valiant Editor-in -Chi ef Anth onz Design er Tauz Senior Editor Littleboat Editor Ferialyn Editor Draxynnic Senior Writ er
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Ka iyela Dandzialf Enayla Cosplay osplay Rienlen rienlen.devian h1f ey
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GuildMag: The Annual 2015 | The Back Pages - Contributors
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