24 hours in Tyria

Jul 19

Written by:
7/19/2012 7:42 PM 


   The announcement of the upcoming release of the game flooded me with a wide range of emotions, most of which are expressed with redundant elegance by Optimus Maleficus in his recent article. What caused perhaps the most unanticipated chill however, was the closing phrase of his psychoanalysis:

«No matter how great this has been, this phase of Guild Wars 2's life is nearing its end. August 28th is when the true story begins.»

    The word "end" always causes negative and intense emotions to us humans. The moment we relate it however with the "beginning" of the next phase, these emotions are reversed instantly! So I let my sorrow about the end of the BWEs fly away with them (it is highly unlikely that I will participate in the last BWE, in 20/7, as the knowledge that my visit in Tyria will once again come with an expiration date is killing me...) and so I too bid this game's life cycle goodbye with a small travelogue: 24 hours (game-time) in Tyria, out of the sum of all three BWEs I took part in.

    Like any Human by nature and despite being a Charr reincarnate, I started my journey from Divinity's Reach. I did not regret it: this city was by far the most beautiful one I'd ever visited in my entire digital life! The marvelous buildings cliff-hanging on the rocks, so vividly reminding me of my beloved Molyvos, its green plaza's with the monuments dedicated to each of the Old Gods, its narrow paved alleyways filled with itinerant merchants... My wife complained that the city is confusing and labyrinthine. She looked around for some NPC to ask for instructions. Men do not like to ask for instructions - let alone being given some! - so I lead her to the marketplace and left her at a bookstand to loiter while I went to browse around and get lost. Men like to get lost, it is a kind of adventure, although they will never admit having got "lost". Everything is a journey.

    After having wandered around awhile, without any specific destination, with my camera shooting like crazy, I found myself before a breathtaking sight! Not because of its architecture but rather the great contrast it made through its absolute absence of it: The Great Collapse. An abyssal hole, of gigantic dimensions, which resembled an open mouth of a monster waiting to swallow entire city blocks!

    Asking around I found out that this was exactly the case: the unstable ground and some bad workmanship had caused the collapse of the entire Canthan district. Now this gaping chasm was barricaded all around it, apparently for safety reasons, with a far-stretching bridge crossing it from one end to the opposite, offering to those traversing it an awe-inspiring spectacle. The locals also told me, with an evil smirk, that there was an unspoken bet standing with the constructors about whomever succeeded to fall inside it!. Something lit inside my head and an invincible urge to win this, objectively, stupid and hazardous bet overcame me.

Not a long while later and without too much of an effort I found myself falling unstoppably to my demise...

   To my good luck, the pit was filled with enough water to stop me before I got impaled on the sharp rocks littered around the bottom. After numerous attempts to find a way out I decided that there were none. Which made perfect sense: why would someone build a way out of a place where no one was ever supposed to find oneself? So I map travelled out of there and went looking for my wife to narrate my triumphant accomplishment.

    Unfortunately, she had logged out.

    Leaving the enticing Human capital behind, I decided to travel east towards the majestic Manor of Lord Caudecus and the Shire of Beetletun. The route is quite a perilous one for Humans as the Centaur herds plunder the travelers. However I made it there safely. Perhaps because I looked like a Charr on the outside.

Unfortunately entrance to the Manor was not permitted to tourists as Queen Jennah herself was visiting for matters of the state. So I decided to stroll around the area and offer my assistance to anyone in need of a budding hero. During a break I found myself standing in front of a travelling circus wagon in the company of other people. I was marveling at three beautiful Golden Moa Birds when all of the sudden one of them turned into a Human right before my eyes! Only then I noticed that it was part of an ongoing game, the goal of which was to correctly guess which of the birds was actually the Mesmer assistant of the female partisan. It was indeed very amusing and I spent quite some time there, pleasantly.

    Before I bid them farewell and thank them for the entertainment, I asked them if they could recommend me a good place to visit next. Unreluctantly they unanimously suggested I went to Lion's Arch. New Lion's Arch, of course, since the old and legendary city had been sunk by Zhaitan's awakening. I nodded my head in agreement. It was a totally sensible choice, as the new Lion's Arch had become Tyria's epicenter, the crossroad of all nations and the junction on which all Asura Gates connected. So I returned to Divinity's Reach and entered the portal located in Rurikton. After an instant trip which caused the accumulated nausea of two days travelling in the tempestuous waters of the Unending Ocean, I reached Lion's Arch.

    The picture that meets the visitor's eye upon their first visit there is simply indescribable. All the things I felt during my tour around Divinity's Reach proved in a moment to be rather the appetizer for all the flavors that my journey in Tyria still had to offer! This city is... everything. She is huge, she is beautiful, she is complex, she is multifaceted. It is beyond obvious that she was built over a number of stages, each of which indicates different origin and purpose. She has neighborhoods and alleys like a small town, but she also has plaza's and monuments best fitting a metropolis. She has buildings short and tiny, residences and taverns, as she has manors and living quarters arranged inside aground ships and half submerged caverns. You walk around her streets and along her beautiful beach and you come across Humans and Charr conversing politely, Asura and Caromi Tengu communicating without an ambassador, monstrous Ogres and peace-loving Quaggan outside their picturesque underwater habitats. Such a mosaic of civilizations, architecture, races and religions I never believed I would find! And still, there it is, complete and real and living and harmonious - and I was silly like a child.

    With my mind still blurred by the barrage of visual and audio stimuli, I wandered wherever my gaze led me. Every POI I discovered was a new apocalypse for my senses. Without a second thought I decided that this city would become my new home. I found myself a new, two-storey building, nothing fancy, with beautiful paintings on the walls and a cozy bedroom and named it "my home". From here I would set out every day for my new adventures into the magical world of Tyria and here I would kiss it goodnight.

   I walked for hours on end. I entered buildings and caves. I climbed up hills and down footpaths that my instinct told me that I probably did not want to find out what lied at their end. One of these brought me to the pirates' world, who rule discreetly a big part of the town today. There, at their not-so-secret hideout I met those who run the 'black market', the Undermarket.

    My conversation with them was quite interesting, despite an uneasy feeling of fear and "look behind your back" being constantly present. With their permission I took one single photo, of a red leather couch which probably belonged to Naima Ice-veined and certainly stood out of the rest of the furniture, and left almost running out of there.

   When my throat was dried up and my feet could carry me no further, I entered a tavern in Smuggler’s Watch. As I was drinking my slightly spicy Dwarfen Ale I caught myself smiling at the contents of a sign, written in New Krytan of course:

"If you are still standing, you need more Dwarfen Ale"

   How befitting.

   When I felt I rested enough I decided to take a trip to this magical town's past. So I headed for the beach and I strode to the west. I climbed the sandy path through White Crane Terrace. At its end there is a place that every visitor of Lion's Arch must see. I named it Diver's Point - and for a very good reason. If you are into diving and you are not afraid of heights, or if you are simply a sucker for beautiful panoramic views, then you must definitely take the trouble to climb to the top of the hill. (If, however, you are not a fan of walking and climbing, there's a conveniently placed waypoint there). From the small lookout point you will find there, there's a springboard suspended over the emerald sea below. After you had your fill with the truly magnificent sight, take a deep breath, make sure there are no seagulls passing through below you (!) and dive.

   The feeling of complete freedom you feel in the moments that pass until you are engulfed by the cool crystal waters of Sanctum Harbor are terrific. Perhaps terrifying even! As soon as you come to from the shock of the flight (or fright) dive to begin a different journey, to a different world. The creatures you shall meet there - mostly friendly - the flora of the seabed floor, the kind Quaggan always eager to converse, are but the appetizers. What truly made my jaw drop (thankfully this didn't make my breathing apparatus fall off!) was the ruins of the old city. Whatever's been left of the glorious Lion's Arch that my honored ancestor had loved so much, was lying scattered on the bay's floor. The statues, the famous fountain that once stood proud in the city's square, the half-demolished lion which gave Lion's Arch its name... all dressed with a cloak made of moss and seaweed. Nests for fish and other creatures who had absolute ignorance of what these sacred stones once stood for - they were nothing more than the walls of their home now.  

   I offered a bitter smile and started swimming for the open ocean, unconsciously driving myself towards the Orr peninsula and the culprit of this city's disaster. A few hundred yards before I found myself in the treacherous waters of the Sea of Sorrows, an invisible (magical?) wall stopped me in my tracks. My confusion was such that generated anger as a first reaction! "Why are you stopping me? Let me go find him and kill him!". Then my mind cleared and I had a second, more composed thought: "the distance is immense, the sea predators of these waters are invincible - and I am in no position to take them on by myself. No, I need the right company, the right gear, training, allies, and a good plan". Revenge will have to wait. Until the game's release at least!

   I returned to my home and laid down, very tired but also very full with images and emotions from my first walk on Tyria. I closed my eyes and let my mind sail into the not-so-distant future, to the moment when the true voyage will start for my character and myself.

2 comment(s) so far...


Re: 24 hours in Tyria

awesome story !!!

we are waiting for more !!!

By Loulaki on   7/19/2012 8:38 PM


Love it! Very interesting topics, I hope the incoming comments and suggestion are equally positive. Thank you for sharing this information that is actually helpful.


By ufgop.org on   1/15/2015 3:53 AM

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