Impassible Barriers in Tyria

Talking about the new castle in Wayfarer and its impassable gate has got me thinking about other barriers in Tyria and what might lie beyond them. I surveyed my map and made my way back to a lot of these places I remembered from previous adventures. I quickly discovered that a lot of these areas could be accessed through events I had yet to discover, by completing a jumping puzzle, or through a personal story path. Still the most interesting were those pathways that I couldn't get past. These routes are blocked off presumably because the content behind these barriers has not yet been released. Today I would like to share with you some of these locations in Tyria and speculate as to what might lie beyond.

The first, and one of the most obvious, is the gate guarded by Tengu in Caledon Forest, near Titan's Staircase Waypoint.

This is the view that will greet you as you approach. A massive wall blocks passage along the entire eastern extent of this zone. The Dominion of Winds lay beyond.

You can speak with the local Tengu to attempt to learn more. The one that will talk is reluctant to give details. The others seem to be basking in the monotony of guard duty.

Although there personalities may be lacking the Tengu look awesome and would make an amazing playable race. Now if the last Tengu city lays beyond these walls, presumably, if Arena Net added them as a playable race their capital city would be right there. It is a good location as it is beside a starting level zone and near the other major cities. The stage is set for them to enter the game, the question is, will Arena Net pull the trigger?

If you want to learn more about the Tengu there is another small camp where they trade in Caledon Forest at Hanto Trading Post just east of Trader's Green and Caledon Haven Waypoint. There is also a Guild Wars 2 wiki article about them, the "Great Tsunami" and the Dominion of the Winds. Even more can be found on the Guild Wars wiki where you can learn about the various Tengu tribes and a war between the Tengu and Canthans.

Finally, the Tengu city was built on top of an area that was accessible in the original Guild Wars called Sanctum Cay. I have never played Guild Wars so all I could tell you is what is on the wiki article or what I see in youtube videos. It appears to be an instanced mission where you are tasked with delivering a scepter to an NPC. Along the way you battle drakes, giants, undead, and White Mantel forces. Will we ever visit this island in Guild Wars 2? Only time will tell.

Next we move to Sparkfly Fen. On the western side of the map is a blocked off pathway near Karinn's Passage north of Forvar's Waypoint.

The way is blocked by a stone barrier.

Way back in November, before access to Southsun Cove was granted by boat in Lion's Arch, I thought this is where we would access the island from. With those events long past it remains a mystery where this may lead, however, on Southsun we can discover what looks like another pathway leading to the same area.

Again the path is blocked by a stone barrier.

What could possibly fit in the narrow area between Southsun and Sparkfly Fen? It would have to be an extremely narrow zone or perhaps Southsun Cove will be expanded in the future. Maybe with a small refugee city on the land between the zones? Or maybe a zone related to the Tengu if they are ever added as playable race.

Next, near Ebonhawke is a gateway leading to the Crystal Desert. This is area I most look forward to opening but for now we are just presented with this locked gate near the Blackwing Excavation east of Ebonhawke.

You can talk with the two guards, but do not expect to learn much.

By playing through the story mode of the dungeons we learn about Destiny's Edge and their battle with Kralkatorrik. These are events that took place very recently in the Guild Wars timeline just five years ago. I hope we as players get to finish the job Destiny's Edge couldn't and slay the dragon.

You can get a feel for what might lie beyond this gate from the original Guild Wars, but most likely the desert has changed greatly since then due to the forces of the undead King Palawa Joko in the south, Kralkatorrik in the north, and Zhaitan in the west. The conflict sounds exciting and I would very much like to explore the desert.

Also alluding to an advance into the Crystal Desert is this next barrier in the southeast corner of Mount Maelstrom at Judgement Rock near Judgement Waypoint.

The way is blocked by a overgrown barrier.

You can jump and get on top of the wall. Looking beyond it you can see a dead end to the right and an open area to the left perhaps where a future portal to a new zone will be. This would then lead to a zone off to the east of Mount Maelstrom towards the Crystal Desert. With Zhaitan defeated in Orr perhaps we will see Tyrian forces exploring the western frontiers of the desert and reestablishing contact with Elona and beyond.

Next we move to the Western edge of Tyria to Brisbane Wildlands near Lionshead Outcrops west of Seraph Observers Waypoint.

On the top of an unreachable hill you can see a portal to another zone.

What lies beyond may be something like the Maguuma Jungle seen in the original Guild Wars. What is more liking, however, is that the area is now a wasteland corrupted by the elder dragons, perhaps by the mysterious 6th elder dragon. The fact that this portal is already in game and just a repaired bridge away make me think this may be the direction we go next.

Nearby, in Vandal's Claim, north of Triforge Point Waypoint there is a bandit castle.

It is occupied by champion level 80 bandits.

The fort is inaccessible at the moment but shortly after the Guild Wars 2 launched a number of people found their way in which you can see on youtube. Inside appears to be a zone portal heading to the west again hinting at future expansions to the explorable areas in the Maguuma Wastes.

Finally, we head to the north eastern corner of Frostgorge Sound, near Drakkar Spurs.

Here we find a pathway leading to an ice wall. 

The area where this wall is found is named Drakkar Spurs after one of Jormag's championsIn the Guild Wars storyline Drakkar corrupted Svanir while he was frozen deep in a lake. Though Svanir was defeated we still see his influence in the world of Guild Wars 2 in the form of the Sons of Svanir. Also, the lake that once contained Drakkar is no longer frozen alluding to a future confrontation with him. Perhaps, in future expansions of Guild Wars 2 we will get to track down the source of all this corruption, Jormag, add end him.

Those were all the barriers I was able to find in Tyria. Maybe there are more I have missed. If you know of one please let me know in the comments. I have marked all the above mentioned pathways on to this map of Tyria to help give you an idea of the different areas that we might visit in the near future.

If you are looking for hints as to what might lay beyond you can compare the locations of these pathways to That_Shaman's Guild Wars 2 map. He has marked locations accessible in Guild Wars on to this map. It is a handy tool for exploring the geography and history of Tyria through the two games. The two timelines found on the Guild Wars and Guild Wars 2 wikis also come in handy as a temporal map.

I hope you enjoyed this article. Again, let me know if you see anything similar in your journeys in Tyria. I am sure I probably missed some. Also, let me know which areas you are most interested in seeing opened up. Would you rather visit the Dominion of the Winds or the Maguuma Wastes? Do you want to take on Jormag or Kralkatorrik first? Let me know in the comments.

More Living Story Updates

Sorry for the lack of updates as of late. I have just been having too much fun playing the game! I did want to keep everyone up-to-date on the Living Story. I have not seen any changes in game since the patch last Tuesday. I do, however, have some new thoughts to share. And, on the Guild Wars 2 main site, there has been a posting about next months adventure. If you missed my articles on the changes from the patch on Tuesday then check out part 1 and part 2 here.

No Changes!?

Firstly, I find it strange that there was no changes at all this week. On Monday, I thought, "okay, maybe Tuesday since that is when the patch was." Now Tuesday has come and gone and there is still nothing new to report. I don't think I missed anything. I checked all the hot spots; Hoelbrak, Black Citadel, Lion's Arch, Wayfarer, Diessa, and Southsun Cove. I have yet to notice anything new. If I have missed something please be sure to let me know.

If there is not anything this week then I would implore Arena Net to work on their communications with the players a little bit more. They seem to have this awkward way of setting player expectations and then completely dashing them. I am not looking for large amounts of new content, I get that this month will be a slow one. What I am looking for is consistency. For the last month every Monday there has been something new. I have come to expect that. Now when it is not there I feel like I am the one missing something. If there were no plans to add content weekly this month a quick heads up would have helped and saved me some time.

Since my last post I did notice this (thanks to reddit). It is a new piece of ascended gear, an accessory. It's description is what is interesting.

I wonder what other dark artifacts they are conjuring. And what about their alliance makes this possible?

New thoughts on New Castle

Since there are no new stories to share I thought I would share my latest thoughts on the new castle in Wayfarer Foothills. Firstly, take a close look at the gate again.

See those square blocks with the bird symbol in the middle? My first reaction was, "Tengu?" Kind of looks like one and it even seems to show their tusks (or is that a tongue).

I probably would have ran with this, but I had another idea to check out. The only other significant bird character(s) in the game I could think of was Raven, the Norn spirit animal. So, off the Hoelbrak I went and sure enough that symbol is everywhere.

But, wait there is more. The torches on the gate look identical to the torches in Norn areas. Firstly, here is a closer shot of the torches on the gate of the new castle.

And here is a shot of the torches in Hoelbrak. This particular one is outside Bear Lodge.

In my last article on the Living Story I pointed out these wolf statues inside the walls of the castle. I was able to get a better shot of them and then I enlarged the picture. Here is the result.

Compare that with the wolf statues in Hoelbrak. They are identical expect one is rock (?) and one is ice.

The only other detail is this wolf statue. From my first image I thought it was perhaps a flat banner. I managed to get a slightly better angle. You can clearly see it is not a banner, but instead a statue of some sort.

I am not entirely sure what it is. I tried to match it to something already existing in the world and came up with these two possibilities. A random small wolf shrine,

The wolf carving above the entrance to wolf lodge,

The only other thing you can see in the castle is some fencing which seems to match this fencing found in wolf lodge (didn't see it anywhere else).

So what is up there? A shrine to wolf? If so, why? Surely this castle is controlled by the Dredge and Flame Legion? Or did the Wolfborn toss it up as a line of defence? If it was the Wolfborn how come nobody is talking about it? My only hope is that Arena Net does not try to convince me it was there the whole time. And, let me in already! I want to check it out.

Finally, I would like to show a small hole in the map that I found in Diessa. I wouldn't normal show something like this (I have already reported it to Arena Net), but I think I can fit a little bit more speculation in around this. This is where it is,

It will appears as if the "skirt" of the mountain is missing. This is what it looks like on my screen,

Once you enter the hole this is what you see in front of you,

You can not get any further as there is an invisible wall. So, why do I bother showing you this. Well, this is where I really start to stretch the available facts. Okay, so firstly, I doubt this hole has been here since launch, because, it is large and easy to spot and I have never seen it on my many journeys through the area. That leads me to think that it was introduced in the latest version of the map when they added the castle. Which then raises the question, why were they playing with that section of the map? Did they remove something? Or are they planning to add something here? Or maybe I am just crazy. Thought I would bring it up and let others see it and share their thoughts.

Flame & Frost: The Razing

The April story line has been announced. It seems Arena Net has decided to go with "The Razing" as a title. Reading the spoiler text we learn that all our suspicions about the Dredge and Flame Legion are true. They are now allied and on a rampage. According to the blog post they will be moving house by house burning everything to the ground. We are also told that two new heroes will enter the fray, a Norn by the name of Braham, and a Charr by the name of Rox.

No twists, no mention of the consortium though. Also I worry that it sounds like the players will be taking a back seat to the NPCs. One thing I learned early on in my Dungeon Master career was that players hate glory hog NPCs and much I might love them. Players hate being put into a situation where an NPC has to save them. Players want to drive the action. NPCs should be gateways to content. They should not complete the content for the players.

However, I am prejudging the content and I shouldn't do that. I do not know what will come. I just can't help but loose some enthusiasm after reading this overview. I just have to remember that with this patch comes an increase in the volume of content. That will be great and I am super excited to see where the Living Story idea goes.


In summary, there do not appear to be any changes to the Living Story so far since the patch. I have my eyes out and I will be sure to report here when I notice any. The new castle in Wayfarer Foothills is just as mysterious as ever, but I believe it to have been originally constructed by Norn, which begs the question, where did it come from? Finally, Arena Net announced the April story line, The Razing, which will bring with it a large chuck of new content.

Those are my thoughts, now let me hear yours. Have you noticed anything new in the Living Story since last Tuesday? What do you think of the lack of changes? Should Arena Net continue adding something every week if that is what they have been doing so far? How about the castle? Did anything I highlighted trigger any eureka moments? What do you think of it's construction? What about the hole in the map? Am I crazy with my thoughts? Finally, what do you like the sounds of the April story? Let me know what you think in the comments! We have been having some great discussions that I would love to keep going. Don't be scared to join in, ask questions, or even tell me I am a moron and have it all wrong.

Living Story: Gathering Storm part 2

Yesterday I started discussing the changes to the Living Story by going over the additions to Hoelbrak, the Black Citadel, and Lion's Arch. Today I would like to finish by looking at the achievements you can complete, the new content in Wayfarer Foothills and Diessa Plateau, and provide you with my thoughts and speculations on the Living Story so far. There is a lot of stuff to go over so I will get right to it.


The first thing to know is that most of the content from the February patch is still available. If you haven't finished your volunteer title you can still head out into Diessa and Wayfarer and help the stream of refugees heading through the zones. There is a lot to do which you can find more details about in my article reviewing the February content

The new content introduced with the latest patch runs in conjunction with the old giving players plenty of time to finish their achievements. There are two new achievements for players to complete this month. The first is titled "The Gathering Storm" and has players defeating Invaders. Dredge and Flame Legion are attacking various targets in the Norn and Charr lands. You will need to kill 150 of them to complete this achievement. In the map below I have marked the location of some of the events where you can find the Invaders. They are marked with a circled flag or a circled gear.

The second achievement is called "Lost and Found" and has players locating trinkets lost by the refugees. The refugees missing the trinkets can be found in Lion's Arch (see yesterday's post). Currently there are two trinkets to locate; Kirk's Goblet in Wayfarer and Malia's Toy Soldier in Diessa. They will spawn at a random location in the zone and you will need to track them down (Dulfy has a map marking some of the possible spawn locations). They can be tricky to find and I wish the NPCs gave in game hints to help you find the specific location. What you are looking for is a sparkling object on the ground (see images below). If you hold CTRL down, as you are exploring, the name will pop up above the object, if it is nearby. Don't give up! If you can not find it right away don't be afraid to ask if anyone has seen it in map chat. 

Once you have found the missing trinkets return them to their respective owners in Lion's Arch. You will be thanked for your efforts and learn what the character plans for the future. Here is Malia's response,

I love this little story. She didn't get to visit Tixx during Wintersday so her now legionnaire made her a replica. Sadly, this legionnaire is now MIA. Touching story and I am glad I could help out. And here is Kirk's response,

Good thing we returned Kirk his mug. Sounds like he will have a tough future and will need a stiff drink every once in a while. Once you have helped Kirk and Malia keep your eyes on Lion's Arch for new refugees needing assistance. Presumably, at least four more refugees will be added over the coming weeks. When they do show up I will let you know here.

Diessa Plateau

Most of the new content in Diessa Plateau is located in the Northeastern parts of the zone near Butcher's Block. The Invaders are swarming into Diessa through Flame Legion portals and Dredge personnel carriers (circles with gears on the map above). These events were not easy on my poorly geared level 60 Mesmer. The Invaders respawn quickly and you can not damage the portal or personnel carrier until you defeat the spawned mobs. Keep at it and call out for help. There are lots of people looking for Invaders to kill in order to finish their achievements.

But, wait there is more. There is also a Charr ranch that will occasionally be taken over which will require liberating (circle with a flag on the map above). I liked seeing this event added to the game because you actually get to see some of the devastation caused by the invasion. It helps me stay immersed in the content.

The last thing of note in Diessa were Flame Legion troops within the Dredge camp at the Burrows of Moledavia. I also checked Flame Legion bases in the area but did not find any Dredge. This seems to be telling of who has the pants in this relationship. I had already finished my "kill invaders" achievement when I found this so I was unable to discover if these guys were included for the kill count (Bhagpuss confirms in the comments they do not count). If they are they would be easy targets to get you closer to your 150 invader kills.

Zola Swiftstep, who I talked about in a blog post on Monday, is still waiting for the Flame Legion attack and seems completely unaware that the Invaders are already here. Maybe this is an oversight by Arena Net or maybe she is keeping tabs on a different Flame Legion base. I hope we see her involvement in events shortly. There are also steam vents north of the Burrow of Moledavia, which haven't changed since I highlighted them in a blog post a couple weeks ago.

Wayfarer Foothills

The changes in Wayfarer Foothills are in many ways symmetrical to those in Diessa Plateau. Often when I find a change in one zone I make note of it and expect to find a reciprocal changes in the opposite zone. For example, you can fend off the invaders portals and personnel carriers here in Wayfarer as well.

There is also a Norn homestead that needs defending. Again adding to the realism of the refugees situation although I would have like to see more homesteads attacked to explain to quantity of homeless seen in Hoelbrak, the Black Citadel and Lion's Arch. One homestead is better than none though.

The final thing to note in Wayfarer is that the Merchant Bodyguard has disappeared. He used to be standing in the tent show below. I talked about him and the dead merchant a couple weeks ago in a blog post. Check it out for more details on this story. The dead merchant is still in the same place and nothing has changed so you can check that out in game (marked on the map above).

I looked around a little more and could not find any other changes. As always, if I have missed something let me know in the comments.

The Castle

The last thing to mention is the castle which as popped up on the Steaming Mountain. This is probably the single largest and most obvious change this patch so I felt it deserved it's own section. I have taken a number of screen shots of the castle and noticed a couple interesting things about it but there are still a lot of questions. As you can see in the image below the fort is actually quite extensive reaching up the mountain.

The gates to the castle are formidable and there is a large invisible wall keep players well back from it (presumably to prevent people from glitching through and seeing what is on the other side).

I have tried to get various angles on the castle to see if I can peer inside. My first attempt revealed a second gate beyond the first.

Looking from another angle I spotted wolf totems within the walls. What are wolf totems doing inside this castle? I originally thought this castle would have been built by the invaders. Perhaps that assumption is wrong.

If you head over to Diessa Plateau you can get a view from another angle. Although you can not see the wolf totems you can see something else of note.

To me that looks like a crest with a wolf on it. So did the Norn build this castle? Do they still control it? There isn't much in game that helps us answer these questions, yet. I could speculate all day about what this could be. I hope to get some facts soon.


Overall, a lot of my concerns about the Living Story have gone away. I criticized the Living Story last week for attempting to tell a story of a scale they were not showing in game. Things have changed in a big way and I am glad to see Invaders and destroyed homes in the world. It adds to the authenticity of the story and helps me stay immersed. I would still like to see some more damage in the world to reflect the scale of the events described by the NPCs.

The only criticism I will level at the new content is towards the "Lost and Found" achievement. I did not like having to wander aimlessly around. I would have much preferred to have been given a hint to it's approximate location instead of just being told which zone it was in. Perhaps, a dialog option on the refugees to ask them where they last saw their prized possession. A minor detail I am sure Arena Net will polish out in the future.

As for the quantity of content I find it hard to judge at this point. Arena Net has stated that we are still within the teaser content and that the story won't really pick up until the end of March. Until we start getting that content I do not see how I can pass judgement. I hope Arena Net will be able to deliver the quantity of content that players are looking for on a weekly basis. If it ends up being as much content as we got this patch every week I believe most people will be very happy. I know I would be.

Personally, I am really enjoying learning about all the characters. The situation with the Grawl is interesting. They seem to be treated like third class citizens and they are not very happy about it. They also do not seem to trust the Consortium. I expect something to become of this and I hope players get to choose sides. Do you help the disadvantage Grawl? Or the powerful consortium? This would really give players a chance to build their character.

Some in my guild suspect that the Consortium or some other agency is acting as a puppet master getting the Dredge and Flame Legion to do their bidding. I am not so sure. I do not think the story will be that complicated. I think it is more likely that the Consortium is merely taking advantage of this situation for PR purposes. I think the Flame Legion is the main force behind this and in return for their services the Dredge have been promised something in return. The first bit of evidence for this are the Flame Legion troops I discovered in the Burrows of Moledavia. This suggests that they are in charge since there are no Dredge troops in the Flame Legion bases. Secondly, the Dredge have most likely not given up their recently earned freedom to the Flame Legion. I think it makes more sense for the Flame Legion to be paying the Dredge for their services. All pure speculation but I do think my reasoning has merits.

As always let me know if I missed anything. I would also love to hear your theories about future events. Also, let me know what you think is the most interesting story covered so far. Thanks for reading my review of the Gathering Storm Living Story content and be sure to check back in the coming weeks for my updates as new content is released.