Guild Wars 2 Lore Resources

July 10, 2012 at 6:13 pm | Posted in Guild Wars 2, mmorpg | 8 Comments
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I could just cheat. There is one Guild Wars wiki article that succinctly summarizes pretty much all the lore aside from the actual Guild Wars storylines. Here it is. I suspect though that anyone interested in lore is interested in details. They are interested in making Tyria feel like a world. Making Tyria feel like it has history, secrets, cultures and peoples.

Well you don’t do that by reading one wiki article. Since Guild Wars 2 is releasing pretty soon, you can’t just sit down and play it for 200 hours. Hopefully this list of resources can help people learn about the original games and get caught up on lore for Guild Wars 2 as well.

Basic Storylines

Guild Wars had 3 stand-alone campaigns and a 4th expansion. These are their abridged storylines.

Prophecies starts out in Ascalon, which is ravaged by the charr in The Searing . Fleeing to Kryta you come into conflict with the Mursaat. They are desperately trying to stop the Flameseeker Prophecies.

200 years before Factions, Shiro Tagachi assassinated the Canthan emperor. He returns from The Mists and wreaks havoc. You as the player travel Cantha investigating the plague unleashed by his very presence and travel to Luxon and Kurzick territory to gather their help in stopping him. This explanation of the Jade Wind explains why the return of Shiro is a big deal in the Factions campaign. Oh and you can actually see the Jade Wind in the Factions trailer.

Upon arriving in Istan, one of the three provinces of Elona, you become a Sunspear and upon discovering Varesh Ossa’s plan to fulfill Nightfall you attack Kourna. When that fails you attempt to enlist Vabbi, but all too quickly night begins to fall and your only choice is to make a deal with the devil and enter the Realm of Torment itself.

Destroyers begin to appear beneath the surface of Tyria, driving the asura out of the depths. You travel to the far Shiverpeaks and rally the dwarves, the norn, the charr, and the asura to fight them and The Great Destroyer.

Guild Wars References

I’d recommend trudging through numerous wiki pages as well. The wiki is maintained by both players and Arenanet staff. As a result it is one of the finest game resources I’ve ever had the pleasure of using.

Start with the world, a basic understanding of the planet Tyria. The continent of both Prophecies and Guild Wars 2 is also named Tyria.

The humans were the only playable race of the original Guild Wars so why not take a look at their Gods? They were an influential part of the original games.

If you want a chronological sense of Tyria, try the timeline the wiki has compiled of all three continents in their respective calendars.

I’d say that while Cantha and Elona are important they are unlikely to have much impact on the initial release of Guild Wars 2, so I’ve placed more information on those continents in the Going Deeper section.

Guild Wars 2 References

First there are the obvious official sources. You might simply go to the Guild Wars 2 homepage itself and look at the race pages. They cover a lot of basic knowledge and are surprisingly helpful in catching you up on Guild Wars 2 lore.

The movement of the world tries to bridge the gap between the original game and Guild Wars 2 by explaining a lot of the relevant changes.

Arenanet also released a series of blog posts about the minor races of Tyria. These go in depth, making some of these races more than just an enemy to be killed but a people with their own history and motivations. They include the jotun, quaggan, skritt, hylek, grawl, and krait.

Going Deeper

This page offers a History of Tyria written by an in game character, though it is only relevant up to the beginning of the first game.

A working knowledge of the imprisoned god Abbadon will give you a better understanding of the storylines as a whole.

Moving on to the other continents where likely expansions might take place these basic descriptions of Cantha or Elona, while not entirely relevant to Guild Wars 2, were major parts of the first game. This History of Cantha and this History of Elona are both official Arenanet lore articles and might also help.

And of course, back to Tyria where you could look up the Tome of the Rubicon. A major part of the Sorrow’s Furnace dungeon, the first content patch to Guild Wars, also making a return as Sorrow’s Embrace in Guild Wars 2. The tome prophesies the coming of the herald of the elder dragon Primordus. Essentially leading to the ideas behind the Eye of the North expansion and of course, Guild Wars 2.

Important Characters

A complete list of notable characters from the original Guild Wars would be difficult to arrange, there are many. I’ll keep references to just a couple per campaign.

A major character that comes into play in a few different ways is Prince Rurik of Ascalon. He wields Sohothin, twin to the sword of King Adelbern, Magdaer, which comes into play in fiction and Guild Wars 2.

Master Togo plays an integral role in Factions along with his student Mhenlo who appears throughout the Guild Wars campaigns. Many of the henchmen NPCs have major roles as you can see in the short stories of the fiction section or Wooden Potatoes videos.

Turai Ossa plays a role (as a ghost helping you to ascend) in Prophecies and as ancestor to Varesh Ossa. He originally defeated Palawa Joko, the undead scourge of Vabbi.

Gwen, Jora, Pyre, Vekk , and Ogden are the central NPCs of Eye of the North. Gwen appears in various parts of Guild Wars but comes into her own in EotN and is an ancestor to a major Guild Wars 2 character. Jora and Pyre have an immediately visible effect on their peoples culture in Guild Wars 2. Vekk and Ogden are simply significant figures.

Each race in Guild Wars 2 is represented by an important NPC. Logan Thackeray, Eir, Zojja, Rytlock, and Caithe. They are the main characters in the novel Edge of Destiny, and Logan appears briefly in Ghosts of Ascalon. They’re all present for the opening tutorials of Guild Wars 2.


The Guild Wars universe is blessed with many official short stories, 2 novels, and a 3rd novel on the way.

The novels are Ghosts of Ascalon and Edge of Destiny. They were were specifically created to bridge the gap between the first game and the second. In my opinion if you like one book, you’ll dislike the other, but it’s a toss-up as to which. Here is my review of Ghosts and my review of Edge.

It’s hard to know where to start with short stories. Arenanet released several (very) short stories focusing on the NPCs of Guild Wars as they travel along the same path the player takes. The first one I was ever aware of was The Battle For Kyhlo (Here are parts two and three) which focused on one NPCs father and takes place during The Guild Wars. Knowledgeable fans will recognize that one of the Guild Wars 2 PvP maps is The Battle Of Kyhlo, a location in The Mists recreated from the memories of the dead.

In the run-up to Guild Wars 2, Arenanet has supplied numerous short stories to promote the various races.

The asura had Mr. Sparkles and That Old College Try.

The sylvari had Dream and Nightmare.

The charr had The Legions of the Charr.

The norn had A Spirit of Legend.

The humans had The Line of Duty.

What’s great about these short stories is that they’re supplemented with a lot of Guild Wars 2 lore. Sometimes they’ll reach into history, sometimes they’ll explain current politics, but overall they’re just fun stories.


Wooden Potatoes of Youtube has a couple of well done videos that cover the history of Tyria as well. He has a much more in depth perspective, going beyond just basic storyline and into the little known history of characters and lore.

Elsewhere on Youtube there are a few videos you can find that splice together all the cinematic scenes from the various Guild Wars campaigns. Since some of the story is told through quests without cinematic help and the story is interrupted by gameplay, it can be a rough ride but you definitely end up getting most of the story. They are however quite long. The Prophecies scenes alone end up being about 82 minutes. I couldn’t find a compiled video for factions cutscenes, but did find this playlist. I can’t find either for Nightfall. Guild Wars: Eye of the North was written with Guild Wars 2 in mind and is a much more manageable 52 minutes.



  1. […] Hunter’s Insight — Guild Wars 2 Lore Resources. “I could just cheat. There is one Guild Wars wiki article that succinctly summarizes pretty much all the lore aside from the actual Guild Wars storylines. Here it is. I suspect though that anyone interested in lore is interested in details. They are interested in making Tyria feel like a world. Making Tyria feel like it has history, secrets, cultures and peoples.” […]

  2. I Loved both books…

    • Trust me, that isn’t the consensus.

  3. Thanks! I sat through the GW prof movies all combined. The best bit was remembering Saidra and Evennia. It’s been a while since I’ve heard someone threaten gods so well.

    • Yeah, I’m still wondering what happened to evennia personally.

  4. I’m late to the party here but Hunter, Thank you again for a much needed post, at least in my neck of the woods. I’ve been looking for the opportunity to review GW lore and here is a wrap up all ready to explore.

    • Cool, glad it helped you. With all the videos and other sources, was wondering if just a bunch of links to the wiki would really help anyone.

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