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by Loren Michael on Jul 21, 2017 at 06:20 AM
Hey KT!

Since I've been doing a lot of raiding lately with Legendary Armor as a long-term goal, I thought I'd take the time to split up the (very daunting) Envoy Armor I Collection into a slightly more cohesive and streamlined process for anyone else who might want to take on the task for themselves. This isn't the best, most efficient guide, but hopefully I've built it in such a way that when you've decided to start working on getting raid boss kills, you won't have to do more than you want to to finish the collection.

I built this entirely by myself, and I haven't quite finished everything in my own collection yet, so if you find any problems with it please let me know and I'll edit the post.

Good luck!

Envoy Armor I Collection Guide

After reading a couple guides to walk through the Envoy Armor I collection, I decided that it would be helpful to organize items and tasks by raid wing, rather than item by item. This way, you can gather up all the stuff you need to have on your character when you go into a raid so you have it when you've made the kill. There are ~6 items for each wing. There are some items that you will need to have in your inventory before going in to the raid, some of them you will get from kills (and often have to take somewhere else in Tyria), and some things you will have to collect with multiple kills to complete the collection. Some of these items will only work immediately after killing a boss - entering a cleared instance, for instance, will not work. This guide will be written in raid wing order (Spirit Vale, then Salvation Pass, then Stronghold of the Faithful) with the intention of being able to get into a group that will clear the instance. Hopefully your head isn't spinning yet. Also, please check out Pocket's recent post in the PvE forums about the Discord server "The Raider's Inn" - this has been an incredibly useful resource for me in learning each of the bosses. Every week for the last month or so I've been able to complete 10 or 11 of the 15 bosses and events that have been released so far, and they've made the experience not only easy, but incredibly enjoyable. (Thanks, PK!)

Here we go!

Spirit Vale Items and Guides

Items to have in your inventory for Wing 1:
1. Living Crystal
2. Soul Mirror

Items you will get from kills or chests:
1. Energy Crystal (for Auric Energy Crystal)
2. Spirit Threads (for Spirit Weave)
3. Ectoplasmic Residue (for Coagulated Ectoplasm)
3. Core of Flame

Bosses and Events in Wing 1:
Vale Guardian
Spirit Woods
Gorseval the Multifarious
Sabetha the Saboteur

Infused Living Crystal

You need to have a Living Crystal in your inventory when you get to Vale Guardian, the first raid boss in Spirit Vale.

To get the Living Crystal, follow THIS MAP or the video below to the Whitebear's Pride II Strongbox in Tangled Depths. Once you land by the Strongbox, you will need to kill an earth elemental and then 3 veteran earth elementals in order to trigger a hidden wall opening to reveal the Strongbox and a couple nodes. One of the elementals should drop the Living Crystal, but make sure you get the Strongbox, too - there's an achievement for getting it.

Once the Living Crystal is in your inventory, you can Infuse it by approaching and interacting with one of the pylons around Vale Guardian before he is killed.

Infused Soul Mirror

Before going through the Spirit Woods event (after Vale Guardian, before Gorseval) you need to make sure that you have a Soul Mirror in your inventory. Talk to the Exalted NPC Burnisher Kengo at the pylon by Northwatch Decent in Auric Basin. Sometimes he is running an event chain, but you might be able to talk to him in the middle of everything to get the Mirror.

Once you have the Soul Mirror, you can do the Spirit Woods event. Someone in the group needs to carry a torch through the entire event without dropping it to light a brazier at the other end of the path. Once you've finished the Spirit Woods events, that person needs to take the torch and light the Brazier off to the right while you're looking at Gorseval's spawn area. Go and talk to that Brazier and the Soul Mirror will be replaced by an Infused Soul Mirror. (I'm about 80% certain that you do NOT have to do the Spirit Woods events in order to make this exchange, as long as the Brazier is lit.)

Might be able to be done in cleared instance.

Coagulated Ectoplasm

While you're over by the Brazier for your Infused Soul Mirror, you can grab a couple of the chests that have a chance to drop Ectoplasmic Residue. You need to collect 10 Ectoplasmic Residue in order to infuse them into the Coagulated Ectoplasm you need for the collection.

Since there are only 4 chests in the entire map (1 after you complete the Spirit Woods event, 2 nearby, and 1 after Sabetha) you will need to enter the map for multiple weeks in order to collect all 10 pieces. That's ok though, because you will also need to kill Gorseval 5 times for one of the other items - you'll have other chances to grab those chests. You'll only see the one on the pedestal by the torch if you participate in Spirit Woods, though.

Able to be done in cleared instance.

Auric Energy Crystal

Once you've killed the Vale Guardian, you should get an Energy Crystal from the chest. When you're all done with your raid, go to The Inner Chamber in Tarir in the Auric Basin (under the city to the SE). As you walk into the center of the Chamber, your Energy Crystal should be replaced with an Auric Energy Crystal.

Spirit Weave

To get this item, you will need to kill Gorseval 5 times and also complete the Chak Gerent map meta in Tangled Depths 5 times. Each time you kill Gors, you will receive a Spirit Thread. Complete the Chak Gerent event to change 1 Spirit Thread into an Energized Spirit Thread. Collect 5 Energized Spirit Threads to combine into a single Spirit Weave.

Gors 5x > Spirit Threads > Chak Gerent 5x > 5 Energized Spirit Threads > Spirit Weave

Core of Flame

The Core of Flame is simply looted from the kill chest for Sabetha the Saboteur.

Salvation Pass Items and Guides

Collection Items for Wing 2:
1. Arcane Dust
2. Mushroom Medley
3. Giant Beehive
4. Vial of Forsaken Thicket Waters
5. Spirit Quest Tonic
6. Bloodstone Fragment

Bosses and Events in Wing 2:
1. Slothasor
2. Bandit Trio
3. Matthias Gabriel

Mushroom Medley

The Mushroom Medley item combines 4 items together:

1. Noxious Mushroom Cap (drop from killing Slothasor)
2. Mushroom Emperor Gills (drop from killing the Champion Mushroom Emperor in Tangled Depths - link to wiki page for location)
3. Orrian Truffle (1)
4. Sawgill Mushroom (1)

Once you have all 4 of those things in your inventory, double-click on one of them and the items will combine into the Mushroom Medley.

Giant Beehive

After the Bandit Trio, exit the camp to the north and head west. You will see a large tree with a wooden ramp up the side similar to other bandit camps in Tyria. At the top of the maze of ramps you'll find a beehive that you have to hit to get it to drop from the tree so you can interact with it to get your Giant Beehive item.

Able to be done in cleared instance.

Arcane Dust

When you kill Matthias, you will receive Bloodstone Powder from the chest. To turn it into Arcane Dust, you need to loot the chest at the end of the Sanctum Scramble adventure in Auric Basin to get Powdered Aurillium. Once you have both powders, double click one of them to combine to make Arcane Dust. Note: You do not have to actually complete the Sanctum Scramble to loot the chest at the end of the course... but you should, because its fun.

Vial of Forsaken Thicket Waters

Also after killing Matthias, go over to one of the fountains on the perimeter of the temple. Doing so will put a Vial of Forsaken Thicket Waters in your inventory. This only works right after your kill, so don't leave the instance until you've gotten it!

Spirit Quest Tonic

To obtain this item, simply combine the 4 items above - Arcane Dust, Mushroom Medley, Giant Beehive and the Vial of Forsaken Thicket Waters. (Double click on any item to combine all 4 from your inventory.)

Bloodstone Fragment

Looted from the chest after killing Matthias.

Stronghold of the Faithful Items and Guides

Items to have in your inventory for Wing 3:
1. Itzel Spirit Poison
2. Polished Aurillium

Items you will get from kills or chests:
1. Bloodstone Battery (Empty)
2. Stone Soul
3. Spirit Strings
4. Tormented Aurillium
5. Blood-Infused Ectoplasm
6. White Mantle Ritual Goblet

Bosses and Events in Wing 3:
1. Siege the Stronghold ("Escort", ends with McLeod the Silent)
2. Keep Construct (KC)
3. Twisted Castle (TC)
4. Xera

Bloodstone Battery (Charged)

After killing McLeod the Silent at the end of Siege the Stronghold ("Escort"), you will receive a Bloodstone Battery (Empty) in your inventory. To charge the battery, go to Tangled Depths to the second floor of Rata Novus. (To get there, you might have to do the event chain with Agent Zildi.) Once you complete the events or find a map with a safe Rata Novus, look around the second floor of the lab. You will find a hexagon-shaped terminal that let you interact with it when you get close enough.

Soul of the Keep

You should receive a Stone Soul from the Keep Construct kill chest. When you're done raiding, go to Tangled Depths and find a Chak Slinger or a Chak Lobber. Wait until it's thrown its goop on the ground, stand in the goop to get the Goop debuff () and double click the Stone Soul to release the soul.

Spirit Strings

Go to Verdant Brink to buy Itzel Spirit Poison from the vendor at the entrance for 100 Airship Parts and 1 gold. Before starting the fight with the Keep Construct, activate the poison. It will give you a buff that will last 15 minutes. Make sure to reapply it after every wipe so it does not expire when you get your boss chest - if you don't, you will have to wait until the next week to try again. There is a bug reported that sometimes removes the buff if you get downed, so if that happens, try to double check before the end of the fight. If done successfully, you will get the Spirit Strings from the loot chest.

Tormented Aurillium

Before heading in, you need to buy a Polished Aurillium from Scavenger Rakatin in the Westwatch area of Auric Basin (Westwatch Waypoint, head north). He will ask you for a "rare crafted axe, scepter, rifle, or pants with a Rampager's insignia." They can easily be found on the trading post (current price):

Rampager's Krait Battleaxe (~75s)
Rampager's Krait Shooter (~1g 14s)
Rampager's Krait Wand (~1g 30s)
Rampager's Gladiator Legplates (~1g)
Rampager's Noble Pants (~3g)
Rampager's Masquerade Leggings (~88s)

Once you bring him one of those items, he will give you 1 Provisioner Token, which will allow you to buy the Polished Aurillium. While going through the Twisted Castle maze (either upon entry or while killing mobs) you should receive the Tormented Aurillium. If you do not, try double clicking on the Polished Aurillium while in the maze to get it to activate.

*** NOTE: You will also need to buy another item from these Provisioners that costs 50 Provisioner Tokens if you plan on making Legendary Armor. There are other Provisioners who ask for different gear. Each of them can only be approached for a token once daily, so plan ahead, figure out the cheapest options, and keep going back to them so you don't end up waiting on Provisioner's Tokens! Here is a LINK to the Wiki that shows all of the weapons you can get and their pricing.***

Blood-Infused Ectoplasm

Found by looting chests inside the Twisted Castle maze. This item is RNG, much like the Coagulated Ectoplasm in Wing 1. You might have to try for a few weeks before finding one.

White Mantle Ritual Goblet

Looted from the chest after killing Xera.
by Loren Michael on May 02, 2017 at 12:28 AM

Crowfall is one of the next big MMORPG games coming out. When, we don't know, but it's getting close! I've been backing and watching its progress since 2015 and haven't been as excited about a new game since GW2 was announced. Since I plan on starting a KT chapter in Crowfall, I wanted to take a minute to tell you guys all about it and explain all of (or at least some of) the ways that Crowfall is different from anything else you've played. I'll start with explaining The Hunger, tell you a little bit about the Lore and try to explain how progression works in the Crowfall Universe.

What the %*@# is “The Hunger”?

The Crowfall Universe operates differently than other MMOs when it comes to characters, worlds and servers. Instead of permanent worlds and characters, Crowfall boils their approach down to “Eternal Heroes, Dying Worlds”. This means that all of your characters and their progression are permanent (and account based), but the campaign worlds that they play in are not. The Hunger is the mechanic that drives the timeline for each Campaign. As the Campaign progresses, the Hunger has a bigger and harsher effect on the world - making creatures more and more corrupt, resources become more scarce, and all out war begins to break out. Some Campaigns last one month, some up to 6 months. Below is a video that shows some of the effects the Hunger has on Campaign worlds as the seasons pass.

What about the Gods?

(Transcript of above video because it's the best, short rundown of some basic God lore.)
“Centuries ago, the All-Father went to the center of the universe to try to stop the Hunger. He never returned. His children, the elder Gods, got together and you would assume that they would say, “Hey, we got a big problem, we got to deal with this”... They don’t. Instead, they go to war. The Gods break into 3 major factions: Order, Chaos and Balance. Instead of warring directly, the Gods are battling against each other with champions. They decide to use the dying worlds as their proving grounds. They send their champions in to fight on their behalf, to try to determine who should be the new King of the Gods.”

I'll make a post about the 12 Gods of the Crowfall universe sometime in the future!

What's my role in all of this?

Character creation and progression in Crowfall is very different from any other MMORPG I've ever played... and I'm not sure where to start to explain character progression and training, so I'll just dive right in to what comes to mind first.

Rather than having a bunch of characters that you select from, you exist in the world as a glowing, blue ethereal Crow spirit. This is because you, the player, represent a Champion of the Gods. As a Champion, you are given the power to possess different Vessels (bodily forms) that you use to fight. When you first spawn in, your Crow will be in a temple with statues of all of the Archetypes (classes) that you can choose to possess. The video below goes over a bit more of the Crows and Vessels system as well as some of the other features that this kind of system introduces to the game.

There are currently 13 Archetypes to pick from:

Champion - Human, Melee DPS
Ranger - Human, Stealth Specialist
Druid - Human, Support
Confessor - Human, Ranged DPS (Magic)
Knight - Human, Tank (Mitigation)
Templar - Human, Tank (Dodge)
Forgemaster - Stoneborn (Dwarf-like race), Hammer Specialist
Frostweaver - Elven, Ranged DPS (Magic)
Assassin - Elven, Stealth Specialist
Myrmidon - Minotaur, Tank (Mitigation)
Legionnaire - Centaur, Support
Duelist - Guinecean (Guinea Pig race - yes, I said Guinea Pig), Burrowing Specialist
Stalker - Elken (Half man, half elk/kudu), Ranged DPS (Bow)

As per usual, each has their own unique set of skills and roles to play in battle.

The next thing to explain is that all training is done through skill trees that are always passively progressing toward a specific goal. This means that everyone will progress at the same rate, and the person who plays 50 hours a week doesn't have a specific skill advantage over others who don't play that much (though, they probably would have a lot more resources). Everyone has 1 Universal skill training slot available and at least 1 Archetype skill training slot available. VIP members (subscription based accounts) will have 2 additional Archetype skill training slots available to them. (This doesn't necessarily make them more powerful, it just gives them a few more options, since you cannot be training more than one skill within the same tree.) The Universal skills include Combat, Crafting and Exploration based training. Archetype skill trees are split into roles - Tank, DPS, Support and Specialist. Some trees have secondary branches with more powerful skills that you can train once you've finished about 50% of the primary tree. Hopefully all of that makes sense... If you have any questions, let me know!

Where can I go?

Instead of locking accounts or characters into a specific server like most other MMORPGs, the Crowfall Universe is broken up into different “rings” of Dying Worlds. Each ring is its own campaign and has its own set of rules, and a player can move between them based on what kind of gameplay they find most exciting. All worlds inside of the Eternal Kingdoms are PvP based campaign worlds, which means there’s a place for just about everyone to find something to do. The farther into the center of the dying worlds you venture, the greater the rewards - certain resources only spawn in the Dregs, and even then they're very rare. Here’s a quick rundown of each of the rings, including a couple of the more detailed rule sets for 2 of the worlds (export/import, decay, looting, etc):

Eternal Kingdoms

On the outside crust of the universe is the Eternal Kingdoms. The Eternal Kingdoms are the only permanent worlds in the game. They are home to player and guild housing. Each account can have its own Eternal Kingdom, where players can place Parcels of land in any arrangement they want - or players can contribute (and benefit from) to a single EK with a group of people. This is done by having one person (the Monarch) split their EK into Regions, assigning that region to another player - a Noble. Nobles can grant lots of the Region to Vassals, who can build houses if they want and split their Province into lots that they grant to other players. Within the Province, the Vassal can grant lots to Tenants, allowing them to place thralls and relics to the buildings in the Province and enjoy access to crafting stations, vendors, etc... Monarchs can also collect taxes from their Nobles, in resources, materials, or currency.

Basic parcels provide the player with a place to harvest basic materials and resources - a woodland grove parcel has a lot of trees to harvest knotwood, a hills parcel has trees and stone, and a creek parcel has trees, stone and slag. There are also larger parcels that you can place to make your EK landscape more interesting and also have room to place houses, forts and walls to make your EK feel more complete. Once you have some parcels set into your EK, you can start placing houses and walls around. Right now the only way to obtain these items is through the Crowfall store for USD - though my understanding is that most blueprints and parcels will be able to be traded in-game. Here’s a LINK to a FAQ about Parcels, and a LINK to a FAQ about EK's. I believe this is also the part of the game where most of the marketplace and trading goes on while you're preparing for the next Campaign you'll be participating in.

God’s Reach

God’s Reach is the outermost of the Dying Worlds. This campaign is a three faction war realm, based on the orders of the Gods. Each faction has their own goals during the campaign. The champions of Order have a pretty basic goal - to save the worlds from being consumed by the Hunger. The champions fighting for Chaos are willing to let the worlds be destroyed in order to appease the Hunger. The Balance champions, meanwhile, do their best to make sure neither of the other factions get too far ahead. (Basically, this is "WvW" in Crowfall, only with 3 universal teams, and no servers.)

PvP Type: Faction War - Order, Balance, Chaos
Loot: 100% Inventory loot
Decay: 20% Item decay on death
Import: All equipped gear can be brought in
Export: Win = 40%, Lose = 20%

The Infected

This campaign world goes one step further than God's Reach. In this world, champions are playing for their God. The Orders mean nothing here, it's every God for themselves. That means there are essentially 12 different factions playing against each other.

The Shadow

There are no Gods or factions in the Shadow campaign. This is where true Guild vs Guild lives in Crowfall's Universe.

PvP Type: Guild Free-for-all
Loot: 20% chance to drop equipment on death, 100% Inventory loot
Decay: 30% item decay on death
Import: No items can be brought in
Export: Win = 80%, Kneel = 50%, Lose = 25%

The Dregs

This campaign is the heart and core of PvP. No factions, no Gods, just flat out open world PvP. Not even your guildmates are allies. This is also the only realm where the highest quality/tier resources can be found - so, as they say, no risk, no reward.

So, what can I do?

Anything you want! There are a few different ways that you can make a name for yourself in Crowfall. You can play for Glory in the Dying Worlds on the battlefield. You can focus on Wealth and make crafting and exploration your priority, driving the economy the way you want it to. Or, you can focus on Power and run an Eternal Kingdom that people will pay you to live in.

There's no rule that says that everyone has to participate in parts of the game that they don't want to. Yes, the majority of the game is PvP based. But there are also other ways that you can rise to great importance within a guild or faction. Having a few people focusing on trading, crafting and exploration skills can be incredibly useful, both to that player and their group, or even their faction. Traders and crafters depend on champions returning with rare resources from the inner worlds, and champions benefit from better crafted equipment when they return to the Dying Worlds.

Crowfall has been a unique game to keep an eye on, and if you've gotten all the way to the end of this write-up, I'm hoping that you agree. I've been participating in the Alpha for quite some time now as a backer from early on, and once more of the game starts to come together I'll be streaming some of the playtests. In the meantime, you can visit the CROWFALL website for more information or ask questions on this Journal post. I've also already been in contact with a number of GvG guilds that we knew in GW1 who we allied with going into GW2 as the original Stormbluff Isle Alliance. There is also an unofficial Discord that you can join (it's got a huge number of people on it already). The forums for the alliance are very quiet right now, but hopefully as we get closer to a launch announcement it'll start to pick up again. The group is called the Angry Crows, if you want to you can go sign up and find KT in the guild listing.

Thanks for reading, and I hope some of you will be joining me in the Dying Worlds when Crowfall launches!
by Loren Michael on Jan 12, 2016 at 05:11 PM
Hello Knights! Popping in to make sure everyone is aware that our guild is turning 12 years old this month. Been a wild ride so far, and I'm glad all of you are here to celebrate with us.

Also in the news today, ArenaNet has released a State of the Game update with a LOT of information that I thought I'd truncate a little bit so you don't have to read the entire wall of text...

Colin writes in the beginning of the article: "2016 marks a turning point for the developmental focus of the Guild Wars 2 franchise." ... "In 2016 we aim to provide a more balanced focus, which will see efforts divided equally between providing regular updates and working toward the next expansion."

Seasonal Game Updates

  • Major updates to the game every 3 months (quarterly)
  • First major quarterly update is released on January 26th

Included in the January 26th Update:

  • Gliding in Central Tyria with completion of Glider Basics Mastery (I believe this is T1 of the mastery)
  • Update to The Shatterer including new Meta achievements and a back-slot item upon completion
  • Fractals overhaul - Adjusting scale inside hub, daily achievements displayed while inside
  • Event Participation overhaul - applying boons and removing conditions from allies will now give as much event participation as damage
  • Squad QoL Updates - Leaders can appoint Lieutenants to organize, invite, kick, and broadcast messages. Leaders can also mark locations, players and enemies with symbols that appear both in the game world and on the mini-map.
  • WvW objective upgrades will now only trigger after a certain number of dolyaks have delivered supplies
  • Kills in WvW will now be counted toward server score - 1 point per kill
  • Rallying in WvW will now only include 1 player rallying instead of 5
  • Reviving defeated (double downed) players in WvW can only be done when out of combat.
  • Stronghold gets a new hero - Tybalt Leftpaw
  • Brew of the Month club - 12 month program, gives title, backpack skin and guild hall decoration when completed
  • New World and Raid boss guild decorations - upgraded over time to resemble the new world boss trophy chests
  • Additional key bind options for the action camera, ground targeting and autotargeting as well as a new check box that will show interactable objects
  • Major balance update, which was mentioned in Karl's recent post on the forums - more to come Friday

Early 2016 Events

  • Lunar New Year returning
  • Next raid wing: Salvation Pass - includes new masteries to train, release date TBD
  • PvP League Launching on February 23rd - new rewards, badge reset, guild leaderboard reset, new guild leaderboard rewards.
  • ESL Season 1 Finals continue on Mondays throughout January to Championship in February

Long Term Changes

  • Living World Season 3 - regular updates will be returning
  • More Fractals updates - Fractal leaderboards, more information on Legendary backpiece, polish, balance, and NEW Fractals
  • Major WvW Update - large-scale overhaul in the works to help core issues (population balance, scoring, rewards, coverage) and also mentioned a beta phase of the project that will be discussed more later on in the year.
  • WvW Tournaments remain on hold, to return after the overhaul

That's pretty much it. I tried to highlight the major points from the article but might have missed a few minor details.

Cheers, and Happy Birthday, KT!

by Canis on Dec 23, 2015 at 01:42 PM

Another year has passed and our guild grows one year older. We’ve seen lots of members return and have added a few more to our family. Here’s hoping to another fun year!

I’m sure a few of you might be wondering why there is an image of a wolf pack above. Well one reason is because I’m Canis Lupis. Another reason is because I think the image has a connection to our guild.

“The first 3 are the old or sick, they give the pace to the entire pack so they aren't left behind. Then come the 5 strongest, the front line. Last is the alpha from there he can see everything and control direction.”

As a guild we will always move together, we won’t abandon anyone in the pack. We’ve got hardcore and casual players, as well as old and new members but we continue to stick together and in the back the alpha can watch it all from a distance.

Interestingly enough the idea of a pack hierarchy has recently been disproven and the information above is not believed to be true anymore, however it doesn’t mean we can’t draw inspiration from it, and the new theory actually has some connections to our guild as well…

Today it’s believed that wolf packs are actually very family oriented, there is still an alpha male and female that leads the pack, usually from the front but most of the pack that follows them are family members.

So there are two theories, an older outdated one based on hierarchy and a newer one based on family.

I like to think Knights Templar is a mix of these two theories. We are a pack, but we are a family as well.

Have a happy holiday and a great New Years.

by Canis on Sep 21, 2015 at 02:57 PM
Hello knights! It’s been a while since we’ve updated our front page. I’ve decided to post information about guild halls and the changes coming to guild structure with the Guild Wars 2 expansion pack, Heart of Thorns. Below you will find a summery of changes coming to guilds and thoughts our guild should consider about each change.

Guild Halls

  • Guilds can claim and grow a guild hall in the Heart of Maguuma
  • Provides a home where players can gather, organize for events and guild missions, and build and progress both the guild and the guild hall
  • Smaller guilds will be treated "respectfully"
  • Guild halls will be locations discovered and entered on the world map, but are instances your guild owns. The plan is to ground the story of guild halls and their experience in the story of the jungle.
  • Scribe is a new guild crafting discipline, used to create consumables, World versus World bonuses, and decorations for the hall.

Thoughts: We should designate Scribes for the guild. This is a guild professions and it should be something a few dedicated members consider, it's probably not going to be a good idea to have everyone in the guild try and level this up at once.

Guilds Teams

  • Guilds can register guild teams to compete within sPvP, in both Conquest and Stronghold maps.
  • Leaderboard will show the best guild teams in the world

Thoughts: Does the guild have any interest in creating a team for PvP? I'm interesting in exploring this idea, but we need to put that work in for it to be successful.

Reworked Mechanics

Guild chat — introducing cross-guild chat. From your main guild panel, you'll be able to assign which guilds you can chat to with new channels, /g1 through /g5. You can then decide which channels will be visible in your chat tabs. The existing guild chat channel, /g, will continue to chat to your currently represented guild.

  • Guild currencies
    • Favor incentivizes guilds to gather and complete missions on a weekly basis
    • Aetherium replaces the pacing elements of the current queue system and establishes a baseline rate at which our largest guilds can progress that cannot be circumvented by spending gold.
    • Resonance serves the sole purpose of speeding up the assembling of guild items and removes the need to balance other currencies around that. Meanwhile, resonating shards reward small group play with fellow guild members.
  • Existing currencies
    • Influence will no longer be able to be acquired once the new system is released. Previously accumulated influence will be used to accelerate your initial progress in building up your guild hall in the following ways:
    • Each day, you may trade a limited amount of influence for favor.
    • Once per day, you may use influence to purchase a small boost to your aetherium production.
    • Whenever it suits you, you may convert influence to resonance.
  • Guild Merits will be removed
  • Guild Commendations will still be rewarded to players who complete guild missions

Thoughts: A lot of big changes here. Guild chat is going to be huge. We can potentially have up to 5 guilds we communicate with. Who do we want to ally with? Another big one is the removal of influence. We need to decide what we are going to do with our Guild Merits, and if we want to spend our influence or save it up so we can spend it on boosts later on.

Guild Upgrades

These mechanics will be moved out of the guild panel into physical structures with NPCs within the Guild Initiative and halls. If your guild has obtained the necessary research level and prerequisites to have consumables like banners or Vault Transport unlocked under the current system, you will have them unlocked to craft in the new system.

  • The cap on all of the guild consumables that will be transferring to the new system will be raise to a maximum of 25.
  • Temporary guild-wide bonuses will be permanent bonuses once unlocked or effects (like food and utility effects, maximum of 1) available from a vendor in the tavern.
  • World versus World structure bonuses will be permanently unlocked and apply to any claimed area.
  • Any consumable upgrades your guild has purchased that fall into the categories being removed will need to be used before the launch of Guild Wars 2: Heart of Thorns or they will disappear.

Thoughts: Looks like a lot of upgrades will be permanent once they've been unlocked. Hopefully it means we can always get a banner when we need it by spending guild tokens or some other currency. It also sounds like once we've unlocked the bonuses to WvW structures they will always be active when claiming an objective. Awesome!

Guild Missions

will be available to all guilds and will not require upgrades to unlock. Each guild will have a limited amount of missions available and additional missions can be unlocked by upgrading the guild. Missions are free to activate and guilds are able to retry each if the mission is failed. Only one mission can be active at a time.

  • Guild Challenges and Guild Puzzles will become instanced
  • Guild Portal in the guild hall will allow players to travel to waypoints near each mission's starting location

Thoughts: I hope we see some changes to mission variety or some new types. The instances sounds interesting.

Guild Claiming

Claiming structures in World versus World will function the same way but will offer more unique upgrades.

  • Improvements are always active at the objective that give it better defenses and new functionality.
    • Supply Camps: upgrade the speed, capacity, and toughness of dolyaks
    • Towers: upgrade to show enemies within range on the map
    • Keeps: enhance the defending players
    • Stonemist Castle: upgrade fountains to grant stealth to those who drink from them
  • Tactics are objective-based abilities that players can activate to temporarily boost or defend an objective.
    • Summon in supply drops
    • Activate a trap that chills attackers
    • Temporarily fortify gates and walls against all attacks
    • Call in a Pact Fleet bombardment to shred your enemies in a field of explosive ruin
    • Call in a Pact Fleet bombardment to shred your enemies in a field of explosive ruin
    • Call in a Pact Fleet bombardment to shred your enemies in a field of explosive ruin

Thoughts: These changes are going to change the way WvW is played. Claiming an objective is going to be a must, and defending it with a guild is going to become a new practice. This type of game play suites our guilds style of holding objectives like we used to a few years ago.
by Pocket on Apr 15, 2015 at 07:13 AM
So yesterday we saw the Stronghold public beta event. I played a few matches and wanted to share my thoughts. I played 2 games solo and about 8-10 games with a party. I won't cover the mechanics which you can read about here:

First things first; I had fun and the map looks great. At this stage I think I would compare it to Conquest by saying it requires more strategy but less technical ability. I'll try to explain that in the rest of this post.

Objectives are spread out making the map feel larger than those used for Conquest. This splits teams further apart and there are simultaneous objectives that require you to split often. Having high mobility and map awareness is really important. Good examples of this are when both Heroes spawn and you need to direct resources to contest them, or if you die in the enemy Lords room and have to run all the way back across the map.

I settled into a Defender role harassing enemies trying to shepherd the doorbreakers and archers to our gate. AoE was useful as most teams were mass spawning doorbreakers in one go meaning I could AoE, CC and cleave them down pretty quickly. I think there’s something to be said for spreading out doorbreakers a little so they don’t get bombed in one go and it takes longer to kill them. In most matches I could harass long enough for us to get both of their gates down first at which point we just pushed into the Lord room.

The NPCs that support the Lord are pretty easy to take out and the Lord does one big attack but it's pretty telegraphed and easy to avoid. I feel that if you have their inner gate down and they don't have yours down you should just commit to a push with 4-5 people and get the job done. Especially if you are in a party and communicating. The opposition won't be able to ignore it and will have to counter with equal numbers. Getting that inner gate down felt like a 'point of no return'.

At the start of the match you need to think more about how to spread your resources and worry less about fights. For example in Conquest we usually see team fights at the start and then at various times throughout the match. Because in Stronghold everyone starts out with supply (a great design decision) you don’t necessarily have to engage in a team fight over supply at the start. In the lanes themselves you can get away with harassing or focusing on doorbreakers/archers and success isn’t strictly tied to engaging the enemy directly like it is in Conquest.

I think my favourite part of the match are the Heroes. The channelling mechanic is much better implemented than in the Temple Conquest map. In Temple all you need to do to interrupt an enemy channel is damage and enemy. In Stronghold you need to actually CC the enemy. This makes contesting over Heroes such interesting encounters! I really love it. It becomes a battle of builds, knowledge, cool downs and CC Vs Stability. Because you want to interrupt them using CC but need to be careful not to waste it because if they have another stability in hand and you are down to your last CC.... GG. This gets even more interesting when there are more people around because you don't want to waste a CC if your ally just used theirs. (I read today that Immobilise also cancels the channel but I never tried this yesterday and am not sure that is intended). The Heroes themselves don’t feel too overpowered to me, the buff they give to allies sounds really strong but if you focus them down you can kill them relatively quickly.

Match length felt slightly on the short side and maybe 20 mins would be better. About 50% of matches did finish with a Lord kill but in those matches where it didn’t it felt very close to a finish but the timer ran out. The more matches that finish with a Lord kill, the better. It would be great to see an overtime mechanic where the Lords come rushing out of their keeps after 15 minutes and fight each other or something.

At this stage I do have one major concern however. I think that Stronghold needs more than one map. Players will form solid strategies much quicker for just one map than they did with multiple Conquest maps. We are much better equipped now than we were at launch and while specialisations will make things interesting we expect them to be balanced with existing professions so I don't see them changing things fundamentally. Sadly I’m not sure we will see a new map for a while which is a shame and I fear it could get stale within a few months.


Did anyone else try out Stronghold? What did you think? How to people think the new conditions and Revenant may also affect some of the mechanics?
by Loren Michael on Jan 24, 2015 at 03:09 PM

Announced by Mike O'Brien and Colin Johansen this morning at PAX South, ArenaNet has confirmed that Heart of Thorns is, indeed, a brand new expansion pack that will be coming out WHEN ITS READY™. Oh, and if you’re lucky enough to have gotten a ticket to PAX East before it sold out, it will be featured there for attendees to play the new content.

In this entry, I'm going to review all the things that were revealed to us in the announcement. They have made a website just for Heart of Thorns content that they will likely be updating for weeks to come, so check that out for some other information. Hang onto your butts, this is pretty awesome stuff.

ArenaNet, in true form, is staying true to their vision of a game that eliminates expansion based power creep. After confirming that the level and gear cap will remain at level 80, the natural question is, “how do I continue to progress my character once I’m max level?” Masteries are GW2’s solution to end game character progression, introducing new experience-based mastery points that will help your character be more effective in the environments that they are adventuring in. This will introduce GLIDERS to characters spending time in the very vertical jungle maps (no more falling and dying, I’m crying tears of joy!) as well as fight based masteries to make you more effective against the mobs that you are fighting. Oh, and did I mention PRECURSOR mastery lines? In addition to getting brand new legendary weapons and precursors, you will be able to work toward earning your precursor, rather than squandering time and gold at the forge or hoping for that lucky drop. Great news for us, not so great news for people who buy and flip precursors… Though, it also does mean that prices are dropping, so that out-of-reach precur that you’ve been drooling over is coming down in price already. (Dusk fell ~200g in the first 5 minutes after the announcement.)

“Then, we can take masteries and build on top of that, new group challenges way beyond anything you’ve faced before; challenges that you wouldn’t be able to complete if you hadn’t learned these skills and abilities.”

There was not a lot of depth in the short mention of challenging group content, but I’m hoping that some of the images in the trailers that we were shown and the fact that Mike mentioned group content means that we will be seeing some large scale raid-based content in the jungle. Fingers crossed, hopefully I’ll be writing more about this soon.

Marjory’s been using a greatsword. But wait, she’s a necromancer! This feature will allow each class to train into a new class specialization, as well as open up a new weapon for each class. The specific example given was training your ranger to become a Druid, unlocking the staff for your character to equip. A second glance through the trailer videos that we’ve seen lately have shown us a few more odd class/weapon combos, including necromancers with greatswords, mesmers with shields, rangers with staves, and engineers wielding hammers. Please, by all means, speculate away, tell us what you think the other classes will be able to unlock. Make guesses as to what the name of their specialization will be. This… this is gonna be fun to talk about.

Wondering why Rytlock’s been wandering in and out of trailers lately with a blindfold on? It’s been confirmed that he will be returning to Tyria as the very first REVENANT, a brand new heavy armor class. This is particularly exciting for the lorehounds and GW1 folks, as the revenant’s gameplay is based on Guild Wars lore, with the class channeling the powers of legends of Tyria’s past. An example given was of King Jalis Ironhammer, who, when channeled, will give the player dwarven themed abilities. Very cool. Can’t wait to see who else we’ll get to channel, and I can’t wait to have big lore conversations in TS about the days of old. Who wants to play some GW1 to reaquiaint themselves with the old lore? (Psst, come out on Sundays and revisit Tyria 250 years ago!)

Finally, a place for KT to call home again. Colin spent a few minutes telling us about Guild Halls being implemented as part of the expac. They will be expandable over time, offering more room for us to put our boots up after a long day of WvW. (And ok, Hoshi. We can have a plushie room.) In addition to guild halls getting its own section in the announcements, Mike mentioned new guild support and new guild progression. I have no idea what that means, but boy am I looking forward to it.

A brand new borderland map for World Vs World was revealed, and it looks and sounds absolutely massive. It was also mentioned that the map will be part of a borderland map rotation - though not much clarification was made on that right away. ArenaNet seems to have taken a good lesson from EotM and have brought in new elements that will make this map exciting to play. Keeps will be themed (the screenshot below is the earth-themed keep) and will have dynamic ways of interacting with invaders and defenders.

“...will literally raise up parts of the ground to defend itself when enemy forces assault.”

There will also be some fundamental changes to the core WvW experience, making holding objectives an essential part of victory in the mists.

PvP is getting a brand new game mode called Stronghold that sounds like it is going to be a throwback to Guild Wars 1 GvG. Teams will fight over supply that they can use to hire allies to help them assault the enemy’s base, destroy the gate, and kill their Guild Lord to win the match. In addition to this new game mode, Guild Leaderboards will be re-introduced, finally giving a way to compete and see where you rank as a guild.

This topic is sure to bring with it a lot of murmurs from the GW2 GvG community, but I want to take a second to remind you that ArenaNet defined what Guild Vs Guild in Guild Wars really means over ten years ago, and this is much closer to the spirit of that game mode and all of its successes throughout the years. In the video, Colin never uses the phrase GvG, instead only referring to old game modes in the franchise. Even though I think they could call this GvG because they defined what it was in the past and have every right to re-define it today, I don’t think they want to stir up problems with the player-driven GvG matches in WvW. I’m curious to hear everyone else’s thoughts on the subject, knowing fully that there will always be a divide in opinions surrounding GvG.

On that note, I can’t wait to get a team together in the Guild Hall and get back into PvP in Stronghold. It looks awesome.

Guild Wars 2 : Heart of Thorns looks like a really great expansion package so far. There’s something for everyone, and everything looks really well done so far. I’m glad to see that this is what they’ve been working on for so long, and now I just can’t wait for them to tell us when we’ll get to play it!
by Damarus on Jan 14, 2015 at 08:12 PM
Point of No Return is in full swing, and hopefully all of you are beating up plant bosses every 45 minutes like clockwork. I know everyone using the LFG tool is! And, are any of us really surprised about our new found knowledge? [Clue: google search “Deadly Salad”]. Read on for spoilers about this release (or more specifically, what comes after this release)...

Hot on the heels of this release was a teaser for an upcoming event / release / something else - Guild Wars 2: Heart of Thorns. Everyone gets a taste of it with a shiney new cinematic that plays after you beat this chapter of the living world - showcasing a bit of a change in some of the art style their previous cinematics; different but awesome.

Guild Wars 2: Heart of Thorns Logo

Of course there is massive amount of speculation of this being the first full blown expansion of Guild Wars 2 - I’d say its a safe bet based on how much arenanet has teased this both in game (see video below) and on their website. That and, the trademark NCSoft had registered.

Earlier on release day, a very perceptive redditor had spoiled the surprise for everyone, anouncing that NCSoft had registered a trademark for Guild Wars 2: Heart of Thorns. It was met with mass amounts of speculation and excitement. I wish I had seen it in the game first, for a greater surprise.

Many new threads have started on the forum with theorycraft and speculation on what comes next, and how the finale of Living World Season 2, and what is seen in the ending cinematics, plays into what comes next.

What do you guys think GW2: HoT is? Release, expansion, new set of action figures?

Cinematic seen when finishing season 2
by Canis on Aug 17, 2014 at 09:19 PM

Hello Knights,

The War Council is proud to announce competitive events to the guild. These events can take place in PvP, WvW or PvE. Everyone within the guild is invited to partake, however a strict rule set will be applied to these events and you must follow them if you wish to participate.

We are offering these events to offer a competitive, hardcore type event for members to enjoy. These events will always be optional, but we encourage our members to participate whenever they can.

These events will be using what I like to call Competitive Rules. During events using this rule you can expect the following:

An efficient, organized group with a concise goal, weather the goal is PvE, PvP or WvW oriented.

All members participating will be using characters familiar to them (preferably their main characters) and will be level 80.

A chosen leader will speak for the group, decide on targets and determine objectives.

Now, let’s look over the rules you will be expected to follow if you wish to participate in an event using Competitive Rules.

1.) At the beginning of the event a leader will be chosen, the leader will determine objectives and target priority for the group.

2.) Members must play a character they are familiar with.

3.) Members must have appropriate gear.

4.) Members must do their best to have buffs such as food, oil and sharpening stones running at all times.

5.) Members will follow directions of the chosen leader for the event and do their best to follow orders as
efficiently as possible.

6.) Members will keep off topic communication to a minimum during the event, and only pertinent information related to the objective should be discussed during an event.

More rules will be added over time as events grow.

I hope you are excited for these events and The War Council looks forward to seeing you attend them in the future. Stay posted for times and dates will be running them!
by Loren Michael on May 17, 2014 at 12:19 PM
by The Guild Wars 2 Team on May 13, 2014

As part of the celebration of our launch in China, we’re holding an in-game festival that brings back some of the best-loved Living World content! The Zephyrites have returned to the Labyrinthine Cliffs to do business and trade their goods, and Queen Jennah has reopened the Crown Pavilion. Experience the joy of movement as you harness the power of the Zephyrites’ aspect crystals, or put your battle skills to the test in the Crown Pavilion and Queen’s Gauntlet.

Get ready: the Festival of the Four Winds begins on May 20!

by Loren Michael on Mar 21, 2014 at 01:03 AM
by Colin Johanson on March 20, 2014

ArenaNet is excited to announce our first release that focuses exclusively on in-game features: the April 2014 Feature Pack, which hits Guild Wars 2 on April 15!

As a release that focuses primarily on game systems, the April 2014 Feature Pack will include a sweeping range of new features—everything from new systems that change and upgrade the way you experience Guild Wars 2 to quality of life and balance updates that improve existing gameplay systems.

We’ve got a lot planned for this first feature pack; too much to talk about in one blog post or video. Between now and the April 15 release, we’ll announce and discuss each major feature contained within the April 2014 Feature Pack.

To start things off, we’d like to tell you all about our updates to the trait system, which include 40 new traits and a new horizontal progression system! We’ll also be discussing these changes and some other features tomorrow on our Ready Up livestream at noon Pacific Time, so make sure to tune in and check back each day on the Guild Wars 2 website for exciting announcements of our features over the coming weeks!

Link to the article on

Here is the list of blog entries that were previewed: (Links will be added to this list as they are released)

March 20: Announcing the April 2014 Feature Pack!

March 20: Traits Unleashed: Forty New Traits and More!

March 21: The Art of Combat

March 21: Critical!

March 25: A New Way to Explore the Looks of Guild Wars 2

March 25: A Colorful Outlook

March 26: Looking For Group?

March 27: Removing Restrictions

March 27: Account-Bound

March 27: A Solid Foundation

April 2: Facilitating Friendly Play - The Megaserver System

April 3: Facilitating Friendly Play: Part Two - World Bosses and Events

April 3: Facilitating Friendly Play: Part Three - Guilds and the Future


What do you think the blog entries will be about based on the titles they've released? Go to Pocket's thread HERE to let us know your thoughts!
by Loren Michael on Jan 03, 2014 at 04:48 PM
(by Colin Johanson on December 10, 2013 - taken from

As 2013 is drawing to a close, with it comes the arrival of our final release for the year: Wintersday! What goodies might you find under the tree with the final release of the year, you might ask? What is coming in early 2014, you may wonder?

Back in July I discussed some of the major features and areas we were focusing on for 2013. Most of this list has already been completed, and our December 10 release includes a few more items to cross off our wish list before we head to the holidays:

  • The culmination of the Tower of Nightmares story arc in Kessex Hills.
  • The return of one of our favorite holidays, Wintersday, just in time to celebrate the end of the Tower of Nightmares battle!
  • Our first step towards revamping the PvP reward system by adding gold and the ability to gain levels through PvP.
  • New healing skills for every profession.
  • The addition of the final pieces of Ascended gear: Ascended armor.
  • The opportunity for Leatherworkers, Armorsmiths, and Tailors to raise their skill level to 500.

A few things on our list of projects for 2013 will be extended into 2014 as we continue to revise, test, and polish to ensure we put out features we think are the best for the game in the long run.

So what do we have to look forward to in the new year, and what is the next release to countdown towards after Wintersday?

After December 10, there will be just four releases left in the current major world story arc, which we like to think of as season one of the Living World. There are some major unanswered questions that remain: What is Scarlet trying to do? What is the motivation behind her actions? What are the “do not touch” devices? What will Scarlet do with the knowledge she has gained from her various collaborations? The answers to all of these questions, and one epic finale that will rock Tyria to its very core, await you in 2014.

Our first release in the new year will be on January 21 as we begin our countdown to the end of this story arc. We’ll use the longer break to spend extra time to ensure that our final four releases are as polished and exciting as possible.

Due to the size and scope of the final four story releases in season one, the next round of major features will be bundled together into a large “feature only” release that will come after the first season of the Living World 2014 has finished. Once the story has completed, we’ll go into much greater detail on what’s to follow, but for now we want to focus on making sure our last four episodes shine.

On behalf of everyone here at ArenaNet, thank you all for an amazing 2013. Without your collaboration, feedback, dedication, and love for the world of Tyria, Guild Wars 2 simply wouldn’t be the success that it is today —nor could we reach the lofty goals we’ve set for the future.

Until January 21, we’ll see you at the Wintersday festivities!

Link to the article on
by Loren Michael on Jan 03, 2014 at 02:48 PM

Ten years ago this month, a lovely little guild called Knights Templar [KT] was officially founded. There aren't many guilds that can boast this kind of run, and I'm incredibly proud that we've made it this far while staying true to our founding ideals. Surely, they are the things that make a good foundation for a guild that lasts. I'm thrilled to have been part of KT for as long as I have, and I'm looking forward to the next 10 years and what's in store for us in the future!

I made a post a few weeks ago about the Anniversary Party we'll be having on Saturday the 25th, but I wanted to offer up a place for everyone to take a moment over the next few weeks as we celebrate to share some of your favorite memories of playing with KT...

Tell me about how you joined!

Tell me about that one fractal that took forever but you were able to pull it off despite the odds!

Tell me about the time you went vanquishing for 8 hours just to finish off some of those maps...

Tell me about your guild leader falling asleep at the last boss in the dun... wait, I don't need to hear that story. *:|

If you've been a member for a long time, tell me stories of GW1, or maybe some of the adventures we had between Guild Wars releases in SWTOR, Warhammer, AoC... anything!

Tell us about your favorite memory of playing with Rex!

Leave your story in the comments below and we'll have some fun reading them and talking about them at the party!
by Damarus on Sep 13, 2013 at 10:21 AM
Guild Wars 2 is a year old. ArenaNet has not been stagnant - everything from incredibly rapid updates, hosting a live tournament and an API for site creators. I thought it would be fun to recap the year, talk about the goods and bads, and sum up overall thoughts about the very busy first year of Guild Wars 2.

This review will not cover the mechanics of the general game. For that you can view Guild Wars 2’s Metacritic page which is a very good representation of the game at launch.

Player vs. Environment
ArenaNet facilitates most of its PvE content updates through their living story. While only somewhat recently they solidified their approach going forward with the living story updates, it does provide a unique way to expand and truly change Tyria over time.

I have found the living story updates to be truly enjoyable most of the time. Discovering a new island and exploring it, taking part in holiday festivals, voting for my favorite Charr to win the election - it's a unique spin on how to get immersed in the world. I love the pageantry of the way they present the updates on their website, giving a little page with historic, current and future updates with imagery.

Guild Wars 2 Releases Web Page

The additions of fractals - repeatable minidungeons that become increasingly difficult as you win them - and guild missions - various challenges a guild has limited time to complete - have also provided unique and varied experiences. Guild missions themselves have truly offered a unique way to help build a community and work with others.

Arenanet has also showed it’s creative side when they released the Super Adventure Box - a Legend of Zelda / Mario type game mode with 8-bit graphics and sounds. I think SAB really showed the community that there are so many crazy and interesting ideas they have, and are able to put in the game.

The downside to all this is the lack of difficult and rewarding permanent content. While the dungeons and fractals were a decent bit interesting for a number of runs, and the guild content was a fun challenge to learn the mechanics, they become dull and exploitable. The basis for many of these systems is there, but needs to be truly brought to the next level.

The living story also started off incredibly slow (and turned many off to the idea), though I reserve this as a positive for the game as the recent months have really showed what can be offered.

With the frequency of updates we are receiving, and ever changing world, increased focus on more permanent content and a polished form of delivery of the content, I would say we have a lot to look forward to, and a long year of things to be thankful for. After being in the MMO community for many years, this is probably the first time a game truly pushes the story on such a continuous and rapid pace to make the world feel alive.

Knights Templar Guild During Wintersday

World vs. World
WvW is one of the most unique aspects of Guild Wars 2, offering a mode of PvP not seen in years. While the feature set is full and expansive, there were a number of issues really holding back WvW for the larger part of the first year. Never the less, it has not stop ArenaNet from building on this core game area to improve it.

The first major milestone of WvW was the removal of culling - a system that would limit the number of visible players on the screen. New graphical options exist to limit the quality of models and number of models present on the battlefield, allowing solid performance even though they everyone is visible.

Golem Army

The second major addition was the progression system which was added at the same time as the removal of culling, and expanded on after almost every update since then. Players get World Experience for doing all sorts of things in WvW, which gains them rank points that they can spend in things like increased damage with siege weapons and new siege weapon skills. The system started off slow, but as they have increased the rate at which you gain ranks and added more ways to gain ranks, it has really come into its own and proven to be something that will change gameplay over time.

There has been other various polish since release we are thankful for - blueprints being tradable, siege time buffs, new server rotations each week, ect.

I think the biggest thing holding WvW back is the lack of updates that add new, fun content to the game, and the lack of updates that polish how the game is played for a number of folks other than large hardcore guilds.

To be fair to ArenaNet, it is in some ways the lack of perceived content that has been worked on. I do believe they are working hard on bunches of stuff (at least after the culling removal), and it does take a long time for such changes. WvW is played by a large amount of people, with a vast variety of playstyles. Some like small groups, some like to zerg, some are hardcore guilds, some are hardcore individuals, some servers are backed with queue times, some servers can only fill one map. I don't pretend designing new content for these mass differences is easy or quick.

I do not think this excuses the slow reaction to what is happening out there. We have been teased with some things to come (even video), so we do know that its coming - the question is, “when?”.

3-Way battle after culling removal

Ideally year 2 looks more promising that year 1. I do think WvW is the most fun and interesting piece of the game, but easily needs the most work.

Structured Player vs. Player

SPvP has had quite the journey, and sort of represents the journey I had hoped WvW would take.

A large pass on skill balance for every profession and every trait line, custom arenas, spectating arenas, ranked ladders, new solo vs. team queue and 3 new maps. It has been a busy and pretty productive year of stabilizing, and adding to the game mode. Oh, and ability to reduce skill effects had a solid impact there as well.

Furthermore, tournaments have started popuping up, such as, ESL picking up Guild Wars 2 and ArenaNet hosting their very own 10 thousand dollar prize pool tourny.

I don’t think there is much to harp on here. SPvP started out with some rough edges, and over the year has been cleaned up, new content has been added to it, and I think the year to come should have even more planned for it. Hopefully including some rewards that allows this area of the game to integrate a bit better with other areas.

ArenaNet’s first $10,000 tournament


Improvements to the engine with culling removal, improvements to achievements tracking achievement rewards, and tons of reward improvements a are just a sampling of the various general improvements made to the game.

One specific item I would lile to call out is the addition of the Guild Wars 2 API. This allows websites to grab streams of game data to show things like events that are going, WvW map status, and more. Example sites are MOS's live WvW maps and Stuff's events maps.

Guild Wars 2 boasts over 100 Awards and Accolades

Also, the cash shop has not become intrusive. There is the ever loved "RNG" on new weapon skins (this is sarcasm) that has been somewhat improved after its initial existence.

I've also been fairly impressed with how they interact with the community on a number of things, which I've outlined here.

Guild Wars 2 In-Game Mail

Overall thoughts

I'm pleased to see foundational issues fixed and lots of lessons learned. Also pleased to see them really find their stride in recent months with the living story, and offering increasingly enjoyable experiences. Their continued focus towards improving systems of the game is admirable. Now I would like to see them really explode what can be done in the living story, and give solid and continuous love to world vs. world, and keep on going with SPvP (especially around rewards).

Let me know what you think of the last year in the comments below!
by Damarus on Aug 28, 2013 at 11:06 PM
I have put up a new Lore section in our resource pages. Anything that explains the world, events in the world, characters in the world, or just general doing of Tyria can be included here!

I will be filling the area with lots of goodies, but I need your help! I need good images, websites, videos - anything you know that has lore to help build it out and categorize it so people looking to learn the lore can understand and digest the massive world that is Tyria.

You can find the page here - I have a rough outline included of how I am thinking of possibly structuring the lore , but it can change based on feedback.

Leave comments here to give feedback!

by Damarus on Aug 14, 2013 at 10:28 PM
Missed the SBI red balloons event? Don't worry, there are plenty of screenshots!

On Tuesday night - 8/13 - SBI gathered to show off as many red balloons as possible.

Find some of the pictures over at our PvE gallery here.

You can find a bunch more over at the "99 Luft Balons " forum post at the SBI site here.

And you can also find over 300 photos on the imgur page, here!

It was even mentioned on the Guild Wars 2 twitter!

A big thanks to KT's Loren Michael for setting this up!
by Pocket on Aug 02, 2013 at 07:31 PM
Chapter Five – Forged by the Fists of Grundlebad!

Pocket’s eyelids dithered before springing open to welcome sunlight into his eyes for the first time in days. Although they needed time to adjust his nose didn't, he sensed Damarus by his side who tended to the questions racing through Pocket’s mind. "Everything is fine so don’t back flip out of bed or anything". Pocket eased back into his weariness and surveyed his surroundings. There was a window that looked out onto high city walls adorned with the flags. Damarus saw his eyes peer into the distance. "Yes we are in the human capital city of Divinity's Reach". She saw him trace the outline of the bandages wrapped around his arms and flinch in pain. "You will be fine Pocket, you're healing very well and will make a full recovery". Pocket's nose sprang into action detecting another smell. "That's Loren, he's…" Pocket launched himself out of bed landing on all fours and sprang out of the room. "…making waffles and pancakes for breakfast," concluded an amused Damarus who was very aware that she was now speaking to herself. She jokingly considered whether Pocket had a hidden obsession for puddings but dismissed the notion when entering the kitchen to find Pocket in an embrace with Loren in the kitchen. It reminded him that Pocket was still very young and she exchanged a look with Loren who acknowledged the same. It was easy to forget after all he had been through in the past year.

"Honestly I'm absolutely fine, you're still the one in bandages" reassured Loren. He was right, Pocket thought back to the conclusion of their battle, he had definitely won but here they were weeks later with Loren seemingly unhurt, in stark contrast to himself. Pocket was pulled back into the moment by a stack of pancakes making their way to the kitchen table. The three of them sat down for breakfast as Pocket attacked what was probably his own weight in waffles. "Do you know of Grundlebad?" Damarus asked. Pocket had heard the question but was unable to answer with a mouth full of food. "He is probably the only Tyrian who loves waffles more than you evidently do. Once you've recovered fully your next mission will be to find him, he's been missing lately". Pocket scoffed down the rest of his breakfast then enquired, "Why do we need to find him?" "Because it’s time to acquire your armour, and Grundlebad is the only one who can craft it for you" answered Loren. Pocket was taken aback slightly, "that's not true, we Asura craft our own armour and weapons. My father had the best Asuran armour crafted by the finest..." He paused mid-sentence and his already large eyes opened wider still as the importance of finding Grundlebad finally dawned on him. Damarus interjected, "that's right; your Father's armour was also crafted by no other than Grundlebad himself, a Knight Templar". Loren rescused a jar of maple syrup out of Pocket’s hands as his eyes rolled and he fainted backwards off his stool.

The next week of recovery was tough as it dragged on. Sitting idly didn't come naturally to Pocket but his stay in the capital gave him the opportunity to explore Divinity's Reach. The city dwarfed Rata Sum and for a brief moment he thought he liked it better than home. There was a portal gate to Ebonhawke too and it gave him the chance to visit his mother. The week finally came to an end with Damarus and Pocket stood at the huge front gate of Divinity's Reach. "The key to finding Grundlebad will lie with his squad members. Head to Hoelbrak and find Thanos Payne. But a word of warning; whatever you do, do not comment on his…" Damarus hesitated a moment "…well, don't say anything. Just ask him if he knows where Grundlebad is." Pocket seized on Damarus' flawed logic, "But how can I ask him and not say anything at the same time?" Damarus conceded, "You will have to speak with him, what I meant to say is; just make sure you don’t insult him in any way whatsoever." Although still slightly confused the mission sounded simple enough so Pocket promised he wouldn’t say anything silly and made his preparations to leave for Hoelbrak.

Emerging through the portal he felt the freezing wind of the North cling to his face. He hadn't been this far north for almost a year and it triggered a memory of his visit to the Priory. He reported to the Great Lodge to begin his search for Thanos. As he approached the great doors he leant his head backwards to find the top. He almost fell backwards trying to do so and realised that even from 100 yards it was impossible to get a full view, the gate made those in Divinity's Reach seem small. He found the doors slightly ajar and wondered what the mechanism for opening and closing them was. He could see no obvious system for doing so and the thought of Norn heaving the doors open manually left him in awe. As he walked inside the unfriendly cold of the north was replaced by a welcoming warmth and to his surprise, he had already found Thanos Payne. Not the real one of course but a life size poster which read: "Keg Brawl World Championship winner 2013 Thanos Payne of the Hoelbrak Hotshots". It was terrifying and Pocket wondered whether the other competitors had simply quit out of fear. The tournament had taken place at Lake Mourn - his next port of call.

He found the arena was actually on the lake itself which was frozen over. It was the off-season and there were many groups of Norn, young and old, playing. He scanned the ice with his large eyes and they settled on a particularly large group right in the middle of the lake, it was Thanos! As he approached he found himself wondering into what felt like a forest. He was dwarfed by the tree-trunk-like legs of the many Norn surrounding him. He tried his best to get closer but every step he took led him deeper into the forest and the sunlight began to diminish overhead. He pushed as far as he could go. "Excuse me could I please have a word with you Mr Payne?" this first attempt was an utter failure and was completely drowned out by the cheering and laughter of Thanos’ fans. "Thanos Payne!" He shouted loudly, he was certain he could be heard as he drew some looks from the giant faces above but the problem was that he was shouting exactly the same words as at least a dozen others. Exasperated he took a deep breath, pointed his mouth to the sky and screamed "Grundlebad is missing!" There was some commotion before the crowd settled and then began to split. Just as the sunlight was beginning to return to the re-emerging ice it was completely blocked out again by the figure of Thanos as he walked towards him, his steps were longer than Pocket's entire body. Pocket cleared his throat, "Hello Thanos, I am Pocket of the Knights Templar and I have been sent here on a mission to find Grundlebad. He is missing and Damarus has…" he was interrupted by a hearty Norn laugh, "I'll help you find him, in fact I know exactly where he is.” Pocket’s initial frustration in getting Thanos' attention turned to excitement, and was then cut short instantly, “But first you need to face me in a Keg Brawl challenge”, he let out another emphatic laugh which went on long enough for others to join in. Pocket stood alone in the echoing laughter resonating around him and brought silence to the crowd, “Done”. He regretted his confident tone the moment Thanos got back to his feet and ushered for people to clear the ice.

Keg Brawl is a team sport played by two teams of five, at the start of the game a keg is placed in the centre of the playing area and the aim of the game is for each team to retrieve the keg and take it back to their end, known as the ‘brewer’. The team that can retrieve 11 kegs first, or the most kegs by an agreed period of time, wins.

The challenge was set, they would not be playing a proper match, all Pocket had to do was retrieve one keg back to his ‘brewer’ within 10 minutes. If he could successfully do so, he would win. An old Norn slid a keg from the edge of the playing area and Pocket was amazed to see it stop perfectly in the centre of ice. He looked around gaged the distance to the keg that split Thanos and himself, he was sure he could get to it first, there was no doubt that he was much faster than his opponent. Rather he focussed on how he would get the keg back to his brewer, the ice seemed slippery enough to be able to slide it but that would make it just as easy for Thanos to knock it out of the way. He would have to think of a different strategy.

“BEGIN!” came the cry from the edge of the field, the game had started! Pocket launched himself towards the keg and as his feet slipped on the ice he realised that he would not get there first. Thanos was already sliding to the keg on his belly! Pocket clenched his fists at being so easily beaten by the Norn and knowing that his speed meant nothing here. Thanos put one foot on top of the keg and smiled, “well come and get it, you won’t score without it you know”. Pocket slid slowly towards Thanos who watched him closely, there were giggles in a the crowd as he got closer and then complete silence, they were waiting for something. Pocket concentrated on the keg, he was only 10 or so meters away when Thanos suddlenly dismounted the keg and kicked it forcefully right at him. It hit him flush in the chest and sent him flying backwards with his arms and legs wrapped either side of the keg. He managed to grip it and spun on top. He was light enough to barely slow it down and as he got his bearings he realised he was actually travelling back to his brewer, he couldn’t believe his luck. But Thanos had realised his mistake and was now torpedoing towards Pocket on the ice, his arms swept back on his sides. It was going to be close. Pocket noticed the keg finally slowing and his chance of an easy victory fading. Thanos was soon upon him and he grabbed the keg and flung it upwards with such force that Pocket felt his insides move. The crowd cheered as he was launched high up into the air back towards to the centre of the field. The cheers turned to gasps as Pocket steadied himself in the air, spun and landed on all fours. Thanos nodded approvingly and beckoned Pocket to attempt another claim of the keg.

He leaped towards the champion, hopping and flipping over the ice, and faked a dive towards the keg, instead springing up into the air and onto it just as Thanos kicked it again, who was dismayed to find that he had again just gifted it to Pocket. As the keg came to a halt Pocket stood on top and folded his arms. The gesture delighted the crowd who were getting more than they had bargained for. It had the opposite effect on Thanos however who hurtled towards the keg again. Pocket secretly hoped Thanos would just throw the keg backwards right to his brewer but alas that was not to be the case. This time the champion sped towards him, leapt up into the air and stomped into the ice sending a fierce vibration up through the keg and paralysing Pocket temporarily. He followed up with a head-butt which smashed into the top of the keg, shattering it, sending Pocket sprawling and causing ale to spill out onto the ground.

‘STOP!’ yelled the old Norn. Both contestants backed away from the keg and awaited the arrival of the next keg, but it never came. “The ten minutes are up, Thanos is the winner”. The crowd was in stunned silence, in the excitement of the match everybody, including Pocket and Thanos had forgotten the challenge was only to last ten minutes. Pocket slumped to his knees and began to consider the consequences, how would he find Grundlebad now? Thanos walked over to him, knelt down and placed his hand on Pocket’s shoulder “I will take you to Grundlebad.” Pocket didn’t understand, “But I didn’t win?” Thanos smiled, “Nobody said you had to win,” he said accompanied by another hoot of laughter. Pocket’s was stunned; he had been outwitted by a Norn again! He blamed the cold weather, swallowed his pride and offered a hand to his new friend. Thanos sized up Pocket’s palm and offered a high-five instead and their hands met accompanied by cheers from the on looking crowd, “Let’s go”.

As they emerged through the portal gate Pocket choked on the fumes of the Black Citadel. He followed Thanos closely as they marched down Mustering Ground, through the Ashford Gate and to Smokestead Bar. “Grundlebad is never missing, even Damarus knows that,” claimed Thanos, "she probably thought it safer if you came here to speak to him accompanied by me. And she'd be right." They walked up a metal ramp and were just about to enter a small bar before they were halted at the entrance. ”No Charr, no bar!” snarled the guard. “We don’t want any trouble, we’re here to speak with Grundlebad,” insisted Thanos. “Whose ‘we’?” asked the guard squaring up to Thanos. He was oblivious to the fact that Pocket was standing behind them, the Norn nudged Pocket and retorted, “Me and myself, I’m heading inside whether you like it or not!” Pocket took the hint and slid past them; inside he was met by confused looks from glazed eyes and wasted no time in trying to find Grundlebad as he headed for the bar, “Excuse me, I’m looking for a someone by the name of Grundlebad, do you know where I can find him?” The barmaid stared at him for a few seconds and then nudged her head towards the end of the bar, Pocket turned to look and found a Charr sleeping with his horns resting on the bar top, Pocket offered a weak “thank you” and walked towards him. He was adorned in the most impressive armour Pocket had ever seen; it was an illuminating gold with numerous spikes finished with thick polished leather. It was definitely custom made and followed the counters of his body perfectly. He was mumbling something in his sleep, Pocket tried waking him with words but it was no use, he grabbed one of Grundlebad’s hands and shook it slightly. Grundlebad awoke in a rage, seized Pocket’s arm, pulled him right up to his muzzle and roared, “Don’t touch my French toast!” There was silence in the bar and everyone looked round to see what had happened, realising it was Grundlebad they went back to their business. Pocket was still trembling as Grundlebad’s fury receded and he let go of Pocket’s arm. “I’m sorry, bad dream,” he offered in way of an apology. “About French toast?” quizzed Pocket. Grundlebad shook off the remainder of his hangover, noticed the Knights Templar emblem on Pocket's armour and offered him a clenched fist. “Allow me to introduce myself; I am Grundlebad, Commander of the Mists!” They fist-bumped and Pocket was about to explain his mission when Thanos, followed by two heavily bruised guards, rushed into the bar. Grundlebad looked at Thanos accusingly who shrugged, “I missed you”. One of the guards let out a fierce growl, “You big, fat, slow Norn! I’m going to feed you to the wurms!” Grundlebad’s eyes widened as he grabbed Pocket and threw him over the bar, “you better hide!” As Pocket crouched behind the bar he heard a deep roar, “What did you call me?! Fat?! Slow?!” There followed an almighty brawl as the guards set about Thanos and Grundlebad. The fighting continued as more and more guards filtered through the doors, Pocket peered around the edge of the bar and was amazed at the ferocity of his two fellow Warriors. “We will have to get out of here soon or I’ll be summoned by the Adamant Guard, we had better head to the Mists. Follow me”. Thanos barged through the entrance followed by Grundlebad and Pocket and they retraced their steps in a sprint back to the portal gate.

They appeared in a huge citadel and Pocket doubled over to catch his breath while Grundlebad and Thanos doubled over in fits of laughter. The air was much clearer here but dotted with the sound of artillery fire. As he looked around he realised they were standing in the middle of a war, this was his first time in the Mists. Grundlebad led them to the citadel chambers where they had a chance to settle before Pocket explained his mission, and the events that had led him to find Thanos. They listened silently as he recounted the events of Ebonhawke, then Lions Arch, his induction to the Knights Templar and his training with Loren. “So here I am, I have passed all the tests that have been set, all the obstacles that have been placed in my way. I myself did not at first believe the prophecy that was put forth to me in the Priory but now I know that it is my destiny to slay the Crystal Dragon, but I can’t do it without your help”. The continued silence was eventually broken by a deep sigh from Grundlebad, “Fear not Pocket. I will craft you armour worthy of a Knight, worthy of your Father and my friend.” Pocket buried his face in his hands as relief ran through his mind, “But before I begin I will ask you the same three questions I asked him,” Pocket looked to Grundlebad worryingly, “for the sake of creative direction!” They all laughed as Grundlebad quizzed Pocket:

“One: night or day?”
“Two: Soldier or Scholar?”
“Three: Norn or Charr?”
Pocket assessed the question, considered flattering Grundlebad and then looked to Thanos who stared back at him with a poker face. “Asura!”

They nodded approvingly and Grundlebad stood, “Get some rest; it will be ready in the morning.”

The next day Pocket was awoken by the sound of marching, he peered through the curtains to see soldiers heading out of the Citadel gates. As he pulled them back light flooded in and lit up something in the middle of his room. He shielded his eyes to get a better view and what he saw left him speechless, it was his new armour and it looked just like his fathers. It was held up in mid-air with Asuran levitation crystals and he wondered how a Charr had been able to acquire and craft such material. He carefully packed the armour Loren had given him in Lion’s Arch before putting it on. It felt extremely light and he was amazed to find that despite the generous plating it did not restrict his movement in any way, in fact he was able to move around as easily as ever.

He found Grundlebad outside, “So you like it?” he asked, it may as well have been a rhetorical question, “It’s amazing, how did you do this, and in one night?!” Gundlebad surveyed his own work and nodded in satisfaction, “Let me talk you through all the features, firstly it is crafted using orichalcum ore, the finest, lighest and strongest metal in all of Tyria, accompanied by Asuran levitation crystals which help to levitate the armour, effectively eliminating the weight, allowing you full unhindered movement, further they assist your dodging by providing a short boost to your jumps and evades. The helmet comes complete with a heads-up visor allowing you to view information about your target, status on your boons and best of all, a lens so you can remove your glasses. The armour is augmented with Soldier runes which offer self-healing and cleansing of any conditions applied on you in battle. Lastly it is painted in a custom Midnight Purple and you can change the colour of the crystals via the visor menu, I think it’s the second option under settings. Best of all it comes with a lifetime guarantee and you can service it and any standard armour repair station throughout Tyria.”

Pocket was speechless. Grundlebad knelt down, placed his paws on Pocket’s shoulder and peered into his new helm, “how about a test drive?!” He roared to rally a zerg of other soldiers around them. "Sure, I just have one question, it's been playing on my mind since we got here, why and who are we fighting?" Enquired Pocket. An eery silence descended on the crowd of soldiers as they paused to contemplate, looking firstly at themselves, then each other and lastly at Grundlebad to answer what Pocket thought was a simple question. The silence was broken by the sweeping sound of a trebuchet shot that flew through the air and crashed into a nearby wall somewhere. "Charge! Get to the tower and man our siege! Go now!" Barked Grundlebad, the horde ran out of the nearby gate leaving him and Pocket alone. "Well?" Insisted Pocket. "It's complicated" offered Grundlebad as an explanation. "Complicated as in we don't really know why we're fighting?" Countered Pocket. "Listen, I like you Pocket but we don't have time for this right now, they will be lost without me out there ok? We can have this hypothetical discussion later" and with that he charged out towards the continuing sound of rock smashing against stone. Pocket took a moment to asses the situation, the entire Citadel was empty now. Could he justify this as yet unexplainable war as indeed a test drive for his new armour? After all, facing the Shatterer without testing its full capabilities would not be wise. Content, he ran after Grundlebad and into battle for the first time.

Next time : Chapter Six – Hungry for more!
by Pocket on Jun 18, 2013 at 07:59 PM
Welcome back. We last left our hero in his new home of Lion’s Arch training with none other than Loren Michael. His challenge – to destroy a practise dummy. What other trials must Pocket face in his quest to slay The Shatterer? After an extended break here is the next, extended length, chapter of A Knights Tale! 

Chapter Four - Leveling with Loren

It was past sunset when Pocket decided to stop. He looked up at his practise dummy which still had its arms, hat and scarf in place; it was heavily damaged but looked nothing like his teachers. Loren had left at noon with instructions that they were to meet up the next morning at dawn. Most of the other gladiators had either left for home or were now in the Main Haven Inn. He could hear their merry singing and it vexed him. How could they all be so much stronger than him? He sat down on a haystack and felt the tiredness run up his legs and into his arms. They cramped as he nestled his head between his knees. Someone called out to him, "Hi". Pocket kept his head down and sniffed at the air, it was an Asura. He looked up to find the Lionguard soldier Loren had asked him to study earlier. "My name is Zarra", she stuck out her hand. It took Pocket a few seconds to stop gazing into her eyes before offering his own. She continued, "I've been watching you practise all evening, is everything OK?" Pocket grew nervous, "Err... Yes I'm fine, I've been watching you too", Zarra blushed as Pocket replayed what he had just said in his head. "Um what I mean is that I was watching you earlier... when you were fighting, not like just watching you for any other reason." He felt like burying himself back in Blackgate Quarry and was frantically thinking of a way to make an excuse to head home when Zarra asked "You're training to be a warrior aren't you? It's not common for an Asuran". She was right, although they were extremely agile the sheer size and strength of potential opponents was why there were so few Asuran soliders, and why their armour and weapons were usually augmented with enhancements. "Our unique physiology means we can't fight in the same way as Charr and Norn… or Humans". Pocket sensed a tinge of superiority and jealousy laced in her voice, was she referring specifically to Loren? "You need to use your agility and low centre of gravity to your advantage. Throw your entire body into attacks rather than just your arms". Zarra walked over to one of the dummies and drew her mace, she was still well out of striking range when she launched herself towards the pirate striking it flush in the chest. The dummy rocked backwards violently. "See?" Pocket shook himself out of his self-imposed trance and mustered a weak "Thanks" accompanied by a goofy smile. She returned a smile of her own. "Anyway I'm heading home, see you tomorrow"? He nodded and kept doing so as he watched her walk away. His momentary bliss was replaced by pain the further away she got and then it was just him and dummies again. As he walked out into the main square to head home a breeze blew through the training area and rustled the dummies. It caused their arms to creak, mocking Pocket and his inability to dismember them, the sound hacked away at him. He paused and then turned to walk back to the practise area. There was no one else around and as he stood in front of the dummy the sound of the cackling grew louder all around him. He shut his eyes to blank out the sound, balanced himself on the tip of his toes and drew his axe.

"Pocket wake up! Have you been here all night?" He opened his eyes to find his face buried in straw. He was lying face down in a haystack still in the practise area. He groaned with pain as he sat up and saw Loren standing over him, his eyes gave away the big smile on his face hidden under his mask. "You did it!" Pocket looked over Loren's shoulder to see hats, scarves and wooden arms strewn all over the ground, he barely managed a smile before fainting back into the hay. "Hey wake up! We still have training today!" Loren grabbed Pocket's arm to drag him up and saw the bruises on his hands. "Wow he really must have been here all night", he thought for a moment, swiped Pocket into his arms and made for The Gangplank bridge.
Pocket came to in an instant as ice cold water hit his face. "Zarra!" he shouted as he sat up. "Who's Zarra?" "Umm... nobody. Where are we?"  He looked around to find them at a beach front restaurant just west of Moran Memorial; it was named 'Istaea's Sammich Bar'. Loren pointed to a sandwich and drink on the table in front of him. "They will make you recover quicker and relax, today you get the day off." Pocket let out a long deep sigh, "Oh, and one more thing”, Pocket's ears flicked upwards. “In two months’ time you will have to face and defeat a member of Knights Templar in battle before you can proceed with your quest”. Pocket was wide awake now, “What?! I only just managed to defeat a dummy and now you want me to...” He was interrupted by an angry Loren, “Damarus’ orders! You’re a Knight in nothing but name right now, if you’re going to continue your mission you’ll have to enter The Mists where you’ll face other warriors who aren’t made of hay and wood and won’t stand there and wait for you to learn how to defeat them!” His words stung Pocket, he clenched his fists and the bruises on his hands flared with pain, he clenched harder and resisted it. Loren was right, there would be no time for rest and every day spent training was a day The Shatterer spent terrorising Ebonhawke, the resting place of his father. Loren was pleased at his response. "Now that you're awake let's talk about your skills. You seem to be on the way to mastering your weapons but they alone won't be enough. As a warrior you must begin to learn skills that will help you in battle. Training on practise dummies will help but the amount of experience you will gain from fighting others will be much higher". Pocket sat in silence and listened as Loren described the many types of skills he would have to master and the enormity of facing Loren in battle dawned on him. They finished their food and Loren handed Pocket a Grandmaster Training Manual. "Read this, it covers everything I just mentioned and more”. Pocket grabbed the book, jumped off his chair and made for home. "Don't you want to know who your opponent will be” enquired Loren. Pocket already knew, further he knew it meant that he and Loren would no longer be training together. He stood still for a moment before turning to face his teacher, "I'll see you on the battlefield!” Loren smiled as Pocket broke into a sprint back home.

Pocket awoke the next morning with the Training Manual book still in his arms. He had slept through the whole day and night. As he got out of bed he was amazed to find that his aches and pains had all gone. He surveyed the bruises on his hands and found that they had completely disappeared. "Wow those sammiches really are super effective" he thought to himself and he jumped down the stairs and outside into the cool morning. He jogged to Fort Mariner and arrived between the practise area and mini arenas. Pocket remembered the last time he was here, he already missed Loren. "Hey Pocket over here!" It was Zarra. He walked over and joined her on one of the arena walls. "I saw the dummies, did you do that?" She asked. "Uhh yes, thanks to your help of course" he said sheepishly. "Wow I didn't think you would be mad enough to stay up all night". Pocket considered telling her about what has happened, but that would mean telling her about his father, the dragon and the Knights Templar, it would have to wait for another time. "Listen, I need to ask a favour, I need your help... again" Zarra noticed the change in his tone and nodded for him to continue. "I was hoping I could train with you, If that wouldn't be too much of an inconvenience?" He waited on her answer and Zarra put him out of his misery. "Of course! But on one condition, you won't hold back". Pocket was confused. "You are a lot stronger than you know Pocket, promise me that when the time comes you will fight without hesitation". Pocket still couldn't understand, he considered himself harmless in his current state, "OK I promise" he conceded. “Good then let’s get started”.

Zarra led him down to the beach and into a small shallow cave. "OK before anything else we need to sure up your defence. I want you to block my attacks with your shield" before Pocket could set himself she unleashed an attack with her mace and he just managed to raise his shield in time to deflect it. The blow was aimed at his head, surprised he looked to Zarra whose eyes returned a stern glare through her helmet. The second attack he was ready for and blocked it easily, Zarra unleashed a combo of blows and again Pocket held firm. Confident, he prepared himself for an attack of his own but just as he was about to counter with his axe he went numb. A few seconds passed before he came to his senses and he looked at Zarra puzzled. "If you're going to last even one minute in a real fight the first thing you will need to learn is resisting attacks that stun or cripple you". Pocket was sure he had blocked but before he could clarify what Zarra had said she landed the same hit and dazed him, this time his knees wobbled and as he struggled to stay standing her third blow caught him flush in the face and sent him crashing backwards into the sand. Ironically, it was only then that it hit him - she was applying conditions on him! He had read about this last night in the training manual Loren had handed him. He stayed down and recalled what he had read, as a warrior he could master a ‘Shout’ that would cleanse the conditions being applied on him by Zarra’s attacks. In practise all he would have to do is clear his mind and literally shout the words to trigger the skill. He got back to his feet and beckoned Zarra to continue her attacks. She rounded on him immediately, Pocket read her attack rotation and blocked easily, he waited patiently and sure enough she delivered the same blow that sent him into a daze. Everything around him slowed and his head scrambled with thoughts and words, he saw Zarra teeing up her next attack as she slowly pulled her mace back behind her head. He tried hard to visualise the words in the training manual. They were a blur and he focussed hard to try and read them. Zarra’s mace was now heading towards him, it had cleared her shoulder as the words began to solidify in his mind. “Shake it off!” he sprang back into reality and dodged her attack just in time. The follow through of her mace made her stumble and she was vulnerable, this was his chance! The fact that he had triggered a shout skill surprised her but he paused and she managed to raise her defences again, he couldn’t do it, he couldn’t attack her. They stood staring at each other for a few seconds before she broke the silence, “You promised you wouldn’t hold back!” she lamented as she dropped her weapons to the floor. Pocket could hear the disappointment in her voice, “I’m sorry but I can’t do it, I don’t want to hurt a friend”. She glared at him, “if you can’t attack me you’ll never become a warrior”, she picked up her weapons and headed back towards Fort Marriner. Pocket collected his thoughts and shouted after her to wait. “Meet me back here tomorrow, and be prepared to fight!” she said angrily before disappearing around the corner.

They did meet the next day, and every day after that for the next 8 weeks.

As he now sat alone in the Main Haven he reflected back over his training with Zarra, things were different now. He felt he belonged in Lion’s Arch and amongst the gladiators, but most importantly he now believed in his ability to fulfil his destiny. He had not seen Loren since that day at Istaea’s Sammich Bar. He passed the practise dummies and the beach on his way home and wondered where the battle would take place or how he would find Loren. He consulted his Infinity Ball as he lay in bed but it hadn’t worked since Ebonhawke, he ran the vision through his mind again and again until he fell asleep.

He awoke earlier than usual the next morning and carefully prepared his armour and weapons. He opened his door to find a note on the floor. “Pocket, meet me in Tenanera's Pit on the beach outside Fort Marriner – Loren Michael”. He was nervous now, as he walked towards the beach it dawned on him that he had never seen Loren fight before, he was fast and deadly accurate with a bow – he remembered as much from their first meeting in Lion’s Arch. He also knew how proficient he was with an axe and that he was a Ranger, but he couldn’t recall ever seeing any of Loren’s pets before. That changed as he approached the beach and saw Loren, and for the first time a large black wolf standing next to him. He took deep breaths as he walked towards the arena. He stepped over the wall and stopped five paces short of Loren, he could hear the panting of the wolf which was now circling Loren’s side of the ring. Pocket looked directly into it’s eyes only breaking contact when Loren finally spoke. “Hello Pocket. It’s nice to see you again, this is Canis Lupis”. “Hi Loren, It’s been a while, I have missed you”. Loren gave a short smile, “There will be plenty of time to catch up afterwards Pocket, but only if you can beat me, make no mistake I am the obstacle you must over come, otherwise our paths go in opposite directions” he had set the tone for the upcoming battle. Pocket needed no further clarification, he drew his axe and shield and flipped backwards to the edge of the arena in one motion, “ready when you are!”.

Loren drew his bow and in a flash launched a barrage of arrows at Pocket who curled up into a defensive stance behind his shield. The arrows deflected in all directions as Pocket inched closer towards Loren. He sniffed the air continuously to check on Loren’s and Canis’ location. All of a sudden the wolf appeared to his right and Pocket parried it’s attack with his axe knocking it back, he threw his axe towards the beast and there was a loud clang as Loren threw his own axe at Pocket’s to block it. This was Pocket’s chance, he was close enough now and launched himself towards Loren to try and stun him with a shield bash but he just missed as Loren evaded backwards with his lightning reflexes. They were hardly apart and as Loren landed he readied an arrow, Pocket knew he was in trouble, Loren was too fast, he tried to raise his shield in time but Loren’s point blank shot hit him flush in the chest and pushed him backwards. He steadied himself as the cloud of sand and dust began to settle. There was a moment’s pause as both fighters assessed the situation. Loren conceded that Pocket was proficient enough with his shield to defend any range attacks with his bow, had he been anything other than an Asura he may have been able to target his feet but the shield was large enough to cover his entire body giving Pocket the advantage. He stowed his bow and withdrew one axe and then another. Pocket peered over his shield flicking his eyes between Loren and Canis. The adrenaline pumping through his body had calmed his nerves and he waited for Loren to make the next move. Loren flung his axe towards Pocket and it flew just past him, missing his shield. But something was up, there was no way Loren would miss an attack like that, as Pocket tightened the grip on his shield the axe pathed back toward Loren like a boomerang, it was fast and Pocket couldn’t dodge it fully as it struck him on his cheek, cutting him and causing him to bleed. Loren's attacks quickened as he bagan to hurl multiple axes at Pocket, each causing more and more cuts to his body. This was going to end quickly unless he could do something about this assault. He waited for a brief pause in her attack and then launched himself into the air spinning to avoid the axes flying through the air but was met by Canis who was fiercly guarding the area in front of Loren. As he landed Loren sensed this moment as his chance for victory and summoned roots which erupted from the ground and entangled Pocket tightly, things were getting worse! Canis and Loren rounded on him landing multiple strikes. Despite Pocket's attempts to shake off the roots they would not disperse, he had no choice but to hack them down, but how long could he survive this attack? The cuts to his body weakened him severely and for a moment the thought of defeat ran through his mind...

He played things through in his head, he would get another chance surely? Damarus would understand right? Maybe. What about Zarra? All those weeks spent training, would she? There was a chance. But how about his mother Zipp, who watched her son leave after tearing their family in two? As his mother she would forgive him for sure. But this wasn't about any of those people, this was about the Dragon and his destiny. The whole of Tyria might forgive him for failing now but would Pocket himself be able to? The answer was no, he would fight! As he came to his senses he remembered his training, he hadn't even had a chance to show everything he had learned. He didn't want to wait till after the battle to show Loren how much he had grown, he would show him now, he would win!

Pocket threw his shield towards Loren, it had the desired effect as he paused momentarily to gaze at Pocket confused by his gambit. It gave him just enough time to hack away the last of roots. He began charging towards Loren who had once again drawn his bow and aimed a rapid fire of shots straight at Pocket. But there would be no turning back now, Pocket dodged the first attack and the second, he knew dodging the next few would be impossible, they landed in Pockets thigh but he pressed onwards enduring the pain flowing up his leg. It grew excruciatingly as he lept into the air, Loren was taken back by the frenzy in Pocket's movements, he was moving quicker than he had ever seen him and then in mid-air he stopped dead still. There was a flash of red energy from his chest and it flew through his arms and legs causing them to arch backwards before lanching him in a rage towards Loren who braced himself. In a flash Pocket unleashed a devastating slash with his axe right to Loren's midrift. The axe lodged itself into Loren and the force with which it hit caused them both to crash through the arena wall and land in the sand. There was silence.

When Pocket came to he brought himself to his hands and knees and surveyed the area. Canis was nursing Loren who was lying motionless. He crawled over to him as tears began streaming down his face. He had won, but at what cost?

Check back next week to learn of Loren's fate and follow Pocket into The Mists for the next chapter of A Knight's Tale: Forged by the Fists of Grundlebad!
by Pocket on May 06, 2013 at 12:46 PM
Bright light filtered through into Pocket's eyes as he lay on his back like a starfish in his bed. He had taken to leaving his curtains open to ensure he would wake up at sunrise. Damarus had asked him to run 3 laps of the city walls every morning and evening, in between he was to help the local traders carry their daily stock from the Hawkegates to the market. It was working, not only was he physically fitter - he could now backflip higher and further than ever before - it was also helping to repair his relationships with the citizens of the city. Their anger had been replaced by sympathy and a sense of pride that Pocket had decided to follow in his father's footsteps and chosen to become a member of the Knights Templar.

This morning Pocket was feeling the strain however, yesterday he had worked in Blackwing quarry and the summer sun had taken its toll on him. He dragged himself out of bed and outside to begin his daily routine. His run would take him past the graveyard where he would stop for a quick rest. He broke into a sprint as he approached the gates and slid to take the corner at speed and CRASH! As he gathered himself he looked up to find Damarus standing over him. "Oh hello Pocket, do you mind? I was standing here". Pocket grinned as she helped him up. In the month they had known each other Pocket had got to know her well but he had never seen Damarus outside the Priory. The morning sunlight lit up her purple and red armour fantastically, Pocket made a mental note to one day ask about its origins. "Today is your day off, I'm here to talk".

They found a spot in the shade and sat down. "Pocket when your father left home 3 years ago to come here it was at my instruction, the appearance of the Crystal Dragon meant we needed to protect the city and its citizens. Soon after he was posted there was a premonition, the prophecy said that the smallest of Tyria’s heroes would slay the Dragon but at a cost, the life of the hero. We shared this with Pantzz who believed that it was him the prophecy referred to, we agreed. But after that day in the Brand and your father’s passing we were left confused as the dragon lives on. We tried to re-interpret the prophecy and when you appeared in the Priory it all made sense, the prophecy spoke of two heroes, one that would be slain by the dragon, and the other who would appear to defeat it, that other hero is you". Pocket clenched his fist and felt his new strength flow up his arm. He compared it to the strength with which he would hold the Infinity Ball. He remembered his vision of an Asuran warrior slaying the Dragon but he could not imagine one day being able to face it, let alone defeat it. Could it be that the Ball actually worked?

"Who is the dragon and how did it come to be?" Asked Pocket. "It is known as The Shatterer, forged from crystal and fire, it is the champion of Kralkatorrik and it has never been defeated. For years we have fought it back to the brink of Blazeridge Steppes but it returns re-forged and stronger every time”. Damarus' explanation just made Pocket feel even more helpless. "Don't be disheartened Pocket, you have not yet begin your real training and you do not yet possess the tools to face The Shatterer". "What tools?" enquired Pocket. "Asuran Electromagnetic armour and the Super Greatsword". Pocket eyes lit up, "I have seen those in a vision! The legendary armour and weapon possessed by only the mightiest of Asurans, but how...?". "One step at a time Pocket, I too know the trials one must face before being able to wield such power, as I said before, your training has not yet begun". Pocket flipped into the air twisted and landed on his feet facing Damarus, "Then train me". Damarus peered into Pockets purple eyes and saw an newfound intensity, "Come with me".

They walked westwards from the graveyard and found themselves at the bottom of a set of stairs, the same stairs Pocket had taken to the organ. They walked up and onto the balcony, today the door was fully open and inside Pocket saw the figure of a man stood in front of the organ. It was a ranger, he turned to face them and his eyes focused on Pocket. "Hmm... low centre of gravity and a strong core". All of a sudden he pulled an arrow from his quiver, armed his bow and aimed it at Damarus, Pocket responded with a dodge to the right and shielded him, it happened very fast , almost subconsciously and his own instinct surprised him. "Excellent reflexes and speed... and brave". "Who are you?!" demanded Pocket bearing his teeth. The ranger ignored him and exchanged a smile with Damarus. "A warrior I think?" proposed the ranger, "I agree" responded Damarus. Pocket relaxed a little but persisted with his earlier question, "Who is this Damarus?". Damarus looked at the ranger and nodded, "I am your trainer Pocket, my name is Loren Michael".

Loren released his arrow and Pocket felt a rush of air as it narrowly missed him and landed in the chair placed in the corner of the room, "Firsts things first, can I please have my book back?" "Oh uh... Of course... I was just borrowing it, I'll go get it now". An embarrassed Pocket turned to leave and as he was halfway down the stairs Loren called out to him, "and pack your things, we're going to Lion's Arch!"

It took a lot of convincing before Zipp allowed Pocket to move to Lions Arch. A visit from Loren and Damarus had helped. They stressed the need for him to be fully focused on his training. His lodging was paid for by the guild but Pocket had also taken a job as a helper in the weaponsmith, it gave him some extra money so he could waypoint to Ebonhawke to see his mother every couple of weeks - not even Asuras could waypoint for free. The first couple of weeks training consisted of him continuing his daily training regime as he settled into his new surroundings.

One morning Pocket opened his front door to find Loren waiting for him, in her hands she had a new set of armour and Lionguard axe and shield. Pocket’s eyes lit up “Are those for me?!”. Loren nodded as Pocket ran to take up his arms, they were perfectly sized for him and felt light. These weapons were usually reserved for the Lionguard soldiers themselves but Loren had managed to procure one through the Black Lion Trading Post through an acquaintance named Haxx. “Combat training starts today, let’s go!” He went back inside to get changed and they then walked to the mini arena in Fort Marriner. “I want you to see something Pocket, over there, look...” Pocket climbed up onto one of the arena walls and watched as six gladiators fought. One was an Asuran Lionguard Soldier wielding a shield just like his. “From now on I want you to watch her closely and study her movements, one day you’ll be in that arena”. Pocket wathed the Asuran going toe-to toe with a Norn and remembered the fight between his father and the Beast in the Brand, he gulped, his weapons felt very heavy now.

They walked over to the other side of the harbour to a set of practise dummies that were dressed up a pirates, Loren pointed at one, “OK, so we are going to start off with the basics, I want you to hit this dummy as hard as you can with your axe”. Pocket felt nervous, “But how should I hit it? What about like this...” he swung the axe in mid-air meekly”. “We’re not here to chop wood Pocket! Now concentrate”. Pocket gripped the axe tightly in his hand, took a couple of steps back and launched himself towards the dummy, he pulled the axe back behind his head and then thrust it forwards with full force. He had fallen face first to the ground still two paces away from the dummy, other gladiators in the arena turned to point and laugh, Loren gave them a stern look and helped Pocket up. “I’m going to need a drink if you carry on like this, we’re not here to cull quaggans! Watch me, I’ll show you how it’s done”. Loren took his axe and spun it in the air catching it on the way back down. “Stand back”, Loren thrust the axe into the heart of the dummy and it exploded in bright flash creating a plue of dust and straw. As the cloud settled Pocket’s jaw hit the ground, one strike from Loren has smashed away both of the dummy’s arms, pirate hat and scarf. He couldn’t even locate them on the ground, they had just disintegrated. The other gladitors stared in amazement at Loren who looked at Pocket, “Your turn”.

Next week Pocket completes his training in Chapter Four - Leveling up with Loren!
by Pocket on Apr 30, 2013 at 01:49 PM
“For the men who lived to guard us all. They stood defiant atop the wall”. The irony of the words carved into the Hawkes Heart at the centre of the city cut into Pocket as he stood motionless in front of his father’s grave in Defender’s Field. A month had passed since the incident on the edge of the Brand and he had hardly spoken to a soul since. Zipp had decided they would be moving back to Metrica, Ebonhawke was only home to painful memories now. 4 weeks ago Pocket would have loved moving back, but now something in Ebonhawke clung onto him, he needed to find Damarus.

Pocket had spent the entire day in the graveyard. It was now evening, there were no more visitors and he could spend as much time as he wanted without having to focus his gaze on the ground to avoid eye contact with others. As he sat there alone he leant his head back against the boundary wall and closed his eyes, there was complete silence. Except for the birds of course who had never stopped singing songs for the heroes buried around him. He followed the tune and it relaxed him. There were high notes and low, long hoots and short tweets. The catchy rhythm continued and soon he was able to anticipate and guess the notes as they repeated, it was a riff! He sat up startled, it was the sound of an organ being played in the distance. Pocket turned his ears up into the air to locate the sound, it was coming from the West. He flipped into the air and set off following the music. Before long he was at the foot of a set of stairs at the southern end of Ebonhawke built up against the cliff. He darted up the stairs which bent around on themselves and found himself on a balcony, he stepped slowly towards a half opened door and as he placed his hand on it the music stopped. Pocket’s ears fell back down as he walked into the room in wonder at the magnificent instrument inside.

He had seen many organs before but not one like this. There were no keys and it appeared as though the instrument was to be played by pushing on 6 red coloured discs. The room itself was small, there were two doors either side of the organ, maybe the musician had retreated through one? A book lying on a chair in the room caught his attention. He walked over to the chair and lifted the book into his arms. It was titled “The Founding” by Kimmes The Historian, he opened the book to the contents page, it was about the history of Ebonhawke, he continued to read down the list of topics covered when he caught his breath at the sight of three words: “The Knights Templar”. Pocket jumped into the chair and with the book on his lap flicked over to the correct page and began reading. The book covered the creation of the guild, whose origins were in a land Pocket has never heard of before, it was founded by band of heroes who had defeated an ancient tyrant known as the ‘Lord of Destruction’. He continued to flick through the pages and stopped at what looked to be a timeline, he read the entries and soon realised that they were all names, it wasn't a timeline at all, it was a list of Guild Leaders! He was scanning quicker now and as he reached the bottom his eyes widened, the last name on the list was Damarus! Pocket flicked over to the next page and found a map of Tyria, there were stars dotted over the map, he quickly found Ebonhawke which had a bigger star than all the others except for one. The largest star on the map was in Lornar’s Pass, over a place unfamiliar to Pocket, a place named 'The Durmand Priory'. Pocket ran back home with the book under his arm, he thought about whether his actions constituted trespassing and theft, he could think of no logical reason why they wouldn't and so he chose to stop thinking about it at all.

Zipp had taken the news just as Pocket’s calculations had predicted : badly. Initially she had flat out refused, he was all she had now and though it tempted her to use the memory of his father to make him stay, she knew even that would not stop Pocket. She secretly admired his stubbornness, it reminded her of Panttz and weakened her resolve to stop her son. She wanted him back within the day and Pocket promised he would not waypoint anywhere else except for the Priory and then back to Ebonhawke. He finished his dinner and ran up to his room and to the book, he was now taking time to read through each chapter carefully in anticipation to his vtrip.

He awoke the next morning to find the book still in his arms, he flipped out of bed, placed the book into his backpack and made his way downstairs where Zipp was already waiting for him. “Remember, straight back here OK?”. “Affirmative mother” replied Pocket as he ran out of the door. The nearest waypoint was at the Hawkgates and Pocket paused before initiating the teleport, he thought of the day he had stepped outside of the walls, it was curious that a single step outside the city could be more dangerous than porting half way across Tyria, he remembered his father as he took the waypoint and disappeared.

The Durmand Priory was cold. As he gathered himself he found that he was in a long corridor which opened out into the air, it was snowing outside. He turned around to find a magical scene, there were stone tablet scriptures floating in the air rotating around a beam of light. It amazed him, as far as he knew only Asuran’s had mastered the ability to make objects levitate but this was not Asuran technology. He lowered his gaze to find many faces staring back at him. Maybe the Priory wasn’t used to having visitors, but as he analysed the faces he sensed there was something else at play. “Hello Pocket” came the voice of a woman from behind the beam of light, “I am Damarus and I have been expecting you”. Pocket’s emotions immediately overwhelmed him “Did you know my father?” he asked tearfully, “Yes I did, he was an old friend”. Pocket’s brain buzzed with a million and one questions but before he could pick one Damarus continued, “I will answer all of your questions in time Pocket, but first you must hear this : Your father and I knew, all that has happened has been foretold, including your destiny. You must be brave now and fulfill it, you must start by taking your father’s place here with us, you must join the Knights Templar”. Pocket was crouched on the floor now, he felt the weight of his heart pull him to the floor and the cold bite of the winter air rushed in over him and made his tears feel ice cold against his face. As his body shivered Damarus came closer and placed her hand on Pocket’s shoulder, “Are you ready?”. As Pocket nodded Damarus uttered the words that would change his life forever: "a son replaces a father and fear will be replaced by might, fullfill your destiny and arise Pocket Knight!"

Make sure to check back next week for Chapter Three - Training!