On forum after forum I read a lot of posts asking what happened in the original Guild Wars. It’s a rather lengthy game with a few expansions and a lot of players want to know Guild Wars 2’s backstory without playing through three complete games and an expansion. GW2 does a great job of explaining what happened in the original game through events, dialogue, books, and more, but it doesn't paint a complete picture.
So, we’ll rehash the story from the original game as it pertains to Guild Wars 2. There are a lot of things that happen that don’t really apply to GW2, like the smaller quests and such, we’ll be skipping that and focusing just on the raw need-to-know facts that have a major impact in the sequel.
The Fall of Ascalon
The game starts out in the lush verdant forest area of Ascalon. The adventurers begin training themselves in order to meet the king’s call to help defend the land against the incoming Charr invasion. Ascalon, built on top of the Charr homeland, erected a giant northern wall to defend themselves against the Charr who were trying to retake their land. It would seem that the Charr are massing an army to take it back.
The adventurers, after finishing their training, return to the king and launch out with the Ascalon Vanguard to slay Vatlaaw Doomtooth. After his defeat, the Charr launch The Searing, a great magical fire that burns the land of Ascalon and razes its cities. It also broke holes in the Great Northern Wall and once the fires settled, they could begin their invasion.
Now, the story arcs here. A really key point to GW2 is that at this point, a large contingent of Charr march to the great country of Orr and overwhelms it, reaching their capital city of Arah in the far south. Vizier Khilbron, looking for a way to defend is country, is seduced by a demonic agent of Abaddon into using the Lost Scrolls to start the Cataclysm, killing the Charr and sinking Orr into the ocean.
The Charr also march westward, into Kryta, but are defeated by the Unseen Ones (Mursaat) who are worshipped by the White Mantle.
In Ascalon, two years after the searing, Prince Rurik leads a band of adventurers to the Great Northern Wall where they are repealed by a massive invasion force. He eventually reaches the capital of Rin where he uses Stormcaller to defend the city, but is exiled by his father King Adelbern because he wants to run instead of fight. He takes with him a large group of refugees and hustles it across the mountains.
Rurik and his band of groupies make for Shiverpeak Mountains. There they found an ongoing conflict between two factions of Dwarves, the Stone Summit (bad dudes) and the Deldrimor Dwarves (good dudes). Long story short, the Deldrimor Dwarves help the Ascalonians pass the Frost Gate into Kryta, at the expense of Prince Rurik giving his life to hold the Stone Summit back.
After this, Ascalon fights for twenty to thirty more years, until the fall of Ascalon City. King Adelbern unleashes the Foefire, turning the Ascalon soldiers into immortal ghosts, who to this day haunt the Charr in GW2 and prevent them from fully settling Ascalon. All that remains of Ascalon is Ebonhawke, to the south, which escaped the Foefire and the Ascalon Settlement in Kryta.
At this point, little of the story matters beyond it were a means to reach an end for GW2. The Ascalonians reach Lion’s Arch, which is controlled by the White Mantle. They gain their trust and form Ascalon Settlement (which exists still in GW2). The adventurers then go off to help the White Mantle until they found out that they’re not only sacrificing people but are working for the evil Mursaat. They join up with the Shining Blade to fight back and meet up with Vizier Khilbron who offers aid in exchange for the Scepter of Orr (which the adventurers had recovered to gain the trust of the White Mantle).
After its theft, he tells the adventurers to go to the Crystal Desert to “power up” in order to fight the Mursaat by ascending. After ascension they meet the dragon Glint who explains the prophecy and sends them on their way to the Southern Shiverpeaks, another pit stop on the way to saving the world. There are two main plot points, the first is that the adventurers must infuse their armor to protect themselves against the Mursaat’s Spectral Agony and the invasion of Thunderhead Keep which the adventurers are successful in defending.
The Vizier returns and informs everyone to head off to the Ring of Fire to fight the Mursaat. The dwarves help the adventurers arrive and push in, with their goal in obtaining the secret weapon behind the Door of Komalie. After opening the Door of Komalie, they are surprised to find the Vizier is actually the Lich Lord and wants to unleash the titans on the world. The titans kill most of the Mursaat and launch an invasion across Tyria and Ascalon. The adventurers, in the epilogue, defend the world against the invasion and slay the three Titan lords, ending it.
At this point, it’s critical to note that none of the above, outside of the events in Ascalon, has much of an impact in GW2. The Mursaat are scheduled to be included into GW2 at some point, but otherwise it’s more of “the world was saved once more” than anything else. The Crystal Desert is off limits right now and the Southern Shiverpeaks is occupied by the Norn, after the Dwarves are turned to stone later in this story and head underground. Glint was killed by Kralkatorrik quite recently in GW2 history whenever it was helping Destiny’s Edge.
Factions and Nightfall
There is no reason to go over the storylines for both of these expansions because the worlds are cut off from Tyria right now. The only relevant fact is that Kormir, a human, ascended to be a god in Nightfall, replacing Abaddon the god of being a giant jerk.
Eye of the North
Things kick back up in GWEN, or Guild Wars Eye of the North. Gwen, a character that met the adventurers in the pre-searing, was captured by the Charr but was able to escape and found the Ebon Vanguard. They have set up base in a complex known as the Eye of the North. There, a scrying pool gives visions of events to Gwen and the rag tag group of adventurers.
The story goes that the Asura, an underground race, was invaded by the Great Destroyer and his ilk, the aptly named Destroyers. They have come above ground, fleeing the Central Transfer Chamber which is now under the control of the Destroyers. Ultimately, it’s up the adventurers to gather allies to face this terrible foe. The story then breaks up into three bite size adventures.
The adventurers travel off into the Tarnished Coast, part of the Maguuma Jungle, to gather a krewe to build a golem. They are ultimately successful in constructing the golem and sets the Asura on a path to join the other races in battle.
They then travel into the Northern Shiverpeaks to help a Norn named Jora fight her brother, the Nornbear. She is ultimately successful in defeating it and allying the Norn with the other races in Tyria. However, it shows the start of the Sons of Svanir, worshipers of the Elder Dragon Jormag.
Finally, they travel into Northern Ascalon into the Charr Homelands to rescue the Ebon Vanguard with the prisoner Pyre Fierceshot. While successful in defeating the Charr who remain enemies, Pyre begins to seed doubt in the Flame Legion, which ultimately leads the other legions breaking away from them and casting the Shaman caste down.
After the allies have been gathered, the adventurers gather a relic that turns the Dwarves into stone. Ogden Stonehealer, a dwarf who is in your party, is actually in Guild Wars 2. The Dwarves descend below the earth with the adventurers and their party and take the fight to the Great Destroyer, slaying it and holding off the Elder Dragon invasion for 70 years.
Guild Wars Beyond – The Epilogue
After all of this, there are still a few more things left. The White Mantle still had control of Lion’s Arch, the Mursaat are mostly dead, Ascalon is still at war with the Charr, and Gwen is still chilling in the Eye of the North. Well, a few things happen after the Great Destroyer is slain.
The War in Kryta begins. Ultimately, Princess Salma who is rightful heir to the throne, along with the Shining Blade and weapons tech from the Asura (Zinn, specifically, stationed at Divinity’s Coast which becomes Divinity’s Reach in GW2), retake Lion’s Arch, destroy the White Mantle, thin out the mursaat population even more, and defend Lion’s Arch once more – finally ending the war and establishing the princess as the queen. At this point, the Shining Blade becomes the queen’s guards and she establishes the Seraph, an army designed to protect the kingdom.
Lieutenant Thackeray goes missing around this time. He actually was off fighting the White Mantle with an assassin known as Miku. Gwen eventually catches back up with him and they marry. Logan Thackeray is their son.
At this point, the Winds of Change arrives in Cantha. This has no current impact on the GW2 story, but if you must know it follows the cleansing of Cantha of the gangs and the afflicted and corruption within the new Ministry of Purity.
Movement of the World
After all of this happens, there is a huge block of grey area until the game begins proper. We have the “Movement of the World” which is more or less correct. Basically, Lion’s Arch is destroyed when Orr rises to the surface thanks to Zhaitan, who also blockades Cantha with his ships. It’s rebuilt by pirates. Humanity moves to Divinity’s Reach, their new capital, which is under constant attacks by the Centaur. The Charr retake Ascalon after the foefire and build a new capital on top of Rin.
In reference to GW1, the White Mantle is now a bandit organization waiting for the Mursaat to return. Glint is killed by Kralkatorrik who created the Dragonbrand throughout Ascalon and the Charr Homelands. The Asura build Rata Sum into a massive city and the Ventari, who I guess I forgot to mention, planted the seed that grew into the Sylvari (it was sort of a footnote at the end of GWEN).
Orr reemerges, of course, and the other Elder Dragons have awakened. It’s the time for new heroes, so if you’re still reading then it’s probably time to load up GW2 and get back into the action. I hope this helps explain a bit about what’s going on and why some of the things are the way that they are.
What’s your favorite part of the original Guild Wars? Let us know in the comments section below.