Mistlock Observatory

"Re-live the greatest and most exciting moments from Tyria's past as you test your strength, speed, and skill against some of the most formidable opponents from the annals of history."  -The Consortium PR and Legal Defense Team

In the same patch that Rising Flames was released, the Guild Wars 2 team also implemented changes to the Mistlock Observatory map. Many more islands have appeared around Dessa's main island while others have shifted around.  Not only were there numerous visual changes (like trees and grass sprouting from the rocks where there were previously none), but you can now play through a beautiful jumping puzzle while waiting for your party to get ready for their next fractal run. Or alone- if parties and fractals aren't really your thing.

As of this patch, Mistlock observatory no longer suffers from a flat 'creamsicle' sky and a lot of things have moved around, notably a small island with a bit of ruin left on it. Fast growing trees and shifting islands are probably due to the nature of the mists that they exist in; perhaps we'll see more visual updates to the fractals and observatory in the future.

Bloodstone Fen

"Go on if you want. But you should know, the stone disrupts divine energy. Those killed on top of it take much longer to resurrect." -Blade Scout Ryder

Bloodstone Fen was an important turning point in Guild Wars as it was the mission that our characters saw the true nature of the White Mantle. With the return of Living Story/World Season 3, we also found the return of the Bloodstone Fen map, but with a lot of changes. Namely the fact that it was the epicenter of a strange explosion.

Because of this explosion, the map doesn't look very familiar, especially around the area that the Bloodstone used to rest. That's why I have to tell you that the few pictures that I got are mostly an approximation  of where I think that things might have been based on major and minor features in the land.

The last picture in this post is only a part of the bloodstone that has apparently broken into several pieces.  It shows what I presume to be the writing we see on it in the first game, though it looks very different and larger. The fact that it's been lit up means the bloodstone was charged recently and we can see the effects of it in the second game.

Of course, we also get more than just locational references with the new map. At a seemingly new colosseum the players get to fight Justicar Hablion, who was the final boss of the Bloodstone Fen mission in the original Guild Wars. There's more than that but there's a risk of spoiling the mission for those who haven't played it yet.

Droknar's Forge

"Named for one of its most beloved kings, the Forge has never once been taken by an enemy nation." -In Game Description

There was a previous post about Droknar's Forge. Some of Project Tyria's readers may remember it, but there were only a few pictures and nothing really said about it since it was bundled with the rest of Mount Maelstrom's locations.

After a better look at it, Sunken Droknah is closer in appearance to the original Droknar's forge than I previously thought. Because of the movement restrictions in Guild Wars compared to Guild Wars 2, I've begun taking pictures in the first game before moving over to the second game for the matching pictures, instead of the other way around. I highly suggest doing the same if you're interested in seeing the similarities between most places, but especially for Droknar's.

A lot of the arches still stand, but I noticed that a new one has appeared next to the previously covered market space since Guild Wars. Most of the buildings were kept in their original locations and some new ones have appeared. In Guild Wars 2, the central hub of Droknar's seems to have collapsed inwards and is now part of a quaggan village.

If you're looking to explore the two areas yourself, I suggest starting with the northern gate since it's a good starting point to get your bearings. The geography is pretty close to the Guild Wars version up until you get to the quaggan village. The map, however, may not help so much since the Guild Wars 2 version is pretty focused on the water rather than the features underneath.

Temple of the Ages

"Some say that the stones themselves will rise up one day and rebuild the temple, and on that day, the gods will once again turn their gaze upon Kryta." - In game description

The Temple of the Ages has always been a popular place in Guild Wars. It was a place to meet up with friends or create a new party to visit the realm of the gods. While they were actually explorable areas, everyone treated them more like dungeons. This was because of the difficulty. You didn't have resurrection shrines and if certain NPCs important to the story of the area died, you'd be teleported out of the area. It wasn't free to get into them, either. A fee must be paid to the appropriate guardian of that god to enter his realm.

The temple itself was filled with statues of the all of the gods from that time period. That is to say, Kormir hadn't become a god yet in the in game time of the Prophecies maps. There is no statue of her in the first game's temple. It's not a temple in the sense that it's a building either, rather it's open air on top of a hill.

This makes its Guild Wars 2 location very strange. Despite being on a hill in the first game, the second game has it in a pit underwater. The Black Curtain's swamp has now flooded the temple and all of its statues aside from Melandru's. The land around it is also vastly different. More importantly, though, is that the statues are not really in their original places anymore. Grenth now sits between Melandru and Dwayna instead of Melandru and Balthazar. Balthazar's statue is now missing along with Lyssa's. Where did they disappear to? Now we can see Kormir's statue is in the line-up despite the missing gods. They may have moved the statues around to make room for hers, but then where did the other statues go?

Probably the strangest thing to me, however, is that Dwayna's statue has energy running through it. As a bit of background, when the world had the favor of the gods, the statues would 'come to life'. Balthazar's statue would light up in flames, Grenth's would freeze, Lyssa's would become golden, Dwayna's would be held upright in a pillar of light, and Melandru's would bloom and circulate water. When the world did not have the favor of the gods, though, Balthazar's and Grenth's statues would just appear to be stone, thorny vines would now cover the darkened Lyssa statue, Melandru's appeared to be just wood, and Dwayna's would no longer hold itself up in the light and would fall in pieces to the ground.

We know that the gods no longer have a presence on Tyria as they had before. Judging by the god statues in the rest of Tyria, the world no longer has the favor of the gods. Dwayna's statues, however, remain standing. In the Ruins of Demetra in the Harathi Hinterlands the Dwayna statue still has a pillar of light running through it. The unfinished statues in Malchor's Anguish are all standing as well but lack the pillar of light that is usually required for them to do so (perhaps because they are unfinished).

So if you're looking to find one of the only statues in Tyria that possibly denotes the presence of a god, the Temple of the Ages is a good place to look in the second game since it's easy to find and get to.

With all of this being said, Most of the pictures I have to compare are of the statues because of their new locations but there are also some that show the progression of the land around them as well.

Lornar's Pass - The Temple of Grenth

 "Where is the god to whom I may give my undying devotion? Where is the god to whom I may beg revenge against those who scorn me?" -Desmina (Scriptures of Grenth)

The last post was the Temple of Balthazar so I decided it was finally time to go give the Temple of Grenth another visit. The two temples are very similar to each other in the first game; their architecture is nearly identical to one another, namely the entrances. In the second game, however, the Temple of Balthazar looks very similar to the original but the temple of Grenth couldn't look more different than the first game's appearance.

The statue is one of the more recent styled statues in the time of Guild Wars 2. It kind of makes me wonder what happened to the original. None of the beautiful pillars and entrance-ways are present anymore. The entrance altogether has been caved in and replaced with a more dwarven entrance elsewhere in the temple. It no longer looks like a temple, but a statue tucked away in some hidden recess.

It was interesting journeying out to see this location once again. After making my way through a bunch of difficult enemies in a winding map, I was reminded of what a beauty it once was. It used to lay in dwarven territory, namely around the area of the Stone Summit. Over two and a half centuries later, it's now inhabited with underworld creatures- fitting as it was once a portal to the underworld. We know in Guild Wars 2 of the temples in Orr to the gods, but one could imagine that they'd need other places to worship after Orr sank. It makes me wonder how long these temples have been present.

As for getting there, it's known as the Reaper's Gate in Guild Wars 2. In the first game the Temple of Grenth is at the very southeast of the map in Lornar's Pass. It's really tricky getting there in Guild Wars and I recommending bringing a bow to pull enemies rather than charging in headstrong. The locations on the map, however, are pretty easy to spot, but as usual, I've taken a comparison shot of the map to show exactly what you're looking for.

The Falls: Balthazar's Rest

"Lift up thy weapons. For you are my soldiers, and must you be steadfast, strong, and brave of heart. They who neither hesitate nor stumble shall be rewarded. Then shall you have glory. Then shall your deeds be remembered for eternity." - Balthazar

Balthazar's Rest hasn't been completely untouched by Mordremoth, but the inner chambers remain intact. The buildings, once ornate, are now weathered and overgrown. Despite this, and the change of the land formations outside of the temple, Balthazar's Rest remains nearly untouched in the second game.

Again, as I've mentioned in another post before, I have a theory that humans in the first game saw their creations through rose-tinted glasses. In the second game, we get a chance to look at nearly pristine replicas of the land 250 years later. We see that they're not quite as ornate or spectacular. While this can be chalked up to a difference in design aesthetics on the Guild Wars teams between the games, I prefer the idea of an in game, lore-related reason.

The Temple of Balthazar can be found in The Falls area in Guild Wars in the bottom left of the map. Likewise, Balthazar's Rest can be found in the bottom left section of the map in Guild Wars 2. It's easy to navigate the two locations once there; they've done an amazing job replicating it in Guild Wars 2.

The Falls

"Water cascades over the rocks into a pool so deep you can't see the bottom." -The Falls

In the first game, taking a trip to The Falls requires a long trek. In fact, the entire map was named "The Falls" but it's in reference to this particular location, despite the fact that more waterfalls exist in the map. It's a land filled with centaurs, trolls, skale, wind riders, and other more earthly creatures. It has changed a lot in between games in that regard, but I was pleasantly surprised to find that the namesake was nearly an exact copy in between both games. If there was ever a location that one would want to see 'Guild Wars 1 with a graphical update', this would be a prime example. It's worth checking them out side by side if you get the chance.

Auric Basin is a really large map; the scale is so much bigger than what it was in Guild Wars, which is probably a common problem that I have when trying to align locations. There are three key locations that helped me to understand the scale and get my bearings. I've decided that I'll do separate posts for these locations. They were breathtaking and so similar to their first game's counterpart that it seems important for them to have their own posts.

The Falls point of interest, luckily, is easy to navigate, especially if you find the rock ledge. Most of these pictures are taken from this point and rotating around. Getting there can be the difficult part.