I n filtrate the Inquest with Drax ynnic ’s lore primer on this asuran megakrewe.
Underwater combat has evolved - but for better or worse? We find out!
As always we’ve got amazing artwork by the talented Guild Wars 2 community.
THE INQUEST TH REAT Get up to speed on the Inquest with this primer by Draxynnic.
D R AON I C ENERGIES & THE INQUEST Elder Dragon research and the Inquest go hand-in-hand; uncover why with Amala.
THE SCAR AB PLAGUE With the Scarab Plague prevalent in Season 4, Fearan explores its history.
TWISTING TIME The latest entry in Draxynnic’ s exploration of elite specialsiation lore.
INQUEST LABS Discover the various Inquest bases scattered around central Tyria.
P ESTILENCE & P LAGUE: SEASON 4 RECAP Season 4 of the Living World is well and truly underway; recap the story so far.
DOWNLOADING THE TYRI AN CONSCIOUSNESS Phoenix explores how choices are handled in the storytelling of Guild Wars 2 .
THE NEW UN DER W ATER EXPERIENCE Underwater combat was updated this May. We explore the impact it’s had.
COLLEGE OF AESTHE TI CS Looking for badass heavy-armor looks for your asura? We’ve got you covered!
COMMUN ITY ART: FOR THE LOVE OF ASUR A Delve into this issue’s collection of awesome community-created art.
RESISTING THE AW AKENED FETTERS Inquest ideals vs the call of Joko; one asura attempts to resist his fate.
GUILD S POTL IGHT Black Lion Expeditions is a guild focused on supporting its members - find out more here!
Editor’s Letter | GUILD MAG #22
Welcome to our latest magazine! This issue it’s all about the Inquest; we explore who they are, their e ff ect on Tyria and their part in asuran culture. Enjoy, b ookah!
the team
EDITOR-IN-CHI EF Val iant M ANAGING EDITOR Starconspira tor GENER A L M ANAGER Drax ynnic
COMMUN ITY M ANAGER Miko WRITERS Ama la, Phoenix, Fear an
COPYEDITORS Tauz, Talus, Ka labajooie, Arlee, Belph DESIGN ERS Maiirin
reetings, progeny! This latest issue of the Guild Mag magazine is all about asura, and in par ticular, the Inquest. This particular megakrewe can often be found on the wrong sid e of the Commander, willing to do what’s necessa ry in the name of resea rch. With their involvement in the ea rly episodes of Season 4 of the Living World, now is the perfect time to probe furthe r into the organization - so here w e ar e! Insid e these pages you’ll find articles covering a huge
range of areas, includ ing a lore pr imer on the Inquest courtesy of Drax ynnic, as well as beautiful community artwork inspired b y asuran chara cters, cura ted by Starconspirator. In addition, Phoenix and Maiirin present an exploration of Inquest labs in central Tyria , while Amala shows o ff two out fi ts for asuran heavy armor - wearing characters i n Col lege of Aesth etics. It’s not all about the In quest, however. We’ve got two great opinion piec es exploring the role of choices in storytelling and the latest updates to underwater
combat - make sure to give them both a read! Our guild spotlight featur e is also back for another issue, this t ime with Black Lion Expedition s [BLE] - if you’re lookin g for a guild, this could be the new home for you! Our long-term readers may notice some changes in our team listing below. Since the start of the year w e’ve recruited several new t eam members and re-sh u ffl ed some existing ones into new management roles, so please join me in welcoming everyone new and returnin g! We hope you enjoy I ssue 2 2!
Marc Martin W. Nick H.
6 GUILDMAG #22 | LORE - The Inquest Threat
The Inquest Threat
BY DRAXYNN IC A transc ript of a l ecture given by Professor Blorp to new Pac t recruits early in the Se ason of t he Phoenix, 1331 AE.
he In quest. I’m sure you’re all familiar with these arr ogant li ttle pus-stains on Tyria. They’re probably the Pact’s most persistent and annoyin g little irr itations besides the Elder Dragons and their mi nions. Pretty much anywhere you might fi nd yourselves assigne d in the fi eld, you’re likely to fi nd these slimeballs getting underfoot, stirring up any nearby dragon minions with their ill-conceived, so-called research” into attempting to control th e Elder Dragons, not to mention antago nising the locals by using them as unwillin g test subjects and trying to steal artifa cts and inventions needed for th e Pact’s mission. You may think you’re here to fi ght dragons, bu t each and every one of you bookahs w ill need to be able to deal with these bottom-feeders p oking their putrescen t olfactory
organs w here they d on’t belong if you expect to be a successful Pact opera tive. Fortunately, yo u have me to educate you. You’re welcome. Listen closely, because there will be a test on this. Passing means you get to make Tyria a marginally better plac e by killing them instead of getting killed. So, how did our least favourit e collection of odoriferous pon d scum get started? The Inquest’s origins started in the generations after the asura diaspora to the surfac e. Many of the inventions made prior to th e rise of the Great Destroyer were l ost in the evacuation, and more still were lost in the yea rs afterwards as their inventors refused to share them. After some generations of this, some bright spark decided that they weren’t going to let this keep happening, and fo unded the Inquest
to become a repositor y of know ledge for all asura. Just h ow they went from th e asuran equivalent of the Priory to the gang o f thieves, kidnappers and murderers we all know and hate is not something you’ll fi nd in th eir recruitment pamphlets. If I had to guess, I’d say that they found that th e oth er asura weren’t too happy about just handing over their hard- won data withou t a bit of strong-arming, leadi ng to an increasing tendency towards ruthlessness among their organisation until i t became their de fi ning chara cteristic. Certainly, any inclination th ey might have ever had for using this information for the good of asurakind has clearly been put in favour of using i t for th e good of the Inquest… an d I’ m not talking about the suckers at the bottom. Since then, they have been presenting themselves as just another krewe that is
bigger and more organi sed than the others, but their actual structure is more like that of a corporat ion… or a cult. Where most kr ewes are formed based on asura with mutual interests i n their research, anybody fool ish enough to fall for their recruitment pitch - you ca n fi nd their recruiters trying to pick up im p ressio n able youn g graduates in Soren Draa and even Rata Sum itself - will fi nd themselves being told what their projects are going to be, whether th ey like it or not. Rec ruitment, as fa r as the Inquest is concern ed, is for life; any recruit wh o sees sense and leaves the Inqu est can expect to b e pursued by their agents looking to enforce that clause… often, lethally. However, the Inquest doesn’t hold back from killing their recrui ts before they leave either, whether through overwork, u nsafe laboratory practices, abandoning them i n life-threatening situations, or even using them a s unwittin g test subjects. Meanwhile, the Inquest maintains a paramilitary forc e of agents and golems, which
it employs to intimida te, sabotage, and steal from other krewes. So, how do they get away with all this? Because the idiots on the Arcane Council let th em. Those w ho aren’t In quest themselves. As most asur a ar e more interested in research than politics, the number of places on the Arcane Council that need to be fi lled are greater than the number of asura in good standing with the ability to fi ll them. A s a result, it has been simplicity itself for the Inq uest to insert its representati ves into the Council, ensuring that the Imbecile Council grants th em status as a legitimat e mega- krewe and d oes n ot formally recognise their illegiti mate activities. In exchange, th e Inq uest uses its ability to demand that it s resea rchers pursue project s of the Inquest’s choosing to take up projects that the Moronic Council considers necessary, but which n o asura is likely to join of their own free will. In the meantime, the Inquest ensures that its plots to take over Rata Sum are maintaine d at a level of plausible deniability that allows the Oblivious Cou ncil t o continu e turning a blind eye, su ch as the use of supposed ly “malfunctioning ” golems. Meanwhile, the Inquest are given free reign through much 7
LORE - The Inquest Thre at | GUILDMAG #22
8 GUILDMAG #22 | LORE - The Inquest Threat
of Metrica Province, oppo sed only by local Pea cemakers and the krewes they victimise . The height of their arrogance could be seen in the western Brisban Wildlands before th e rise of Mordremoth, where they formed an open alliance with the Nightmare Court a nd human criminals from Kryta. From our perspecti ve, however, their most dangerous act ivities come from their experimentat ion with dragon energy. These lunatics think they can harnes s and control the E lder Dragon s for their o wn usage, and th ey ar e obsessed with cr eating dragon minions - usually by infusing kidnapped victims with dragon corruption, including that of multiple dragons - and controlling them. Unfortunately, their e ff orts to control dragon minions have met with some success, encouraging them to continue even if they do regularly lose cont rol a gain. Every time one of their bases researching this has been destroyed, whether by their own experiments exploding i n their face, Pact intervention , or some other cause, they’ve simply bu ilt a larg er an d m or e remote base elsewhere to continue their research. This is not the only way in which th ey’ve been a problem for the Pact. While experimentation on sylvari has been banned among mos t asura, the Inquest continu e this line of research, and seem particularly interested i n
powering golems with sylvari life essence. Worse is that the Inquest does n ot restrict its theft to asura krewes - it is suspected that the airships used by Sca rlet Bria r’s Aetherblades were based on designs stolen from the Pact by the Inquest, alth ough the Inquest appears to ha ve with drawn their association from the Aetherblades shortly after Scar let ent ered the picture. I m ight consider giving them some cr edit for disassocia ting themselves from that psychopath, if not for the fact that they were partially r esponsible for creating her in the fi rst place, and thus knew her well enou gh to kno w that sh e’d care about any promises she made t o members of her little coalition about as much as the Inquest leadership ca res about their su bordinates. When th e Zephyrite fl eet came c rashing down in the opening stages of the rise of Mordremoth, the Inquest were also quick to swoop in, claimin g salvage rights over the entire cra sh site, kidnapping the fallen Zephyrites, and a ttempting to stea l the magic al crysta ls littered around the crash site - probably a s part of their research into dragon energies . Fortunately, though, th ey d id not appear to b e eager to get further involved in the region as Mordremoth’s forces grew in strength. The discovery of Rata N o vu s apparently pique d their interest, but it w as secured by Pa ct forces and
more reputable asura before they even knew ab out it. The next time that the Inques t got i n th e way of the Pact came when they pr ovided mercenaries to t he fallen human god of indiscriminate murder, Bal tha zar, initially in h is disguise as that other fallen human god of unseen murder, the mursaat Lazarus the Dire. As a result, the Pact expedition pursuin g Balthaza r to Draconis Mons found the Inquest already wel l established there. However, the Inquest had split away from Baltha zar’s other mercenaries, being more interested in the ruins of Rata Arcanum and the possibility o f uncovering some of th e last discoveries of the rogue asur a Zinn to be found th ere.
Their most da maging a ct of colossal stupidity, however, might have b een the decision to build their latest set of majo r labs on the islands near Elona . We’re still collecting reports a s to what precisely happened, but preliminary data i nd i cate s that Inquest bases on I stan and the Dajkah archipela go were compromised by the lich Palawa Joko, granting him access to their work on receiver less gates, the Scarab Plague that consumed the Primeval Dyna sty, and, knowing the Inq uest, their latest work on dr agon energies. Intelligence suggest s that the self-aggrandisin g windbag intended to use these a s part of some convoluted plot against Tyria in revenge for the co-optin g of his armies d uring th e fi nal stages of the campaign against Balthazar. One might think that the insu ffi ciently - decayed corpse might have reason to show so me gratitude for the preservation of his empire and his release from a trap that c ould only be broken by the Arson God’s death, but apparently h e saw it as a reason to unleash w ar and pestilence o n an innocen t
populace instead. Fortunately, his plot w as foiled before the scarabs wer e released in their most virulen t form, but h e wouldn’t have got that far without those short-sighted imbeciles at the Inq uest. So, now that you know w hy they are a problem, you may be wondering what to expect when these grease stains get underfoot. First, they’re asura. So don’t expect many Inquest acting as m eathead warr iors or guardians w hen th ey can, and do, get golems to do the job. Expect to see golems providing th e heavy
muscle, protective sh ields, and mobile artillery. They’r e also fond of using little golems that will try to sneak in and discharge energy fi elds, drop bombs, o r just plain explode. The full range of golems that these scumbags have develo ped is too varied to detail them all, and new models are constantly adopted an d old ones discarded. The Order of Whispers keeps dossiers on currently know n models, and you are all advised to devote some time keeping yourselve s up to date on the latest developments i n between drinking yourselves to unconsciousness or whatever it is you ignoramuses think is a good use of your spare time.
10 GUILDMAG #22 | LORE - The Inque st Threat
Every so often you may fi nd a n Inquest member piloting a golem suit, but this is becoming less common a s later models become incr easingly more autonomous. You’re probably more likely to see th em being used as hazardous environment suits, prisoner control, or other n on-combat purposes rather than being deliberately used i n b attle. Some of the I nquest h igher- ups, though, like to do their fi ghting personally, but the babies want to avoid actually risking getting hurt when they do so, s o they’ll build the mos t souped - up golem e x oskeleto n they can and fi ght you fr om inside that. Crack it open and give them the thrashin g th ey deserve. Those Inquest who have more bravery than the typical rabbi t - my most insin cere apologies to any Hare followers ther e may be in the norn section of the audience, w hy you w ould worship rabbits o f all things I just do not understand -
tend to b e more predictable, probably since it’s a bit harder t o teach an Inqu est dog new tricks than to come up with a new golem. Expect to fac e a lot of spellca sters, although th ey may not be all that competent, since those that are ac tua lly valuable will probably be holed u p in a panic room somewhere at the slightest hint of danger, leaving apprentices to do the fi ghting. Elementalism seems to b e their most popular for m of magic, possibly beca use they fi n d i t the e asiest t o wor k into their magitech. Engineers, unsurprisingly, ar e also common to see in an Inquest deployment. As well a s keeping larger items of technology in p assable repair, you’r e likely to see Inquest engineers deploy in g fi eld turrets and scrapper- style heli-dron es. Grenades are also popular, and instead of fl amethrowers they have developed a kind of ice- thrower - probably prim arily intended for d amage control when one of their experiments inevitably goes haywire throu gh their own incompetence, but they’ll happily turn you in to a n icicle if given th e chance. Finally, if you’ve demonstrate d that you have better short- term m emory than the average gold fi sh and you recall the start of this lecture, you’ll remember that the Inq uest likes to intimidate, sabotage and steal from from reputable krewes, Pact
bases, and anyone else wh o gives them a n opportun ity . Not surprisingly, they have a special forces div ision of thieves and assassins to perform such un derhanded tasks. Don’t underestimate these operatives - they’r e likely to be vet erans in fi eld operations rather than the usual stream of appr enti ces being sacr i fi ced a s cannon fodder by the I nquest higher- ups, so they may catch you by surprise by proving to have genuin ely dangerous combat skills even if they don’t have the typical magic and gadgets of the Inqu est. And this isn’t considering the threats posed by wh atever ill- conceived experiments and super weapon s they might be developing. This will vary over time and between bases even more than their golem designs, and I really don ’t have the time to give you an overview of the things that you might face that half of you will probably forget nex t time you drink yourselves silly. Remember to keep u p to date with the dossiers provided b y the O rder of Whispers if you even suspect that there’s a n Inqu est base nearby. It probably won’t be enou gh to make sure you ’re prepared, but a t lea st then you might have a chance to not be surprised by whatever abomination they might cook up next to yo u. All right, that’s all I have for you morons today. Get out of here! Class dismissed!
e shall b egin with the de fi nition of draconic energy. Also know n as dragon energy o r dra gon magic, drac onic energy can be described a s the magical signature uniqu e to each Elder Dragon. To illustrate, Zhaitan was the only Elder Dragon able to ra ise the dead, but aft er his defea t the remaining Elder Dragons absorbed some of his uniqu e energy. Recent observati ons such as Kralkatorrik’s ability t o Brand the dead i s due to this phen omenon. The Inquest, throu gh diabolical means and opportunistic accidents, have come to be at the forefro nt in experimenta tion utilising draconic energy. Here, I seek to chronicle the evolution of their research fr om the discovery a t the Thaumanova Reac tor to their present-day acti vity.
LORE - Draconic Energies & The Inquest | GUILDMAG #22
Draconic Energi e s &

The Inquest

Your fi rst encounter with the Thaumanova R eactor was likely to be its ruins in Metrica Province. Amid the broken buildin gs and coughin g asura, there wa s chaos in the most litera l sense. The fallout of some disaster imbued the atmosphere with a high concentration of chaos energy, a n unpredictable for m of magic at best, which cause d the teleportation of random creatur es from a ll around Tyria to the ruins. A c rackle of energy would bring forth a minotaur and if you w aited long enough that crackle wou ld soun d again, and the minotaur would no w be a gri ff on. Certain rooms insid e the building had been transformed into distinct biomes. There was v egetation and a disorientated oakheart in one room. Not far fr om there, snow fell in a room fi lle d with c reatures native to the cold, such as Ice Elementa ls. The next hal l wouldn’t be classed as a biome, bu t it stood apart from t he others in its patches of fi re on the fl oor. It was here that a gi ant fi re elemental was created when a golem meant to clear the chaos energy, ha d its core fuse with it instead. Lastly, there was the strange room fi lled with angry crabs. The walls were cov ered with
coral and a slow mist rose with the faint impression of bub bles. Where do the Inquest come into this? You wouldn’t see them amongst the casualties or the clean- up operations and you shouldn’t exp ect t o , as this wasn’t even an Inquest lab. They were there though. Underneath the Thaumanova Reactor they conducted their dangerous research on chaos energy in secret. I t is unknow n how long they had occupied the facility.
In 1326 AE, Captain Ellen Kiel ran against Evon Gnashblad e for a spot o n the Captain’s Council and won. She then delivered on the e lectoral promise sh e made t o win over the asuran council members: an investigation into the Thaumanova disaster using the Co nsortiu m’s Fra ctals of the Mists. You could now immer se yourself in the moments before the cata strophe and discover its cause. Inside th e Thaumanova Reactor fractal was pure mayhem. Portals popped up all around the reactor . Th ey spewed o ut aatxe from the mists, Flam e Legion from Ascalon, Destroyers from the depths o f Tyria and more.
Increasing the tension of the Inquest scientists w as the knowledge that if they d id n’t escape soon, they w ould be incinerated in a m agical explosion. The Thaumanova Reac tor was going into melt down. They had push ed science too far. Several of the Inquest blamed the same person fo r th eir current predicament while they fought or fl ed for their lives. A ‘special consultant’, someone with wh om the Inquest had p reviou s dealings, had been ca lled in to assist their researc h. It was this consultan t who goaded the krewe chief into a litt le competition of who could push things further, faster. Som e sco ff ed a t this consultant, this sylva ri wh o told them that it wasn’t even chaos energy th ey were playing with, but somethin g else entirely.
They Blew It Up
A crackle of energy would bring forth a minotaur.
Chaos Energy is a Misnomer
12 GUILDMAG #22 | LORE - Draconic Energies & The Inquest
Her name was Scar let Briar. With her work at the Thaumanova R eactor, she identi fi ed the global n etwork of magical channels tha t, until then, scholars had on ly theorized: ley lines. This historic moment brought her closer to her goa l of using them to awaken the E lder Dragon Mordremoth. Chaos energy was a misnomer, she tol d them. What the Inquest harnessed, and a t her recommendations agitated and a mpli fi ed, was in fact draconic energy. Combin e the Inquest’s ignoranc e with the fact that the Thaumanova Reactor sat on a n intersection of multiple ley lines and you reach the explosive end of unstable research. T he investigation could be closed. Solve one m ystery and another o ne appears. The fracta l’ s exit route was blocke d by a coalescence of energy which took on a hu manoid form. Dessa, the head of research in fra ctals, c alled i t an anomaly, a remark which ended up naming the en tity ‘the Thaumanova Anomaly ’.
Two years l ater, after the death of Mordremoth, more of these anoma lies appeared. Created by the in fl ux of ma gic borne by th e death of the Elder Dragon, th e Ley Lin e Anomaly is fa r la rger than its Thaumanova relativ e. Furthermore, cont act with these new anomalies caused hallucinations where small er unhappy anomalies fl ash in and out of existence near you , a condition which can only b e cured with a shadow stone o r some Consortium-sold kra it oil. To avoid specula tion, I will let you draw you r own conclusions on the link between draconic energy, ley lines and th ese anomalous beings.
After the destruction of the Thaumanova R eactor, the Inquest committed resources to their facility in Mou nt Maelstrom : the In fi nite Coil Reactor. There were six main zones around the perimeter o f the facility. Each was assigned a colour and a di ff erent type of dragon minion for experimentation. Zone Black held the Risen. Zone Red held the Destroyers. Zone Violet held the Branded. Zone White held the Icebrood.
Colours of the Coi l
LORE - Draconic Energies & The Inquest | GUILDMAG #2
14 GUILDMAG #22 | LORE - Draconic Energies & The Inquest
Zon e Green was intended for th e Mordrem, but as Mordremoth was not yet awake, the area held dangerous plant life. Zone Blu e was intended for the minions of Deep Sea Dragon, but the construction of this area was not completed. This separ ation of the types of minions resembles the aftermath of the Thaumanov a Reactor, where di ff erent biomes appea red a fter the fallout. What seem ed accidenta l and chaotic at Thaumanova was harnessed and controlled at the I n fi nite Coil - the Inqu est appeared to have learned from their mista kes. Eventually, the Pact launched an atta ck on the facil ity and wrested control o f it from the Inquest. It then became clear that the surface bu ild ings were only the tip of the iceberg.
The central pa rt of the complex, the Crucible of Eternity, went d eep underground, w ith a pillar of light piercing through the levels. This light was c aused by the draconic energy that had been sip honed from minions, to be concentra ted at the bottom of the complex, at Eternity’s Focus.
Kud u was the head of th e operation. His work in the Crucible of Eternity expanded on the research d one by his late mentor, Sna ff, one of the founding members of Destiny’s Edge. H owever, where Snaff found research into draconic ener gy to be too dangerous to  continue, Kud was seduced  by its  potential. Zojja,  w ho was  Snaff’s apprentice at the time of his death, could n ot allow the perversion of their mentor’s work to continue, choosin g to head a strike team which wen t down to stop him. As they went down throu gh the labs which spiralled the central pit, they found evidence of disturbin g experiments. Among the containment cells holding dragon minions were a lso cells holding captives. So me were saved by the str ike team before the remaining captiv es were subjected to the ‘Transmutation Protocol ’. Using the draconic energy collected a t E ternity’s Focus, the captives were turn ed into various dragon minions. Kud u wanted the power of Elder Dragons: the ability to m ake minions only he could control. He succeeded. By the time Zojja and her friends reached Ku du, he was unrecognisable. Corrupted by dragon energies, branded crystals had sprouted from h i s
back and his skin was tinged purple. In that moment, he regr etted nothing, cl aiming enlightenment was worth any price. Kud u was defeated, b ut in h is dying moments, he unleashe d a monster. The creature looked like a Risen giant but could n ot be c lassi fi ed as such a s it not only h ad the abil ities typical of the Risen, but also of the Branded, Destroyers and Icebrood. It would sw itch between these states w hile in comba t, channelling them as elementalist s do their attunements. Regardless, this creature was also defeated. Kudu’s monster was not the o nly one o f its kind . Further exploration of the Crucible of the Eternity led to the discovery of Subject Alpha, one of Kudu’s early experiments. It too had the abiliti es of multiple dragon energies, including all the energies that created Kudu ’s monster as well as the energies of Mordremoth and the Deep Sea Dragon. Subject Alpha could also split its body into multiple glob- like essences which could slither away to escape in separate directions, befor e recuperating and reforming to fi ght again . Subject Alpha was defeated several t imes. Its last ba ttle ended with all its essences,
Creating Monsters
The central part of the complex, t h e Crucible o f Eternity, went deep underground.
LORE - Draconic Energies & The Inquest | GUILDMAG #22
save one, being destroyed. It is unknown what happened t o this last essence.
The latest Inquest facility to be discovered is Rata Primus, located i n the southern regio n of Dajkah. It reveals that the defeat o f Kudu and the closin g of the I n fi nite C oil Reactor did not abate their research into dragon energies. Instead, this mantle was taken up b y Kudu’ s daughter, O verseer Kuda, wh o also experimented in creating her o wn dragon minion s. These minions were housed in the specimen chamber in the Western Complex of Rata Primus. An opportunity for in fi ltration presented itself when tar seepage from the Awakened caused the laser array protecting the specimen chamber to lose power. Kuda was not present but she spoke to the in fi ltrators through a large hologram and , unperturbed, continued h er resea rch b y relea sing some of her specimens to attack them . The chamber held six varietie s of dragon minions. Five were the standa rd type of dragon minions we commonly fac e, one for eac h Elder Dragon minus th e Deep Sea Dragon. The last was Subject Beta. Lik e its predecessor, Subject Alpha , it had access to the various dragon energies and abilities.
It was also much like Su bject Alpha in appea rance, except Subject Alp ha seemed closer to the Risen while Subject Beta seemed closer to the Branded. It is unclear h ow many specimens Kuda has stored in Rata Primus, as even after the defeat of a speci fi c minion, she was able to reproduce it moments later . Instead of housing the original su bjects, the specimen chamber holds simulacrums o f those subjects. Kuda’s location remains unkn own.
Though the In quest h ave come far in their research of draconic energies, they are not the only ones with expertise on the subject. Professor Gorr of the College of Synergetics delivered a lecture in Rata Sum detailing his draconic enchanto-
consumption theory. He proved that the waking of Elder Dragons coincided with a drop of magic lev els in Tyria and concluded that they devoured magic. This theory led to his invention, the Vacuuma gic Polarizer , which removes a person’s or object’s magic and sends it back poisoned . Tai mi, also of the College of Synergetics, has made sever a l important discoveries in the fi eld. She discovered that the death of Elder Dragon s empowered the remaining ones with new abilities; that the energies of Jormag and Primordus nullify each other; and most import antly, that the death of any more Elder Dragons would be apocalypti c withou t a viable solution for the extreme increase of draconic energy in Tyria. Withou t sacri fi cing ethics in the name of science, they hav e studied draconic energy to th e bene fi t o f all Tyrians whereas the Inquest have thus far only sought its weaponization.
The Legacy Continues
Outside The Inquest
16 GUILDMAG #22 | GALL ERY - Inquest Labs

Inquest Labs

Rata Primus

The Inquest perform all manner of research at this megacomplex in the Sandswept Isles. The giant fl oating cube in the center is based o ff of Rata Sum. Prominent studies conducted here include non-asura gate translocatio n technology, the revival of the Scarab Plague and its e ff ects on local fauna, a n d the consequences of infusing Kralkatorrik’s minions with the magic of other Elder Dragons.
GALLERY - Inques t Labs | GUILDMAG #22
18 GUILDMAG #22 | GALL ERY - Inquest Labs
The In fi nite Coil Reactor was built after the Thaumanova Reactor fallout. There are six color-coded zones, each correspondin g to an Elder Dragon, where the Inquest experiment on their minions. The center of the reactor houses several fl oating platforms as well a s th e entran ce portal to the Crucible of Eternity .

Infinite C

oil reactor

GALLERY - Inques t Labs | GUILDMAG #22
This is the inner underground complex of the In fi nite Coil Reactor, primarily dedicated to studying draconic energy. It too contains Elder Dr agon laboratories and an aquarium, presumably meant to h old min ions of the Deep Sea Dragon. There are also facilities intended to hold prisoners and containment units for dragon minions.

Crucible of eternity

20 GUILDMAG #22 | GALL ERY - Inquest Labs

Inquest Complex

Underwater Bases

The Inquest Complex in Metrica Province consists of an inner and ou ter portion. The Outer Co mp lex seems to be dedicated to stud ying golems including their weaponization and how to acquire en ergy to power th em. Meanwhile, the Inner Co mp lex dates b ack a t least to the awakenin g of the Secondborn sylvari, as some of them were kidnapped and imprisoned for study there.
The Inquest maintain multiple underwater bases aroun d the world: th e Aq u anarium Hy dropost i n Bloo d tide C o ast, A quabase T error S e ven in Moun t Maelstrom, and Bauxite Alchemicals in Malchor’s Leap are among the most prominent. They tend to experiment on quaggan in these bases and they don’t seem to care about the water pollution their research cau ses.
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Thaumanova Reactor

Some time after Scarlet Briar became involved with the Inquest in the Thaumanova Reactor, there was a catastrophic explosion, destroying many of the labs and leaving radioactive material i n its wake. Prior to its mel t down , the reactor was a fully-f unctionin g facility dedica ted t o stud ying ch aos mag ic with dormitories, live-subject and repulsor labs, and a t least a few rooms dedicated to studying Elder Dragon minion s.



The Tyrian

Conscio u sness
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e watched the sylvari wrestle with Mordremoth’s influ ence in Heart of Thorns . We tried to appeal to the Herald of Baltha zar’s humanity in Path of Fire . We also listened to th e struggles of Glint’s o ff spring, Vla st, trying to come to terms with his legacy, and witnessed him jump in front of Balthazar ’s greatsword to save our life. Now, in A Bug i n the System, the second episode of Living World S eason 4, th e cla ssically corrupt Inquest become humanized i n the player’s eyes. As th e player chara cter, we made choices througho ut our personal stories that altered our paths and changed ho w w e arrived at our climactic battle with Zhaitan. But recently,
ArenaNet has relegated the big choices to our alli es and enemies to make us feel like although we ar e the star of the show, we are also par t of something bigger. I’l l be looking a t some of those N PC choices and examin ing how they complicate our world . Recently w e learned that Taimi’s college friends, t wo brothers named Blish and Gorrik, had joined the Inquest , unwittin gly assisted Palawa Joko i n reproducing the Scara b Plague, and set up a network of asura gates to help him spread it. Taimi is upset abou t her friends’ involvement in the organization: she laments that Blish is “tragically now an Inquest stooge,” an d says Gorrik i s “kinda weird. But still, the Inquest?”
Nevertheless, she is happy and nonjudgmental a t their reunion, even after seeing that Blish’s consciousness had been d ownloaded into a golem. The personal stor y ra ises us to believe the Inquest are essentially evil, st ealing patents and inventions, threatening the Arcane Council and the city of Rata Sum regularly, and tampering with dragon energy in their labs. Despite this, they a re still allowed to operate in Rata Sum. As we keep discovering their bases throughout Tyria, this ra ises a question: even th ough the Inquest’s reputation has been thoroughly besmirched and they’re associated with a lack of ethical principles, why d o
EDITORIAL - Downloading the Tyrian Consciousness | GUILDMAG #22
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EDITORIAL - Downloading the Tyrian Consciousness | GUILDMAG #22
asura keep lining up to join? The m ost obvious reason is the additional freedom and productivity that comes with a la ck of bureaucr acy. Tim e and tim e again we’ve seen that the Inq uest are on top of modern techn ology, from Kudu’s teleportation device to the o u t boun d asura gates that don’t require a receiving gat e they just spit you ou t of a portal wherever the coordinates poin t. However, these marvels usually com e a s a result of thieving or plagiarizing the work o f others. Zojja says Kudu stole the designs for h is personal teleporter and Taimi tells us Zinn and the R ata Novans were working on th e advancements in asur a gat e technology. But if you place a high value on knowledge- sharing and believe tha t progress moves faster if multiple people a re able to look at a plan from di ff erent angles, it’s easy to see why t h e allure o f the morally-bankrup t Inquest trumps th e strict regulations on copyright and patent law. If you stick around a krewe’s camp in Mon M aelstrom long enough, you can h ear some interesting ambient dialogue that addresses this issue.
Apprentice Klinx asks w hy no one has designed an anti- destroyer golem yet. Krewe Leader Ambr replies, “Sna ff came c lose, but he never shared the design.” Would thi s be a problem for the Inquest if they could have pilfered the data and schematic s? Later, a lab worker expresses frustra tion that they can’t beat the I nquest in the nearby lab if they can’t utilize shortcuts. Ambr tells him that th ey’ll “prevail through dedication t o sound alchemic al principles.” Understandably, this brings little comfort when y ou’re constantly being atta cked by destroyers. As a “megakrewe,” the Inq uest is also able to o ff er its members additional resources. A normal krewe is a corporate entity p ut together for one task or research project. It might get its fi nancing from th e krewe leader or an outside investo r, but fu nds are limited and n o one wants to spend mor e money than necessar y. At the aforementioned ca mp belonging t o Ambr an d her krewe, Lab Worker Flinka says they should research fl ame-reta rdant fabrics. As another lab worker points out thou gh, “Hiring new krewe
members is cheaper than the mater ials needed,” implying that bringing in brave bu t disposable labor is preferred over trying to better protect the existing krewe members. Ind eed, one th ing Gorrik bemoans upon escaping th e cata strophic explosion of Rat a Primus is that he and Blish lost their funding. In fact, Gorrik seems to care littl e about where h e’s working or wh o he works w ith, a s long as he can continue the research he wants to pursue o n insects . During tha t same conversation, Blish mentions he was able to sa ve dat a on Kralkatorr ik. This brings up another a dvantage to working with the Inqu est, namely that they perform a lot of research on t he Dragons and their mi nions. This poses a dangerous risk as it’s led to such events as Kudu’s corruption by draconic energies and the Thaumanov a Reactor fa llout. But with the threat posed by the Elder Dragons and the potential catastrophe that would result from ki lling t hem and releasing their magic without an entity to contain it, the research is necessar y. Any one who’s played the asuran personal story w ill remember Professor Gorr being b ooed o ff stage when he proposed h is theory that magic was a fi nite r esourc e being consumed b y the Elder Dragons. Even th e asura know little about the Elder Dragons, let alone the averag e
The personal story raises us to believe the Inquest are essentially evil, stealing patents and inventions.
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layperson. We, as player chara cters, have enough trouble wrapping our heads around the idea that w e can no longer kill the Dragons, bu t must rather protect our selves from them o r tr ansfer their magic to a di ff erent sour ce. How a re we to convince the rest of Tyria of this if t he research is frowned upon and isn’t easily demonstrable? Maybe the Inquest w ith th eir low regard for appr opr iate, law -abiding research subjects and methodologies have it right... at least i n some ways. The Inqu est simply has more money, mor e expendable labor, and lar ger, m ore widespread fac ilities. In addition, since the krew e never disbands, it a llows asura to continue working on their projects for as long as possible, whereas a regular krewe might disband as soon as they a ccomplish their goal, even i f new or superior ideas are on the horizon. If you’re able t o sacri fi ce some workplace safety and moral sensibilities for e ffi ciency
and vast technological advancement, the Inquest might not b e such a bad organization to be a part o f. Blish and Gorrik mi ght b e the fi rst members of the Inquest t o make players consider there are additional motives for joining beyon d an inherent wickedness. This is not, however, th e fi rst time the storytelling of Guild Wars 2 has put delicate and di ffi cult choices under a scrutinizing eye. For instance, such choice s are ingrained i n sylvari culture . A sylvari can choose to abide by the tenets of Ventari, embrace the nightm ares in the Dream of Dreams, or cut o ff all contact with the Pale Tree and the hive mind of their fellow sylvari, becoming Soun dless. Heart of Thorns is notorious for not expanding on sylvari culture as much as it could have. I t failed to go into any detai l about the state of the Nightmare Court after Fa olain’s corruption and eventual death and
disregarded Mallyck’s origins completely. For all its failings though, it did provide us with a fascinating bit of dia logue between Faolain and the player character. When we discover Ei r and Faolain locke d in a vine cage b y the Mordrem , we ask: “Wh y is Mordremoth locking up so many Nightmar e Courtiers?” The implication is that both Mordremoth and the Nightmare Court are evil. The Elder Dragons are gluttons for magic, consumin g or destroying anyth ing in their way to obtain it. Th e Nightmare Court per for ms dark rituals and unspeakable acts of cruelty to try to taint the Dream and urge the Pale Tree away from the in fl uence of Ventari. Some in the Court also try to forcibly subvert sylvari to joi n their cause b y placing them in conver sion pods. Both Mordremoth and the Nightmare Court are bad seeds, so they would naturall y mesh, right? Faolain snaps bac k a t the player char acter, insisting, “You know nothin g of th e Court. We seek freedom, and Mordremoth’s yoke is even more onerous than the Pale
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Tree’s.” It can be said that the ultimate goal o f the Court is merely to release the Pale Tre e from the tethers of Ventar i and Ronan, urging sylvar i to create their own destinies instead of performing th e goals given to them by the Dream . In Siren’s Landing, a group of sylvari are attempting t o stud y the roaming Risen, unchained and seemingly without purpose after Z haitan’s death . In par ticular, an NPC named Rose, inspired by th e courage and willpower bestow ed upo n them by th e Pale Tree, sets o ff on her own in hopes of befriendin g the intelligent Risen, the kingpins. We meet one of these kingpin s fac e to face while searching fo r Rose and converse with it. The kin gpin says he is “free to continue dispensing Zhaitan’s wrath to the world” because i t is already lost.
So what wou ld happen to the sylvar i themselves if they were n ot Soundless, not questing on th eir Wyld H un ts nor tapped into the group network created by the Pale Tree, not ta king par t in evil acts with the Ni ghtmar e
Court, and n ot turned into Mordrem? In theory, we’ve only seen two character s like this: Scarlet Bria r, who eventually went mad from staring in to the Eternal Alchemy and discovering that the sylvari were crea tions of Mordremoth, and Malyck, who we know very little about . In fact, the last time we heard about Malyck, h e was o ff to his home i n the H eart of Maguuma to tell his fellow sylvari about t he Pa le Tree. Was his tree what eventually became the Blighting Tree in Verdant Brink? Were a ll his fellow sylvar i converted to Mordremoth’s cause when t h e Elder Dragon rose because they lacked th e Pale Tree’s protection? These a re the unanswered question s Heart of Thorns left behin d, along with the idea that perhaps all the big bad organizations of each race aren’t so bad after all. What about Path of Fire ? The developers had a lot more time to work on this expansion and it’s b een lauded for its stor ytelling, which many players claim is better than Heart of Thorns by far. The most interesting choice y ou might discover is the continuou s one Vla st must make. He is the o ff spring of Glint, who was originally Glaust, a champion of Kra lkatorrik. Glint was puri fi ed b y the Forgotten and, as we’ve seen with both Vlast
and A urene, her scion s are free from the Elder Dragon’s in fl u ence. This makes them neither good nor bad at th e start but grants them a certai n free will, contingent upon thei r upbringing and socializatio n.
Socialization was somethin g Vla st severely la cked. The Forgotten and the Exa lted attended him but it’s di ffi cu lt to know h ow t o bond a dragon t o the mortal races of Tyria, especially when dragons equate to destructio n in the minds of most. Thus he was kept secluded, growin g up with a strict destiny, a piece o f a larger gra nd plan to protect the races from the Elder Dragons. But h ow could he develop empathy o r compassion for those races if he never encountered th em and never watched them grow or interacted with them at all? Despite this major fl aw
Both Mordremoth and the Nightmar e Court are bad seeds , so they would naturall y mesh, right ?
The most interesting choice you might discover is the continuous one Vlast must make .
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in his younger years, h e stuck with the plan set for him by his mother, trusting in her judgment if nothing else, an d to pass o n hop e and w isdom to his younger sister when he r time ca me. The question this leaves with us is obvious: i f w e treat Aurene better and con tin ue allowing her to explore th e world, will she be mor e convinced of her purpose tha n Vlast? Currently, she seem s to be assisting us as necessary with help in battle and visions of things and places we can’t see. She d oesn’t stick by our side like a lap dog though. Maybe she’s fou nd a good middle ground betw een the freedom Vla st c raved and the wanderlust that haunted him i n his later life, and the prophecy and goals set forth by her mother. Unlike th e sylvari storylines hung out to dry in Heart o f Thorns , the mystery o f Aurene appears to be gradually unfolding with Living World Season 4. These a r e b ut a han d ful of th e choices made by NPCs that keep poppin g up in th e story. Consider also Balthazar ’s Forged - the developers revealed that the Herald of Balthazar was a ctually Devona, a warrior from the original Guild Wars . On her deathbed it’s clear she’ s retained some of her fr ee will, requesting we dispatch Balt hazar. How abou t the stil l -
living and Awakened try in g to resist Palawa Joko’s in fl uen ce: people li ke Koss who found a loophole in his un death or Tahlkora who retained her wil l after Awakening. There’s also the Sons of Svanir, anothe r classi cally evil organization like the Inquest or Nightmare Court, but they are tolerated in the norn’s individu ali stic culture. Maybe we’ ll see more about their story if a future expansion brings us north. Wherever you look, I guarantee y ou’ll fi nd plenty of instances of chara cters in Guild Wars 2 dealing with hard choic es, especially with ArenaNet’s improved storytelling and the loss of the “E lder Dragons bad, mortal races goo d” d i chotom y that w e had previously. Next time you run in to something stereotypica lly evil or think about a n apparently easy choice i n-game, maybe y ou’ll think twice abou t its true nature.
Pestilence & Plague
S4 R ECAP: Episodes 1, 2 & 3
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he Living World continues to expand the game, bringing us new heroes, new cultures, a pair of sympatheti c scientists, and a looming cat astrophe. At the beginning of the Pat h of Fir e expansion w e set o ff for the Crystal Desert intent on stoppin g a god. Through our journey, Elona open ed before u s, g iving us a ccess to Vabbi and Kourna . When the story picks up in Season 4, we continue into I stan and the nearby islands inten t on uncovering, and putting a sto p to, Joko’s plans. With Kralkatorrik a wa ke and Aurene missing after the fi ght with Ba lthazar, sever al members of Dragon’s Watch remained near Amnoon , repairing Ta imi’s golem. Meanwhile, Jory and Kas have tracked Kr alkatorr ik to a far-o ff mountain range. Yet, despite being so far away, the Elder Dragon is far more powerful, having absorbed the power of a god, and is able to touch o ff a devastatin g brandstorm in Amn oon! Like all good heroes, we hurry to the rescue, discover ing a
city full of people trapped i n crystal, branded, and turn ing on their friend s and allies. These fi ghts against the Branded bring in to play an empowering crystal mecha nic where we must fi rst shatter al l the crystals in Amnoon befor e we can destroy the Branded that is being shielded . Aurene joins us for the fi nal bat tle against a Branded wyv ern and, once we are victorious, Taimi and Scru ff y appear along with Shadows Agent Kito. In the aftermath, Aurene shares a vision with everyone showing the Forged an d undead Branded along with an unknown city. A gent Kito recognizes it as Fahranur ,
the First City, ancient seat of power in Istan. I n order t o fi nd Fahranur, we must make contact with the Sun spears, which won’t be easy. Th e few remaining m embers of the ancient order ar e in hiding; Palawa Joko, undead king of Elona, has hunted them nearly to extinction. Agent Kito suggests looking for the m in the Astralarium a nd we quickly secure passage to the southern island of I stan.
Stowing away on a ship , we soon fi nd ourselves in the Domain of Istan. Joko has placed a price on ou r head
Brandstorm at Dawn
Istani Trip Down Memor y Lane
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and his forces in Istan are incredibly hostile. There are few safe places for us as we search for the Sunspears. The Mordant Crescent ho ld s power here, supported by Joko’s Awakened an d loyal human servants. We la nd at the Chalon Docks and, for players of the original Guil d Wars , the nostalgia begins anew. There is little here, but directly to the south li es the great city of Palawadan, Jewel of Istan (formerly known as Kamadan, Jewel of Istan). As this section of the story encompasses a rather open exploration of the new map, it is possible to spend a great deal of time exploring. To the north of the Chalon Docks, along the coast, we discover a corsa ir fl otilla of both airships and sea-going vessels. Ju st to the southwest of the fl otilla we fi nd the Astralarium, whic h has become an enormou s library i n the intervening centuries since Nigh tfall players visited this area. The Astralarium bustles wit h scholars resea rching sta rs, history, and the fl ora and fauna of the area. Pal awa Joko’s forces wor k tirelessl y to revise history but Scholar Rhadha suggests that we aid the scholars as they attempt to preser ve the truth. By impeding Joko’s in fl uence in the area, we can convince Scholar Salwa to allow us entr ance into the secret a rchive, which will give u s access to the h idden Sunspear base. Once th e Renown Heart is fi lled, we are
directed toward Salwa w ho allows u s entrance. There, we speak with First Spear Hakim a and ask if she can let u s into Fahranur. Sadly, she cann ot as only the Spearmarshal Zaeim knows the way into the ancient city. War rages ac ross the land of Istan. Joko’s forces hoar d supplies in Pal awadan and his armies reach out to take control of the island’s towns and c ities. They have most recently taken the c ity of Champion ’s Dawn and Spearmarshal Zaeim has gon e south to retake it. Since only the Spearmarshal knows the way to the ancient city, we decide to head south in searc h of him. Besides, beating up Awakened and Mordant Crescent has become an enjoyable pastime! This chapter is beginning to feel like a really long game of hide-and -seek. The storyline helps open even mor e of Istan and each place we visit is spiked with nostal gia for those wh o played the original Nightfall campaign. S o long as the journey through Istan is your goal, these q uests to fi nd various people a r e simpl y a natural outgrowth of your exploration. However, runnin g through the story as quickly a s possible means criss-crossing a small portion of the overall map, chasing green starburst s back and forth a s you search for yet another person o r quest item.
A quick run south of the Astralarium along t he Bone Wall ta kes u s to Zehlon Breach and the outskirts of Champion’s Dawn, a farming village. Here, we witness Joko’s treatment of those who do not worship him : Villagers are starving, surr ounded by hostile forces and propaganda. Many have been taken prisoner and are caged throughout th e village. Zaeim is nowhere to b e found but we do fi nd Priest Sazeer, who tells us that the Spearmarshal has been captured by the corsa irs. In order to str ike a