Ascalon City - The Searing

"Though the buildings have fallen and the cathedrals are a shambles, the people here live on in the shadow of what once was."

Ascalon City is where we are first thrown as Prophecies characters. It's a small but beautiful city and I couldn't help but to think that there was more to see than what we were given in the game. Most of the quests in pre-searing are given out at this location. While it may be the main city in pre-searing, post searing it is nothing more than a tiny spot on the map. The small city gives way to searing crystals and the land around us opens up for further exploration. 

Lions Arch Map (updated)

"When you're ready to learn a thing or two more, take a little bit of time to explore the city" -Armen the Guide
Continuing the posts on the rebuilding of Lions Arch, an update to the map gif showing the evolution of Lions Arch through the life of the game.  Below the cut, you'll find the individual maps should you want to study the more intricate details longer.

Rebuilding of Lions Arch (Part 1)

"The port would be open to any and all, so long as they'll fight against Orr and help to keep the waters clear." - Cobiah Marriner

The Guild Wars 2 universe got some interesting news today. Lions arch, as we know, has been torn down and repaired only to be torn down again. It's been a while since the player base has seen any significant change from the aftermath of Scarlet's attack, but today we were surprised with an update to Lions Arch. Nothing seems to be in working order right now, but it does give us an idea of what's to come (like places concerning guild halls.)

There were a lot of visual changes as well, and I'm working to detail them as much as I can in screen shots for future reference. On the side, I decided to put together some screenshots documenting the changes between the new and old (including both original Lions Arch and Scarlet's aftermath). Here are just a few for now.

Original Lions Arch

Fort Ranik - The Searing

"The Charr have breached the Wall again. They burn our homes and threaten to take what little we have left." - Lord Darrin
There was once a day where heroes were helping a woman with her apples in the forest outside of the fort, but then came the days of taking up arms against the charr just outside. Fort Ranik is the first real fortress we see in presearing Ascalon. The mood when I stepped inside for the first time was different from the rest of the outposts. It felt more militarized, which makes sense when you learn that it's the place where the military of Ascalon is trained. 


Around Ascalon

"Blasted and battered, the current landscape of Ascalon holds only the ghost of its former glory. Skeletons of grand cathedrals and remnants of whole cities lie broken on the shifted, displaced ground. " -The Guild Wars Manuscripts
Ascalon has been through quite a number of landscaping changes underneath both humans and charr. However, it still stands as the one place in the second game with the most history still showing visually. There are broken buildings still standing as well as statues of gods and catacombs. Project Tyria has generally focused on where the old buildings are in the new game. I wanted to take a step away from that and try to find where the new structures would be in the first game. This posts also shows remnants of structures still standing that are littered around Ascalon rather than in an outpost. I've also decided to scour the countryside to show off changes in the general landscape.

There's really no easy way to go out and find these things in each game to compare them. The maps in each game have a different scale to them. The best way I could find myself was to follow key structures, such as the statue of Balthazar or Ascalon Academy, and constantly look at the 'you are here' pointer on a minimap. 

Ashford Abbey - Ascalon

"Situated just outside of the catacombs, Ashford Abbey is the resting place for many of Ascalon's most distinguished deceased citizens."

I have a theory that the Ascalonians (and humans in general) in Guild Wars saw their world and structures as being much more grand than they actually ever were. Ascalonians had the most pride for their country and may have remembered their structures more detailed, more beautiful, than what was actually there. I think that is why, in Guild Wars 2, we see these buildings a lot more differently than we may have in Guild Wars. The wear and tear and effects of the charr and the searing have, of course, torn most of the Ascalonian architecture down, so we no longer see them in their former glory, or even at all, in the second game.

Ashford Abbey has quite the history itself. It started out as an abbey and catacombs, then turned into Sardelac Sanitarium- a location for those driven mad by events in the searing. Now the abbey ruins are down to bricks and the entrance to the catacombs. While we can no longer enter the section of the catacombs seen in the first game, there is the Ascalonian Catacombs dungeon that we can assume is a connection we could not see in the first game due to shut off doors and large chasms where rivers ran to cut us off from the rest of the building.

The best way to find yourself around the area in both games is to head inside of the catacombs. In Guild Wars that's a little easier to find as it is it's own separate map you find inside the abbey. In Guild Wars 2, however, you should look for the "Abbey Ruins" text on the map and head inside of the hollowed out area in the rocks. As soon as you find the stairs inside of the entrance, everything else should be easy to find. 

Eye of the North

"I have recorded your deeds so that we never forget the heroes who saved Tyria."

The Eye of the North is probably one of the most recognizable areas in between the games due to the fact that it hasn't really changed at all. The building still stands just as firm and tall as it ever has. Getting to this area is easy between both games as well; in Guild Wars you only need the expansion pack and to be level ten before getting the mission to arrive there from the main city of your campaign. In Guild Wars 2 all it takes is getting a portal stone (usually from a skritt in a cave in Lions Arch these days or upon character creation.)

Because the two rooms are circular, it's easy to stand and pivot on one spot in each room to get a full view of the rooms. This works in both games, making it perhaps the easiest place to explore both games versions.

One of the most interesting things to note in this area is the fact that the Xunlai chests haven't moved from the outpost between the games. This is the only time we see a Xunlai chest in Guild Wars 2.

If you're interested in seeing some of the previous screenshots from outside of the building, head to this post Here. Don't expect it to be a finished product since the outside was not meant to have been seen.