In the last of the screenshot sets in the Environments category, we come to the not-so-mysterious “Wetland Glade” – which, in light of the Gamescom videos, appears to be the Sparkfly Fen region featured in the high-level demo.
This first image appears to be a beach fortified against attack from the sea. Two trebuchets and a smaller cannon point away from the shore, the nearer of the trebuchets defended by a spiked palisade. Behind the palisade, a wooden tower leans against the hillside, although the stone walls behind beg the question of why they aren’t playing host to these war machines.
A second view of the beach reveals a pier as well as an additional trebuchet. It also reveals the ruined nature of the stone fortification above – if this beach is viewed as worth defending now then no doubt there are plans to restore the fortress, but if the walls of the fortress are in no state to bear the weight of these war machines, it may explain their current positions.
We now move into the Fen proper, where shafts of sunlight penetrate the dense foliage above to illuminate a shallow pool nestled among the rocks. Twisted trunks wind their way to claim their share of the sun’s bounty in the background, while twiggy branches hanging from above adds to the feel of the location.
Points of light dotted around this image likely reveal the presence of the sparkflies that give this swamp its name, while the vegetation here is sparser… possibly discouraged from taking root by the water that covers the ground here. The general feel of this screenshot matches the northwestern portion of the region in Eye of the North, reinforced by what appears to be a hylek dwelling in the background to the left of the image.
The glowing vegetation in this image suggests that at least one of the species of the Maguuma has somehow made its way across Sea of Sorrows. The objects alongside with a surprisingly effective blue-and-yellow camouflage may be homes for the locals, or another strange form of fungus or flora.
The undead vessel known as the Ash Horizon pushes itself out of the waters. While the bones beneath the ship make it look as if it is being lifted out of the water by some immense sea monster, they are actually part of the structure of the vessel, the tusks of a massive skull only partially visible here serving as a dangerous ram.
A second image of the scene shown in the screenshot before last, showing how it looks at a different time of day. From this angle, we can see clearly inside the striped structure, suggesting that it most likely does serve as someone’s home… or some cunning carnivorous plant.
A third view of what is looking increasingly more like a village, including a striped hut of a different design – and possibly a different purpose. Water on multiple sides shows that the inhabitants are either making use of sparse dry land in the area… or have settled on a small peninsula for its defensive value.
In the final image, a dimly-lit causeway is obscured by the mists and trees that surround it. From observations in demo videos, this looks like it might be the Tower of Modius from which an Orrian lich seeks to complete some unknown work.
Lucky enough to have played the demo at Gamescom and PAX and have an insight to share about one of the locations shown above? What do you think about the apparent Hylek architecture? Comment below!
Next up, we move out of the environments section to take a look through the PvP-oriented screenshots.