Below you can find the full interview with Ree Soesbee as has been included in GuildMag issue #1. Covering the Seers, Zaishen, Xunlai and the orders in Guild Wars 2
GuildMag: There has been a mention of three specific multi-racial orders that can be found in Guild Wars 2: The Order of Whispers, Durmand Priory and the Vigil. Can you tell us some more about the development of each of these three orders?
Ree Soesbee: Each of these orders spans the breadth of the continent, organizing on a wide-scale level through all the racial lands and capital cities. However, the histories of these orders – and their methods – are very different. The Vigil is a young group, founded within this generation. The Order of Whispers, as you know, originates in Elona and was active in Guild Wars: Nightfall. The Durmand Priory was founded in between, around the time of the Rise of Orr and the flooding of Lion’s Arch. Founded for different reasons, they have all come to the same conclusion: If the Elder Dragons rise and sate their hunger upon Tyria, they will destroy the world.
This doesn’t mean the groups are allies, however. Each of them espouses different methods and practices; what one group might see as tactically necessary, another might condemn. What one sees as a foundation of hope, a second might call naïveté. As they interact throughout the story of Guild Wars 2, the orders might find themselves allied or opposed to one another, based on the situation. The Vigil tends toward more militant, straightforward solutions. The Durmand Priory is a group of scholars, interested in history and lore. The Order of Whispers prefers to maintain a low profile, controlling and manipulating a situation without ever showing their hand. In the game, a character can join one of these three orders. Depending on that choice, the character will see events unfold from the perspective of that order, and can become involved in the Guild Wars 2 story from a different point of view.
We will be revealing a great deal about these orders in time, including the names of their leadership, their ongoing activities, and plans. Stay tuned for more!
GuildMag: In the Original Guild Wars, seers were a pretty mysterious race, what can you tell us about them and what role will they play in either GWB or GW2?
Ree Soesbee: There have been a lot of questions about the Seers and their ancient war with the mursaat. Sadly, these aren’t questions we can answer at great length without giving away some very deep secrets of the Guild Wars world. I can say that they are one of the oldest races of Tyria, dating back long before the Gods brought the humans to the world; to the time of the writing of the Tome of Rubicon. In those ancient days, the Seers fought against the mursaat, but they were in turn defeated by their enemies, and their civilization lost to the ravages of time.
Some remnants of that civilization, and that ancient time, still remain in modern-day Tyria (both in GW and GW2), but often, those who discover such things do not realize what they have found. There are opportunities in Guild Wars 2 to uncover some of the most ancient lore, including previously untold tidbits about the Seers and their story, but such information will be very difficult to come by.
GuildMag: In the original Guild Wars, the Xunlai and Zaishen were of great importance to the game. What role, if any, will they play in Guild Wars 2 and can you tell us some more about their activities during the 250 years that have passed?
Ree Soesbee: The Xunlai and the Zaishen orders still exist in Guild Wars 2, but hold positions of significantly less prominence than they once did. We can’t tell you much about account storage, banking, and so forth, but we can say that their ties to Cantha have been mostly lost, due to the severing of all contact between the northern and southern continents because of the rise of Orr.
The Zaishen still hold tournaments and serve to honor and protect the holy places, but now they honor more than Balthazar alone. They honor the Spirit of Bear, and the Eternal Alchemy’s place in chaos and strife; they revere Charr heroes as well as Sylvari dreams of chivalry and courage.
GuildMag: In the released artwork we can see a lot of machinery, from robots to trains to airships, will these have a function in game, or do they serve a different purpose?
Ree Soesbee: The charr are a very technologically evolved race. Because of their scorn for magic and faith, they have turned to ingenuity and engineering to advance their culture. They have created and improved on explosives, guns and mechanical firepower, and siege engine technology far beyond that of any other race.
Not to be outdone, the asura manage to keep up handily with their magical inventions. Crystals, arcane fluxes, energy-manipulating rods all work in unison under the guidance of asura hands. Sometimes, it can be difficult to distinguish asura magical machinations from charr technological engineering.
Science, both magical and technological, has advanced beyond that used in the original Guild Wars. While Guild Wars 2 is still a fantasy-based world of high magic, it now also has a unique feel of technology mixed in, brought about by a natural progression of research and development. I’m not sure entirely what ‘will they have a function, or will they serve a different purpose,’ means, but I can say that these items, and the racial advancements they represent, are integral to the lore and gameplay of Guild Wars 2.
GuildMag: With the current on-going campaign of Guild Wars Beyond going on, will we be seeing physical changes to the world of Guild Wars, like in cities or other places, as a result to this on-going campaign?
Ree Soesbee: As with any world’s history, significant events can cause significant changes. Players who have been watching our trailers and reading our lore interviews already know that the world of Guild Wars 2 has changed both culturally and physically from that of the original game. The rise of the Elder Dragons has left scars upon the world and its people, as have other significant events over the course of the past two hundred and fifty years.
We are working closely with the Live Team, interweaving our lore with their activities, and making sure that the history of Tyria is unified. All we can say at this time is that Guild Wars 2 will certainly take into account the entirety of Tyria’s past.
Since you’re reading this interview, why not check out our magazine in total while you’re at it? You can find it via the following link http://www.guildmag.com/ma, click on Download and there you go!