Editorials

The Mursaat Are Coming! The Mursaat Are Coming!

Ever since the beginning of Guild Wars 2’s development, diehard Guild Wars lore hounds have speculated and theorized on how and when the mursaat might make a return to the game. Would they simply make a quick cameo and never be seen again, or might they have a more significant role to play? Well, after the expansion trailer ArenaNet hit us with at PAX South, not to mention the Pale Tree’s vision and the cinematics at the end of Living World season 2, there is a very strong case for the mursaats’ potential inclusion in the Heart of Thorns expansion pack.

To start off, let’s dig right into the brand new trailer from PAX. This trailer contains a veritable plethora of potential mursaat and White Mantle references. For a start, there are several shots of hovering, spectral creatures wearing masks, which could definitely be mursaat based on their appearance in Guild Wars Prophecies. A particularly interesting shot near the end of the trailer features one of these possible mursaat evoking a magical beam of energy from its hand, with the caption “New Allies.” This would suggest that the mursaat could potentially come into play aiding us during our fight against the dragons, which would definitely be refreshing after slaughtering hordes of them in Guild Wars Prophecies. Near the beginning of the trailer, there is also an extravagant shot of a sweeping city in the Maguuma Jungle. The architecture in the city is eerily reminiscent of White Mantle architecture, and as we are all aware, where there are Mantle, there are mursaat.

A mursaat as seen in Guild Wars 1 (left), vs. the creatures we see in the new Heart of Thorns trailers (right).

A mursaat as seen in Guild Wars 1 (left), vs. the creatures we see in the new Heart of Thorns trailers (right).

During the events of Guild Wars Prophecies, the White Mantle was the name of a religious cult that worshiped the mursaat as gods. They enjoyed a brief stint as the rulers of Kryta, but were overthrown by the Shining Blade during the Krytan Civil War. What remains of their organization now resides in the far reaches of the Maguuma Wastes and Jungle, which also happens to be the area we will be pushing into come Heart of Thorns. As of right now, it is still unconfirmed whether the White Mantle still have contact with the mursaat, or if they even still worship them. However, if we consider that their entire organization was founded on the idea that the mursaat are divine beings, it is likely that the White Mantle still deify them. With this in mind, the potential is definitely there for the White Mantle to eventually lead us to the mursaat, especially if we end up allying with them. Not only does the caption in the PAX trailer support such an alliance, but the circumstances do as well. With Mordremoth stirring in their back yard, the White Mantle and mursaat may be willing to put aside petty differences and band together against a common enemy.

If we were to ally with the mursaat, their knowledge and power would most likely be invaluable in the fight against the Elder Dragons, as they were alive for and survived the dragons’ previous awakening around 10,000 B.E. Their magical abilities could far surpass our own, as there is the possibility that their power is not limited by the power of the Bloodstone. In addition, they were able to create a spell that allows them to fade in and out of reality, effectively shielding them from the destructive hunger of the Elder Dragons and preserving their race. While it is unlikely that they would transfer this ability to us, it could come into play during our fight against the dragons. However, the likelihood that we would trust the mursaat right off the bat is very low, as they did slaughter quite a few innocent Krytans back in Guild Wars Prophecies. This is where the seers, a race as old as the mursaat but much more mysterious, could also come into play. After the previous Elder Dragon uprising, the seers warred with the mursaat and lost, but not before developing a potent defense against their powerful magic. If we wanted to work alongside the mursaat, it is extremely likely that we would first want the seers’ magical infusion to use against their magic so that we would be able to hold our own should they betray us. Alternatively, or even additionally, the concept of Ascension, which was recently introduced to the game via the Living World, could also play a role in our dealings with the mursaat. To put it concisely, Ascension involves communing with the Old Gods of Tyria to receive all sorts of blessings and special abilities (see Starconspirator’s article “Ascension the Hard Way” for more on Ascension). In Guild Wars Prophecies, one of the numerous bonuses received from Ascension was the Gift of True Sight, which allowed the player character to see through the mursaat’s invisibility. If we were to encounter the mursaat, would it not be prudent to not only guard ourselves against their offensive capabilities with the seers’ infusion, but also undermine their defensive capabilities with the Gift of True Sight?

Finally, let us examine some older evidence that could potentially point to the mursaat. The Heart of Thorns trailer released at the end of Living World season 2 as a whole is nothing short of sensational, but we’re going to focus on one specific bit. Fairly early on in the cinematic we can see what appears to be one of the same mysterious floating entities visible in the PAX trailer. As previously stated, this model is very similar to the mursaat models we see in Guild Wars Prophecies, the only glaring difference being the glowing flesh we see in the entities in the Heart of Thorns trailers. However, the odd structure we see this figure interacting with the in the pre-PAX Heart of Thorns cinematic is the basis for this particular theory.

The figure seen in the Heart of Thorns trailer released at the end of Living World season 2.

The figure seen in the Heart of Thorns trailer released at the end of Living World season 2.

During the scene in question, the camera pans around this hovering figure as it casts a spell of some sort that causes the structure to turn a brilliant, golden color. This entire scenario relates to a couple things, one being that during the height of their civilization, the mursaat were said to have lived in magnificent, golden cities. This could tie into the Pale Tree’s vision at the end of Dragon’s Reach: Part II. That cinematic featured a shot of a dragon flying above the clouds and avoiding large beams of light erupting all around it. While the dragon and the pretty lights are no doubt important, it is the buildings that are most interesting, at least in this case. Not only are these buildings so tall that they poke through the clouds, but they grow taller as the scene progresses.

In the Guild Wars Manuscripts, which were the manuals for the original games, players could read the story of Saul D’Alessio, a man who stumbled upon a mursaat city while in exile from Kryta. When describing the city, the manuscripts state that the city was made up of “massive towers reaching into the heavens.” Since architecture of this scale is virtually nonexistent in Tyria, the idea that the towers in the Pale Tree’s vision are mursaat structures is a relatively sane one. If the towers seen in the Pale Tree’s vision are mursaat towers, and the figure seen in the pre-PAX Heart of Thorns trailer is a mursaat, could this mursaat be enchanting these buildings and making them its own, potentially causing them to grow taller as we see in the vision?

The structures visible in the Pale Tree's vision can be seen above the clouds.

The structures visible in the Pale Tree’s vision can be seen above the clouds.

In any event, the figures we see in the two Heart of Thorns cinematics are similar to mursaat in both manner and appearance. Furthermore, the mursaat have direct links with both the White Mantle and the concept of Ascension, both of which have been hinted at in season 2 of the Living World and Heart of Thorns. As ArenaNet continues to reveal information about Heart of Thorns, players should take care to keep an eye out for cryptic hints regarding the inclusion of the mursaat and continue to speculate on what role they might play in the upcoming content.

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