Guild Wars 2 vs. Rift vs. Trove: Part 2 (Lore)

GW2 vs Rift vs Trove logo

This is the second part of the blog post series “Guild Wars 2 vs. Rift vs. Trove”. The first part was about “Basic information“. This part now focuses on the lore of the games. Once again, my goal is not to say which game has a better lore. Neither do I want to bore you with lots and lots of tiny details of the story. Instead, I want to give you an overview of what the main story is about and to give you a feeling of the world that you will enter should you decide to pick up the game and play. There will be a comparison, but I will definitely not call any game superior here.


As the title and introduction text already suggest, this is a blog post about the lore in those three games. Do not continue reading if you don’t want any story spoilers!

I am now going to start the lore part with the big mystery question:

Does Trove have lore?

trove-logoThe answer isn’t as easy as one may think or hope. Yes, it does have lore, apparently. It just doesn’t really seem like it. The game does not have a consistent world, but rather ever-changing maps which are generated as soon as players enter the map. It has biomes with undead, with pirates, but also with candy-fied enemy NPCs. It has lava, water plasma and chocolate lakes. It even has candy fish! And fish in lava, too. But so far, there is no coherent story part and no real background lore. With the recent revamp of the tutorial, they added lore cubes to it, but those aren’t present in the general world. Those cubes tell a very short story.

The tutorial takes place in the ruins of the Sun Goddess’s temple. Apparently, the Moon had become jealous of her. Something – it says “a great shadow” got released and the only way to save the world was for the Sun Goddess to sacrifice herself.

The main story in Rift when you first enter the game

Rift_Logo_transparentThe lore in Rift is delivered mainly through quests. There is a comic book that came with the original Collector’s Edition, but as far as I know, this is all there is outside of the game. Some more information can be found on the website, like general information on Nightmare Tide, the game’s second expansion and in the lore forum, a sub-section of the official forum. The developers posted a timeline there about the events in Rift back in 2011.

Rift_Lore_Book CollectionApart from quests, you can also “collect” books in Rift which, once collected, you can click on and read through. Of course, those aren’t real books with several hundred pages. But they do give additional lore and they are neatly stores in the collections tab of your character panel.

I actually had to go and read through several postings on various different places to find out more about the lore myself. I’ve known bits but I admit, I’m not the person who always reads the quest texts. :p There are lots and lots of names to memorize when you want to get into the lore and I have always had problems telling the important figures apart (who’s the bad guy, who’s the good guy? And who is the good guy turned bad? ^^). So, I will try to summarize the basic lore as much as possible. Let’s start with the world of Rift as a whole. It consists of several planes of reality. Each plane “belongs” to a certain element. E.g. water, air, but also death and life. The name of the physical world we are on is “Telara” and it is located between those planes. Telara was created by five gods called “The Vigil” who used a material called Sourcestone to do that. The names of the gods are Bahralt, Tavril, Thedeor, Mariel-Taun and Thontic. For this short introduction to the lore, the names aren’t going to be important anymore. I just thought I should add them in case you start playing and come across the names in the game. However, the Vigil aren’t the only gods in this world. In fact, the exact number of gods is unknown. Another group of gods that is known and that caused quite a lot of trouble is called the “Blood Storm“, six dragon gods. Each of them represents a different plane of reality: Regulos (Death), Maelforge (Fire), Laethys (Earth), Greenscale (Life), Crucia (Air) and Akylios (Water). All of them wanted to control Telara and tried to invade it with their legions while also fighting against each other. This gave the inhabitants of Telara and the Vigil the opportunity to eventually fight back. All Blood Storm gods with the exception of Regulos were imprisoned on Telara. Additionally, the Vigil placed a Ward around Telara to protect it from the invading forces from the planes. All could have been peaceful and well now.

So, let me summarize: We’ve got Telara in the middle of the planes now with a Ward made by the creators of Telara, the Vigil, to keep the invaders out.

The bad thing with this Ward is that it’s been getting weaker through the centuries. I mentioned the Sourcestone above already. The Guardians (one of the two factions for player characters in the game) use this to commune with the Vigil. The other faction, the Defiant, use it to build and power their machines. Jostir, king of the Mathosians (the playable human race on Guardian side), died about 25 years before “current game time”. His two sons (Aedraxis and Zareph) fought over the throne. Aedraxis used machines powered with Sourcestone and managed to get a crack into the Ward in the process. Additionally, he was corrupted by Regulos. To put it shortly: With this crack, the Rifts came. Rifts are tears through which the forces from the planes can enter Telara. In game, they are open world events… more on that in the PvE part of this blog post series. Hardly any place is safe from the rifts. I will leave the rest of the story to be told in the game.

The role of your character in this world

You are still following, right? So, Aedraxis was corrupted by Regulos. Longer story short: Regulos is back in action.

You can either play a character in the Guardian or in the Defiant faction – and you are an Ascendant (more on that in a bit). Guardians get their Ascendant status from the Vigil, while Defiants use their sourcestone-powered machines built by Eth  (the human race on Defiant side). The Guardians are strictly against using sourcestone in this way, see it as blasphemous and some also claim it to be the source of their current problems (as sourcestone was used when the Rifts appeared – see above).

Defiant or Guardian - Choose now
Defiant or Guardian – Choose now

Now it’s getting a bit trickier. In the “original timeline”, the Vigil chose people to be Ascendants! They returned them back from the dead to fight against Regulos and his legions. However, only those who believed in them and followed them

Asha Catari
Asha Catari

rigorously got chosen. Asha Catari was not one of them. She did get resurrected by Orphiel, a Defiant who used a source-stone powered machine for this resurrection process. The Guardians fought against the Defiants and wanted to destroy not only their machines, but their whole existence. At the same time, apparently, they failed the fight against Regulos. This is where Defiant players enter the game. All hope is lost, basically. But they are able to resurrect their own Ascendants by using their machines and – this is why telling the lore gets a bit tricky now – they also have a time machine and send you, the player, back in time to before Regulos won the fight.

While your character, being an Ascendant, is basically a “special snowflake” in the world, there are many Ascendants. I don’t like it that much when an MMO treats the story as you are the only and the strongest special person around. Having several special people is much more realistic considering all the other players around you fulfill the same role anyway.

The game has been out for four years now, so of course, a lot of things have happened already. I am not going to write about all of these happenings here, however, because I don’t want to spoil all content for you. This is just the basic and short summary for you to get to know what the main story is all about when you enter the game. If you still want to know more about what has happened since the game’s release, I found a nice little summary in the lore section of the official forum.

The main story in Guild Wars 2 before you first enter the game

GW2_Logo_kl_transparentGuild Wars 2 takes a slightly different approach to delivering the story to its players. There are no traditional quests in the game. Most of the main storyline is delivered by their living world and personal story concept. The personal story starts out differently depending on which race and which options you chose during the character selection screen and also by what you choose at certain points throughout the personal story. It does eventually end the same for every character, though. The personal story is finished at some point and does not continue. Instead, the living world concept took over after the game’s release. The living world so far has seen two “seasons”. Season 1 was only temporary and cannot be played through and experienced anymore now. If you want to know what happened there, you have to rely on outside sources. Season 2 needs to be bought or played through with a player who previously unlocked it. It is similar to quests. You just don’t need to visit a quest giver in the world, but instead, can access each story’s steps in your character panel. This is also where you can find very short summaries of what happened in each story step (both for the personal story as well as for the second season of the living story).

As the name already suggests, Guild Wars 2 is a sequel. The original game, Guild Wars, takes place 250 years prior to where we are in Guild Wars 2. If you want to experience the original story, you can buy the game (3 campaigns and 1 expansion – the campaigns are all “standalone games” and can be played through without owning the others) and play through the story.

Additionally, there are three novels that take place before the main story of Guild Wars 2 starts: Ghosts of Ascalon, Edge of Destiny and Sea of Sorrows. They were written to bridge the time between the original Guild Wars and the sequel.

The world of Guild Wars 2 is called “Tyria“. Do not confuse this Tyria with the other Tyria, the continent. ;) Tyria, the world, is only one among several in the Mists, the “proto-reality that exists between the worlds”.

Tyria, the world, consists of several continents of which Tyria, Cantha and Elona are the major known ones. In the current time, players do not have access to Cantha or Elona and we do not, in fact, know what is going on over there. The land route to Elona has been sealed on Queen Jennah‘s order because of “dark events” going on there. Jennah is the Queen of Kryta and Kryta is one of the regions in Tyria mainly inhabited by humans. Cantha, on the other hand, is cut off from Tyria because of Zhaitan, one of the Elder Dragons (more about those in a bit). With Zhaitan awake and active again, any ship trying to sail to Cantha would be sunk.

So, about those Elder Dragons now – they started to rise about 250 years ago with Primordus being the first. There are six different Elder Dragons in total: Primordus (Fire), Jormag (Ice), Zhaitan (Death and Shadow), Kralkatorrik (Crystal), Mordremoth (Plant and Mind) and a dragon suspected to be in the Unending Ocean. The name of the sixth Elder Dragon is not yet known and since nobody has heard anything, it is assumed that this dragon hasn’t awoken yet.

The Elder Dragons had been asleep for about 11,000 years. Naturally, not much is known about the history in the present time, though the dwarves – now near-extinct and the ones alive are turned to stone – had preserved some knowledge in their legends as did the Jotun. Now they are back and together with their champions and their minions, they destroy everything in their paths – or, even worse, turn every creature into their mindless and will-less minions that fight for them.

One group of adventurers, called “Destiny’s Edge“, was the first to slay one of the Elder Dragon’s champions, the Dragonspwawn. They rose to fame for this heroic deed, but when something went wrong, they – all coming from different racial backgrounds (Asura, Charr, Human, Norn and Sylvari) – could not overcome their partly culturally based distrust for one another, some blamed each other for the death of a beloved former group member and the rest of the group eventually split up. Not long after, your character enters the scene…

The role of your character in this world

Every character enters the world near their racial main city. You begin with a story related to choices you have made during the character creation process. I would say the story is pretty “local”. You certainly do not start out as a hero and throughout the personal story as well as the living story, you gain recognition among the NPCs. In Season 2, you will have some NPCs even calling you “boss”. It is also safe to say that of course, your path will lead you closer to the Elder Dragons and you will play a role in fighting against them.

As you can tell, I’m being deliberately vague here. While I do want to introduce you to the basic lore of the game, I do not want to give you too many spoilers, because I think this would seriously diminish your fun in the game. I will get more into the different races’ in the next piece of this blog post series where we will look at the options available during the character creation process. So, this is all I am going to tell you about your character right now.

If you still want to know more about the history of Tyria, I can recommend the lore videos by WoodenPotatoes.

Conclusion so far

Rift’s strength, if you ask me, is that they also give you the collections to go out there and find all the little lore pieces. Additionally, you can feel the threat everywhere and the open world events make sense. And last but not least, neither faction is the “good” one. Both believe that what they are doing is right.

Guild Wars 2’s strength, on the other hand, is the strong and active community making sure that you can read all about the lore or listen to podcasts telling you about it. The continuous addition of content (up until season 2, at least. At the moment, we’re waiting for the expansion) has moved the main storyline further quickly. There is also lots of information to be found outside of the game including novels and the first game, Guild Wars.

One note about fantasy and steampunk: Even though I mainly mentioned machines in the Rift section, Guild Wars 2 has just as many steampunk elements in it. So if you really cannot stand steampunk in your game lore, neither of those games is a good match for you. Other than that, if you care about lore and want to get into a world full of story, I think both of those games will give you that. Trove, on the other hand, is very, very, very light on lore.

The next blog post will focus on the character creation as well as on the playable races and their background lore.

Are you concerned about getting spoilers?

Heads-Up: I’m trying to be as vague as possible when I touch the area of the story and will not talk about the actual content!

When the latest piece of the Living Story was released last Tuesday, I knew I would not have the time and patience to go through it in one go. On Wednesday, I usually listen to the GuildNews podcast, and I really appreciated them warning their listeners/viewers about spoilers when they started talking about the living story. One day after release, I assume there were still quite a few who hadn’t played through it yet. I quit the podcast at that point, because I did not want to know what would happen.

The funny thing is: I did get spoiled about the ending right before the patch got released. I just didn’t know that this piece was the important new story bit until I reached it myself in the story.


So, did I get annoyed? No. Surprisingly not. I hadn’t known about it until the end, after all. ;)

I think I just watched too many episodes of Columbo as a kid. I remember a friend who made fun of me liking Columbo. He said: How can you like watching that show when you already know who the murderer is within the first minute? I replied: The point is not finding out who the murderer is. The point is finding out how Columbo finds out!

In games – or MMOs rather -, it’s a bit different, of course. Especially in Guild Wars 2, I am not sitting there watching how anybody finds out something. My own character is in the middle of the storyline. It’s not made to be like Columbo. On the other hand, games aren’t like watching TV either. You’re not passive – which may make you get bored when you already know what’s going to happen next. You are actively playing. The fights against the NPCs can still be challenging. There may even be a few good loot drops (spoiler: No, there most likely aren’t. Unless you’re very lucky with the RNG :p). And, of course, there are friends to play with. The latter is probably true for movies as well. I may even have had the most fun watching really bad things on TV with friends, because we would just laugh about it and make jokes. But I digress. The point is that while I’d appreciate not knowing what’s going to happen in advance, it doesn’t bother me much in MMOs. The story and its plot has never been the reason why I’m playing an MMO, after all.


Having said all that, I still very much appreciate all those who start their blog posts with spoiler warnings or say loudly that they will be talking about the story in a bit in their podcast, so you can turn it off in time in case you do not want to get spoiled!

Asura home instance: before and after personal storyline

We were curious to see how many things change in the home instance once you are done with your personal storyline. Flummi, my mesmer, is the only character that is through with her story so far, so I used hers to see what’s in there. I then created a new asura with exactly the same choices, ran her through the tutorial instance and then immediately entered the home instance. So she hasn’t done anything other than the tutorial zone. For fun, we also included screenshots from bookahnerk’s home instance. His thief has also completed the personal storyline, but made different choices than my mesmer. Other obvious differences: My mesmer joined the Durmand Priory, his thief joined the Order of Whispers. Obviously, we also decided for different paths throughout the story, but it would be too much to list every single different step now.

A word of warning: Since this is about the personal storyline, you will find spoilers about the personal storyline here!

Edit: If you want to know more about the personal storyline, I recommend this article: “Personal Storyline – In a Nutshell”.

First things first, apart from the personal storyline, we have seen some bits of living story that gave us items in the home instance. If you haven’t done those, I’m sorry to say but you won’t have them in your home instance and it looks like you may never actually get them unless ArenaNet decides to reintroduce them somehow. Those items are the raw candy corn and quartz crystal formation gathering nodes which give you candy corn and quartz crystals once per day per account and the krait obelisk shard.

Going up on the right side of your home instance in Rata Sum, you can find a little well or spring. If you have done the corresponding living story part, this is where you will find the krait obelisk shard. It gives you one skill point per character (if your character is level 10+. My poor test character could just stare at it in awe, but was not allowed to commute with it yet) and after that, lets you transmute 25 quartz crystals into 1 charged quartz crystal. This can be done once a day per account. You do not need this shard to do that, though. Any “commute” skill challenge can be used for that. It’s just handy to be able to do it when you’re already in the home instance anyway to gather candy corn and quartz crystals.

Other than that, you can also see Peredur. He’s a sylvari that joins your home instance when you have chosen the transatmospheric converter during character creation and when you have played through the corresponding personal story quest. Bookahnerk chose the Infinity Ball, so he does not get Peredur. But you can see a little quaggan in his screenshot: Shashoo joined him as he chose to help the quaggans during his personal storyline.

Further up, you can enter a small area which I almost forgot to screen capture. Bookahnerk reminded me of it. During character creation, you choose a former master. This one will be here. My mesmer chose Professor Blipp, bookahnerk chose Professor Bronk with his thief. As you can see, Meffa, my test asura, has the professor in her home instance as well. So this isn’t something that appears after playing through the story. The NPC will be here as soon as you can enter the home instance for the first time.

Let’s leave this area and go down again. Hronk is another asura that is here from the beginning on. He is there in all three home instances, because each of our characters chose the College of Dynamics. So this is identical to the professors above: It does differ between characters, but it’s an NPC that will be here from the start. You do not need to do anything or play through a story step to unlock the NPC.

Next up is yet another asura, Krasso. This one is an NPC that you get only after completing the corresponding personal story quest. I do not know which one it is exactly, but I assume it’s at the end of joining an Order. Krasso belongs to the Durmand Priory. This explains why my little test asura does not have her in her home instance and bookahnerk doesn’t have her either. As mentioned above, he joined the Order of Whispers. Instead, you can see another asura on the left in bookahnerk’s screenshot: Shodd. He is the counterpart to my mesmer’s Peredur above. You get Shodd when you choose “Infinity Ball” during character creation and after playing through the corresponding story step.

Carys, a female sylvari, is a bit of a mystery here. She does not appear for my test asura, but she is there for my mesmer. At the same time, she cannot be found in bookahnerk’s home instance. He also does not have another NPC instead. So while I got her, he got nobody. Consequently, I must have made a choice during the personal storyline that led to her joining me and he either never met her or did something that made her not want to bum around in his home instance. ;)

Shashoo was already mentioned above in the Peredur screenshots. Next up is Gara. He is not there for my test asura and bookahnerk doesn’t have him either, as he had decided to check out what the quaggans are up to while my mesmer decided to find out more about the grawl. I already knew that quaggans are cute, but can be deadly if provoked. Grawl sounded intriguing. And now I have my very own personal grawl in the home instance. Not sure what he’s doing there, though. I doubt he can help that asura with her research.

Octavian Inkblood with his pet Amphebe and Mira. To be honest, I do not remember ever seeing any of them. Apparently, they do appear at some story step that has to do with Orr and I may have not paid any attention to what I was doing at that point. ;) I just wanted to get through with the personal story after a while. I loved everything up until the end of joining an Order and then it got boring. But well, this is not supposed to be a rant about the personal storyline. This is just showing what’s changing in your home instance. So there you go: My personal corner with the comfortable hammocks is now taken by those three. When I first saw it, I really loved this corner. But it’s no longer mine, apparently.

And we’re already at the last part: Kalliee. She belongs to the Durmand Priory. Neither my test asura nor bookahnerk have her in their home instances. Bookahnerk found another member of the Order of Whispers in his home instance, though: Otto Barenjaard.

Let’s summarize this: My test asura, Meffa, has two NPCs that she got by choosing her former master (Professor Blipp in her case) and the College of Dynamics (Hronk).

After completing the storyline, my mesmer, Flummi, had those two plus six more NPCs. Octavian Inkblood and Mira seem to belong together which is why I’m counting them as one. Other than this couple, there are Peredur (Transatmospheric Converter), Gara (grawl), Krasso and Kalliee (both from Durmand Priory) and Carys.

Bookahnerk, on the other hand, only got five more NPCs: Octavian Inkblood and Mira (again counting as one), Shodd (Infinity Ball), Shashoo (quaggan) as well as Batanga and Otto Barenjaard (both from Order of Whispers).

I did expect a lot more from the home instance when I heard ArenaNet talk about it before release. I knew very well that it was no housing or they would have told us all about it immediately. But I did imagine there would be a lot more changes than just adding static NPCs. The worst part of this is that those NPCs seem lifeless. They stand there, doing idle animations, but nothing else. You cannot even talk to those NPCs! If you don’t recall a name, well, don’t even think about hearing anything from the people hanging out in your home instance. There isn’t even any flavour text, nothing. Go google it, use the game’s wikipedia page, but the game won’t help you.

I’m disappointed and them adding the gathering nodes does not really help make this place more interesting. They did announce it as such a great feature to see what great things you have accomplished during your personal story and that they will be different from one character to the next. The differences bookahnerk and I found were 6 out of 8 NPCs. So yes, while that is definitely a difference, it is rather small, since you cannot even talk to them and well, they’re only a handful NPCs. The structure itself does not change at all. I don’t even know if the home instance is my own lab or not. There is no personal space in there, nothing. Maybe we will see improvements in 2014, but at the moment, I doubt they will use their resources for that.

Ask Nerdy Bookahs (November 21, 2013)

It’s time for another “Ask Nerdy Bookahs”. We have looked at the questions in the search terms that led people to our blog for which we know we do not have fitting entries and we’re trying to answer those questions now.

What determines day or night in Guild Wars 2?

A full circle of day and night takes 2 hours. It’s night for 45 minutes out of those 2 hours. We actually did write about it before as I just remember. So technically, this question doesn’t qualify for the “Ask Nerdy Bookahs” category. But I just love the video too much that bookahnerk made. So I’m featuring it here again for your viewing pleasure.

I can’t think of a name for my asura.

This isn’t a question, but a shocking piece of information. Thanks for coming to us. I will try to help you. First of all, asura names are often quite short. They love their double consonants and they do not have a last name unless they’re very eccentric. Apparently, if they have a name that deviates too much from the naming convention, they are ridiculed. So asura parents should always pay attention to what they want to achieve with the name they give their offspring.

Female asura usually have a two-syllable name with a double-consonant. The names often end with a vowel. Male asura have shorter names that end with a double-consonant.

I’ll give you some examples (those are my own and bookahnerk’s asura, so those names are taken!).

GW2 asura necromancer SynnliFemale: Flummi, Paerjja, Synnli, Yippu, Tendda, Avvla, Groffa

Male: Sproingg, Plimff, Blimff, Pimff, Gromff, Yarff

Of course, a lot of combinations are taken by now. However, I did create Blimff and Synnli not too long ago (about a month for the first and a week for the latter name). Get creative, play around with the vowels and consonants. Or tell your asura that it’s great to be eccentric and give him/her a last name. Or how about something like “Ingenious” in front of the name? Everything that makes them  look as marvelous, magnificent and intelligent as they are is a good thing.

Guild Wars 2:  Melee Engineer?

Yeah… no. Not really. The engineer can use pistols, rifle and shield as weapons. However, engineers can equip weapon kits. One of those kits is the Tool Kit. This replaces your ability bar (1 – 5) with melee skills. The maximum range is between 130 and 240. There is also the “Magnet” skill which lets you pull a mob towards you. Other than that, the engineer has no option of meleeing it. I don’t know how viable this Tool Kit is and if there are builds around it. All I know is that it was quite fun to play when I tried it out.

GW2 Engineer melee weapon tool kit

GW2: Sea of Sorrows

Guild Wars 2 Sea of SorrowsWe have been waiting for a long looooong time and it’s finally here! The book arrived today and thankfully, I had a short day at work. So I sat here waiting for the post to arrive and when it didn’t, I went to look for it (they sometimes deposit it at our “safe spot” without ringing the bell). The parcel was waiting for me upstairs.

Everywhere I looked, it says that the book officially released on June 25. I don’t know why German Amazon already sent the books, but I’m happy they did. ;)

I can’t write a review about it, as I have only read two chapters so far. I will try to write my very first impression about it without adding any spoilers (hopefully). It starts in 1219 AE which is the year that Zhaitan awakens. The first chapter already has some details that you can find in the current game. I think something like this is very nice and it reminds you that the book plays in the very world that you play in as well. Maybe a few years later, but still. By the way, we currently have 1326 AE in the game.

The first two novels were really good already. I liked Ghosts of Ascalon, even though I found the first half or so a bit too long-winded until they finally arrived at their destination (trying to leave out spoilers here as well). Kranxx showed us that even asura can cry (well, he wouldn’t ever have admitted that, of course). And Edge of Destiny was great as it introduced the race’s icons Eir (and Garm), Logan, Zojja, Rytlock and Caithe. While it is true that these books aren’t anything exceptional per se, they were a very entertaining read for me and when I was in the last few chapters, I couldn’t put the books down until I was finished. I don’t judge books by how epic they are, I usually judge them by how much I want to know the end. There are authors who don’t have a great writing style, but they still tell a great story. It’s this that I want (while, of course, writing decently, at least).

The first two novels certainly belong to the “at least a decent writing style” part as they are not bad, but so far it seems that Ree Soesbee’s writing is no comparison. I really like the way she tells the story… there’s no proper way for me to explain this. Not being a native speaker means that I do not know every single word and I do not look up every word I do not know (it would take ages to finish the book then). But I can still see the characters in front of me and I can picture them moving around. I understand why they behave the way they do and I feel sympathy for them. It’s only been two chapters so far, so my opinion may change, but at the moment, I can only say that I can’t wait to read more!