This weekend the wait is finally over. Guild Wars 2’s headstart begins and all of those early adopters who pre-purchased the game can rampage across Tyria without fear of character wipes or the fleeting glimpses given by stress tests.

The game is fully and finally arriving.

In anticipation of the event, I thought I’d write about a chunk of real estate that helped give the game its name and will form the overarching story of Guild Wars 2. It also promises to bring an aspect that I feel has been somewhat missing from the many superb systems we’ve seen so far.

But more on that later.

The place I’m speaking of is Orr; once home to a gleaming, bustling beacon of power, then a watery grave and now the home of one of the most powerful entities to darken the face of Tyria.

Orr will be where Destiny’s Edge will need your to take on the might of Zhaitan and where the first chapter in Guild Wars 2’s story will end.

So it’s just a bit important.

The History of Orr

Orr was mainly known for the city of Arah. This holy city was the home of at least three of the six human gods, Balthazar, Dwayna and Melandru – Grenth, Kormir and Lyssa rounded out the list. These are the gods who comprise the choices when you create your human character and whose statues are seen in Divinity’s Reach.

Grenth and Kormir were not always counted among the six gods. Of particular interest is Kormir’s predecessor Abaddon, the god who decided to throw magic among the human races like confetti at a wedding; which caused all sorts of strife.

This sudden amassing of power among the humans led to wars that threatened complete extinction – think Mutually Assured Destruction without the fun acronym or bothersome politicking. King Doric made a trek down to Arah and begged for the gods’ intervention before all that was left was a bunch of cinders and a deflating sense of disappointment.

The rest of the gods weren’t exactly pleased with Abaddon’s actions and a war broke out. Abaddon was defeated; the remaining gods tried to limit the excesses of magic – which worked temporarily — on Tyria and then left in the event called the Exodus.

As is often the way, the measures taken to take back the power of magic only worked to a degree, the Bloodstones in which the magic was trapped began to leak.

The hunger for power was rife again and guilds across Tyria began to battle ferociously, which led to the Guild Wars after which the first game is named – no it isn’t about the PvP system.

Bludgeoning each other to the point of exhaustion and destruction, Ascalon, Kryta and Orr ceased their conflict due to the invasion of the Charr. Making the warring humans look far more appealing to each other than being ripped apart in a whirl of fur and fang, the three factions put aside their differences to attempt to fend off the new threat.

It didn’t go well.

The Charr brought on The Searing and laid waste in massive swaths with magical fire that wreaked havoc in Ascalon. It didn’t take long for the warbands to head to Orr.

The personal advisor to Orr’s King headed deep below the former home of the gods and sought out a power to hold back the Charr from Arah. Though you might hope these nutters would have learned their lesson by now, this advisor — who I imagine gave great advice like “Running with scissors is fun” — used a scroll of immense power to stop the Charr in their tracks.

It worked a treat as the magic decimated virtually the entire Orrian peninsula, sinking Arah below the seas and creating a whole bunch of very startled and newly deceased human ghosts.

Nice work there fella. /facepalm

The Big Bad

If you look on the world map in Guild Wars 2, you’ll notice that Orr isn’t just a big damp patch between a few islands anymore. Orr came back to the surface thanks to the main villain of GW2: Zhaitan.

The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy – by the much missed genius Douglas Adams – contains this explanation about space:

“Space is big. You just won’t believe how vastly, hugely, mind-bogglingly big it is. I mean, you may think it’s a long way down the road to the chemist’s, but that’s just peanuts to space.”

Now replace the word “space” in that quotation with “Zhaitan” and you get a good idea where I’m going with this.

Zhaitan is an Elder Dragon. They make other dragons look like disgruntled turtles.

To add to the slight problem in dealing with something that can raise a whole peninsula when it wakes up in the morning, Zhaitan also has dominion over the dead. That includes those that were already floating around Orr and those it added when it sent out a massive tidal wave which put Lion’s Arch underwater – hence LA’s current eclectic, boat based layout that arose from its rebuilding.

Anyone who has attempted to sail those waters since, has been killed and added to Zhaitan’s considerable army – up until the time you make your character in Guild Wars 2 on Friday night/Saturday morning/whenever you buy the game that is.

If Zhaitan can be taken down, it would open up passage to the currently lost Cantha – logical direction for the first expansion?

So that’s why Orr is so incredibly important. It is a place pivotal in Tyria’s past and your character’s future. You’re going to need some serious help and getting together the heroes of Destiny’s Edge is your first step – for more on that have a read of my piece on Logan Thackeray.

At the End, It’s Just a Game

Why I think Orr has additional importance is that it contains something even more mysterious and discussed than its lore: Guild Wars 2’s endgame.

Of course GW2’s design means that there is more to do at max level than Orr. But for me, it is vital that Orr brings the kind of large-scale challenge that makes guilds vital.

I’ve been known to go off a bit about guilds. So here I go again.

Right now, there are plenty of reasons to be in a guild. The social possibilities that Guild Wars 2’s systems allow are fantastic. You can join a guild to be among like-minded fans of crochet while also belonging to a PvP guild that delivers furious face pwnage.

For a purely social guild, for WvW focused guilds, for sPvP guilds, for casual PvE guilds; Guild Wars 2 has plenty to delight in.

For guilds focused on large-scale, challenging PvE content, there hasn’t been much in evidence.

Orr could be the answer to that issue.

Initially you will be hitting Orr across three fronts like a scene from Lord of the Rings meets Bands of Brothers. You will have to take those landing points and head into Arah itself, freeing up the shrines to the former gods to unleash their power and give you access to Zhaitan.

How you might possibly take down Zhaitan is something that makes my brain boggle.

What I hope is that the coordinated effort to keep those temples free of Zhaitan’s forces — with the constant threat of those event chains going in the wrong direction — requires strong PvE guilds to enter the fray.

If Orr delivers the kind of epic, challenging experience that will please players who have been living in raids for over a decade – note I didn’t say it has to be a raid – then ArenaNet might really have made a game for almost everyone.

You can catch me over on every day where my excitement continues to verge on the incomprehensible and of course make sure to watch the last GuildCast before launch, right here on GAMEBREAKER.

Thanks for reading.

A veteran MMO player of over 13 years, Scott is a writer, editor and educator with a passion for gaming. He can be found smiling blankly over his guardian in Guild Wars2, lane running in League of Legends, or pulling off audacious headshots in Battlefield 3. Scott is Editor In Chief for ZAM and a regular co-host on GuildCast.
  • Marc Robichaud

    DUDE!!! completely amazing and detailed article. This is perfect for those lore hounds who are new to the series. (not me but i can appreciate the effort put in for everyone) Keep up the good work!

    • ScottHawkes

       Will do my best, thanks Marc.

  • Julio Cruz

    Great write up. :)

    • ScottHawkes

       Thanks Julio.

  • Frank B

    Thanks Scott, good to see  you back on GB a little.

    • ScottHawkes

       Cheers Frank, I’ll still be popping by.

  • Old Ben

    > You can join a guild to be among like-minded fans of crochet 

    Who needs Destiny’s Edge when you can join Nehdra’s Needles?

    Bonus RPG nerd points to anyone who recognizes that name (offer void if you Google it).

    • Dularr

      Have to google half the stuff you write. 

      • Old Ben

        If only you applied that to the stuff _you_ write, before hitting that “Post” button…

        • Dularr

          nice, jerk.

          • Old Ben

            My dad could beat up your dad.

          • Leo P

            but could your dad beat up his mom?

  • Davey Diablo

    Great article, cheers

  • Karizee

    This is going to be sooooo good.

  • Silver Dyne

    The destruction of Orr was on purpose this adviser is the final boss (Lich) of the first game in Guild Wars 1, he destroyed Orr in command of Abbadon.

  • RolyVento

    I really hope that ORR becomes this open server raid that I believe it will be. Just like W vs W, this can be a server vs Orr kinda thing. Everyone that has reached level 80 can partake of conquering the land of ORR and opening up the last level 80 dungeon where 
    Zhaitan. reins!

    • ScottHawkes

       I know exactly what you mean Roly.

  • Jant0n

    Thanks for the article Scott. It was a great read!

  • Isaure Sacerdot

    Thanks for the article ! It was great and the reference to h2g2 is just so cool.

    • ScottHawkes

       Thanks Isaure, I couldn’t resist the reference. I’m a huge fan of Douglas Adams.

  • Dularr

    Very good article Scott.   I really do look forward to seeing Orr, it does sound amazing.

  • Filip Kovač

    Nice article! Great job :)

  • Mr.Mustacho

    Ascalon had arguable the strongest military force (they “won” the previous guild war and had little conflict on their own soil) and they were as good as defeated in less than a day

    going into Arah might have been a bad move of Khilbron in hindsight, but was it really such a bad idea to search for a miracle rather than watch your fellow man get eaten by furries

  • Jadedsheamus

    I’m trying not to get my hopes up too much, I know spvp/wvw will entertain me for at least a few months, or possibly longer as they add new maps, game types, and spectator mode. If pve, proves to be enthralling it will just be a bonus.

  • Bob

    GW2 is having another stress test tomorrow at noon to 4 pm PST.

  • Harald Boterman

    Scott, my dear man, if only u would start writing fantasy books instead of just articles …. it’s written in the stars that one of those books would be filmed and outshine the LOTR trilogy by far… and who knows… even make an mmo based upon it…
    When hell freezes over u say? …. what’s that chill I suddenly feel crawling along my spine up to the nape of my neck…

    • ScottHawkes

       I’ve written a few for my own amusement but who knows one day? Just way too busy at the moment.

      • Old Ben

        “Once upon a time there was a guardian and he was… lovely. So lovely. Ohhh…”

  • Russell Hunt

    Great read Scott!  Oh and Ben you are a real douche man, you already know that though.

    • ScottHawkes

       Thanks Russell!

  • Bastian_Star

    great article Scott, love the lore for this game! love seeing you and the gang on Guildcast btw, has been one of the highlights of my week… p.s~Divinity’s Edge?

    • David Wise

      He ment Destinies edge and it is the 5 (used to be 6) Heroes, one from each race (and one dead one, which made for a 2nd asuran) Each will be the mentor for your character, and as the personal story and dungeon stories progress they will reform with you as a new member. This was all done in the book Edge of Destiny, which was honestly a trainwreck, Anet gave a list of events that had to happen to the author and he really botched the way it was written. Its a good read to at the least give you and idea of the story tho

      • Bastian_Star

        I read the books and enjoyed them both…it’s unfortunate about the Edge of Destiny book, it really felt rushed and could have easily been at least two books; I knew “Divinity’s Edge” was a simple mistake and was pointing it out because I knew he would want to fix it…just trying to be helpful, I hope I didn’t come across rude :/ …btw, thanks for taking the time to post

        • ScottHawkes

           Not rude at all, no worries.

    • ScottHawkes

       In my defense: my brain hurt. Thanks Bastian.

  • Hamad Ali Al-Jalahma

    Thanks for the article scott.

    • ScottHawkes

       You’re welcome Hamad, thanks for commenting.

  • J F


  • Neal Reagan

    Very insightful. I didn’t play GW1, but I will play this one because Gary said I should. lol jk, This game looks great, and from what I’ve heard, should be a keeper.

  • Lynx Raven Raide

    For some reason I read that with Scott’s voice in my head…

    • Old Ben

      I keep hearing his voice in my head too. But I ignore it and just carry on killing.

    • P Fenwick

      Oddly enough me too.  What was particularly disturbing was hearing a brummie voice in my head.  /shudder  :p

      • ScottHawkes

         I’m not a Brummie!

  • Josh Rosenvelt

    Thanks Scott, never played GW1 but my family and friends are really looking forward to getting stuck into this game and getting some info on the Lore behind GW.

    • ScottHawkes

       My pleasure, thanks Josh.

  • Dixhallpike

    Thanks Scott! Even though I know alot about GW2 lore this article was a nice read. I try to to grab anything GW2 related to make the next few days till prerelease go faster.

  • Jean JuJu

    The Cataclysm was caused when Vizier Khilbron, adviser to King Reza of Orr, ventured into the Catacombs beneath Arah in search of magic powerful enough to drive the Charr out of Orr. He read from one of the Lost Scrolls, a text of forbidden knowledge, unleashing the Cataclysm that destroyed Orr. Khilbron himself was transformed by the magic and became the Lich Lord.
    During Guild Wars Nightfall, it becomes apparent that Abaddon was the driving force behind the Cataclysm. Many of those slain by the Cataclysm are now trapped in the Realm of Torment, indicating they have been touched by his presence. Further, the demon Razakel reveals he manipulated Khilbron into using the forbidden knowledge in Arah while the Titans ordered the Charr to invade Orr. The true purpose of the invasion was to carry out Abaddon’s will and destroy Arah, the holy city where the gods dwelt before the Exodus of the Gods. Khilbron, having converted to the worship of Abaddon, used the chaos of the invasion to gain access to the Lost Scrolls and carry out his god’s will.

    Missed that bit or didn’t mention on purpose?

    • Lian Wan

      Well it’s a bit of a spoiler but I guess it’s been long enough.

    • ScottHawkes

       It was one of those aspects that I didn’t want to go into because if I did it was another whole section in an already busy article.

  • Kevin Raymond Macduff

    i know almost anything on guildwars and im a big PvE fan so it will be nice to what they do with orr and the other chapters of guildwars 1

  • Maylo Derksen

    Scott, one thing: 
    “You’re going to need some serious help and getting together the heroes of Divinity’s Edge is your first step” 

    The group is called Destiny’s Edge ;-)

    But lovely article!!! 

    • ScottHawkes

       Yeah that’s my addled brain thinking two different things and merging them. Thanks Maylo.

  • Ray Colton

    Guild Wars 2 article with a hitchhiker’s guide to the galaxy reference? This day just managed to get even better.