In the first article of this new Guild Wars 2 column, Matt Adams looks at the Sylvari and their mysterious origins.
In Guild Wars 1 there was a scrying pool located at the back of the Eye of the North. Periodically players would be led back to the pool throughout the story of the expansion, to gaze into its depths. During those moments, visions would be shown to the player revealing information of the fight to come.
Much like the scrying pool in Guild Wars 1, this column will gaze intently (but not creepily) at Guild Wars 2 and look at what could come to pass. I have no insider information, just all the information that the community has at its disposal. As such, any and all future telling should not be considered confirmed, destined or pre-ordained, just a “What If” look at things like lore, story and even game mechanics that very well could, or maybe won’t, come to Guild Wars 2.
For our first journey through the looking glass of The Scrying Pool we will be looking at the Sylvari.
Do be forewarned, SPOILERS for the Sylvari personal story lie herein.
The Sylvari is a race of humanoid plant people born of the Pale Tree. While the race is less than 25 years old at the beginning of Guild Wars 2, the tree that gives birth to the Sylvari was planted from a single seed over 250 years ago.
That seed was not the only seed of its kind however. Ronan, a human fighting with the Shining Blade, happened across a cave in the jungle that was full of strange seeds. He left with one to show his daughter only to find both his wife and daughter slain by the Shining Blade’s enemy. In despair he threw down his weapons and planted the seed upon their graves.
Sylvari Characters that chose the Where Life Goes, So Too Should You option during character creation are given an interesting story arc at level 11. In this story arc you meet a strange Sylvari who seems to have lost his memory. As you journey and help him, you come to discover that Malyck is not born of the Pale Tree but another tree believed to be somewhere in the Maguuma Jungle. So the Pale Tree appears to not be the only tree that has grown from the seeds in the cave.
It is hard to know whether Malyck is indicative of the Sylvari from this other tree. He knows nothing, was separated from his tree before his birth, and apparently is not connected to a dream. Being a completely different and previously unknown tree they wouldn’t have grown with Ventari’s Tablet, something the Nightmare Court had hoped would make those Sylvari more susceptible to falling into Nightmare.
One thing that the Ventari’s Tablet doesn’t explain about the Sylvari’s nature, however, is their desire to fight against the Elder Dragons. While Primordius and Jormag awoke before Ventari died, neither awoke anywhere near the sanctuary where Ventari kept watch over the growing tree. So why then do the Sylvari desire to fight the dragons and why are they immune to their corruption? Even Malyck who knows nothing still wants to fight the dragons and promises to bring back an army from his tree to fight them.
In the time old conundrum of the chicken and the egg, there is always one chicken and one egg. However with the Pale Tree there was an entire cave full of seeds. What if the Sylvari is not actually a new race, but a time forgotten one thought to be extinct?
The sole knowledge of races since the last cycle of the Elder Dragons mentions only the survivors: Dwarves, Mursaat, Seers, Jotun, and a serpentine race called the Forgotten. However, there is no mention of the races that existed but perished during the time the Elder Dragons were last awake other than that the Dragons reportedly caused the extinction of most life on Tyria. Could it be possible that the Sylvari were believed to be wiped out by the dragons and forgotten by time?
How then did the seeds survive through the extinction? What if the Sylvari trees, knowing they were losing the war, sent some Sylvari on a special Wyld Hunt to protect the future of their race held within seeds that were small enough to hide from danger but still had the power to grow into the trees that would restart the Sylvari race?