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Go Behind the Scenes in the Dev Process Behind the Aetherblades in Guild Wars 2: End of Dragons

Christina Gonzalez Updated: Posted:
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End of Dragons  has been out for more than a month now, and for those who have played through the story, the Guild Wars 2 team is beginning to detail some of the creative process behind the expansion’s new content. Story Design Lead Connor Fallon (who has shared today that he has left ArenaNet) has a new (spoiler-filled) dev blog, “Developing the Aetherblades” on some design decisions behind the Aetherblades.

During concept and development, the team wanted to have a returning faction in Cantha in order to build a connection to the larger world and overall story being told. The Aetherblades were chosen, brought back from Living World Season 1 in 2013. Living World Season 1 will be rolling out for free to beginning soon.

A key sequence was one of the early things they prototyped: 

“We’ve had multiple moments in Guild Wars 2 where you and the Pact deployed airships against Elder Dragons; what if instead you took on a bunch of airships with an Elder Dragon? We story folks love our thematic resonance and character arcs, but sometimes you gotta put on your cool explosion hat!”

Yet, as Fallon says, the value of choosing the Aetherblades went beyond a cool sequence. Because they fled back to The Mists after Scarlet attacked Lion’s Arch, they had opportunities to fill in some gaps and room to work with lore. Since they had several characters come back from the Mists changed, they decided that no one would return from there unchanged.

So the team figured out how to change not just the Aetherblades, but their ships, their armor, their armies, and much more. Revenant powers? Hmm. For one of the game’s important villains, they brought back Ankka, as a connection to the past that would have an impact. Mai Trin and Ivan also came along for the ride, and Fallon details how they were both woven into End of Dragons and why they mattered.

Overall, it’s a deep dive into one of the memorable parts of the expansion, and is especially rewarding for longtime players. See the full devblog over at Guild Wars 2.


Christina Gonzalez

Christina is MMORPG.COM’s News Editor and a contributor since 2011. Always a fan of great community and wondering if the same sort of magic that was her first guild exists anymore.