Crown Jewel of Kryta
In Guild Wars 2, when the world’s largest city of the former human empire is mentioned, most people think of Lion’s Arch. However, they would be wrong. This honor falls to the massive city of Divinity’s Reach. Enormous spires stretch to the sky like jeweled fingers, housing Kryta’s rich and powerful Queen Jennah and the politicians of the Ministry which surround her. Meanwhile, the commoners and disadvantaged citizens are left to their own devices below.
However, the city provides for those willing to move up in the social ladder. Although the arts district has long since been swallowed up by a Great Collapse, a fully stocked crafting area thrives along the District Promenade. Cartloads of books can be seen parked around the main streets, the titles hinting at historical information on the complex history of the world.
The District Promenade is the main corridor leading around the entire city with the districts and their High and Low Roads branching off of it. Here you can find representatives of the Seraphs, the largest military organization, who can also be found guarding Kryta tirelessly against invasion.
The southern portion of the District Promenade contains the crafting areas, featuring Weaponsmithing, Armorsmithing, Jewelry making, Leatherworking, Huntsman items, Tailoring, and Artificing.
Durmand Hall is the headquarters for the Durmand Priory, tasked with collecting and preserving the knowledge of the world. The Hall contains books about the history of Tyria, the Elder Dragons, the Centaur War, and many other topics.
Radiating out from the Promenade are the Low Roads leading down into the various districts and running directly beneath the High Roads. While they lack the pageantry of their skyborn counterparts, they often lead to special areas like the city’s cemetery in the case of the Grenth Low Road and the Vigil Hall on the Melandru Low Road.
You’ll overhear intense conversations about the Centaur War.
Taking a left off of the Dwayna Low Road and its line of vendors will find you in the Eastern Commons. This is a cluster of closely built houses arching over the street giving a claustrophobic feel to the area. Many of these buildings appear run down, despite the best efforts of the locals at decor. Beggars are not uncommon here, but beware of giving them your time as they are not always grateful for it or any monetary donations you may make. Many of the other residents are refugee farmers from the Centaur War. Overhearing some conversations will allow you to understand some of the intense feelings surrounding this conflict, as shattered families and destitute victims alternate between blaming the Crown and the Ministry.
To brighten up this darker corner of the city, the Ministry has thrown a never-ending carnival. The celebration in the Eastern Commons includes the famous Mechanical Orchestra by the renowned inventor Uzolan (patronage courtesy of Minister Caudecus Beetlstone, Lord of Beetltun).
One of the greatest secrets of the Eastern Commons is the Dead End bar, a small place difficult to find but worth the effort.
Named for the fallen Ascalon prince by the proud immigrants who have settled in this part of the city, Rurikton sports a feeling of Little Italy meets Little Greece. Stucco-walled buildings make a formation around a gryphon-topped fountain, just across from the mansion of Minister Wi.
Here you will also find statues devoted to Bravery and Resilience; reflections of the undying will of Ascalon and its people. There is even something that looks like an old aqueduct near the Plaza of Lyssa.
Tucked away behind the barrels in the basement of the Maiden’s Whisper, you’ll find Willow. Chatting with her reveals that you are becoming more well known in the world of adventuring.
The Plaza of Kormir features not only a statue of the goddess of order, spirit, and truth, but also two enormous painted tablets. On the left is the dark god Abaddon, who Kormir supplanted. On the right appears to be the other five gods and goddesses looking on upon their fallen comrade.
An Asura gate will take the player to Ebonhawke Stronghold, a mining town converted to a fort which is still in use today. This fort was an important strategic point concerning the Searing and the war with the Charr.
The Salma District is an instance where much of the personal storyline for the area takes place for human characters. It is named for Queen Salma who, with the aid of the Shining Blade rebels, overthrew the White Mantle occultists and established once again the line of King Doric.
The first part of the personal storyline for commoner humans involves helping an old friend injured in a bar fight, which leads to an investigation into the cabal between the Ministry and the bandits in the “On the Mend” quest.
Human-race players with a noble background must rescue a friend from the bandits in the “Welcome Home” quest. Those players with the street rat beginning will run into “The Perils of Friends” quest in which they rescue Riot Alice, a friend who also happens to be a bandit. Sometimes the player will have to choose between quest objectives such as helping a hospital or helping an orphanage, both of which have been targeted for arson by bandits.
The actions of the player have lasting effects upon the instance, although visiting players may not notice. Some NPCs may be available based on skills and whether the player has reached the point in the personal story of joining one of the three Orders such as the Vigil, the Durmand Priory, or the Order of Whispers.
Crafting node upgrades can be purchased from the Gem Store and placed within the instance to make harvesting easier. Some nodes can even be acquired through completing achievements such as the Gift of Magnamity, which produces a Wintersday tree, which in turn drops a Wintersday Gift such as a chest containing XP boosts, Liquid Karma, and crafting materials. This item is gained by unlocking the “For the Children!” achievement.
A wide range of society is showcased in this section.
Of another note, because of the variety in the origins featured in the personal story: Noble, Commoner, and Street Rat, a wide range of society is showcased in this section.
The Ossan Quarter and its accompanying Grenth Plaza share a very striking aesthetic based on Middle Eastern culture. The player may not be able to visit the continent of Elona, but through this section of the city they can experience at least a superficial representation of its unique culture.
Buildings and tombs feature ornate domes and stars inspired by the medieval architecture of the Byzantine era. Palm trees are the main vegetation decorating the streets and most of the housing is richly furnished and clean with a few houses and and a tavern that can be entered and explored.
In the middle of the night, in the blink of an eye, the arts district that was once one of the most popular entertainment districts in the city, vanished into an enormous sinkhole. The Seraph have stated that no one was injured in the event. Residents such as Riot Alice, who lost her father, claim otherwise. For years, the collapsed area languished, a scar on the great city and a reminder of the follies of poor engineering and hasty construction. Finally, to celebrate her tenth anniversary as monarch, Queen Jennah commissioned workers to begin repairing the area as best as possible. While the hole still remains, it has been refined into an arena only available during special events.
For years, this area was a scar on the great city.
This arena is split into six portions, each featuring their own particular theme and hordes of enemies along with a boss. Other events which spawn additional enemies, with vendors and item repair stations are also available. Jumping directly from the top of the Eagle statue into the pit will warp the player back to the Crown Pavillion Waypoint.
Unlike its counterpart, the Western Commons is more open and green with larger, cleaner streets and buildings. This is a more middle class housing district for the common folk featuring two wildly popular events from the carnival.
Mina’s Shooting Range is closed to the public, but can be broken into with some careful platforming.
If you wish to gaze upon bizarre and exotic creatures from around the world, you need only locate Haidryn’s Menagerie. From bears to devourers, Haidryn has searched the globe to bring his audience a show they can safely experience.
The Upper City
Taking the elevators to the Upper City will reveal a massive garden topped with a mobile of the cosmos perpetually spinning in motion. Another one of the all important Asura gates leads to the newly rebuilt and fortified Lion’s Arch.
Stretching from the Upper City are the High Roads which act as counterparts to the Low Roads. As with the Low Roads, each one is devoted to one of the six gods and goddesses and leads to a plaza featuring a statue of its respective deity.
The main entrance to Divinity’s Reach splits between the High and Low Roads named for Dwayna, the goddess of healing, air, and life.
The Plaza of Dwayna acts as a sort of landing which leads up into the Dawyna High Road. Overlooked by the marble representation of the Ascalonian goddess of life and air are the banks, Black Lion Trading Company Auction House, armor and weapon dealers, and other merchants. Far from the cluttered streets below, the road is decorated with garlands of flowers, buildings well kept, and the groomed nobility of the city.
You can see a statue by the tragic sculptor Malchor, who fell in love with Dwayna. When the celestial beings eventually sequestered themselves from the world, Malchor leaped to his death in a bout of despair.
From the one of the oldest gods and founder of humanity, we move on to the newest one: Kormir, the goddess of truth, order, and spirit.
She came into being after destroying the evil god Abbadon and consuming his power. She now reigns over the Realm of Torment, Tyria’s version of Hell. Perhaps she seeks to bring order to its chaos?
The dual beauty’s of Illya and Lyss form the composite entity known as Lyssa, the goddess of water, illusion, and beauty.
This is a goddess that was celebrated by the Elonian nation of Vabbi with the Festival of Lyss. Even her High Road is decorated in vibrant, poppy-like flowers.
The Northernmost High Road yields the rather depressing sight of the city’s main drainage pipe leading down into the Salma District. It’s a barren road, devoid of the warmth and elegance found elsewhere.
This is the plaza of Grenth, the god of death, ice, and darkness. While his road may feel dreary and cold, there are still priests to maintain it and hand out speed boosts.
Not to be confused with the hooded god, is the intimidating warrior Balthazar, god of fire and war.
While hounds are depicted as his animal of choice here, other vicious creatures such as drakes are substituted in other parts of the world.
Finally, there is the High Road of Melandru, the ancient goddess of Nature.
She is the elder of all the gods of Tyria and is responsible for creating the natural order of the world from the mountains to the forests.
The Royal Palace
What is literally the crown jewel of Kryta, the Palace features a shrine to the six human gods and goddesses, the Seraph Headquarters, and the Queen’s Throne Room.
Such an important area to the city is featured often in the personal storyline of the player. Here we meet Queen Jennah for the first time as well her advisor Anise, the Master Exemplar of the Shining Blade queen’s guard, and the rather shady Minister Caudecus.
We also begin work under Captain Thackery of the Seraph and discover the treachery under his very nose.
Divinty’s Reach has much to offer in terms of lore that expands beyond the borders of Kryta, as well as challenging Vista jumping puzzles, crafting areas, PvE factions, and the main stories for human characters. Taking the time to explore the city greatly enhances the experience of the player. At the least, it builds a foundation of knowledge surrounding one of the greatest empires to grace the world of Guild Wars 2.