The City of Lion’s Reach
The most diverse and cosmopolitan city in Tyria, Lion’s Arch is a melting pot where all the races gather and trade. Lion’s Arch owes no allegiance to any race or nation, but stands on its own – and it does so by virtue of its active navy, its financial strength, and the intelligence and cunning of its leaders.
Lion’s Arch went through multiple changes over the years since its days as the capital of Kryta in the original Guild Wars to its current incarnation as a free city in Guild Wars 2. First destroyed by the rise of the Elder Dragon Zhaitan, the ruins of Lion’s Arch were utilized as a safe harbor by ships looking to escape the horrors of the sea. The wreckage of old Lion’s Arch was slowly turned into a refuge for pirates, smugglers, and other independent vessels. Shantytowns were created, and as the waters slowly receded over the course of decades, a settlement formed that owed no allegiance to Kryta. This settlement was unified by a human named Cobiah Marriner, who fought against the scourge of Orr alongside charr, asura, norn, and any other race that would lend their vessels to the cause. Out of that staunch and allied front, the city of Lion’s Arch was reborn.
For generations, the people of Lion’s Arch have been on the front line of the war with Zhaitan, the dragon of Orr. Their city was destroyed, only to be rebuilt in defiance of the dragon’s power. The elite Lionguard have built a fortress on Claw Island, a small body of land in the harbor, in order to defend against Zhaitan’s attacks. No ship sails from their docks without a wary eye south toward the dark waters of the undead. They live each day with the knowledge that they are a bastion against the destruction that the Dragon would bring – regardless of whether or not the other nations of the world recognize, or care about, their ongoing struggle.
Lion’s Arch is run by the Captain’s Council, a committee of wealthy merchants and sea captains. Those who wish to take an active hand in the city’s governance must prove themselves regardless of their race and heritage. They must be respected as a noted ship commander, and they must have contributed to the city’s growth or health. If they are seen as a leader in the city, then they may purchase one of the seats on the Captain’s Council – when one becomes available. This system of political governance leads to a great deal of one-upmanship among the local captains and on the council itself.
Lion’s Arch is a unique location with very distinctive nautical architecture. Rather than tie the city’s architecture to any race – or to the original city’s structures – we wanted to give Lion’s Arch its own appearance in order to show that it is an independent state. Like other cities in the game, Lion’s Arch will have areas for festivals and holiday celebrations. Further, every service in the game will be available in Lion’s Arch; all trainers, storage access, merchants, crafters.
In a story sense, Lion’s Arch is extremely important. One of the main themes of Guild Wars 2 is bringing together disparate, even opposed groups in order to fight a greater enemy: the Elder Dragons. Alone, no race will survive their awakening. Only together can the races of Tyria survive. Nowhere in Tyria is that belief more strongly held than the city of Lion’s Arch.