So, with the next episode approaching in four days, and a phenomenal trailer just released, now is as good a time as ever to try and pin-point where War Eternal will be taking us. There's complete freedom to theorize whatever anyone thinks is a possibility here, but first I'd like to pose an idea.
The Tarnished Coast.
There's actual evidence (Okay, theoretical evidence) for this to be true! Let's start with the narrative basis for this.
- Aurene. Aurene was first introduced as an egg which Caithe had stolen away from the dying Master of Peace, and taken on a roadtrip into Auric Basin, where we intercepted her, and wound up taking the egg to Tarir for her. The Tarnished Coast is obviously not the Maguuma Jungle (Although the Maguuma Explorer Achievement would tell you otherwise.), but it is much closer than Thunderhead Peaks, it would be somewhat of a narrative full-circle if we wound up back here after all this time, where Aurene was born, and where we will avenge her death.
- Caithe's Requiem Story. The art for this story, whether people like it or hate it, is interesting, because unlike Rytlock and Zafirah's pictures, where we definitively can tell they are somewhere within the Thunderhead Keep, and possibly even have the images depicting them in the moment as the story runs through their heads, Caithe's shows her.. In the Grove, with the Pale Tree in the background. A little strange isn't it? That she'd be there, instead of near Aurene, or somewhere in the Keep? It could be that for this one they just decided to have here there for the mood of her talking about the Sylvari, but it's still somewhat out of place, unless we are perhaps, going back there?
- More narrative circles. We learned of the egg from who? The Pale Tree. The Pale Tree depicted in Caithe's Requiem story, and who is, in fact, on the Tarnished Coast.
The next big point is the mechanical purposes.
- For starters, should it be an actual part of the story and not just a cool shot for the trailers like it was in the All or Nothing Trailer, in one of the earlier previews of this episode, where the Skyscale was announced, we see Kralky taking a tour through the sky. So surely if this is in a map in Tyria and not in the Mists or something, the location has to have a rather large area of sky in it. Even if it were an instance. Where is there that was sold on having a sky/canopy section of the maps? Maguuma maps.
- Next is the Skyscale, and the Wyverns we see in the trailer. Now, we know Wyverns aren't solely Maguuma-based creatures (See: Siren's Landing), but they are most commonly placed there. If we're going somewhere with a WHOLE lot of Wyverns, logically it should be closer to Maguuma than to the Desert, right?
- The geography. We don't see a lot of the geography for these trailers, Arena Net is doing a fantastic job at keeping it under wraps, but what we can see from the announcement trailer, the Exordium preview, and the about the episode, there are a LOT of Maguuma assets used, and, namely in the Skyscale trailer, islands.
- Why are islands important? Because of the geography of the Tarnished Coast! If we look at the region between Rata Sum and The Grove, there is notably a curved coastal landmass that trickles off into multiple islands, the right geographical shape for the spaces we seen in the screenshots and trailers. It's also notable that if we estimate the map goes from the bordering maps of Rata Sum, Metrica Province, and The Grove for the top, all the way down to the last two islands before Draconis Mons, then we'd have a map with size comparable to both Thunderhead Peaks and Kourna.
These details aren't perfect evidence though, of course. There's plenty of reasons for this to all just be coincidence, and admittedly some of the points are very thinly stretched, with some notable flaws being:
- Bordering two cities and a starter map isn't quite in line with the way ANet does things post-Living World Season 1, and it definitely seems like dealing with an Elder Dragon there would have some unintended side-effects on the locations.
- It's SUPER far away from the rest of the maps for LW4. Thunderhead Peaks wasn't necessarily in the Desert, but it definitely wasn't on the opposite end of the world map.
- Why would Kralky go there? There's really no particular reason, unless the Pale Tree looks like a tasty magical threat.
Insane theory or not, I can't wait to find out where we're going, and what other theories people can come up with!
"You know what they say: Curiosity pruned the Sylvari."