Lion's Arch figures prominently in the game's storyline. 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.
As the cultural and economic hub, Lion's Arch serves as the central focus of holidays and festivities such as Halloween. During Halloween, Mad King Thorn walks the streets of Lion's Arch telling jokes, and the city is full of spooky, dark, and pumpkin decor.
City of Pirates
In 1219 AE, the Elder Dragon Zhaitan woke from its slumber. The Rising of Orr created a great flood which destroyed and completely submerged the old capitol. The ruins of Lion's Arch were utilized as a safe harbor by ships looking to escape the horrors of the sea.
A decade later, in 1230 AE, the wreckage of old Lion's Arch was slowly turned into a refuge for Corsairs and other pirates, smugglers, and other independent vessels. Shanty towns were created, and as the waters slowly receded, 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 were 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 Elder Dragon's power. The elite Lionguard 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 Elder Dragon would bring—regardless of whether or not the other nations of the world recognize, or care about, their ongoing struggle.
For decades, Lion's Arch has been 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.
Battle for Lion's Arch
In 1327 AE, after months of preparation, the arch-villain Scarlet Briar descended on Lion's Arch with all of her deadly forces. The city was razed and the smoldering husk of the proud port city was occupied, and it was weeks before the siege was broken. After days of battle, Scarlet was slain in the skies above the city aboard her airship, the Breachmaker.
Word of Scarlet's demise has spread like wildfire throughout the wards of the city. With renewed vigor, the heroes of Lion's Arch, the Lionguard, and Order forces have driven out the remainder of Scarlet's armies, their morale and ranks shattered. Cheers and celebrations erupted at the refugee camps and nigh across all of Tyria. All the while, the Breachmaker—the enormous airship looming over Sanctum Harbor—continued to drill uncontrollably before it mysteriously exploded a few days after hitting a magical leyline which was Scarlet's target. The resulting blast caused the pieces of the Breachmaker to be flung out across the city—mostly concentrated around the harbor but with debris landing as far out as the Farshore Ward and scarring the landscape. With the pieces being so immensely large, the resultant rebuilding of Lion's Arch was taking place around these seemingly immovable chunks of metal.
New Lion's Arch
Lion's Arch finished its rebuild in 1328 AE. Parts of The Breachmaker were molded into new metal used to build several new structures, such as an aerodrome, a fortress, turrets, a new harbor with a shipyard amongst others. Several points of interest also had their names modified or replaced. The previously destroyed waypoint in Fort Marriner was restored and is now usable. Many citizens and services were moved including those for guilds that are now at Guild Initiative Headquarters.
Lion's Arch is unique among the cities of Tyria since it is the central trade and cultural hub. It has features not found in other cities:
- Asura gates
- Portals exiting within or near each of the 3 Orders. Reach
- Lion's Arch Aerodrome and the raid portals located within. Connection to the
- Fractals of the Mists, located in Fort Marriner.
- Dungeon Armor and Weapons, located in Fort Marriner. Sells items from all dungeons.
- Guild Commendation Trader, located at Guild Initiative Headquarters.
- Ectoplasm vendor, located in White Crane Terrace
- Mystic Forge, located in Trader's Forum
- Tri-key Chest, located in the Undermarket
|White Crane Terrace|
- Captain Theo Ashford Memorial Bridge (named Tomme's Dog in the bridge's archway directly west of the PoI, appears shortly after someone has acquired Tomme's Cat)
- Captain Theo Ashford Memorial Bridge (named Tomme's Cat in the bridge's archway directly west of the PoI, appears shortly after someone has acquired Tomme's Dog)
- Farshore Ward (on the farm southwest of Cavern Waypoint)
- Sharkmaw Caverns (in the cave's lake)
The original Lion's Gate, since destroyed by the karka
- Concept arts
- Previous loading screens
Wintersday 2012, 2013
- Previous maps
Breachmaker removed and the start of the rebuilding of Lion's Arch
- There was an extensive sewage system beneath the city previous to its rebuild in 1328 AE.
- As this isn't a racial city, there is no home instance.
- Free to play accounts can only access Lion's Arch at level 35.
- During the original Wintersday, the city was visited by Toymaker Tixx, and Snowmen roamed the snow-covered, festively decorated city to give presents while Grentches tried to steal and destroy them.
- The map used to be able to be broken out of by going to the Shuttered Gate and relogging in the right corner of it. An invisible wall was placed along it in a bug fix introduced in autumn 2017.
- During Living World Season 1, through the Escape from Lion's Arch and the Battle for Lion's Arch episodes, the usual city services such as crafting stations and trading post access were moved to the Vigil and Durmand Priory headquarters.
- Internally at ArenaNet, this area was known as "Valley_Arch."
- Lion's Arch: Building the Heart of the City – Archived copy of the article from ArenaNet's Blog
- The City of Lion's Arch - YouTube
- Guild Wars 2 - Escape from Lion's Arch Destruction Cinematic - YouTube