Religion, which can be defined as "belief in the supernatural", has exerted a profound influence over most societies throughout history. The span of this influence includes politics, law, education, festivals, customs, and behavioral norms. There are many competing and contradictory religious beliefs that have ardent adherents. These religious differences have led to fierce argument even war. Each religion and the races that are adherents have different attitudes towards the divine presence.
Eternal Alchemy is the idea that all beings and magic in the world are a part or function of a greater purpose or "machine".
The Asura consider the gods to be relatively large parts (but parts nonetheless) of their Eternal Alchemy. Asuran life is built around the research of the Eternal Alchemy - the Asura join one of three massive colleges dedicated to this research, each covering different fields. It is believed once complete mastery is gained over the Eternal Alchemy, mastery will be gained over all of Tyria. There are various Asura who proclaim that Eternal Alchemy is not a religion, but rather a science.
The Dwarves, one of the elder races, had a singular primary belief: that of the Great Dwarf. Even at the time of their Transformation, the dwarves had long since given up on the possibility of the Great Dwarf returning though they still worshiped him.
Glint concealed many of the elder races from the dragons. It was presumably around this time that a group of grateful dwarves formed the Brotherhood of the Dragon, an organization that served as the keepers of her heritage. They forged an alliance with her, and let her into their minds.
Six Human Gods
Many Humans believe that after the The Six Human Gods gave magic to the races of Tyria, they ascended, leaving Tyria. This event is known as the Exodus and is the basis of the current Mouvelian calendar.
Dwayna is the goddess of healing, air, and life. Often depicted as a young, tall, and slender woman rising over the ground on huge feathered wings, she is the leader of the Six Gods and her known scriptures have the oldest date to them. Her most devout worshipers are often healers, and help both the rich and the poor equally. The main Temple of Dwayna is in Orr. See also:
Balthazar is the god of war, fire, and courage. Balthazar has a half-brother by the name of Menzies but whether he possesses similar divine powers, or if he is simply a powerful adversary or even a myth, is unknown. The main Temple of Balthazar is in Orr. See also:
Melandru is the goddess of nature, earth, and growth. She is often depicted as having a human female torso and a lower body made from wood. Statues of her are said to give healing and water to those with the favor of the gods. Before The Cataclysm, Orrians worshipped Melandru at the Cathedral of Verdance. See also:
The Quaggan revere an interpretation of Melandru in the form of a goddess named Mellaggan, who they believe has been killed by the krait. Human scholars believe this goddess to be a depiction of Melandru due to the two goddesses' similarities and the Quaggan's using a sunken statue of Melandru as a makeshift shrine to Mellaggan. The quaggans would disagree with this interpretation, but are simply too polite to do so.
Abaddon is a former deity that is not currently worshiped, a fallen predecessor of Kormir. His sphere was Water and Secrets, which were later absorbed by Lyssa and Kormir, respectively. He is also associated with Depths, Knowledge and Magic. In 1075 AE, when the mad god was close to breaking free from his prison, Abaddon was finally destroyed.
The Forgotten were a race of upright serpents, who were charged with keeping Abaddon in prison. Their current state is unknown, and the last they were seen was in the Crystal Desert nearly 250 years ago, as well as in the Realm of Torment during the time of Nightfall. They're devout followers of the Six Human Gods, and are said to be linked to the Facets that reflect the power of the Human Gods., and are servants of Glint, having been the ones who freed her from Kralkatorrik's control.
Dhuum is a former deity not currently worshiped. Dhuum was once the God of Death. During his reign, Dhuum ruled from his tower in the Underworld, and tolerated neither resurrections nor the existence of the undead, and he hunted down all those who escaped death, having promised "death undeniable."
Spirits of the Wild
The Norn recognize the existence of the gods, but consider them an extension of their belief system of nature spirits; they refer to the Six as the "Spirits of Action" and do not call them by their name, but by what they govern - for instance, Balthazar is War and Kormir is Knowledge.
Cultures that worship ancestors
Ancestor Worship, as it appears in modern times, is fairly militant and violent, with rites that routinely end in ritualistic combat between tribes or between individuals from the same tribe.
The Centaurs are generally a very spiritual people that combine nature worship with ancestor worship. Years of struggle and border warfare have hardened the centaurs to the point where their religious observances are even more violent and martial than they had been, especially with the Modniir's aggressive campaign of attacks on humanity. Centaurs still have a deep reverence for their nature spirit (whom they vehemently deny is an aspect of the human goddess Melandru) but these days they focus on the proud, wild, and free aspects of their spirituality far more than the growing and nurturing aspects.
The Jotun do not have a traditional religion. Instead of gods or worship, they take their legends of the past almost to a religious level and look up to their ancestors, calling upon their aid and attempting to emulate them through their actions. There are also cases of jotun preferring to revere themselves. Similarly, the jotun hold a high reverence for their ancestral homelands and, as such, are territorial when other races pass through their land.
Cultures that worship nature
Nature Worship focuses on the worship of natural phenomenon which are attributed to the continuation of the life process, which may include natural objects, very powerful and old beings. They may attribute souls to plants, inanimate objects, and natural phenomena.
Grawl have a deeply religious, animistic culture. Each tribe's religion and faith differs. Tribes are often clashing with each other, and there are even clashes between personal gods within a single tribe. Some will worship statues or odd natural formations in the earth, while others will worship more powerful beings. That which they worship tends to define the tribe's mentality and actions. Examples of their worship are The Great Oouo, Deadgod's Lair, Tail of the Star God, and Claw of Jormag (or other powerful icebrood), among many others.
The Kodan believe that each individual's actions must be in balance with nature. However, this does not mean that they are pacifists; they view hunting and killing as a natural order of life, as long as it is done in order to serve the balance.
Koda is the creator of the world, and teaches the importance of balance with nature. The Voice of each sanctuary communicates with Koda directly, linking their mind to the Mists in order to hear his word. This, in turn, is interpreted by each Sanctuary's Claw.
Religion is at the heart of krait society, and in turn, the obelisks are at the heart of krait religion. The obelisks are rare, eerily smooth stones made from a unique material found on the ocean floor. According to the Oratuss, the priesthood of the krait, the obelisks mark the sites of the "ascension" of ancient krait prophets to some higher realm, but land-based scholars speculate that they are simply ancient krait monuments whose purpose have been long-forgotten due to the oral nature of the krait's religious texts.
The attitude of modern Tengu towards spirituality is unknown, however the Canthan tengu of old believed in an afterlife, which they called the Sky Above the Sky. The Sky Above the Sky is the afterlife of the Tengu - at least the Angchu Tengu. It was believed by the ancient Canthan Tengu that when they died, their spirits flew away into this afterlife, unless they died dishonored or in a dishonorable way. A sect of tengu were known to have guarded the celestials during the Canthan Trials of Ascension, meaning defeating them was necessary to become Weh no Su, but their connection to the mainstream tengu belief system is unknown.
Most hylek do not have a faith in gods but rather revere the sun as a nameless divine entity, believing it to represent both good and evil. To Hylek, the sun is the bringer of life-sustaining heat and bounty, as well as the harbinger of drought and famine. They often hold festivals on the solstices to celebrate the waning and waxing of the days' lengths.
Cultures without religious beliefs
Despite their legend of Melandru, the charr view the gods as powerful beings to fight, not worship. The Legions of the Charr threw off the shackles of religion, casting their Shamans down to the lowest order of Charr society. While Shaman [sic] are still considered useful to the war effort, they are also viewed as dangerous and subversive, and are almost universally scorned. No Charr in the new age would willingly suffer a Shaman to rule them.
The Skritt do not follow any particular religion, despite a natural empathy for the world around them.
The Sylvari, having appeared only in 1302 AE and therefore having never actually witnessed the work of the gods, remain unconvinced they exist at all. The sylvari have an agnostic view of the Human Gods, wishing to see proof of the gods' existence and work. They venerate the Ventari Tablet as their most sacred artifact and testament. The Pale Tree is also much revered, though more as a wise parent than as a deity. If the sylvari need counseling, they often travel to the heart of the mighty tree and commune with her there.
Groups that Worship the Elder Dragons
With few exceptions, the Elder Dragons are obeyed, hated or feared rather then being objects of religious worship, despite their almost god-like abilities. The dragon champions appear to have an unbreakable compulsion for absolute obedience to the will of their creator or corrupter. The dying cries of those that say "at last" and "sleep" may indicate they consider death to be a release from bondage. Many other races and cultures have banded together in alliances to fight the Elder dragons and their dragon champions.
Sons of Svanir
One notable exception is the Sons of Svanir, a cult of male norn who have turned to seek the power of the Elder Dragon Jormag, whom they call Dragon, believing it to be the ultimate totem spirit and in turn worship it rather than revering the Spirits of the Wild.
- ^ PAX GW2 Events Panel Part 6, YouTube
- ^ Defining the Lore of Guild Wars 2 - A Q&A with Jeff Grubb, Ten Ton Hammer
- ^ Lore Interview with Jeff Grubb, GuildMag
- ^ Dolyak Express Jan 10, 2014, official Guild Wars 2 forums
- ^ Wiispace Interview With Ree Soesbee, World Designer and Writer For Guild Wars 2, Wiispace