by Scott McGough on October 8, 2015
Deep in the wilds of Maguuma, under a canopy so thick that midday often seems like midnight, there is a shining golden city called Tarir. Established by the Forgotten, an ancient race known for its powerful magics and even more powerful mysteries, Tarir is a city with a noble and glorious purpose. The Forgotten knew they could not achieve that purpose without help, so they also created a race of gleaming, magically enhanced operatives to see their plans to fruition: the Exalted.
Long-Term Planning Ahead
To understand the Exalted, you must first understand the dragon Glint. Glint was created by the Elder Dragon Kralkatorrik to be its champion, but her connection to the mortal races of Tyria led her to break with her master and protect as many sentient races as she could from the Elder Dragons’ predation. These selfless acts cost Glint her life when Kralkatorrik rose in the modern era, but before Glint died, she took steps to help ensure the sentient races of Tyria would survive the rise of Kralkatorrik and the other Elder Dragons. With the gift of prophecy and the Forgotten as her stalwart attendants, Glint prepared a legacy that would continue her great work even after she herself had died.
Under Glint’s instructions, roughly 300 years ago the Forgotten sought out human volunteers who shared their reverence for Glint’s dream of securing a peaceful future. After a rigorous set of tests and trials, the most worthy of these volunteers underwent a ritual that converted their bodies into pure magical energy which were then encased in golden metal armor. From this point forward, they were known as the Exalted.
As beings of pure eldritch energy, the Exalted have a much more advanced facility with magic than their former fleshy selves ever did. They are also effectively immortal—they do not age and are extremely durable, though they can still be killed by violence or by draining their essential magic. Exalted retain their names, personalities, and memories of the past, but they no longer eat or require sleep, allowing them to devote their attention and energy entirely to their duties.
Working for a Better Tomorrow
The Exalted are true believers in Glint’s message of hope and peace, wholly dedicated to preserving Glint’s legacy—as humans, they literally gave their lives in order to become the custodians of a brighter future. It’s hard work, but their training and the process that converted them into Exalted prepared them well for the noble duties they’re sworn to perform.
There are three basic types of Exalted, broken out by the type of work they were created to do: burnishers, bastions, and sages. While the Exalted are dedicated to a peaceful and harmonious future, they do not shrink from combat if called upon to fight.
Burnishers create and maintain the infrastructure of Tarir, shaping and infusing raw magic into buildings, roads, and complex devices. They are primarily responsible for keeping Tarir in working order, including the city’s formidable magical shields that defend it from external threats. They are also responsible for the upkeep of Tarir’s watchposts, a series of remote locations strategically placed to defend the city and observe the surrounding jungle. In combat, Exalted burnishers can summon temporary walls to protect themselves and their comrades, and they can create energy wells that heal their allies.
Bastions are the most martial members of the Exalted family, serving as the sentries, soldiers, and defenders of both Tarir and Glint’s legacy. They patrol the city and its watchposts to protect their home from Mordrem and other jungle threats. Individual bastions often form long-term partnerships with individual burnishers to defend and maintain a specific watchpost as a coordinated pair. Bastions can shape magical energy into ranged or melee weapons, or use it to shield themselves from incoming attacks.
Sages are the Exalted’s spell-casting class, who focus and direct the vast quantities of magic Tarir requires to keep the city functioning at full capacity. They also ensure that there is a steady supply of arcane energy flowing through the city and its watchposts for other Exalted to manipulate. Sages’ most important tasks are the creation and maintenance of Tarir’s rune-based teleportation system that allows instant point-to-point travel to specific locations inside the city as well as to and from its watchposts. Sages also employ a magical beam attack that doesn’t do a lot of damage but does help keep the enemy at bay.
Once Tarir was complete and ready to receive Glint’s legacy, the Exalted began to go dormant in order to conserve their magical resources until they were needed. Then, after Glint’s egg began to stir and the Zephyrite Master of Peace set out to deliver it to the fabled golden city, Tarir and its Exalted inhabitants responded. Magic began to flow; burnishers, bastions, and sages awoke to resume their duties; and both the Exalted and their city prepared to finally begin the task for which they had been created.
Unfortunately, Scarlet Briar had already awakened Mordremoth, and the Jungle Dragon’s colonization of Maguuma was well underway. The Exalted discovered the jungle was even more dangerous than they remembered and that allies they had made among Maguuma’s residents were missing, perhaps gone forever. Worst of all, they found an implacable and voracious horde of dragon minions eager to seize as much magic as they could for their master. The Exalted watched with sadness and horror as Mordremoth destroyed the Pact fleet, and some even wondered if their august duty was doomed to fail just as it was truly getting started.
Will the Exalted rally to fend off the Mordrem and make Tarir the safe haven it was designed to be? Under their care, will Glint’s legacy be the salvation that Glint, the Forgotten, and the Exalted themselves labored so hard to create?
In Guild Wars 2: Heart of Thorns™, players will not only see how the Exalted deal with these and other challenges, but they will also take an active hand in determining the final fate of Glint’s legacy…and the noble souls who serve it.