Ascalon in the modern age is the homeland of the Iron Legion of the charr nation. Even under Charr command, it is still a nation at war - against the humans in the fortress of Ebonhawke, against the dragon minions that swarm out in the wildlands, and against the ghosts of King Adelbern's vengeance, (terrible incarnations of those who died when human king cured his own kingdom rather then surrender it to the Charr).
Ascalon shapes our image of the modern Charr nation, of the Legions and their conflicts and of the final days of the battle between the Human holdouts and the Charr loyalists. It sets the stage of the war on a larger scale, showing a land struggling to heal and providing a harsh homeland for the strong and stalwart Charr. The creatures of the area are reminiscent of the world Guild Wars players remember, while still providing fresh new challenges and places to explore.
Striking a balance between function and inspiration was difficult with the charr, whose massive iron structures needed to be always-ready for war.
Ascalon was the first land players explored in the original Guild Wars, and it was important to us that it remains recognizable - but also show the ravages of 250 years of war and Charr occupation.
The template colours for Ascalon remained very similar to those in the original Guild Wars - yellows, oranges, browns and reds. Autumn colours, colours of sunset. It was purposeful in the original Guild Wars to reflect the war and fall of Ascalon; in Guild wars 2 it's a reflection of the fiery attitudes of the Charr, now the dominant inhabitants of the nation
The more solid stone of the last Human fortifications in Ascalon requied a very different feel; embattled, dug in, worn, with the weight of centuries of slowly losing an epic war.
In Guild Wars, the Charr were very connected to fire, heat, and the burning inferno of the searing. We wanted to continue that feeling in Guild Wars 2, maintaining the fiery basis of their culture even as it advanced technologically.
The Charr are our most technologically advanced race. Their achievements over the last two centuries have shaped and dominated their territories. The tremendous war machines and iron citadels capture exactly the feel we wanted for them.
Those humans who remain in Ascalon, primarily in the fortress of Ebonkawke, have to be ready for battle at all times. They've learned for the charr enemies how to survive while constantly at war.
We wanted to push the industry with the Charr, but not lose the fantasy aspects. Incorporating, magical fire, fantastic weaponry, and outrageous, metal spiked armour helped keep them solidly within the boundaries of our magical world.
The more we pushed the Charr love of technology, the more we realized their greatest nemesis magic, and those who use it to enslave them. Many of our best enemies come from twisting a race's strengths inside-out and pitting thm against one another.
Despite the charr's attempts to control the world around them, they cannot deny the magic is a powerful force. Tyria has always been a high-magic world, and we wanted to have the reflected, especially in their greatest enemy, the Flame Legion. The creatures of Ascalon were designed to bring both new enemies into the world, and update those with which we were already familiar. The cracked earth of blastd Ascalon gave us a lot of opportunity to expand on twists and mutation to the original designs.
Humans and Charr aren't the only inhabitants of modern Ascalon. Ogres, ettin, trolls, grawl and other sentient and semi-sentient creatures live in any nook and cranny that hasn't been despoiled by war.