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Caravan vanquishing (also known as marathon vanquishing) is the act of vanquishing areas with more than the established party size limit in close-by outposts. The "caravan" term means you may be traveling large distances to get to areas without ever stopping in any town or outpost, just as a nomadic caravan would do in the deserts of Africa. The goal of caravan vanquishing is to bring a large party to vanquish many areas with more ease than if they were to do so individually with a smaller party.
The concept of "caravaning" has its roots in the Titan Quests introduced in 2005. Because some of the quests were located in Ascalon, where parties are restricted to four players, some teams started from Temple of the Ages or Yak's Bend to gain a numerical advantage in these difficult quests. Caravaning carried over when Hard Mode and vanquishing were implemented, allowing players to clear areas with more ease.
You must fight or run your way in Hard Mode to vanquish the desired area, or complete certain missions/quests. Some caravan vanquishing spots go across different campaigns, so you may have to own more than one campaign on your account to perform some caravan vanquishing. You cannot enter a town or outpost at all, otherwise you may reduce your party size. Make sure you have a lot of room on your character if you are going to open locked chests. Also make sure you have plenty of death penalty removal items as well, because if everyone is at -60% death penalty when they all die, you will be warped back to where you started.
Because of the time commitment required of all party members, it is recommended to vanquish with fellow guild members. Some caravan vanquishing routes may take many hours, and it is not uncommon for teams to idle in the area in order to take a break, or even leave the game running until the next session. It is also important to consider that caravan vanquishing brings its own hardships, and may or may not be easier than vanquishing with a 6-man team from a closer outpost.
The continent of Tyria differs from the other two due to the party size limit imposed on over half the areas in the game. Parties are restricted to four players up to Yak's Bend and six players up to Droknar's Forge. The exception to this is Temple of the Ages, offering eight-player teams in the middle of Kryta, and this outpost is often used as the staging point for caravan vanquishing.
Tyria is also unique in that it is the only continent that has small "bridging" explorable areas to connect all the major regions. This allows an 8-player team to travel across most of Tyria without entering any outposts or missions, therefore maintaining the 8-player party. In fact, assuming the player has access to Guild Wars Nightfall, the only area that cannot be vanquished with 8 players is Watchtower Coast.
In post-Searing Ascalon, parties may only have four members. While foes in the region are relatively easy to vanquish, the large areas may take longer with only four players, and certain groups of enemies (notably Charr and certain Grawl groups) may prove to be too much of a challenge for small groups. Players wanting to boost their numbers will often begin from Yak's Bend, where they can form a 6-player party.
A vanquishing team starting from Yak's Bend will need to travel through Traveler's Vale and Ascalon Foothills before entering Ascalon itself. From there, the party may vanquish all areas of Ascalon with a 6-player party. Note that the route to Flame Temple Corridor and Dragon's Gullet is a dead end, so teams wanting to vanquish areas south of The Breach must either start back at Yak's Bend or run through Diessa Lowlands to The Breach.
It should be noted that Diessa Lowlands is a relatively difficult area to vanquish, containing a large number of foes, especially Charr. Even crossing Diessa Lowlands from Ascalon Foothills can be a dangerous trip for a small, ill-prepared team.
Temple of the Ages
The Temple of the Ages is used as the staging area for the core areas of Fissure of Woe and the Underworld. Because this outpost allows 8-player teams and is conveniently located in Kryta, it serves as an excellent starting point for large vanquishing teams. Teams starting from Temple of the Ages are able to vanquish over half of Tyria.
To Northern Shiverpeaks and Ascalon
This route is similar to runs from Lion's Arch to Yak's Bend, and bypasses the 6-player limit early Kryta and Northern Shiverpeaks. A full vanquish from ToA to Yak's Bend will go through Black Curtain, Cursed Lands, Nebo Terrace, North Kryta Province, Scoundrel's Rise, Griffon's Mouth, Deldrimor Bowl, Anvil Rock, Iron Horse Mine and Traveler's Vale. The path from Kryta is relatively simple, facing mainly hex pressure from Mergoyles, Bog Skales and some Tengu. The Northern Shiverpeaks feature Centaurs and Stone Summit dwarves. These foes tend to be resilient due to the presence of healers. Areas in the Northern Shiverpeaks tend to be large and require a significant amount of time to traverse, especially Iron Horse Mine.
Teams wishing to vanquish Ascalon with an 8-player team can choose to continue further. From Traveler's Vale, the vanquishing team can take the same vanquishing route as they would if they started from Yak's Bend, outlined above. A typical caravan might go through Ascalon Foothills, Diessa Lowlands, Flame Temple Corridor, Dragon's Gullet, backtrack to The Breach, Old Ascalon, Regent Valley, Pockmark Flats and finish at Eastern Frontier. Teams that are capable of splitting may wish to divide into two 4-man teams to clear areas quicker, as most foes can be dispatched with a 4-player team. However, many of these areas contain groups of Charr, which may be difficult to defeat; and Grawls, who are especially resilient due to the healing ability of Grawl Ulodytes.
A full vanquishing caravan from Temple of the Ages to Ascalon is arguably the most colossal of all vanquishing sessions. The full route will clear 19 explorable areas and may take nearly 14 hours from start to finish. If the team decides to leave and later resume the route by running from Temple of the Ages, the run will still take a significant amount of time. Alternatively, the team members may elect to leave themselves in the explorable area until they are ready to resume. It is possible for a team to vanquish while missing several team members.
To Sanctum Cay
The Krytan staging areas of Fishermen's Haven and Sanctum Cay are also limited to six players. Starting from Temple of the Ages, an 8-man team may vanquish through Black Curtain, Talmark Wilderness, Tears of the Fallen, Twin Serpent Lakes, backtrack through Tears and finish in Stingray Strand. Most enemies consist of Tengu, Mergoyles and Bog Skales.
Note that following both of the above routes through Kryta will leave two areas unvanquished: Watchtower Coast, which cannot be reached with an 8-man team; and Kessex Peak, which may be done separately or as part of either run.
To Maguuma Jungle
It is also possible for an 8-man group to vanquish Maguuma Jungle. To do so, the group must go through Talmark Wilderness, Majesty's Rest and Sage Lands before going through the rest of the region. Once Ettin's Back is reached, the route splits into Reed Bog and The Falls, and Dry Top and Tangle Root. Parties may do either or both in one run. Because of the abundance of Scarabs which use Verata's Gaze, bringing a minion master is probably not a good idea.
Players with access to Nightfall may bring an 8-man party from Elona to vanquish the Crystal Desert, which normally has a restriction of 6 players. Such a team would go from Mouth of Torment to The Ruptured Heart and Crystal Overlook, talking to the Forgotten Guardian to travel to The Arid Sea. From there, players may vanquish all of the Crystal Desert. Due to the large areas and high number of enemies, an 8-man team may have an easier time clearing the Crystal Desert region, although actually getting there from Elona can be challenging in itself.
In Guild Wars Factions, players gain access to the full 8-man party from Kaineng Center, relatively early in the game. Half of Shing Jea Island has a 4-man limit while Seitung Harbor onwards allows 6 players. The explorable areas cannot be crossed without going through outposts, making it impossible to caravan vanquish. The only exception is the small area of Saoshang Trail, which can be vanquished with six players from Seitung Harbor rather than the four-player team from Shing Jea Monastery.
Like Factions, Guild Wars Nightfall allows players to create full 8-player teams relatively early -- the beginning island of Istan allows 8-player parties in Blacktide Den, Beknur Harbor and Consulate Docks. However, it is generally not possible to travel across Istan without entering outposts.
Plains of Jarin
While the area is rather easy to vanquish with four people, there are two occasions which allow you bring a full 8-man party to vanquish Plains of Jarin.
- Completing Venta Cemetery, which will take you to Kamadan.
- Completing Blacktide Den, which will take you to Sunspear Great Hall.
In either case, if your party has the same henchmen that are available in either Kamadan or SGH respectively, they will remain in your party, giving you a larger-than-normal party.
- You can create a team with 3 heroes and the 4 henchmen Kihm, Sogolon, Gehraz, Herta, in Dajkah Inlet and talk to Dockmaster Dimedeh to go to Kamadan with your full team. From there, you can enter Plains of Jarin in Hard Mode for easy vanquishing.
- Inventory space is going to become an issue, since you will not be stopping at outposts. These things can help:
- Bring a Mercantile Summoning Stone, which allows you to summon a merchant to sell some of your hard-earned loot;
- Bring identification and salvage kits with plenty of uses;
- Note the locations of merchants and also for material traders (who sometimes offer to buy up other items).