Ishgard is constantly at war with sentient dragons of neighboring Dravania, and much of their military is made up of Dragoons. Among other reasons, this is why they are reluctant to join the Eorzean Alliance against the Garlean Empire, as they lack the unoccupied manpower. They are also the leading provider of Eorzea's Chocobos, and refused to deliver any to the other city-states due to the chocobo blight that lasted from the game's launch until patch 1.19.
In the central region of Abalathia's Spine, that great mountain range that spans Aldenard from east to west, can be found the forbidding highlands of Coerthas and the Holy See of Ishgard. The Archbishop of the church, while leading his people in the teachings of Halone, the Fury, rules also as the nation's sovereign.
Ishgard's formidable army of knights wages constant battle against its mortal enemies, the dragons. Faced with ever more aggressive attacks from its serpentine foes, as well as an unprecedented spell of bitter cold following the Calamity, the theocracy's days are dark indeed.
Matters have grown so grave as to prompt the archbishop and his advisors to consider throwing open the heretofore sealed gates of Ishgard and calling for outside aid. The city-state's only known access point is a bridge called the Steps of Faith, blocked off by the Gate of Judgement. As of Patch 2.3, adventurers are still restricted from accessing the Holy See.
According to several NPCs, Ishgard is a strict theocracy led by a fearsome archbishop. A woman in the Falcon's Nest, a hamlet south of Camp Riversmeet, says that the archbishop calls the hamlet's men away, many of which are slain by dragons and never return. The reason for the archbishop's summons is unknown, although it is likely conscription.
They also have four noble "High Houses", and their nation's flag depicts the symbol of each house:
- Rose: House of Haillenarte
- Bell: House of Durendaire
- Unicorn: House of Fortemps
- Tower/Rook: House of Dzemael
- Main article: Ishgard/Legacy
Ishgard was inaccessible in version 1.0.
A Realm RebornEditAlthough a number of Ishgardian settlements are available for visiting in Coerthas in ARR, and you can even get close enough to the city to look at it from a distance, the Ishgardians are a somewhat paranoid people and do not allow "foreigners" into the city proper as of the launch of ARR. Mr. Yoshida and other developers have indicated that players will be able to earn the right to enter the city at a later date.
In the recent trailer for Patch 2.3: Defenders of Eorzea, Ishgard is teased at the very end featuring a view of the Archbishop and his Knights in the central throne room. This may be an indication that the city will soon be opening up to the heroes of Eorzea.
Although Ishgard's role in the Main Scenario has been relatively minimal, mainly limited to indirect support during the search for Cid's airship and declining to join in Operation Archon, the final Main Scenario quests in Patch 2.3 seem to be building up to a more direct role of the Holy See. The very last cutscene shows the Archbishop on his throne, and for a brief moment Lahabrea and Elidibus are seen flanking him, suggesting the Ascians have been manipulating the theocracy.
- Ishgard's flag was one of very few allusions to horses in the original game, in this case a Unicorn.
- The flag also has Eorzean text on it, reading "Of the Sky, From the Sky, For the Sky".