Guild Wars 2: Heart of Thorns Expansion Announced

Heart of Thorns

ArenaNet has revealed the first expansion pack for its popular MMO Guild Wars 2, titled Crown of Thorns. The expansion will introduce a number of features to the already content-bursting game, including the long-awaited Guild Halls.

Taking to the stage at a PAX South panel this weekend, co-founder Mike O’Brien and game direction Colin Johanson revealed the Maguuma Jungle will be the setting of the new content, promising some of the deepest and most detailed content we’ve seen.

Unusually for an expansion pack, the developer has revealed it will not be raising the level cap in order to make sure all gear and old content is still relevant. The team has never wanted to focus on the so-called “gear treadmill”, but promised endgame character progression will change through the new Masteries system.

Put simply, the Masteries system will enable you to survive in the jungle and facing its new foes. These skills and abilities will then be used in new group challenges. New profession specialisations will also be available. In essence, the expansion serves as a new vision for endgame progression in the title.

The new area coming to the game is called The Heart of Maguuma. It’s made up of three key biomes, from the very depths of the roots all the way to the treetops. Along the way, you’ll encounter a secret the last good dragon, Glint, left to try and give us a chance at the very end of Guild Wars 1.

The Masteries system is an account-based PvE progression system. Completing elements of the story you’ll get Mastery points, as you complete exploring maps, hitting challenge spots, killing tough creatures and the like, then you can buy abilities for every character on your account. This is part of the game’s no-grind philosophy. Some of the skills offered include the ability to hang glide, with more points enabling you to ride gusts of wind to climb and master exploration. You’ll also be able to learn lore, understanding the local languages and getting access to secret areas as a result. You’ll also be able to master collecting and crafting, so you’ll be able to get legendary weapon precursors more easily.

The specialisations feature enables you to develop your character, almost giving you a secondary profession as in the original title. Rangers, for example, will be able to learn the abilities of the Druid, and will be able to use the Staff weapon, use a new heal skill, new utility skills and new profession mechanics that fundamentally change the way the profession plays. It was also teased that the Necromancer profession will get a specialisation focused on the Greatsword.

A new profession, the Revenant, will also be added. Rytlock will be returning as the first of his profession, and will be bringing with him the ability to channel and control the powers of the Mists. The heavy-armoured profession is able to use the Mists to channel the power of great legends to power the skills it has available, such as the ability to channel the powers of ancient dwarven kings, demons and more.

The WvW mode is getting a new Borderland map to be added to the game’s rotation. Boasted as the most diverse map in the game, each keep has its own distinct theme with each objective applying buffs to your team. Controlling the Earth Shrine means the ground will raise up and attack foes. The Fire Shrine enables you to traverse the map more quickly thanks to lava pools opening up.

Competitive PvP is getting boosted with a new Stronghold Game Mode. You fight for control of supply, then spend these to hire troops and assault the enemy base. Your mission is to kill the enemy guild lord, with heroes also available for recruiting on the map. You’ll also be able to form Guild teams and work your way up global leaderboards, to prove which is the best in the world.

Guild Halls are also on the way, though no info on what exactly that will entail yet.

While there’s no release date as yet, Guild Wars 2 is currently available for $10 to celebrate the expansion announcement so, if this expansion has piqued your interest, it’s probably a good time to grab it now.

Guild Wars 2 season 2 to continue on January 13th

GW2

The living world episodes for Guild Wars 2 are taking a month off for the holiday season, as ArenaNet announced today that Season 2 will reconvene on January 13th for “moments that will forever change the course of Tyria.”

That doesn’t mean that Guild Wars 2 will go silent during this time, however. Wintersday is scheduled to return on December 16th, although this time it will take place in Divinity’s Reach. ArenaNet is also hosting a test of its ladder season from December 16th through January 13th, allowing players to compete for various rewards, and a WvW Sneak Attack event during this same period. Finally, there will be the game’s “first-ever” ESL monthly championship on December 10th.

Guild Wars 2 streamlines PvP queuing

Guild Wars 2

How can Guild Wars 2′s PvP experience be improved? By streamlining the flow!

A new dev diary posted today talks about how ArenaNet is working to improve match flow, starting with the elimination of PvP rosters and simply allowing players to queue solo or with a party. Other significant changes include replacing AFK players before matches begin, group voting on favorite maps, and using the dishonor system to ding those who leave or go AFK during matches.

To get into PvP matches, players will now be required to go to the Heart of the Mists, which is being outfitted with additional core services so that it can be a fun social hub between games.

Guild Wars 2 previews crafting backpacks

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Do you consider yourself nice and crafty in Guild Wars 2? Are you fond of being a master of your chosen profession? If so, you’re going to be nabbing some nice upgrades when the September 2014 feature pack rolls out. For example, there’s the new line of craft-based backpacks available to players that don’t take much to make but show off just how good you can be at making stuff in the game. If you’ve ever wanted to haul around a miniature forge on your back as part of your wardrobe, your ship has come in.

Players can also look forward to new exceptional weapons that can either be crafted for leveling characters or found via exploration, giving your character a little boost while leveling through Tyria. There are also loot changes that make you more likely to receive items you can use on a character rather than receiving an endless string of greatswords on your Thief.

Guild Wars 2 improving megaserver guilds in September

GW2

Another feature pack is rolling out for Guild Wars 2 in September, and it’s bringing improvements to guild functions along with it. It’s starting with the rollout of global guilds, allowing the resources earned by a given guild on all worlds to feed into the same central group, rather than creating small-scale copies of the guild on every individual world. That includes guild vaults, guild merits, and guild influence, all of which will be pooled with the feature pack update.

Guild missions and finding allies on different maps will also receive improvements, making it easier to take care of objectives with your friends across the globe. The official post also discusses the language divisions found on European servers, with the team electing not to split players based upon language at this time to bolster population.

Guild Wars 2 class will change in September

Guild Wars 2 class

When Guild Wars 2‘s second feature pack crashes down on our heads next month, there will be none of us unscathed from its impact. A new dev diary posted today reveals that the feature pack will contain balance changes for all of the game’s classes.

Among the changes are a rework of Elementalist and Thief grandmaster traits, love for Engineer kits and elixirs, an improved Spirit Bow ability for the Guardian, a revamp of the mimic skill for the Mesmer, improved survivability for the Necromancer, more flexible pet choices for the Ranger, and tweaks to the Warrior’s adrenaline resource. Overall, it all sounds pretty positive, although there could be a nerf or two lurking in the mix.

Guild Wars 2 : Mysterious Creatures of Tyria

It’s that time of the year: time for ghost stories and monster hunts. Our own world is filled with mysteries of ghost and creatures from the unknown, and Tyria is no different. Guild Wars 2 has many mysteries of its own harboring strange beings with unknown origins.
While trying to get information straight from the source, ArenaNet never says much. That leaves plenty of room for speculation. Join me this week, as we go through some of the strangest creatures and beings found in Guild Wars 2.

First we enter the Largos. A race of assassins that live in the deep dark depths of the Unending Ocean. At first glance they appear to be butterflies, gracefully moving through the water. Upon closer look, you’ll find a humanoid fully armored with the intent of murder in its eyes! The Largos have become a fan favorite, which is understandable. Just look at their awesome designs! They are also a very new race, never once being mentioned, or appearing, in the original Guild Wars games. Only a small bit of information is known on this new race, and rarely do they make an appearance. Hopefully we will see, and learn, more about this race of deadly sea assassins. Just do your best not to find yourself on the wrong end of their blades until then.

Guild Wars 2 Skill Update for October 15

With every update in Guild Wars 2, players see changes to class balance and game modifications that the ArenaNet team think will make play time easier. The next update, coming on October 15, is no different, this time with a variety of fixes and improvements.
Among the bigger changes:

  • Tool tips for Traits: These new tips will be the same as they are for skills, with skill tips being added as they relate to traits. The dev team is also adding color coding to make it easier for building characters.
  • Tab targeting: Use the tab key will now target Champions/Legendaries first, then Players/Clones, then everything else. Deselecting resets it. The functioning has changed slightly so now anything the player can see can be targeted, and it is no longer dependent on camera angle.
  • Damage grouping: All damage of the same type are now grouped into a category with the same icon, making it easier to see in floater text.

Other changes include pet hit points in PvE and PvP, fast cast ground targeting and launch now being stun breakable. The dev team has made it clear that not all may make it into the upcoming update, but the “high-level” overview at least gives players a heads up on what they can expect in the coming months. These changes are independent of the Tequatl Rising content, which is coming tomorrow and will have its own set of changes.

Guild Wars 2 getting its first PvP season starting Oct. 4

World vs. World, one of Guild Wars 2‘s player-versus-player modes, is getting its first season, which will pit players against each other Oct. 4 though Nov. 21, according to a post on the game’s official website.

Developer ArenaNet will split the massively multiplayer online game’s North American WvW region into two leagues, each with 12 worlds, whereas Europe will receive three leagues with nine worlds each. Each league’s worlds will battle each other for prizes like bonus chests over the first season’s seven weeks.

The addition to the game will also bring new WvW achievements, which players can unlock during the season. Before it begins, ArenaNet will refund all World Ability Points for all characters, so players can “decide on a particular play style for the season and load your characters the way you wish to play them with all the points you’ve already unlocked,” according to the post.

“To further incentivize spending your points we will not be introducing any new ability lines during the season, nor shall we be making any other changes to WvW, with the exception of bug fixes, until the season concludes,” the post reads. “This is to ensure that the playing field is as level as it can be at the start and the finish of the season.”