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Guild Wars 2: Heart of Thorns expansion announced

It’s been rumoured for some time now that Guild wars 2 would be receiving an expansion pack, but it’s also been kept well and truly hidden from us. So it was a pleasant surprise at PAX when the Guild Wars presentation announced Heart of Thorns their upcoming expansion pack, Although why else they’d have bothered to put on a show I have no idea so I guess it was inevitable. Heart of Thorns will be Guild Wars 2’s first expansion, and will take players to a brand new area: the Maguuma Jungle. But that’s just the tip of what’s to come.

ArenaNet have called it the most “detailed and dynamic environment” they’ve ever created. Expect the expansion to draw on their last few years of updates and experience to populate the new areas with difficult challenges and group events.

It was surprising for an MMO expansion to learn that Heart of Thorns won’t raise the level cap, or add a new tier of gear, this being the generic standard for any expansion. Instead, they’re introducing a system called Masteries. By completing story, world events and exploration, players will earn Mastery points that can be spent unlocking new abilities or as they put it “ways to tame the jungle”. The one ability they focused on most or at least I fixated on most is Hang-gliders, shut up and take my money ArenaNet, will let players glide through the zone, and, at higher levels of Mastery, ride gusts of wind. Heart of Thorns is going to make jumping challenges much easier.

Players will also be able to customise their characters through Specializations. Game director Colin Johanson gave the example of Rangers becoming Druids, and being able to wield staff weapons for the first time in order to gain new skills, also engineers with hammers, so basically they are expanding what they already have.

Probably the second biggest announcement, after Hang-Gliders, was a new class. The Revenant is a new heavy armour class that will channel the “Mists”, Guild Wars’s mystical ether, to call on the spirits of ancient historical legends, this ties into the living world season stories, Rytlock returns from the mists as a revenant, expect him to play a big part in the revenant story.

Other extras include a new World vs World borderland, a new Structured PvP game mode, and something that I never understood being absent from the initial Guild Wars 2 release, Guild Halls and Guild Vs Guild battles, it’s quite literally the name of the game.

As for the expansion’s story, it follows on from the finale of Living Story: Season 2. Check out the trailer below!

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