Mike O’Brien confirmed that Heart of Thorns to be the first expansion pack during the panel at PAX South. He started with a recap of the manifesto in 2010. He talked about what he wanted for an MMO and what Guild Wars 2 is going to be. Guild Wars 2 was the basis for this and the expansion is another step to the right direction.
There will be no new item tier and no new level cap. Your characters will still be at the top, but there are more ways to progress. Heart of Thorns will introduce a whole lot of new features without throwing the base game away. The old areas and items are still relevant after the expansion is released.
I’m very excited for the expansion. Read on for an overview of the major features announced by Colin Johanson.
New class – Revenant
Rytlock’s new profession is revenant. It’s the third heavy armor class. it focuses on channeling and controlling the powers of the mists. One of the unique abilities of the revenant is that he can call upon the powers of legends of the past. One of these legends is Mallyx the Unyielding, one of the hardest bosses in the original Guild Wars.
There is a new type of progression: Masteries. Masteries are account based abilities that will help you conquer the jungle. You can earn mastery points by doing various things in the jungle and use the points to unlock abilities to defeat new foes, unlock the secrets of the jungle and master the jungle by exploration. One of the masteries seen in the trailer is handgliding. You’re able to use the handglider when you jump off somewhere. This will be a very useful skill in the new maps which more vertical like Drytop. Another set of masteries is learning the Tyria languages of old and discover more about the lore.
Colin Johanson revealed that you can receive a precursor via the mastery system. He also told us that there will be new legendaries and thus new precursors.
There is a second type of progressions called specialization. Each class can specialize into something new and unlock a new weapon type, skills and mechanics for their class. The ranger will be able to specialize into the druidic magic and unlock the staff as a new weapon. And if you’ve paid attention, the necromancer will be able to use the greatsword. In the trailer is a shot of a engineer wielding a hammer with flying turrets. With each specialization comes a new heal skill, an elite skill and several utility skills.
World vs World: New borderland map
World vs World will receive a new borderlands map. Each keep has its own theme and abilities to control the environment. They’ve shown the earth keep and Colin also told us about the fire keep. The element of the third keep is unknown. They’ve also hinted at different ways they want to make WvW more exciting.
PvP will receive a new game mode called Stronghold. You and your team will have to fight for control on supply, use supply to hire mercenaries and fight the enemy stronghold, kill the guild lord to win. For Guild Wars veterans this will sound very familiar. This is the game mode used for the new Guild vs Guild matches. Guild vs Guild will have their own leaderboard so you can fight for the title of Best Guild.
Another exciting thing for guilds are the new guild halls. They have shown concept art of a few guild halls and this makes me believe that you can choose the theme for your guild hall, much like in Guild Wars. You can host events in the guild hall, build and progress your guild and organize guild missions.
They didn’t talk much about the story of Heart of Thorns. We know Rytlock returns from the mists with new powers, the trailer reveals the presence of the Mursaat and their ancient cities and Colin told us about Glint’s Legacy,
We go deeper into the Maguuma Jungle to kill Mordremoth, the Heart of Maguuma. They haven’t said if this will be one or more maps, but the new area will be more vertical. The areas have three biomes: the core, the root and the canopy. This also indicates that going up is the way to go. I’m guessing that mastering the handglider will be needed for completing map exploration.
Watch the announcement trailer below:
If you want to know about the expansion pack go to the Heart of Thorns website or subscribe to my blog as I will post new things as they are released.