Guild Wars 2: Heart Of Thorns Expansion Announced

A quick jog through the vena cava.

Once I played Guild Wars till my hands were worn, soon GW2 will be expanded with Heart of Thorns. And out of respect for you, myself, ArenaNet, and everyone, I’ll stop that there, but will choose not to delete it so we are all aware of my shame. ArenaNet announced the first Guild Wars 2 expansion over the weekend, Heart of Thorns, sending players deep into the Maguuma Jungle on new adventures. Along with new zones, it’ll add a new profession, Guild Halls, hang-gliding, and oodles more. Come see in the first trailer.

Adventurers exploring the Heart of Maguuma will find new enemies, boss battles, events, and of course a new storyline. Also a civilisation of tree frogs, who are possibly the loveliest race I’ve seen in any video game, even better than murlocs. Keep an eye out for the little folks in the trailer:

Heart of Thorns will also add a new profession in the spooky Revenant, who wear heavy armour and can channel powers of ancient spirits. Old professions are jazzed up too with new specialisations, which let them use new trails, skills, and weapons. It also adds a new Mastery system, a new type of progression using points earned by completing difficult tasks.

Look, I’m almost done recapping the feature list and then you can leave. Guilds can build Guild Halls, giving them a home in the jungle. On the PvP side, it’s bringing a new Borderlands map and a new mode, Stronghold, where teams defend their stronghold with helpful things like trebuchets and hired help while trying to crack the enemy’s and murder their guild lord.

What we don’t have, though, is a planned price or release date.

32 Comments

  1. Premium User Badge

    Grizzly says:

    Wait, this is an actual expansion?

    Not as those expandalone things?

    • ran93r says:

      Buy the box (or digital) and expand the original game, still no sub beyond that initial purchase.

  2. satan says:

    Might be just the excuse I need to go back.

    • Chalky says:

      I stopped playing a few months after release, but I came back to it a few months ago and there really are quite a lot of new features and quite a lot of new stuff to do that have been added since I quit. The new zones that they added as part of the living story are by far the most interesting in the game and the silverwastes zones has a brilliant event chain. Megaservers mean you always have a bunch of people to play with too.

      If you’re thinking of coming back for the expansion, it certainly might be worth picking it up again now just to check out the new stuff. I imagine we’ll get a feature patch before the expansion is released too :)

      • stupid_mcgee says:

        Pretty much the same. I pre-purchased since I love the original GW so much. GW2 didn’t really grab me in the few months after launch and I eventually just fell out of playing it.

        I came back a few months ago and I really like what they’ve added. There’s more to do and it very much caters to your playstyle. If you just want to log in casually, you can and still get a lot of great rewards. However, there are mechanics in play to keep is that hardcore players can’t massively eclipse regular players. I mean, sure, a casual players isn’t going to have all Zenith skins for their gear, but they don’t need to do so in order to have a high-power character.

        I still prefer the faster pace of GW1 and I really liked its capture card mechanic for skills, but GW2 is probably the only open-world MMO that I have been able to stomach.

      • LNO says:

        I went back sometime ago (originally stopped at the introduction of Ascended gear), but felt completely lost. I had no idea what was new, where that was, and what to do. Like a visitor from another century. Has this been improved in any way? I can google etc, but that just breaks the immersion. I would like that it was presented more clear in the game in a natural way.

        • Dawngreeter says:

          I don’t think you can reasonably play any MMO (or possibly any online game) without venturing outside of the game to find information. It’s just not that kind of game.

          That said, I was gone from the game for a year and a half and got back about two months ago. I was lost for a bit, but it was nothing that seriously set me back. Basic mechanics are completely unchanged – everything that used to work still works and everything that used to not work, still doesn’t. There’s ascended gear of course, new crafting levels with specific new materials and two new areas which take getting used to (both with specific mechanics). None of that will make your greatsword Guardian or staff Elementalist fare better or worse than it did way back when. It’s really more a question of catching up with the story than catching up with mechanics changes.

          Oh, and the new areas are actually pretty awesome. Currently they are my prime reason for logging in every day. I can’t recall the last time (if ever) that doing just one thing over and over again in an MMO is actually fun. Not profitable (although it is that, too), not necessary for unlocking something (although, again, there’s that too) but just simply fun for the sake of it. Wife and I roam Silverwastes almost daily and we’re yet to get bored. I keep saying that to everyone I know because I have never ever experienced something like that.

        • Chalky says:

          Yeah, I felt a similar way when I first started playing again (I quit at a similar time). The official wiki ( link to wiki.guildwars2.com ) is extremely good though and I pretty much just looked stuff up when ever I felt lost.

          You can also just ask in map chat or join a helpful guild. Someone in this comment thread mentioned that RPS has a guild, I’m sure they’d be a great way to get questions answered.

          Most of the content stays pretty self explanatory, too. If you visit Silverwastes, you won’t have a clue what to do but there will be a bunch of event markers on the map and commanders helping to organise players towards the highest priorities. Stick with it on the map and you’ll soon be fighting huge bosses and getting loads of loot :D

  3. Zanchito says:

    Let me remind our readers we have a very active and friendly guild here on RPS: link to rockpapershotgun.com

  4. disorder says:

    I did play GW1 to distraction; when they osborne effect’ed it into clean-slate for GW2 it gave me the excuse to drop it in favour of Another. Even though I bought GW2 (they deserved that much), it felt derivative yes, but question is to what. It was GW-ey, except back at the starting area again, but changed enough that it was new enough you had to learn it – but sufficiently samey it didn’t sustain my interest to keep at it. I was never able to break that cycle. (And didn’t help they crushed various things I liked, so I went to inevitably play monk/healerwhatever in other games).

    Turns out it is possible for a server wipe (in effect) to set you free. I’m curious if anyone wishes to give me a (very short) run down as compared to GW1 of what I obviously didn’t get to discovering (where I did 4/8 man pvp in the barren times between gw2 announce and lack of continuing pve content, which I didn’t count eye of the north as)

    One thing. Hang gliders? Archeage anyone? These games are almost incestuous.

    • Blackcompany says:

      Firefall also did hang gliders. Forever ago. But I agree; these games cant stop copying one another long enough to do anything at all genuinely creative. Which is a shame. I feel like tons of potential exists in the MMO space and none of it will ever be realized. The fear of trying and failing to innovate successfully will result in failure through stagnation instead.

  5. Shadowcat says:

    Deep in the jungle, only to find
    Mucho danger, and a new storyline

  6. Soulstrider says:

    I liked GW2, but it felt just…souless. The original game was full of personality with a great atmosphere, I loved Nightfall, however GW2 just feels generic and unimmersive (is this even a word?) .The environment design remained great but all races didn’t feel distinct (they insisted on how the races were unique but they acted and sounded like humans, it irked me specially with the Char voice acting), the armors and weapons uninspired, the story meh,dungeons were terrible. Loving the combat, the music, the areas (except Orr, that was horrible, such missed opportunity) and the event system was what saved the game for me.

    Frankly now my main mmo is FFXIV which I ended up loving to the point when WoD lunched, I gave it a spin but didn’t get the urge to keep playing it and went right back to FFXIV once my sub expired.

    Also ugh, of all things possible their expansion is focused on jungle? Urghhh, barring underground/underwater areas those are the ones I hate the most. I just want to go back to Cantha/Elona.

    • Laurentius says:

      So true, I loved GW1 and Nightfall was great experience, locations design was so unique, also awsome music. GW2 , yeah pretty souless game.

      • Anders Wrist says:

        I mainly hear this kind of complaint from former GW1 players, and while I am sorry to hear that you’re not really into the game in the same way as you were with #1 in the series, this sounds eerily familiar to the kind of “my first game in the series”-syndrome as many Elder Scrolls players have with new releases, i.e. start with Morrowind and hate Oblivion and Skyrim, because they weren’t the same.

        • Laurentius says:

          Of course it’s psychological reaction but not just “first game of the series” syndrome. Locations though, like I didn’t like Cantha expansion and Tyria was mixed bag but Nightfall has execptional theme for its locations and I really belive they stand up to this day and trump most GW2 locations design wise. There is also this undercurrent how game is designed that really sucked for me, not just GW2 but for example DA:I as well, that artifically rewards players for exploration: you see a hill, there will be something there for aplayer to go to this hill: a vista, a codex, a trasure etc. The “bare” cool designed location is not good enough for player and I hate it, so yes it’s my psychological reaction but I also firmly belive that designing game with such idea in mind hamper creativity and results in medicore locations.

        • Faxanadu says:

          Don’t disagree, but horrible example. :P Morrowind was everything and more Oblivion and Skyrim are, but BEFORE Oblivion and Skyrim. :) Where’s my goddang levitation!!! Where’s my gamebreaking acrobatics after spending 40 minutes jumping up and down Vivec’s steps! Where’s my amazing weapon just for the knowledge of where it’s hidden!

        • Nasarius says:

          I don’t think so. I’ll offer another comparison: World of Warcraft. WoW was *far* from my first MMO (I’d played UO, EQ, DAoC, GW, and a few others). I came to it fairly late, and I didn’t like it. However, I really appreciated what they did with most of the newbie zones, giving them a lot of subtle character and flavor via the quests.

          And then they changed all that with Cataclysm. They added a ton of guided “content” to the newbie zones. But in this case, less was more. You didn’t need all the cutscenes and set pieces and extra fluff. It actually detracted from the experience.

          I feel similarly about the missions in GW1. They weren’t wonderful, but they still managed to be simple and memorable with their designs. I struggle to remember anything about GW2 even though I played it much more recently.

      • Chalky says:

        I honestly don’t understand what you mean by soulless and I imagine Anders Wrist above may be correct that it has a lot to do with fond memories that no new game could live up to.

        That said, Orr was an atrocious zone and if that’s what sticks in your mind I would really recommend returning to try out the new zones. They have much more interesting large scale events, the areas are much more interesting too rather than the dank crowd control filled puddles of Orr. It feels like Anet have looked at how people tried to play Orr (with organised event trains chaining together events in the most efficient way) and decided to design the whole zone around a single event that everyone can participate in. Really good fun.

        • Soulstrider says:

          Not really. I may have fond memories but I am pretty sure I can tell when nostalgia can affects my judgement. GW2 felt soulless because of it’s cliche/boring direction, long and boring missions (like the robot one of the Scarlet story), story (frankly evil dragons make pretty poor antagonists) and characters (can’t think of any remarkable character) and dialogue ( I swear some of is so cringeworthy and don’t get me started on the voice acting) . In paper it had a lot of great ideas but the implementation didn’t live up to. I confess I haven’t played much after the Scarlet arc with that atrocious story so It may have gotten better. It’s not like I don’t like the game, because I did like it, but I just can’t get immersed in that world it like I can in WoW or right now FFXIV, I just can’t feel any personality out of it, which I know it’s something completely subjective.

    • DarkFenix says:

      I just picked up GW2 in this sale and frankly I hate it. I loved GW1 but GW2 feels like it’s trying so hard to be generic that it’s boring me to sleep before I can even finish the first zone.

      • aliksy says:

        You’re going to have to be more specific about what was generic. The human area is a little bleh with farms and bandits, but it’s the human area. There’s apparently a segment of the population that can’t handle weird things, so most games have a baseline of normal shit.

        • DarkFenix says:

          The game mechanics are rigidly generic too, there is nothing to set GW2 apart from World of Generic Stuff 3. The game has no spark of its own, nothing to make it stand out among its peers, everything is soulless and by-the-numbers. It feels like how an MMO would be if you could program a machine to design an MMO.

          • Dawngreeter says:

            Ok, so… what other game does what GW2 does? I mean, really, I want to know. Because I couldn’t find any other MMO I could tolerate.

          • aliksy says:

            I can’t tell if you [DarkFenix] are conceding the point that your last point was meaningless, or if you’re just stupid.

  7. Dys Does Dakka says:

    And so, two years after release, seems there’ll be guild wars in Guild Wars. Who would have thought.

    -Also, maximum Mursaat hype. Venerate the Unseen Ones. The Illumursaati sees all. Etc.

  8. Premium User Badge

    Qazinsky says:

    For all players thinking of returning to Guild Wars 2 and make a new character, be aware that they totally screwed up traits for new characters (old characters still have them unlocked). What used to be an interesting and broad system that you got into early and was pretty much the only charcter progression you had, apart from gear, as you levelled after you had unlocked your elite skills at 30 is now only really starting at 30 itself and gets drip fed to you slowly and usually not the traits you would have chosen yourself.
    For example, I was startinga warrior and thought to myself “Hmm, running around could be done better if I got myself the passive movement increase early on”. Not only do I need to reach level 34 now to use the trait (previously level 20), if I want to unlock the trait by playing, rather than buying it, I need to go to a level 54 area!

    Their forum have had this Trait thread up and running for many months, it has managed to stay on the first page without being stickied all the time since then pointing to it not being a very popular move that they still haven’t done much about:

    link to forum-en.guildwars2.com

    • MacGuffin says:

      Colin has a post in that thread from today saying they are changing trait unlocks to a simplified system. I am cautiously optimistic. Now if they can just make any armor set other than ‘zerker viable in PvE I can start playing again.

  9. Frye2k11 says:

    GW2 is a bargain. The amount of content you get for your bucks is amazing. The fight mechanics are pretty damn good. And the game looks pretty good.

    But everything else about it was crap. It is not one big world but completely instanced : small rectangular regions are loaded and connected by teleport gates that make no sense at all since they are clearly connected to one another on the map.

    I just didn’t like the PVE dungeons, which was my main attraction to WoW. It just felt broken : getting two-shot by regular mobs worked because of the resurrection mechanic. You could beat most mobs just by standing in a tight bunch out of line of sight. Then spamming damage and chain-ressing.

    The world vs world on the other hand I really did like, but it became stale a few months ago. In the end there is ONE TACTIC for wvw : AOE can only hit 5 people (how’s that for intuitive gameplay?). In a blob vs blob situation obviously nothing else matters. Just stick close to a commander so be on voice comm and pretend it is you beating the enemy instead of the enemy being unable to hit more than 5 of your group. Joy!

    What I needed was proper pvp, which was promised all along, which was why I stuck around at all, which brings me to my main criticism:

    Arenanet is way, way too slow at making improvements and refusing to engage with their customers (they did try, though, but they seemed awkward and genuinely scared) . Check the ‘collaborative development’ thread on their forum or any other initiative of ‘listening to the players’ : closed down. I am talking about THOUSANDS OF SUGGESTIONS all brushed aside. They clearly felt a need to engage the typical MMO-forum-crowd, but did so in the worst possible manner : pretending to listen. Not listening to random people on the internet is not a sin, but be honest about things. Especially pvp fans got nothing substantial.

    In the end I felt GW2 was a giant waste of time and made me feel being strung along, blinded by the potential that i thought was there, but never flourished.

    Like or dislike gw2 for what it is, not for what it ‘will become when they fix / add xyz’

  10. Biaxident says:

    Played the shit out of GW2 for about a year when it came out. Got 4/5 max level characters, but once you got there it felt kind of shallow to me. The whole “there is no gear grind” and just farming for cosmetics. Didn’t really like the direction they went with bows shooting rainbow unicorns and stuff like that and a lot of other animé-like art direction. Not my kind of thing.

    WvW could be a lot of fun as a guild though, only thing that really kept me playing, but got a bit stale when you’re basically just having the same fight every day. And I hated the anti-aoe tactic of everyone stacking up and running round as a huge blob. Could have been so much better.

  11. Scott says:

    Hi folks!

    I’m Scott and I’m an officer over in RPS’ own GW2 guild, Rock, Paper, Signet. Last Saturday we held a little party on the EU side of the game to watch the announcement of this expansion and literally hundreds of people turned up for it.

    If you’re on the sidelines about dipping into GW2, I’d say just take the plunge. It’s kept me around for two and a half years despite me flitting from one MMO to another before this. I won’t lie, the great community does help out in keeping me around but there’s other aspects too. Without going into too much detail (you can view a full summary on the forum: link to rockpapershotgun.com), it’s a fantastic themepark multiplayer, with essentially each section of the game being cordoned off from the others. There is some overlap between the game’s areas which enable your characters to progress whether you’re in PvE, WvW or sPvP. It’s pretty cool.

    Of course I’m gonna be heavily biased and of course there’s issues with the game, but if you’re after an active, friendly EU community, check the guild out at link to rockpapershotgun.com!

  12. Aetylus says:

    This article has just done a terrible thing to me. For 35 years I believed that flinging yourself off a cliff attached to a kite was called hand gliding, to just now find out that it has nothing at all to do with hands and everything to do with hanging. I should be thinking about Guild Wars, but all I can think of is how very wrong I have been my whole life.