Guild Wars 2: Heart Of Thorns Now Raiding In Spirit Vale

Free-to-play MMO Guild Wars 2 [official site] launched its first paid expansion last month, and now the first raid from Heart of Thorns has started opening up for would-be heroes. Spirit Vale is the first wing of the raid, offering a ten-person challenge with nasty monsters to pummel and the chance to gain… such prizes.

Spirit Vale will have folks investigating what happened to a missing Pact squad, which I’m willing to bet involves giant monsters and/or dark magic. Yes, yes, but what about the shinies? ArenaNet say:

“With great risk comes great reward, and conquering raids will start you down the path to gathering the components you’ll need to build legendary armor. You may also find ascended gear, miniatures, and new, unique weapon skins.”

Along with the raid wing, yesterday’s update brought loads of other changes and fixes, including a reworked and improved Squad UI. Check the patch notes for all that.

Guild Wars 2 is still somewhere half-way down my terrifying list of things I want to play (and I’m not even a completionist – I happily give up on games I’m not feeling), so I can’t tell you nowt about Heart of Thorns or Spirit Vale. Any of y’all have something to share with the group? Do speak up.


  1. jha4ceb says:

    The perennially active RPS GW2 guild spent yesterday evening gloriously wiping on the new raid bosses. So far the raid seems good fun and suitably challenging.

    You can join the guild here: link to

  2. Person of Interest says:

    I don’t know anything about the expansion, but I recently spent a few evenings trying a few of the latest and greatest free-to-play MMO’s: Guild Wars 2, Star Wars: The Old Republic, and WildStar. And I must say, the interface design of GW2 is superb. The in-game UI doesn’t waste screen space, but always shows me what to do and where to go. (I am free to ignore that, of course.) The chosen fonts (as distinct from typefaces) complement each other and are used consistently. The animations and transitions are subtle and used sparingly. The level-up screens and helpies are clear.

    It’s a total contrast from WildStar, which is a UI disaster. Everything I mentioned that GW2 does right, WildStar does horribly wrong.

    Even if you are a casual gamer with a huge backlog (or a games journalist!), you can have yourself a nice evening or two with GW2’s character creator and starting zone. It’s got lovely outdoors to tromp through, calming music, and the zone questing means other players are always collaborating with you, not kill-stealing.

    • Caerphoto says:

      …shows me what to do and where to go. (I am free to ignore that, of course.)

      You can also turn it off entirely in Options.

  3. mineshaft says:

    I bounced off of WoW and before that Dark Age of Camelot so I was realistically fresh to the genre when this dropped.

    Guild Wars 2 is a very very well designed game. For someone new to the genre it was perfect. It hides a lot of depth under a noob friendly experience, but you don’t have to read those wikis if you don’t want to.

  4. zind says:

    I spent a couple hours wiping on the very first boss of the raid last night, and it was easily the most fun I’ve had in GW2 (perhaps even the first time I’ve really had actual fun in the game, in all honesty). I haven’t been able to grind out the second tier of glider mastery or even finish out my elite spec due to sheer boredom, but the boss fight in the raid was FUN, and the expansion is finally offering me something I like.

    It was technical and difficult, and required a team full of people who all knew what they were doing. I actually feel an incentive to work on getting ascended armor now.

  5. Phantasma says:

    Ah, Guild Wars 2.
    My affair with it was brief and intense but after levelling and kitting out a bunch of characters i didn’t really know what to do anymore.
    The Living story bits were atrocious, dungeons a unbalanced mess (softening the trinity was a nice concept on paper but just replacing every role with Damage Dealers got boring very fast. Every run became a giant DPS test with dodge or die as the only tactical consideration), and the advent of ascended gear and the prospect of a ridiculous grind attached to it was the killing blow for my enthusiasm.

    My top contender for the “So Much Potential But What Happened To Post Relase Support?” Award clearly goes to that one.

    This expansion might be fantastic, but for me it comes way too late.

    • Phantasma says:

      Just checked, 2012!
      What were Arenanet doing the whole time?
      Last checked aproximately around the end of 2013 and besides ONE new area, a new dungeon path and a plethora of cosmetic items in the shop, there was almost zero new content of note (except the abysmal Living Story bits and a few new world-boss encounters which were nothing more than a clusterfuck).
      Three years for one expansion sounds a bit troubling.

      • wheadna says:

        Obviously I’m a bit of a fan-boy, but I think the majority of players really enjoyed the living story – in fact the major complaint was that there wasn’t enough of it!
        It’s also worth pointing out that 3 new areas were added (not including several complete redesigns of the main city), along with 14 mini-dungeons (Fractals of the Mists). The major world boss that was added is still pretty much unbeatable without good organisation.

        A lot of the content in the early living story was temporary, which is why it may seem like not much has been added, but with 40 fairly major free releases since launch, I feel that an accusation of lack of post-release support is unjustified.