Players pretty much guessed it but Guild Wars 2 Heart of Thorns being an expansion is confirmed! At the “Beyond The Point of No Return” panel at PAX South, ArenaNet president Mike O’Brien told players the good news and Guild Wars 2 Game Director Colin Johanson went over the major features coming in the expansion. Players will be heading into The Heart of Maguuma where players can fight Mordrem minions and discover allies from ancient civilizations. From the announcement trailer, it looks like the Mursaat (or whatever those spectral beings are) are probably a new ally. There will be challenging group content, open world jungle maps, new events, a new story line, and new boss battles.
Progression: Mastery System and Specialization
Max level and gear stats are not changing but progression shall be done using the Mastery System. The Mastery System is available at max level and is account based so you only need to apply points once if you have many characters. This system is used in order to adapt and survive in the Maguuma Jungle. Points for this system are earned by doing Heart of Maguuma jungle content. There are abilities such as hang gliding and combat abilities such as tearing bark off a heavily armored Mordrem. Also, precursors can be earned from the Mastery System via building and completing new collections. Speaking of precursors, Johanson confirmed new legendaries and new legendary precursors in Heart of Thorns.
Specializations are another form of progression being introduced in the expansion. Players will be able to gain access to a new weapon that was unavailable to their character. There will also be new traits, skills and unique mechanics. Some specializations described in the panel for Rangers is the ability to use a staff and Druid Form which provides new skills and mechanics; Necromancers will be able to use greatswords. From the trailer, it seems that Engineers will be able to wield hammers.
New Class: Revenant
The expansion introduces a new heavy armor class: Revenant. Destiny’s Edge member Rytlock Brimstone was confirmed to be a Revenant when he returns from the Mists by Johanson at the panel. Revenants are able to channel the powers of the Mists as well as powers from past Guild Wars great legends such as the Jalis Ironhammer (from Guild Wars Prophecies and Eye of the North) and Mallyx the Unyielding (from Guild Wars: Nightfall).
PvP Sides Of Things
The PvP side is receiving new things as well! For WvW, there will be a new borderland in the borderland rotation where keeps have distinct themes. Certain abilities can be obtained when in control of objectives around a keep. For example, Johanson said the Earth Keep will raise up parts of the ground to defend itself when attacked if players control the shrines around the keep. Core changes to WvW will also be made in order to promote holding objectives. For sPvP, there will be a new mode called Stronghold which is a throwback to Guild Wars 1. Players will be able to hire troops with supply in order to assault the enemy team’s keep in order to defeat the enemy guild lord for the win. Guild teams will be available for this mode in order to see who makes it to the top of the leaderboards.
Finally, there will be Guild Halls. Guild Halls can be upgraded and can be a centralized place where guilds can organize and head out for guild missions and Heart of Maguuma jungle content.
In a post interview by Twitch, Mike O’Brien said that the first (public) playable version of Guild Wars 2: Heart of Thorns will be available at PAX East. If you missed the panel and want to see it for yourself, you can check it out on Guild Wars 2’s Twitch channel.