Hey all, if you’ve been following Guild Wars 2: Heart of Thorns news as closely as I have, you know most about what I’m going to say. But for those who don’t, let’s go over some of the gameplay features Scott McGough wrote in a blog post explaining what the Maguuma jungle has to offer.
First off we have the 3 biomes, aka tiers of land, that we’ll be able to explore. There will also be day/night cycle where the landscape will be more dangerous at night. There’s also ways of traveling in these areas and Maxing your masteries in various lines will grant you access to these areas. For instance, maxing the glider will let you reach new heights and maxing a language will unlock different areas that you otherwise wouldn’t be able to explore.
Replayability is another aspect Heart of Thorns has as various decisions you make play out a story instance differently. For example the Laranthir story instance is the first instance you play. You’ll have to option to relieve him, or to search for his men. Choosing either option has a different result. Achievements are also in place to promote replaying the story in a different path.
I’ve said this before but characters can talk now! Which may not seem much but it bring more immersion as you can feel your character become more important and more involved in the story.
Over all, these changes are quite impressive and you can definitely tell that ArenaNet are learning from past Living Story and even the launch of Guild Wars 2. The choices you made in personal story didn’t have a real effect on the world or how you play future instances. It was more like, “these NPCs will be joining you on your quest instead of these ones”. I guess the argument is that you learn about different NPCs and hear their stories which is totally fine. Also, I expected the end result no matter what path you took is to kill Zhaitan. I guess what I’m hoping for is more variation in how to story is played out, that we have true branching stories that, in the end, will all lead back to a final fight with Mordremoth.
Exploration is another thing I like. Most older MMOs suffer from areas being empty due to there being nothing to do. However, ArenaNet has implemented ways to get players into those areas with dailies, Living Story patches, and so on. With getting HoT achievements by redoing the story differently it promotes the HoT areas (at least) to be explored. Also, the Mastery system will prompt players back into the original GW2 areas as well.
I’m really looking forward to how ArenaNet will make the story feel diverse and uses the Mastery System to encourage players to reach new locations.