ArenaNet have just released their latest blog post discussing Guild Wars 2: Heart Of Thorns Mastery System. The blog post is big and covers almost everything players could possibly want to know about this new progression system. For a "too long, didn't read" it covers the following:

  • Players can only access Masteries if they've purchased Heart Of Thorns
  • Masteries are accessable at level 80 and unlocked with Mastery Points
  • You acquire Mastery Points by completing specific activities in PvE
  • The Mastery System advancement will replace post level 80 skill point acquisition
  • Masteries are region based and will automatically change to the last Mastery trained in the respective region
  • Masteries are similar to PvP reward tracks where you'll undertake specific activities to progress towards a specific Mastery goal
  • Examples of mastery 'tracks' include: Legend, Exploration, Combat, Lore and Fractal
  • All Mastery Points are Account Bound

What Are Masteries?

ArenaNet have described how Masteries allow you to progress in PvE by playing PvE. I find it interesting that they've stressed this because I assume the intention is to appeal directly to those who have no interest in any other game modes. What worries me however is the fact that they're emphasising the fact you obtain "meaningful powers" as you unlock Masteries.

Masteries give you meaningful powers that affect your interaction with the game and open up new possibilities as you progressMasteries give you meaningful powers that affect your interaction with the game and open up new possibilities as you progress. Each Mastery track contains several tiers to unlock, allowing you to gain more powerful abilities associated with each track’s theme.

Perhaps I'm a pessamistic sort of fellow, but my experience of Guild Wars 2's "meaningful" progression in World versus World with its abilities leaves me dubious. The example ArenaNet have referred to a few times is a Mastery for ripping the bark off a Modrem creature. Will people do that, really? As I know players, unless it's hugely quicker they just won't bother. That's key to Masteries being a success - they have to actually be a significant step up otherwise they're useless. 

Mastery Acquisition

The system ArenaNet have designed seems pretty good and although it sounds a little complex in the blog post, I think it's straight forward. Masteries are tied to each region and Mastery Points are acquired by completing PvE content. With Masteries tied to specific regions, you'll need to visit those locations to unlock the Mastery and as Masteries increase in difficulty (or higher tiers), you'll need to spend more Mastery Points to complete them. What I find a little odd however is the fact that Masteries will replace your level, meaning if you've completed an additional 20 after level 80, the little icon next to your name will say 100, instead. It's an awesome ego boost and that's about it. 

What Can Players Get?

The list on offer here actually looks pretty good and although this isn't a definative list, there's plenty of desirables. Without doubt the most popular will be to create Legendary Precursors for new and old legendaries as well as hang gliding. For me, though, it's the lore that interests me the most. 

Master Lore: Attunement with new ally races can be trained to understand their language, unlocking secret locations and access to battle techniques that can weaken your shared enemies.

The only other thing here to make me pay attention was the mention of Fractal Rewards to gain new powerful abilities and infusions. It's an avenue of the game I just don't play because I loathe the leveling system and the rewards are poor. Perhaps it'll peak my interest after the expansion. 

Lastly and as one of the largest paragraphs, Crystin Cox talks a fair bit about hang gliding. It sounds awesome and the fact you can soar through the air the moment you fall is going to allow for some amazing exploration. I also love the fact your early gliding wings are bound by energy, meaning you can't glide forever as a novice. I can't wait.

What are your thoughts on the latest blog post from ArenaNet? What's your favourite thing about Masteries? Do you even like the system? Let us know!



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Last Updated: Mar 15, 2016

About The Author

Lewis currently splits his time between Heroes of the Storm, Battlerite, and Artifact, having covered MOBAs, MMOs and TCG for many years.