I'm not sure about you guys, but around here in these parts, we've been wondering exactly when ArenaNet would get to announcing an expansion. Just before PAX South, ArenaNet registered “Heart of Thorns” and speculation kicked it up a notch. Soon enough, the PAX South schedule from ArenaNet was released, and they all but verified that Heart of Thorns would indeed be the first expansion to come to Guild Wars 2, which launched in August 2012. ArenaNet's been doing a good job of releasing regular content updates for free in the time since Guild Wars 2 launched, so is having an actual expansion announced a good or bad thing for the community?
Regardless of the timing, I doubt that Heart of Thorns could be anything but a good thing for the community. If you missed Lewis liveblogging the ArenaNet announcement, you should head over to the current promotion here on TTH and check out all of the information he's put together. This is more than just some journalistic efforts here; what you're seeing is a labor of love. You can bet if Lewis is showing this level of enthusiasm over the excitement of Heart of Thorns' announcement, he's not alone in the community. Have a look at the brief tweet confirming the announcement and you'll see that the community is hypnotized into a synchronized swooning about now. Well, except for PvE guy, but there's always gotta be that one person who will tell you how terrible anything is, right?
At the end of Lewis' liveblogging, he links to the new Guild Wars 2: Heart of Thorns expansion page, which is now live and full of information about the upcoming expansion. My favorite part of it is all of the gorgeous new artwork that is on the page, but I'm easily pleased. Here's a few quick tidbits of what to expect for Heart of Thorns
- No level increase
- New profession (class), the Revanant (heavy armored ranged/melee?)
- New Mastery system to learn new skills (gliding!)
- New content to continue your journey through Maguuma
- Specializations to further your profession mastery, which comes with a new weapon
- Guild Halls
- New Stronghold game mode for PvP (take that, Twitter naysayer!)
- Borderland, new World v World content
So, a few things are happening here and my stance on where I say this expansion is a good thing for the community remains the same. There are several smart additions to Heart of Thorns. First, Guild Halls. Single and group player housing is never a bad thing, and when it doesn't exist, people always want them added in. No new level increase doesn't have to be a bad thing, if Mastery works out smartly. This could potentially give players an alternative means of advancement and progression without going through the normal route of questing, leveling to max level and regearing for new content. Do it right, and your playerbase has plenty to do in terms of progression without hopping back on the gear treadmill. At a glance, Heart of Thorns also has plenty of new content for Guild Wars 2, regardless of whether you prefer to PvE or PvP. I'm sure plenty of people are excited about the Revanant, too.
This is all extremely new and we don't have a ton of information yet, but I'm sure that in the days to come, ArenaNet will be working on filling in the blanks. Stay tuned! We'll be sure to tell ya all about everything related to Guild Wars 2: Heart of Thorns.
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