Ah, yes, it was lovely to hear the numerous puns and/or semi-forced jokes from the great Jennifer Hale (voice actress extraordinaire, Queen Jennah of Guild Wars 2) at ArenaNet’s Guild Wars 2: Heart of Thorns PAX South press conference. She mentioned a particular set of emails ablaze amongst the team with subject lines saying “HOT” in them… H.o.T… Heart of Thorns, you got it.
Heart of Thorns is the name of the newly announced Guild Wars 2 expansion pack, and it looks beautiful, in a semi-dark and rugged kind of way.
The new HoT expansion pack will bring players into the Heart of Maguuma, a vast jungle with great, new content:
- New open world jungle maps.
- Experience new events and storylines.
- Face off in new boss battles.
One thing that was emphasized in PAX South’s HoT press conference was that the “journey is the goal.” The new Maguuma Jungle will continue on with this tradition that fans of the series know and love. And we were all informed that Maguuma has multiple levels of height; really, you’ll be climbing extremely high to reach the top. And what do Guild Wars fans do when they reach the top of a really high level?
They jump off, why not.
This brings us to another fun component of Guild Wars 2: Heart of Thorns: The Mastery System.
“Explore new training opportunities for your character beyond level 80 and master abilities like hang gliding in the jungle, tearing the bark off of heavily armored Mordrem, or building new collections that earn precursors to a legendary weapon.”
So when you’re ready to jump from the apex of Maguuma… try hang-gliding instead, and find new areas that were never possible to reach before.
Specializations will also evolve your character’s profession in new ways:
New traits, new skills, and new weapons that were previously unavailable to your profession. Some examples of how specializations will change the way you play include Rangers now having the ability to become druids, and Necromancers will be able to use fabulous, big greatswords.
And speaking of professions, HoT introduces a new profession: The Revenant!
“Channel legendary powers to slaughter foes and unleash chaos on the battlefield with our brand new profession: the revenant. Enter the field of battle heavily armored and equipped with the otherworldly powers of the Mists.”
The game is now balanced with 3 light armor characters, 3 medium, and the Revenant now brings the tally up to 3 heavies.
Fans at PAX South (and surely on the interwebz) were especially excited at the announcement of new “Guild Halls,” where you and your guild will be able to grow and claim your own space right in Maguuma.
Other highlights announced for HoT include a new WvW map for players to do battle, and a new PvP “Stronghold” mode that allows for an entirely new way to competitively play some Guild Wars 2 PVP. Use a new guild team feature and defend your stronghold, while storming the enemy gates to defeat the guild lord!
While we were not given a price and/or release date on the HoT new expansion yet, ArenaNet did inform us that there will be a playable demo at PAX East this year! So please check it out if you’re attending!
See the trailer from the press conference here – http://youtu.be/54ucC9jIiWE