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I was recently given the opportunity to play through a section of Guild Wars 2’s first raid alongside of some of the developers at ArenaNet. I have to say, that I had a lot of fun. Gorseval is the name of the boss I was being thrown in front of. Players will recognize it as the “Tongue Boss” from the Heart of Thorns raid announcement from PAX. And yes, gliders were involved in the fight... and in my death.

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Tally Ho!

The devs were familiar with the run so I was being brought along on the “smack the boss in the face” team. A task that the Reaper is quite well equipped for.

We jumped into the boss room and I immediately plunged to my death by hitting space three times instead of two, closing my glider before I could reach the updraft. Laughs were abundant while we reset the fight. The raid update comes along with a new party interface and Ready tool that allowed me to watch the team check in. Once everyone was good, it was time to jump in again.

I didn’t smash into the ground this time and the fight was on. It felt like total chaos at first. Sure, the leader was calling out commands, but I didn’t have the background knowledge to understand what exactly was going on, or why things were important. So I focused on what I knew how to do: slamming my weapon directly into the face of Gorseval!

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The reliance on positioning quickly became apparent as Gorseval leapt to the center of the area and started smashing the ground. The leader called for the group to break bar and stuns were spammed. I found a small sliver of “safe” area next to Gorseval’s foot and set to smashing buttons. The bar broke and I got a few seconds to wail on him before he got up and the real danger started.

One of the group split off in order to start damaging one of the walls that blocked us in on the main fight area. As he did this, the group had to pull in a bunch of small adds and slowly walk back towards the wall, pulling Gorseval and the adds with us so that we could kill the them (if any of them survived, Gorseval would gobble them up for a permanent stat boost) and damage Gorseval all at the same time. If you couldn’t manage to stand in the right spot or when the wall went down, Gorseval could knock you off the ledge to your doom.

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That's when the room nuke started to channel. We had a bit more time to wail on the boss again before turning and leaping off the platform to glide into an updraft and back around to drop in again. I couldn’t help but hum “Flight of the Valkyrie” to myself as 10 characters swooped around in unison. Needless to say, I crashed here once and we had to restart.

This process was repeated several times before we triggered the next phase of the fight when the group had to split up to take down four slow adds that approached Gorseval. If they reached him, we would die. The four Reaper DPS saved us here and we moved on to stage 3, where we quickly went down in a blaze of glory! At this point, we had to call the raid as there wasn’t enough time. Gorseval hadn’t even reached half HP yet and he is only a part of the raid.

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As a whole, I had a ton of fun. I was able to contribute without knowing what was going on, but it was obvious that I was helping more as I noticed what it was that each person was doing. I had to pay attention to the split and even the orientation of the map (one time we went to the wrong wall early in the fight, broke it down, and leapt off to escape the room nuke only to realize we were in the wrong spot and there was no updraft here).

Other than the use of gliding, I didn’t see any mechanic that I haven’t encountered before (break bars not being unique to the fight). We had a room nuke, DPS timers with the walking doom mobs and a limited number of updrafts to use to get to stage 2, adds that would buff the main boss if they weren’t destroyed in time and adds that would kill you if they weren’t destroyed in time. I know that stage 3 involves avoiding black spheres and running to the gold spheres if you end up getting a debuff on you from the black ones, but we died before I could really interact with it.

I did have to pay attention to my positioning the entire fight more so than I did in previous encounters. I know that the group had a good deal more focus on support than I have seen in typical groups; we had a Chronomancer, a Dragonhunter and a Druid all working to keep the group alive and smashing away. Control was hugely important both for downing the break bar attack as well as slowing the constant advance of the doom mobs. We also had four Reapers, so DPS was in abundance along with a good degree of control from them.

I don’t know how much team build prep the developers did before entering the raid. They did ask ahead of time what class I would be playing, and the default build I was set up with was a DPS build (which I tossed away in favor of my own DPS build). I can only assume that they did do some prep ahead of time based upon the fact that each of them had a role to play in the fights themselves, and several of those seemed like they would need some specialized builds (soloing the wall and pulling in the adds).

With only the small segment of the raid under my belt, I can't say how players will react to the content. I look forward to seeing if players work together before raids to come up with a cohesive group build and plan. I have always loved the planning stages of group content in games, and anything that encourages preparing ahead of time is a good thing in my book.

One thing that I hope does carry over is the attitude of the raid group. The primary sound in the comm channel was laughter. Joking about mistakes was the primary method of recognizing them, owning up to the mistake, and letting the group know it was your bad. ArenaNet has talked several times about how Guild Wars 2 has an incredibly welcoming and friendly community; raids are stereotypically known for not having this though. I think it would be great if the new raids managed to keep the attitude that I experienced while playing through the raid. I have played both ways and trust me when I say that having people joke with you is more fun than an angry tirade.

But seriously, play "Flight of the Valkyries" in your head during this fight. Back to Top

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Enter Spirit Vale on 11/17

Arenanet has announced that the release of their first Raid shard, Spirit Vale, is releasing on 17 November 2015.  The release will include the first Raid shard, new legendary armor, and new rewards.  The release will also introduce the new Squad Commands, which allow commanders and other squad leader players to give orders to the people following them.

One of the Guildwars2Guru team members will be playing the raid with the developers before it comes out.  If you have any questions for them, submit them in this post!

Enter Spirit Vale, the initial wing of the first raid inGuild Wars 2: Heart of Thorns, and tackle the greatest challenge yet. Built on top of our action combat and dynamic event systems, raids in Guild Wars 2 are instanced, ten-player content designed to be the ultimate test of your skill. Gather your allies for epic experiences!
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64-Bit Client Incoming

Since the launch of Heart of Thorns there have been many issues with crashing during large meta battles.  Today, in an effort to fix this, Arenanet is about to release a 64-bit client, as confirmed by Colin Johanson, Arenanet's game director.

We are rolling out a beta version of a 64 bit client today if all goes well - please give this a shot if youre having crash issues and let us know if that does the trick!

It is uncertain as to what time today the client will launch.  The client is live, you can get it by going to your arenanet account page and downloading it! Back to Top

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Heart of Thorns Release

Arenanet has successfully released both Heart of Thorns and the Halloween festival 2015!  Make sure to check out the patch notes and get in the game to play the expansion.  Below are some tips to get you started:
  • If you want to start the Heart of Thorns story, simply select it from the Hero panel.  Head to the Silverwastes to start the prologue.
  • If you own a guild and have a leadership position, be sure to visit the new guild headquarters in Lion's Arch to upgrade your guild rank and claim a new Guild Hall!
  • If you're into player versus player, be sure to check out the new Strongholds gamemode, which is free for all!
  • If you're into world versus world, check out the new borderlands rotation and the new map, which will be exclusive for at least two weeks.
There are numerous other performance enhancements and game changes.  Get in game and check them out!

ArenaNet Announces 7 Million Guild Wars 2® Accounts, Launches new expansion Guild Wars 2: Heart of Thorns™

With Guild Wars 2 growing fast, the Heart of Thorns expansion is now live and continues the journey for players

BELLEVUE, Wash – Oct. 23, 2015: ArenaNet®, publisher and developer of the award-winning Guild Wars franchise, today launched Guild Wars 2: Heart of Thorns. The highly anticipated expansion to Guild Wars 2 is now live and available at digital and retail stores across North America and Europe. The expansion to the PC MMO comes less than three months after ArenaNet announced that the core Guild Wars 2 game is available to play for free, a move that has significantly grown the game’s player community. To highlight that growth, ArenaNet also released an infographic today announcing that Guild Wars 2 has reached more than 7 million player accounts globally.

“This has been a memorable year for ArenaNet and our Guild Wars 2 player community,” said Mike O’Brien, co-founder and president of ArenaNet. “We energized our fans in January with the announcement of Heart of Thorns as the first expansion to Guild Wars 2, and we’ve seen steady growth in our player base ever since. Our community is widely recognized as one of the best and friendliest in MMOs – many of our veteran players organized in starter zones to welcome new players the weekend we made the core Guild Wars 2 game free. We’re eager to see how our fast growing community continues to flourish, and we hope they’re eager to embrace where their Guild Wars 2 journey takes them next in Heart of Thorns.”

The new infographic from ArenaNet catalogues hard data and fun factoids that highlight the continuing popularity of Guild Wars 2 across the game, from open world players who focus on story content and world exploration to those who participate in the game’s increasingly competitive Player vs. Player (PvP) and World vs. World (WvW) scenes. ArenaNet recently announced the launch of a $400,000 Guild Wars 2 Pro League PvP tournament, launched in partnership with ESL, and the infographic highlights how PvP player participation has grown by 135 percent since last year. There is a statistic showing that 40 percent of max level players showed up in starter zones to welcome new players the day the core game went free, showcasing the friendly reputation of the player community. Topping it all is an astronomical figure – more than 1.4 billion hours – totaling the amount of time players have put into Guild Wars 2 since launch, nearly the same time modern humans have spent walking the earth.

Guild Wars 2: Heart of Thorns now extends the core game experience for this growing community as a paid expansion with a range of new content and features, including a unique new system called Masteries that redefines endgame character progression in Guild Wars 2. The expansion marks a couple of additional firsts for Guild Wars 2, introducing Guild Halls where guilds and groups of players can claim and customize a piece of the game world, and setting the stage for the first-ever Raids coming to the MMO and activating shortly after launch. As with the original Guild Wars 2, which delivered more than 40 major content updates without charging a subscription fee, players who purchase Heart of Thorns will have access to future releases coming to the expansion free of charge.

Heart of Thorns continues the Guild Wars 2 journey for players with the next chapter in their Personal Story saga, where armies in the game world led by players go deep into the heart of the Maguuma jungle to take on a sinister elder dragon. It also brings new game modes, features and game play improvements that touch on nearly every aspect of the game. There is an all-new profession called the revenant along with elite specializations that add new weapons and skills to every existing profession in the game. There is brand new competitive game content with an all new PvP mode called Stronghold and the massive new Desert Borderlands map for the game’s epic WvW warfare mode. Heart of Thorns also sets a strong foundation for endgame MMO content. Masteries introduce new ways to pursue skills and progress characters. Raids and new Fractal dungeons deliver extremely challenging group content. There are new ways for players to earn Legendary rewards. For competitive players, there are in-game systems and leaderboards such as PvP Leagues and Guild Challenger Leagues that pave the way for players to develop skills to compete at an elite level.

For a fun tour and an interactive trailer highlighting all of the features in Guild Wars 2: Heart of Thorns, please visit: www.guildwars2.com.

About Guild Wars 2® and Guild Wars 2: Heart of Thorns™
Guild Wars 2 is a visually stunning MMO, a living world that offers players the epic grandeur of a massive role playing environment combined with innovative combat mechanics, dynamic events and customized personal storytelling, as well as fast-paced competitive play with team-based PvP and massive World vs. World battles. Building on the success of Guild Wars, ArenaNet® has created an MMO that lets gamers play the way they want, while at the same time retaining the no-subscription-fee business model that made the originalGuild Wars so popular.

Guild Wars 2: Heart of Thorns is the first expansion to Guild Wars 2. Founded on the same gameplay philosophy as the core game, where the journey is the goal, Guild Wars 2: Heart of Thorns continues ArenaNet’s tradition of defying MMO conventions to fulfill the promise of what online worlds should be.
For more details, please visit www.guildwars2.com.
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The Shadow of the Mad King

Arenanet has announced that this years' Halloween event will be occurring 23 - 31 October.  The event will be a re-do of the 2012 event, which has not been run since then, as the previous two Halloween events had a different theme.  Highlights include the return of the dungeon fight against Mad King Thorn.  You can find the release page here.

Halloween takes place right after the launch of Heart of Thorns, which occurs on 22 October 2015.

The Shadow of the Mad King, our annual Halloween festival, returns for nearly two weeks of ghoulish capers, spooky fights, and holiday fun! Gather together with the citizens of Lion’s Arch to enjoy another year of tricks, treats, and terrible jokes.
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Last week, ArenaNet hosted a week-long series called Guild Week, where they discussed future updates to the Guild system once the GW2: Heart of Thorns expansion launches. If you missed the livestreams, you can check them out below:

Part One
Game Designer McKenna Berdrow, QA Embed Dara Potocska, and Gameplay Programmer Darren Mason talked about the Guild Initiative Headquarters, guild expeditions, guild missions, and the updated Guild panel.

Part Two
Gameplay Programmer Seth Chadwick, Environment Artist Jesse Christensen, and Dara unveiled the second of two guild-hall maps coming in Guild Wars 2: Heart of Thorns—the Lost Precipice.

Part Three
Rubi Bayer sat down with Game Designer Matthew Pennebaker to talk about the new scribing crafting discipline, and then Dara and Seth were joined by Game Director Colin Johanson to demonstrate how you can use decorations to let your creativity run wild in your guild hall and arena!

Part Four
Guest host Elizabeth Stewart brought Colin back to wrap up Guild Week and answer plenty of player questions.

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We’re excited to announce that GuildWars2Guru.com has been asked by ArenaNet to become the preferred destination for all Guild Wars 2 play-for-free players!

To accompany this announcement, we’ve opened a new sub-forum dedicated to play-for-free players so be sure to check it out! Feel free to introduce yourself, ask advice or just use it as a place to chat with other players about the game. You can, of course, use any other part of the forum, too!

If you happen to have any tips or advice for other play-for-free players, we’re currently looking for guide writers to help out. All you have to do is start a new thread!

Screenshot & Story Contest

To celebrate the news, we’re hosting a small contest here on Guru. While the contest isn’t exactly restricted to new play-for-free players, the theme does revolve around experiencing the game for the first time.

Head over to the the new play-for-free forum to learn more about the contest! Back to Top

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PAX stream liveblog

If you wish to follow the PAX stream, but cannot stream it, keep refreshing this page.  It will be updated with any information!

Summary:  Raids are coming to Guild Wars 2, instanced content for 10 people.  Guild Wars 2 is now free to play with minor restrictions.  F2P does not bring changes to the gem store or current release model.  New Living Story/releases directly after the launch of GW2:HoT.

20:04 - Event over.

20:02 - A new heart of thorns website is going live today.

20:01 - All existing players get the royal guard outfit for free.

19:58 - Free accounts cannot use map chat, and can only whisper once every 30 seconds.

19:58 - Free accounts cannot use the trading post besides BASIC items, and cannot do WvW until level 60.

19:58 - Free accounts have fewer character, bag, and bank slots until they buy.

19:57 - The new accounts that are free will have restrictions.

19:55 - There will be no more monetization as opposed to today.

19:52 - Guild Wars 2 is now free, starting today.

19:49 - Pink Day in LA will return with official support on 21 October 2015.

19:48 - Mike "Mo" O'Brian takes the stage.

19:47 - Live Release model will continue DIRECTLY after launch.  Raids will be added and become a centerpiece.

19:46 - First raid will be activated about two weeks after launch.

19:43 - Colin hints at raids having Legendary rewards... hints heavily at legendary armor and weapons.

19:42 - GW2 raiding has no attunement process.  "Walk to the door, and start instantly."

19:40 - A raid in GW2 is made up of the event system, so it will not only be linear raids.

19:40 - Raids are instanced, meant for 10 players.

19:39 - Raids are meant to be more difficult than dungeons, fractals, and open world content, but without headaches such as new gear treadmills, etc.

19:37 - Trailer for raids shows battles focused on single bosses and coordination puzzles.

19:35 - Raids are coming to GW2.

19:34 - Reiteration of non-unique items with the expansion, such as Fractals overhauls, Live content, PvP updates, etc.  All focused on the level 80 experience.

19:33 - Arenanet aims to not have any more levels or gear tiers in GW2.

19:32 - GW2 has sold 5 million copies in the non-China market.

19:31 - Release date really is 23 October 2015.

19:31 - Colin Johansson, Game Director, comes up on stage. Back to Top

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Heart of Thorns releases 23 October, 2015

Arenanet has announced the Guild Wars 2: Heart of Thorns will release on 23 October 2015.  To learn more about the expansion and to pre-purchase, check out the official website.

Do not forget to join us tomorrow for coverage of the incoming PAX announcement, in which Arenanet will detail surprises and show what the "challenging group challenges" actually is.

Guild Wars 2: Heart of Thorns launches October 23, 2015. Pre-purchase bonuses available now!
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A new beta event has been scheduled for the weekend of September 4th, 2015. This event runs similarly to some of the more recent tests that've been held, mostly adding in the newly announced elite specializations that have been announced since (most notably the berserker and upcoming thief spec). Stronghold will also be available to test in addition to some light story and map content to avoid spoilers, along with the chance to play in the core game if you're really wanting to save yourself for the official release.

Progress also will not be wiped at the conclusion of this weekend, so it's your chance to commit to a beta character until the expansion's launch sometime this year.

https://www.guildwar...ns-september-4/ Back to Top