Arenanet has revealed some new features and ideas behind the making of the Heart of Thorns regions in the Maguuma jungle. The blog post outlines the biomes, themes, and some mushroom action. The blog also outlines a new voice based system for characters that allows order to be shouted and world interaction to occur more.
From the very beginning, Guild Wars 2: Heart of Thorns™ was designed to maximize every player’s jungle experience. Gameplay, story, and the terrain itself were all conceived, fleshed out, and woven together to create a unified and immersive world that hooks players and keeps them hooked. Under the steady hands of Matt Wuerffel and Jon Peters, the Heart of Thorns team collaborated, iterated, and executed on a series of features and themes that deliver our most satisfying and comprehensive gaming experience to date.
During the last feature patch, ArenaNet made some changes to the personal story that stirred up quite a bit of controversy. Today, lead writer Bobby Stein outlines the changes that will revert the patch's story rearrangement along with a few other tweaks.
One change that might catch your eye is the change to the final personal story task in the game. Instead of The Ruined City of Arah being a standard story mode dungeon, it now behaves like a personal story instance and can be completed solo instead of requiring a group of five. The only catch is that due to the nature of this change, once it is completed the instance can no longer be repeated. The explorable versions of the dungeon remain the same.
Check out the full list of changes over on the official forum.
We have converted the story mode of “The Ruined City of Arah” dungeon to be a Personal Story step, so after this update goes live, you may only play it once as part of your Personal Story. We are also unlocking the explorable mode of this dungeon by default so access will no longer be gated by story mode completion.
Arenanet has announced that change are coming to the ability to move and send in-game gold between accounts using non-trade post system. Gaile Gray from Arenanet has outlined the incoming changes in a forum post.
Each account will have a limit on how much gold can be moved from its mail in-box and Guild Vault into its wallet each week.
If you receive more gold through in-game mail than you can accept in a week, the gold will remain attached to the mail in your in-box and can be retrieved up to the limit the following week or in subsequent weeks.
For the purposes of this limit, a week begins at 12:01 AM UTC each Sunday (5:01 PM PDT/4:01 PM PST Saturday).
Gold received from the Trading Post is not subject to this limit.
The maximum amount of gold that can be sent via a single in-game mail will be 500 gold.
The maximum total amount of gold that an individual player account can accept in a week will be 500 gold.
We will monitor this system and may make changes to the limits if we find that changes are necessary.
Arenanet has revealed their plans for precursor crafting in the upcoming Heart of Thorns expansion pack. The crafting will be done through recipes and perofrming numerous random tasks, such as clearing certain dungeons or dance for Queen Jennah. You can read the full announcement on the official website.
For the Moot, this is where the celebrating starts. Since the Moot’s theme is all about partying, you’ll participate in a range of activities that include dancing with world leaders, setting off fireworks for the Spirits of the Wild, and sampling delicacies and libations from around Tyria. This final collection unlocks the recipe to craft the polished final iteration of the precursor. For all of our existing precursors, this is a tradable exotic weapon, but they will all be updated to use new skins that look much like the legendary weapons they’ll one day become. We like to think of these new precursor skins as the legendary weapon before it is embodied by its soul. Unlocking one of these new skins in your wardrobe will also unlock the two previous tiers of skins. So, should you get lucky and find a precursor out in the world, you won’t miss out on the skins.
After unveiling the newest World vs World map at Rezzed in Europe last week, ArenaNet now has a blog post up detailing some of the big changes we'll be seeing to the format. Specifically changes to defense, large-scale events, and the new strategic elements of the map. Anyone heavily invested in WvW is no doubt foaming at the mouth for any new information, so head over to the post and bask in the glorious details of the Desert Borderlands map. Also be sure to check out the overview video included in the post as well if you didn't get a chance to watch it last Saturday.
Afteryou're finished digesting everything, come back here so we can have a nice long discussion on whether or not this new map is everything you've ever wanted and more.
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Streaming Client Beta: Added -StreamingClient flag to allow downloading while playing Guild Wars 2. See our blog post for more information.
The number of votes required to kick a party member has been increased to 50% of the party. As an example, in parties of five, three votes will be required.
WvW map completion is no longer a requirement for a character to achieve World Completion, and these maps no longer award map completion rewards.
New camera settings in the General Options panel:
Added a Field of View slider.
Added a Zoom Sensitivity slider, which controls how quickly zooming in and out occurs.
Added a Collision Sensitivity slider, which controls how readily the camera will ignore obstructions between itself and your character.
Removed the Position slider.
Added a Horizontal Position slider, which controls how much the camera is shifted to the left or right of your character.
Added a Vertical Position slider, which controls how much camera height increases as you zoom out.
Added an Enable First-Person Camera check box. To enter first-person mode, zoom in again while at minimum camera zoom.
Added an Adjust Camera to Character Height check box. When unchecked, the camera will be placed at the same height regardless of your character size.
Added a Restore Defaults button.
BALANCE, BUG-FIXING, POLISH
Adjusted the number of scaling spawns for the “Prevent the centaurs from capturing Nebo Terrace” group event to be less punishing for large groups.
Adjusted the start timing of the “Reclaim Nebo Terrace from the centaurs” and “Rescue the captured townspeople from the centaurs” events.
Increased the damage dealt by the catapults of Nebo Terrace to creatures. This does not apply to champion creatures.
Added a flashing effect when hovering over map legend icons to indicate incomplete POIs, vistas, tasks, skill challenges, and waypoints.
Fixed an issue in which some windows weren’t responding to the Enter and Escape keys.
Added the Black Lion Trading Company icon to e-mails from the Black Lion Trading Company.
Added a prompt to verify self-demotion within in a guild.
Fixed some instances of players being capable of shadowstepping to unreachable locations.
Fixed an issue in which players could take repeated falling damage when running down steep inclines.
Changed the Guild Roster location text to function the same way as the Contacts panel.
Stability: This boon has been changed from a duration stack type to an intensity stack type. Crowd-control effects will remove one instance of stability apiece each time they are applied. Each ability and trait has been adjusted to apply a certain number of stacks. All instances of stability not listed in these release notes will remain at one stack.
Jungle Tendril Root: Removed several evasion frames from the Burrow skill animation. Burrow should now make the Jungle Tendril Root emerge directly below the target.
Added chat logging to indicate who is kicking whom in parties and who is leaving.
Added a feature in chat that properly indicates when a player has been removed from a party instead of indicating that all other players left the party.
Updated chat text to indicate that players who are kicked or leave the party are no longer in the party instead of always indicating that player left the party.
Rune of Vampirism: The fourth bonus (steal life when using a healing skill) of this rune set will now function properly after resurrection.
Rune of Scavenging: The fourth bonus (steal life when using a healing skill) of this rune set will now function properly after resurrection.
Mini Kasmeer Meade is now compatible with the Mystic Forge.
Lightning Flash: This skill will no longer activate if a valid path to the target point cannot be found, except when acting as a stun break.
Tornado: This skill now grants 1 stack of stability every 3 seconds, with a 3-second duration.
Whirlpool: This ability now grants 1 stack of stability every 3 seconds, with a 3-second duration.
Armor of Earth: This cantrip skill now grants 10 stacks of stability on use.
Earth’s Embrace: This cantrip reactive skill now grants 10 stacks of stability on use.
Toss Elixir B: This skill now grants 3 stacks of stability to allies.
Elixir X—Tornado: This skill now grants 1 stack of stability every 3 seconds, with a 3-second duration.
Elixir X—Rampage: This skill now grants 3 stacks of stability every 3 seconds, with a 3-second duration. Swiftness is now applied every 3 seconds for a 3-second duration. Leaving this transformation no longer removes swiftness.
Elixir X—Whirlpool: This skill now grants 1 stack of stability every 3 seconds, with a 3-second duration.
Elixir X—Plague: This skill now grants 3 stacks of stability every 3 seconds, with a 3-second duration.
Mortar: While controlling the mortar, this skill now grants 3 stacks of stability every 3 seconds, with a 3-second duration.
Flashing Blade: This skill will no longer activate if a valid path to the target cannot be found.
Judge’s Intervention: This skill will no longer activate if a valid path to the target cannot be found, except when acting as a stun break.
Merciful Intervention: This skill will no longer activate if a valid path to the target point cannot be found.
“Stand Your Ground!”: This skill now grants 5 stacks of stability to nearby allies.
Indomitable Courage: This trait now grants 3 stacks of stability to nearby allies. Duration has been increased from 3 to 4 seconds.
Tome of Courage: This skill now grants 3 seconds of protection every 3 seconds. Protection and stability are no longer removed when the player stops using Tome of Courage.
Tome of Wrath: This skill now grants 3 seconds of retaliation every 3 seconds. Retaliation and stability are no longer removed when the player stops using Tome of Wrath.
Elite Focus: This trait now grants 1 stack of stability every 3 seconds to Tome of Wrath and Tome of Courage.
Hallowed Ground: Increased the duration of stability that this skill grants from 1 second to 2 seconds.
Phantasm Skills: These skills now correctly show their back items with the phantasm effect.
Blink: This skill will no longer activate if a valid path to the target point cannot be found, except when acting as a stun break.
Mantra of Concentration: This mantra now applies 3 stacks of stability to nearby allies each time it is activated. Necromancer
Life Leech (Downed State): Updated the skill facts of this ability to be accurate.
Flesh Wurm: This skill will no longer activate if a valid path to the target point cannot be found.
Plague: This ability now grants 3 stacks of stability every 3 seconds, with a 3-second duration.
Lich Form: This ability now grants 1 stack of stability every 3 seconds, with a 3-second duration.
The following necromancer traits will now remain active when the necromancer enters the downed state:
Flesh of the Master
Master of Terror
Training of the Master
Chill of Death
Close to Death
Hide in Plain Sight: This trait now uses a normalized version of stealth and will no longer reveal the ranger if they move.
Rampage as One: This skill now grants 3 stacks of stability every 3 seconds, with a 3 second duration. In addition, fury and swiftness are granted for 3 seconds on the same 3-second interval.
Stability Training: This trait now grants 5 stacks of stability for 3 seconds when triggered.
Signet of the Wild: This skill now grants 5 stacks of stability for 8 seconds when activated.
Infiltrator’s Arrow: This skill will no longer activate if a valid path to the target point cannot be found.
Infiltrator’s Signet: This skill will no longer activate if a valid path to the target cannot be found, except when acting as a stun break.
Infiltrator’s Strike: This skill will no longer activate if a valid path to the target cannot be found.
Shadowstep: This skill will no longer activate if a valid path to the target point cannot be found, except when acting as a stun break.
Shadow Escape: This skill will no longer activate if a valid path to the target point cannot be found.
Steal: This skill will no longer activate if a valid path to the target cannot be found.
Dagger Storm: This skill now grants 3 stacks of stability every 3 seconds, with a 3-second duration.
Rampage: This skill now grants 3 stacks of stability every 3 seconds, with a 3-second duration. Swiftness is now applied every 3 seconds for a 3-second duration.
Balanced Stance: This stance now grants 5 stacks of stability.
Last Stand: This trait now grants 5 stacks of stability when triggered.
Dolyak Signet: This signet now grants 10 stacks of stability.
BLACK LION TRADING COMPANY GEM STORE
New Items and Promotions
The new Shadow weapon set is available from Black Lion Weapons Specialists for the limited-time price of one Black Lion Claim Ticket. Tickets and ticket scraps can be found in Black Lion Chests. Keys are available in the Special category of the Gem Store for 125 gems.
Three new faces for each race are available exclusively in Total Makeover Kits, found in the Services category of the Gem Store for 350 gems.
Arenanet has announced that the patch containing the graphics and quality of life improvements that was slated for 10 March 2015 has been pushed back, but that it will also contain a new feature... world versus world is being removed from map completion. You can read the full announcement here.
No date has been given regarding the new patch release date.
You’ll no longer be required to complete the WvW maps in order to receive 100% world completion in the game. The WvW maps will now behave like other maps not required for world completion, such as Heart of the Mists. All vistas, skill points, and points of interest will remain on the maps.
After the WvW maps have been removed from world completion, the updated totals will go into effect for any account logging in to the game. If you were only one WvW map away from world completion, you will reach it upon your next log-in! It’s our hope that this will make for a better overall Guild Wars 2 experience as everyone sets out to explore parts of Tyria they’ve not yet seen.
This Saturday, as part of the Guild Wars 2 presence at PAX East in Boston, ArenaNet is hosting another huge sPvP tournament. Players from all three regions of the game, North America, Europe, and China, are all going head-to-head in hopes claiming all the fame and glory that comes with being the latest tourney champions. And in traditional Guild Wars fashion, there will be plenty of prizes, tension, and excitement for participants and spectators alike. Trust me, if you haven't watched one of these events, give it a shot! You'll be surprised at how quickly you get caught up in the matches.
Everything starts at 7 a.m. PST on the official Guild Wars 2 Twitch page, or at PAX in the ESL booth if you're lucky enough to find yourself in the Winter Wonderland this weekend.
Tournament Schedule: All times are subject to change and are for reference only.
10 a.m. Eastern Time (UTC-5): Opening ceremony (first match should begin before 10:30 a.m. Eastern Time)
10:30 a.m.–4:00 p.m. Eastern Time (UTC-5): Upper and lower bracket matches
4:00 p.m. Eastern Time (UTC-5): Stronghold exhibition match, WvW Borderlands sneak peek
4:30 p.m. Eastern Time (UTC-5): World Tournament Series Grand Finals
Arenanet has announced a new mailing list for the Heart of Thorns expansion. To celebrate this, they have announced that all subscribers have a chance of being selected to participate in upcoming closed beta tests. Be sure to check out the official announcement and consider subscribing!
There will be no nondisclosure agreements for these beta tests. Those of you who are selected as testers will be free to talk about your experiences and to post streams and videos of the content you play. Please understand that these are early beta tests designed to stress core systems of an expansion that’s still in development. Because we’re stressing core systems, we’ll start with a very small pool of testers and then grow a little with each successful test.
Are you interested in participating? We’ll draw our initial pool of testers from among active players and loyal customers who are also subscribed to the Guild Wars 2 newsletter. By opting in to receive email from us, you’re opting in to any potential beta invites. So if you want to be considered for beta test, please make sure we have your current email address and that you’re successfully receiving our newsletters. It’s easy. Just go to the newsletter sign-up page and fill out your information*.
As some of you already know, last week, myself and several other members of the Guild Wars 2 community were fortunate enough to be invited to the ArenaNet studios in Bellevue, Washington to try out a portion of the new Heart of Thorns expansion. While we didn’t get the secret scoop on every detail of the new content, we were able to test drive the PAX East demo as well as the new structured PvP mode, Stronghold. And of course, nearly everybody who attended rolled Revenant, so expect some cool stuff on that, too. We were also given some gameplay footage, so keep an eye out for that at the end of the article (or watch it now, whatever). Enjoy!
PvE and The Heart of Maguuma
The beginning of the demo starts off precisely where the end of the Living Story ends. The Pact airships are flying towards The Maguuma Jungle with a clear focus on Mordremoth and the threat he poses. They’ve already toppled one Elder Dragon, so you can sense a pinch of confidence in the air as they inch closer to the domain of another. That confidence soon turns to chaos as vines shoot up into the sky and pierce the Pact airships like party balloons caught in a ranger’s barrage storm. Destiny’s Edge (minus Caithe, of course) rallies to control the situation, but their efforts fail as the entire fleet comes crashing down into the Maguuma Jungle.
And so begins a new adventure.
Right off the bat, you can tell that Heart of Thorns has been designed with the past two-and-a-half years of live Guild Wars 2 development and community feedback in mind. One of the most obvious pieces evidence of this can be seen five or ten minutes into the first playable instance. Yep. Your character has found its voice again. A big strength of the original game that was unfortunately absent from any further living story updates was the idea that your character felt directly included. This was partially addressed in season 2 through more involved dialogue options throughout the story, but now your character will speak when spoken to, and respond back as the situation demands. There are standard, unspoken dialogue options as well. One example being if a story sequence finishes up, an opportunity to hunt for secondary information arises and you can hound surrounding NPCs until they spill their secrets.
Another big area of improvement is the new map design philosophy. Heart of Thorns takes what we’ve seen in the Living Story zones, more specifically Dry Top and The Silverwastes, and applies the concept of masteries to open up new play styles and adventuring possibilities. For the uninitiated, masteries are account-wide ability points you unlock as you progress throughout the game. Once you have enough points for an ability, such as gliding or mushroom hopping, you can use your new mastery to traverse the map in new, usually easier ways. Aside from gliding, one of the masteries I encountered in the demo was a mushroom-type jump pad. In the PvE footage at the end of this article, you’ll eventually see a tall hill where players spawn as they complete the initial story sequence. This is actually a defensive sniper hill where players can provide support to those who decide to head down to the lower levels of the region where the enemies are spawning. Should this position be compromised and fall to your foes, players will need to run up quite a ways to reclaim to position. Or, if they had the foresight to invest in a mushroom mastery, they can use the jump pad below the hill and arrive almost immediately. It provides a great convenience to those who choose to spend their points in that specific area, but more importantly, it provides options. I did not invest in the mushroom mastery, so I had to take the scenic route up to the top of the sniper hill. However, once the enemies were killed and our base reclaimed, I used my glider to sail smoothly to the ground and get back to fighting. It’s probably one of the most important features being added to Guild Wars 2 right now, and if the demo is any indication of the future, I don’t doubt we’ll be seeing many more masteries in the game’s future.
Speaking of important features, let’s talk about the Revenant for a second.
At first glance, the Revenant is just a warrior with a blindfold, but once you make one you’ll get a glimpse of the sheer amount of versatility the profession offers. The big perk of playing one is being able to channel the power of spirits to unleash all sorts of effects on your foes. These spirits are bound to your F1 and F2 keys and, upon activation, determine the entire right side of your skill bar, including heals and the elite skill. And while the Revenant does not come equipped with a weapon swap, you can swap spirits. This means that you’ll be playing much more like an elementalist than other other professions when it comes to skill management. Though this time, since you’re swapping the right half of your bar instead of your left half, you get access to two heals, two sets of utilities, and two elite skills, which is something unlike any other profession. You’re going to want to carefully choose your main weapon and the two spirits that you can equip if you want to be a successful Revenant. Having access to twice as many skills comes with twice as much responsibility. If you don’t know your own bar, you’ll absolutely get wrecked in structured PvP.
Which brings us to our next topic...
Structured PvP and Stronghold
Stronghold is amazing! At least I think so. If I didn’t have a time limit I would probably still be in the ArenaNet offices playing. And this is coming from a hardcore World Vs World player. I can’t tell you how refreshing it is to finally have another gamemode in sPvP. Sure, Conquest is fun, but for those who are looking for something a little more focused, I’m confident Stronghold will satisfy that hunger.
Stronghold is a crazy hybrid between World Vs World and Guild Vs Guild from the original Guild Wars. Two teams of five players are tasked with killing the enemy lord while simultaneously defending their own. It’s mighty difficult to be in two places at once, so luckily you can recruit NPCs with supply to aid you in this most challenging endeavor. Door Breakers, or bomb-toting skritt, are your ticket into the enemy’s fortress. If they can find their way from their spawn point to a door, they’ll blast away at the defense until it’s destroyed. There are two doors to destroy before the lord can be attacked, and the Door Breaker is the most effective means to achieving this goal. If the enemy team has a thirst that can only be quenched by the blood of a skritt, make sure to shut that player down yourself, or by summoning the archer NPCs to help escort the Door Breaker. Archers have a less focused objective than their skritt partners, as you’ll always need the extra firepower during the match. A team that manages to break down both doors already has a huge advantage over the other, as they no longer need to waste supply on Door Breakers and can focus solely on producing more archers to bring to the fight.
There are so many possible roles to fill in this game mode, which is probably why I love it as much as I do. A player isn’t pigeon-holed into just attacking the entire match’s duration. You can have supply runners, Skritt assassins, trebuchet supporters, NPC escorts, and probably something nobody has even thought of yet. It all comes down to what you, as a player, are comfortable with instead of what the game decides for you. And that is something worth getting excited about.
But honestly, I couldn’t pick just one area of Heart of Thorns I’m excited for. I’ve already seen an incredible amount of promise, and this is hardly even the tip of the iceberg. We still have specializations, guild halls, World Vs World (HYPE), and a whole mess of other areas to learn about before the expansion releases. But if you really need to satisfy your hunger, be sure to check out the gameplay video and screenshots we have of Heart of Thorns as well. And if that still wasn’t enough, there are tons of other Guild Wars 2 community members that painstakingly put together their preview content as well. Don’t even get me started on PAX East.