So no big surprise — Guild Wars 2: Heart of Thorns is an expansion — but good news nonetheless. As a mostly lapsed GW2 player right now, I’m mostly on the fringes of the excitement hurricane going on. I mean, I’m terribly happy for those for whom GW2 is their only game and this is major. But I’m evaluating the news from the perspective of a former regular player who is asking the question, “What is in here that is worth returning for?”
For the record, I think that there is enough here to prompt that renaissance (and perhaps get me to actually finish Season 2), but it isn’t all sunshine and deadly flowers. Here are a few thoughts sorted from thumbs up, neutral, and thumbs down.
- New Revenant class looks somewhat awesome, although with heavy armor, the only new class in the xpack, and summoning components, it will definitely be in danger of being overplayed and perhaps overpowered.
- Guild Halls. That will certainly be a welcome feature to get together with guildies for fun and mutual projects. It also addresses a huge oversight going from GW1 to GW2.
- Profession specializations. I think this alone has me the most excited, especially for people who want to stick with their class but also desire additional progression or variety. Not entirely sure if each class will have just one specialization or more than one from which to choose. In any case, it’d be cool to see my Engineer or Necro change it up somewhat.
- More open world zones to explore. The world should be constantly expanding, as Tyria is such a huge place and we’ve been confined to a relatively small portion of it in GW2 so far.
- Hang gliding. I’m down with this. The mastery system does sound intriguing as a way to gain new abilities, although it sounds as though these abilities will be used to overcome new obstacles. So it’s a zero sum system? Maybe I’m misunderstanding it.
- Guild Wars 2 has failed to blow up my skirt with its story, either from the base game or the first two seasons. No reason to expect that the expansion will actually get interesting, but I’m always willing to be proven wrong!
- It’s not free. That’s fair, but I know some people were hoping that Anet would be pumping out a free expansion for whatever reason.
- No mounts. I do NOT get why this is one of those weird design decisions that Anet has decided to die on a hill for. Not having them in this world is bizarre, and including them would make a lot of people happy. It should’ve happened. So, you have high-tech airships and add hang gliders… but no horses?
- More ways to get precursor weapons via questing. I’ve long since given up on chasing the legendary weapon pony, so this is a non-feature for me, but it’s not a bad thing for those who care about it.
- More PvP and WvW stuff. Totally outside of my sphere of interest, and therefore completely neutral additions.
- ArenaNet was hyping this announcement as something more than an expansion, as something that would go beyond the living story and be… I dunno, revolutionary? I don’t want to put words in their mouth, but that was the general angle. And the reveal, while nice, is merely an expansion — nothing more and nothing less.
- My biggest wish list item — being able to get to 100% world exploration by not having to go into WvW — wasn’t addressed anywhere that I saw. Shame, especially with new zones.
- No new races. This was a surprising disappointment, especially considering just how many potential races there are in the game and how much time has been spent between the community and the devs on it.
- Guilds get housing, but players are still saddled with these pathetic home instances that have zero customization? I’m happy for guilds and all, but if I had my druthers, I would have prioritized player housing (plus, what if a player doesn’t want to be in a guild?).
- More jungle zones. Not… my favorite biome, as they’re usually confusing to navigate and busy on the eyes. Only slightly above lava and desert zones in my opinion. Also, at least one of these zones is “more vertical” than normal, which means lots more annoying GW2 platforming.
Of course, there’s a lot we don’t know and I’m sure Anet is holding back so it has something to talk about in the coming months. But as it stands, I’m interested if not overwhelmed.