Digesting the Guild Wars 2 expansion announcement

babeSo 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.

Thumbs Up

  • 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.

Neutral

  • 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.

Thumbs Down

  • 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.

7 thoughts on “Digesting the Guild Wars 2 expansion announcement

  1. melbrankin January 24, 2015 / 2:12 pm

    For an expansion overall I felt it was rather weak – how long has GW2 been going now and to just manage 1 new class, no new race, tweaks to existing without a level cap (not required but some serious sidewasy progression needs to be included).

    There is nothing that is going to call me as a former GW2 player back.

  2. João Carlos January 24, 2015 / 2:19 pm

    about the new zones… they are not only horizontal, but mostly vertical. just explore the last jumping puzzle and you will understand.

  3. Tyler F.M. Edwards January 24, 2015 / 2:47 pm

    I’d say my thoughts more or less echo yours, though I’ve been a lapsed GW2 player for much longer. I do find myself tempted to make a return for the expansion, though realistically I doubt it’d keep me much longer than the base game did. The lack of decent storytelling is still something of a dealbreaker for me, and after missing two seasons of Living Story, I’m bound to be completely lost.

    It seems like a solid expansion, though. A new class is always a good way to get my attention, though I’m not quite sure what I make of the revenant so far. I like that it doesn’t have any obvious allegories in other games, but that also means I’ll need to learn a lot more about it before I decide if it’s for me.

    The new specializations for current classes excites me the most. Very curious what options thieves will have. I’d love to be able to use longbows or greatswords on my thief.

    Having new territory to explore is also welcome news. Exploration was the most fun thing about GW2 for me. I think the Living Story missed the boat severely by not adding much in the way of new territory. Not super big on jungle zones, though.

    The guild halls are probably good for the game as a whole, but I don’t have a guild and don’t plan to get one, so it’s pretty irrelevant to me. Would have preferred personal player housing.

  4. The Mystical Mesmer January 24, 2015 / 11:52 pm

    Sorry, Syp, but personal mounts are now and forever in the “hells to the noes” category. Golems and gliders are as close as you’re going to get.

    On the bright side, think of all those fiendishly sadistic jumping puzzles you know and love. Now add new ones designed around the use of gliders.

    Yeah, I’m just going to jump to my death in advance.

  5. Jake January 25, 2015 / 12:39 pm

    The profession specialization definitely raised an eyebrow. Im interested to learn more. In fact the mention of the ranger being able to specialize as a Druid almost had me go puechaseand extra character slot and start leveling. If I hadn’t just bought ESO that’s what I would have been doing this weekend I rhink.

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