Will the Guild Wars 2: Heart of Thorns Expansion Be Worth It?

For the first time in months, I logged onto my Guild Wars 2 account and played as my level 80 Sylvari character. There were a lot of changes since earlier this year, mostly in preparation for the first major expansion, Heart of Thorns. Are the current and future changes worth it for the expansion and the price?


GW2 Screen shot
Sylvari have played a huge role for the events in the next expansion- Guild Wars 2 by ArenaNet

The Changes That Have Already Happened:


One of the first major updates I noticed was the completion of Lion’s Arch. In early 2014, the city was left in ruins after a major online event, Scarlet Briar and her attack. The city had been under construction for the past year. Now it’s grown even more impressive in its design, and there is a new range of shops and vendors to explore throughout the city.


Screenshot from the newly-constructed features of Lion's Arch-Guild Wars 2 by ArenaNet

Another feature was the change from “skill points” on the map to “Hero Challenges”. This has to do with some major updates in the skills and traits system. For those who haven’t played for a while, the challenges associated with the skill points are the same, they just appear differently on the map. They also appear differently in your Hero tab. So far, this has been the most dramatic change in the game, and it will affect all new characters made in the future.

As seen below, the Hero Skills system for Guild Wars 2 has changed significantly. These are just examples of my level 80 Elementalist (note: if you have a level 80 character, a recent patch opened all skills and traits at level 80, so no need to farm for extra Hero Points to make up for what was pontentially lost). Choosing your build and specializations is now more streamlined, and learning traits now requires spending Hero Points on prerequisite skills before you can move on to the next. This is also in preparation for the new Elite Specializations that will be introduced to level 80 characters in the expansion.

Guild Wars 2 by ArenaNet

Guild Wars 2 by ArenaNet


The Changes That Have Yet To Come: 

The Heart of Maguuma has been added as a completely new region, however, it is not yet accessible to players. It will include three new jungle maps, and will open up many new quests for completion of the map and exploring, and the storyline of Heart of Thorns. The story itself continues on the event that destroyed Lion's Arch, when the Sylvari Scarlet Briar unleashed the Breachmaker, and awakened the Elder Dragon Mordremoth in the Maguuma Jungle.


The Mastery System is another major feature coming in the expansion. Available to level 80 characters, Mastery Points can be gained by completing story missions, group events, boss fights, and many other ways. It unlocks the Mastery Tracks, and through that you can unlock unique new abilities for your characters, like master exploration perks of hang gliding through the air and other abilities.

Heart of Thorns will also give the player the option to choose a new profession when they make a new character called the Revenant. This is a heavy armor class, that fights using the "powers of the mists." It utilizes the legends of Guild Wars pasts and whatever legend is chosen, affects the skill choices the player can use for healing, utility and elite skills.

The Revenant Class is ready and waiting in the character creation screen- Guild Wars 2 by ArenaNet

Along with some improvements to the PvP, a new mode called Stronghold will be added to the game, and is said to be an improvement upon the Guild vs Guild mode. It's actually inspired by other online arena modes, sort of like The Elder Scrolls Online. Players can utilize their Guild Members (or just make teams, there is no requirement to be in a guild) to fight in arenas and breakdown enemy strongholds, and annihilate the enemy lords for control of troops and supplies.

Pricing:

I have to say, I’m a bit disappointed at how expensive the expansion options are (the most basic expansion pack starts at $49.99 and the highest is $99.99). Granted, the different levels give different perks, like additional character slots, miniatures, and skins. However, because of that price I’m apprehensive about pre-purchasing just to get in on Beta participation weekends, even though I would love the opportunity to get a first look at some of these features. There was a deal that ended July 31st, where players who purchased Guild Wars 2 between January 2015 and June 2015 could get refunded for their original purchase when paying for the expansion. That deal should apply to all players who have dedicated their time to the game, not just the most recent players. I mean, that price is double what I paid for the original game, and I can't yet say that the prices match the amount of content they are adding. Despite my disappointment with the pricing, I think that many of the features will be great additions, and with the inclusion of the original game in the package, the price will entice new players to join.


Black Lion Company and where the expansion can be found-Guild Wars 2 by ArenaNet

Final Thoughts:

I’m still fairly new at MMORPG’s, with Guild Wars 2 being one of my first. As with other MMORPG’s, there are SO many features that go into this game and so many things I didn't cover in this article. I highly suggest visiting the official Guild Wars 2 website to keep up with any future updates. However, this unique and challenging game definitely keeps me coming back for more and I hope the hype for this new expansion adds many new players to the fold. I’m so excited to see what Heart of Thorns has in store.






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