GW2 – Heart of Thorns Initial Reactions

Guild Wars 2 Heart of Thorns

I’m pretty sure I will buy the GW2 expansion Heart of Thorns, however I’m not sure it will hold my attention for very long since it appears there is not going to be anything new to do for existing endgame characters except collect more achievements.

Masteries. “We’re reimagining progression with our new Mastery system.” I’ll need to see this before I can make a final judgment on it, but initially it sounds like more grinding, to be honest. Hang gliders are a cool concept (I loved them in ArcheAge) but if I have to grind before I can get one, that’s a lot less cool.

It’s taken me so long to post this that there is now more information from ArenaNet about the Masteries, and my reaction is a solid… um… head scratch. That post almost sounds like they are angry at their player base. “Masteries are here to stay,” it declares, almost as if they expect the players are going to balk and complain about it. If nothing else, that post re-affirms the position that Guild Wars 2 will continue to be a game that is all about collecting achievements instead of collecting stuff. Unfortunately for me, getting an achievement (otherwise known as “making an arbitrary number go up”) has never lit up the reward center of my brain very much.

Maguuma. “New adventures await you in the heart of the Maguuma Jungle.” Well, the jungles were my least favorite zones, so I guess I’m out of luck here.

More of this?
More of this?

But when I look on the map I don’t see anything but Maguuma Wastes over there by Dry Top. Which doesn’t sound like a jungle to me.

Or more of this?
Or more of this?

And ramping up the difficulty level of the environment is not something I particularly wanted either, but maybe it will be more fun than I think. (I really hope they don’t put a lot of those annoying vine-based monsters in there.) WildStar crashed and burned partly because of its difficulty, and even The Secret World is finally scaling back its difficulty.

Specializations. “With profession specializations, you’ll unlock access to a weapon previously unavailable to your profession…” Sounds cool but lack of weapon diversity wasn’t exactly a weak area in the game.

Revenant. “Channel legendary powers to slaughter foes and unleash chaos on the battlefield with our brand new profession: the revenant.” Cool beans, a new class! (It’s a class, not a profession. Come on!) Now this will get me to re-roll and play to 80 again. This will probably take up 90% of my time in the new expansion. In my opinion, the expansion should have focused more on new classes and races. If they are stamping their foot and telling us to suck it, the “journey” is the game, then it seems to me they should provide more reasons for us to re-roll a new character and start a new journey.

Guild Halls. “Work with fellow guild members to claim and grow your own guild hall in the heart of Maguuma.” Don’t really care, unless it’s something my 1-person guild can do hehe.

The big question is for me is: Are they addressing the weak points in the game with this expansion? From what I can tell, not really. It sounds like it will remain a game designed for you to have an awesome time leveling from 1 to 80, then retire or re-roll. (And don’t get me wrong, it’s awesome playing from 1 to 80.) If you’ve already leveled from 1 to 80 several times, though, I’m not seeing much that will be new. But it’s still early. I hope I’m wrong.

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