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Guild Wars 2 Heart of Thorns - Expansion Announcement Trailer


Sledgstone

Guild Wars 2: Heart of Thorns is the first expansion for Guild Wars 2. Founded on the idea that the journey is the goal, the Heart of Thorns expansion continues the Guild Wars 2 tradition of challenging the conventions of MMOs to fulfill the promise of what online worlds should be.

To journey deeper into the Heart of Thorns, please check the website: https://heartofthorns.guildwars2.com

All classes will have specializations to further customize your characters, there will be collections / missions that will make obtaining a precursor for a legendary weapon more achievable, new legendary weapons, a new profession and more! I'm really hyped for this expansion. :D No release date yet at this time.



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Initial thoughts on BWE2

 

-Reaper improvements are amazing as far as Greatsword goes. Nightfall no longer roots you, and Grasping Darkness now tracks the target as long as it's in front of you. The 20% GS damage increase along with the 100% recharge of Gravedigger on targets below health threshold make it monstrous. I wouldn't mind a speed increase, but I doubt it will happen. Insta-cast for "You are all Weaklings" is also a welcomed change. The ability to might stack in RS was severely toned down. That is disappointing because RS doesn't last as long as DS, and the harder hits were justified as a result IMO. I hope this gets upped again. 

 

- Daredevil is beastly for a pro player. You can still get one shotted easily in Maguuma, so its still an unforgiving class to play. I'm already seeing posts how they are a nightmare in PvP and WvW though, and I fully expected that.

 

- Berserker concept is neat, but I'm not feeling it. Greatsword is still the best weapon, and I'm not sure that the torch skills are better than Axe off-hand. I'm not a fan of Warrior play-style as is, so I really can't give a good judgement if its all that great.

 

-The BWE2 map is a lot smaller than BWE1 unfortunately. Its a smaller section that takes place west of the BWE1 area. There are less events, but at least they aren't bugged. I suspect that was one of the reasons the same part of the map wasn't selected. The Faren event chain is hilarious though, and the Wyvern fight is a lot more difficult. The event chains award a lot more champ bags, which I hope is a new trend. Events like these are fun, challenging, and rewarding. That will make them replayable, and more enjoyable than running around opening dug up chests. The WPs are unkind to death, especially if you don't have the bouncing mushroom mastery to scale up the cliffs fast. I have mixed feelings on that... for one I like the challenge, but on the other hand there will be a lot of dead bodies scaling things up because of people not willing to WP and miss out on the chest drop. On top of that, people are a lot less open to rezing others when enemies hit so hard... I've been left to die a few times, only to watch that person die as well when we could have taken a vet down together. -_-;

 

- People are complaining on the official forms, accusing Anet of nerfing the mobs and thats simply not the case. There are hardly any Vet Smokescales on the map, and far less Mordrem snipers and other corrupt sylvari. The Hylek baddies still hit hard, but they are slow and clunky with a ton of HP... Totally different enemy types this go around.. aside from those annoying mushroom things that are quite punishing.

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Those snipers alone will break the zerker meta. Those damn things hit so hard they'd kill my reaper in a couple hits with full celestial gear on. If I had full zerk it would have one shotted me.

That new map puts some lag on my laptop a little worse than silverwastes does. I'll have to turn a couple more settings down to optimize performance over fashion.

Reaper is fun. It's a combo slow/fast play style compared to regular necro. The great sword is show but hits great but reaper shroud is beastly. It feels like the life force bar fills up faster than regular shroud but I could be mistaken. But with as hard hitting as that reaper shroud is, I was swapping to it every chance I could like it was a third weapon swap.

I'll try berserker and daredevil today.

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I tested out the druid last night. The healing power it has is incredible. The elite skill was my main source of damage. That damn skill is ridiculously powerful. Berserker should have been made as a mirror to druid. With as much healing druid can do, Berserker should be the opposite but with pure dps.

 

This is my post about how they can fix berserker based on druid mechanics:

 

https://forum-en.guildwars2.com/forum/professions/warrior/Berserker-BWE3-Feedback/page/2#post5572928

 

I tried reaper the other day and I'm still sold on it. I'll be running my reaper all over the place.

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Reaper made Necro go from worst to first. It constantly wins reddit polls about what is the best or what are you most excited for. Brutal DPS, high HP, boon strip/corruption, and vulnerability stacking. Reaper was clearly made for raids. Even in full zerk, it can drop 15 stacks of vuln on anything. Reaper can still use the zerker meta, but will be better off suited with Valkyrie.

 

I really need to power through WC with my Ranger. Druid is almost a tie for me with Reaper. The community is 50/50 on it only because it wasn't what they expected and half of them are salty about it. Druid is an amazing spec. Staff is a monster utility weapon... its probably the best utility weapon in the game. Being able to turn enemy projectiles into healing is outstanding and Ancestral Grace is a crazy mix of quick escape, gap closer, and quick save. Vine Surge could use a reduced cast time and I'd argue that Solar Beam should hit 5 targets like most other staff AAs, but other than that its a perfect complementary weapon to Longbow's raw DPS. Glyph of Tides is my favorite utility skill as it provides a 360 knock back. It has great synergy with the grandmaster trait Ancient Seeds that entangles foes when they are dazed, stunned, or knocked down. This also gives legit reason to use Point Blank Shot. Natural Stride is really OP, but I rather have the condition reduction nerfed than the maxed baseline speed. The +33% movement speed is the game cap. All swiftness is pointless because you are already going as fast as the game allows. This frees up utility slots that would be used by Signet of the Hunt and Quickening Zephyr and allows you to use Lightning Reflexes as your stunbreak and 3rd dodge. Druid surpasses Thief in mobility with the right build. All the new pets are amazing too... so amazing that all the old pets are garbage... they really need to rework the old pets to get them up to par... but the best news is that bear is def no longer the best. XD Smokescalebows FTW!. Now that there are pets that do some legit damage, I find myself commanding them more to retreat and attack... the older pets really didn't do much so I let them do their own thing for the most part only hitting F2 on CD.

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Druid was definitely fun. I wish I had the time over the weekend to test out scrapper. :| With how Berserker is now, I doubt I'll use it at all.. I'll be running around with my reaper for everything. My biggest issue with the beta was the massive FPS drop I got on my laptop. I could casually play GW2 on my laptop at 30 FPS and I'd be fine with that, but the HoT map never did better than 12 FPS.. wtf. I hope they optimize these maps more and reduce effects for lower graphic settings. I average around 22 fps in silverwastes on my laptop but thats because I don't drop any of my settings in the map, but I had to drop everything down to the absolute lowest settings just to get 12 fps on my laptop for verdant brink. x_x

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I hope they start working on making the game compatiable with DX11. That is why the game suffers so bad no matter how good your rig is. Its still stuck in the DX9 era and can't take advantage of mutli-core processing. I normally always get 60+FPS in GW2 unless its a world boss or Lions Arch... and in VB i was getting 26-30fps... def concerning for those with older hardware.

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Since my ranger was already at the level 70 story, I had a friend that got the F2P version and I finished the story for the 3rd time as well. XD I already did living story on the ranger as well...

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Now that the hype train has come and gone, I was able to spend some time with the new content. Halloween events are turning out to be a flop because of a bug that doesn't let you progress masteries.

 

Capturing the guild hall was fun. I believe our chapter did it the fastest so far of any. The leaders seemed to know what causes fails, and previous runs took up to an hour. Outside of that I can't say much about our empty hall.

 

Verdant Brink instantly becomes a dull map appearance-wise when you hit the next area with the Exalted... wow what a beautiful map and its even optimized better than VB. 

 

The story missions so far are the best GW2 has to offer. I guess you could say GW2's personal story is kinda like Destiny's campaign except to makes sense and ends conclusively... its just a after thought of the the whole game. There are a lot of reasons for this I wont get into, but The Living World pulled it all together with better supporting characters that uplifted the older ones. While the original PS has cheesy stale cut scenes for dialog sessions, the LWS2 was more open world, sacrificing your character's voice making you more of a Link (Zelda) type character. Heart of Thorns brings back your character's voice, and has amazing voice work. It leaves it all in the open world, even going as far as having your character's head turn in the direction of who they are addressing and vice versa. Cut scenes are used for action show pieces like they properly should and they are well done. So far I've only encountered one frustrating mission that was sorta bugged... it was because they were trying something new, and it just didn't quite work out.

 

A lot of rage within the community has occurred over the Elite Spec unlock requirements, but after doing some map exploration I find those feelings to be misplaced. While the maps are indeed big, gliding makes everything faster. Without renowned hearts these zones are easy to complete in theory. I secured all the way points in VB in under 30 min and unfogged most of the next map in 10 min. The hero points necessary to fully unlock Specs are behind a wall of masteries. You just can't get to certain parts of the map where hero challenges are without the correct mastery lines. So yes... unlocking your first elite spec is going to take some work and some grind. Masteries unlock account wide, so you will be able to quickly farm the hero points with your alts once you get them all on your main. Although, there are a lot of hero points that have champion level enemies to defeat, they do throw you a bone in some cases. I soloed a champion golem that constantly spawned small hero-trons that I could easily kill in down state to rally. With hero challenges giving 10 point credits, I can't really complain at the difficulty... there are some traditional commune points as well so its not all bad.

 

That brings me to the difficulty.... man, I am glad this shit is hard. Reaper is a monster elite spec, and in old content everything is just laughable. I can stack 25 might on myself as easy as spamming auto attack, so I'm def about to throw down some gold on Strength Runes. Anet found a happy medium between BWE1 and BWE2... enemies hit as hard as BWE1 but have lower HP like BWE2. With such a power house of a class, I'm glad I can really test it out on some worthy content. My only gripe is Necro CC heal needs to be restored to how it was... everyone has monster heal now, so there is no reason to cap CC anymore. I really need to test out my Dragonhunter though. I've been loving it in older content, and I used it in the guild hall cap... the bow was improved a lot and it makes me happy. I thought I wouldn't spend any time with DH TBH, but after using it for a good 5-7 hours, I'm glad my first character is still enjoyable to play in a new way. If they got rid of the rooting LB presents for DH it would be perfect.

 

So yeah... I'm really happy with my purchase and I had no doubt that I would be. Its sad to see people in Lion's Arch talk shit about HoT because of its price, claiming there is not a lot of content. There is a ton of content, and they gave a solid chunk of it away for free to people that didn't buy the xpac as in the old map rewards, PvP and WvW changes. People can talk shit about a lot of games I've liked over the years, but I take offense when its GW2. The developers aren't perfect, and they do make mistakes and bad choices at times... but they actually care, and they spend time with the community on the subreddit and in game. They care about their game, and their players too... it shows.

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The guild hall claiming was great. I'm glad we were able to be a part of that. I half expected it to have been done before that and was surprised we didn't have one within the first 5 hours of the expansion launching. lol.

 

I'm happy with my purchase. I only did the first mission but I know these new maps and campaign are going to take quite a while to finish. And with the map rewards and masteries, exploring all maps in the game is unlocking progress and providing rewards. So even old content or playing with a friend in most lower level zones will give me progress I need. Unlocking the new elite specs will take some time. I bet many of the salty ppl that are complaining about unlocking them got spoiled by being able to play the elite specs during the beta. Since they can't use them right off the bat they complain that they have to play the game to unlock it.. wtf. but those are the same ppl that complain that theres not enough content in the game. So now that anet tied the rewards to the gameplay instead of having ppl endless grind dungeons, those ppl that complained about grinding are now complaining about playing content. Some ppl just love to complain.

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I just made it to the 3rd map and its massive. It runs the best of the 3 maps because its has a lot of caves and enclosures. Its very easy on the processor.

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Yeah. Hopefully they will add more eventually. They are encouraging people not to wp when dead during events. And people are a lot less willing to res you in even downed state because you can get one shotted just as easily.

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Finished the story tonight. It was kinda short, but really good. The last boss fight is almost dungeon level hard even without the current bugs. The final boss has a crap ton of HP, and the encounter has many mechanics.... plus they threw in a surprise punch in the feels. Its not guaranteed, I wish I could say more, but any hint will completely spoil it. That being said, its definitely a mission to LFG in... there are only 3 check points within the mission, and unlike all other story missions, if you fail, you have to restart the encounter.

 

Not gonna lie, I got misty eyed when you bring Tybalt out of the rift... damn I wish I could have taken him with me. ;_; Screw you anet! That should have been the reward!

 

The whole journey was fantastic. There wasn't a cycle of monotonous talk and burn trash mobs. There was a lot of variety to keep things fresh, and I can't praise the voice acting enough. They've come along way since the "medic" scene in "The Cleansing of Orr". XD XD XD

 

EDIT: looks like they fixed all the bugs for the final story.

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*sips some coffee while someone is dying*

 

*says softly*

 

"somebody get a medic."

 

*continues drinking coffee while nobody comes to help*

 

XD

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The 64bit Client is a godsend. I played a whole day with zero crashes. I got decent lag spikes in places I would normally crash, so I can see that its a graphical issue when too many people are on the map.. The map caps must be increased for the new zones. AB had more people that Ive ever seen on a map at once.

 

After gaining some confidence in how I could hold up in an instance I tried the Dragon Stand meta. It failed sadly at the very end but WOW. This is the best meta in the game. Its like Triple Trouble and Tequatl decided to hang out in Silverwastes while Taidha Covington, Karka Queen, and the Fire Elemental got jealous and tried to crashed the party. X_X Its def the CoF farm of Maguuma Mastery XP. So many mobs, champs, and events awarding +18k xp. I filled up a whole level in one failed run. It was pretty laggy when moving the camera around, I can see how much you could crash on the 32bit client. Each map instance has a 2 hour timer on it, and after 2 hours is up, everyone dies and your participation is set to 0. It has the 3 lane set up like Vinewrath, but sorta like Triple Trouble they all have to succeed or all the lanes reset and you have to go again. My lane was doing great, but resetting for over an hour made for a great champ farm. Apparently if you don't get inside within 9 mins left you arent going to have enough time to finish.

 

Once inside however things get complex. I'm not sure exactly how it works, but you need to split up and kill a bunch of objectives within a certain time of each other or else they will respawn... anet has done a great job at being anti-zerg in the four maps they have created. I personally find this refreshing, and I love the participation meter concept. No more afking for rewards, no more being lazy and not following instructions. These events aren't forgiving, and I'm glad I'm in the guild I I'm in because of it. XD

 

Auric Basin as of right now is the most profitable map gold-wise. The Octovine event is really neat and reminds me of Triple Trouble in the form of Quadruple Trouble. There really is no reason not to beat TT once this map becomes standard. But TT rewards cant stack up to this event where you can unlock 27 loot chests.

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After beating the Dragon Stand meta today, I can say its the most epic World Boss the game has to offer. I'm glad they released the 64bit client, because this was made to be viewed at the highest possible settings.

 

Some of my favorite tracks from the xpac
 

Dragon's Stand Meta beginning phase - (The only track that tops Teq)

 

Dragon's Stand Meta 2nd phase

 

AB meta

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That shortbow doesn't even look like a shortbow. x_x It must have some amazing effects to be a legendary tho. Just when I was about to shelve this game for a while I see that legendary back piece / glider.. I must have it. XD I'm already have 50% of it done but to finally be able to finish it.. I might have to go OCD on that. XD

 

Reference pics are in the tenton article:

http://www.tentonhammer.com/news/guild-wars-2-teases-spring-update-with-new-video

 

 

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