Guild Wars 2: Heart of Thorns Launch Trailer & Info Dump


ArenaNet released the launch trailer of Guild Wars 2: Heart of Thorns at Twitchcon, along with a lot of information on this first expansion. We've gathered the most interesting bits from the presentation recaps posted on Reddit.

First of all, the big news in terms of class mechanics is that the Ranger Elite specialization will be a Druid, basically a healer and therefore a novelty for Guild Wars 2.


  • Bringing heavy healing to GW2, unlike anything you have seen before. Strong support, very powerful in upcoming raids and WvW.
  • Upcoming content will have stuff that you can’t just dodge to survive.
  • Berserk meta is going away.
  • Uses staff, support through positioning.

Staff skills

  • Solar Beam: Any ally between you and the target that are caught inside the beam will be healed by you. 3 Pulses, 1200 range. The healing numbers you see on the tooltips are without stats so they will be better ingame.
  • Astral Wisp: Cast a wisp on the target, it will deal damage to the target initially but any ally that it pass through will be healed. Good support for melee characters.
  • Astral Grace: Movement based skill that can you into position. Can be used as an escape or gap closer. Heal allies at the location you end up. It serve also as a burst because it creates a blast finisher at that locale.
  • Vine Surge: Fires off a cascade of vines, shooting toward your enemy to immobilize them. Allies caught in it are freed from movement impairing conditions.
  • Sublime Conversion: Take any damaging projectiles and negate them without actually destroying them. It will turn incoming projectiles into healing projectiles. It will not work on projectiles coming from above so you will need to position yourself so that the projectiles are coming in at an angle and passes through the wall.

Guild Wars 2: Heart of Thorns will introduce PvP Leagues and Guild Teams for "arena" PvP, and ArenaNet shared some details about how it all works.

PvP Season

  • Before every competition season, there will be a balance patch. There is a delay of 2 weeks before the PvP season starts. The season will last for 8 weeks. There are plans for 4 seasons per year.
  • Rewards are distributed at end of the season. Then we will do some fun stuff like tournaments before repeating the pattern.
  • One title every season for Legendary tier players. The titles are permanent. The badges are reset every season and need to be re-earned.

Legendary Backpack

  • Unique backpack to PvP, can be only obtained via PvP. Best players will get it faster than other players but an avid competitive player will be able to get it every year.
  • PvP achievements will give you the components you need for the PvP backpack.
  • You can take off a season and can still get the backpack.
  • Higher divisions give you more currencies to buy the components you need for the backpack. Tier 1/Legendary tier playerhave enough currency to finish the backpack in two seasons for example.

Guild teams and leaderboard

  • Guild leaderboard is a point system based on ELO. There will be a place where you can check your points and see what other guilds are close to your progress.
  • Certain things will be different on the match if it is guild team vs guild team (i.e. able to place down guild banners, Hugh hinted at Guild Anthems but didn't say more ).

A new squad UI has been added to the game and it will help with both WvW and the brand new Raids.

  • Commanders can set squad or raids from the UI (Raids will be talked tomorrow by Crystal Reid)
  • Ready check for squad
  • Squad can be set to open join, closed squad, invite only
  • You can see squad member's supplies
  • You can see up to 50 squad members.
  • Profession icons will be shown
  • Squad member HP bars will be shown (green) or greyed out if they are far away.
  • Can also create sub-squads and see sub-squad's total supply.
  • Commanders can broadcast messages to the entire squad or a subsquad
  • Squad UI will be able to be played on beta weekend 3.

Speaking of Raids, possibly the biggest addition of Guild Wars 2: Heart of Thorns, we got some solid details on their rules.

  • Where is the first raid?
  • North of Verdant Brink, NE corner, east of Itzel village, kind of corner of Silverwastes
  • How do you get in?
  • Similar to how you enter a dungeon but you get into a squad first. You get a popup like dungeons and it will ask you which wing of the raid you want to enter.
  • What if you don’t have a commander tag?
  • You can form a leaderless squad on the fly. It is capped to 10 players but you don’t have much control over it. It is similar to party functions (vote to kick, no ownership).
  • Are masteries just attunements?
  • Attunements are hard gates that prevent you access to the raids. There is nothing to prevent you from getting to the raid. If we didn't have leaderless squads it would have been attunement but you don't need a commander tag.
  • Can you PUG these?
  • Mike Z: if you are really really good PUG group. Maybe? Maybe for the first 1-2 bosses. We want these to be a true challenge.
    Crystal Reid: You are being really generous. The first boss is really hard YO!
  • Raid Progress
  • First person that enter the instance will set the raid instance. Their progress will determine the raid group's progress.
  • You can only get the loot once from a boss per week.
  • Raid Loots
  • Personal loot like rest of GW2.
  • You will not get 2 blues and a green. You will get stuff like Ascended Rewards. All the bosses have new loot tables and the % to get them is way higher because of the weekly lockout (like 10% chance).
  • Ascended Gear, Tomes of Experience (huge chunk of XP towards masteries), exclusive skins (exclusive to raids). Tongue boss has a pretty cool shield. One of the boss has a pretty cool flamethrower that is a rifle skin and a Napalm backpack.
  • Bosses will drop precursors for the legendary armor. The cost it takes to get a full legendary weapon is similar to the cost for a set of legendary armor.
  • What if I go in with a full guild group? Do I get anything extra?
    Reward chest will drop trophies players can get and show off in their guild hall. They will drop regardless if you are in a guild group or not.
  • Each boss havean unique trophy. Example of a Trophy: http://i.imgur.com/uzoG92V.jpg
  • How do raid wings work?
  • Wings are released one at a time. 1st wing released sometime after HoT ship (before Holidays). The first wing will give you some background story that is continued in wing 2 and wing 3 etc
  • Second wing will have a huge awesome mega reveal and will be released in early 2016.
  • Once all the wings are released, you can raid in any wing you want by picking them at the entrance popup.
  • How many raids can you crank out per year?
  • Tricky question, we are trying to find our pace. We can look at 6 wings per year maybe. A full raid is probably like 3 wings but we can do raids with just 1 wing if we have a specific story to tell.
  • Timeline of the raid story?
  • After the Heart of Thorns main story, it is the next big challenge in the shadows.
  • Can we use slaying potions etc?
  • We don't want these to become BiS and requirement to raid. They are equivalent to soemthign else and if you had this something else you would use that.
  • Skill and Balance?
  • The skill and balance guys are already testing the raids and can find out overpowered specs etc.
  • Waypoints and revival orbs
  • None of that. Checkpoint system like fractals.
  • Player buffs and stuff in 10 man
  • We are against increasing the buff cap from 5 to 10 since it will promote these super groups and blow out balance really really fast. We don't want to balance around this superground and it is really limiting us as designers.
  • It is also bad for raid leaders if they can't raid because they are missing a key profession etc.
  • It will negatively impact WvW
  • Special mini pets as raid rewards
  • It has alot of tongues!

Guild Wars 2: Heart of Thorns will release on October 23. The third and last beta weekend event will take place from October 2 to October 4, giving players the chance to experience the following expansion content and features:

  • Beta characters (4 slots) will be available to accounts that have prepurchased and can play in every game mode, gaining access to:
    • All elite specializations — including Scrapper and Druid
    • Revenant profession
    • Around 25% of the western Verdant Brink jungle-floor biome (same map as BWE2)
    • New map bonus reward system
    • All races available during character creation
    • Access to a raid
  • Stronghold will be active for all players
  • Updated commander and squad functions