Arenanet dropped the first expansion for Guild Wars 2, Heart of Thorns, back in October. People din’t hate it, but nor did it receive the near-universal acclaim that Guild Wars 2 proper did when it first came out, but I do suppose that is the crux of expansions. They have to appease to a player-base that, at this point, probably knows your game better than you, and probably plays it more, too. But we’re not here to talk about Heart of Thorns. We’re here to talk about the future of Guild Wars 2.
That’s right. Arenanet isn’t done yet. Yesterday they took took the main site to post a blog about their 2016 plans. While 2015 saw most of the team shifting gears to complete Heart of Thorns. This year, Arenanet will split their efforts between updates to the live game as well as working on the next expansion. They haven’t said anything about what that might entail yet, but expect to hear more about it around the end of this year or the beginning of next. They clearly want you focusing on what they’ll be adding to the live game, anyway, which you should be, ’cause it’s right there waiting for you.
Starting January 26th, Guild Wars 2 will see seasonal updates about once every three months. The blog reveals the major features of this first update:
Gliding in Central Tyria
We’re adding expanded functionality to the Gliding Mastery line! If you’ve trained the Glider Basics Mastery in Guild Wars 2: Heart of Thorns, your glider will let you glide a bit further…all the way back to Central Tyria. Your glider will work in any open-world map or city in Central Tyria once you’ve earned this Mastery ability.
The Shatterer Unleashed
Ominous winds are blowing across Blazeridge Steppes. Scouts are reporting hints of the Shatterer mustering a new Branded army, and the Sentinel and Vigil defenders are hunkering down and preparing to meet this new threat. Get ready for an improved and more challenging Shatterer fight! With greater challenge comes greater reward: we’ve added a new Shatterer achievement category, upgraded the Shatterer’s reward chest, increased the experience earned, and added a unique back-slot item for completing the new Shatterer meta-achievement.
Fractal of the Mists Updates
We’re making a few quality of life changes to the Fractals of the Mists. Using the looking for group tool for Fractals will become a bit easier by expanding the range you can queue into higher scales. For ease of gameplay, we’ll be updating the fractal hub so players will be able to adjust the fractal scale by interacting with the control panel near the entrance, rather than having to leave the hub and reenter to adjust difficulty. Finally, we’ll also be changing the achievement UI so daily fractal achievements will be displayed by default when inside of the Fractal of the Mists.
Recognition of Your Support
Participation for events is getting an update! Supporting your allies will contribute toward event participation in most events across Guild Wars 2. You must still actively attack a target to receive rewards from them, but as long as you land a few attacks you’ll also get additional contribution from applying boons, removing conditions, reviving allies, and healing allies. These will all generate bonus contribution on top of your attacks, so players who mostly heal/support can earn the same credit as players who do large amounts of DPS.
Squad Markers and Lieutenants
We’re adding squad markers and the ability to promote lieutenants to our Enhanced Squad UI experience. Commanders will be able to appoint lieutenants to take care of administrative tasks like organizing subgroups, inviting or removing players, and broadcasting messages. Additionally, squad leaders will be able to mark locations, players, and enemies with symbols which will appear both in the game world and on your compass.
World vs. World Upgrade and Points per Kill
The Secured, Reinforced and Fortified objective upgrade levels of locations in WvW will be changed to occur after having delivered or received a certain number of dolyak caravans, rather than being timer driven. This change was made to increase the importance of both maintaining allied supply lines and denying enemy supply lines.
We’ll also be changing scoring so that each enemy player killed in WvW will grant 1 point of War Score to your team. This change was made in order to allow players who focus primarily on killing enemy players to contribute more to the team’s overall success.
Rallying and Reviving in World vs. World
The number of players than can rally off a single kill in WvW will be reduced from 5 to 1. This change was made to give smaller groups more of a fighting chance against larger groups and to make WvW combat have less sudden power swings in general.
Along with rallying, we’ll also be making changes to reviving in WvW. Players will no longer be able to revive defeated players while in combat. They will still be able to revive downed players. This change was made to lower the staying power of large groups. If a player is eliminated from the fight, they stay eliminated until either the fight concludes or the player uses a waypoint and runs back.
New Mist Champion Tybalt Leftpaw
Tybalt will be joining the other Mist Champions on the field of Champion’s Dusk as our apple-bearing defensive Mist Champion. Unlock Tybalt by completing his reward track in PvP, and then unleash him in the Stronghold game mode to help you defeat your enemies and slay their lord.
Eldvin Monastery Brew of the Month Club
Master Brewer Desch Metz at the Eldvin Monastery in Queensdale is inviting everyone to join the Eldvin Monastery Brew of the Month Club. Once a month, when visiting a major city, club members will receive a package in the mail containing that month’s finely crafted brew. After collecting all twelve brews, club members will receive a title, a brewer’s backpack skin, and a guild decoration in recognition of their devotion to the craft.
New World and Raid Boss Guild Decorations
A new category of Guild Decoration trophies will be available for your guild halls! When you kill certain world bosses and raid bosses, you’ll earn a token that will allow you to buy brand-new decorations from the decoration vendor inside your guild hall. Once you collect enough of these decorations, you’ll be able to upgrade them into a larger trophy. The trophy may look familiar, as it’s also the custom chest that drops when you defeat the boss.
We’ll be adding some new optional key bindings for action camera, snap ground targeting, and autotargeting so that players can use any of these features in either push-to-toggle or hold-to-toggle mode. Also, a new check box will be added to always show the names of objects you can interact with in the world, similar to the existing check boxes for player, NPC, and enemy names.
Major Balance Update
We’ve got a very large balance update coming with changes to professions, specializations, traits, skills, and more! We’ll be go over each profession and their updates specifically as we count down to the launch of the big release, so stay tuned for lots more details here. You can check out Karl’s preview of this balance update here.
After that, Arenanet went on to talk about the big events scheduled from now until March. Players can look forward to the Lunar New Year holiday event, a new raid wing, a new season of PvP, plus some eSports mumbo jumbo. Refer to the blog post if you want to hear the specifics on that stuff.
Arenanet closed out the blog post by going into the juicy details about some of the long-term updates coming to Guild Wars 2:
Living World Season 3
You can look forward to the return of our Living World updates and the story picking back up in the world of Tyria.
Even More Fractals of the Mist Updates
Our Fractals team is hard at work on a lot of updates for Fractals of the Mists in 2016. Some highlights to look forward to in 2016 include the completion of outstanding projects like the Fractal legendary backpack and our new take on fractal leaderboards. You’ll also see lots of additional polish, balance to existing fractals and rewards, changes and polish to instabilities, additional reasons to play all the different fractals, and most importantly, new fractals (yes, you read that right: new fractals!).
WvW’s Big Update
As our competitive game director John Corpening discussed, we’re currently working on a large-scale overhaul to WvW that helps deal with core issues like population balance, scoring, rewards, and the need for 24-hour coverage.
We’ve focused a heavy amount of developer resources on this overhaul for WvW, and the team has been working hard for over a year now to solve these complicated issues. We may not be ready to reveal more in early 2016, but you’ll have an opportunity to get all the details and give feedback when we go into the beta phase of this massive project later this year. And as a brief reminder: WvW tournaments are currently on hold, but they’ll return once we’ve released this new format for WvW.
So yes, big things are in store for Guild Wars 2. Definitely more than World of Warcraft, at least. Blizzard seems content to let that game stagnate now between every major expansion, but that’s a topic for another day.
Point your browsers right here for any further Guild Wars 2 developments.