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Som Pourfarzaneh : Five Ways to Get Ready for Guild Wars 2’s Heart of Thorns

Columns By Som Pourfarzaneh on September 11, 2015

Five Ways to Get Ready for Guild Wars 2’s Heart of Thorns

At PAX Prime 2015, ArenaNet finally let the release date for Heart of Thorns out of the bag, giving us about a month and a half to prepare for Guild Wars 2’s first official expansion.  If you’re like me, you’ll be scrambling to finish the current Living World content and level your alts by October 23.  Here are five ways that you can prepare for Heart of Thorns!

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Get to Level 80

As most of the content in Heart of Thorns will be catering to characters at the level cap, it almost goes without saying that you’ll need to use the next six weeks to at least get your main to 80.  With all of the activities and XP enhancers available, it’s a bit of a hook or crook situation, as you can easily snag some Experience Boosters from the Gem Store and adventure your way to cap, or use the fast track represented by Experience Scrolls and Tomes of Knowledge.  If you’ve had a character for a year or more, you’ll likely have been sent a Birthday Gift from ArenaNet, which will include an Experience Scroll that will autolevel a character to 20 (or 30, if it’s your third anniversary).  Similarly, if you login to get daily rewards, you can stockpile Tomes of Knowledge, which each grant one character level below 80.

Complete Story Mode for the Original Dungeons

Even if you’re not interested in grinding the more advanced Explorable Modes of Guild Wars 2’s dungeons, you still owe it to yourself to experience the game’s original narrative as told through Story Mode.  Get yourself a party for Ascalonian Catacombs, Caudecus’ Manor, Twilight Arbor, Sorrow’s Embrace, Citadel of Flame, Honor of the Waves, Crucible of Eternity, and The Ruined City of Arah.  Each dungeon provides a piece of Guild Wars 2’s story, with some interesting battle mechanics and a fair share of breathtaking vistas and phenomenally-designed architecture.  They’re also not very challenging, and the group finder makes it fairly easy to find a party.

Play through the Personal Story and Living World Content

Guild Wars 2’s Personal Story gets mixed reviews, but it paints an excellent and more player-focused counterpart to the game’s Story Mode dungeons.  The Personal Story leads you through a series of level-gated, instanced quests that introduce you to the main players of Destiny’s Edge and culminates in a supremely epic scenario that I dare not spoil here.  After you finish that, head over to your Hero tab and watch the recap for Living World Season 1, which will quickly prime you for Season 2.  All of Guild Wars 2’s second season of content is ready for you to play, and there’s a lot of it, which will in turn prepare you for Heart of Thorns’ new story.

Prep for Raids

10-player raids will comprise a new type of content in Heart of Thorns, and while they won’t require the conventional kind of attunement that we’ve seen in other MMOs, there are still some things that you can do to prepare for them.  The first, most obviously, is to reach cap, as at least the first raid will require you to be level 80.  The second is to join a guild, or at least find nine other friends with whom you’ll feel comfortable raiding, as it looks like Heart of Thorns’ raid content will be of a difficulty above that which a pickup group can handle.  Finally, it wouldn’t hurt to try your hand at some of the Explorable Mode dungeons to get a feel for some of the more challenging environmental and boss mechanics that could find their way into Heart of Thorns.

Get Yourself an Open Character Slot

I realize that there are people out there who only play one or two characters at a time, leaving the rest of their character slots open.  I’m sure that feels great.  I don’t have a single free character slot, and will need one to fire up Heart of Thorns’ new profession, the Revenant.  If you’re in the same boat, you can get an additional character slot with a Deluxe or Ultimate edition purchase of Heart of Thorns, or buy one à la carte from the Gem Store.  Alternatively, you can decide which one of your alts you like the least, and give them the boot.

Bonus: Read the Guild Wars 2 Books

If you really, really want to get to know Guild Wars 2’s story and characters, pick yourself up copies of Ghosts of Ascalon, Edge of Destiny, and Sea of Sorrows.  I’ve only read the first two so far, and they’re fun romps in the Guild Wars universe that do a great job at providing context and texture to Tyria’s history and major players.  It’s also kind of neat to run into some of the books’ characters around town in game!

What are you doing to prep for Guild Wars 2: Heart of Thorns?

Som Pourfarzaneh / Som is a Staff Writer at MMORPG.com and a Lecturer in Media, Anthropology, and Religious Studies. He’s a former Community Manager for Neverwinter, the free-to-play Dungeons & Dragons MMORPG from Cryptic Studios and Perfect World Entertainment, and is unreasonably good at Maze Craze for the Atari 2600. You can exchange puns and chat (European) football with him on Twitter @sominator.