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Heart of Thorns Presentation Liveblog

William Murphy Posted:
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Today, at 1130AM ET (830AM PT), Guild Wars 2's Colin Johanson, Mike O'Brien, and the voice actress Jennifer Hale will be presenting what lies "Beyond the Point of No Return" live from PAX South in San Antonio, TX. We'll embed the stream here, and update the article with details as they're announced.

Keep refreshing the page for up to the minute updates starting at 1130AM Eastern.



Well, 34K people watching a logo and that's a pretty good start to this event. ANet better bring their A-game.

1109: This is pretty nuts, really. So many people so hyped. Can't really imagine this being anything less than an expansion.

1110: Preshow should be starting soon. Jungle sounds in the background... I'm betting there will be some Quaggans. Playable quaggans confirmed (not really).

1112: Fantastic score though. New composers (Leif Chappelle and Maclaine Diemer) topping even Soule in my book.

1112: Jennifer Hale is here! Echo, echo!

1114: "PVE THAT WON"T BE TERRIBLE" - burn from the bearded guy.

1115: BogOtter, Rubi... and those people I don't recognize.

1116: Some GW2 Livestreaming, POI (living world PVE side). 14 minutes until some news, or so.

1117: Cockney accent? I dig it. They're speculating it's something different... I'm wondering if they got to see it already?

1118: I guess not. :)

1119: New zones guaranteed... duh. I'll just stop updating until something special comes from this. Aside from green toys smacking each other. 

1120: Toss the salads! Wait...

1121: New races, weapons, all that? Of course we ALL want this stuff. But me? I JUST WANT A MOUNT. I won't get it...

1122: Back to Jennifer Hale, hopefully not questioning more trolls.

1123: GVG done a new way would be fantastic. So would a new race and new classes... can I get a support please?

1125: 47K+ people watching now.

1125: Red Thomas sighting.

1126: Jennifer Hale = Queen Jennah. End of show.

1126: The hype is strong with this show.

1127: More music and sound, weird stuff falling off the screen slowly... logo. Waiting... waiting... waiting.

1128: I'll admit it, I'll be very sad if there's no support class announced. But I'm not holding my breath.

1130: Here we go!

1130: Mike O'Brien taking the stage.

1131: Presenting the iPhone 6GW2.

1131: Yep, this isn't just another LW update, folks. 

1132: Maguuma Jungle, here we go. Expected.

1133: EXPANSION. Lots of us nailed it. Moment of truth... what is it?  YES PLEASE.

1134: Real trailer. Voiced by Jennifer. Rytlock blinded! 

1135: What city is this? Golden city, huge temples, Mussarat! Dragons! Flight! New spells, new monsters! Spears! NEw weapons! Engineer with a 2H hammer! YEss!

1136: I just flooded my keyboard with nerdjuice. New SPVP maps being shown. Maybe new WVW?

1137: Definitely seeing flight as a mode of transport there!

1138: World premiere of the first expansion pack, it's official!

1138: Lots of features to discuss today. Manifesto video brought up. See if we can compare it to now...

1139: First truly dynamic living world... OK, we did see world changing events. But the DE's themselves were pretty static. Living World for sure upped it.

1140: Maguuma Jungle is the most detailed and dynamic environment ever. Truly social? How is that changing here...

1141: Journey is the reward... I can believe that. But Legendary and Ascended armor deflate that a little. New tier of gear?

1142: Levels though? Maybe new levels? No new tier of gear for sure.

1142: No new levels. That's not the point, Mike says.

1143: New challenges, beyond anything we've ever faced. That's their goal. Ultimate group challenge. Real progression beyond level 80! Weee! AA!

1144: This is all about deeper challenge and progression at the level 80. New progression system: Masteries!

1145: Example: vertical environment, need to learn how to traverse this area. Meet allied races of the jungle, trade with them, meet new mobs with new abilities, and you'll master the skills and abilities to dispatch them. Whole new skills all themed around Maguuma. Then they can take masteries and build new group challenges on top of the masteries.

1146: New profession specializations! Customize your professions. Guild Support and Guild Progression layered on too. Not a collection of features, all tied into Maguuma and the new direction of the endgame.  

1147: Simply: Heart of Thorns is all about the new vision for character progression in GW2.

1147: Here comes the explanation of the new systems with Colin!

1148: Engineer melee or GTFO.

1149: First up... recap story time. 

1150: Army, great hope to defend Tyria is gone... only the player's are left to take Mordy out. First feature: Heart of Maguuma. New area, not just one zone?

1151: Huge amount of gamespace: three distinct biomes, jungle floor, roots, and canopy. Very vertical design. 

1151: Glint left us a secret, hundreds of years later, we'll find Glint's legacy.

1152: No word on when this is due yet.

1153: Game should be more fun with every player. Play in the world, and with everyone else. How's that changing? Heart of Maguuma... new abilities! MASTERY SYSTEM. Account based PVE progression system. Every character at 80 gets mastery points. Alternate Advancement, it seems.

1154: Spend them to purchase abilities for all characters, not the same shtacko over and over for each character. One pool of points for all of them. What can you master? Exploration...

1155: JUMP from highest points? Epic dive down to meet the ground... but not in Heart of Thorns. Hangliding is one of the first new abilities. Better at it with more MP, ride gusts of wind, get higher, find hard to reach locations, etc.

1156: LORE: Master the lore itself. Spend MP to learn languages within the Jungle. As you learn them, you'll learn history and secrets, and gain access to other civilizations. Very cool.

1157: COMBAT: Provide new challenges, and add abilities. Details? Not many yet, as they have more to show up to launch... doh.

1158: COLLECTING/CRAFTING/BUILDING: Legendary? Ultimate version, but precursor is the annoying part. Changes to the Precursor system! Built out collections that once completed will reward you with precursor weapons! That's HUGE for the game. Really nice change. Includes brand new Legendaries and Legendary Precursors as well!

1200: Skills and Traits? Not part of Masteries. SPECIALIZATIONS! Each profession will get a new specialization. Secondary profession-esque! YES!

1201: Example of one? --- Druidic history in the jungle, and Rangers can get Druid spells! Grow themselves to become a druid! Staff weapon (never used before), new heal skills, new elite, and new utility skills, and new profession mechanics that change the class completely. Basically a whole new class for each profession.

1202: Another teaser of example? --- Necromancer will get to use Greatswords! That's awesome and about time. Plus, we totally saw the Engineer with the Hammer. That's all I care about, frankly. 

1203: When? When is this coming? "When it's ready."

1204: New characters? How do we do this in HoT? Here comes the NEW HEAVY!

1205: Brand new profession: The Revanant! Rytlock was the very first, bringing with him to channel and control the powers of he Mists. Awesome idea.

1206: In combat, able to use the Mists to power their weapon, utilities, and elite skills. Channels the power of legends from the past. Examples? Jalice Ironhammer - the Great Dwarf, powers and abilities come to the Revanant. Demon Malice, also a legend, powers conditions. Just two examples.

1207: PVP time! WVW changes in HoT? Growing, and taking WvW. New Borderland map, added to the Borderland rotation. Goal is to make defend and hold much more important. Fire Keep has fire themed defenses, earth keep has earth defenses, etc.

1210: Holding objectives is changing entirely. Should be much more important. How?  We'll have to wait and see. SPVP is next.

1212: SPVP has a lot of room to grow: new game mode - Stronghold! Goes back to GW1. Get supply, buy troops, assault enemy stronghold, get heroes along the way, and attack guild lord to win.

1212: Guild Vs. Guild finally coming to GW2! How's it changing? Guild Leaderboard, and set Guild Teams. About darn time.

1214: But what about the rest of guilds? How are they being added to? Final major feature: Guild Halls!

1215:  What is one in GW2? Much more than in GW1. Not just a home. Place to gather, organize, host events, build and progress the guild and hall itself. As you build it out, prepare, provide a home base for everyone. Core hub for the social community. More to come on specifics later.

1216: That's a lot of good stuff in this expansion... not everything I wanted, but plenty to get excited for. The level 80 progression alone is worth it for me. 

1217: Hale back, being kind of obnoxious. Just kidding, my Queen! 

1218: Go get some more info at... https://heartofthorns.guildwars2.com/en



William Murphy

Bill is the former Managing Editor of MMORPG.com, RTSGuru.com, and lover of all things gaming. He's been playing and writing about MMOs and geekery since 2002, and you can harass him and his views on Twitter @thebillmurphy.