EXPeriencing the Hype: Guild Wars 2’s First Expansion

You know I love Guild Wars 2. I just recently told you how much I love it. So it’s no surprise, then, that I am super. freaking. pumped. for Guild Wars 2’s first expansion, Heart of Thorns.

Starting almost exactly two years ago, GW2 launched what they call the “Living Story.” Season 1 of the Living Story built upon what had already transpired in the game and introduced new group of heroes to interact with, new alliances and enemies, and created more content for players to jump into. In my opinion, it started out a bit slow–these tiny events were happening, and you knew were building up to something, but it took almost a month to find out just what they were building up to. But they improved dramatically as 2013 carried on, building a greater story with many moving parts, all leading up to a giant boss battle with the Living Story’s antagonist, Scarlet Briar. At the end of this battle, it turns out Scarlet has awoken another elder dragon–the overall antagonists of Guild Wars 2.

Image via Guild Wars 2 Wiki.
Image via Guild Wars 2 Wiki.

About a year ago, Season 2 of the Living Story began as you the hero and your new band of buddies who you acquired throughout Season 1 begin learning more about the newly awoken dragon, Mordremoth. You’re trying to convince the different races that this is a big deal and everyone needs to work together to defeat it, and when they do realize it, what exactly you’re supposed to do about it. Season 2 has been much more well-paced, and the best part is, you can replay the different episodes. (In Season 1, a living story episode was one month or two weeks long, and when it was over, it was over. So if you missed something, you couldn’t participate and had to read about what happened on the Wiki site. It was kind of a bummer.) It’s all felt very much like it’s been leading up to something–you don’t introduce a new main antagonist if you don’t have big plans for it.

Enter Heart of Thorns. Guild Wars 2 has been out for almost three full years now, and man do I have the hours racked up to prove it… Many people have been chomping at the bit to get a new expansion, which would likely be accompanied by new classes, new areas of Tyria to explore, and who knew what else!

Well now we know:

New profession? Check. New areas to explore? Check. New weapons for existing professions? Check. New ways to master those professions? Check. Old enemies becoming new friends? Check and check. I. Am. Pumped.

I think the thing I’m most excited for is the new maps. I love exploring Tyria–in fact, there’s an entire title devoted to getting each map 100% explored. Of course I have it on my elementalist (Been There, Done That, y’all), and am steadily working toward it on other characters. But to have someplace new to explore with new events and (hopefully) new hearts to complete and new rewards to get… My need to be rewarded for hours of effort I’ve put into something craves this newness and satisfaction of completion.

Image via Guild Wars 2.

Another thing I’m very interested about is how the sylvari play into all of this. I think it’s clear now that they were supposed to have been Mordremoth’s minions, a.k.a., enemies, but thanks to a centaur with a heart of gold, most of the sylvari aren’t evil. They’re a playable race that I quite like playing as, so it will be an interesting dynamic when we’re confronted with that. (I haven’t yet played the latest episode in the Living Story, so I’m not sure if this has been out-right confronted. Will update when I’m let back into the game, because of course the night I want to blog about GW2 again is the night the game client doesn’t want to let me in again. Bah.)

The downside to all the hype for HoT? Well, we don’t have a release date for this expansion yet. So, to my knowledge, we have no idea when we’ll be able to explore the Maguuma Jungle, create new characters, and see what the Mursaat have been up to all these years… I’m not complaining. I appreciate that ArenaNet doesn’t generally rush their content before its ready, meaning they have a higher quality product than what we could be subjected to.

So while I watch the Heart of Thorns announcement and story trailers for the 19,713th times, I’ll just have to speculate and give in to the hype.

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