ArenaNet has announced Heart of Thorns, the first expansion pack to their PC and Mac MMORPG Guild Wars 2. Heart of Thorns takes players to unfamiliar locations filled with new activities.
Heart of Thorns introduces the Maguuma Jungle to Guild Wars 2. This savage wilderness is filled with ruins from ancient civilizations and a host of new enemies. While exploring the jungle, players will find new solo and group content to tackle.
In Maguuma, players will be able to establish bases. Each guild can have their own hall in the heart of the jungle. It's unclear what benefits these structures will have right now, though.
The new Mastery system gives players another way to progress. As they advance beyond level 80, they'll gain new abilities such as hang gliding or tearing the armored bark from Mordrem. The new collections they pursue will eventually lead to a legendary weapon.
Specializations will allow players to customize their profession. They can unlock new traits and skills for their character with their choice. Specializations also unlock weapon types previously unavailable to your profession.
Alternately, you can make a character with the all-new revenant profession. Revenants are warriors clad in heavy armor that can use the "powers of the Mists" to wipe out their foes.
ArenaNet is also building up the player-versus-player side of the game. A new stronghold mode tasks players with hiring soldiers and leading them in assaults on their other team's fort. The first team to defeat their opponent's lord will win the match. The massive World vs. World battles will have a new map called Borderlands.
"Navigate treacherous heights with traps that blow your foes to the depths below and ferocious defenders to help keep the enemy at bay. Map objectives will be more important than ever before, as they'll unlock new strategies, tactics, and play mechanics that you'll want to use to your world's advantage!" ArenaNet says on the expansion pack's teaser site.
To celebrate the announcement of Heart of Thorns, ArenaNet has cut the price of the Guild Wars 2 Digital Heroic Edition and Digital Deluxe Edition by 75% until January 25th at 11:59 p.m. Pacific Time. You'll need to make the purchase through Guild Wars 2's website to get the deal, though. Experience point gains in the game have been doubled for this weekend as well.
Guild Wars 2 receives free updates every two weeks. These updates include holiday festivities, new story events and new features. It's not surprising to see them put out a paid expansion, though. The first Guild Wars was made up of three campaigns sold separately and one expansion, War in the North.
The price and release date for Heart of Thorns are currently unknown.