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PAX East 2015: Guild Wars 2 Heart of Throrns Exclusive Interview

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Guild Wars 2: Heart of Thorns


The Revenant
Revenant’s weaponry skills work similarly to how other weapon skills work for the other professions. The first 3 skills are changed based on the equipped main-hand weapon, and the last 2 skills change based on the equipped off-hand weapon. For two-handed weapons, all 5 skills are changed when a new one is equipped. The typical hammer, in Guild Wars 2 is actually a ranged weapon for the Revenant. Being a flexible profession, the Revenant is also capable of dual wielding weapons, such as a mace and an axe.

One of the biggest things that set the Revenant apart from the other professions, in Guild Wars 2, is that it channels the raw power of the Mists to create and activate the abilities that they can use. The Revenant has an energy bar that shows how much energy they have left to use on their Mist abilities. With the energy from the Mist, the Revenant is able to channel the power of the great legends from the Guild Wars lore. The channeled legends then provide the Revenant with their 5 skills on the right-hand side of the toolbar. For example, channeling the power of a legendary demon grants the Revenant demon-based abilities. Iconic dialogue from the channeled legends can be heard by the Revenant as they actively use their skills.

While in combat, the Revenant can swap the legends that they are actively channeling to change the skills they have available to them, on the fly. Swapping the legendary demon legend to a great dwarf hero legend, grants the Revenant new dwarf-related abilities. While the demon legend wields the power of conditions and debuffs, the dwarf legend wields front-line power and hardiness. The great dwarf hero legend has many defensive abilities. One such ability allows the Revenant to become completely immune to damage for a short period of time. With the great dwarf hero legend channeled, the Revenant can also summon hammers to spin around their proximity, damaging anything that gets too close.

The Revenant can have two channeled legends, but only one active at a time. However, one thing to note about each separate legend is that they have their own separate energy bar. This means that swapping to another legend when the energy is low in the current active legend will generally be a good idea. This mechanic is meant to be managed actively while playing the class.

Guild Wars 2: Heart of Thorns screenshot

The Mastery System
Progression and the power of your character is one of the most important topics of the Heart of Thorns expansion. A new end-game progression system, called Mastery, will allow players to further customize and grow their characters, well past the level cap. In addition to this new system, players should expect more difficult challenges to compensate for more end-game power.

Players will gain Mastery points from completing expansion-based story steps and hideously difficult challenges. Mastery abilities can be bought with these points, and the further down the Mastery line, the more Mastery points abilities will cost. When Mastery abilities are purchased, the abilities are then placed on the XP bar. The player is then required to earn enough experience points in order to fully earn the ability. For example, the Hand glider ability costs one full Mastery point, and then some experience to fully unlock it.

Some content will require Mastery abilities to even consider facing. A boss in Heart of Thorns requires the player to use Hand Glide to reach him. Without it, the boss is inaccessible. Other Mastery abilities, while not required, are intended to make a nearly impossible conflict, possible. For example, a boss in the expansion has a wing buffet attack that is intended to blow the player off a platform. However players can purchase a wind resistance ability in order stay in the fight. It is extremely difficult to successfully defeat Mastery-based enemies without the nearly necessary Mastery abilities.

The Mastery system is unlocked once a character reaches level 80. Mastery points will be earnable in the original Guild Wars 2 world. This system was created due the popular notion that Guild Wars 2 is fun to level up to 80 in, but boring once level 80 is reached. Mastery is intended to be expanded upon long after its introduction into the game, as it is planned to be the core end-game content, for Guild Wars 2.

Guild Wars 2: Heart of Thorns screenshot

The Defiance System
The Defiance system is the answer to granting individual and groups of players the ability to use skills that can “control” large scale enemies or bosses if enough “control” abilities are utilized. A bar near the target’s health will represent how much Defiance the enemy has. Using “control” abilities will lower the bar, and once it is empty, the enemy can be “controlled” until it refills. The Defiance system ties in with the new Mastery system, because there are abilities within it that allow you to break down a target’s Defiance much more easily.


The Strongholds – Champion’s Dusk
A primary aspect of Guild Wars 2 for an extremely large portion of the player-base is PvP, or, Player versus Player. Naturally, while the upcoming new expansion introduces additional zones, the Revenant profession, and new story-driven content, there is one other surprise; a brand new 10-player pirate-versus-militia-themed battleground, Champion’s Dusk, featured within the brand new PvP gametype, Strongholds.

You have the first team assuming the role of the pirate invaders. Initially, their conquest begins upon a unique pirate ship, specially designed to fit the Guild Wars 2 concepts. The cannons fire off, annihilating buildings and decimating the village as the approach is made. Once land is struck, the pirate team begins the invasion, charging into the village. The pirate captain however, resides safely in his stronghold.

Meanwhile, the village defense militia starts on the opposing end of the map. As the pirates begin in a ship, the militia starts in a tavern. Clearly caught off guard, the call-to-arms goes off and they drop their drinks, and prepare to move into the defense position.

Guild Wars 2: Heart of Thorns screenshot


The Champion’s Dusk - Objectives
In this game-type, the primary goal is to kill the enemy’s lord. The militia’s lord is stationed safely in his stronghold on one side of the map. He is protected by a vast amount of guards, inside and outside of his stronghold, and they serve only one purpose; to fight off the enemy attacks. They are beyond powerful, wielding more than enough power to easily one-shot the attackers. Additionally, as progression is made within the enemy stronghold, the guards become more difficult. The familiar trebuchets are also within the militia’s arsenal with the intent to defend the gates. The supply depot will also be in range of the trebuchets bombardments. Justly, the pirates will also possess these monstrous guards, trebuchets, and of course, their own stronghold.

The Champion’s Dusk – Supply Depots
In order to overcome all of these obstacles, both teams are capable of raising troops by gathering supplies. Supply depots are located directly in the middle of the map, but there are currently two depots residing in the area. Players will be obligated to battle the opposing team, in order to obtain supplies.  The winner will obviously claim a majority of the supplies, and claim an initial advantage. Some players are expected to sneak in, grab supplies, and scurry on out, avoiding the fight. The mission is to obtain as many supplies as possible, and deliver them to the respective barracks. In the barracks, players can use the supplies to hire, “door-breakers”, and archers.

The Champion’s Dusk -Troops
A door-breaker is a highly trained trooper with the sole purpose of, obviously, breaking down doors. They’re specifically designed to force their way through all the other enemies, and go straight for the gates. However, the opposing forces won’t allow them to do their job in peace, so they’ll need support from the players in order to stay alive. As previously mentioned, the guards are very powerful, and will instantly kill any door-breakers in proximity. So the attacking team will want to take out those guards before they have the opportunity to wipe the door-breakers out. The defensive team will want to prevent those guards from falling by any means necessary, and take out as many door-breakers as possible alongside them.

Teams will also have the option to recruit archers. Archers, unlike the door-breakers, will stop to attack players along the path to the enemy stronghold. They do minor damage to both doors and players, but do massive damage to the guards. Archers are a key element for the assaulting teams to break through the guards on the opposing side.

Guild Wars 2: Heart of Thorns screenshot

The Champion’s Dusk – The Hero
There is one final NPC, or non-playable character, that launches three minutes into the game: The Hero. The Hero is justly named, the “super-weapon” for the game. The first spawn is between two random points, and will have another random spawn on the opposing side of the map after the first, and then will come in two spawns at a time. The hero allows the team who recruits him or her to viciously punch through enemy lines. The hero spawns at the respective team’s barracks, and dashes down the lane, avoiding combat, until it hits either the outer gate, the inter gate, or the guild lord’s room. As a bonus, players near the hero will receive an enormous 50-percent damage reduction, and a 50-percent condition, or debuff, duration reduction. Also, if the hero reaches the lord’s room, he’ll enter a 10-second preparation for an extremely deathly attack. Defenders have the opportunity to interrupt him, but failure to do so results in a catastrophic area-based attack, dealing 25-percent damage to all defenders, plus knocking them all down. Allowing this attack to go off, gives the opposing team a major opportunity to make a big push towards victory. The hero is clearly a large key to victory for whom ever makes the claim.

The Conclusion - Champion’s Dusk
With your freshly spawned recruits, press the frontlines, and enemy gates, as intensely as possible while defending your door-breakers and archers, as well as fighting off the enemy players. But don’t allow the enemy to push through your defenses either, or it will be your lord that shall perish. Trebuchets will be raining aerial assaults upon both teams as pushes are made down the two separated lanes. Eventually, guards and players alike will be slaughtered, and one lord must fall. Be it the pirates, or the village militia. Guild Wars 2’s ArenaNet takes a big step away from their traditional capture-and-hold style PvP-instanced zones with this new game mode. Expect the exciting and new PvP gametype, Strongholds, and a vast amount of already-promised new additional features in the upcoming Guild Wars 2 expansion.

The Epilogue
Guild Wars 2: Heart of Thorns is shaping up to be an interesting expansion from just what has been shown over the last month or so. With all the new exciting reveals along with the continued success of Guild Wars 2, Heart of Thorns seems to be more of the same with a lot of extra spice thrown into the mix. We, personally, are looking forward to seeing what heights ArenaNet will take Guild Wars 2 in the future.
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