ArenaNet are ready to get 2016 underway with the first majot update for the Guild Wars 2 Heart of Thorns expansion.
This year ArenaNet will be taking a slightly different approach to game updates and they have outlined their plans which will have a more “balanced focus”. Guild Wars 2 Game Director Colin Johanson explains:
“While we balance our development, 2016 will also be a turning point in the type of development we do for Guild Wars 2. Over the last three years, ArenaNet has focused on “breadth” of development: new content types, releasing in new territories, new game systems, different release cycles, system overhauls, and experiments into what is possible with an online world. One of our goals for Guild Wars 2: Heart of Thorns™ was for it to be the last time we would focus on this type of broad development and experimentation and to reach a point where we could focus more on depth.”
The first Heart of Thorns expansion is the Winter 2016 Update will include the following as described by Colin Johanson:
Gliding in Central Tyria
We’re adding expanded functionality to the Gliding Mastery line! If you’ve trained the Glider Basics Mastery in Guild Wars 2: Heart of Thorns, your glider will let you glide a bit further…all the way back to Central Tyria. Your glider will work in any open-world map or city in Central Tyria once you’ve earned this Mastery ability.115 Plugin Updates, 6 Theme Updates
The Shatterer Unleashed
Ominous winds are blowing across Blazeridge Steppes. Scouts are reporting hints of the Shatterer mustering a new Branded army, and the Sentinel and Vigil defenders are hunkering down and preparing to meet this new threat. Get ready for an improved and more challenging Shatterer fight! With greater challenge comes greater reward: we’ve added a new Shatterer achievement category, upgraded the Shatterer’s reward chest, increased the experience earned, and added a unique back-slot item for completing the new Shatterer meta-achievement.
Fractal of the Mists Updates
We’re making a few quality of life changes to the Fractals of the Mists. Using the looking for group tool for Fractals will become a bit easier by expanding the range you can queue into higher scales. For ease of gameplay, we’ll be updating the fractal hub so players will be able to adjust the fractal scale by interacting with the control panel near the entrance, rather than having to leave the hub and reenter to adjust difficulty. Finally, we’ll also be changing the achievement UI so daily fractal achievements will be displayed by default when inside of the Fractal of the Mists.
Recognition of Your Support
Participation for events is getting an update! Supporting your allies will contribute toward event participation in most events across Guild Wars 2. You must still actively attack a target to receive rewards from them, but as long as you land a few attacks you’ll also get additional contribution from applying boons, removing conditions, reviving allies, and healing allies. These will all generate bonus contribution on top of your attacks, so players who mostly heal/support can earn the same credit as players who do large amounts of DPS.
Squad Markers and Lieutenants
We’re adding squad markers and the ability to promote lieutenants to our Enhanced Squad UI experience. Commanders will be able to appoint lieutenants to take care of administrative tasks like organizing subgroups, inviting or removing players, and broadcasting messages. Additionally, squad leaders will be able to mark locations, players, and enemies with symbols which will appear both in the game world and on your compass.
World vs. World Upgrade and Points per Kill
The Secured, Reinforced and Fortified objective upgrade levels of locations in WvW will be changed to occur after having delivered or received a certain number of dolyak caravans, rather than being timer driven. This change was made to increase the importance of both maintaining allied supply lines and denying enemy supply lines.
We’ll also be changing scoring so that each enemy player killed in WvW will grant 1 point of War Score to your team. This change was made in order to allow players who focus primarily on killing enemy players to contribute more to the team’s overall success.
Rallying and Reviving in World vs. World
The number of players than can rally off a single kill in WvW will be reduced from 5 to 1. This change was made to give smaller groups more of a fighting chance against larger groups and to make WvW combat have less sudden power swings in general.
Along with rallying, we’ll also be making changes to reviving in WvW. Players will no longer be able to revive defeated players while in combat. They will still be able to revive downed players. This change was made to lower the staying power of large groups. If a player is eliminated from the fight, they stay eliminated until either the fight concludes or the player uses a waypoint and runs back.
New Mist Champion Tybalt Leftpaw
Tybalt will be joining the other Mist Champions on the field of Champion’s Dusk as our apple-bearing defensive Mist Champion. Unlock Tybalt by completing his reward track in PvP, and then unleash him in the Stronghold game mode to help you defeat your enemies and slay their lord.
Eldvin Monastery Brew of the Month Club
Master Brewer Desch Metz at the Eldvin Monastery in Queensdale is inviting everyone to join the Eldvin Monastery Brew of the Month Club. Once a month, when visiting a major city, club members will receive a package in the mail containing that month’s finely crafted brew. After collecting all twelve brews, club members will receive a title, a brewer’s backpack skin, and a guild decoration in recognition of their devotion to the craft.
New World and Raid Boss Guild Decorations
A new category of Guild Decoration trophies will be available for your guild halls! When you kill certain world bosses and raid bosses, you’ll earn a token that will allow you to buy brand-new decorations from the decoration vendor inside your guild hall. Once you collect enough of these decorations, you’ll be able to upgrade them into a larger trophy. The trophy may look familiar, as it’s also the custom chest that drops when you defeat the boss.
We’ll be adding some new optional key bindings for action camera, snap ground targeting, and autotargeting so that players can use any of these features in either push-to-toggle or hold-to-toggle mode. Also, a new check box will be added to always show the names of objects you can interact with in the world, similar to the existing check boxes for player, NPC, and enemy names.
Major Balance Update
We’ve got a very large balance update coming with changes to professions, specializations, traits, skills, and more! We’ll be go over each profession and their updates specifically as we count down to the launch of the big release, so stay tuned for lots more details here. You can check out Karl’s preview of this balance update here.
There’s a lot planned beyond this update and details are available on the Guild Wars 2 blog.