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Monday, 31 August 2015

The Release Date is Set; Preparing for the Expansion: Pt 1

Three days ago we finally got what we have all been waiting for; a number, a figure, a date, the release date for Guild Wars 2: Heart of Thorns! In a seemingly impromptu tweet from the official Guild Wars 2 twitter account, a date: October 23. Apparently, a fan searching for HoT information on Google's search engine managed to find the tweet which was a pre-logged promotional tweet meant to go live supposedly after the big reveal at PAX. As you can imagine, this didn't happen! Instead, the fan that found the tweet then retweeted it to a few big personalities in Guild Wars 2 which made the information spread like wildfire, with a thread on the topic on reddit going straight to the top of the hot posts with over 500 comments within an hour.

However, this wasn't the first social media error, as earlier last week IGN posted a tweet that seemingly exposed Arena Net's major PAX announcements a few days before PAX itself. The tweet, which got taken down just a few moments later, stated that GW2 would be getting raids and the core game would be going free to play. As it would later be revealed at PAX, IGN's tweet was spot on, which almost took the steam out of the fully loaded hype train - a fail that will surely put IGN on bad terms with Arena Net for the foreseeable future. At the very least though, Arena Net did get the last laugh with a comical tweet of a Skritt in an IGN t-shirt; take that, IGN!

So after a comedy of errors, PAX rolled round on Saturday 29th and for the most part we knew what to expect. We expected raids for our challenging group content and possibly a trail-like way to play the game for free. Colin Johanson started the proceedings with the big reveal - raids. Heart of Thorns will indeed include raiding, a 10-man instance made to be challenging like nothing we have ever played in GW2 before. The end reward? As per the raids section on the shiny new website: Legendary Armour. Colin unfortunately didn't go into much of any detail about the raids, however he did say that they would be split into three distinct 'raid wings' that will be released over time, with the first wing releasing around 2 weeks after launch. After that section, Arena Net president Mike O'Brien took to the stage to announce something very major; GW2's core game going free to play. Yes that's right, free to play! You can now sign up for an account and play for free, albeit under some fairly strict restrictions to avoid malicious intentions. Despite this though, this is fantastic news for our game as it should introduce many more new players.

This weekend will see the second beta weekend test where you can play any of the announced elite specializations, the revenant, stronghold and some parts of the new map. With PAX behind us and just two more elite specializations to be announced, HoT is just 53 days away and counting! That's less than 2 months; it's time to prepare for HoT and here's how.

Preparing for the expansion


Over this week I am going to do a rundown of important things to get ready for Heart of Thorns. Ever since HoT's announcement earlier this year, I have been hoarding lots of stuff in preparation for the expansion. The important part here is that you may not need it in the end, but if you do you will be happy you kept it.

Today lets cover Fractals of the Mists and general PvE. I have been keeping all of my Fractal Relics and Pristine Fractal Relics, and you should too! Arena Net announced big changes coming to Fractals with HoT, including purchasable Fractal weapons and a Legendary Fractal back piece! After you have completed Fractal scale 50, the vendor golem will sell Fractal weapons for pristine relics. It is a safe bet to assume that the Legendary back piece will also make use of relics and pristine relics, so save em' up! In the same announcement it was also stated that ascended salvaging will be coming to the game as part of building the Legendary back pieces - make sure to save up all those useless ascended ring drops as you will be able to salvage them with new ascended salvaging kits to obtain new crafting materials used in making the back piece.

As for other dungeons, I think it is safe to assume no new items will be added to the dungeon token vendor. However, it is still a good idea to save your tokens just in case you need to equip your shiny new Revenant in a fresh set of armour or weapons. Or if you are like me and you don't even know what class you want to play when HoT arrives, tokens are a good thing to have as it means you can get exotic gear of any armour type quickly.

Then we have the Silverwastes and chest farming. I think it could be a good idea to save the exotic champion bags you get from chest farming to open after HoT launches. That way, any new drops added to the loot table for champ bags can drop for you, and you may be able to acquire a lot of those items early on. This has been the case in the past with things like Bloodstone Dust so it is very possible for HoT.

Keep an eye on this blog in the coming days as I will be posting more ways you can be ready for Heart of Thorn's exciting launch on Friday October 23!