Guild Wars 2: Week in Review

This week has seen multiple reveals as Guild Wars 2 enters the final countdown to Heart of Thorns.

This past week has seen multiple reveals for Guild Wars 2 incuding the core game becoming free to play, the announcement of Raids and the release date announcement of Heart of Thorns.

There is no longer any reason not to check out Guild Wars 2 as the core game is now play for free. Announced and subsequently released during the GW2 panel at PAX Prime last weekend, the core game is free for all players to play after creating an account. Free accounts will come with a list of restrictions including limited numbers of character slots and storage and limited abilities in both chat and mail. For a full list of restriction see the FAQ on the official GW2 site. Buying the Heart of Thorns expansion will immediately update your account and remove all of the restrictions imposed on free accounts.

Heart of Thorns is the first, upcoming expansion for Guild Wars 2 and this past weekend saw the announcement for its release date. The expansion will come out on October 23rd—less than 2 months away—so anyone interested in getting the pre-purchase bonuses—such as a free character slot for GW2 accounts created before January 24, 2015—is now on the clock. Speaking of clocks, you can check out the Mattsta.Ninja "Is it HoT?" countdown to know how long it is until the expansion arrives. Check out for the different editions of HoT available for purchase.

Buying HoT will also give access to all of the beta weekends for HoT. This weekend is hosting the 2nd of 3 Beta Weekend Events which hosts never before seen PvE content for HoT, all revealed elite specializations including the recently revealed Berserker for Warrior, Herald for Revenant and Daredevil for Thief, and the new PvP game mode Stronghold.

The other major announcement out of last weekend's GW2 PAX Prime panel was that Raids are coming with Heart of Thorns. These challenging instances will have groups of 10 players facing off against different bosses and encounters. Raids will be set up in wings, with the first raid consisting of 3 separate wings. The first wing of the first raid will launch a couple weeks after HoT launches, which will give players time to explore the jungle and level up masteries that will be crucial during the raid. The raid teaser trailer shows a boss where players will need to have upgraded their gliding to avoid a massive and devastating attack during the boss's rotation.

While you will need some masteries, there will not be any requirements for gear or classes for players wishing to enter raids. No gear grind and no attunement process. Raids will feature some new raid-specific masteries which will come into play for later encounters and will also introduce the first set of legendary armor. While you will be able to conquer raids as much as you like, the unique rewards from raids will only be available to earn once per week.

There were also a few announcements for events taking place before launch. The new WvW Desert Borderlands—the new WvW map coming with HoT—will have another stress test next Tuesday, September 8th through Thursday, September 10th. Unlike the Beta Weekend Events, this stress test is invite only.

The other event will be open to all players including those on free accounts. Mordrem creatures are invading core areas of Tyria next weekend starting at 9am Pacific on September 10 and running through 9am Pacific on September 13. There will be periodic incursions into Brisban Wildlands, Kessex Hills and Diessa Plateau, though a world event UI will let players know when these events start up. Players should be level 18 or higher to participate, which won't take too long if you want to grab a new account and join. These event will allow you to earn Mordrem Blooms which can be turned in for various rewards.

In addition to these announcements, ArenaNet revealed in blog posts how the new WvW objective upgrading and claiming will work as well as revealed the winners of the guild emblem contest that will be added in to the game with HoT.

Check out our gallery of images for this post including many images covering raids.

Matt Adams aka the Mattsta

Follow me on Twitter @MattstaNinja


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