Guild Wars 2: Heart of Thorns Review 26

Guild Wars 2: Heart of Thorns Review

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Guild Wars 2's first expansion, Heart of Thorns, was highly anticipated by fans of the MMO. When ArenaNet released Guild Wars in 2005, it posed a significant competition to World of Warcraft, mainly because of its lack of subscription fees. Over the years, Guild Wars received numerous expansions, further adding to its popularity. However, players eagerly awaited the release of Heart of Thorns as it promised to bring fresh content and a new storyline.

With its release, the question arises: is this expansion worth the money? Players will have to weigh the new features, such as the challenging new area of Maguuma Jungle, new elite specializations, and the introduction of gliding, against the price of the expansion to determine its worth. Ultimately, it will be up to each individual player to decide if the new content and features provided by Heart of Thorns justify the investment.

The Heart of Thorns story continues the narrative of the Living End story, which was introduced by ArenaNet post-launch. This series of quests, consisting of two seasons, sets the stage for the epic battle between the Elder Dragon Mordremoth and The Pact. With the Sylvari at risk of being manipulated by the dragon, The Pact embarks on a daring campaign to defeat Mordremoth in his own domain, the Maguma Jungle.

This massive undertaking is not only a fight for survival, but also a battle to protect the very essence of nature itself. As players delve into the Heart of Thorns story, they will navigate treacherous terrains, encounter powerful enemies, and uncover the true extent of Mordremoth's influence. It is a race against time to prevent the corruption from spreading and save the Sylvari from their own twisted fate.

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In a devastating turn of events, The Pact's carefully orchestrated plan takes a disastrous turn. Mordemoth, the formidable foe, launches a surprise attack, obliterating The Pact's air fleet in the blink of an eye. To make matters worse, the treacherous Mordremoth manages to sway an alarming number of Sylvari, once loyal soldiers of The Pact, to his side.

Now, the responsibility falls on the player, the esteemed Commander of The Pact, to rally the remaining troops, liberate the imprisoned leaders of The Pact, and ultimately put an end to Mordremoth's reign of terror. With the fate of the world hanging in the balance, the player must rise to the challenge and lead their forces with unwavering determination and strategic acumen.

In order to navigate the treacherous jungle of Maguuma, players in Heart of Thorns are granted additional tools and abilities to enhance their survival. With opponents growing stronger, each class has been given a new trait line and weapon through Elite Specializations. These Specializations offer unique play styles and much-needed diversity to certain classes.

However, unlocking these powerful abilities requires players to gather Mastery Points throughout their adventures in the vast world. This system not only rewards exploration and completion of challenges, but also ensures that players have truly earned the privilege of wielding these new toys in the dangerous wilderness of Maguuma.

As we embarked on our journey into Heart of Thorns, we were accompanied by our ever-reliable Engineer, who had recently acquired the Scrapper trait line and the newfound ability to wield a hammer. This addition was particularly exciting to us, as the Engineer had previously been limited to ranged attacks with their trusty Tool Kit. Finally, we had the opportunity to explore the realm of melee builds and unleash a whole new level of combat prowess. With the Scrapper trait line and the power of the hammer in our hands, we were ready to tackle any challenge that awaited us in Heart of Thorns.

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The Scrapper is a formidable specialty that proves to be quite challenging to defeat. Its unique trait allows for an increase in Toughness with every hit received, making it even more difficult for opponents to bring it down. Additionally, it boasts a 20% reduction in damage taken from conditions, further enhancing its survivability.

Furthermore, when utilized effectively, the Scrapper can deliver devastating blows, particularly by capitalizing on combo fields. However, while the Scrapper's new utility skills, such as summoning small robots, may seem promising, they fall short in terms of their speed and impact on the environment of Heart of Thorns, leaving us slightly disappointed.

In contrast, certain classes in the game have been bestowed with intriguing utility skills to enhance their gameplay. One example is the Guardian, who now wields a Longbow and possesses the ability to set Traps. These additions provide the Guardian with a range of options in combat, allowing them to engage in long-range attacks and strategically control the battlefield. Similarly, the Necromancer has undergone an exciting transformation with the introduction of the Reaper Specialization.

This new playing style combines the essence of a Necromancer with that of a Warrior, resulting in a formidable hybrid. As part of this specialization, the Necromancer gains access to Shouts as new utility skills, enabling them to unleash powerful and commanding abilities in battle. These fresh additions add depth and versatility to the gameplay experience of these classes, ensuring a thrilling and dynamic adventure for players.

The introduction of Elite Specializations in the game has undeniably brought about significant changes to each class playstyle. These specializations have proven to be a strong addition to the game, enhancing the capabilities and versatility of each class. However, it is worth noting that in some instances, the Elite Specializations have become the dominant playstyle, overshadowing the existing builds.

This has raised concerns among players who seek a balanced gameplay experience. It is our hope that ArenaNet will address this issue and strive to provide more balance, as they have previously stated that the new playstyles should be on par with the existing builds in Heart of Thorns.

The Revenant in Heart of Thorns

One of the exciting additions in the Heart of Thorns expansion for Guild Wars 2 is the introduction of a new class called the revenant. Unlike the existing classes, the revenant is a Soldier who can wear Heavy Armor similar to the Warrior and Guardian. What sets the revenant apart is its unique skill system, which is more reminiscent of traditional MMOs.

In Guild Wars 2, most skills do not cost a resource to use, with the exception of the Thief. Instead, skills trigger a cooldown period. However, the revenant brings a fresh approach by incorporating a resource system. This adds a new layer of strategy and management to the gameplay experience, making the revenant a highly intriguing and dynamic class to play.

The Revenant class in the game uses two Legendary Stances, out of a total of four, which have a significant impact on the player's abilities. Unlike other classes where players have the option to choose from multiple Healing Skills, the Revenant is limited to only one Healing Skill. This means that players cannot customize their healing abilities based on their playstyle or the situation at hand.

Furthermore, using a skill in the Revenant class consumes a percentage of energy from the current Legendary Stance. This energy is accumulated over time and through auto-attacks. Therefore, players need to strategically manage their energy levels to ensure they have enough to execute powerful skills when needed.

Revenants, while possessing the ability to switch between two Legendary Stances, face a trade-off when it comes to energy management. If a player's energy is running low, it can be advantageous to switch to the other Legendary Stance and utilize its energy for other skills. This strategic decision allows for the efficient use of resources and can greatly impact the outcome of battles.

However, the lack of choice in skills does limit the freedom of builds for Revenants. With predetermined skills, players are unable to fully customize their playstyle and may feel restricted in their ability to adapt to different situations. As a result, the freedom of builds for Revenants is relatively low compared to other professions in the game.

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Experience the thrill of soaring through the dense jungle

When embarking on the adventure in the Heart of Thorns, players must choose a level 80 character to navigate the vast and immersive jungle of Maguuma. However, they should be prepared for a literal pain in the neck as the environment heavily relies on verticality. Constantly looking up and down becomes a necessity as players must strategize how to ascend to higher levels or descend to lower ones.

Fortunately, the game offers a solution to this challenge in the form of Gliders. These magical devices allow players to gracefully float through the air, granting them the ability to reach lower positions with ease. This introduces a whole new level of exploration and gameplay, transforming the once two-dimensional world into a fully-realized three-dimensional experience.

While Maguuma is undeniably breathtaking with its lush and vibrant jungle landscapes, it falls short in terms of diversity and novelty when compared to its counterparts in other expansions. When we reminisce about the first expansion of Guild Wars, Factions, or the inaugural expansion of World of Warcraft, The Burning Crusade, we were greeted with a plethora of new environments and captivating characters. In contrast, Heart of Thorns feels somewhat limited in its scope, relying heavily on the allure of the jungle setting. Although the dense foliage and towering trees are undeniably awe-inspiring, we can't help but long for the introduction of fresh faces and a wider range of settings to explore.

Factions, an expansion of the popular game, introduced players to a captivating Asian theme, immersing them in a world rich with cultural nuances and stunning landscapes. The Burning Crusade, on the other hand, took players on a thrilling journey through a Draenor consumed by zombies, creating a unique blend of fantasy and science fiction. While the developers at ArenaNet have excelled in creating a mesmerizing jungle environment, there is a sense of longing for the diverse array of areas found in previous expansions. The focus on Mordremoth, the main antagonist, has limited the opportunity for exploring different realms and has made it challenging for the game to offer the same level of variation.

Guild Halls and Raids

After the launch of Guild Wars 2 in 2012, fans of the game expressed their desire for the return of Guild Halls from the original Guild Wars. ArenaNet, the game's developer, paid close attention to this feedback and took it into consideration. Guild Halls were massive halls that were exclusively accessible to members of a Guild and could be customized to some extent by the Guild itself. These halls served as perfect gathering spots for Guilds, allowing them to convene and socialize without being interrupted by other players in bustling cities. The inclusion of Guild Halls in Guild Wars 2 fulfilled a long-standing wish of the fanbase and added a sense of belonging and community to the game.

In Guild Wars 2, obtaining a hall for Guilds is no simple task. Members must embark on a treacherous journey through a labyrinthine dungeon, battling hordes of monstrous creatures that dwell within. These dungeons are notorious for their difficulty, typically reserved for the most seasoned players. However, for those seeking an even greater challenge, the upcoming raids promise to deliver. These raids can be tackled by groups of ten players and are touted as the most demanding content available. The first raid is set to be released in mid-November, with two more to follow in the coming year.

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Verdict

Heart of Thorns has undoubtedly been a success thus far, leaving players eager to see how the raids will pan out in the game. The addition of Elite Specializations to each class is a highly welcomed feature, enhancing the gameplay experience for players. The Revenant class offers a unique and interesting style of play, although some players have expressed a desire for more freedom within the class.

The new vertical gameplay introduced in the jungle of Maguuma is a strong addition, providing players with exciting and dynamic challenges. However, some players have noted that a little more variety in the game's environments would have been appreciated. Despite these minor flaws, if ArenaNet can address them in the next expansion, they undoubtedly have a platinum hit on their hands.

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Guild Wars 2: Heart of Thorns Review
Conclusion
Heart of Thorns has undoubtedly been a success thus far, leaving players eager to see how the raids will pan out in the game. The addition of Elite Specializations to each class is a highly welcomed feature, enhancing the gameplay experience for players. The Revenant class offers a unique and interesting style of play, although some players have expressed a desire for more freedom within the class.
Positive
Elite Specializations Diversity
Vertical Exploration
Return of Guild Halls
Negative
Limited Environment Variety
Elite Specialization Balance
Complex Resource Management
4
GAMEHAUNT SCORE