PAX South and Heart of Thorns

Okay. It’s not a secret anymore. The world now knows about it. Guild Wars 2 is getting an expansion at some point in the semi-near future, as was announced this past weekend at PAX South.

I would have written about it sooner, but I was at PAX, and I couldn’t even try and make a post from my phone due to terrible cell reception. And at this point, there’s more writeups of the info that was shared and what we now know than I could count. The speculation is through the roof. But just being there was such a special, amazing experience, which began on Friday upon arrival.

paxhotcards

These nifty little cards were being handed out at the entrance to the convention center, and I must say, they are nice. The GW2 HoT logo is in a beautiful shiny green, which is why the picture looks rather strange, and it’s a lovely heavy and nicely sized card. Mine is going to be hung up on the wall with the rest of my GW2 artwork. And really, it was just really neat to immediately see these upon arriving at the convention. This is big. Companies are not going to go through the expense of printing something like this unless it was for something big and important, and I also thought it was just a nice little thing to have and collect.

Saturday was the big day, though. Saturday morning was the panel and the announcement. We were lucky; we got to get in this line.

IMG_20150124_092309_027

Thanks to this, we were seated right up in front – fifth or sixth row, and almost dead-center in the theater. I could not have asked for a better spot to be; it was amazing. We also had the luck of being in a spot where we were clearly visible on the stream when they showed the audience; my phone was blowing up with texts and tweets from people saying that they could see us. It was great. ArenaNet had put small inflatable bats at each seat for everyone; when inflated they made a ridiculous amount of sound when hit together. Noisemakers so we don’t destroy our throats screaming? I can go with this.

Now, I just have to say this much. The atmosphere in that theater was insane. Everyone was so excited, so hyped up for whatever we were about to be shown. The room was just full of this really intense feeling that can only come from having so many people who are so eager to find out about something in a small-ish area.

And then Jennifer Hale walked out on stage to start things off, and everything blew up. In a good way.

My cell phone doesn't have the best camera. Oh well.

My cell phone doesn’t have the best camera. Oh well.

Okay. So before I started writing this post up, I sat at my computer for a good half hour just staring blankly at it, because I had absolutely no idea where to start with this. I still don’t know. But there was so much cool stuff talked about. Revenant, the new profession (I need at least two). New maps, with a heavy emphasis on verticality, which will greatly increase the amount of new stuff we can get in a zone. Masteries, which give us neat things like the ability to hang-glide, read ancient languages, and even new collections which will allow crafting precursors (FINALLY). Specializations, which let professions play with new weapons, skills, and traits. Staff ranger – the Druid – was specifically mentioned, as was necromancers getting to use greatswords. There’s new content, obviously, GUILD HALLS, a new SPvP mode, a new WvW map…

And here’s the thing. They barely scratched the surface on what we’ll be getting. We know two specializations, and the trailer showed two others (a mesmer with a shield and an engineer with a hammer). We know that the Revenant profession is a heavy armor profession and channels powers from legendary heroes of the past – it holds a striking similarity to the Ritualists of GW1, complete with the blindfold – but nothing else. We know only a little bit about what kind of Masteries will be available. There’s so much more info about this that they are going to be gradually revealing to us.

I was, to say the least, incredibly excited.

We went to the GW2 party that evening, and it was just the same feeling all the way through. Excitement. Happiness. Wanting to know more. And, well, it reminded me a lot of something else, and I wasn’t the only one that had that thought:

It was just like the time leading up to the release of Guild Wars 2, all over again. Excitement. Happiness. Impatience to learn more. Not wanting to wait to play, but knowing it’ll be worth it. There was a very definite feel to the community during the pre-launch days, which has been gone for quite a long time. It’s returned. And I love it. I love seeing people come back to the game that haven’t played in a while. I love seeing everyone just so hyped up about things. This sort of thing, this is the community that I know and love. And this is the feel of it that I’ve missed so much.

So, well done, ArenaNet. Well done on keeping this such a closed secret for so long. Well done on such an amazing presentation. Well done on doing such an amazing job at revitalizing the community and so many people’s love of the game. Thank you, Rubi and Stephane, for letting me chatter excitedly at you at the party, and Lis for hanging out with us throughout the weekend and not cracking at all. Thank you to everyone who let that panel go off without a hitch. And thank you, to everyone at ArenaNet in general, for, well…this. There’s nothing else to be said there. Just, thank you.

Now, to wait impatiently for more info…

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