Today is a Heart of Thorns beta day, and the first play session of the day just ended. This was my first time trying anything from HoT, and I do have to say I enjoyed what I played.
The events on the map are definitely in the same style of Dry Top and Silverwastes, with a meta that cycles through, events to defend or take areas, and wanting a group for most of them. Dak and I tackled a rally point defense event with just the two of us, and while we succeeded, it was definitely a narrow victory (I was defeated and he was running in circles with next to no HP as it ended). Solo exploring is rather hazardous.
The Masteries UI looks very nice – unfortunately I didn’t think to get a screenshot of it.
Speaking of masteries, I do feel like activating them needs to be explained better. You need to have a mastery track activated in order to level it and spend points on it. At the top of each mastery category is a checkmark next to the name. Clicking that activates that mastery. This isn’t explained well and I only figured it out when someone mentioned it in map chat. I hope that they look into adjusting that to make it more intuitive.
I also feel like much of the map felt pretty empty, however that’s not surprising considering that it’s currently far from completion. It isn’t even a lack of events, really; rather, there’s a serious lack of NPCs in most of the areas. This could be due to it being unfinished, or due to the fact that it was nighttime when I did most of my exploring, but either way. There’s a lot of room for them to work with there.
I would have liked to play with masteries more, but I didn’t get gliding unlocked until towards the end of the test and didn’t have mushrooms unlocked at all. I did not come across anything noticeably broken (just minor things for the most part), and didn’t run into any performance problems while running around, which are both good things.
It was just a short beta, so there wasn’t time to do a whole lot, and I decided to primarily explore. The next session I plan on diving more into the events, and want to try some of the ones to unlock outposts. There was also a few adventures I saw but didn’t activate, so I’ll have to give those a try, too. I did like what I played, and I’m looking forward to seeing how the map is when it’s more filled out and polished…and obviously, how the rest of the expansion will be!