Heart of Thorns was the long-awaited first expansion pack to Guild Wars 2, revealed back in January 2015. But even before its official announcement theories had been floating around, due to supposed in-game hints and clues, that an expansion was on the way, but no one could be sure, and the developers seemed to be giving mixed signals.
So was it worth the hype and the wait? Well, to most fans, yeah it was. But Heart of Thorns isn’t a game changer. It doesn’t morph Guild Wars 2 into anything it wasn’t already. So, as I’ve seen plenty of people asking on social media and the forums: no, if you didn’t like the base game, HoT will not miraculously change that.
It’s more of the same with a huge helping of polish. Its mechanics and tweaks we’ve been asking for, fresh coats of paint in areas that were growing stagnant and progression in ways we didn’t previously have.
It’s far from a perfect addition but it’s definitely a good start. The PvE story content is somewhat short but the new maps make up for that in hours of exploration and huge group-orientate events.
But, arguably, what the expansion is really all about are the new elite specialisations: sub-classes to both the pre-existing eight classes and the new class – the Revenant. What these elite specs allow players to do is fundamentally change the purpose of their class, open up a great deal of build diversity and really experiment with new ways to play old favourites.
And yes, I do agree that HoT could have been more than it eventually turned out to be, and we really shouldn’t have been left waiting three years for our first expansion. But, as a player with thousands of hours racked up in Guild Wars 2, HoT is, at the very least, a large and worthy content pack to add that little extra depth and drive to what we already loved.