Guild Wars 2 : Heart of Thorns Beta Event 1

Post Series: Guild Wars 2: Heart of Thorns

Heart of Thorns (HoT) first proper beta, first impressions:

Elite Specializations:

Chronomancer (Mesmer) – New weapon = Shield:
I love the Chronomancer, it feels very powerful and is a good extension to the existing Mesmer (which I love anyway, so it was probably going to be hard to mess this one up). But aside from that and totally impartially, I felt that it worked on every level, offering an intriguing new playstyle for an already flexible class. Well done, A-net.

Tides-of-Time Echo-of-Memory

Dragonhunter (Guardian) – New weapon = Longbow:
The longbow seems a good fit for the Guardian; it’s nicely powerful and has some good support improvements. In terms of gameplay, it offers a lot more maneuverability than other weapons like the mace, which is very “stand-here-and-defend”. The flexibility granted by the longbow is a breath of fresh air for the Guardian class.

Glamor-1 Wings-of-Resolve-F2

Tempest (Elementalist) – New weapon = Warhorn:
The Elementalist is the Elementalist – trumped up powerhouse with little stamina to boast of, but packs one hell of a punch – it’s really fun to play. It works better with the warhorn than I thought it would, and the overcharging of the skills is awesome. As usual, you can attune to whichever of the four elements you desire to mix up your gameplay.

Eye-of-the-Storm Warhorn-Skill-Electric

Reaper (Necromancer) – New weapon = Greatsword:
Let it be said: I love the graphics for the skills, they’re phenominally gorgeus. The Necromancer looks amazing as it dances with the greatsword or through the Reaper’s Shroud (Death Shroud skills change with the elite specialization), but as I ended up realising, it doesn’t matter if you can stack 25 stacks of voulnerability on a target, because any target would normally be dead before you reached 10 stacks if you were playing any other class. It’s just too slow, and felt underpowered compared to the other elite specialisations (so far). The Necromancer has a history of not getting much love from A-net, and this, unfortunately, is not much different. One small comfort though, is that with the greatsword you could go and have a “PvP dance” with 4 other necros and look fabulous. You just can’t kill anything quickly.

Chilled-to-the-Bone Glamor-2


A few more notes from the Beta:

The Revenant – Heavy armour. Weapons: Sword (both hands), Axe (off hand), Mace (main hand), Hammer and Staff.
The Revenant is the new class that comes with GW2: HoT. It is a legend-channeling, hammer-wielding, heavy armor-wearing class that may, when you first hear about it, remind you of the Ritualist from Guild Wars: Factions. Well, it’s nothing like it. The concept is that you channel “legends” from the Mists to change your skillsets, whilst your weapon skills stay the same. Overall I thought it was fun, and it certainly looks amazing. The skills are well-animated and it seems as though there will be great flexibility within the class owing to the different legends. I heard people complain about a lack of damage, and I will confess I was a little too swept up in trying to figure out how it all worked to worry too much about that particular aspect.

The skills are energy based (profession specific energy, to be exact) and energy works much like the Warrior’s adrenaline and/or the Necromancer’s life force when in Death Shroud. This applies both to the weapon skills, which still have regular time-based cool-down, as well as the legend-skills. In the Beta we had access to four legends: Shiro Tagachi (assassin), King Jalis Ironhammer (dwarf), Ventari (centaur) and Mallyx the Unyielding (demon). It’s nice to see some of the “old” Guild Wars being incorporated into the game in a more tangible way. You can have two legends “equipped” at a time to switch between during battle. They all work very differently, and I got along best with King Jalis, but I suspect I will learn to be more flexible when I get to know the Revenant class better.

As mentioned, the Revenant can use several weapons, the most advertized probably being the hammer. The hammer works as medi/long-distance weapon for the Revenant. and I really wanted to love it because hammers are awesome. Unfortunately, however, the hammer feels majorly slow and clunky (to me, at least). I had much greater success with some of the other weapon combinations, and my favourite ended up bieng a mace with an offhand of either an axe or a sword. The staff on the Revenant differs from other classes in that it acts as a short-range weapon. You literally whack your foes on the head with it, sometimes in what humorously looks a little like a golf-club swing (skill 2). It wasn’t bad, but the short range took some getting used to.

I didn’t get to spend as much time as I wanted on the Revenant, with playing the other elite specializations as well, but it felt fun and it’s certainly different from any of the other classes.

Guild-Wars-2-Revenant-1 Guild-Wars-2-Revenant-2

The Gamepley, Story and Environment:
I’m not going to comment too much on the story, the environment etc., since I honestly tried not to focus an excessive amount on that front. There wasn’t a lot of personal story available for the Beta, which is a good thing in my opinion. The reason for this is that I’m going to do it all again once the game comes out (or during other Beta’s), and I still want it to feel fresh and be excited about it at that point. “But MGR, you don’t know when HoT is going to be out, it could be four months from now!” – I hear what you’re saying, and I know. Oh Boy do I know. But I learned from the beta-event on Guild Wars 2 that running through the starter areas with characters you aren’t allowed to keep, finishing quite a chunk of the personal story or the events, then having to do it all again? Not so fun. So I took my precautions this time. And for all we know (fingers crossed) the game could be out in a month. So you’ll just have to wait for that one.

But what I did try a little of was gliding. Was it fun? Yes. Immensely.

Guild-Wars-2-revenant-verdant-brink Guild-Wars-2-verdant-brink-jungle-1 Guild-Wars-2-verdant-brink-jungle-2 Guild-Wars-2-verdant-brink-ruins1 Guild-Wars-2-verdant-brink-ruins2 Guild-Wars-2-verdant-brink-gliding

Overall:
I enjoyed the Beta. It seems like A-net have added quite a lot to the game mechanics, and overall I’m impressed with how they didn’t just add the Revenant class and the new story and left it at that – they’ve spread a little love to the already existing classes (with varying success), and I look forward to seeing the elite specializations for the remaining classes. Judging by the Beta, HoT will be a good and fun addition to GW2.

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My name is David Hatch, I am a husband, parent and a gamer, I have played games for as long as I can remember, all the way back from a ZX81 to the XBOX360 and into the future with the PS4. I will always be a gamer.

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