Heart of Thorns, the long-awaited, much-antipated, so-sophisticated mega-spansion to Guild Wars 2, will finally launch(ish) on August 7th.
Players who went right ahead and pre-purchased this bad boy will have unfettered access to the expansion's first ever beta weekend, after which time Heart of Thorns will retreat back offline again like a shy rodent.
Heart of Thorns will be showcased at big German videogames convention Gamescom next week, with playable versions being available to attendees from Wednesday 5th until Sunday 9th.
On Friday, however, a magical thing happens as Guild Wars 2 players across the world are also granted access to all of the expansion's beta content, in a unifying, globe-spanning preview event of such astounding beauty that all doves everywhere might just coo themselves inside out.
The beta weekend runs from 8pm BST on Friday to 8pm BST on Monday, and is available to any old man or woman with a Guild Wars 2 account and a Heart of Thorns pre-order. Available to play in the beta are the expansion's first few story instances inside the Heart of Maguuma Jungle, as well as the new revenant profession, masteries system and fancy new end-game progression mechanics.
ArenaNet's recently assured players that the changes you'll fine in the Heart of Thorns beta weekend won't leave smaller guilds behind. Expect more weekends to be scattered throughout the calendar, leading up to a proper, fulsome launch.