What I saw of Heart of Thorns at Gamescom looked like tremendous fun. Not fun in the abstract sense that we might describe a game that’s actually tense or gruelling, but genuinely joyful and carefree. The new Guild Wars 2 expansion is filled with bouncing mushrooms and forest gliding opportunities. It feels like a gloriously silly natural endpoint for all the MMO’s past platforming challenges.
A launch trailer showcases the thornier side of the story, rendered in that still-beautiful wispy art style. There’s something Ghibli-esque about Guild Wars’ new vine-acular villains.
See what sits alongside Guild Wars 2 on our list of the best MMORPGs.
Heart of Thorns is go, greenlit and green-fingered. Guild Wars 2’s box price dropped to nothing a few months ago, but the expansion costs £34.99 on the ArenaNet store. The studio are currently celebrating seven million accounts made – the latest milestone in an MMO that’s provided longevity through its episodic Living World premise.
“We energised our fans in January with the announcement of Heart of Thorns as the first expansion to Guild Wars 2, and we’ve seen steady growth in our player base ever since,” said ArenaNet president Mike O’Brien. “Our community is widely recognised as one of the best and friendliest in MMOs – many of our veteran players organised in starter zones to welcome new players the weekend we made the core Guild Wars 2 game free.”
About 40% of level 80 vets playing that weekend turned up to greet starter players. And the other illuminating percentage is the 135% growth in PvP participation over the last year – an area ArenaNet are forever pushing.
Apparently there’ve been 1.4 billion hours of Guild Wars 2 played to date. How many of them are yours?