Today, ArenaNet announced its second expansion for Guild Wars 2, titled Path of Fire. As if Elder Dragons weren’t enough of a challenge, now players will be facing down the human god of fire, Balthazar, who wants to kill off the elder dragons and absorb their power, becoming the ultimate power in Tyria.
Players will travel to the Crystal Desert and Elona, areas not seen since the first Guild Wars game, set 250 years prior to GW2. There will be five new zones, “the largest we’ve ever shipped,” according to President and Game Director Mike O’Brien. The expansion will also introduce mounts, each with their own movement ability, and nine new elite specializations, one for each class.
In the Crystal Desert, Palawa Joko has raised an army of undead. Players will also contend with the Forged, Balthazar’s army of living armor, and the Branded, minions of the Elder Dragon Kralkatorrik. The preview images we got of the zones were wide and varied, and even included what looked like an icy cavern. In addition to the usual exploration and world events, players will also be able to take bounties to hunt specific monsters, and there’s a new guild hall set in the Crystal Desert.
Mounts are coming to Guild Wars 2! Unlike in other games, where mounts boost movement speed, GW2’s mounts open up new movement options, like the raptor, which has a big leap; the springer, a kind of “mutant bunny” that hops high into the air; the skimmer, a kind of manta ray that hovers; and the jackal, a magical beast with a short-range teleport. They can even help a little bit in combat. Mount skills will be obtained via the mastery system.
As with the specializations released in Heart of Thorns, each of the nine new elite specializations uses a weapon that’s totally new to its base class, from the dagger-using spellbreaker (warrior) to the rifle-toting deadeye (thief). The Path of Fire page has more info on all the elite specializations.
When Heart of Thorns was announced, it was nine months before it launched, and the price of the expansion rubbed many players the wrong way. ArenaNet has seemingly learned from those miscues, as Path of Fire will release on Sept. 22, and the base version of the game is only $29.99. That nets you the expansion content and a level 80 boost. You can also get the Deluxe Edition for $54.99 or the Ultimate Edition for $79.99. Pre-ordering before the Sept. 22 launch also gets you a Sunspear Weapon Skin of your choice, a Miniature Balthazar, and the title of Elonian Envoy.
Finally, if you’re on the fence about buying, you can sample the expansion for free two weekends from now, on Aug. 11-13. Even if you’ve never played Guild Wars 2, you can try out the new area and see what’s in store in the expansion before you buy. Hit up the Path of Fire website or watch the full expansion announcement presentation on YouTube.