GW2: Heart of Thorns Beta Sneak Peek / Test Thingmajig Thoughts


Brought down a wyvern out of the sky with about 8 people or so.

Felt pretty good.

Oh yeah, we killed it too, but that was only a matter of time. (S’ good no time limit.)

The defiance break bar felt quite good. Seemed like it would take about 5-6 people’s coordinated cc within a fairly short (5 seconds?) period of time to successfully land.

At first there was only me and another person landing cc at most.

Then I decided that everyone else hadn’t read the skill bar for their revenants (understandable, my eyes were glazing trying to make sense of their utilities and I told myself, meh, will learn it as I level the real one when the expansion hits) and outright announced which skill to use.

It took about 5 more break bars of practice, with one or two more people catching on each time, but as the wyvern dropped to about 1/4 health, we finally managed ONE coordinated cc spike. Just the one, but it was rather satisfying to see it crash out of the sky instead of flying off and coating the platform with flame.

I figure it’ll only be a matter of time before people learn. Seems learnable. And if it doesn’t work, it’ll just take slightly longer to succeed, is all. (For this encounter, anyway.)

Pretty small test area for the beta, but what was there felt overall good and tight.


Masteries were there with readable tooltips.

It -did- take me a while to figure out where they put it, since I kinda skipped over the first popup tip.

Went through the hero panel with no success, becoming more and more perplexed until I finally spied the unfamiliar symbol in the lower right hand corner of my screen. Clicking on it pulled it up.

Revenant was on show with limited traits and weapons and stances (looks like the heavy armor equivalent of engineer and elementalist complexity, if you ask me, and I think it’s a class I will probably be more inclined to learn over the other two.)

Pretty wild skills overall. A ranged hammer and a mace/axe that felt melee-ish. A lot of rectangular line-shaped skills. Some kind of stored up energy system for utility skills and elites rather than the usual cooldown times. A ‘resistance’ buff that makes them ignore conditions for the duration (“Nooooo,” scream my condi PvP builds) and a lot of condition/boon manipulation possibilities, I think.

One ‘Adventure’ was on show, where you run around with a flamethrower and torch vine tendrils and try to reach bronze, silver, gold target numbers for doing it good, better, best. I managed bronze and unlocked a mastery point, so that’s one option for masteries. Seemed like a solo style scoring affair at first glance, not 100% sure. Might be a minor social issue of “you took my mob spawns!” if so.


The only thing that I wasn’t 100% impressed with was gliding.

I didn’t like the delay between leaping off something, falling screaming a certain distance before the option to “Press Space to Glide” came up. I’m not sure if it’s a ping issue (~230ms, for the record) but I fell for like several character lengths (heights) before I could press space to trigger the gliding. That feels very awkward, compared with my memory of how smooth it was in Aion.

The glider also looked remarkably lame. Like I grabbed a pink flower to fly or something – too curvy, I kinda had the expectation that gliders would be more aerodynamically streamlined with straight lines…

Once the glider had taken hold though, the actual gliding experience felt ok.

Caught an updraft once during the wyvern fight (had to get out of combat to switch weapons) and that worked as expected. Fly into it with glider, thing lifts you like an elevator (or one of those aetherblade bounce pads, but slightly slower and more controlled) and you can glide out of it as desired.

Besides that, everything else felt decent. The one event chain that was on display worked. Fight a bunch of mordrem vines and stuff. Fight a bunch more mordrem while carrying bombs to blow up something. Lazy people who refuse to carry bombs can hang way back in a separate event to snipe mobs with a seriously overpowered sniper rifle, assisting in the otherwise highly tedious killing of Mordrem husks that get in the way of the bomb carriers. Succeeding let you board choppers to take out ze wyvern.


Very little need to comment about the scenery. All well done, aesthetically spot on in the usual ArenaNet style. Jungle definitely looking to be quite vertical, did quite a bit of accidental (then purposeful) falling and getting out of the beta testing area via gravity and getting forcibly zapped back to starting point as a result. Presumably will be even MORE vertical when the real thing hits.

Can’t wait.

(In the meantime, I need to get around to a post or series of posts about what I’ve been up to the past week or so, but bah, busy busy busy.)

3 thoughts on “GW2: Heart of Thorns Beta Sneak Peek / Test Thingmajig Thoughts

  1. How “finished” did it seem? I was leaning towards an early summer launch, sometime around June, but they seem to be being quite cagey about how much they let people see so maybe it will be more like late summer. The anniversary of the original launch would be neat and tidy.

    We have all six accounts set up to receive the newsletter and therefore eligible for the beta but they are all on different email addresses made specifically for GW2, most of which have never even been opened again after the day they were made. I checked one but I couldn’t summon up the enthusiasm or interest to check any of the others so I have no idea if we got any invites. I might be more motivated if there are some longer or deeper betas but I’m not sure I’ll bother even then.

    That hang glider looks pathetic. What are the odds on glider skins in the Black Lion store? And as rewards for some of those ultra long, ultra tedious ” see, you can get good stuff by playing too” quests they seem to be getting so fond of. I tried hang gliders in ArcheAge and they are okay but really not comparable in any way to the sheer joy of a real flying mount. Still, they’re something different at least.

    As for the jungle, I’m very much with Syp: I’ve seen enough plant mobs to last me forever now. I just hope to god that once they get Mordremoth out of their system we can go somewhere flat and fight something interesting. That should be around 2017 I guess.


    1. Hard to say because it was clearly a small section of map, polished up for convention demos (and this stress test beta, presumably.) So how feature complete the rest of the place is unknown.

      Stress test-wise, seemed to be alright. I wasn’t in a very crowded map, 50 people at most, and only about 8 people of that 50 figured out how to get in the chopper for the wyvern – that or folks had already done it while I went exploring earlier and didn’t enter again by the time I got around to it.

      Wasn’t unplayably laggy or crash or anything, heard others did wyvern with like 30 people and that it was also playable as well. Practically everyone on my friends list that was online at the time (some 20 odd people) was in the Verdant Brink area so I’m guessing there was at least some population stress on that part of the map and it seemed alright overall.


  2. I had a pretty similar experience with the stress test. It was clearly a slice, and dev Anthony Ordon commented tonight on the official forums that it was a fairly easy slice because it was nerfed for convention goers.

    The map itself was beautiful. I stared at the burning wreckage and “god rays” behind it for some time.

    And, increased bleeding stacks, OMG yes!

    Was definitely a stress test and not a “demo” of anything significant, but it was a good amuse bouche of things to come.


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