The pandemic has caused problems for lots of developers, and ArenaNet among them: last year it delayed the long-anticipated launch of Guild Wars 2 on Steam (opens in new tab), in order to focus on the major End of Dragons expansion due by the end of this year. Then that got delayed until early next year too (opens in new tab). Things are getting back on-track, however, and now we've got our first look at what's coming.
Guild Wars 2, for those who've somehow missed it, is an extremely good MMO—the kind of game that has PCG's Phil licking his lips at thoughts of the dragon Mordremoth. Yeah, there's a lot of dragons around. But perhaps that's about to change in End of Dragons (I mean, you'd hope so), which introduces new gameplay features and the region of Cantha—which is a new version of an area from an OG Guild Wars expansion, Factions.
It's a lush-looking place and, if you want a sense of how it's changed in the period between the two games, try and guess which is which.
The biggest news, in a certain sense, is that End of Dragons will introduce the game’s first multiplayer mount: the siege turtle. Let's just digest that for a moment. You raise what starts as this tiny and rather cute-looking turtle into a tank-sized reptile toting multiple laser cannons, and can then ride on its back in a little throne with your buddy and control bits of it in co-op. Sounds like good clean fun to me, and just look at this beautiful baby.
Cantha's a region with lots of water, so the expansion also introduces player skiffs for traversal and—drum roll please—fishing! It always seemed a bit odd to me you couldn't fish in Guild Wars 2, because it's one of the activities I most associate with MMOs. These games need 'downtime' activities and this was always one of my favourites in WoW and others. Anyway: you can go fishing now, and there'll also be fishing tournaments to take part in.
As with previous expansions, End of Dragons will also introduce new 'elite specializations' for each of the nine professions, essentially a new skill path and playstyle, focused around a weapon that character couldn't previously equip. These will be tested in beta events running from August 17 and continuing through November. There's also all the other stuff you'd expect: sexy new weapons, new strike missions (10-player mini-raids), and a new set of masteries (the end-game progression system: basically, where all your XP goes once you've hit level 80).
The expansion is due to release in February 2022, and costs $30/£26 (opens in new tab) for the standard edition, with a couple of super-duper editions also available that come with various sweeteners. You can also buy a plastic statue of a dragon (opens in new tab) for $120 if you're so inclined, which only makes me think that ArenaNet's marketing bods missed a trick: where's the siege turtle plushie?