Guild Wars 2's Spring Update arrives with titanic patch notes

Veteran Greatsword Tengu Guild Wars 2 Heart of Thorns

Guild Wars 2's Spring Update is now live. ArenaNet had been unwilling to detail the patch before now, supposedly "to delight you with what we ship, not with talk and promises." I think it was just because it would have taken ages—these are the longest patch notes I have ever seen. To summarise brutally: life has got a whole lot easier.

Every Heart of Thorns owner, now or in future, will get a free boost to level 80 in order to wade into the fight against Mordremoth. "Because so much of our Heart of Thorns content is for level-80 players," ANet says, "we want everyone to be able to experience this content as soon as possible."

Fractal Backpiece Guild Wars 2 Heart of Thorns

The boost is only usable once, so you'll want to be sure the character you choose is a keeper. For this reason, the boost comes with a trial mode that warps you to Silverwastes for a level-80 test drive. You can't leave Silverwastes, but the trial is otherwise unlimited.

The ride is smoother if you don't choose to boost too. Creatures give 50% more XP, Heart of Thorns event rewards no longer suffer diminishing returns, loot has been streamlined to free up inventory slots, and adventures are easier to complete and reward more XP.

Cliffside Fractal Boss Guild Wars 2 Heart of Thorns

World vs. world benefits from reward tracks—similar to PvP—and world linking, which creates alliances between low-pop worlds to give them the numbers to make an impact. It's in beta, and matchmaking has been reset, so expect crazy variation in your opponents for the next few weeks. There are significant WvW changes in addition to the headline news, so if you're given to sparring, do read up carefully.

Exploring has been made more convenient, causing Edmund Hillary to turn in his grave. Major waypoints have been made uncontested, allowing you to zip about hoovering up the extra loot from new dailies, achievements and events.

Veteran Greatsword Tengu Guild Wars 2 Heart of Thorns

There are many, many more changes, in addition to minor tweaks, but if I go on much longer the sun will start setting. This is a relentless, sweeping patch, with the potential to cause controversy, but so far the reaction on the forums is upbeat. Are you a long-time Heart of Thorns player? How does the overhaul strike you?