While the bulk of Guild Wars 2 is now free-to-play, its two expansions come at a premium. Or at least did, until yesterday. ArenaNet has announced that the MMO's first expansion, Heart Of Thorns, now comes free with any purchase of the more recent Path Of Fire. If you were unlucky enough to pick up Heart Of Thorns in the past two months, they're also offering refunds, and a few cosmetic goodies for veteran players who own both.
Phil Savage had a grand old time with Heart of Thorns , but I always thought that it pales in comparison to, Path Of Fire, which introduced probably my favourite mounts in any online RPG. Better still, you can bring those mounts with you back to the jungle, where their fun movement abilities make navigating the complex, multi-layered environments a little easier.
Along with this announcement comes a trailer for The Icebrood Saga, the next season of 'Living World' episodic updates to Guild Wars 2. Normally this would come after another major expansion, but ArenaNet doesn't have the manpower that they used to, after a round of layoffs earlier this year. Still, even if it's skipping on another retail expansion, it's nice to see the game alive and kicking for the foreseeable future.
Part of the stated reason for making Heart Of Thorns free is because ArenaNet wants players to have access to the game's full suite of movement abilities, including gliders (from Heart Of Thorns), mounts and more going into this new season of episodic adventures, hinting at some interesting new zone designs to come.
Hopefully we'll get to see a little of that on September 17th when the prologue of the new season, "Bound by Blood" launches. It will require players to own the Path Of Fire expansion. The new season of episodes is free if you log in when it launches.