We’ll be updating this post with all the highlights of ArenaNet‘s Guild Wars 2: Heart of Thorns PAX Prime 2015 panel beginning at 1:30 p.m. EDT today. Watch along below; we’ve got the stream embedded from Twitch!
And we’re off! Larry’s posting snapshots of the event on Instagram for us.
1:31 – Colin Johanson takes the stage, beginning by remarking on the craziness of the past week (ahem). He has confirmed October 23rd for the Heart of Thorns launch. He reminded listeners that HoT is all about endgame progression without adding gear and level grinds.
1:35 – He’s formally confirmed raids (they’d been leaked earlier in the week).
1:39 – Raids are intended to answer requests for more challenging instanced content without typical MMO raid headaches. They are 10-player group content “harder than anything group content you’ve seen in Guild Wars 2 before.” It ties into the mastery system and is built on the dynamic event system.
1:41 – There will be traditional MMO raid encounters as well as unique-to-GW2 encounters. It’s not about the UI, he jokes, but about positioning, comboing, weapon-swapping, and reacting with combat.
1:43 – There will be no attunement process in raiding. Raiding is about “fun.” Raids will not require classes and will not create a gear grind.
1:46 – HoT will have the first raid with three wings; it will launch a couple of weeks after the expansion and then the other wings will roll out after that.
1:47 – Colin says the quick update cadence will return after HoT’s launch, and raiding will be a big part of it.
1:49 – Mike O’Brien has taken the stage. He’s begun by talking about the buy-to-play model and how it poses difficulties for games focused on expansions.
1:53 – O’Brien says the base game is officially “free for everyone” as of TODAY.
1:55 – He assures players the game is not otherwise changing its business model. The game and gemstore will stay exactly the same. “We believe in buy-to-play,” he says, arguing that people will buy Heart of Thorns.
1:58 – Free accounts will have limitations to storage, chat, trade, mail, and exploitable areas like WvW, which is level-locked to level 60. There’s a chart of account types and restrictions up now.
2:01 – O’Brien says existing players will be given a royal guard outfit as a special anniversary present.
2:03 – All done! Thanks everyone! The Heart of Thorns subsite is live now, and we’ve embedded new screenshots and the raid video below.