Guild Wars 2 just announced its third expansion, and it looks like Cantha

!!!!!!!

    
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Not only did Guild Wars 2 studio ArenaNet just drop another preview of upcoming content, exactly what fans have been begging for, but it also just confirmed that it’s working on the game’s third expansion. And the teaser makes it look like it’s Cantha! Specifically, it looks like the architecture and flora of Shing Jea, the starter island for GW1’s Factions.

OK, deep breaths, Bree. So. We already know about Visions of the Past: Steel and Fire coming next week, but there’s a lot more, and the studio is actually talking about it. For starters, GW2 will see the return of Super Adventure Box this spring and Dragon Bash this summer.

But the big news is buried at the very end, along with a cryptic pic that the devs say is “early concept art so you can dream along with [them] about where [they’re] headed.”

“Development is underway on a third Guild Wars 2 expansion. The team is hard at work, and it’s much too soon to talk about any details right now, including features, story, release date, or development timeline. We’ll have to stick to that until we’re ready to reveal more information to the world. When we are ready, you’ll definitely know!”

MMO players will recall that ArenaNet was slammed with layoffs in 2019, followed by multiple departures from the company, including studio head Mike O’Brien, and a “Saga” content format that has made everyone super nervous. The promise of a real expansion, even as vague as this, is an injection of hope the game and its playerbase desperately needed. Moreover, Cantha has been something of a Shangri-la for the modern game; it was the location of Guild Wars 1’s Factions campaign and broadly loved by the playerbase, but the studio has been strangely reluctant to go there, even bypassing it in favor of Nightfall’s locations for Path of Fire. In spite of our jokes and heckling, most gamers never really expected the studio to do it, but this is welcome news indeed.

That’s not even all there is in the blog, as the team also promises the third full-fledged episode in the Icebrood Saga coming after the launch of SAB this spring, in addition to “bonus PvE events” from 2019.

“Bangar’s war machine has driven out of the Far Shiverpeaks and farther west, to the dense forests of the Woodland Cascades—an area inspired by the beautiful Pacific Northwest that ArenaNet calls home. The episode’s environment will focus on capturing and defending territories in a PvE map, using objectives similar to WvW to drive enemies back, defeat familiar foes, and maximize the potential for rewards. You’ll also tackle a new Strike Mission with a different spin on gameplay mechanics.”

Let the speculation begin!

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martyna.meda

I like gw2 and I hope that this new expansion will be something that blow my mind

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psytic

Ive been wanting Cantha for years and now that its coming I’m not sure if ill get many hours into it. For some reason since I’ve updated my CPU and GPU the game just runs like pure crap. Its really a shame they cant update the engine. FFXIV, WoW and ESO have all had multiple engine updates. I guess we should be happy we are getting anything at all with the state of the company but It sure would be nice . Imagine playing a dx9 game in 2021 or whenever this is released.

Mewmew
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Mewmew

Guild Wars 2 is an amazing game and all, but I’m about ready for a Guild Wars 3 to be made. Maybe not for it to already be here at this very exact moment, but I’m ready to hear that it’s in development and is on the way.

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Ben Stone

They keep hitting those nostalgia strings, but every time I play I am reminded of how bad the game is compared to GW1. If they could revamp the combat/strategy to be more like GW1, the world and updated graphics would be an amazing MMO home.

I log in to grab the story updates but I still haven’t even finished the second expansion story because I keep getting bored too quickly. I guess its too far gone since they think they cant go back on the manifesto. Hope they just move on to GW3 instead and go back to what made GW1 great.

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Harlow Games

I found GW1 unplayable, so.. maybe I just don’t get it, but even with incentives to level in GW1 I could never being myself to do it. I really like GW2’s combat, and credit them for pushing AAA titled beyond stand and cast, tab-target combat that dominated the scene prior to its release.

TGWolf
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TGWolf

This is so true… GW1 was amazing. GW2 was ‘okay’ after getting over how bad it was compared to the first game, but it’s clear they lost something and never quite found it again… Hence they keep trying to ‘go back’ to what made the game great.

No amount of mining the past will change the fact that they chose to make a completely different game and used the name of something great to sell it…

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jealouspirate

GW2 is a mess but their environments are always pretty to explore.

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margol23

Looks more like desperation to announce expansion which is more than year away, their financials must be pretty bad. Cantha is ArenaNet last chance to make guild wars 2 releveant again after all the drama and lay offs

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Harlow Games

We complain when they don’t tell us what they’re working on, but when they do we say they’re desperate.

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Anton Mochalin

I really can’t understand why players are so obsessed with expansions. As far as I know both previous expansions were met with reactions like “power creep”, “ruined balance”, “mounts destroy the fun” etc etc. And after a short spike in player population it returns to what it was before. And almost everyone except guys like WoodenPotatoes is unable to digest all those additions to elite specializations etc because few people play with more than 2-3 characters. Expansions are all about hype and PR and splitting them into a long series of smaller updates would actually be healthier for the game.

micedicetwice
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micedicetwice

Are you working for ANet by any chance? Because that’s their logic that led the game to the current crisis.

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Anton Mochalin

I’ve been playing GW2 for 1 year and have 400+ hours spent in game according to /age. I’ve had a blast with the game and expect to have a lot of fun in the future. I don’t think there’s much of a “crisis”. The game is well populated and you’d meet other players anywhere in the open world and woulnd’t have any problem to find a party for group content through LFG. The game works as an MMO and it is a very good MMO: actually the games like Lost Ark and Neverwinter and ESO I’ve recently tried don’t attract me much after trying GW2. I understand that many people expect from GW2 many things that the game just doesn’t have. But it’s just different and it was doing fine all this time since HoT was released.

Expansions are about hype.

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TomTurtle

I’d say the interest an expansion brings in comparison to what ArenaNet has achieved with its regular content updates far outweighs what some vocal players complain about when it comes down to it.

Ideally, sure, they could do wonders with regular content updates in comparison to the highs and lows of an expansion setup, but they’ve failed to accomplish it thus far. As such, they’ve failed to hold player interest without an expansion in the works for which players have come to expect bigger changes and additions to the game than what its Living World has offered.

Part of managing an MMO playerbase is about appearances. It’s not just about what you put out. In this case, ArenaNet probably saw the waning interest and income and needed to try to cut that off quick. Players like to have the security of something to look forward to.

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Anton Mochalin

Part of managing an MMO playerbase is about appearances. It’s not just about what you put out.

GW2 was and is well-populated. Whatever you try to do – instanced content or open world content or PvP or WvW – there won’t be a problem to find people in game to do that. LFG finds enough people for parties in minutes.

As I said expansions only bring about a short spike in concurrent players count. Go to Steamcharts and look at any online game’s chart – there’s the same dynamic for all of them – the spikes after large content updates are short and after them the player population returns back to more or less what it was before the update.

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TomTurtle

Thanks to the megaservers, yes, but when going outside of the game, outside of its communities, I’ve repeatedly seen remarks like “That game is still alive?”. It totally dropped off the radar for many soon after launch and has struggled to garner much attention since. The most attention I’ve seen it get has been due to said expansions and when other MMOs are screwing up so badly that people look to other games to play like GW2.

Not to mention how low the perception of the game has been since the layoffs, further exacerbated by the Icebrood Saga announcement.

I’m not saying regular, good content and feature updates couldn’t bring in new players to help the game, but like it or not, ArenaNet hasn’t really pulled it off well enough so far. The Living World format is supposed to pull off expansion-like content, but has fallen short of that goal more often than not.

And I really do believe that there’s a good reason why expansions are an MMO industry standard. Studios wouldn’t bother with them if they weren’t benefiting their bottom line, whether that’s short or long-term or both.

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Anton Mochalin

Studios wouldn’t bother with them if they weren’t benefiting their bottom line

There’s no doubt there will be more interest towards GW2 after this announcement and that the expansion and even that announcement alone will bring some new and returning players to the game. And no doubt the paid expansion will make a lot of money for ANet (and they totally deserve that money and I’m very likely to be among those who’ll buy the expansion during the first month after release). What I’m saying is that it’s not good for the health of the game as an experience. The game has enough players to work as a big MMO providing something for many different playstyles and it will be so even if the current player count would drop by half. But releasing the same content they are going to put into the expansion (e.g. new elite specializations, new mechanics etc) in many smaller portions is healthier because it provides more room for developers to get the feedback and usage statistics and make corrections to their course – and it is also less disruptive for existing players who are already having fun with the game and making it a working MMO by their participation and often also paying real money for gems from time to time.

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Bojan Mihaljević

Still waiting for updated GW1…

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MassivelyMacD

I know I sound like a grumpy old man – which I indeed am – but this is too little too late.
They cannot give any estimates on anything. Given the fact that they shelled out this concept art “in an early stage” I am sure they would have given any more in-depth information if they had any yet. They don’t have. Thus, with a diminished team it will take them some time to do this. I do not believe we see this in 2020, I even do not believe we see it in early 2021. By then, most of the remaining player base will have no coal left for the hype train anymore. This is nothing but a desparate move to keep interest up for a wee bit of time.

Apart from that, I personally never liked Cantha. To me the map design of the city of Kaineng is one of the worst designs I have ever come across in any game (they tried to top it themselves with Tangled Depths though) and I stopped playing half-way through that game. Glad that Nightfall was way more to my liking. But they have already pulled out that stop.

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Harlow Games

Unfortunately, expansions take time. People complained since before launch that they didn’t communicate enough and were not transparent enough. Since PoF people have been clamoring for news on the development of the third expansion. They merely say they’re working on it, give us a small tease, and we’re still unhappy.

They literally can’t do anything right with their playerbase – even when they give them what they want.

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Xshinobi

I can’t wait and hopefully I will still be alive when this comes out.