Guild Wars 2 studio ArenaNet is kicking off May with a new dev blog and roadmap today. Game director Josh Davis and crew begin by reiterating the studio’s previously announced plan to overhaul the game’s cadence with smaller but more frequent expansions that help minimize content droughts. The team is expanding to make that happen “thanks to the growth that Guild Wars 2 saw in 2022.” For those who have forgotten:
“In this new model, the first release in an expansion cycle will introduce a new story arc and setting, two new open-world maps, two Strike Missions, new gameplay and combat features, new Masteries, and new rewards. In the following quarterly updates, we’ll add story chapters, an additional open-world map, challenge modes for the Strike Missions, a new fractal dungeon and challenge mode, new rewards, additions to the new systems introduced in that expansion, and—depending on the release plan for that expansion—new gameplay and combat features. Alongside these expansion content updates, we’re beefing up our support for the core game so we can iterate and improve on Guild Wars 2, even while releasing new expansion content on a more consistent schedule. Once that expansion’s year-long cycle is complete, the next expansion will be just around the corner.”
That core game is represented by most of the updates the game got following the launch of End of Dragons, including the overhauled living world season one, raid expansions, profession updates, and the Super Adventure Box map, all on a list of 19 achievements the studio is counting here.
Since the last roadmap, players have been particularly curious about the fate of elite specs in a world with smaller expansions. “[M]ost of the playstyles that we’d like to see supported for each profession already exist or should exist within their existing elite specialization options,” ArenaNet explains. “With our next expansion, our goal is to further augment the combat options for each profession by adding new tools to their arsenal and by lifting constraints that will unlock an unprecedented number of playstyle customization options—while keeping the feel of Guild Wars 2 combat true to its origins.” (We don’t know what that means, but it certainly has our writers hopeful about dual-classing!)
In the short term, players have plenty to look forward to in May, including the smallish profession balance update coming tomorrow and the next update on May 23rd. Once again, we don’t know what this update will be called, but we know what it’s about:
“The next update for Guild Wars 2: End of Dragons arrives on May 23, concluding the story that began earlier this year in What Lies Beneath. Together with your allies, you’ll tackle new story chapters and a new capstone encounter for the Gyala Delve meta-event that will have your squad breaking through an old tunnel to the surface to put an end to the demons of the depths. Once the danger has been cleared out of Gyala Delve, the map will enter a more peaceful state fit for exploring. Several new adventures will become available, including our first cooperative adventure featuring the siege turtle. Earlier Guild Wars 2: End of Dragons maps will share in the updates, with new siege turtle, jade bot, and skiff adventures. You’ll also start running into oni in the Guild Wars 2: End of Dragons maps—stalking from the shadows to strike unsuspecting adventurers.”
June will see the return of Dragon Bash on the 6th and then a larger balance patch on the 27th that homes in on boon support builds, alternate playstyles for some specs (like Deadeye, Druid, and Tempest), love for underused weapons (like sword Rangers), and nuking boring traits.
Longer-term, the teams are working on an unnamed “rework of an existing core game reward system,” cleaning up and buffing the DirectX 11 port that is already live with an eye toward performance and graphics, and continuing to test WvW restructuring.
As for the next expansion? “[T]he fourth expansion hasn’t even been officially revealed yet, and we’re already making headway on its quarterly release content. This is one of the biggest reasons we’re excited about this transition.” There’s no much here except for a teaser of “a whole lineup of fearsome baddies for the commander to beat up now that the Elder Dragons are no longer viable punching bag.” Void critters?