We hope you liked the Guild Wars 2 expansion name leak because it accurately called the summer expansion: It is indeed Secrets of the Obscure. ArenaNet has officially announced today that the expansion drops August 22nd and is focused “high above the surface of Tyria” and “the floating Wizard’s Tower that have intrigued players for over two decades.”
“Launch day will see new explorable areas, two new Strike Missions, and new gameplay features. Future content will launch at no additional charge and continue to add new experiences: an additional map, a new Fractal of Mists encounter, Strike Mission challenge modes, and new rewards will arrive in the following months and into 2024. The all-new story puts players into the shoes of both erstwhile defender and explorer of the unknown as they race to defend the world from a heretofore unseen threat. The adventure will begin with a climb through the Skywatch Archipelago, the first of two new maps being added to the game on release day. Hanging high in the sky above Tyria, these floating islands are under attack from the Kryptis, a demonic race of malevolent beings streaming through instabilities in the Mists and threatening the fragile peace of the world in the wake of the defeat of the elder dragons. What follows is an epic struggle into the Demon Realm, where the fate of the world rests in the hands of the player and their secretive new allies.”
As previously announced, SOTO will be the first expansion for the game’s new cadence, which plans smaller but significantly more frequent expansion-tier content.
Preorders are already live; the base price is $24.99, though there are also $49.99 and $74.99 bundles that include more perks like inventory slots, character boosts, and gems. Folks who aren’t caught up on existing expansions might want to wait until this weekend, as ArenaNet has announced a 50% off sale for “legacy Guild Wars 2 bundles and products” starting June 29th.
And that date’s not an accident: The studio is running a beta test starting the same day. It’ll look a lot like the elite spec betas the company ran back in the fall of 2021 prior to the full release of End of Dragons.
“Beginning June 29 and running through July 2, all Guild Wars 2 players will be invited to take part in a special beta event to explore the new Weaponmaster Training feature,” ArenaNet notes. “Once logged in, players will be given a special beta character slot to explore the innumerable character build possibilities this new feature allows.”
Here’s the complete run-down of content in SOTO; players will want to pay special attention to the fact that skyscales will be easier to acquire, the new season-esque currency, and the weaponmaster training feature, which allows base classes access to elite spec weapons.
New maps: Two new explorable maps will be available on August 22, the Skywatch Archipelago and Amnytas, with a third to follow in a future update.
New hub area: The enigmatic Wizard’s Tower will serve as the jumping-off point for players to explore Secrets of the Obscure, and be the central location that ties the player to the main characters and events of the expansion
Astral Ward: As the Kryptis invade Tyria, players will be able to join a band of treasure hunters and adventurers known as the Astral Ward to help protect the world, undertaking monster hunts and bounty contracts throughout the game to rank up and earn new rewards and abilities.
The Heart of the Obscure: This important tool will serve as the player’s master key to explore the new expansion; as they make progress in upgrading this mystical stone, they’ll earn the ability to open special doors and reward chests, create support items like leyline and updraft generators, and open and seal the rifts for the Astral Ward.
Advanced Flight Masteries: Acquiring the fan favorite Skyscale mount will be easier in Secrets of the Obscure, but for those players who train their Skyscale in both the new track from this expansion and the previously released Path of Fire will earn additional functionality for their skyscale. Two of the Secrets of the Obscure skyscale masteries – in-combat mounting and updraft use – will also apply to the griffon mount.
New Strike Missions: Two new challenging 10-player instanced encounters arrive with Secrets of the Obscure: the Cosmic Observatory, and the Temple of Febe. Their Challenge Modes are planned to become available in later releases.
Wizard’s Vault: The Wizard’s Vault awards Astral Acclaim for completing daily, weekly, and seasonal achievements across the game. Players can trade Astral Acclaim for unique items like armor pieces, weapon and mount skins, gold, legendary crafting materials, and more.
Relics: Unlocked at level 60, this new equipment slot will now be the home of the wide variety of rune set bonuses previously found on different rune types, allowing for more customization of special effects and more freedom to choose the stat bonuses players want to use on their characters.
Weaponmaster Training: Each of the game’s nine professions will now gain the ability to equip the weapons previously reserved for their elite specialization, unlocking new gameplay and build options for players.
New Rewards: A deluge of new earnable rewards await players, including the game’s first set of legendary armor earned through open world PvE activities.
“Once you’ve unlocked Weaponmaster Training in Guild Wars 2: Secrets of the Obscure, you’ll be able to use elite specialization weapons without the corresponding trait line equipped. This will be the case even if you haven’t trained an elite specialization. That means that even if you don’t own the other expansions, you’ll be able to mix and match weapons from the elite specializations associated with them” although you’ll “need to own the appropriate expansion and fully unlock each elite specialization to make use of its trait line” and gear.
Following this launch of the expansion (sounds like during the next quarterly release), expect new weapons for every class.
As for the new skyscale unlocks:
“Whether or not you own Guild Wars 2: Path of Fire or completed the original skyscale collection, Guild Wars 2: Secrets of the Obscure will grant you a more streamlined collection to unlock a skyscale of your very own. Once you’ve unlocked the skyscale in Guild Wars 2: Secrets of the Obscure, you’ll get access to a new skyscale skin collection. Completing that will award you a terrifying and beautiful Kryptis-themed skyscale skin. Guild Wars 2: Secrets of the Obscure skyscale Mastery line includes new abilities, like the Fireball aerial attack you’ll unlock at tier two. Some of the new Mastery tiers grant Guild Wars 2: Path of Fire Masteries; in those cases, players who have trained skyscale Masteries from both expansions will get a bonus functionality unlock. For example, the first tier of the Guild Wars 2: Secrets of the Obscure skyscale Mastery grants Air Rescue—the ability to mount in midair. If you’ve already trained Air Rescue with the Guild Wars 2: Path of Fire Mastery line, you’ll now get Bond of Vigor every time you use Air Rescue.”