The Scrying Pool: Journeying Ahead

In this week's Scrying Pool, we wonder what the PAX Prime panel will discuss.


The Scrying Pool is a Guild Wars 2 column where I simply ask what if? Nothing is off the table as I dive into possible features and future content, looking at what currently exists in Guild Wars 2 before I answer my own what if question with how I think the feature and content could be implemented.

In last week’s Scrying Pool I talked about the road to Heart of Thorns. In the column, I discussed how I thought that ArenaNet would have a panel at PAX Prime that would announce details of what Challenging Group Content will be as well as a release date for the expansion. Since then, the panel schedule for PAX Prime has been released and includes the following panel for the Saturday morning of PAX:

Guild Wars 2 - The Journey Ahead — Join ArenaNet President Mike O’Brien and Game Director Colin Johanson for what the studio is billing as a ‘fan and press conference’ defining the future of Guild Wars 2 for both current and prospective players. Included is the worldwide reveal for all-new “challenging group content” coming with Guild Wars 2: Heart of Thorns.

The description right out says that the panel will be revealing challenging group content, but also says it will define the future of Guild Wars 2. To me this is screaming that the release date will be also be part of the panel reveal.

Defining the future of Guild Wars 2 also makes me think that the panel may also be looking at what we will see after the expansion launch. Last week I speculated about the possibility that challenging group content wouldn’t come out at release but as the first dive back into the two-week cadence of releases for GW2. I find it interesting that the challenging group content reveal is included with a panel discussing the future of the game.

That doesn’t necessarily mean that this group content is being released as a post-launch content update. A lot of the features that are coming in HoT are being labeled as framework for the game to expand upon in the future, and challenging group content could be another piece of this. For example, the core specialization change allows for the continued release of elite specializations that will add more skills and gameplay to existing professions. Likewise, the mastery system is a feature that they plan to continue expanding with more masteries, even during the living world seasons between expansions.

Talk about masteries is another source of why I am interested in what this panel will reveal. In a gamescom interview, one of the ArenaNet developers was slightly misquoted in regards to the addition of more masteries post-launch. Colin took to reddit to help clarify this, saying “...we’ll discuss our live plan for GW2 more, once we’re done discussing all of HoT!”

In last week’s article I mentioned how the remaining elite specializations and challenging group content were the last big reveals needed to be made as well as a way that ArenaNet could reveal all of these leading up to and within the panel at PAX Prime. If Colin’s quote remains true and the PAX panel is talking about the game’s future, it is possible that all of the big HoT reveals will be done. With all of the big reveals out of the way, it wouldn’t be long until the expansion’s release which is another reason why I think a release date will be announced during the PAX panel.

If they are talking about the future of the game including and beyond HoT, there are many different things that would be interesting to hear about. There is my theory of challenging group content being post-launch, but there is also the question of when live updates including the next living world season will start.

We are getting close to the holiday season and can expect that there will be a patch for Halloween and another for Wintersday, which doesn’t leave much time to get a solid amount of other content released. Will we see the start a season that will take a break before starting up at the beginning of next year? Another possibility is that we will get content patches that are not true living world episodes akin to the original Southsun content patch, or something more free standing like the patch that buffed the Tequatl the Sunless encounter during Season 1.

Beyond this, they could also talk more about the masteries and how they will expand them. Since our interview with Colin and Mike at PAX South we have known that they intended to expand the masteries through the living world system of releases. Maybe we will find out a little more of how they are expanding them. Are we going to be getting entire new mastery lines or is more adding a single new mastery tier to an existing such as an addition tier added to the end of the Itzel Lore mastery line?

Matt "Mattsta" Adams had fun playing during the first Beta Weekend Event!

I really enjoyed playing the Reaper. It was what I was looking forward to the most and felt amazing. The other Elite Specs and Revenant were also really fun to play, but didn't feel as awesome as the Reaper. I'm looking forward to seeing what changes based on feedback given after the weekend.

If you have a question for me or a topic you would like to see talked about here, leave a comment below. You can also tweet your question and topics to me on twitter @MattstaNinja. Also, check out my site Mattsta.Ninja that focuses on guides and more for Guild Wars 2.


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