Continuing the constant trickle of information about the game’s first expansion, ‘Heart of Thorns,’ the folks behind Guild Wars 2 posted on the game’s website yesterday detailing some of the new ways players can look forward to seeing narrative work when the expansion launches sometime later this year.

Set in the a massive jungle region called the Heart of Maguuma, ArenaNet promises the narrative will be more closely tied to the environment than ever before. “Gameplay, story, and the terrain itself were all conceived, fleshed out, and woven together to create a unified and immersive world that hooks players and keeps them hooked.”

To explain further, the post includes details about Verdant Brink, the first map in ‘Heart of Thorns.’ Centered on the sprawled wreckage of a fleet of airships, everything in the area revolves around helping survivors and keeping them safe from the new general enemy, the Mordrem. Where things get interesting however, is the new day/night cycle, where “things are tough enough while the sun’s up, but once it sets, the Mordrem redouble their efforts and the landscape becomes even more dangerous. Natural predators like the fire-breathing wyvern give way to the more monstrous and deadly toxin-spewing Mordrem variety. Players have to make the most of their daylight activities to prepare for the coming darkness, because once night falls, straight-up survival becomes the primary goal.”

‘Heart of Thorns’ is also putting an emphasis on replayabilty. Much like the season 2 content of the Living World, story instances will all be replayable at any time, each instance having choices and branching paths to keep you coming back for more, giving you the chance to “experience entirely different gameplay and narrative-path challenges.”

guild wars 2 sylvari

To better tie together the story and open world content however, key story characters will no long only appear in story instances. Instead they will roam the open world, allowing them to still “evolve and change as players progress” through the general game world. ArenaNet talked about one character in particular, Laranthir, a disgraced sylvari commander who, following his role in the instanced story, “will patrol the open world with a crack squadron of sylvari snipers… He and his squad work their way across the entire Heart of Maguuma, doing their thing and winning over some of their former comrades who doubt them, until they are positioned to support players in the final confrontation.”

Along the same lines of bridging the gap between open-world and story instances, player characters will also no long only talk during instances. In ‘Heart of Thorns,’ at anytime, “players can participate in verbal exchanges with friendly NPCs, hurl threats and challenges at enemies, and bark mission-specific orders to comrades. They can have these exchanges while in motion or even in combat.”

Though Heart of Thorns doesn’t have a release date yet, ArenaNet recently announced a closed beta for the expansion. Are you one of the lucky few already jumping around the jungle of Maguuma? Even if you’re not, what do you think of the changes headed to Guild Wars 2? Let us know in the comments. And make sure, for all of your Guild Wars 2 coverage, to keep checking back here on Gamespresso.

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