The first Guild Wars 2 update of 2016 will land January 26th, and it’s a big one. Taking to the game’s website, development team lead Colin Johanson detailed all the massive changes coming to the MMO in the next month, and the rest of the year. “2016 marks a turning point for the developmental focus of the Guild Wars 2 franchise,” he explained. “In 2016 we aim to provide a more balanced focus, which will see efforts divided equally between providing regular updates and working toward the next expansion.”

With this in mind, instead of simply adding new features and expanding the game, ArenaNet is taking the chance to double-down on what has worked in the past and really flesh out what’s in the game already. “This means a focus on new content and polish for our existing, successful parts of the game.” The first step in this new process will be a revised update schedule, one built around large, free patches every three months or so, what ArenaNet are referring to as major seasonal updates.

January 26th marks the first of these updates as it brings an impressive number of changes to the game. Among these include bringing the ability to glide to the main game, an ability currently restricted to the area added in the game’s recent expansion “Heart of Thorns.”

Along with this come quality-of-life changes to the Fractals of the Mist endgame activities, an overhaul of scoring and reviving in the PvP World v. World mode, a new way of tracking participation in world events, a reworking of the Shatterer world boss meta-event, a new monthly event called the Eldvin Monastery Brew of the Month Club, new guild decorations, extensive balancing changes, and even a slight change to the controls. For all the details, check out the full list of changes here.

But according to Johanson, this is only the beginning. Throughout early 2016 there will be multiple other events, including the Lunar New Year Event, returning to Divinity’s Reach from January 26th to February 9th. Salvation’s Pass, the next wing of the game’s first raid, added in the recent expansion, will also drop. Then for the PvP minded players, PvP League will launch February 23rd, and ESL Guild Wars 2 Pro League Season One Finals is already in its final weeks now.

Looking to the rest of the year, the major seasonal updates will continue, but players can also look forward to Living World Season 3, picking up in the aftermath of the conclusion of “Heart of Thorns,” a lot of new additions and polish on the way for Fractals of the Mist, and an entire from-the-ground-up reworking of the World v. World system.

No matter what kind of player you are, there is plenty to get excited about in the next year of Guild Wars 2. The game’s “Heart of Thorns” expansion launched back in October adding new story missions, a new character profession, a new area called the Maguuma Jungle, and changed the game’s look at endgame progression by adding the new masteries system. Have you jumped into the expansion? Is the busy year of new updates ahead enough to make you consider it? Let us know in the comments.

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