Although World of Warcraft is the undisputed king of MMORPGs, there are still a few contenders who have solidified themselves in the genre enough to enjoy moderate success. Typically, these games have had to figure out a profit model outside of the traditional monthly subscription option, as developers need ways to draw MMO gamers away from Blizzard’s stranglehold of the genre. ArenaNet’s Guild Wars 2 is one such example, as the main game has recently gone free to play in anticipation of its first expansion, Heart of Thorns.
Guild Wars 2‘s lack of a subscription fee isn’t all that sets it apart, however. When the game first released, MMO veterans and newcomers alike were impressed with its graphics and dynamic PvP gameplay, the latter of which became something of a calling card for ArenaNet as a developer.
During Guild Wars 2: Heart of Thorns‘ E3 2015 trailer, it appeared that the game’s first expansion after three years on the market would be retaining the gameplay that made Guild Wars one of the few MMOs able to hold a consistent playerbase. Now, ArenaNet has released another video that shows they haven’t forgotten how to tell an exciting story, either.
The Guild Wars 2: Heart of Thorns launch trailer focuses on Mordremoth, the Big Bad that players will be doing battle with indirectly and face-to-face for much of the expansion. The video, perhaps looking to distinguish itself from Blizzard’s famous cinematic trailers, appears to use in-game assets, and the response has been overwhelmingly positive. The trailer focuses heavily on Rytlock, a prominent character in the world of Guild Wars 2 who will also be the game’s first Revenant, a soon-to-be player class included in the expansion.
Other features coming with Heart of Thorns include the addition of a mastery system, a new area for players to explore called Maguuma, elite specialization for existing classes, and a great deal more content for both PvE and PvP. Guild Wars 2 is fairly unique among MMO games in that it uses a much deeper, less strict character roles system, which means the content it offers is often more accessible to everyone regardless of player class or race.
Somehow, despite ArenaNet’s philosophy that players should be able to navigate freely between DPS, Tank, and Healing roles, they’ve also created a setting where each player character feels well-defined and unique. The game’s writing has never been in question, and developers have even poached some of the game’s lead designers, like Bungie did to improve Destiny‘s narrative. Those who might have worried about the game’s storytelling, then, will be pleased with this trailer, which shows ArenaNet is still quite capable of delivering an intriguing plot.
Are you a fan of MMOs using flashy, cinematic launch trailers to hype up players? Is the expansion enticing enough that you might come back to Guild Wars 2? Let us know in the comments.
Guild Wars 2: Heart of Thorns releases for PC on October 23, 2015.