As promised, ArenaNet announced today Guild Wars 2, Path of Fire, the next expansion in the Guild Wars 2 saga. Following the story in Heart of Thorns and Living World Season 3, the expansion will send players to the Crystal Desert and the neighboring region of Elona. Veteran Guild Wars players will recognize the region as the same place that Guild Wars: Nightfall occupied. Balthazar, the god of war and fire, has invaded Elona in an attempt to hunt another Elder Dragon and it's up to the heroes of Tyria to stop him.
"This new expansion is all about content," said ArenaNet president Mike O'Brien. "An epic story, five immense new open-world zones, mounts that allow you to move through Tyria in all-new ways, and nine new elite specializations."
Path of Fire will be comprised of five new open-world zones, many carrying the faux-Egyptian themes of Elona. ArenaNet is calling the new regions some of the largest ever shipped in the game.
The major new addition to Guild Wars 2 with this expansion will be the all-new Mounts. There are multiple new companions that allow you to reach regions of the world you normally couldn't, like leaping across massive canyons on your Springer rabbit mount or gliding across desert quicksand on the Skimmer ray. You level up your mounts using the existing Mastery system, unlocking new abilities.
Every profession in the game also gets a new elite specialization, taking your existing characters in new directions. The full list of new specializations and the weapons they use are as follows:
The new Guardian specialization uses axes in close combat. Their virtues are replaced by conjured tomes which are direct weapons that can be used to harm enemies or protect allies.
Scourges trade the dead for sand shades and their Punishment skills invert enemy strengths, turning them into weaknesses or boons for allies. Scourges use torches as a weapon.
Deadeyes are thieves who snipe their foes at long-range using a rifle. They mark targets to deal more damage and add harmful effects to their foes.
The new Mesmer specialization uses axes to fight at medium and close range, flitting around the battlefield via the power of their illusions. They can create constructs that give them a Mirage Cloak, which lets the Mesmer dodge attacks without actually dodging.
The Weaver is an Elementalist that cycles back and forth between two attunements to deal damage. Wielding swords, they move between stances to improve their skills.
These dagger-using Warriors are all about anti-magic abilities. They can pierce defenses, or absorb and redirect attacks in combat.
This version of the Ranger changes up one of the key parts of the profession. Instead of fighting alongside their pet, Ranger and pet merge into one being. They fight with daggers at close-range and use stances to tap into certain pet abilities.
Revenant can now tap into the soul of Kalla Scorchrazor, using shortbows to attack their enemies from all angles. Renegades can also call upon the spirits of Kalla's warband to fight alongside them.
With swords, Engineers can become the Holosmith, using hard light to control foes. In Photon Forge mode, every skill generates Heat, which can damage the Holosmith. When their Heat is at certain level, Holosmiths gain more power, meaning the specialization is about keeping an eye on your Heat.
There will be a preview weekend for Path of Fire on August 11-13. Players who participate will experience the opening hours of Path of Fire and enjoy the Crystal Oasis map on their new raptor mount. There will also be a second preview weekend starting August 18, letting players experience PVP and World vs. World content with the new specializations.
Guild Wars 2: Path of Fire is available for pre-purchase as a standalone expansion for $29.99, or with Heart of Thorns for $49.99. The base Guild Wars 2 is free and Heart of Thorns isn't required to play Path of Fire. The game will launch on September 22, 2017.