The content in the maps of Heart of Thorns starts with Outposts and Adventures.
In our interview with Colin Johanson and Mike O’Brien last week, we learned that Heart of Thorns will be focusing on fewer new maps for Guild Wars 2 in favor of creating maps that have a great depth of content. In a blog post today, ArenaNet revealed a couple of the cornerstones to this approach with Outposts and Adventures.
Currently in Guild Wars 2 dynamic events tell the stories of NPCs and the world around them, but at times it can be hard to see this chain of events and the stories they tell. This is where Outposts come into their own. In Heart of Thorns, dynamic events will happen around these outposts, where players might help defend NPCs in one event and fight alongside them the next. Outposts are content structures that ArenaNet claims will help “explain and contextualize the consequences of localized groups of dynamic events”. One of the first Outposts that players might run into in the jungle will involve Laranthir, a Sylvari Pact Officer that is trying to gather the remnants of the Pale Reavers, an elite squad of Sylvari soldiers, while dealing with the other surviving Pact members’ distrust of all Sylvari.
For players who have played in the Silverwastes map of Guild Wars 2, Outposts are similar to the towers on that map where players are helping the Pact fight the encroaching Mordrem. Outposts, however, will be taking this to the next level as players fight to gain control of the surrounding environment. As players succeed, NPCs will construct new defenses, offer new services, assist in Adventures and “ultimately join in the fight against Mordremoth”.
Since Dynamic Events are dynamic and not always up, there is need for some always-on content, which is where Adventures come into play. Adventures are activities, minigames and challenges for players to discover and overcome that unlock as Outposts expand. As an added experience, all Adventures will come with an active component. A jumping puzzle might have an Adventure that challenges players to complete it in a certain amount of time. On top of this, Adventures will keep track of an individual’s performance as a score so that you will be able to see and complete against your previous efforts as well as your friends’ and guildmates’ scores.
All of these Adventures will exist in the open world, so players will be able to see other players trying to complete these challenges and possibly even work together to overcome them. The true challenge of these Adventures will not be in finding them, as they will be displayed on the world map with information on whether you have claimed its reward and how to unlock them if they are locked (since many are tied to the aforementioned Outposts).
Outposts and Adventures will form the foundation of open world content in Heart of Thorns and just a taste of the challenging content ArenaNet intends to offer. As we get closer to the expansion’s release, we will learn more about HoT including details on new types of challenging group encounters. For now, it is just about Outposts and Adventures as tomorrow ArenaNet unveils how the new Mastery progression system will tie into the Outposts and Adventures.