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Guild Wars 2: Fourth Expansion And New Story Update Announced, Living World Season 1 Returns

Almost 10 years after launch, Guild Wars 2 is not slowing down--it's growing.


ArenaNet has made some big announcements about Guild Wars 2 and its future. The MMO, which was first released in 2012, is still going strong with much more content to come, including the game's fourth expansion.

In looking to map out the future of Guild Wars 2, ArenaNet said the studio had multiple priorities in mind, the first of which was ensuring that players have "consistent updates" to enjoy.

"This means continuing to tell compelling stories that expand the world of Tyria while providing a better experience for those who enjoy game modes such as World vs. World, Player vs. Player, and endgame group content," the studio said.

At the same time, ArenaNet said it wants to ensure its developers have a healthy work/life balance and that they are not feeling stretched too thin by the demands of maintaining a live-service game. "Our work on this front will largely be invisible to you and will mostly focus on improving our planning and day-to-day development processes," the developers said.

Also on the docket for Guild Wars 2's future is a release on Steam. The studio is not ready to announce a release date, but the current plan is to launch in 2022.

"You only get to launch on Steam once, and we want to make sure we do it right. Over the coming months we'll be wrapping up work on the Steam integration, cleaning up some aspects of the early game experience, and ensuring that the game and the studio are operationally ready for a new platform launch," ArenaNet said. "We're not ready to commit to a hard date for Steam quite yet, but our hearts are set on launching this year. We'll keep you updated as things progress."

ArenaNet also announced that the number of active players has more than doubled in the past two years. This spike in players helped the End of Dragons update outsell the previous one, Path of Fire, the studio confirmed.

"Not bad for a game getting ready to celebrate its 10th anniversary," the developers said.

Additionally, ArenaNet confirmed that Guild Wars 2's Living World Season 1 will return permanently to the game for the first time since 2013. ArenaNet said it's heard from fans that the new player experience could be improved by giving players some important context about the Elder Dragon storyline, and that's where the return of Living World Season 1 comes on.

"This year, much of Living World Season 1 ('Scarlet’s War') will be making a permanent return to Guild Wars 2 through the Story Journal. We'll be combining the key story moments and experiences of Living World Season 1 into five episodes that will be released throughout 2022," the developer said. "Our goal is to provide a cohesive bridge between the personal story and Living World Season 2 and give players the opportunity to earn many of the legacy achievements and rewards that have been unavailable all these years. The first episode, 'Flame and Frost,' will release on April 19. The season will conclude with the return of 'Battle for Lion's Arch,' which will include a new Strike Mission and Challenge Mode."

What's more, ArenaNet announced that it will make some changes to professions and elite specializations in Guild Wars 2 in the future. The hope is to be available to release new profession updates each quarter, with smaller patches between them as the studio looks into the meta.

"In addition to the number tweaks that you're used to seeing, the team will be revisiting some underpowered and underused weapon skills, traits, or utilities for each profession in each profession update to help expand your arsenal. We will continue to make game-mode-specific balance adjustments as needed," ArenaNet said.

The first major profession update is slated to arrive June 28.

Elsewhere, ArenaNet confirmed that it is now working on the next story update for Guild Wars 2, and this will include a new map set in the Cantha region. Beyond that, Guild Wars 2 will get its fourth expansion at some point in the future, but it probably won't be anytime soon.

"This is a very early confirmation--the earliest we've ever done this, in fact--so don't expect news anytime soon. Expansions take a very long time to develop. Plus, there's plenty of cool things to look forward to between now and then," ArenaNet said.

On the more immediate horizon, here is a rundown of what to expect in Guild Wars 2 this spring.

  • March 15 End of Dragons Polish Build
  • March 29 Super Adventure Festival, End of Dragons Polish Build
  • April 19 Living World Season 1 Episode 1, Aetherblade Hideout Challenge Mode
  • May 10 Xunlai Jade Junkyard Challenge Mode
  • May 24 Living World Season 1 Episode 2, Kaineng Overlook Challenge Mode, New Legendary Weapon Variant
  • June 7 Dragon Bash Festival, Harvest Temple Challenge Mode
  • June 28 Balance Update, New Legendary Weapon Variant
Guild Wars 2 has a lot of new content on tap
Guild Wars 2 has a lot of new content on tap

Finally, ArenaNet said it will try to communicate better with fans going forward, and to that end, the studio is launching a recurring "State of the Game" blog post series. This will provide information and insight on the latest news about Guild Wars 2 and the development of the game.

"The content of these posts will change with each iteration, but we hope that they become something you look forward to reading and discussing. There's still plenty left for us to discuss," ArenaNet said.

Guild Wars 2 isn't the only aging MMO to still be receiving major new updates. Just this week, the developers of The Lord of the Rings Online mapped out future plans for the game that originally released in 2007.

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