Beginning the long process of crafting a legendary weapon can be a daunting task, particularly acquiring the associated precursor weapon and gathering all of the materials needed to upgrade it to a legendary weapon. With Guild Wars 2: Heart of Thorns™, the new Map Bonuses system will give you a directed method for acquiring crafting materials. Getting a precursor will become an epic journey to discover the essence of your chosen legendary weapon, ending with a fully formed precursor ready to be crafted into its final legendary form. Let’s take a closer look at these two new systems.
Crafting Your Precursor
In Heart of Thorns, you’ll have access to a special Mastery track for unlocking precursor crafting. Mastery tracks are a new progression system being introduced in the expansion that will allow you to put experience earned toward training specific abilities once you hit level 80. You can read all about them in this blog.
This particular Mastery track is all about legendary crafting, and the first three tiers are dedicated to guiding you through the three tiers required to craft the first set of precursors that were introduced with the original release of Guild Wars 2. Completing the first tier allows you to unlock the start of a journey to acquire any of these original-release precursors by visiting the Mastery vendor and choosing which precursor you want to work on first.
Each legendary weapon has two main themes that will be represented in the precursor journey. The first tier of a precursor journey starts with a collection built around one of these themes. Let’s use the Moot as an example. A moot is a norn celebration of prowess, so that’s the basis of our themes for the legendary mace named for it. The first collection is all about the hunt, so you’ll be proving your abilities by fighting fierce creatures around Tyria and acquiring a trophy to show for it. By completing this collection, you’ll unlock a recipe to craft the first iteration of your precursor—a nontradable exotic weapon with a distressed version of the existing precursor skin. It could use a little polish and refinement, which will be the focus of the second tier collection.
The second collection in your journey involves doing your research, talking to the experts, and honing your craft. You’ll need to barter for knowledge, seek out great minds and convince them to teach you their tricks, and prove your ability at the crafting workbench. All this work allows you to refine your base precursor into its next iteration. Completing this collection unlocks a recipe to do just that, resulting in another nontradable exotic weapon with the existing precursor skin.
The final collections in these precursor journeys return to the themes of their respective legendary weapon. For the Moot, this is where the celebrating starts. Since the Moot’s theme is all about partying, you’ll participate in a range of activities that include dancing with world leaders, setting off fireworks for the Spirits of the Wild, and sampling delicacies and libations from around Tyria. This final collection unlocks the recipe to craft the polished final iteration of the precursor. For all of our existing precursors, this is a tradable exotic weapon, but they will all be updated to use new skins that look much like the legendary weapons they’ll one day become. We like to think of these new precursor skins as the legendary weapon before it is embodied by its soul. Unlocking one of these new skins in your wardrobe will also unlock the two previous tiers of skins. So, should you get lucky and find a precursor out in the world, you won’t miss out on the skins.
This crafting system is an account-based activity, which means you’ll only be able to craft each precursor this way once. However, all of the currently existing precursor acquisition methods will remain intact in addition to this new acquisition method. That means that if you want a particular precursor more than once, you’ll have to fall back to the original methods of acquisition.
Once you have your completed precursor, you are free to begin the process of turning it into a legendary weapon. It’s a long process of gathering the required materials to craft gifts that will eventually be given to Zommoros—the djinn at the heart of the Mystic Forge—who in return gifts you with your powerful legendary weapon.
While the update to precursor acquisition makes for a huge change in the way we craft legendary weapons, our new Map Bonuses system will also make acquiring the materials you need a more directed activity. With Heart of Thorns, most explorable maps will have an associated set of bonus rewards that rotate on a regular basis. Starter maps will not be included in order to preserve the new-player experience. By completing events, jumping puzzles, and mini-dungeons in a map, you’ll be periodically awarded with one of its associated bonuses in addition to the normal rewards. For most maps, the bonus reward will be crafting materials. For instance, playing in Cursed Shore could reward you with ancient bones, charged cores, charged lodestones, or giant eyes during one rotation, and powerful venom sacs, glacial cores, glacial lodestones, or globs of ectoplasm during another rotation.
Maps like the Silverwastes or Dry Top that have a dedicated currency will work a little differently. For these maps, bandit crests and geodes have been something of a test for this concept, where you’re rewarded with these currencies through a bouncy chest for playing on the map. The Map Bonuses system is a more streamlined experience, and with Heart of Thorns, these maps will be updated to always award currencies through the Map Bonuses system. Moving forward, any map with a similar currency will also work within the Map Bonuses system.
The goals of this system are to provide ways for players to target the materials they need, let players know exactly where to obtain those materials, and help all explorable maps always feel like relevant and rewarding places to play.
New Legendary Weapons
I know you’re all dying for more information on new legendary weapons, but we’d like to delve into them more with a dedicated blog post in the future. For now, I’ll say that we’ve been working hard on new legendary weapons, the first handful of which will be introduced in Heart of Thorns, with more to come in subsequent updates. The methods by which you’ll craft these legendary weapons are similar to the existing system, but we’ve refined it into more of a journey, similar to precursor crafting. We also want to better preserve the prestige associated with crafting a legendary weapon, so the new legendary weapons, and their precursors, will not be tradable. Keep an eye out—we can’t wait to start showing them off when they’re ready!
Update, March 2016: Please see this post from game director Mike O’Brien about legendary weapons & upcoming content in Guild Wars 2.