Relics Bring New Equipment to Guild Wars 2: Secrets of the Obscure

by The Guild Wars 2 Team on July 20, 2023

Today we’re excited to share details about one of the upcoming features in Guild Wars 2: Secrets of the Obscure™ that will offer players new opportunities to customize their character’s combat prowess: relics. If you missed last month’s announcement, you can still find all the information in our blogs on combat, story and challenges, and rewards, or on the official site.

Designing Relics

During February’s studio update, we discussed our commitment to spending our development resources on improving core systems and features of Guild Wars 2. As part of that focus, we identified the rune system as needing a fresh coat of paint. As they exist now, runes offer attribute increases and a bonus special effect for wearing a complete set of six. Some rune sets were selected infrequently due to the stats they provided, leaving some interesting bonus effects underutilized. After the expansion’s August 22 release, rune sets will continue to provide the same attribute bonuses they currently do. You will be able to choose a special combat effect by adding a brand-new equipment type called a relic to its own dedicated slot.

Separating the attribute choices from the bonus effects provides better flexibility and control in build customization, and we’re excited to see the combinations that the community will come up with! This also allows us to design relics that focus on player interactivity rather than mostly passive bonuses, and this direction is more aligned with our goal for those special effects.

Core and Expansion Relics

Guild Wars 2: Secrets of the Obscure will release with forty core relics and twelve expansion relics. Core relics, which have effects inspired by many of the current rune sets, will be available to all players regardless of expansion ownership. Additional core relics will be added over time as part of our ongoing commitment to improving our core game features; our overarching goal is to offer more viable choices despite fewer overall options.

When the expansion launches, each character of level 60 or above will receive a relic chest to get you started in the new system with a choice of three core relics (exact number subject to change). Additional core relics will not be account bound and can be crafted and shared between players.

Let’s look at an example of a core relic! Please note that the effects of the relics shown may not be final.

Relic of the Zephyrite

Relic of the Zephyrite
Summon crystals that apply protection and resolution to allies after using an elite skill. Crystal duration scales with the recharge of the used skill.

If you have Guild Wars 2: Secrets of the Obscure, you’ll be able to acquire expansion relics. While these are not more powerful than core relics, expansion relics allow us to design effects that are more intricate, bold, and thrilling! They will also be closely tied to the narrative of the expansion, revealing some tidbits for those with a penchant for lore. Expansion relics can be obtained through collections, achievements, or story progression. While you can’t trade them, they are available to all characters on your account by visiting an NPC relic vendor after you’ve unlocked them.

Here’s an example of an expansion relic:

Relic of the Wizards Tower

Relic of the Wizard’s Tower
After using an elite skill, shield yourself with a projectile-reflecting barrier while summoning a wave that pulls enemies toward you.

Relics of both types will function in PvE, PvP, and WvW game modes, though some relics will have slight changes in tuning and functionality to better fit competitive environments. After Guild Wars 2: Secrets of the Obscure launches, we’ll also be adding more relics during our quarterly updates to shake up builds and give players more opportunities to express themselves on the battlefield!

Legendary Runes and Relics

We believe the introduction of relics will allow for more meaningful choices when building your characters. To accomplish this, some of the functionality of legendary runes will move to the new relic slot. While legendary runes will no longer have six-tier bonus effects, they will retain their attribute-swapping flexibility.

Legendary relics will be introduced to Guild Wars 2: Secrets of the Obscure during one of the quarterly releases in 2024. These prestigious relics will offer the convenience of freely swapping between the various relic effects. Players who have already crafted legendary runes will be compensated with significant progress toward unlocking legendary relics. In fact, each of the seven legendary runes you create will unlock further progress toward these relics. We’ll be able to share more details when we are closer to the launch of legendary relics next year.

Let the Theorycrafting Begin!

Guild Wars 2: Secrets of the Obscure will give players virtually endless new possibilities for their characters’ builds! Independent rune attributes and relic effects are just one way to expand your choices; don’t forget that each profession will also have access to additional weapon combinations. We hope you enjoyed this deep dive into the world of relics, and we’ll have more expansion info coming soon as we approach the expansion launch on August 22.