Today we’re happy to launch Guild Wars 2‘s Spring Quarterly Update. This update is about reducing grind, increasing rewards, and getting to the fun faster. It’s a rework of many parts of Guild Wars 2: Heart of Thorns—sort of a second take on the expansion. It’s the result of an effort we undertook across all parts of the Guild Wars 2 team to pause new development for a while and instead focus on improving the existing game.
The open-world content of Guild Wars 2: Heart of Thorns is largely built around event chains. They give players a shared purpose, but they’ve been a problem for rewards. When the best way to earn experience and map currency is to play a long event chain, you have to play the game on the game’s schedule, not your own schedule. That’s not Guild Wars. With this update, we split a lot of the rewards out of the event chains. You can drop in and drop out and still get rewarded. Then we beefed up the nonevent rewards to ensure that there are a lot of other effective ways to play the game, too.
In updating the jungle content, we focused not just on the rewards but also on the experience of playing, especially when exploring off the beaten path. We adjusted waypoints to make them uncontested and reduce downtime, tweaked balance, and improved difficulty scaling on a host of events and encounters. We made the adventures that are scattered around the jungle more accessible, removing a bunch of locks so they stay open more often and making their completion thresholds more forgiving.
Then we really beefed up the way players earn experience. We increased the experience gains from all max-level creatures by 50%, including their exploration bonus experience. We doubled the experience earned by completing silver- and gold-tier adventures. And we removed an old antibotting system that diminished rewards from all jungle maps, so now you can play the same events as much as you want and still get full rewards. This change will increase the amount of average event experience by another 30%.
We’re fixing some other issues from the Guild Wars 2: Heart of Thorns launch. We’re bringing more rewards back to dungeons, doubling the dungeon tokens from daily bonus chests, and introducing a new repeatable achievement that awards 5 gold and 150 dungeon tokens for every eight unique dungeon paths you complete. We’re also substantially reducing scribing costs—both by reducing the material requirements on recipes and by increasing the supply of key materials—so that scribing can be for everyone, not only for players with a guild supporting them.
With the Guild Wars franchise, we’ve always tried to get players to the fun quickly. And not just to the fun, but quickly to the new content too, so you can play with your friends. Yet the max-level content in Guild Wars 2: Heart of Thorns and the Living World releases is gated behind all of the base game’s leveling and equipment acquisition. That base game leveling experience is still a lot of fun, but sometimes as a player, you want to see the new stuff now while still playing through the older stuff at your own pace. With this quarterly update, we’re giving all existing and new Guild Wars 2: Heart of Thorns purchasers a max-level character boost, so you can immediately get one of your characters to the new jungle and Living World content.
This new max-level boost item will be delivered to you in a new, free shared inventory slot, which is yours to keep even after you use the character boost. Another thing I love about this boost item is that you can test it on as many different characters as you want before consuming it. So, if you haven’t already done so, now you can check out how every profession in the game plays at max level!
This quarterly update also has a lot of WvW changes, and it marks the start of live beta testing of WvW development. In March, we asked the community to choose WvW development priorities; this update includes improvements for each of the community’s top four stated priorities.
We’re launching a live beta test of World Linking—a new system for grouping worlds together for the purpose of WvW matches—to create combined worlds with larger and more balanced populations. That will start this Friday at reset time.
We’re launching a live beta test of WvW reward tracks. They’re similar to PvP reward tracks but with WvW-focused rewards, including a new WvW-specific armor set. And to make earning rewards more fair, we’re launching a new system that allows squad leaders to direct participation credit to squad members on special assignments who otherwise wouldn’t get credited.
We made some targeted skill-balance changes for WvW, including making it harder to strip stacks of stability. We’re also launching a series of improvements on the Desert borderlands. You already know that we’re working to restore the Alpine borderlands next. We’ll ship Alpine as soon as it’s ready, not in a quarterly update. What we work on after that is up to the WvW community. We’ll poll you.
In addition to all the things I’ve talked about here, this update includes a large series of improvements to Fractals and PvP, plus a full balance update for skills, a new legendary short bow, the long-awaited final tier of the legendary backpack, new daily achievements, LFG improvements, a new raid lobby, and more. It’s more than I could hope to cover in a blog post. We have thirty pages of release notes for you to read today, but better yet, come join us in the game and check out all these changes for yourself.
As you play this release, consider adding information you find to the official wiki for the benefit of the Guild Wars 2 community! You can find information about how to edit an article or generally contribute to the wiki on this page.