It's confirmed - Heart of Thorns will be the first expansion for massively-multiplayer online fantasy game Guild Wars 2, release date to be confirmed.
The level cap hasn't gone up; instead - and in genre-bending tradition - developer ArenaNet has thought up something new. It's a Mastery system that progresses players sideways rather than upwards. Officially it gives "new training opportunities for your max level character with a system focused on evolving the core philosophy that the journey should be the goal in the game," which is all a bit hippy.
"The Mastery system adds meaningful progression without invalidating your hard-earned levels and gear." It's also referred to as "a new model for endgame progression". I'll find out more about that in an interview with ArenaNet tomorrow.
Heart of Thorns also brings new specialisations for player professions to tweak them to your liking, unlocking a new weapon, new traits, skills and unique mechanics.
There's a new player profession, the Revenant, being added to the game. It's described as heavily armoured with chaotic Mist magic.
Elsewhere there's new content across the board. There's a big new Maguuma Jungle area packed with group content, stories and bosses. Apparently you can hang glide in the jungle, which sounds like fun. The story involves the Elder Dragon Mordremoth and returning iconic series hero Rytlock.
There's a new Stronghold mode for PVP based around assaulting or defending a stronghold, and it incorporates a guild team feature in some way. There's a new Borderlands map for World vs. World battles, and there are new Guild Halls for guilds to claim and pimp.
There's an announcement trailer below.