Guild Wars 2: Heart of Thorns expansion adds new skill mechanics

How they affect the new Revenant class and more.

In opening up about the new Guild Wars 2 profession (class) the Revenant, developer ArenaNet has also revealed brand new skill mechanics coming to the wider online game.

Revenants channel legendary characters from Guild Wars history, replacing the right half of their skill bar with a thematic set of abilities.

Revenants can slot two legends - from a pool of legends - for use. Only two have been revealed so far (more on them later). The resource governing their abilities is an energy bar. It starts half-full and fills over time.

hud1
Channelling Jalis - Legendary Dwarf Stance.
hud2
Channelling Mallyx - Legendary Demon Stance.

A new mechanic tied into this is upkeep skills: skills you toggle on or off that either prevent you from recharging energy or slowly deplete it.

One Revenant example was Embrace the Darkness, a Legendary Demon Stance skill (Mallyx legend). "Summon the power of the legendary demon to transform into a powerful avatar. Increase all attributes, and copy conditions to nearby foes every few seconds," reads the game's website.

Conditions are negative effects that cause damage over time among other things. Every Legendary Demon Stance skill applies a condition, and with Embrace the Darkness you can share them.

Another upkeep skill belongs to Legendary Dwarf Stance (Jalis Ironhammer legend). Vengeful Hammer swirls hammers around you, damaging enemies who come close.

Revenant weapons are hammer, mace or axe. The two-handed hammer, inventively, is used as a ranged weapon.

A Coalescence of Ruin hammer skill has a new cascading attack "that you'll start seeing in many areas of our new specialisations [each profession will have a specialisation] as well". "It creates a cascading attack that starts at your character and extends forward over time. This specific skill's damage increases with distance."

The Field of Mists hammer skill has another new mechanic: a portable wall. "This skill creates a directional wall in front of your character, blocking incoming projectiles. Even better, it follows your character!"

wall
Your own portable wall.

With the mace and axe skills, "we're making autoattacks more interesting, with more play involved". The Manifest Toxin mace skill can chain to enemies standing behind your target but only on the third hit of the autoattack.

The Temporal Rift axe skill cuts a big red rift in a straight line in front of you that, after a short while, collapses and pulls enemies in towards it.

Non-Revenant-specific new mechanics are taunt (status effect), resistance (boon) and slow (condition).

Taunt typically doesn't affect other players, but in Guild Wars 2 it will. "When used on players, it will force the taunted player to run at their target with their skill bar locked - minus stun breakers - and only use their autoattack skill to attack."

Slow slows animations and spell casting, allowing you more time to get out of the way or interrupt them. Resistance, meanwhile, is a temporary reprieve from any conditions such as fear. But when it ends you'll go back to running in fear.

Heart of Thorns will be playable in two places in March: in the US at PAX East and in the UK at Rezzed in London.

mallyx
The Embrace the Shadows skill.

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About the author

Robert Purchese

Robert Purchese

Senior Staff Writer

Bertie is senior staff writer and Eurogamer's Poland-and-dragons correspondent. He's part of the furniture here, a friendly chair, and reports on all kinds of things, the stranger the better.

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