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Guild Wars 2 expansion Path of Fire announced and out in September

Mounts! Crystal Desert! New specialisations! Loveliness!

ArenaNet has unveiled the second expansion for Guild Wars 2, Path of Fire, due 22nd September with a free preview event next weekend open to everyone, even non-players. The expansion will be standalone so you don't need to own previous expansion Heart of Thorns nor the base Guild Wars 2 game in order to play it. Standalone, Guild Wars 2: Path of Fire is £26 with a level 80 (top level) boost.

Path of Fire introduces mounts to Guild Wars 2 for the first time and takes the story to the Crystal Desert, which has been cut off for 250 years, and where there are five open world zones, the biggest ArenaNet has made. They go up and under and are filled with lush oases, gigantic canyons and huge monsters with many heads.

Nine new specialisations are coming to the game too, one for each class/profession. These present more options not necessarily more power - a mantra for Guild Wars 2 expansions.

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The Guardian specialisation is the Firebrand, a kind of bookish caster; the Necromancer gets Scourge, a control and support playstyle; the Thief gets Deadeye, which equips you with a rifle for sharpshooting; the Mesmer gets Mirage, a close combat dodge-based affair; the Elementalist gets Weaver, allowing them to combine elements rather than choose between them; the Ranger gets Soulbeast, which lets the Ranger imbibe animal abilities; the Revenant gets Renegade, a new archery-based ranged and support playstyle; the Engineer gets Hollowsmith, a weapon-summoning style; and the Warrior gets Spellbreaker, a magic-combating build.

The new mounts are the Raptor, Springer, Skimmer and Jackal, and they all have their own movement abilities tied to Path of Fire's new Mastery skill lines. These mounts are your companions. The first one unlocked to you is the Raptor, which has a huge leap. Next is the Springer, a mutant bunny with a high jump. The Springer, meanwhile, is mantaray-like creature that can hover over water. The jackal is a magical beast that can blink forward. Puzzles and whole areas are designed around the various mounts' abilities.

The story of Path of Fire tracks power-crazed human god Balthazar who wants to kill another Elder Dragon.

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