Check Out Guild Wars 2: Heart of Thorns at Gamescom 2015

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Greetings, Guild Wars 2 players! Once again, the ArenaNet team will be flying to Cologne in a few weeks for gamescom 2015. From August 5 to August 9, we’ll be at the largest European video-game event showing the first Guild Wars 2 expansion ever, Guild Wars 2: Heart of Thorns™. Our World Tournament Series Player vs. Player championships will also make an appearance at this year’s show, with a live tournament on the show floor pitting finalists from Europe, North America, and China in a fight for prize money and the coveted Tyrian lion trophy, “The Pride.”
As with last year, we’ll be partnering with our friends from Twitch, so you’ll be able to find us at the Twitch booth in Hall 9 in the consumer area. We’ll have game stations ready for you, as well as other activities for you to take part in. Let’s have a look.
Come and Play Guild Wars 2: Heart of Thorns

Whether you’re a seasoned Guild Wars 2 veteran or a new visitor to the world of Tyria, we would love to have you come and stop by our space! We’ll have Guild Wars 2: Heart of Thorns in its latest playable iteration available at the booth, and if you come and try the game, you might leave with some goodies that our community team will be handing over exclusively to those who play the game.
Enjoy the World Tournament Series Finals

We’ll also be celebrating the European finals of our World Tournament Series PvP tournaments on the big ESL stage. The final will take place on Saturday, August 8, and will involve four teams from different regions of the world facing off to win part of the $50,000 USD prize pool.
Starting at 10:00 a.m. CEST (UTC+2) on Saturday, you can watch all of the matches leading up to the WTS Finals on the official Guild Wars 2 Twitch channel. Stay tuned throughout the day, as we’ll also be revealing more about the future of PvP in Guild Wars 2 in between matches.
The WTS Finals will be livestreamed throughout the day by our international shoutcasting team in English, Spanish and Chinese.
For our English broadcast, join shoutcasters Jebro and Kaelaris, along with analysts Wafflewrath, ChroNick and Sputti, on the official Guild Wars 2 Twitch channel .
For Spanish, join FariFariNos and Reihn at .
For Chinese, join Ishanah and Crispeke at .
We have more details available for you on our WTS special page right here.  
Content Panels Every Day

You want to know more about Guild Wars 2: Heart of Thorns, and we know it. We’ll be running daily panels shown live through our official Guild Wars 2 Twitch channel and the official Twitch channel. We’ll cover topics such as the expansion, community discussion, and the World Tournament Series, and fear not—we’ll be recording these and making them available for viewing afterward in case you can’t make it to the live event.
Want to Be On Camera? Got You Covered!

Thanks to our partnership with Twitch, we’ll be equipping one of our booth’s PCs for streaming. We’ll stream every day from that machine to the official Guild Wars 2 Twitch channel, so you’ll have the chance to be in front of the camera and have other community members watching your gameplay live from Cologne.
Meet the ArenaNet Team

Guild Wars 2 developers and community team members from ArenaNet will be at the booth to ensure that your Guild Wars 2: Heart of Thorns experience is top-notch. Are you part of a guild that’s meeting at gamescom? Be sure to come and visit us at the booth.
We’d like to see your Guild Wars 2 cosplays and props if you have them, so feel free to bring your creative work with you so other members of the community can witness and appreciate them as well. Don’t be shy—come and say hello to us; we’re a group of friendly people, we promise!
Can’t Make It to Cologne? No Problem!

We’ll have live social-media coverage from gamescom, and our community team will be posting daily updates on our social-media channels. We’ll also have other social-media activities, including chances to win cool prizes. Keep an eye on our official channels to find out more.
In case you don’t follow us already, you can check out Guild Wars 2 on Facebook, Twitter, Google +, Flickr, Tumblr, Periscope, and Instagram.
We hope this gives you a good idea of what we’re doing at gamescom, but if you have any questions, please reach out to us through our social-media channels, and we’ll give you more details.
See you in Cologne!

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The First Beta Weekend Event Begins August 7!

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I’m excited to announce our first Beta Weekend Event will be taking place starting at noon Pacific Time (UTC-7) on Friday, August 7, and running until noon Pacific Time (UTC-7) on Monday, August 10.
These beta weekend events are an exciting opportunity for you, the player, to help shape the development process and the experience you’ll have when Guild Wars 2: Heart of Thorns™ is completed. These are real beta tests, and you have the real opportunity to help shape the expansion with your feedback.
We’re not going to show everything in the expansion in beta weekends; we want to keep a strong sense of discovery and not spoil huge parts of the story ahead of time. We’re going to test enough to help us broadly understand how everything works and also apply those lessons to the parts of the game we won’t be showing during beta weekends. For example, we’ll only ever be showing the first story chapter and parts of the first map of the expansion during beta weekends to ensure that an entire world of discovery and excitement awaits you on launch day when you venture deeper into the jungle. After all, Guild Wars 2 is the game where the journey is the goal!
BWE1—Content Experience

Players who have pre-purchased  the expansion will see a new button appear on the character creation screen that allows them to create and play a fully geared, level-80 beta character of any race for the duration of the weekend.
Players who have pre-purchased may use their beta-character slots to try our new profession, the revenant, with all five full trait lines and all four core legends, including Shiro. You’ll also be able to play with our new system that grows your character professions into new elite specializations—you’ll be able to try out the chronomancer, dragonhunter, reaper, and tempest.
Beta characters will begin by playing through a brief shared battle in the Silverwastes that leads into the expansion jungle region, followed by the intro story step of the expansion. From there, they will land in Verdant Brink, the first map of the expansion, where about 25 percent of the total playable space of that first map will be available to play. You’ll be able to train your Masteries in the jungle region as you play through the story and event content available in Verdant Brink.
Not only will you be able to take your characters to the jungle, you can take them into the existing game world as well! PvE, PvP, or WvW—feel free to try out the new profession or elite specializations on the live game with all your friends and guildies. To go along with this, we’ll be turning on our map bonus reward system for beta characters only, helping players get a feel for how we’ll keep the core game world relevant and rewarding with the release of Guild Wars 2: Heart of Thorns.
We’ll also turn on our new Stronghold PvP game mode for all players for the duration of the weekend, along with the new Mist Champion selection system.  Players who pre-purchase Guild Wars 2: Heart of Thorns will have all currently revealed Mist Champions automatically unlocked for their use throughout the weekend.
Progress earned by beta characters over the course of the weekend will be preserved between BWE1 and BWE2 so that you can continue testing where you left off.
BWE1—Feedback

So what kind of feedback are we looking for? We want your thoughts on how fun it is to play as our new profession as well as the elite specializations. Do the elite specializations feel like they are creating an entirely new role for your main profession?
The jungle content is predominantly the same content we showed to a small audience in closed beta testing earlier this year, but it’s more polished. We’ve done a lot of work to balance creature difficulty, and we’ll be looking for your thoughts on the overall experience. Do you feel the need to use your entire skill bar in battles? Does teaming up with other players feel more rewarding? Do you find yourself wanting to change your skills and traits to overcome encounters? Warning—creatures will be more challenging than in the existing Guild Wars 2 world. (Note: This is not what we meant when we said “challenging group content” at the expansion’s announcement—we’ll announce the details of that in the future.)
You’ll also find that as daytime outpost events are completed in Verdant Brink, Adventures with fully functional leaderboards and rewards will be unlocked for play. We’re looking for comments on how well Adventures help accomplish the goals we set out for them here. And finally, we’ve done a lot of work since the closed beta test to continue progressing the nighttime meta-event within the jungle-floor-biome experience. Does night feel different from the daytime? Does it change the way you play while night is active? Is the nighttime meta-event experience that we’ve shown so far engaging and fun?
We’re also looking for feedback on what it’s like to progress and earn Masteries over the course of multiple days of gameplay in the jungle, as well as how it feels to use those Mastery abilities in the area provided. Does the Mastery system feel like a system that works to provide meaningful progression? Does it make you care about experience and Mastery points? Does it provide a framework that you think we could regularly add to in live updates?
We also want  your take on how well the map reward system communicates rewards. Does it improve the experience of gathering materials if you’re working on building items that require specific crafting materials that previously had no clear place to earn them? Does it feel like it will help keep the core world we’ve built today still a place you’ll want to return to and play in, and do you feel rewarded for doing so?
Finally, we’ll also be looking for feedback on the changes we’ve made to Stronghold and the revenant since our last testing event, including the addition of weapon swap on the revenant profession and the new additional messaging for key events in Stronghold.
See You Soon!

Beta weekend events are a large milestone in the development of our expansion, and we can’t wait to play the game with you over the weekend and to continue down the path that brings Guild Wars 2: Heart of Thorns to release!
While playing this weekend, don’t forget to tune in Saturday at 10:00 a.m. CEST (1:00 a.m. Pacific Time) to our WTS Championship event, live from the show floor at gamescom. The four top PvP teams from around the world will compete for bragging rights and $50,000 in prizes. We’ll also be announcing the details of one of our Guild Wars 2: Heart of Thorns features during the course of the tournament live on stream – you won’t want to miss it! You can catch the broadcast live on the official Guild Wars 2 Twitch channel, or catch up with a recording on the official YouTube channel after the match.
We’ll see you in game.

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The Brand-New Fractals of the Mists, Legendary Backpacks, Ascended Salvaging, and More!

Hey, everyone!
With the release of Guild Wars 2: Heart of Thorns™, we’ll be making some sweeping changes to the Fractals of the Mists that I want to share with you. For those of you not familiar with the fractals, they are our 5-man dungeon content that takes parties through different places and times in Tyrian lore. This experience also increases in difficulty with each fractal scale that you complete. Our goal with these upcoming changes is to raise the challenge of the fractals on the top end and to make them more accessible to a larger group of players. In other words, we want to create an experience that is easier to get into and easier to learn but more difficult to master.
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Changes in the Mists

One of the core changes we’re making is that each fractal run will only consist of one island from a static list instead of the current rotation of three random islands with a random boss fractal. This change to “1 fractal = 1 island” means that you’ll be able to run a fractal over your lunch break but still have the flexibility of running three or four fractals in the evening with your friends just like before. It also means that there will be a lot less pressure to find a group of people who can commit to 30–60 minutes in a single sitting or over 90 minutes on longer runs.
The new static schedule will allow you to practice a given fractal and learn its challenges with your friends, removing the necessity of rerolling fractals in order to find the fractal of your choice. This will also give you common ground to share similar experiences when you’re talking about a given fractal scale with other players. The lower scales will be adjusted to help make them more approachable to players to aid them in learning the mechanics of individual fractals before they scale up and become too difficult.
The changes I’ve discussed so far are aimed at trying to help make the fractal dungeons a more approachable game mode for a wider variety of Guild Wars 2 players. But now I want to talk about how we’re introducing more goals and finding new ways to challenge our existing high-level fractal players as well. To start with, we’re raising the maximum fractal scale from 50 to 100. In addition, after scale 50, the difficulty curve will change to adjust not only the health and outgoing damage of creatures but also other stats like precision and toughness. The combination of these changes will increase the viability of different builds and give players more to think about when attempting to overcome a particular scale.
As part of our work, we’re reevaluating the current list of mistlock instabilities in the fractals. We’re looking to rework the mistlock instabilities by updating some of the old ones or replacing them with brand-new ones, focusing on making sure the ones you experience will be truly challenging as you progress deeper into the fractals. For example, an instability that converted specific conditions on an enemy to boons will be replaced with one that prevents projectiles from being reflected. We’ve also augmented this smaller list with some new instabilities to test you. And if that’s not enough, as fractal adventurers make their way to the new maximum scale of 100, they’ll find themselves in situations where they’re pitted against multiple mistlock instabilities applied to them at the same time. To help you with these changes, we’ve also cleaned up the messaging on the instabilities so that the dangers you’ll face are easier to understand.
Additionally, for players who want just a little more help, a member of Dessa’s krewe is concocting some new consumables to aid your adventures in the fractals. These items will provide benefits that will stack with your other consumables to give you the boost you’re looking for to defeat a troublesome encounter. Visit her in Dessa’s Observatory after the launch of Guild Wars 2: Heart of Thorns to see what she has available.
New Achievements and Rewards

With Guild Wars 2: Heart of Thorns, we want to expand the reward systems of the fractals, create a new, unique item to help show off one’s mastery of the fractal, and reduce some of the complexity in the daily gated rewards that we currently have. Fractal players of all skill levels will find new daily goals, new achievements, and a new legendary objective.
You’ll also find that the Fractals of the Mists now have their own tab in the Achievements panel. In this category, you’ll find the original fractal achievements along with a number of new ones that require significant group coordination or even require you to be playing at higher difficulty scales to complete. Additionally, we’ve simplified the current system of daily reward chests into a system of new daily fractal achievements that have been separated into three distinct difficulty ranges: 1–20, 21–50, and 51 and above. Completing these dailies will give players a chance at the fractal weapon skins, ascended equipment, infused rings, and more. There also will be a new daily recommended fractal achievement that will rotate to different scales each day, giving you a focal scale to find other players looking to organize for a group.
At the end of every fractal, you’ll find a lockbox in the final chest called a fractal encryption. These encryptions may give you a new Mini Professor Mew, new ascended aquatic-breather recipes, high-level crafting materials, or many other rewards. Mini Professor Mew can be combined with an ingredient found in the fractals to evolve into a full set of cat golem miniatures. If you ever find yourself with extra (or not enough) boxes at the end of a run, don’t worry; you’ll be able to trade fractal encryptions with your fellow Tyrians. This new system will give you more choices over how you want to obtain the rewards you want for your fractal runs.
For players who’ve been hunting for fractal weapon skins, we’re making a couple a changes. The first is that there will be a collection for obtaining them all, including a new reward for its completion. The second change will help address the frustration of trying to find that one particularly elusive skin you really want that won’t drop no matter how many fractal runs you attempt. Once you’ve completed fractal scale 50, the golem BUY-2046 in the Mistlock Observatory will sell you a fractal weapon crate for pristine fractal relics, which will grant you a fractal weapon skin of your choice.
Additionally, a new version of the fractal weapon skins is being created but will only be obtainable at the new, higher fractal scales. Instead of a fractal weapon crate for these weapon skins, we’re creating a new recipe in the Mystic Forge that will allow you to take any one instance of the new skin and convert it to a new weapon skin of your choice. This will help maintain the prestige of the new weapon skins but still allow you to wear them on the weapon of your choice.
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Introducing Legendary Backpacks

Guild Wars 2: Heart of Thorns players will now have the option of starting a new journey…a legendary journey. A guide will appear in Mistlock Observatory to help point players in the direction of new types of challenges, timed boss encounters, and collections of items to obtain both inside and outside of the fractals. Together with any of the armor crafting professions (armorsmith, leatherworker, or tailor), you’ll start with a simple new backpack and build it into the new precursor back item. Just like all future precursor and legendary items, this precursor will be account bound and can’t be traded—it must be earned. A new series of achievements and collections will track your progress on your quest.
The one final step of taking your precursor and transforming it into the legendary backpack is called Ad Infinitum. However, we’ll come back to discuss how that component works—and how it ties into our next steps for the Fractals of the Mists within Guild Wars 2: Heart of Thorns—in the future. For now, though, I can tell you that just like existing legendary items, players will need to collect components from all over Tyria. To craft each stage of the precursor backpack, players will need to obtain a new salvage item from ascended equipment. And that leads us to our next topic…
Ascended Salvaging!

Finally, all of you who have been saving your fractal rings or bonus gear chests from the world bosses can clean up your banks! New ascended salvage kits will be added to BUY-4373; salvaging each type of item, like gloves or weapons, will yield different results, but all will provide a chance at the new ball of dark energy salvage item that will be used for crafting new legendary items in Guild Wars 2: Heart of Thorns and beyond. Salvaging ascended rings will also grant players stabilizing matrices, a necessary component for legendary crafting. These can also be traded in for fractal encryption keys.
Bonus Subobjectives!

While we were working on all of this, our programmer Lester Bloom found the time to add in some new core functionality for achievements. In the past, we’ve created scavenger-hunt style achievements that required you to visit a number of locations, collect each of a race’s cultural armor, or find a specific number of lost coins. With Lester’s new functionality implemented, players will see a list of subobjectives for these types of achievements that will be checked off as you complete each one. This will work similarly to the new karka-hunt collection achievement released with the rebuild of Lion’s Arch. We are retroactively adding this new support to many of our existing achievements.
Final Note

Before I go, I know there are a couple things that group-content enthusiasts have been waiting to hear more about. One is fractal leaderboards. When we sat down to resolve some of the issues with fractal leaderboards that we’d discovered when we prepared to launch them in the Fractured update, it became clear that we wanted to do more to make them successful. The changes that I covered in this post are just part of our plans for fractals in Guild Wars 2: Heart of Thorns, and we’ll cover more details—including where we’re going with fractal leaderboards—in a future announcement.
The second is that—while we view fractals as our infinitely expandable, endgame version of 5-man dungeon content, and while we will be continuing to discuss fractals in future Guild Wars 2: Heart of Thorns announcements—this is not the new “challenging group content” that Colin announced on stage when he first revealed the expansion at PAX South. This is instead a way for us to continue to expand the content and rewards for fractals while simultaneously trying to make them more approachable to a wider audience in Guild Wars 2. Stay tuned for details about both the fractal leaderboards and our challenging new group-content feature for Guild Wars 2: Heart of Thorns at a future date.
Thanks for reading, and I’ll see you in the game!

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Community Showcase 4: Creative Contributions from Guild Wars 2 Players

Welcome to the community showcase, where we’ll be highlighting some of our favorite amazing projects, activities, and other fan works created by Guild Wars 2™ players from all over the world! This month’s selection includes everything from figures to crafts to costumes. Check it out below!
Deakath of Ivalysse Leatherwork created this stunning norn armor! Check out her gallery to see more of her beautiful designs.
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azureandcopper shared the awesome Scarlet Briar doll customization they’re working on. Hopefully she turns out less destructive than the original Scarlet!
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If you’re a minstrel looking for work, Musical Necromancy has created an arrangement so that your character can play the flute alongside the Crow’s Nest band in Lion’s Arch!
Hoping to expand your musical repertoire? Aikata has compiled an amazing resource on the forums! You’ll find a staggering selection of sheet music for use with your favorite in-game instruments in this thread.
Hail Grenth, Prince of Ice and Sorrow!roverthegreat brings the human god of death to…well…life with this cool costume design.
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Speaking of death and necromancy, Deity of Ragefire modelled both a sweet figure of a reaper and some excellent accessories (complete with stories for each one)!
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warlicia captured the great norn hunter and artist Eir Stegalkin in this lovely, contemplative portrait.
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Future generations will thank Lou for chronicling the journey through the Silverwastes with these detailed travelogue sketches of local flora and fauna! Please be careful around those Mordrem, Lou.
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Tayzorz shared this detailed pen sketch of a sylvari branching out on Twitter.
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Argos has created a new speed-drawing video of a golem. Watch, relax, and admire the technique!
David Oliva (GuildWarsUpdate) is starting a new World vs. World section on his channel. Want to help him get started on this game mode? Reach out to his channel and help him out! He’s also looking for fellow players to join him regularly.
We love seeing fans’ works of art, creativity, and community organization from around the world. Keep up the excellent work! Hungry for more Guild Wars 2 fan projects? Ready to show off your own? Head to the official Guild Wars 2 Tumblr and read up on the submission guidelines! You can submit your works via the Guild Wars 2 Tumblr, send us a tweet @GuildWars2, or share on the official Community Creations subforum.

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Points of Interest Summary: The Tempest

On the latest episode of Points of Interest, Game Designer Karl McLain joined host Rubi Bayer for a demonstration of the elementalist’s new elite specialization, the tempest. Tempests use warhorns and shouts to translate their elemental mastery into sound, making them effective close-range fighters who can support their allies on the front lines.
Because area-of-effect and directional abilities are such a major part of the tempest and warhorn playstyle, Karl said that proper positioning will be very important. The tempest’s overload mechanic, which allows them to supercharge their attunements for an additional effect, also requires precise timing and positioning in order to not waste the effect once it’s been activated—especially since overloading places the associated attunement on cooldown. A tempest can use the tools at their disposal—such as waves that knock foes back and cyclones that pull them into place—to get their enemies just where they want them before activating an overload effect.
Elementalists usually gain utility at the expense of innate survivability, but the tempest elite specialization brings along minor traits intended to make it easier to survive in melee by getting into combat faster and taking less damage. Tempests also make considerable use of auras to enhance themselves and their teammates. The warhorn’s ability set encourages tempests to stay near their allies—and their allies to stay near the tempest.
Karl said that the ArenaNet audio team is working on creating tempest-specific warhorn effects to replace the default sound, and he mentioned that the design team is testing break bars on players to determine where they might be fun in combat. He also clarified that unrevealed, data‑mined content and assets should never be considered finalized until they’ve been officially announced since the development teams are always iterating.
If you missed the livestream, you can check out a video recording below!

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Catch the World vs. World Desert Borderlands Invitational Live on Twitch

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Join us on Twitch on Thursday, July 30 as we celebrate our second World vs World Desert Borderlands Stress Test by pitting three community streamers against each other in the Desert Borderlands Invitational! In this event, Chemsorly, Shinryuku_ku, and Heurix, all playing locally from the ArenaNet offices, will be tasked with leading their respective teams to victory in a three-way battle in the new Guild Wars 2: Heart of Thorns™ Desert Borderlands WvW map. We’ll be streaming the action live from 3:00 p.m. Pacific Time (UTC-7) to 6:00 p.m. Pacific Time (UTC-7) on the official Guild Wars 2 Twitch channel, with ArenaNet’s own Hugh Norfolk and Jessica Boettiger hosting the event.
The Desert Borderlands Stress Test will begin at 2:00 p.m. Pacific Time (UTC-7) on July 30, and run for 24 hours. We’ve increased the number of individuals we’ll be inviting to this test by a considerable amount, so be sure to check the email account associated with your Guild Wars 2 account to see if you’ve received an invitation.
We’ll see you on the battlefield!

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A New Way to Protect Your Account

As some of you will remember, I wrote to you about account security just after the launch of Guild Wars 2. At that time, I explained how hackers were stealing accounts because of passwords reused on different sites. I asked you to use a unique password for your Guild Wars 2 account and to help spread the word to your friends and guildmates.
The stakes get higher as Guild Wars 2 continues to grow. With Guild Wars 2: Heart of Thorns™ on the horizon, more players are joining the game every day, and we need to remain vigilant to protect every player in our community.
Today I’ll review security advice, tell you about a new tool we’re providing to help keep your account secure, and ask you again to be our advocate and spread the word about account security.
A Quick Security Background

Game accounts are worth money to hackers. If they can steal one, they’ll strip it of gold and items, sell those, and then use the stripped account for botting or spamming. You don’t want that to happen to you, and neither do we.
How do they steal the accounts? They start by buying lists of hundreds of millions of possible e‑mail address and password combinations, mostly gathered through the many security breaches of websites and game platforms you may have read about in the news, and also collected from malware. Armed with these lists, and with access to many computers and Internet addresses to test from, they make constant log-in attempts to see whether anyone has created a Guild Wars 2 account using an e‑mail address and password that’s already on one of the lists.
Just finding a matching e-mail address and password generally isn’t good enough though. When the hacker tries to log in to the account, Guild Wars 2 recognizes that they’re logging in from a new location, and it sends an e-mail to the account holder to verify. But if the hacker can get someone’s Guild Wars 2 password from a list of known passwords, he can usually also get their e-mail account password from that list. Then he can just log in to the e-mail account and click through the verification email.
Using Unique Passwords

The simplest thing you can do to keep your Guild Wars 2 account secure—and all your other accounts too—is to pick a unique password for each account. Choose a password for Guild Wars 2 that you’ve never used anywhere else. And once you’ve started using it for Guild Wars 2, don’t subsequently use it elsewhere.
Over the past few years, we’ve tried to ensure that players pick unique passwords for Guild Wars 2 by building our own list of the hundreds of millions of passwords that hackers know and then not allowing new accounts to use any of those passwords. It has worked well, and Guild Wars 2 has had a pretty low incidence of account hacking since we started that.
It’s not a perfect system. One problem with forcing everyone to pick a new password for Guild Wars 2 is that a lot of people later forget those passwords. This year, hundreds of thousands of you will contact our customer-support team to ask for help recovering a password. We know it’s difficult and frustrating for you to have to contact customer support just to get back into your own account, and frankly it’s hard on us too. We do have an automated account-recovery system, but we set a high standard of proof for automated recovery, which many players returning to the game after a long absence can’t satisfy. And we can’t lower that standard of proof, because then hackers would steal accounts through automated account recovery. There has to be a better way.
Introducing SMS

There is a better way. You’re probably already used to it from other sites like Google and Yahoo!
Starting in the next couple weeks, we’re going to ask you to associate a phone number with your account. Don’t worry, we won’t spam you; we’ll use your phone number solely for the purpose of keeping your account secure.
Once you associate a phone number with your account, if someone tries to log in to your account from a new location, we’ll send an SMS to your cell phone or call your landline to verify that it’s you. And if you ever forget your password or lose access to your account, you’ll be able to ask us to send an SMS to your cell phone or call your landline to provide a code that you can use to reset your password. With one system, we can substantially improve both account security and account recovery.
SMS versus Authenticators

Some of you have already secured your accounts using traditional two-factor authentication, connecting an app like Google Authenticator to your account. In that case, you can keep using two-factor authentication and we won’t ask for your phone number.
We think SMS will be a better solution than authenticators for most people. The two solutions are almost identical for security: we challenge you whenever you log in from a new location, and you respond to the challenge either by typing a code you got from an SMS message or by typing a code you got from Google Authenticator. For account recovery, though, SMS is the clear winner. When you return to the game after not playing for a while, you’re pretty likely to still have your same phone number, but not as likely to still have Google Authenticator configured for your account.
There’s one other thing we like about SMS versus authenticators. When a hacker steals an unsecured account, it’s easy for the hacker to add an authenticator to the account, which makes it difficult for the original owner to later recover the account (we may someday have to restrict how authenticators are added to new accounts to prevent them from being abused this way). Conversely, it’s not as easy for a hacker to add a phone number to the account. We require a legitimate cell phone or landline phone number, not something like Google Voice, and we verify the phone number. Hackers don’t have an unlimited supply of cell phones and landlines they can use.
While we’re happy to be introducing SMS, and we think it offers some clear advantages over authenticators, both systems are great for account security. Choose whichever one you’re most comfortable with.
Protection from Looting

We strongly recommend that you use one of these two systems to protect your account. But for you, our long-term Guild Wars 2 players, we won’t force the issue. You’ve had your account for a while and it hasn’t been stolen. Your existing account security has stood the test of time.
The accounts that are at high risk of being stolen are newly created accounts. And in particular, the accounts at the highest risk of being stolen are newly created accounts from players who don’t know about blog posts like this and haven’t ever been given good security advice. Yet it’s our responsibility to protect them, whether they know a lot about account security or not.
As a player, the worst thing about having your account stolen is losing your gold and items. And to a hacker, that’s the primary motivation to steal an account. So, while we can’t prevent everything, at least we can try to prevent that looting.
So sometime in the coming months we’ll add a restriction to newly created accounts, preventing gold and items from being mailed off the account (thus being potentially looted off the account) until the account is first secured with either a phone number or an authenticator. We’ll let you know when we’re ready to start that, and again, this will apply only to new accounts created after that date.
Rollout

Having talked about the importance of this new phone-based security option, let’s talk about how we’ll roll it out.
We’ll start immediately, but with a staged rollout. Today we’ll offer the new option to a small number of accounts chosen at random, to help test the system. Then we’ll keep adding new accounts in waves, with the goal of completing the rollout in about two weeks. You’ll know when the option is available to you because you’ll get a prompt after login asking you to associate a phone number with your account.
To thank our players for keeping their accounts secure, we’re offering a Mini Mystical Dragon to everyone who applies either a phone number or an authenticator to their account. If you want the mini dragon today, you can of course sign up for two-factor authentication immediately. If you prefer to use phone-based security, you should have no more than two weeks to wait until it’s available for your account.
Thank you for reading this far. You’re obviously someone who takes account security seriously, and you’re more informed on the subject than most players. Please be our ambassador. Get the word out to your friends and fellow players. Help them keep their accounts secure.
Mike O’Brien

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See the Tempest on the Next Points of Interest

On this week’s Points of Interest, host Rubi Bayer will be joined by Karl McLain to demonstrate the sound and fury of the elementalist’s elite specialization, the tempest!
We’ll be hosting Reyana_ATac, Jebro, and Chemsorly, starting at 10:30 a.m. Pacific Time (UTC-7) before the show, and Rpgshack and mmoinks until 2:30 p.m. Pacific Time (UTC-7) after the show.
Points of Interest will air live on Friday, July 24 at noon Pacific Time (UTC-7) on the official Guild Wars 2 Twitch channel.

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Meet the Tempest: Elementalist’s Elite Specialization

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Welcome back, friends, for the next reveal! I’m Karl McLain, and this week we’re here to talk about the new elite specialization for the elementalist. With the coming of fierce enemies and Elder Dragons, you’ll reach deep into the elements in order to harness some of the most pure and dangerous aspects of natural magic and even infuse them into sound. Guild Wars 2: Heart of Thorns™ will see the dawn of the tempest, a close-range specialization capable of blasting out damage and support as they charge into the fight against evil.
Pushing the Limit

While the elementalist has mastered the elements of fire, water, air, and earth, the tempest looks to extend the boundaries. With the design of this elite specialization, we’re aiming to add a more direct frontline support option that rewards precise positioning and the ability to turn a fight with sound decision making and deft blows.
Remaining attuned to an element for a period of time will now allow you the option to overload that attunement for a short while. Once you’ve attained a singularity with the attunement, you can reactivate it to perform a special channeled ability. These abilities are so chaotic and draining that they exhaust your current attunement, locking you out of it for a period of time should you move to another element. Before you ask, yes, the Fresh Air trait will refresh your exhausted air attunement and allow you to overload it much sooner.
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Harness the Elements!

Each attunement will obtain its own overload ability, and here’s how they’ll work:

  • Overload Fire: Allow flames to leak out from your essence, building an infernal tornado over time that continuously damages and burns enemies while granting allies might. Successfully completing the ability leaves the tornado at your current location for a period of time.
  • Overload Water: Pull water into an aquatic bubble around you as you regenerate and cleanse conditions from yourself and nearby allies. At the end of the ability, your water bubble pops to give a larger heal to nearby allies.
  • Overload Air: Become a conduit of electricity, creating a nimbus cloud above you that repeatedly strikes nearby enemies, rending their armor. Successfully completing this ability leaves a lightning field at your location that strikes enemies in its vicinity.
  • Overload Earth: Rend the earth, bend it to your will, and take a ride on it, granting protection to nearby allies and crippling enemies. When you return to earth, deliver a tremendous immobilizing blast.
The Sound of Power

Specializing as a tempest will allow you to use eight new abilities as you wield their newest weapon—the warhorn. These abilities will assist in helping you both support your allies and create disruptive areas for enemies. While in water attunement, you’ll be able to unleash a moving water field that heals allies. Air attunement’s cyclone will pull enemies to a point, while its lightning orb will fire projectiles at all enemies within its path. Along with these and other skills, using a warhorn will also unlock the elementalist’s latent potential to share boons and extend their durations among allies.
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Let Your Voice Be Heard!

With newfound abilities in audio mastery, you’ll gain the ability to use shout skills as utilities. Here’s the list of healing, utility, and elite skills you’ll have access to as a tempest:
    Healing:</p>
  • “Wash the Pain Away!”: Heal allies, and cleanse conditions from them. This healing skill is a bit more unique, as it heals allies for the same amount that you are healed for outside of the initial healing when activating the skill.
    Utility:</p>
  • “Feel the Burn!”: Sear your voice into the ground and cause continually growing flames to emit from that location.
  • “Eye of the Storm!”: Call the storm down on yourself and nearby allies, breaking stun on anyone affected and granting them superspeed for a time.
  • “Aftershock!”: Emanate a powerful earthen force around yourself, crippling enemies. After a short delay, an aftershock ripples forth, immobilizing enemies in its wake.
  • “Flash Freeze!”: Command the air around your foes to cool and harden, damaging and chilling your foes for a period of time.
    Elite:</p>
  • “Rebound!”: This is the only arcane aspect available to the tempest. Using this arcane shout will affect allies in the area around you, causing the next ability they use to have a 25% reduced recharge.
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Bolstering the Tempest

The elite specialization’s traits will have multiple options to promote defense, support, and overloading your attunements. Let’s delve a little into the tempest’s minor traits and a couple of major traits you’ll see.
  • Minor Trait One—Singularity: This minor trait unlocks the ability to overload your attunements. You’ll see multiple traits that beef up your overload abilities, such as Unstable Conduit, which grants an aura specific to your attunement when you successfully complete an overload ability.
  • Minor Trait Two—Speedy Conduit: You’ll gain swiftness while overloading an attunement, allowing you to move more easily around the battlefield. You can enhance this movement by equipping the Lucid Singularity trait, which cleanses and then reduces the duration of incoming inhibiting conditions by 100%.
  • Minor Trait Three—Hardy Conduit: Gain protection when beginning an overload ability. In order to use these channeling skills for damage and support, you’ll occasionally need to soak up a little extra damage yourself. If you so choose, this trait can be bolstered by a specific major trait in the line called Earthen Proxy. The effects of protection on you will be increased from 33% to 40% damage reduction.
Elementalists, you are called upon to unleash the inferno, drive the uncontrollable torrents, rain hell and lightning upon your foes, and harness the earth and ride it into victory. The tempest cannot be stopped; your enemies cannot endure. Press forward!

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Points of Interest Summary: Shiro and Golem Rush

On the latest episode of the Points of Interest livestream, host Rubi Bayer was joined by Game Designer Roy Cronacher to discuss Shiro, the revenant’s final core legend in Guild Wars 2: Heart of Thorns™.
Shiro Tagachi’s legend hearkens back to the Factions® campaign for the original Guild Wars®. He was once the trusted bodyguard of Canthan Emperor Angsiyan, but an agent of the fallen god Abaddon twisted him, convincing him that Angsiyan planned to have him killed at a Harvest Festival ceremony. Shiro murdered his master during the ceremony, and he was slain in turn; his death scream released the Jade Wind, a powerful magical force that petrified vast areas of Cantha. His attempt to return to power made him the main villain of Factions, and he returned once more in the Nightfall® campaign as one of Abaddon’s generals. Shiro is causing significantly less trouble these days than he did 250 years ago, but revenants can now channel his power in battle for a highly mobile, assassin-like playstyle.
Roy said that the development team has been closely watching the feedback from tests, which has resulted in many changes to the revenant. Among the most impactful of those changes is that revenants now have the ability to swap weapons in combat. Since each of the revenant’s weapon choices is focused on a particular style of play, Roy said that it felt awkward to lock players into just one. With weapon swapping, revenants can freely choose the weapons that suit each of their two active legends.
Playing a revenant also felt a bit slow and underpowered in previous tests, so cast times on some abilities have been reduced. Several weapon skills in the axe and mace sets have also had their condition output increased. Roy said that damage output in beta tests might be low because the most important part of testing is making sure the profession plays well; raw numbers can always be adjusted later. He also confirmed that underwater weapons are in development for the revenant.
Roy followed the livestream with a forum post detailing the changes coming to the revenant profession. You can read it here!
Joshua Davis was on next to talk about the ongoing Golem Rush event in World vs. World, and he compared it to a previous special event called Sneak Attack, which had been intended to test a permanent change to WvW mechanics. He reassured viewers that Golem Rush is not a test of eternal golem supremacy but rather is part of a new type of event created to spice up the game mode temporarily. Josh encouraged players who have ideas for future events to post them on the forums.
If you missed the livestream, you can watch a recording below!

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