I read this fantastic article by MMO Arlee about what is coming in Heart of Thorns. My first reaction was "wow, there really is a lot coming!" A lot more than it seems when you drip it out over weeks and weeks, which is why the article exists.
To recap, one of my main concerns about Heart of Thorns is a) "what will we actually be doing with all these new systems/mechanics/traits" and b) "is it different enough to be interesting?"
Arlee's post makes this really easy to get to grips with: it's the whole first section, "The Heart of Maguuma Region." Aside from Stronghold (meh) and the new Borderlands (meh) what are we going to use our masteries and specialisations for?
At the moment, based on the info we have, I'm very much thinking of Wildstar and their Path system, which when announced seemed like it would be a wealth of "content". It's quite telling that the first three links in Arlee's article are to the Youtube video of the initial announcement. We've had very little information about where were going. I've mentioned before that they might be saving the best for last because I am sure that these aspects are the meat and potatoes to the majority of players. But I am concerned that we've heard so little because, like the Wildstar Paths, the devs have put more time into other things and haven't put much flesh on the bones.
What am I really looking for from this content? To be satisfied it would have to be:
- at least three to five zones the size of the original zones
- on three levels
- with skill points, vistas, POIs (hearts make no sense because they're intended to guide levelling players and we're all 80)
- have regular, side quest-like, dynamic events
- have World boss dynamic events
- have these Adventures
- have these Quest Hubs (sorry "outposts")
What about b)? Well, the specialisations should herald a whole new playstyle for every class. Whether that will be the case remains to be seen. The Condition Damage changes should have improved build diversity but, as I understand it, they haven't. New enemies and encounters in the jungle should introduce new combat mechanics.
I don't know about you but this is all the important stuff for me. Doing the same old sh-stuff just for mastery points is not going to cut it.