The weekend was the Demo weekend for the upcoming release of the next Guild Wars 2 expansion, Path of Fire. From the 11th August to 13th August, players could opt into creating a new Demo character in order to play and explore the new features in the Crystal Desert. Anyone who has a Guild Wars 2 account could participate so this was a great opportunity to see what’s to come in the next instalment to the game.

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Unfortunately, since I work weekends, I didn’t get round to playing as much of this as I would have like to, however, I didn’t want to play it to death as the progress you make during the demo is not saved to your account (hence making the demo character). At least it’ll be more exciting for me when it’s actually released!

This demo weekend did not include the trial of the new Elite Specialisations, I’ve heard that will be next weekend.

After the story instance (which I only played part of) you spawn in the Crystal Oasis. This is the first new area of five that Path of Fire will bring to Tyria. The demo did not let you explore the entire map, so there will be at least a third more of the Crystal Oasis to explore on release.

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The other four areas should be located within the red box (my prediction) due to some noticeable markings on the map. In the release video, there were shots of snowy terrain so I think there will be a new area north of Crystal Oasis.

The demo allowed you the use of the Raptor mount. A button to the right of your Elite skill will allow you to access your mount at any time while out of combat. A drop down menu will appear like with your other skills allowing you to select which mount you want to equip, but for now we can only use the Raptor.

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I found the setting of (starting movement) animation really awkward on the Raptor as it sways to the side slightly before moving forwards. I can imagine this will be annoying when trying to slowly move a bit closer to a ledge as it seems to want to go in a different direction to start with. You cannot side strafe while on your mount and jumping consumes a small amount of endurance. It also doesn’t jump as high as you might think but there are other mounts for height purposes anyway. They can also withstand a decent amount of fall damage.

The Path of Fire Mastery system will continue with the ideas from the Heart of Thorns Mastery trees. The first tree for the Crystal Desert Mastery is for the Raptor mount with four sections. I believe each mount will have it’s own mastery tree and probably a few extra trees will be added also (since HoT had so many Mastery trees to complete).

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The Mastery points are purple for the Crystal Desert and earning them is different to just communing with them like the previous ones. I’m not sure if they will all be like this, but the one I came across involved me completing a memory game with 3 rounds before awarding me with the Mastery Insight.

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Other features will include new mount races, bounties, world bosses and map events as well as other content such as crafting materials, currency and the introduction to Unidentified Gear (which can be identified by Heart Merchants or salvaged for materials). I imagine there will be plenty of new armour sets and weapons available to buy/earn/craft and there are also new character customisation options.

The human customisation features are already in game and can be used with the style and makeover kits as well as in the create character section. Most of the options can be seen below for the human female (there’s more than one page). I’m unsure whether the other races will be getting any new customisation options, but I sure do hope so!

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I’m really looking forward to the release of Path of Fire and seeing what more is to come in the Crystal Desert as well as continuing the story. If you played the demo this weekend then let me know your thoughts, and please let me know if I’ve missed anything!

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