A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this game.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Guild Wars 2: Heart of Thorns is the first expansion to Guild Wars 2. It's a massively multiplayer online role-playing game (MMORPG) set in a fantasy world where players use combat to advance the story. As it's an expansion, players will need to own the core game, which is included when purchasing the expansion. The game requires an active connection to the Internet to play and, over time, a significant investment of time and effort to complete the massive amount of story and adventure available to explore. There's no monthly fee, but there's an online store where players can purchase convenience and costume items with real money. The expansion continues the story and adventure past level 80, the cap of players that own the original game. Though there's a profanity filter, there's still the opportunity to share personal information via forums and guild chats.
What's it about?
GUILD WARS 2: HEART OF THORNS is an expansion pack for the popular Guild Wars 2 massively multiplayer online role-playing game (MMORPG). Elder Dragon Mordremoth has been awoken deep in the Maguuma Jungle, and all are in danger as the Jungle Dragon spreads its tendrils out across Tyria. With new terrain, manufactured minions, and spreading distrust, players will be up against unimaginable odds to defeat Mordremoth and secure Tyria's future. This expansion allow you to design a character for one of the nine professions (including the newly added Revenant), developing skills over time as you level and progress through the rich story. The story is unique to your profession and choices made at character creation, allowing for many views of the overarching world story and how the different races all play their parts. Heart of Thorns brings Elite Specializations that allow for further customization of your character and new weapons that can be added to your chosen profession at level 80, which is where the story of Heart of Thorns begins.
Is it any good?
This is a feature-rich expansion aimed at adding content for the high-level characters while also providing numerous improvements to gameplay and functionality at all levels. Though having the expansion isn't required to enjoy many of the improvements, for both veteran and new players alike the additions that Heart of Thorns brings is well worth it. If you have never bought Guild Wars 2, buying the expansion does give you the Core Game. The expansion adds new allies, skills, magic, and resources to build on the rich skill-based combat system. A stunning jungle zone has been added and can be traversed on multiple layers with the addition of gliders that allow you to catch the wind to fly for a short time, which is awesome. A new profession has been added to the roster, one that channels and controls the power of the Mists. If you enjoy player-vs,-player (PvP), you will enjoy the new World vs. World zone, Desert Borderlands, and Strongholds. Guildhalls come to the Heart of Maguuma to provide a home for players to gather and progress as a Guild, which is great for the social and organized gameplay.
The additional story is very well done, and you'll be drawn in along your adventures in Tyria. The artwork and animations are phenomenal, and it's worth taking your time to explore the world, listen to the dialogue of the NPCs, or just take in the scenery. Arenanet continues its tradition of epic cut scenes that assist in relating the story and are beautifully orchestrated. The only detraction (which is also a huge plus, depending on your play style) is the sheer amount of activities you can do outside the story line. Information overload is a real possibility, but within the game you have the tools to minimize the impact. If you love immersion, stylized graphics and a huge world to play in, Heart of Thorns is well worth your time.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about personal safety while online. What should you not share online? How can you trust someone you just met online?
Talk about online etiquette and behavior. What effect does online anonymity have on people's behavior?
Discuss responsible time limits on games. Why is it important to take time for real-world activities instead of sitting at a screen all the time?
- Platforms: Mac, Windows
- Subjects: Language & Reading: reading
Social Studies: power structures
- Skills: Thinking & Reasoning: applying information, collecting data, decision-making, investigation, problem solving, solving puzzles
Self-Direction: goal-setting, identifying strengths and weaknesses, time management, work to achieve goals
Collaboration: cooperation, meeting challenges together, teamwork
- Price: $49.99
- Pricing structure: Paid (The game requires the purchase of the Expansion, which includes the core game. It can be purchased as a Standard Edition for $49.99, Deluxe for $74.99 or Ultimate for $99.99. There is not subscription fee.)
- Available online? Available online
- Developer: Arenanet
- Release date: October 23, 2015
- Genre: Massively Multi-player Online Game (MMOG)
- Topics: Magic and Fantasy, Adventures, Monsters, Ghosts, and Vampires
- ESRB rating: T for Blood, Mild Language, Use of Alcohol, Violence
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.