Guild Wars 2: Secrets of the Obscure is the start of a brand new saga

The End of Dragons expansion delivered exactly what it promised. Here's what's next for Guild Wars 2.


After more than 11 years, Guild Wars 2 is in a rare place and that's on the doorstep of uncharted territory. The entirety of the game's life cycle was focused on dragons. Tyria's greatest threat was dragons. Before the game was ever released and this fresh-faced writer, early into his Shacknews career, got an early hands-on preview with ArenaNet's MMORPG, the game's developers talked about dragons and how they would impact Tyria for years to come. Now, following the End of Dragons expansion, the threat of the Elder Dragons is at an end. That raises the question: What's next? Shacknews jumped into an early preview session of the upcoming Guild Wars 2: Secrets of the Obscure expansion to find out.

Players explore new skyward worlds in Guild Wars 2: Secrets of the Obscure.

Source: NCSoft

Over the years, Guild Wars 2 has gradually been taking its player base skyward. While the bulk of the action continues to take place along the continent of Tyria, the new Secrets of the Obscure expansion will feature most of its action in the skies. A guided press tour took our group through the Wizard's Tower, a new sky-bound hub world where players can now convene, check in with their weekly and daily quests (more on this later), pick up supplies, and much more. With the Wizard's Tower covering so much airspace, that means a greater focus is placed on the game's Skyscale mount.

The Skyscale mount was first released back in Season 4 of The Living World in 2019. It's the game's second flying mount, one capable of ascending and descending to different heights. In Secrets of the Obscure, the Skyscale serves as the main mode of transport across the Wizard's Tower and the surrounding Skywatch Archipelago. Players will frequently seek out leylines in the sky to pick up speed and stay airborne. Of course, players will inevitably come across danger in the Tyrian skies, which is why ArenaNet is now giving the Skyscale the ability to fight. Players can now perform fireball attacks while riding their Skyscale, which gives them a fighting chance against ground forces or incoming air threats.

While ArenaNet didn't dive too far into details regarding Secrets of the Obscure's story, the team did show off rifts, which will play a major role in the expansion. More and more rifts from the demonic Mists are starting to appear in the world, and it's up to players to seal them off before the Kryptis forces coming through can lay siege to Tyria.

The new Heart of the Obscure artifact is the main tool used to close off rifts and it levels up over time. As players upgrade the Heart of the Obscure, they'll unlock new abilities. How quickly they do so and how rare the rewards become depends on the rift tier, with higher tiers containing more difficult foes and even bosses. While solo adventurers can take on lower-tier rifts, greater threats will often require larger parties.

As noted, the Wizard's Tower will act as a new hub area, but the Wizard's Vault that lies within will have a much greater effect on Guild Wars 2 as a whole. The Wizard's Vault is meant to act as a replacement for daily login rewards and achievements. This is where players will check in for new daily, weekly, and quarterly objectives, which can be completed for the new Astral Acclaim currency. The best part of this change is that players can select whatever type of achievement they'd like to shoot for, meaning they can seek to complete tasks in either PvE, PvP, or World v. World.

Wizard's Vault rewards will change out quarterly, though if any player misses the current round of goodies, they can find them in a special legacy section of the Vault. The Wizard's Vault will open up to any character upon hitting Level 80. There's a lot to this change, so visit the Guild Wars 2 website to learn more about the Wizard's Vault.

This is just the beginning of what players can expect in Guild Wars 2: Secrets of the Obscure. ArenaNet has a full-blown story ready to unveil over time and usher its long-running MMORPG into a new era, one free of the Elder Dragons. Those who haven't played the game in a while are going to want to take some time to familiarize themselves with this new normal. Because it's so pivotal to the expansion, players will receive the Skyscale mount with Secrets of the Obscure instead of having to unlock it through the Living World. Having said that, flying with it takes some getting used to, so anyone who hopes to get anywhere in this expansion had better start practicing. The Elder Dragon-less future of Guild Wars 2 looks intriguing, and it should be interesting to see how the game's next big story takes shape. Players can check out what comes next when Guild Wars 2: Secrets of the Obscure comes to PC on Tuesday, August 22.

This preview is based on an early PC build and may not be representative of the final product.

Senior Editor

Ozzie has been playing video games since picking up his first NES controller at age 5. He has been into games ever since, only briefly stepping away during his college years. But he was pulled back in after spending years in QA circles for both THQ and Activision, mostly spending time helping to push forward the Guitar Hero series at its peak. Ozzie has become a big fan of platformers, puzzle games, shooters, and RPGs, just to name a few genres, but he’s also a huge sucker for anything with a good, compelling narrative behind it. Because what are video games if you can't enjoy a good story with a fresh Cherry Coke?

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