A new expansion comes with new story, new threats, new locations, and plenty more.
A screenshot from the upcoming expansion for Guild Wars 2, Secrets of the Obscure.

ArenaNet and NCSOFT just announced that a new expansion kicks off on August 22nd for Guild Wars 2. This expansion, Secrets of the Obscure, takes players to the skies above Tyria, where a new enemy has emerged from the Mists.

This expansion looks to change things up a slight bit when compared to previous Guild Wars 2 expansions. Old expansions typically had a major release with a "complete" story that you can play through. Many months later smaller "seasons" of content that bridged the gaps between the previous main story beat and the next. Secrets of the Obscure will be more episodic in nature right from the start, "with major releases planned every few months that introduce new locations and rewards as they expand the features and continue the story."

Secrets of the Obscure will still be a self-contained story at launch with additional content drops slated to continue the story with a second arc in the months following. It's kind of the same as it was but the seasons are now more closely tied to expansions and are all now considered "expansion" content.

The price is also changing a bit for Secrets of the Obscure. Expansions typically went for about $30 (USD), but this one is going for $24.99 for the base version. There are also Deluxe and Ultimate editions priced at $49.99 and $74.99 respectively that include additional content.

All pre-purchases will also get some bonus content.

Prepurchasing guarantees you the following three rewards: the Demon Hunter title, the Arcane Spellweaver’s Hat Skin, and an Eagle Eye weapon skin of your choice. Your prepurchase rewards, as well as any items associated with the expansion edition you buy, will be distributed and available in the game once you apply your Guild Wars 2: Secrets of the Obscure registration code to your account.
There will be a combat beta weekend from June 29 through July 2 where you can check out some of the new and updated combat systems coming with the expansion. The changes to combat coming with Secrets of the Obscure appear to be rather significant in nature.

Before this expansion, players could only equip each elite specialization's weapon by locking yourself into that specialization's trait line. In the expansion, you will be able mix and match elite specializations with different weapon types.

This expansion will introduce Weaponmaster Training, which turns the elite specialization weapons already associated with each profession into core proficiencies. Once you’ve unlocked Weaponmaster Training in Guild Wars 2: Secrets of the Obscure, you’ll be able to use elite specialization weapons without the corresponding trait line equipped. This will be the case even if you haven’t trained an elite specialization. That means that even if you don’t own the other expansions, you’ll be able to mix and match weapons from the elite specializations associated with them.
Weaponmaster Training also led to a few cases where new skills had to be added. Also coming at the Secrets of the Obscure launch will be a rework to Runes and the introduction of Relics. Relics will be obtainable through crafting, instanced content, reward tracks, achievements, "and more." A relic selection box will also be given to all players at the launch of the expansion.

Starting on August 22, everyone’s build will include a relic slot that becomes usable at level 60. Many of the relics that are available to players regardless of expansion ownership will cover the functionality of popular sixth-tier rune bonuses. For example, the Relic of the Trooper’s effect is identical to the previous sixth-tier Trooper rune effect: “Remove a condition from each affected ally after using a shout skill.” Other core relics have an updated effect compared to the sixth-tier rune they used to be associated with, like the Relic of the Thief: “Upon striking an enemy with a weapon skill that has a cooldown or resource cost, gain 1% strike damage for 6 seconds, up to a maximum of 5 stacks, and refresh duration of all stacks to 6 seconds.”
This expansion will also grant each class an added weapon proficiency.

  • Guardian: Pistol (main and off hand)
  • Revenant: Scepter (main hand)
  • Warrior: Staff
  • Engineer: Short bow
  • Ranger: Mace (main and off hand)
  • Thief: Axe (main hand)
  • Elementalist: Pistol (main hand)
  • Mesmer: Rifle
  • Necromancer: Sword (main and off hand)​
Of course, a game expansion wouldn't be complete if there weren't new items and unlocks to earn. ArenaNet offers a first look at some of the new rewards coming in Secrets of the Obscure.

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