Smudge and I finished off Act 2 of Heart of Thorns last week, and then spent a while exploring the rest of the Auric Basin. It’s a lot more accessible than Verdant Brink, so we got further faster, though we still gave out at about the 80% mark. I think there’s a few more places we can get to, but we have seen a few that are specifically gated by the high level gliding skill.
Auric Basin is also a lot less dangerous than Verdant Brink, even though some paths are ‘walk 5 yards, clear out nest of pocket raptors, walk 5 yards, clear out nest of pocket raptors…’. I’m still very happy from the other night when we got deposited on a small ledge with no apparent purpose that I realized it was a jump point to a series of updrafts that took us a fair distance on the gliders. (Usually I just trail after Smudge, who has a much better idea of where we’re going than I do.)
The centerpiece of the map is the city of Tarir, which is apparently the center of Glint’s plan to get the world through the current rise of the Elder Dragons. The story takes you there, introduces the Exalted, and finally ties off Glint’s egg (for now). Periodically, Mordremoth assaults the city, and defending against that is a meta-event that dominates the entire map. Since it revolves around getting outer defenses up and running first, it acts a bit like the Pact assault in Silverwastes, but with a timer instead of being controlled by player actions, which makes it not nearly as satisfying. (I have yet to see a ‘win’ in the defense, though Smudge has seen it a couple times.)
One of the major problems HoT is having is that the new zones are tied up in big meta events that are pure timer based, and can’t be soloed, making the zones unpopular, and driving players away…. Overall, Auric Basin is a lot easier to deal with than Verdant Brink, but any place an event is happening needs at least three people present, or it’s just not survivable.
A final thing that has been bugging me is that they keep showing fragments of introductions to the new classes and specializations in HoT. At the beginning of HoT, Rytlock makes a grand re-entrance, and is obviously a Revenant (the new class) now, and a big deal is made of his abilities. And then it’s never mentioned again. One branch of the meta-events in Auric Basin talks about the druids, and gives a bit of lore for past druids. And then it drops, with no hints of where the learning for current druids is coming from.