Have you ever wanted to jump into a game and experience max-level content by pressing a button? Well, now you can in Guild Wars 2 thanks to a new item that came into the game with the 2016 Spring Update.
The new Level-80 Boost is free to all existing players who’ve purchased Heart of Thorns, and will also be available to any new players who purchase the expansion. You may think, as I did at first, that this sounds like a gimmicky way to give players another way to boost themselves to 80 (abundant Tomes of Knowledge, anyone?), but the boost comes with restrictions that give players the opportunity to experience any and all max-level professions while at the same time protecting leveling content from being cheapened.
How does this work?
Firstly, the boost comes with a trial period that has no expiration date. You can take any pre-80 character and start the trial to see how that character’s class plays. One of the cool things about this is that you can start a trial on any number of under-80 alts to test out professions. The boost lives in the free shared inventory slot ArenaNet now gives players, so there’s no need to shuffle the booster around from character inventory to account bank to character inventory again.
Once the trial is activated, characters are transported to the Silverwastes, the map they are restricted to, and given a survivable build and level 80 gear (Soldier’s is the default on several classes but this is not the case for all professions). The choice of the Silverwastes is a good one, in my opinion; the map is fun, the enemies and objectives are challenging, and with enemy types that can be defeated through both DPS and condi builds, it acts as a bridge between core game and Heart of Thorns content. Players can reset their builds and experiment with a class to their hearts’ content during the trial, and can choose to stay in this trial period forever, really. The likelihood of this happening is probably low, though, unless you want to have perma-Silverwastes farm alts.
During the trial, a boosted character won’t earn XP but it will instead go towards leveling masteries. What’s more, any loot you earn while in the trial is yours to keep. Another restriction comes in the inability to earn hero points or access the Story Journal to play through the Personal Story or Living World content. Any waypoints you open before or during the trial will remain open if you choose to consume the boost on your character of choice – and it can only be consumed by one character, after which all other characters that were in a trial will be reset to their pre-trial state and the gear and build they had restored. To learn more about how this boost works, check out the video on the Level-80 Boost on the Guild Wars 2 YouTube channel.
What are the advantages?
For new or current Free to Play players who’ve been on the fence about purchasing Heart of Thorns, the Level-80 Boost is a pretty cool way to test other classes you may not have been able to – given the two-character slot restriction on F2P accounts (though additional character slots can be purchased by these accounts). Since F2P accounts are not eligible for daily login rewards, and the plenteous supply of Tomes of Knowledge these offer, this should help players choose which classes to invest their additional character slots in before purchasing more slots, if they wish.
For veteran players who choose to use the trial, you can do so to test classes you haven’t played much to get a better feel for them. This could be helpful if you’d like to find a build that matches your playstyle before (or instead of) trying to adapt to a meta build. As an alt-aholic, that’s exactly how I’ll be using this boost – to see if I can find some love for classes that haven’t quite clicked with me for whatever reason. This might also give veterans a chance to experiment further on classes they think they know well without fear of messing up builds on their existing max-level characters. And, of course, there’s also that perma-Silverwastes farmer. It’s no secret that the Silverwastes is a lucrative map so I can see many players taking advantage of this trial on a spare character slot or dusty, low level toon.
What are the disadvantages?
This all sounds pretty good, but some players might not like being limited to one map during the trial. Unfortunately, attempting to leave the Silverwastes will prompt you to consume or undo the boost – and this includes trying to leave to explore PvP or WvW. To explore further, you’ll have to consume the boost, revert to traditional leveling to explore new maps, or switch to a different character. Trial 80s also cannot earn hero points which means that even after you consume that boost, you’ll only have unlocked the core specialization traits and skill tiers. This is a good way not to cheapen the journey to unlocking elite specs, but if you were hoping to bypass leveling for that, you’re out of luck and will have to go out and acquire hero points. You also won’t be able to transmute skins onto your gear so if you were looking to experiment with some Fashion Wars 2 looks, you’ll have to purchase your window shopping elsewhere.
Overall, I’m impressed with the obvious thought that went into this. By far, I think new players will benefit the most from this boost since consuming it also rewards some cool stuff as well as making your trial gear soulbound (and also not salvageable). That alone will be a savings in gold, although, if you stick with that trial long enough, the Silverwastes may just reward you with enough loot to kit yourself into some pretty shiny legendaries (just ask GuildMag’s Aaron Heath).
What do you think of this Level-80 Boost? How will you be using it? Let us know in the comments below!