Expansions, short for expansion packs, are paid content upgrades for Guild Wars 2. They introduce new content exclusive to them, including story chapters, explorable zones, masteries, mounts, elite specializations, raids, and strike missions. They can be purchased as standalone products without needing to own the previous installments to activate the latest release. The stories are not standalone, however, and all Guild Wars 2 story releases follow one continuous narrative.
Purchase of expansions also provides access to the current Living World season content, through which further story releases, zones, and other content are periodically added to the game. Living World seasons are not included with the purchase of an expansion. An episode is automatically unlocked for free if the player logs in during the release of the episode and becomes purchasable when the next episode is released. Previous Living World episodes (excluding the free Season 1) can be purchased for play at any time through the Gem Store.
List of expansions
This is a list of all major releases: the core game, expansions and Living World seasons, ordered by their respective release dates as well as the story order. The first three expansions are referred to as "Elder Dragons Saga".
- Guild Wars 2 — the core game, released August 28, 2012. Free-to-play since August 29, 2015.
- Guild Wars 2: Heart of Thorns — first expansion pack, released October 23, 2015. Included for free with Path of Fire purchases since August 30, 2019.
- Living World Season 3 — began July 26, 2016, concluded on July 25, 2017.
- Guild Wars 2: Path of Fire — second expansion pack, released September 22, 2017.
- Guild Wars 2: End of Dragons — third expansion pack, released February 28, 2022.
- Guild Wars 2: Secrets of the Obscure — fourth expansion pack, released August 22, 2023.
- Untitled Fifth Expansion — future fifth expansion pack, announced on August 22, 2023. Slated for release in 2024.
Rather than launching an expansion every two to four years with a season of Living World in between as was the case with the first three expansions, from the fourth expansion onward ArenaNet will be releasing smaller Guild Wars 2 expansions more frequently at a slightly reduced price as well as additional related post-expansion content for free through quarterly updates. Unlike a Living World release, all owners of the related expansion will gain access to its post-expansion content, meaning there is no pressure to log in to unlock it and no gem cost for missed story chapter unlocks.
The first release in an expansion cycle is the launch point for a new story arc, bringing with it two new open-world zones, two Strike Missions, new gameplay and combat features, new Masteries, and new rewards. Following quarterly updates will add another open-world zone, additional story chapters, challenge modes for the Strike Missions, a new fractal dungeon and challenge mode, new rewards, additions to the new systems introduced in that expansion for players who have purchased said expansion, and—depending on the release plan for that expansion—new gameplay and combat features. Once that expansion's story is complete, the cycle for the next expansion will begin, following the aforementioned pattern. Beginning with the Guild Wars 2: Secrets of the Obscure expansion, there will be new content updates every three to four months following an expansion release. Alongside these expansion content updates, ArenaNet will be beefing up support for the core game so they can iterate and improve on Guild Wars 2, even while releasing new expansion content on a more consistent schedule.
- Living World — for the seasonal downloadable content.
- Release — for the complete list of game updates.
- Gem store account upgrades:
- Gem store character upgrades:
- ^ Guild Wars 2 Elder Dragon Saga Expansion Sale, GuildWars2.com
- ^ ArenaNet Studio Update: The Future of Guild Wars 2, GuildWars2.com
- ^ a b Studio Update: Guild Wars 2 in 2023, GuildWars2.com
- ^ a b Studio Update: Spring 2023, GuildWars2.com
- ^ Guild Wars 2: Secrets of the Obscure Launches Today, GuildWars2.com