A Guide to Heart of Thorns Masteries
If you’ve dabbled in the new Heart of Thorns zones, you’ve surely wondered which masteries to unlock first. There are a few ways to answer this question, so let’s get started.
The Simple Answer: Gliding
Nearly everything you’ll do in the new zones is better with gliding. You’ll be able to reach more places, travel more quickly and avoid lots of combat along the way. The difficult, confusing HoT maps suddenly become easy to navigate, scenic - even relaxing - once you’ve unlocked enough gliding masteries.
And how much is enough? Your goal should be Advanced Gliding, the rank 5 mastery. You’ll unlock some other great gliding skills along the way, but Advanced Gliding is where it all comes together into a fun, rewarding ability that you’ll miss every time you step out of the Heart of Maguuma.
A Better Answer: Six To Grab First
It’s going to take a while to gather the experience and Mastery Points to unlock Advanced Gliding. Meanwhile, there are some excellent “cheap” masteries in the other lines that make it much easier to get around.
What’s more, several of these tier 1 and 2 masteries are required (or just plain handy) to progress in the story. Here’s the recommended order for unlocking them:
- Basic Gliding. You don’t have a choice: the game forces you to unlock this mastery first. But it’s not a hardship; gliding is incredibly useful (and fun!), even in the basic version. Required for story step 3: Establishing a Foothold.
- Bouncing Mushrooms. This is the first mastery in the Itzel Lore line, and it’s another great way to making getting around easier. Bouncing Mushrooms catapult you to places that are slow or difficult to reach otherwise. Recommended for story step 5: In Their Footsteps.
- Exalted Markings. This is the first mastery in the Exalted Lore line. This mastery grants the ability to interact with Exalted devices, usually a teleporter or a door. Most of these are in Auric Basin, where they are quite useful. Required for story step 8: City of Hope.
- Updraft Use. Updrafts (Gliding 2) work as a sort of elevator to let you glide higher. Better still, updrafts refresh your endurance so you can glide farther, too. It’s a really nice enhancement to basic gliding. Required for story step 9: The Predator’s Path.
- Nuhoch Hunting. The first mastery in Nuhoch Lore causes additional loot bags to drop from the enemies you kill in HoT zones. Each bag contains between 5 and 105 zone currency. Nuhoch Hunting isn’t quite the game changer that the first 4 masteries are, but still—more shinies!
- Nuhoch Wallows. This is the second Nuhoch Lore mastery, and the final one I recommend for everyone. Wallows are present in every Heart of Maguuma zone, and teleport you instantly to another part of the zone. Zoom zoom!
The Personalized Answer: What’s Your Goal?
You’ve unlocked the basics, and Advanced Gliding is on your bucket list. But there are quite a few other HoT masteries. Which should you grab as you explore the Heart of Maguuma?
The answer: it depends on your goals. Several masteries, including some very expensive ones, have a narrowly specialized purpose. Unless they advance one of your goals, you might prefer to get something more useful first.
Here’s my take on which masteries do the most to support common goals.
Goal: Easy Travel
You’re harvesting, or just trying to run through without fighting.
We’ve already covered most of the best options for travel in the earlier answers (basic gliding, bouncing mushrooms, updrafts, wallows and of course advanced gliding). I want to highlight a couple more that I rely on for easy travel.
Blazing Speed Mushrooms. These are practically everywhere in HoT, and help in a couple ways. First they grant a 20 second speed boost. It’s a little faster than Swiftness, and even in-combat it’s about like Super Speed. Very nice! In addition, running over a mushroom removes movement conditions like cripple and chill. Best of all, you also get 20 seconds of minor Quickness, so your harvesting completes a little faster. Itzel Lore 3.
Stealth Gliding. I use this very often to avoid or evade the enemies I pass. To activate, just tap your dodge key while gliding and you’ll be stealthed for a few seconds, or until you land. Even jumping off a nearby rock and stealth gliding for a couple seconds can be enough to outrun the bad guys! Gliding 4.
Goal: Map Completion
The explorer in you wants it all: every hero challenge, mastery point, achievement - the works!
Every gliding ability you can unlock helps enormously. Lean Techniques (Gliding 3) lets you glide a little longer, or lose a little less altitude. If you are falling just short of your destination, this might be the answer.
Several hero challenges, mastery points and points of interest are covered by a fog of insta-death poison. To travel safely through these areas you’ll need the Itzel Poison Lore mastery (Itzel Lore 4). It is also quite useful during the Dragon’s Stand meta event, where being able to complete local events in poison areas will earn you achievements and mastery points.
Nuhoch Stealth Detection (Nuhoch Lore 4) is useful in a couple ways. It lets you see HoT mobs that are stealthed, so it’s fantastic for fending off those pesky snipers and bladedancers. This mastery also lets you see stealthed mobs for achievements, and Treasure Mushrooms.
The final mastery in the Gliding line, Ley Line Gliding, is very fun, and if you love gliding you’ll love it too. But it’s optional - ley lines are uncommon and most of the content reached by ley line gliding can often be bypassed with a mesmer portal.
Goal: Crafting and Collections
You want to unlock great new gear and skins.
Step one is to unlock the Itzel, Exalted, and Nuhoch vendors mastery in the matching “Lore” line: Itzel Language, Exalted Acceptance, and Nuhoch Language.
The vendors sell a variety of items for zone currency: chest keys, new stat set gear recipes, cooking recipes, zone-specific armor and weapons, minis, tonics and collection items.
For the collections that award ascended gear you’ll also need some special-purpose masteries:
- Stealth Gliding (Gliding 4)
- Nuhoch Stealth Detection (Nuhoch Lore 4)
- Exalted Gathering (Exalted Lore 5)
Magister’s, Lightbringer’s and Warmaster’s Packs
- Itzel Leadership (Itzel Lore 5)
- Exalted Purification (Exalted Lore 4)
- Nuhoch Proving (Nuhoch Lore 5)
- Exalted Acceptance (Exalted Lore 2)
- Exalted Purification (Exalted Lore 4)
- Exalted Gathering (Exalted Lore 5)
New Legendary weapons. For the new legendary weapons, you need to unlock every Heart of Thorns mastery, as well as the Legendary Crafting line from the Central Tyria track.
What About the Rest?
The remaining masteries can improve your ability to fight while in HoT maps, situationally.
Exalted Assistance (Exalted Lore 3). For some challenging fights in Auric Basin, this mastery lets you summon an NPC that stands by to revive a nearby downed player. It can be quite helpful if you are fighting near your Exalted helper, especially solo. In large fights like the Legendary Vinetooth, however, the NPC’s extremely small range means it often sits on the sidelines doing nothing.
Adrenal Mushrooms (Itzel Lore 6). Running over an adrenal mushroom instantly refreshes all your cooldowns, making all your skills available again -- fantastic! They can be found in open world and story instances, although there are many hard fights with no adrenal mushroom at hand.
Nuhoch Alchemy (Nuhoch Lore 6). Dodging clears chak goop, which can be quite helpful. Unfortunately, dodging doesn’t clear chak goop from pets and minions.
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