5 Open World Maps : Shing Jea Island, Kaineng, Echovald Forest, Jade Sea, Dragon's Sanctuary
Kaineng City and Echovald Forest has 2 layers each similar to Heart of Thorns biome system. There will be some mini-dungeons ( like Font of Rhand ) hidden across the maps. Instead of Map Currencies, there will be Faction currencies. The original factions ( Luxons and Kurzicks) do not exist anymore but remnants of them exist in hiding. There is also a Tengu faction. You earn these currencies through meta events against the Imperial Faction. These events are similar to DRMs where you will have NPCs representing each faction help you but unlike DRMs, they are not instanced nor there are Challenge Motes.
There are also one open world World Boss event in Echovald Forest that requires an X number of open world faction events to be completed to start. It has a similar structure to Verdant Brink Night Cycle where there isn't a single boss but multiple bosses in different areas of the map.
Masteries - Multiple Masteries similar to HoT
Fishing - There will be small fishing villages/ports in the new maps and you have to speak to a trainer to start levelling the mastery. This mastery has some connections with the second main mastery , Sailing. Fishing has 2 main purposes. The first is gathering raw fish for Cooking. The second being trading raw fish to the village locals to hire sailors and pirates for your Crew. There are different tiers of fish with Ascended being the highest tier. The actual fishing is a type of minigame, which is like a DDR style reaction based system.
Sailing - This was originally 2 separate masteries ( one for sailing, one for upgrading your ship). But it was later combined to reduce complexity. Upgrading this mastery will improve the speed of your ship, increase the number of Crew Members you can hire, ship cannons, etc.
3 Faction masteries - Allows you entrance to respective hideouts. Access to shops with new armor sets, buffs that helps you during the Faction meta events
There is a new type of instanced solo player content called Sailing Missions, where its just you and your crew members. The objective of these missions is to salvage parts from shipwrecks, which you can use to upgrade your ship , earn mastery points, rescue shipwrecked pirates. Each crew member belongs to one of the nine professions. The main purpose of these crew members is to main the cannons and fights mobs that spawn on your deck while you steer the ship. These missions can be started from Kaineng Docks or some of the fishing ports.
Open world sailing plays a major factor in exploration also. However, you cannot use crew members in the open world. Instead you can have 4 other players in your ship. Some of the maps has large bodies of water that requires sailing ( mainly Jade Sea and Dragons Sanctuary) and there is an instanced World Boss like Dragonstorm where you fight a giant Kraken type monster that looks like the Jade Maw Fractal boss. Most of the fight involves fighting on player ships. Players can also use skimmer mount here to travel here.
Story - The major plot point which Arenanet considers a twist is the Deep Sea Dragon is an ally. She has a human form currently to hide her magic and live alongside the humans. Long ago Lyssa used her magic to create this form for her before she left, so that she could keep a low profile from Balthazaar. Peace is very important to the DSD and she didn't want Balthazaar to bring his war to Cantha. Lyssa also created illusions of "Tentacled Horrors" per the DSD'S request to keep outsiders away from Cantha. The only people aware of DSD's true nature is Kuunavang ( her champion), original Emperor Kaineng Tah and Lyssa. There is some history about how Lyssa convinced Deep Sea Dragon and Kaineng Tah to be allies and warned them about the fallout of the death of an elder dragon. That is the origin of the Dragon Empire. After Kaineng Tah's death, she stays hidden either in human form or deep under the ocean in her sanctuary.
When the Jade Sea solidified, she was frozen under. However, most of the Jade Sea is melting and she is free again. The death of Jormag and Primordius and their magic is corrupting her and one of her champions "The Kraken World Boss", which we fight in Jade Sea. Now that all the other dragons are dead, she believes Aurene isnt enough and will suffer the same fate. She is scared that she will destroy Cantha, the land she loves and will live for eternity in this form. She calls upon Aurene for help ( how the story begins), because she wants to die and end the dragon cycle once and for all. There are no DSD minions except for her champions but she has the power bend water itself. Other Major Characters - Mai Trin , Marjory, Kasmeer, Taimi, Kalidris and another Tengu. ( There is some ancestory drama with Marjory and Mai). The story also teases Lyssa for post EoD, why she was playing both sides ( helping DSD and helping Balthazaar). However, she is not actually present during the story, just mentioned and referenced.
Instanced Content - 5 strike missions - each containing a boss from the story. 2 new fractals with a storyline depicting the end of Luxons and Kurzick. A new raid is in development, we will return to the Deep and Kanaxai will make a return also. Largos are involved. The raid wont be launched with release
Elite Specs - Not much details except for it was in development hell for a while. Lot of scrapped ideas including new weapon types. Two devs who were in the elite spec team left the company, making the development cycle even more difficult. Names are still not finalized for some
Warrior - Support Spec - Melee Staff
Guardian ( Monk) - Hybrid Support and Dps. - Main Hand Focus.
Ranger ( Warden) - 2 Pets - Hammer
Thief - Unknown - Greatsword ( Temp name was Assassin)
Revenant - Unknown
Engineer ( Golemancer) - Golem mount - main hand scepter
Ele ( Spellslinger) - Main Hand Pistol
Necro - Unknown currently ( Old concept was an Apocethecary poition spec)
WvW - a rework of the entire matchup system. Essentially the announced Alliances feature but the concept has changed quite a bit. There will be guild leaderboards and guild halls will be tied to rewards heavily. A new borderland map is also in development
Spvp - New Conquest map and 20 vs 20 custom arenas testing
Other features : Full set of Gen 3 Legendaries ( including new underwater ones ) , new Guild Hall
See you guys in the comments on the 27th next month :)