Choose My Adventure: Nightfall might end up being the superior classic Guild Wars starting experience


I was pretty sure I was going to go into Factions after last week’s Choose My Adventure, but a final surge in voting saw my Classic Guild Wars path shift direction from Prophecies to Nightfall instead. As I wrote last week, this was the campaign that was recommended as the real starting point for the MMORPG by both colleagues and readers, and it turns out that perhaps they were all right.

Of course, this did mean that I had to make a new character, which didn’t bother me too much because I was pretty well tired of being the healer for the puddle of AI huskies that my Monk was saddled with. So I figured that this time around I would try something different once more and, sight unseen, chose the Paragon class.

…which also ended up being kind of a healer.

This time around I tried to pay close attention to the class description, noting how it was supposed to be a class that leads and motivates. I assumed shouts a la Warriors in the sequel, but it turns out that my character heals people through encouragement. Apparently. Still, I was also starting out with a lot more offensive tools than the Monk, so I figured I would let it ride for a little bit to see what was going on with this class.

The Paragon as a hybrid DPS/healer was pretty much my first impression, though it certainly seemed to lean a bit more towards the latter than the former at first blush. Once I unlocked a couple of additional spear-using abilities, it certainly appeared that damage would be my primary focus, and considering the Nightfall campaign started me off with a warrior, I kind of figured the hybrid role would work out.

And for the most part it did. I have to admit to a lot of surprise when the hero character I was running with was actually doing a pretty passable job at tanking things than the doofus Warrior henchman I had in Prophecies. I don’t know whether this was a result of the AI getting better or his skillset being more focused, but by and large I was left to my own DPSing devices, tossing a heal or two his way as the situation warranted.

Augmenting the hero class were the usual henchmen, but even they were starting to provide a little bit of value – mostly because I was bringing a dedicated healer goon with me; I know that Monks are healers now, so that’s who tagged along.

I slowly started to get a little used to controlling my hero character around as well. Kind of. I eventually realized that there was a button that brought up his own hotbar, with a series of command buttons at my disposal. It was handy, but it was also mouse-clicky, which kind of forced me to slow down and stop what I was doing in terms of my own buttons to make sure this idiot was hitting the right targets. This is probably more of a result of my Mastermind-playing mindset than anything else, though. Still, it would have been nice to find a keybind to tell him to slap at the enemies I wanted before everyone else – self included – engaged.

With practice, determination, and my typical stubbornness to make this whole damned thing work, I started to better find a flow. I was comfy with the class enough to manage my rotation, I was slowly beginning to manage my team, and I was even able to take on foes that were well over my current level, pushing the envelope as far and as hard as I could until I met foes that were outpacing me in damage and their own personal healing; it took me finding some level 12 mobs to take down my level six squad to make things literally insurmountable, which I call a pretty good push of the envelope.

As for the Paragon class itself, I started to lean into the way it operated and slowly worked out a little bit of a rotation. I also learned that taking on a secondary profession was probably not going to help me too much, as I’d chosen to follow necromancy for at least one debuffing skill instead. This might have been an error overall simply because I barely touched the skill I had first selected, and when that button kind of underwhelmed (or worked weirdly; wells in this game are weird), I kind of forgot about the skill I replaced it with for the most part.

In spite of this general improvement in my overall experience, I’m still running into the problem of GW’s age. This game still controls like trash, the combat still feels incredibly wooden, and I’m ultimately still feeling like I’m playing a damned pet class, which I repeat again is something I hate.

With those complaints aside, I do think everyone was right in that Nightfall is the better starting point. The hero character is a vast improvement from the henchies, there are more tutorials going on (including one that teaches me how to command; I’ll get to that soon, but I wanted to try to learn by doing first), and my earlier stumbling points with Prophecies helped to inform my skillset and temper my expectations going in to Nightfall.

Still, I am very much done with playing the healer classes, and since I hadn’t gotten terribly deep into the weeds with this Paragon character, I feel like a re-roll will probably do me good. This leads us to this week’s poll choices.

I can now comfortably say that Monk and Paragon are not for me, and I’m also pretty sure that I don’t want to be a Ranger all that much either because bows are boring weapons. So that pretty much leaves me with a few choices left.

I’m intrigued by the Necromancer, I’d love to know what the Mesmer is like, I’m curious to see how the old Elementalist compares to the new, and then there’s the Dervish that I recall enjoying. I’ve also got Warrior on the list as well, which I have to admit I’m not relishing as a choice, but I also have to concede that it’s probably better if I do the tanking and my idiot squad backs me up. So it’s time to choose at least once more for this re-entry.

What Nightfall class should I try?

  • Warrior. Do your own tanking. (7%, 6 Votes)
  • Dervish. Scythe go swishy-swoshy. (47%, 43 Votes)
  • Elementalist. Fling spells in the classic MMO. (5%, 5 Votes)
  • Necromancer. Melt your foes (hopefully). (14%, 13 Votes)
  • Mesmer. The quintissential Guild Wars class. (26%, 24 Votes)

Total Voters: 91

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Polling will close up at its usual 1:00 p.m. EST time this Friday, January 20th. One more time. I promise that I’ll do my best to stick this out. Just one more time. I can do this. Probably.

Welcome to Choose My Adventure, the column in which you join Chris each week as he journeys through mystical lands on fantastic adventures – and you get to decide his fate. Which is good because he can often be a pretty indecisive person unless he’s ordering a burger.
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