Guild Wars




PvP Primer: Isle of the Nameless Training

The Guide

You've just created a brand-new PvP character and before you stands the Guide; behind him the Isle of the Nameless stretches into the horizon. The Zaishen took over this island specifically for combat training. While many use the Isle to prepare themselves for PvP endeavors, roleplaying characters may also visit here to test skills and builds. For the purpose of PvP training, the Isle serves as an excellent way to ease into competition. Here you can learn a wide range of fundamental concepts necessary to succeed in any type of PvP.

The Isle of the Nameless really just shows you the tip of the combat iceberg. Nonetheless, it gives you an excellent place to get started, where you can practice by yourself as much as you want and not worry about fighting other players. We'll have many more articles in this PvP Primer series, so rest assured you'll have PvP guidance past the Isle of the Nameless.

A squad of guards blocks your way off the starting dais, but as soon as you take the quest from the Guide, these guards will stand aside. To see what lies beyond them, hold down Ctrl and scroll your view around to see the names of everything you can attack, or hold down Alt to see the location of allies, NPCs, and objects you can interact with. Just like the dots on your compass, hostiles show up in red text while allies have green text.

*Note: On a brand new account with nothing unlocked, you start in the Isle of the Nameless. Once you've completed the Nameless Masters quest, any future PvP-only characters you create start out in the Great Temple of Balthazar. You can take any of these characters back into the Isle of the Nameless via the portal in the Great Temple.

Nameless Masters Quest

When you talk to the Guide, he offers you a quest, as well as information about movement, control, and travel. Accept the Nameless Masters quest and head down the stairs after the guards get out of your way. While this quest only mandates that you speak with three Masters, plenty more abound. If you've never done any PvP (or even if you have experience with roleplaying or a little PvP knowledge), talking to all of the Masters will reveal much about the underlying mechanics of Guild Wars combat. These mechanics pervade both the PvP and roleplaying elements you find in the game.

You may speak to any three of these Masters for the quest, though we recommend talking with all of them:

  • Master of Combat:
    He has target dummies for you to beat up. These dummies have 480 Health and armor levels ranging from 60 to 100. They'll show you how much damage you might expect to inflict upon targets in PvP. Watch how your damage output varies as you change from lower to higher armored targets.
  • Master of Area Effects:
    More target dummies, spaced by range limits to show you spell radius. Bring an area-of-effect (AoE) skill to see range differences. If you don't have any unlocked, the Tainted Ally template has Deathly Swarm, which has an "in the area" range, and the Air of Smite has Balthazar's Aura, with an adjacent range.
  • Master of Magic:
    Hexes and Enchantment information. In addition to the pink arrows of Hexing and the yellow arrows of Enchanting on the Health Bar, these effects show up as dynamic auras around a character. Approach one of the torches near the Master to see the effect. When you get near the Torch of Hexes, you'll get a pink down arrow on your Health Bar, an icon in the Effects Monitor, and a revolving dark ring around your lower torso. Enchantments show up as rotating rings of white around the center torso.

    Knowing about this could help you in large scale engagements. When some people call targets in 8v8 combat, they might look for someone without Enchantments, because this often means the character has no Monk Protection spells on them. Rather than tabbing through available targets and watching the Target Bars for the absence of a yellow arrow, a target caller may simply scan the battlefield for people without the Enchantment animation circling their bodies.

  • Master of Conditions:
    Stop by the Master of Conditions for some conditioning! He has a pack of students—some of them even dying—suffering from different Conditions. Approach the various students to study the effect of each Condition type. Watch your Health Bar, and observe how the different Conditions visually manifest. Because some Conditions look the same on an ally's Health Bar, you have no way of knowing what that Condition is unless you ask your ally or look for the animation. You won't often have time to ask questions in the heat of battle, but you can take a look for yourself.

    For example, Blindness and Crippled look the same on the Health Bar (both show up as a simple brown down-arrow). But Blindness has a distinct swirling cloud of blackness in front of a character's eyes, while Crippled makes a character limp and favor one leg. If you have Condition removal skills equipped, and you don't know what to remove, pay attention to the animation. Removing Blindness from a Monk won't do a lot to help your team, but removing Crippled from that same Monk may save his life...and yours later on.

    If you are responsible for applying Conditions to the enemy, keep an eye on the physical presence of your targets. Especially if your team has a lot of Conditions, looking at a target's Health Bar may not give you enough information about what Conditions afflict that enemy. If you need to make sure enemy Warriors stay Blind, watch the black cloud in front of their faces and recast your Blinding skill as soon as you see the cloud vanish.

  • Master of Bows:
    This master teaches elevation principles and range of bows. Of course, you'll need to have a bow, so make sure to have one equipped! When standing on higher ground, arrows you shoot have a lower arc, making it harder for your target to dodge. Additionally, you inflict more damage from above. If you play a Ranger in any kind of combat, always look for the high ground.
  • Master of Resurrection:
    Here you will learn not only about resurrection, but about life and death, and death penalties. Several resurrection shrines dot the island, so if you die from the rigors of training, don't worry; you'll pop up at a shrine with some Death Penalty (DP). For PvP, note that if you hit 60% DP, you will not resurrect at shrines, though teammates can still revive you. If you get a morale boost while dead with 60% DP, your DP goes to 45% and you'll resurrect again at the shrine.
  • Master of Blocking:
    He shows you elementary body-blocking. Watch some GvG action in observer mode, and keep your eye on the flag runners. Quite often, you'll see the opposing team swarm over him and use their bodies to block his progression to the flag stand. Knockdowns and snares (skills that slow a target's speed) often accompany this tactic.
  • Master of Items:
    Here you will find interactive PvP items such as flag, repair kit, lever, and obelisk flag stand. A flag appears in every GvG match, and most teams make sure to use it for capturing the flag stand. In fact, in an otherwise balanced match, securing a morale boost often guarantees a win.

Miscellaneous Masters around the Isle of the Nameless:

  • Master of Winds:
    Just there to get you around, with friendly casts of Windborne Speed. This Enchantment boosts your movement speed by 33%. You may see flag runners use this skill quite a bit if you observe some GvG matches. Tactically, this skill can help Monks escape danger, assist someone lagging behind on a retreat, or make the Guild Thief more mobile.
  • Master of Paths:
    Grants access to Team Trials after you complete the quest from the Guide.

After chatting with any three of the Masters (hopefully all of them), return to the Guide for the next step. The Guide then directs you to the Master of Paths for Team Trials (which we'll discuss in the next article).

Extra Training

Besides the Masters mentioned above, other Nameless Masters reside on the Isle. These consist of single enemies, confined to limited areas, with a number of skills designed to teach specific concepts. You can reach these Masters by heading to the Master of Paths and turning left. You should see the Master of Healing first. She has a number of direct healing skills and will run in circles if you attack her. She actually dodges projectiles quite well, so you can see how strafing may save you if you fall under attack from Rangers or projectile skills such as Lightning Orb.

You can use the Master of Healing and the other Nameless Masters to practice builds and evaluate their potential. For example, if you simply want to see how much damage you can do by yourself, head over and try to kill as many of the Nameless Masters as you can.

The other Nameless Masters:

  • Master of Healing: Uses plenty of self heals and runs around in a circle.
  • Master of Enchantment: Enchants herself with Protection skills.
  • Master of Axes: Attacks you with an axe.
  • Master of Hammers: Attacks and knocks you down with a hammer.
  • Master of Lightning: Attempts to kill you with Air Magic.
  • Master of Spirits: Places numerous Spirits in a small area.
  • Master of Survival: Runs in a large loop, trying to avoid you.
  • Master of Hexes: Hexes you with various Curses.
  • Master of Energy Denial: Uses different means to reduce your Energy and do damage.

Now that you know a little more about what you can find on the Isle of the Nameless, check out the next Primer article. It'll take you through the Team Trials, which let you practice 4v4 PvP arenas without ever having to fight with or against real people. If you enter the Team Trials by yourself, you'll get henchmen to fight by your side and the computer controls a full team of henchies for you to battle. Should you choose to do so, you can also get up to three other people in your party to train with in the Team Trials.