• Guild Wars Nightfall, the third game in the award-winning Guild Wars epic, will be available worldwide on
    October 27th!
     
  • Fans can choose between the Guild Wars Nightfall Standard Edition or Collector’s Edition. The highly-coveted, limited run, Collector’s Edition will include the Guild Wars Nightfall game as well as a Making of Guild Wars Nightfall behind-the-scenes DVD, a collector’s art book, collectible skill pins, a character mini-standee, a poster-sized map of Elona, the Guild Wars Nightfall soundtrack CD, and more.

Ahai, Sunspears!

We've been working furiously to bring you Guild Wars Nightfall™, a Guild Wars® unlike any you’ve seen before! To give you the inside track on the game, we’ve put together the Guild Wars Insider, a newsletter that includes gameplay tips and tricks, the latest news, first-looks at new features, and exclusive interviews and insights from the development team.

Enjoy, and huzzah!
The Dev Team


Announcements, Exclusive Previews, and Other Guild Wars News!

JUST ANNOUNCED! Hero Battles

Nightfall™ introduces the ultimate one-on-one challenge: Hero Battles. This new PvP gameplay allows two players—and their Heroes—to compete against one another, and although this might sound like traditional Arena PvP, it’s far from it. Instead of four players, each Hero Battle team includes one player and three customized NPC Heroes. Depending on your style of play, you can take total control of these Heroes or focus on your character while letting your Heroes make their own decisions. Either way, the skills and attributes you choose form your strategy for your team.

Read the full story on Hero Battles in the Guild Wars Insider.

COMING SOON! Templates

You don't have to use Heroes to play Guild Wars Nightfall…but it helps. When you don't have the ideal team of four to eight human players, adding a few Heroes makes it easier to build the team you want. Heroes are also far more versatile than henchmen, since you can alter their attributes and skills each time you're in a town or outpost. Because they are so customizable, they do require some time to manage, and it can be tempting to endlessly experiment with different Hero builds.

The new Template feature will make it easier to save, store, and even exchange those builds. With the click of a button you'll be able to:

  • Save to Template. Save a build of skills and attributes to your computer. You can even access these files outside of the game, allowing you to transfer them from computer to computer.
  • Load from Template. Upload a build from a saved file on your computer into the game.
  • Manage Templates. Rename, delete, and move saved templates.

These templates allow you to experiment freely with Hero team builds in both roleplaying and PvP play, and help you save and manage the builds you like best. Before long, you'll have an arsenal of allies ready to help you. When we say you never fight alone in Elona, we mean it!



DevSpeak: An Exclusive Q&A with Lead Designer James Phinney

Q: Are there any Hero features that we haven't seen previewed yet?

Phinney: Yes. We were really happy with the response we saw to Heroes in the Nightfall World Preview Event, but the event, and our own testing since then, gave us some ideas for improvements. And, of course, there were a few things that weren’t quite ready to show during the event. For one thing, each Hero comes with three different armor looks that you can unlock, so players will have a chance to choose a look that they like best.

Another big addition will be "Hero Skills" NPCs, who can teach skills to you and your Heroes without requiring a skill point or any gold. You will be able to earn these Hero skills by gaining ranks in the Sunspear title and the Lightbringer title, and once learned, these skills are unlocked for your entire account. Unlike normal skill trainers, who only offer you skills that match your profession, Hero skill trainers will offer skills for every profession. We are hoping this feature will be especially helpful for new players who want to change the skills their Heroes use. (Since Heroes can use any skills that are unlocked for your account, people who’ve been playing Guild Wars for a while should already find that they have a lot of freedom to set up their Heroes any way they like.)

We’ve also worked a lot on improving Hero AI and refining the controls for Heroes. Heroes are much better now at intelligently managing their Energy to make them better for everyone, and for you control-freaks out there (you know who you are), we’ve added the ability to disable AI for an individual skill. Once you disable the AI for a skill, a Hero won’t use it unless specifically told to do so by you. This can be especially handy for skills like Traps and Spirits, which can require a little extra foresight for determining where and when to use them. You can turn the AI for each skill on and off independently during missions.

Another really big aspect of Heroes is the ability to use them in PvP. Heroes can be unlocked for use by PvP characters either by recruiting them during the roleplaying campaign (just like skills are unlocked when you learn them by playing through the roleplaying content) or by spending faction at a Priest of Balthazar. Once a Hero is unlocked for PvP, a level 20 version of that Hero becomes available for all of your PvP-only characters to use.

Q: Heroes are a big addition to the cooperative game. Are there major PvP features in Guild Wars Nightfall?

Phinney: We mean for Heroes to be a big addition to PvP as well, and are currently working on a new type of PvP called Hero Battles. We’ve tried to design a game type that's fast and furious, has tactical and strategic depth, and is fun to watch. We're extremely happy with what we’ve seen so far.

But Hero Battles aren’t the only new feature that Nightfall is bringing to Guild Wars PvP. Character templates will be a really big improvement. You’ll be able to quickly save and load whole skill/attribute/profession set-ups for you and your Heroes with this feature. As everyone who played the preview event knows, you’ll be able to change your secondary profession quickly any time you’re in an outpost.

Part of our goal was to make it so players didn’t have to delete and remake PvP characters so often, so we’re also adding a “PvP Equipment Builder.” You can use this Equipment Builder whenever you’re in an outpost with a PvP-only character and make any item you could make during PvP character creation. Unlocked a new rune at the Priest of Balthazar? You can immediately make yourself some armor with that rune in it. Want four full weapon sets? No problem.

And for everyone out there who likes to play a little GvG, we’ve upgraded Observer Mode to include recent GvG battles by your guild. We’re hoping this will really help players develop their skills in GvG…plus it’s cool to be able to watch a replay of yourself.

Q: We’ve been told about several major Nightfall features, but are there other unannounced features that players might want to know about?

Phinney: Yes. While we’ve announced some of the larger features of Nightfall, there are a lot of exciting things we haven’t showcased yet. I’ll give one big example: Guild Wars Factions™ introduced the idea of titles, and we felt they brought a lot to the game. With Nightfall, we wanted to expand on that idea. Earning ranks in some titles will now give you in-game bonuses. One example of this new type of title is the Lightbringer. When displayed, this title gives you damage reduction and extra damage against demons. There will even be some PvE-only skills you can learn that become more powerful with each rank of the Lightbringer title.

We’ll also be updating some existing titles this way. For instance, after Nightfall releases, you’ll actually have a chance of successfully removing a magic component, like a Fiery Sword Hilt, without destroying the item it’s attached to. The Wisdom title (earned by identifying items) will improve your ability to do this.

There are a lot of other touches like this that you’ll see in Nightfall. Some of them are new features. Some of them are refinements of existing features. Some are just examples of us doing a better job using the features we have. We’re always discussing our own experiences and all the feedback we see in the forums, and looking for ways to make Guild Wars more rewarding, more dynamic, and more polished. Overall, I feel really good about how Nightfall is turning out. I think the whole team feels that way.



Tips, Tricks, and Strategies to Kick Ascalon
Hero Team Builds

Nightfall introduces another style of play to the cooperative environment of Guild Wars: controlling a team of NPC Heroes. With Heroes, you get to choose skills and attributes, set waypoints in battle, and even activate specific skills in a fight. Now you don't just play one character—you control an entire team.

Whenever your character leaves town, you can bring up to three Heroes with you, and each one has a customizable set of skills and attributes. Heroes are extremely versatile, but for some, this level of customization may seem a little daunting. To show you what a Hero team build can do, we’ve built one for you. This build is a good place to start, especially for beginners.


"Doctor, Doctor!"

This RP team build coordinates three Heroes you'll find early in the game: Koss, Dunkoro, and Melonni. "Doctor, Doctor" should keep your Heroes healthy, using defensive strategies, Hex and Condition removal, and plenty of healing. We've only used skills you'll find early in the game, so you can easily create this build before you leave the island of Istan.

Koss

Koss is the first Hero you recruit in the game. He'll stand by you through everything the world can throw at you. And, with his Warrior skills, he can survive a considerable amount of damage. Spellcasters can stand behind him, while melee-oriented characters will be glad to have him at their side soaking up attacks. Choosing Monk as the secondary profession for Koss enhances his survivability.

Koss, Warrior/Monk lvl 20

Strength 11 (10+1)
Swordsmanship 12
Healing Prayers 8
Tactics 2
Protection Prayers 1

Warrior Skills: Power Attack, Sever Artery, Gash, "Watch Yourself!"
Monk Skills: Resurrect, Mend Ailment, Healing Breeze, Orison of Healing

Combining the Warrior's armor with the Monk's defensive spells, the "Whammo" is one of the most popular builds in the game. Koss should repeatedly use Sever Artery and Gash to inflict Bleeding and Deep Wound Conditions, while "Watch Yourself!" improves the armor for everyone on your team in earshot, and Healing Breeze and Orison of Healing keep everyone healthy. Should a Hero fall in battle, Koss can rez them with Resurrect. His heavy armor and high Health makes it easier for him to endure the spell's long casting time. Finally, he can use Mend Ailment to aid allies with Condition removal.


Melonni

Melonni is a Dervish, a holy warrior armed with a scythe that can hit up to three adjacent opponents in a single attack. Melonni is another front-line fighter, a Sunspear ready to stand beside Koss in battle. This version of Melonni uses skills that increase her maximum Health and replenish it quickly. Her Monk secondary skills are similar to those chosen for Koss, building a strong wall of defense.

Melonni, Dervish/Monk lvl 20

Scythe Mastery 11 (10+1)
Earth Prayers 10
Healing Prayers 10

Dervish Skills: Vital Boon, Eremite's Attack, Crippling Sweep
Monk Skills: Resurrect, Healing Breeze, Orison of Healing, Remove Hex
Optional Skill: Twin Moon Sweep/Pious Assault.

Melonni can use her scythe to attack multiple foes, and also inflict additional damage with Eremite's Attack and Crippling Sweep. Plus, she can add a Crippling Condition to enemies already hindered by Koss's Bleeding and Deep Wound attacks. Her three defensive skills—Vital Boon, Healing Breeze, and Orison of Healing—are all enhancements. This allows her to sacrifice them to use her optional attack skills: Twin Moon Sweep and Pious Assault. For additional defense, keep all three defensive skills and bring just one optional skill. Melonni adds to Koss's Condition removal with Remove Hex.


Dunkoro

Dunkoro begins the game as an effective Protection Monk, but he can be more useful and versatile when you add a second profession. The Monk/Mesmer build is an excellent (and popular) choice. While Koss and Melonni focus on small healing spells and Hex and Condition removal, Dunkoro focuses on Protection spells.

Dunkoro, Monk/Mesmer lvl 20

Divine Favor 13 (12+1)
Protection Prayers 9
Inspiration Magic 9

Monk Skills: Divine Boon, Protective Spirit, Reversal of Fortune, Mend Ailment
Mesmer Skills: Drain Enchantment, Energy Tap, Leech Signet
Optional Skill: Rebirth/Resurrect/Remove Hex

The first four skills are part of a textbook Boon Prot Monk build. To fuel his protection spells, this version of Dunkoro uses Mesmer skills that keep his Energy up, making it easier for him to cast Monk spells frequently. Rebirth uses a lot of Energy, but having two other characters who can resurrect will reduce the number of times he has to use it. For a mission that has a lot of Hexes, consider adding another copy of Remove Hex instead.


A quick word on strategy: As noted above, you'll want to adjust this build for different missions and environs. No single build solves all problems. For example, be ready to make adjustments after you see the final fights in the second and third missions. Apocrypha and the General have ways to counter this team build. Also, keep in mind that you can select a skill in a Hero Control panel when you need the Hero to use it—a useful trick when a particular Hex or Condition is bugging you.


Heroes and Pets

The more, the merrier—whenever you leave town, your character can bring along up to three Heroes. In most exploration areas and missions, you can have up to eight adventurers in your party…but there are ways to make that party even bigger. One quick way is by giving all three of your Heroes a pet!

If you've played a Ranger, you already know how to use Charm Animal to find an animal ally for your character. If you haven't, an Istani Ranger trainer in Churrhir Fields can teach you (and there's a pond of flamingos nearby you can tame!) One unusual team build for cooperative play involves choosing Ranger as the secondary profession for all of your Heroes (except the Ranger Hero, Acolyte Jin), and then adding Charm Animal to each Skill Bar. In addition to three Heroes, you'll have three pets on your team. Outside town, pets can soak up damage and draw off attacks. Whether you prefer a flock of flamingoes, a pack of wolves, or a rasher of warthogs is up to you.

If you're teaming with (or playing) a character with Necromancer skills, killing off pets in battle can also supply a few more corpses for the animation rituals of Death Magic. A Necromancer Minion Master can exploit this advantage one step further: directing a swarm of animated corpses, three Heroes, their three pets, and additional henchmen at the same time. Some say there's safety in numbers—giving pets to your Heroes offers plenty of ways to prove that point.




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