In light of all the recent information and reveals for upcoming Guild Wars 2, I thought it would be appropriate to dedicate this month’s MMO Co-Opportunities volume to the first Guild Wars. I won’t lie to you, fellow co-opians; Guild Wars has a near and dear place to my heart. Much of that is attributed to extremely strong team play where you have to trust your teammates implicitly and not question their judgment because frankly, you’re too busy focusing on your own role to nit-pick theirs.
There are two (often overlapping) communities in Guild Wars: PvE players and PvP players. Since we focus on co-op here, I’ll solely be focusing on PvE aspects of the game for this article. I really saw no other choice but to honor two extremely unique systems/concepts in Guild Wars: builds and synergy.
Let me back up a moment to make sure we’re all on the same page here. Guild Wars has 10 professions: 6 core (meaning they come with any of the campaigns) and 2 additional professions for each the Factions campaign and Nightfall campaign (to play the classes associated with the 2nd and 3rd campaigns you must own said campaign). When you create a character, you’re selecting that character’s primary profession for forever. All of the professions are available, however, as a secondary profession. These you can unlock and swap in town whenever you feel like playing a different secondary class. The secondary profession you have chosen at the moment allows you access to all skills of your primary and secondary profession, but some of the skills of your secondary profession may be weaker due to lack of access to the secondary’s primary attribute (only primary professions have access to a special primary attribute) or certain bonuses to attributes you’re allowed on gear of your primary class.
So you have your primary and secondary class. Now what? In Guild Wars, you only get 8 skills at any given time. 8 doesn’t seem like a whole lot, but let me assure you that this limit on skills and the associated system is perhaps the most defining part of the game. You have free range to choose whatever 8 skills you have access to at the time based on what skills you’ve unlocked, and you can change these skills whenever you’re in a town. In time you may have hundreds of skills to choose from across multiple secondary classes. How on earth do you choose which of these skills you should use as the 8 you’re allowed? The answer is synergy and builds (this time, we’re talking about it on a personal level).
Synergy refers to the ability for skills you have equipped to work well with each other. It’s a rather loose term. One example of synergy may be using skill Devastating Hammer (knocks target down and inflicts weakness) followed by Heavy Blow (if used on a target suffering weakness, target is knocked down and you strike for additional damage). A slightly different concept of synergy may be using skill Enervating Charge (inflicts weakness) after using Blinding Flash (inflicts blind) to use weakness to “cover” your more important blind when you feel you might be in a situation where your inflicted conditions may be removed (when removing conditions one by one, the most recent one applied to a target must be removed before the ones buried underneath).