Guild Wars Nightfall Review (PC)

Guild Wars with its third chapter release wants to prove it’s still going strong with Nightfall, new lands and new follies challenge the people of Elona.

Exchange not just gold but other collectibles
Some quests have an “intro”

For anyone fretting whether they need previous releases for Nightfall to work, there’s no need to be concerned. Guild Wars Nightfall is a standalone expansion; you won’t be able to visit the other two previous chapters though unless you do happen to own them.

MMORPG, no monthly fees, it must be the perfect combination for so many out there wanting to taste this surreal ever-growing genre. Though you may not need to pay beyond the usual retail price tag, Guild Wars is a real contender for others out there. I entered this games universe with a prejudice; after having tasted World of Warcraft and becoming some what hooked I doubted this could really impress me. My preconceptions were very wrong; in fact I’ve seen much strength over other MMO’s.

By now if you haven’t heard of the Massive Multiplayer Online Role Playing Games genre then you’ve either been living in console land, or so utterly detest RPGs that your mind blanks your memory when one is ever mentioned.

You can obviously expect the usual character creation phase, being an online experience there is a limit to how much you can customise as otherwise server stress would engulf the planet. Still there’s enough to make your character your own, hair style, hair colour, skin tone, height and face type. This themselves are already affected by your choice of class/profession.

It wouldn’t be a true RPG after all if you couldn’t choose from an array of different roles to fill. The Dervish are holy warriors who are expert in the way of divine prayers and enchantments. The Mesmer manipulates foes energies through illusions, dominations and inspiration magic’s. Elementalists can control natural elementals for diverse sorcery. Monks can smite their opponents as well as heal themselves and their allies during battle. Necromancers deal with dark powers through death and the undead. Paragons are the leaders of Elona and their strength lies in the strength to command others. The Rangers are keen to hunt so can have a beast companion aid them in battle. The Warrior can dish out and take heavy damage with a selection of weapon masteries.

Once you have chosen your primary profession you can still take on another, this secondary profession gives you more attributes you can improve upon within that class. However you won’t be awarded the primary attribute for your second choice so a Warrior who dabbles in being a Mesmer couldn’t take advantage of their ability to cast spells faster than everyone else.

Towns offer player interactions
My new stylish gear, for level 5 anyway

So having ‘sculpted’ and named your hero it then becomes time to start your tale in Nightfall. You can have a maximum of four character slots, more becoming available should you buy and activate another chapter or visit the ingame Guild Wars store. You’re immediately teamed up with another hero (non-player character) and given the opportunity to take the tutorial, which I advise you do if new to the game.

I soon learnt exactly how Guild Wars stands unique from other MMO’s and I was pleased with the discovery. Others like World of Warcraft or Star Wars Galaxies have a giant land or lands with everyone everywhere. Guild Wars however delivers both a huge multiplayer and single player experience at its core level. Now I’ll clarify, when you enter any town or outpost you can see plenty of other real players darting about, talking, trading and accepting or completing quests. Step outside those four walls and you’ll enter explorable areas that only you are present in, each real player has basically their own ‘version’ of areas that they can tackle.

This doesn’t mean you’re all alone in the wilderness as you can recruit other players to help you out provided theirs enough room in either your or their group. The funny thing about other real players is that they are both the greatest strength and weakness to the game. Guild Wars addresses this issue as well; you don’t have to take along another real player at all as you can enlist the aid of an NPC.

Surely MMORPGs are supposed to be all about other real players? Not exactly and that’s what the developer ArenaNet has recognised within the communities, or at least done so by a surprising mistake – let’s hope for the former. Yes many RPG players love the chance to show others just how great their character has developed, what great gear and fabulous wealth they have accumulated. Not all of them though actually enjoy dealing with other players as after all they are the ultimate competitor for the gold and glory.

ArenaNet actually dubbed the Guild Wars franchise in the early stages as a CORPG, a Competitive Online Role Playing Game which is a greater, more accurate description of how the action plays out.

So what does Nightfall bring to the Guild Wars table? Well it delivers two new professions, the Dervish and Paragon as mentioned earlier. They may not be the most enticing additions but they are quite effective in combat. Mesmer mix melee with spell casting while the Paragon deals in supporting other players.

The other new feature, and which sticks out by far the most is the ability to gather the aid of heroes. These heroes are much tougher than the standard NPC recruits within a town or outpost; in fact they are very much like the player themselves for strength. Advancing through the game will see quite a number of them joining you, not just one or two have been thrown in but fourteen!

Gamers already deep in the Guild Wars experience may be ever so slightly miffed that they’ll need to effectively grind for reputation experience to gain access to higher level quests. New players sprouting from this Nightfall’s chapter therefore have a little advantage over veterans; this way certainly stops characters from completing the new content too quickly.

“Teleport” to settlements with ease
You need never travel alone

Guild Wars Nightfall is a great chapter and one that can easily be picked up and played through for beginners like myself without becoming bewildered by past game lore. Don’t be afraid to give the Land of the Golden Sun a long stay.

Top Game Moment:
Buying my first new complete set of armour, blood money pays the way people.

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By blah blah (I just got here) on Jul 31, 2008
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