.comment-link {margin-left:.6em;}

Games. Tech. Musings.

Games offline and online. Technology. Random stuff.

Friday, March 31, 2006

Guild Wars: Trapper's Guide

Just saw this (old) Guide to Traps on the Servants of Fortuna (SoF) site. Useful stuff, especially if your ranger skills are as bad as mine.

Thursday, March 30, 2006

Guild Wars: Best PvE equipment in PvP

SURGEON GENERAL’S WARNING: Grinding due to this post may cause serious and possibly permanent brain damage.

Right now, some equipment obtainable in PvE is better than the equipment created on a PvP character. Here's a definitive listing of the equipment by OrangeArrow over at GWGuru. I should note that I'm accepting donations of the relevant monk and necro equipment...

Technically, the PvP equipment is supposed to be the best available. However, usually the PvP equipment power level lags a bit behind the best PvE equipment. Even if none of the PvE equipment was better, you can still gain a small advantage by playing a fully tricked-out PvE character instead of a PvP character because of the extra flexibility. This will be even more apparent when Factions is released. One of the new Factions armour sets available across professions gives +Health, which will probably be valuable against spike teams although sub-optimal elsewhere. A PvE character can carry both the normal set and the +Health set and switch out depending on the opposition.

GWOnline and linking policies

Today I got a polite PM from one of the GWOnline forum moderators asking to post (or for me to post) the PvP Beginner's Guide I wrote on their forums. Here's my reply:
I did consider posting it on GWO but to be honest the reasons I didn't were that I would have to {a} reformat it to use forum format code, {b} not use any links to other relevant articles I or others have written and {c} maintain a separate copy when I update the article. {a} is just a chore, {b} is a significant problem especially considering I need to add a "further reading" link section and {c} means I'm doing any updates N times where N are the number of sites I posted the article (probably about 4 if I did the same elsewhere).

Somewhat on-topic, I personally think the GWO linking policy is wrong. A lot of value on the Internet comes from linking useful information so the no-link policy strikes me as being more interested in GWO's own ad revenue than fostering discussion and knowledge sharing in the playerbase.
Here's their stated reasons for not linking other sites. The relevant quote is:
We do not intend to serve as a linking service or a search engine to other sites. Links that wouldn't be allowed anywhere on the forums (including signatures, and location) would be to links to sites (commercial OR personal) that have:
Sites offering similar or the same content as GWOnline.Net. It has taken many 'man' hours to compile the sites' content and as such our commitment to the promotion of that content is total. Neither do we allow visitors to use our forum membership as a means to build their own sites from, using our Private Messaging system to recruit writers and/or their content or membership drives for their own forums.

I'm not sure that my site does offer the same content as GWOnline in any event, but it seems that most of the site admins take the rule as meaning simply "don't link" - otherwise, the polite PM would have said "by the way, we linked your article in that thread over there".

This is a tricky one. Do I sigh and obey their wacky link policy? What about GWGuru and the Guild Hall? I'm sure more people would see the content if I did repost there. GWOnline does have a lot of members albeit a terrible signal/noise ratio. At the end of the day, giving people some information to help them was the point of writing the article.

It's not clear to me, I'll have to think about it.

In general, as I said in my reply to the forum moderator, I think these kind of linking policies (incoming or outgoing) are misguided. BoingBoing sums it up pretty nicely.

Monday, March 27, 2006

Guild Wars: My preview weekend

As I expected, I didn't get to play as much of the Preview Weekend as I might have liked due to family visits, sickness, etc. However, I did get to play a few hours of the Alliance Battle format so I can talk about that a bit.

So, for those who didn't play, here's how the format works as presented in the preview weekend.
  • In summary: Battlefield meets Guild Wars.
  • Each team has 12 players but you can only enter with a team of (max) 4, like Team Arena.
  • Also like Team Arena, if you enter on your own or with less than 4 you'll get randomly paired up with other players.
  • Resurrection is fast like kill-count Arena so bringing resurrection skills isn't necessary.
  • Each team is from opposing Factions, i.e. Luxon or Kurzick. The map consists of a bunch of control points.
  • Capturing a control point gives you something useful (e.g. a Resurrection Orb) and spawns defending NPCs including a newbie-pleasing dragon on some maps.
  • The benefits gained by capturing a point and the NPCs spawned depend on what type of point it is.
  • You capture a control point by having more people on your side within range (the range is the aggro circle) of the point for a short period of time.
  • Capturing is faster with more people.
  • Having control of the capture points gives your team score and the first team to a score of 500 wins.
  • Winning maps for your Faction gives you personally Faction points and (eventually) moves the Faction control boundaries in your Faction's favour.
  • The maps are balanced so that if your Faction is winning a lot, it gets harder and harder for you to win.

Alright, so that's how it works. My experience was that (a) the lag was pretty horrendous (apparently this is normal for a "free" weekend event) and (b) the random team arrangement made for a sea of less experienced players much like Random Arenas. Despite this, it was the only format I played during my time in the preview weekend because I was having an absolute ton of fun. I was playing with guildmates so we had a pretty coordinated squad. Most of the opponents didn't really seem to understand the format well and so I think it ended up that I ended up with about 8 wins and 1 loss over the weekend. It's unclear to me how much of that was due to our team having a guild group vs. generally stronger players on the Kurzick's side at the time we were playing.

If you think of the format and immediately imagine huge concentrated damage because of 12 people on a team, you're wrong. While it's possible to group up your team into a huge ball and roll around capturing single points, you will lose quickly to a smart team that splits up into 3-man or 4-man capture squads which can grab points quickly. This is what ended up happening in the majority of rounds I played - we had a couple of Alpha players who knew the maps reasonably well and could avoid the bulk of their team in favour of capping points on the side while quickly demolishing opposing stragglers. Capturing the Resurrection points is absolutely vital too since otherwise players on your team that die will have to spend 30 seconds running out of the base back to the action. Anyway, here's the team we were using:
  • Charge warrior - very useful to provide mobility from cap point to point.
  • Blinding Flash turret - excellent against the masses of Assassins and Warriors.
  • Minion master with Verata's Aura - the number of corpses available is very high since combat is nearly continuous and there are a lot of NPCs that die easily so amassing a sizeable horde of minions is quick. Verata's Aura is currently somewhat bugged but still necessary to grab or re-grab control of minions.
  • Boonprot with Aegis and extra e-management - Aegis is normally too expensive to run on this build but it was borderline abusive with the current format since (a) a lot of players can be within radar range and (b) there were a ton of melee characters with people trying out Assassins.

I played the Flash guy and the monk over the weekend. It was much harder playing the monk because of the lag. Kinda fun playing the RoF-Guardian-kite game with 6 people all trying to kill you personally though, especially since you know you're winning the game by doing it. If 6 of their players are occupied essentially doing nothing but trying to kill you for even 20 seconds, your team should have grabbed an extra point in that time which is much more valuable than your life. Ensign had a similar verdict on the format being fun at the end of the weekend, I noticed.

Alright. So what was broken? Clearly the implementation was unfinished. I'm told that the party window having 12 players is not the final version - eventually you'll have a separate window for your squad of 4. I don't know whether you'll be able to see the other 2 squads in party windows. This feature was part of what was making party-wide enchantments like Aegis and Order of Pain fairly obscene so it'll be nice to have that fixed. I think the strength of minion masters will be addressed without balance changes simply because both teams will have to compete on corpse resources or lose. The other major problem was that players on a team that was starting to lose would ragequit. Struck me as rather sad since the best game I played was one that started very badly but we managed to come back to a 502-495 victory. There's some debate on the best way of fixing that issue and I think it's a topic worth discussing on its own. The other thing was that it was unclear to me how group formation will work in the final version. It's called Alliance Battles - does that mean that you will have a team based on your guild alliance only? Or the current Team Arena-style groupings? Or both, i.e. random battle areas like the preview as well as a more organized alliance area? I'd really like to know the answer to that so I'll keep my eyes peeled for any announcements.

Meanwhile, I'll try to find out what else happened over the preview weekend since I only got to play one corner of the game.

Guild Wars: Crag arena guide

There's a great guide by Silmor to the Crag arena (that's the kill-count lava one) over at Team-iQ. Insightful and recommended.

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Guild Wars: Factions cinematic trailer available

It's prerendered, not gameplay. Some nice artwork in there!


Guild Wars: Factions Preview Weekend details, part 3

Lots of details released today on the Game Update page. Choice tidbits for the too-lazy-to-click:
  • An alliance is a collection of guilds, led by the guild leader that created the alliance. Each guild that isn't in a larger alliance is considered an alliance of one. (During this Factions Preview Event, forming alliances is not supported, so each guild is its own alliance.)
  • The alliance leader may talk to a Kurzick or Luxon Ambassador, located in the Kurzick or Luxon capital, to choose a side for his or her alliance. Doing so costs 500 gold.
  • Once an alliance has chosen a side, alliance members may talk to the Kurzick Scribe in House zu Heltzer (for Kurzick alliances) or Luxon Scribe in Cavalon (for Luxon alliances) to spend the appropriate faction to raise the standing of their Alliance. This is the only way for an alliance to gain standing and have an opportunity to be granted control of a territory.
  • # The on-going war between the Luxons and the Kurzicks is most directly manifested in the form of Alliance Battles, which support 12 players (3 parties of 4 players each) per side.
  • To join an Alliance Battle simply talk to the Kurzick Kommandant in House zu Heltzer or the Luxon Navigator in Cavalon.
  • Every three hours, the nation that has won more Alliance Battles moves the battle lines and takes territory away from the opposing nation.
  • There are several potential Alliance Battle maps. Map layouts vary, but all the maps have the same goal: be the first side to reach 500 points. Points are gained by controlling strategic locations on the map and by killing enemies. Only one map is active at a time, depending on where the current battle lines are located. As the battle shifts deeper into Luxon or Kurzick territory, the Alliance Battles are biased to favor the losing side.
  • Control of territories is granted to the alliances with the highest standing. The best territories -- the ones closest to the capital city -- go to those with the very highest standing.

Very exciting stuff. But we get some actual game engine updates too!
Guild Wars Factions uses DirectX 9 if available for video rendering. Guild Wars will still continue to run on systems that have only DirectX 8 installed, but the new Factions content will look much better if DirectX 9 is available.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Guild Wars: Playing Energy Denial

Solid article on playing an energy denial character (usually a Mesmer but sometimes a Ranger) over at GWGuru by Warskull. I'd already got a few hours in of the currently in-fashion Energy Surge mesmer. He lists a sample build which I'd tweak slightly:
10+1 Fast Casting
10+4 Dom
11+1 Inspiration

Energy Burn
Energy Surge
Signet of Weariness
Leech Signet / Blackout
Mind Wrack
Drain Enchantment
Mantra of Inscriptions
Rez Sig
The listed build uses Signet of Humility. I've played with it but either Leech or Blackout seem better.

Last night I ended up facing one of these guys (the Blackout version) as a boonprot. Twice, since Team Arena wasn't very busy. Man, I'm out of practice - I guess that's what happens when you play offense for a few weeks. Anyway, if you're more interested in defending against energy denial than playing it, you definitely need to read Ensign's excellent article on the subject.

Guild Wars: Voice chat in development

According to the translation of a French interview with Jeff Strain over at jeuxvideo.com, in-game voice chat is currently in development.

Thanks go to Cérilia over at GWOnline for the translation.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Guild Wars: Factions Preview Weekend details, part 2

More details in an official announcement. One key point:
Your guild must choose a faction—Luxon or Kurzick.
Start your wrangling engines, ladies and gentlemen.

Also, apparently I was misinformed - the preview weekend starts this Friday for everyone. Pre-order customers get into the actual release a day early.

For me personally, my parents will be visiting from England over the weekend, so it's unclear how much I'll get to play if at all. Therefore, apologies in advance if my coverage of the event is less than 100%.

Monday, March 20, 2006

Guild Wars: Factions Preview Weekend details

Gaile showed up at 2am Sunday to give us some more details on the upcoming GW: Factions preview weekend. The preview starts Thursday for pre-order customers and Friday for everyone else. Here are the choice quotes:
4 high-level missions
Two are competitive and two are story missions.
Now, those competitive missions are interesting.
You start out with your alliance, click start mission and get sorted into a team.
You are on a large map with strategic objectives, for instances, getting control of resources.
Anyway, you toodle along, working on the objectives while at the same time another team is doing the same.
You may or may not see them, may or may not engage them.
The primary opponent is the NPC's like monsters, etc. and their end is your fastest way to complete the mission.
But there is another element there, which will make it quite interesting.

More than a dozen quest areas for you to visit and try out this weekend.

The story missions are called: Eternal Grove and Gyala Hatchery
Competitive Missions are called Ft. Aspenwood and Jade Quarry.

Oh, did I mention you will start your Factions characters at level 20?
When you enter the FPE, you will be invited to make a Factions char.
And that char will be at Level 20 with about 20 skills.
You will find an NPC who will offer you a choice of secondary and with that you will get 20 more skills.

PvP characters can join the Battle Isles or take part in an Alliance Battle.
Big news: Alliance Battles are 12 v 12.
That's 3 groups of 4 players each, so sort of squad-ish, you see?
Although that could be en masse, too, if you wish.

Credit for the screencaps go to the Boat Crew.

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Magic the Gathering: Multiplayer considered harmful

Zvi Mowshowitz's column this week pretty much summed up how I personally feel about multiplayer Magic. In this context, multiplayer means Magic with more than 2 sides - the most common variant is free-for-all. It's totally broken from a game design point of view and doesn't work. Most players that like multiplayer formats lack the insight or competitive spirit to notice.

In particular, the thing I dislike most is that you are normally rewarded politically from appearing really dull and/or inoffensive right up to the point where you kill everyone. Last time my kill method of choice was Telim'Tor's Darts, mostly because it is a terrible, terrible card with incredibly appropriate flavour text.

If you're interested in competitive Magic, I highly recommend Zvi's column because he remains one of the most insightful Magic writers.

Game: Fl0w

Stylish protozoan disposable game action. Via GameSetWatch and Jay Is Games.

I'd be very surprised if this game wasn't inspired by Will Wright's presentation on Spore last year. Nevertheless, definitely worth a look. I found it compelling for the brief time it lasted.

Guild Wars: Zerg Rush revisited

Was just going through some GW videos I have and noticed something amusing in the Zerg Rush video. If you haven't seen it, it's pretty funny. It was illustrating an exploit of Grenth's Balance to gank the enemy Guild Lord. Since the Lord has so much Health, Balance did an amazing amount of damage to it - back then, there was no damage cap on either Balance or the amount of damage the Lord could take. Anyway. The party list (resorted) reads:
  • Watch For Decoys
  • Turn Back Now
  • Stay At Your Base
  • We're Ganking You
  • He Really Means It
  • If You Can Read This
  • It's Too Late Now
  • Gee Gee Nubsauce
Hadn't noticed that detail before. Full marks and a tip of the hat.

Monday, March 13, 2006

Guild Wars: Factions preview weekend and preorders

According to Gaile, you'll be able to get into the preview weekend previously mentioned here a day early if you have the preorder box.

Guild Wars: Factions party wrapup

Final wrapup of the Factions party. Here's a list of the writeups from various attendees:

Friday, March 10, 2006

Guild Wars: Factions Collectors Edition contents

Just posted: the contents for the Collectors Edition of GW: Factions.

I might be tempted, if only for the extra music key.

Guild Wars: Factions skills for Prophecies professions

Firstly, a disclaimer. I asked Gaile whether it was ok to post these and she said yes, as long as I don't add the actual numbers on effect/recharge/etc since they're pretty much guaranteed to change before release. Therefore this won't give you an idea of whether the skills are actually good or not but it will give you the flavour. I don't have all the skills but I do have a bunch of them.



Lightning Hammer - Target foe is struck for {some} lightning damage. Lightning Hammer has {%} armour penetration.


Bed of Coals - Create a Bed of Coals at your location. For {duration 1} seconds, foes standing still near this location are struck for {some} damage each second. Any foe knocked down on the Bed of Coals is set on fire for {duration 2} seconds.


Second Wind {Elite} - You gain {some} Energy for each point of Energy lost due to Exhaustion. This spell causes Exhaustion.

Glyph of Essence - For {duration} seconds, your next Spell casts instantly but causes you to lose all Energy.



Psychic Instability {Elite} - For {duration} seconds, any time target foe is interrupted, that foe is knocked down.

Signet of Destruction - If target foe is casting a Spell, the Spell is interrupted and that foe suffers {some} damage. If that Foe is Hexed, Signet of Disruption can interrupt any non-Spell skills.

Unnatural Signet - Target foe takes {some} damage. If that foe was a Spirit, this Signet recharges {much} faster than normal.

Fast Casting

Power Return - If target foe is casting a Spell, that Spell is interrupted and target foe gains {some} Energy.

Expel Hexes {Elite} - Remove up to 2 Hexes from target ally.


Lyssa's Balance - If you have fewer Enchantments than target foe, that foe loses one Enchantment.


Auspicious Incantation - For seconds, the next Spell you use is disabled for an additional and you gain Energy equal to {some}% of that spell's Energy cost. Auspicious Incantation has an additional recharge time equal to that spell's Energy cost.

Lyssa's Aura {Elite} - For {duration} seconds, whenever you are the target of an enemy Spell, you steal up to {some} Energy from the caster.


Recurring Insecurity {Elite} - For {duration 1} seconds, target foe suffers from {some} Health degeneration. If that foe is Hexed again, Recurring Insecurity is renewed for seconds.

Shared Burden {Elite} - For {duration} seconds, target foe and all nearby foes move {a lot} slower.


Divine Favour

Blessed Light {Elite} - Heal target ally for {some} Health and remove one Condition and one Hex.

Boon Signet {Elite} - Heal target ally for {some} Health. For each Enchantment on that ally, you gain {a little} Energy (maximum {some} Energy).

Healing Prayers

Ethereal Light - Target ally is healed for {some} Health. This spell is easily interrupted.

Healing Whisper - Target other ally is healed for {some} Health. This spell has half the normal range.

Healing Light {Elite} - Heal target ally for {some} Health. If your target has an Enchantment, you gain {a little} Energy.

Protection Prayers

Air of Enchantment {Elite} - For {duration} seconds, Enchantments cast on target other ally cost {some} less Energy.

Spirit Bond - For {duration} seconds, whenever target ally takes more than {amount} damage from a single attack or Spell, that ally is healed for {some} Health.

Smiting Prayers

Spear of Light - Spear of Light flies toward target foe and deals {some} damage if it hits. Spear of Light deals {more} damage if it hits an attacking foe.

Word of Censure {Elite} - Target foe takes {some} holy damage. If your target was below {%} health, Word of Censure takes {a duration} additional seconds to recharge.


Blood Magic

Blood Bond - For {duration} seconds, target ally gains +{some} Health regeneration and you suffer -{some} Health degeneration.

Cultist's Fervor {Elite} - For {some} seconds, your spells cost -{several} Energy to cast, but you sacrifice {%} Health each time you cast a Spell.

Jaundiced Gaze - Sacrifice {%} Health. If target foe has more Health than you, you steal up to {amount} Health. Otherwise, you deal {some} damage.


Gaze of Contempt - If target foe has more than {%} Health, that foe loses all Enchantments.

Order of Apostasy {Elite} - For {duration} seconds, whenever a party member hits a foe, that foe loses one Enchantment. For each Monk Enchantment removed, you lose {%} Health.

Reckless Haste - For {duration}, target foe and all adjacent foes are Hexed with Reckless Haste. While Hexed, they attack {%} faster, but have a {different %} chance to miss with attacks.

Well of Weariness - Exploit target corpse to create a Well of Weariness for {duration} seconds. Enemies within the Well of Weariness suffer -{amount} Energy degeneration.

Death Magic

Animate Vampiric Horror - Exploit nearest corpse to animate a {level} Vampiric Horror. Whenever a Vampiric Horror you control deals damage, you gain the same amount of Health.

Taste of Pain - If target foe is below {%} Health, you gain {amount} Health.

Soul Reaping

There were 2 Elite Soul Reaping skills (woo!) but I'm not sure what they do.


Beast Mastery

Bestial Mauling - Your animal companion attempts a Bestial Mauling that deals +{some} damage. If the attack strikes a knocked-down foe, that foe is interrupted and Dazed for {duration} seconds.

Enraged Lunge {Elite} - Your animal companion attempts an Enraged Lunge that deals +{some} damage (maximum bonus {more}) for each recharging Beast Mastery skill.

Heal as One {Elite} - If you or your animal companion are below {%} Health, you both gain {some} Health.

Pounce - Your animal companion's next attack is a Pounce that deals +{some} damage. If the attack strikes a moving foe, that foe is knocked down.


Glass Arrows {Elite} - For {duration} seconds, your arrows strike for +{some} damage if they hit and cause Bleeding for {duration 2} seconds if they are Blocked.

Trapper's Focus {Elite} - For {duration} seconds, your trap skills are not easily interruptible.


Focused Shot - If Focused Shot hits, you strike for +{some} damage but all of your other attack skills are disabled for {duration} seconds.

Melandru's Shot {Elite} - If Melandru's Shot hits, you deal +{some} damage. If it hits an enchanted foe, you gain +{some} Energy.

Alright, that's what I've got. Some really interesting mechanics and if the numbers work out to be favourable there's some potentially very powerful skills there.

Guild Wars: Factions prerelease party report

Time for the writeup I promised.

After I got to the party, I met up with guildmate St0nkingByte, signed the usual yes-you-can-take-embarrassing-pictures release and waited for an entry pass from Gaile. The actual pass itself was pretty, featuring the Assassin concept art you've probably already seen by now. I'll add a picture of the pass here a bit later.

The party was being held in the Sci-Fi museum, next to the Experience Music Project in the Seattle Centre. I've been round the Sci-Fi museum several times - I even playtested a puzzle game for my wife there last weekend - so the actual museum wasn't a real draw for me. After picking up passes, we headed upstairs. They had a set of 8 computers with Izzy & co. flitting around setting up Ventrilo, an mostly open bar (beer/wine/nonalcohol were free but spirits cost $) and a stage for Hell's Belles, the all-female AC-DC tribute band who were due to show up later. They had a buffet which looked pretty good but, to be honest, I was geeking out so much I didn't even realise I forgot to eat till this morning. Since I was driving home, I stayed off the booze all evening.

After a bit of mingling, I found Mike Selinker, an ex-Wizards of the Coast game designer and friend of mine. That's the guy who was going to give me the invite even if I hadn't won the contest. Anyway, it turns out Mike Gill, a friend of his from Wizards, is running their event. Small world, I guess. We had a spare Mike as well in that group just in case the 3 of us weren't enough.

I was summoned away from the quadruple Mike-ing to go downstairs with the rest of the GW players and guests. Mike Gill was organising this bit and split us into two arbitrary groups of about 10 people each. Next up he revealed the special format for the demo games for the evening.

Team Sealed Guild Wars.

If they'd sat down and tried to come up with a format that would make me happier, they might have done a little better but not by much. Anyway, we had a giant pile of cards, 200 in total, 25 for each of the 8 professions. There was only 1 of each skill in the pool and I think the other team didn't have any of the skills we did. From that pile of skills, we had to come up with a 4-man team. We were allowed to add as many Resurrection Signets as we wanted. I've played a fair amount but not an excessive amount of Team Arena and had a pretty good idea what to do - as a bonus, I've also played enough Magic: the Gathering to make it to a Pro Tour at one point so I was all about this format. Here's an example of one of the cards:
The only slight snag is that we had a group of 10 people who didn't know each other and 15 minutes to sort out the cards and make the builds. On top of that, not only was it including the Factions professions that people weren't familiar with, it had a whole bunch of the new skills from Factions that noone had ever seen before. Coming up with the optimal build in the time allowed was a pretty tall order but we gave it our best shot.

We agreed early on that our plan would be 2x damage, 1x disruption and 1x healing. We picked Warrior, Assassin, N/Me and Monk/Me as our professions. I ended up making the Assassin build, mainly because noone else wanted to. I approached making the build pretty much the same way as I do it for Magic. Here's how I did it.
Yeah, I'm the guy there who's going bald as we speak. Firstly, I split the 25 skills into attribute piles. Then I divided the piles into great, ok and unplayable. I had enough skills to go straight Assassin, so I didn't need to dip into another profession. The best skill there was clearly the borderline-abusive Temple Strike so I decided that the Assassin would go for a caster hate build. Here's the build I ended up making (if you're not familiar with the Assassin skills, here's a link to them).
Disrupting Stab (Lead attack) (If this attack hits, it interrupts target foe's action. If that action was a Spell, it is disabled for 3-9 seconds.)
Dancing Daggers (Lead attack) (Send out three Dancing Daggers at target foe. Each striking for 5-17 earth damage if they hit. Dancing Daggers has half the normal range.)
Mantis Sting (Lead attack) (If Mantis Sting hits, target foe takes +5-17 damage. If this attack strikes a fleeing foe, that foe is Crippled for 3-13 seconds.)
Temple Strike {Elite} (Off-hand attack) (If this attack hits, target foe is interrupted, Dazed and Blinded for 1-7 second(s).)
Horns of the Ox (Dual attack) (If it hits, Horns of the Ox strikes for +5-13 damage. If struck foe is not adjacent to any allies, that foe is knocked down.)
Scorpion Wire (For 8-18 seconds, the next time you and target foe are more than 100' apart, you teleport to that foe and that foe is knocked down. This spell has half the normal range.)
Signet of Malice (For each condition suffered by target foe, you lose one condition.)
Resurrection Signet

I think this is ok, although apparently Scorpion Wire wasn't as good as I had previously read and perhaps I should have dipped into Shadow Arts for a better anti-kiting skill.

Builds arranged, we headed upstairs to play the characters. Turns out I was kinda right since it was 4v4 GvG for the evening - sadly, Izzy told me later that it was a temporary hack and 4v4 GvG won't be coming out anytime soon. Alas. All the gameplay was projected onto a giant screen behind the stage.

I ended up playing the Necromancer/Mesmer for the first round, which I was very happy about since it's one of my favourite profession combinations. Here's the N/Me build:
Crippling Anguish
Conjure Phantasm
Enfeebling Blood
Strip Enchantment
Shivers of Dread (this was the same as Spinal Shivers, apparently it's still a placeholder)
Resurrection Signet
The Warrior was running W/R:
Apply Poison
Tiger Stance (For {some} seconds, you attack {somewhat} faster. Tiger Stance ends if any of your attacks fail to hit.)
Power Attack
Signet of Strength - (Your next {several} attacks deal {more} damage.)
Triple Chop {Elite} - this was a better version of Cyclone Axe
Penetrating Chop
Resurrection Signet

I didn't see the Monk build, so I don't know what skills he had. We had Ventrilo, but quickly realised that due to noise in the room and crackly sound quality it wasn't going to be very useful. Anyway, time to play! Seconds out, ROUND ONE!
I quickly scanned the opposition. Hmm, 3 casters and an Assassin. Their Assassin was about as lethal as a one-legged kitten a few seconds into the round, groaning under a massive hex stack and so I started to degen/strip the rest of their team. Meanwhile, our Assassin was going to town with Temple Strike. With 3 casters on the other team he was having a ball. Savage beatings ensued and the Flawless Victory came up somewhere round the 1:30 mark - I'm not even sure they managed to get off a Resurrection Signet at all.

I switched out to let St0nking play the Necro and other players rotated too. ROUND TWO!

More savage beatings ensued. I'm told that apparently their Ele hardly cast a spell that round due to some unfortunate dagger-related issues. Flawless victory came up again around the 1:30 mark. Turns out that the Assassin was running a +Daze duration weapon which I'm sure wasn't helping their casting a whole lot.

Whew. Next up I was back in the chair for some PvE. This was an escort mission where we had to keep 5 oh-so-cute baby turtles alive. Luckily, we had 3 giant turtles to help us. With cannons. Apparently the turtles aren't super smart though so we had to carry around smoke canisters to mark a siege target for the turtles. This was not an easy mission. I'm not sure anyone managed to make it the whole evening. There were a lot of bad guys, even more than in Thunderhead Keep. One of them was called a Juggernaut, a big tree-like thingy featuring the world's longest knockdown. I think it knocked you down so hard that the duration was mostly due to you digging yourself out of the ground. If it got close up to the big siege turtles it could flip them over and they couldn't fire. Adding to the confusion was that right after the mission began, Hell's Belles fired up at full, ear-shattering volume.

Squint right and you can see my character listed in the party window there. After our ignominious defeat near the end of the mission, I grabbed Izzy and headed downstairs out of the noise. We chatted for quite a while about GW and Magic. Here's some tidbits:
  • Guild Storage is definitely in the works. It will be a reward of some kind that you have to win or buy for the guild (unclear what at this point).
  • PvP Character Editing or similar won't be coming out before Chapter 3. Izzy was about as sad about this as I was as I'm sure he's created about a trillion PvP characters at this point.
  • The Sealed event we were playing was a test to see how limited-pool GW would work. Personally, I think it made a kick-ass fun event but the communication overhead between players would make it too difficult to do online. You'd have to segment the pool somewhat - e.g. have the 4 players on the team pick their professions and then get their sealed "unlock pool" from those professions. There's a whole load of abuse stuff to work out too or people would drop if their skill pool wasn't good enough. Much to think about there and I'm sure I'll ramble about it later.
  • The Alliance Battles (12v12) are actually comprised of 6 4 player teams.
  • Players are generally really bad at assessing skill power, yes, even the top guilds. So don't feel bad if you didn't notice that, say, Crippling Shot was good before everyone started playing it.

I also talked to Gaile a bit. Another tidbit there was that the pets available in Factions will include a Siberian tiger and panda bears.

Both Gaile and Izzy were just as great as their reputations suggest - for that matter, all the ArenaNet people were very friendly and nice.

They also showed a Factions video after Hell's Belles finished but sadly I was too busy talking to people and missed it. Apparently it'll be up on the web in a week or two.

There are threads with posts from people who also went to the event up at GWOnline and GWGuru.

One last thing: I managed to score a ton of the sealed cards and so I have a lot of information on the skills for the existing professions in Factions. I have so much info, in fact, that I'll make it a separate post. Stay tuned for exciting skill details!

Thanks go to Stonking for most of the above pictures.

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Guild Wars: Factions release date

I'm back from the Factions party. I have an awful lot of stuff to type up - suffice it to say for now that it was a lot of fun.

I'll leave you tonight with a couple of snippets. The Factions release date will be April 28th (it'll be announced officially tomorrow).

And here's a picture (courtesy of St0nking Byte, guildmate and photographer for the evening) of a contested area on the map screen in Factions.

Update: sure enough they announced the release date in a press release today.

Guild Wars: Monk energy management

Great post by Wheel over at GWGuru on Monk energy management. This was previously a no-brainer - Offering of Blood was head-and-shoulders above the other options. Now that OoB has a 20% health sacrifice, other spells start looking more appealing. Worth looking at if you're into PvP build designing.

I suspect the number of monks running Energy Drain will be high enough that enchantments will take a beating from the accompanying casts of Drain Enchantment. EDrain is looking very appealing right now.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Guild Wars: Factions equipment screenshots

There's a bunch of pics of the new armour in Factions over at IGN today. Also this quote:
The Factions Pre-Order package also includes Spiritbinder, a limited-edition weapon that Ritualists can use when they commune with the spirit world.

11-22 Damage (Req. 9 Communing)
+10 Energy
Halves casting time of spells (Chance: 10%)
Halves recharge time of spells (Chance: 10%)
+5 Energy
Shiny. I think I'm going to play a Ri/R when Factions comes out.

Monday, March 06, 2006

Guild Wars: Factions prerelease party snafu

This morning, I said to my friend "sure, you can bring me as a guest". This afternoon, I get an email from Gaile saying something along the lines of "Congrats! You're a backstage pass winner!".

Easy to resolve, of course. Still, we are amused.

Guild Wars: Factions prerelease party

Looks like I might be able to go to the Factions prerelease party this Thursday, regardless of the results of the contest I previously wrote about. Yay for knowing way too many game devs in Seattle, I guess. Hopefully it'll be interesting.

Friday, March 03, 2006

Guild Wars: Skill rebalance started

First skill changes are up. Previously, one of the ArenaNet people (Gaile, I think) had suggested that it might take a few days for all the changes.

Initial impressions:
  • Gale was rightfully nerfed, both via raising cost to 10 and fixing the exhaustion exploit.
  • Order of the Vampire won't stack with Order of Pain any more. That will hurt ranger spike teams.
  • Holy Veil's recharge nerf to 12s means that other point hex removal may have to be used.
  • The whole Elementalist Fire line got buffed a fair amount. Predictable since now it's harder to exploit area-of-effect skills in PvE. We'll see if it's now worthwhile.
  • Mend Ailment going to 5s recharge hurts it but it should still be viable.
  • Significant boost to warrior-hate hexes via the hex helm nerfing and a fix of a bug that meant that attack speed hexes weren't working at full power.
  • As I previously posted, IWAY was nerfed. Hopefully it will no longer have the raw power that was making it the most common build in Heroes' Ascent.
  • Eviscerate was previously the best Axe skill. I'm no Warrior expert so I'm not sure if that's still the case or not - adren cost is now 8.
  • Crippling Shot was nerfed so now its cost is 15 and duration scales with Marksmanship. May have been a little zealous on the nerfage there - we'll see. Certainly was too good previously, though.
  • All the damaging pet attacks were buffed. Not sure that that'll make a difference, to be honest - the pet AI is pretty weak.
  • Offering of Blood's sacrifice now at 20% means you'll actually feel it. Should still be usable though.
  • Distortion's breakpoints got moved. Shouldn't be quite so easy to splash with just 4 points of Illusion.

Thursday, March 02, 2006

Guild Wars: Upcoming skill rebalance

According to Gaile Gray, the skill rebalance will start within 24 hours. Sounds like IWAY (I Will Avenge You) will be hit with the nerf bat for starters.

Credit for the screencaps goes to Malhavoc Adhamar at GWOnline, as per usual.

Guild Wars: More Factions details revealed

Another day, another interview, this time at the German site mmog-welten. Here's the key quotes.
What is the structure of an alliance going to be like? Will there be certain lead players or guilds?
An alliance takes on the name/emblem of its lead guild. Indeed, technically any guild not in an alliance is an alliance of one. The leader of the lead guild is the alliance leader. He can invite new guilds and kick out guilds that in the alliance. Guild leaders of member guilds can withdraw their guild from the alliance.

What kind of faction rewards will players or guilds receive in the new PvP areas?
The biggest reward is the control of a city because controlling a city gives you access to the elite missions. That is the biggest reward for having high faction.
There will be four new guildhalls available in Factions. These are available to all guilds, and access to them does not require participation in Alliance Battles or Competitive Missions.
In addition, guilds will be able to buy services for their guild halls, including:
Xunlai Agent
Dye Trader
Crafting Material Trader
Rare Material Trader
Rune Trader
Scroll Trader
Skill Trainer
Priest of Balthazar
You choose a faction by doing work for that faction, either the Kurzicks or the Luxons. As you do things for them you build up faction with that side. I think faction is a kind of favor, a measurement of favor and the more faction you build up with the one side, the less you get on the other. And at some point they will say hey you have been doing a great job you really worked hard do you want to join our side and you dont have to but you can.
If you change your mind and do it the other way and work for the other side, you are gonna have the difficulty because the other side doesn´t like you very much but you can do it.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Guild Wars: PvP Beginner's Guide

Who this guide is for

This guide is intended for Guild Wars players who have Ascended at least one character in the PvE portion of the game.
Preferably, you've made it past all the storyline missions and unlocked almost all the skills for at least 2 professions. You may have played a little bit of Arena and got beaten senseless. I'm going to assume you have enough clue to look up what a skill does if you don't know.

If you just bought Guild Wars and were hoping to be able to jump right into PvP as soon as you open the box, you're going to be disappointed. Go play the PvE part of the game to get the hang of it. Don't bother doing missions with only xp rewards, concentrate on skill unlocking.

Update: while you can now buy "PvP editions", I wouldn't recommend it for a beginning player. Instead, I'd buy Nightfall and then buy either the PvP editions or the combination editions for the previous chapters if you like the game.


If you're not used to the tons of jargon which comes with any MMO-type game and will certainly show up in this guide, you may want to consult a glossary. Additional common terms you may see in-game not featured in that glossary:
  • HA - Heroes' Ascent
  • Kiting - running from an attacker (so they follow like you're flying a kite)

PvE characters

You may well have been thinking that you were going to play that same PvE character you've been playing for the last zillion hours. Don't. For this reason, always keep 1 character slot for PvP characters.

There's some cases where PvE characters will be better than a PvP character you created inside 5 minutes. However, it's normally going to involve a horrendous amount of grinding to get there. The result will usually be that the advantage you gained will be lost in the next month or two when the items in question are rebalanced.

Update: After the introduction of armour insignias in Nightfall, this is even more true.

Types of PvP

The "high-end" of PvP is Guild vs. Guild and to a lesser extent, Heroes' Ascent, both of which are 8v8. You won't be ready for those for a while. Concentrate on building up your skills as a player first. It's much better to learn to walk before you run.

There are 5 areas of "low-end" PvP, all of which are 4v4. I'll be talking about all of these except the low-level arenas in more detail later.

  • The Training Arena and Zaishen Challenge/Elites. These areas aren't actually PvP since you're fighting against NPCs but they should give you some practice for some of the basic techniques you'll need to do well. Teams are preassigned. Feel free to bring henchmen. Winning each round of Training Arena unlocks the Zaishen Challenge. Winning 5 rounds of the Challenge unlocks the Elites.
  • Competitive Arena, also known as Random Arena. Teams are randomly assigned. 5 consecutive wins unlocks Team Arena.
  • Team Arena. Teams are preassigned. You'll notice that there are henchmen that you can bring. Don't. 5 consecutive wins unlocks Heroes Ascent.
  • Low-level Arena (e.g. Ascalon Arena). Only PvE characters can play in these. Don't bother - there are too many griefers and the game balance isn't great under 20th level.

Building a PvP character

Pre-made characters

Update: Previously, pre-made characters were fairly worthless. While not as good as the premade characters from Esoteric Warriors (EW), the default templates are playable but not great (see the article on the official GW site for more).

I'll also give a few example character builds here at the end of this guide but due to skill rebalances they will probably be outdated quickly, so take them with a pinch of salt.

Skill choice essentials

Take a long hard look at a skill before it makes it onto your bar. What's the recharge time? How much does it cost? Take into account how it plays into your profession. Shatter Enchantment is a good skill but it's pretty terrible on a Warrior because it costs too much for them. Leave expensive spells to the casters with 4 energy regen.

If when playing your character you find yourself unable to use skills because of a lack of energy your build is probably in need of work. Casters normally need a skill or two devoted to regaining energy. Warriors absolutely require a speed boost skill or they'll spend all their time chasing sniggering monks in circles, as well as an attack speed boost to help gain adrenaline.

Don't try to defend against everything in your build - being a threat is much better than being unkillable. Warriors especially should not be carrying significant defense since they'll typically be one of the last targets chosen. "Tanking" does not work in PvP.


When choosing armour, read what it does carefully.

When choosing weapons, there are some easy choices and some others that are more dependent on personal choice. At the time of writing, the Staff Wrapping of Enchanting is a must-have for any character with key enchantments (e.g. Elementalists with Ether Prodigy or Attunements).

Don't use more than 1 Superior skill rune - the health penalty is too painful. There's no reason not to use a superior rune of vigour. Warriors will also usually want an absorption rune. Use minor runes where the extra point will help and vitae runes where it won't.

In general, I think a decent rule of thumb is that health is good. If in doubt, pick +health equipment.

Play to win

Don't pick skills or use tactics based on the assumption that your opponents will be bad. They may well be but then you'll win anyway. Worry about the cases where you'll face someone who knows what they're doing.


Location, location, location

The single biggest difference between PvE and PvP is probably that positioning matters. You can get through the whole PvE game and never move when monsters are beating on you. This is not the case in PvP.

If there's a warrior about to hit you, you probably want to run away. If they're already hitting you and you weren't casting anything a second ago, you already made a mistake. If there's a ranger shooting you, put a wall between you and them. If an Elementalist is zapping you, they can't do it if you're out of range. In short, watch the battlefield. If someone's running up to you it's probably not to give you a hug.

If you run out of healing range of your monk, they won't be able to save you if you're in trouble. Be aware of where your monk is. You can use this against your opponents too - if you can draw an opponent away from his group they may well be easy pickings.


You can get away with poor communication a lot in PvE. This is crippling in PvP - you don't have time to sit around typing at each other. Before you start playing Team Arena, get Ventrilo or Teamspeak for voice chat as appropriate depending on what your group is using. If you're joining a pick-up group, have both installed and set up ahead of time. When using voice chat, only say things that are relevant or noone will be able to hear important calls.

Don't rely on people recognising your voice - even using your name isn't ideal. A better method is to use the position you're in in the team - so instead of saying "I've got Spiteful [Spirit] on me!" or "Spiteful on Clamatius!", say "Spiteful on 2!" (if you're second in the party window list). The reason is that normally you're talking to someone who'll remove it and it saves them from having to look through the roster to find you. You can use the same tactic when talking about the opposition - e.g. "3 has Blackout". That's a good habit to get into that will be rewarded when you're playing against teams that don't share your alphabet.
Useful thing to say: "Migraine on 3!"
Not so useful: "I totally owned that dude!"

Attack timing and coordination

It doesn't really matter in PvE what timing you're using when attacking. It can be critical in PvP. Try to coordinate your attacks to overwhelm the cast time, energy and response times of the opposing players. This is known as "spiking". See the Eternum Pariah spike videos for examples of this. Note that the countdown to the attack is 3-2-1, so a 1 second spell starts casting at 1, a 2 second at 2, etc. If a spike is called, don't switch to that target immediately and start attacking them because it's a dead giveaway.

Also see my previous article on spikes vs. pressure.

In Random Arena, all this is irrelevant since your team won't have enough coordination. Instead, just make sure that a target is called and you all attack that target. 4v1 can still make short work of someone pretty fast.


Be aware of what all the conditions do. In PvP, here are the conditions that really matter:
  • Cripple. Remember, positioning is important. If you're a warrior being crippled means you can't catch a running target. Similarly, if you're on the receiving end of the damage, if you're crippled you can't run away.
  • Deep Wound. This does a bunch of damage when inflicted but also reduces the healing on the target.
  • Blindness. The single most incapacitating problem for Warriors and bow-based Rangers.
  • Weakness. Not as bad as Blindness but very irritating for Warriors and bow-based Rangers. Casters don't care about this.
  • Dazed. Uncommon but very irritating for casters - get it off ASAP.
  • Disease. Not a big problem on just you but can get ugly if the whole team gets it. Try to stay away from the rest of your team if you have it.

Useful thing to say: "Blind on 2!"
Bad thing to say: "Bleeding on 2!"


Like conditions, you should know what the notable hexes do. In particular, you should be very aware of hexes that are potentially incapacitating like Backfire, Migraine and Spiteful Spirit. In a coordinated team, tell your team if you have a hex that screws you but don't worry about hexes like Conjure Phantasm or Parasitic Bond unless they're on top of the incapacitating hex. In Random Arena, there's a good chance that noone on your team can remove the hex for you so unless you have your own hex removal you're out of luck.
Useful thing to say: "Backfire on 2!"
Bad thing to say: "Rust on 2!"


Be aware that relying on enchantments can be risky - a good team will see that Elemental Attunement and strip it off you. Similarly, watch enchanters on the opposing team. Stripping a Vital Boon might not be very useful but getting rid of that Life Bond may well be.


The concept of covering applies to conditions, hexes and enchantments. In summary, what covering means is taking advantage of the stack mechanic they all use. If an enchantment is important to you or hard to re-cast, it might be a good idea to have another enchantment on top of that one so that the less useful one gets stripped first by a single enchantment removal. Similarly, if you are going to cast something nasty and relatively expensive on your opponent like Spiteful Spirit, it's probably a good idea to immediately follow with a cheap cover hex like Parasitic Bond. With conditions, a good example is Crippling Shot + Apply Poison - the dangerous Cripple condition gets covered up with the less scary Poison. If you have covered conditions or hexes on you and you want to tell your team about the scary issue, make sure you say it's covered so they can judge whether they will be able to remove the whole condition or hex stack.
What to say: "Covered Spiteful on 2!"
What not to say: "Parasitic on 2!"

Watching your opponents

Try to understand what your opponents are trying to do with their build. If it's something relevant, you probably want to tell your team. For example, if you see a Blessed Signet you know that they have maintained enchantments and probably a bunch of them, so you may want to have an interrupter watch that opponent to mess up their energy. Do not bother if it's something irrelevant.
Useful thing to say: "Mark of Protection on 2!"
Bad thing to say: "Eviscerate on 3!"


If a resurrection skill isn't on your bar, you'd better have a really good reason for it. As a beginner, you probably don't have a good enough reason. You almost always want Resurrection Signet.

If the resurrection skill you're bringing takes 6s or longer, don't bother. You have a huge bullseye on you and someone will just interrupt it.

Watch your team health. If someone's dead, bring them up as soon as possible. Call it out when you do it (default key is ctrl+skill) so you don't have your whole team doing it.

Target calling

In Team Arena, if possible leave target calling to someone with more experience. It's a subject worth a full article on its own. In Random Arena, if noone else is calling targets, go ahead and do it - even a bad call is better than no call at all.

How to call and follow targets? You should already know from PvE. Just in case you don't, you call a target via called attack (default key is 'ctrl-space') or called targeting (default key is 'ctrl-shift-space'). You select a called target with the target key (default 't').

So who to call? In a nutshell, the biggest threat to your group. This may be the opposing team's monk but often it's their disruption elements. Might be the Mesmer that's shutting down your monk or the Air Elementalist that's blinding the rest of your team. If the opposing team has a monk, hopefully you have someone with some disruption to screw up their healing long enough to take someone out. In general, the fastest you can get one of their team taking a dirt nap the better.

Bear in mind who's vulnerable to what kinds of damage. In general, Warriors make bad call targets because they have so much armour. If your team does mostly elemental damage, Rangers are a bad call because their armour has fabulous boosts against it. Blood Necromancers can be a bad early call because their life drain means it takes longer to take them out.


Faction is a reward you get in PvP akin to experience in PvE. You can cash in Faction to unlock skills or items for your PvP items. The most efficient way to get faction later on is to play guild vs. guild or Heroes' Ascent but right now for you as a beginner it's probably playing in the Training Arena. Note that you can obtain a max of 1k Faction per day playing against NPCs.

Training Arena

The Training Arena is useful for getting the hang of PvP basics. You should not be losing in here unless you are playing very badly or you have totally screwed up your build. To get to the Training Arena, go to the Nameless Isle next to the Temple of Balthazar.

Zaishen Challenge/Elites

This gives you some Team Arena-like practice against actual builds as opposed to henchmen. It can be useful to work out whether a character build is working since you can bring a supporting Monk player or henchman. You unlock the Zaishen Elites area after beating 5 different Zaishen Challenge teams. The Elites area is exactly the same except that it's always random opponents and each round adds one more opponent (4v4, then 4v5, 4v6, etc.).

Random Arena

Due to the random team selection, success in this area is mostly up to whether you get dealt good players on your team and a good mix of characters or not. To put it politely, you see a wide range of player skill in this arena.

Since you can't rely on having a monk on your team, the best characters to play in RA are generally either:

  • Monk: that way you have a monk on your team, since you are one.
  • Warrior: good armour. Take Healing Signet.
  • Ranger: reasonable armour plus you can stay at a good distance from the opposing warriors. Bring Troll Unguent.

People will sometimes trash-talk and be obnoxious, like every other online game. Turn off the All chat channel and switch your state to away on the friends screen if this bothers you.

It's fun for a quick jump-in-and-go game but shouldn't be taken too seriously. If you win in Random Arena, you get to play again with the same team. Win 10 times in a row and you'll start playing against Team Arena teams. Note that if you're on a win streak and you need to leave, you should quit at the end of a round but before the next round starts - you'll be replaced with another player from the lobby.

Team Arena

The aim of this guide is to bring you up to the point where you feel comfortable in this area.

The best way to find a group for Team Arena is to be in a guild that has a bunch of active PvP players. You may well be in a small guild of your friends who aren't so interested in PvP and you don't want to leave. I'll warn you that the fastest way to get better at the game is to play with people who are better with you, so if you're serious about getting better you may want to to explain the situation to your friends and find a guild that will work better for you. Don't bother applying for membership of one of the top guilds you've seen on Observer Mode - you're just wasting your time and theirs.

If you really want to stay in your guild and they aren't playing PvP, you can find pick-up groups but generally the quality will be fairly random. If you go this route and happen to play with people that you like, make sure you keep them on your friends list and build up a list of contacts.

Be flexible with the build you play - you are filling a role in a team and if your character doesn't fit in your team will not do as well.

Conclusion: starting out

Go create your PvP character. You'll start in the Nameless Isle, next to the Temple of Balthazar in the Battle Isles. Go talk to all the Masters in the Nameless Isle and read what they say - there's a lot of detail there I'm not covering in this guide.

Once you're done, go talk to the Master of Paths and play a few rounds in the Training Arena. The world is now your oyster. Find a playstyle that suits you and keep unlocking those skills!

Appendix: Example PvP builds

I won't go into too much detail of the ins and outs of each build except for the important points. Note that these may be somewhat outdated due to skill rebalances but they should be somewhat useful as a starting point.


Strength 9 + 1
Axe Mastery 12 + 1 + 3
Tactics 9 + 1
Executioner's Strike
Plague Touch
Bull's Strike
Healing Signet
Resurrection Signet

If you're targeted when you have Frenzy up, immediately hit Sprint to get rid of Frenzy. Also use Sprint to chase running targets and follow up with Bull's Strike to bring them down. Don't hit the Strike till you're right on top of them or you're giving your target a good chance to stop and avoid the knockdown. Bring a Vampiric Axe and a spare Axe (doesn't really matter what type) - switch away from the Vampiric Axe to the spare when you aren't actually hitting things. Use Plague Touch to transfer away irritating conditions like Blindness.


Curses 12 + 3 + 1
Inspiration Magic 11
Soul Reaping 6 + 1
Spiteful Spirit
Parasitic Bond
Desecrate Enchantments
Inspired Hex
Drain Enchantment
Resurrection Signet
This is the "Blacklight Necro" from the iQ boards. Its purpose is chiefly to partially shut down opposing Warriors and Rangers. See the iQ post for more details on how to play this one.


Divine Favor 12 + 3 + 1
Protection Prayers 8 + 1
Inspiration Magic 10
Mend Ailment
Reversal of Fortune
Contemplation of Purity
Inspired Hex
Mantra of Recall / Energy Drain
Divine Boon
Resurrection Signet
This is a standard boon-prot monk, using Mantra of Recall or Energy Drain over Offering of Blood after the latest skill rebalance. I wrote about this previously. You can use either Mantra of Recall or Energy Drain - both are a little fiddly to use and the one you pick is mostly up to personal preference.
Sarus' excellent guide video is must-view material before you play this type of character. Note that Offering of Blood is worse since that video was made.


If you liked this guide, you may be interested in my other ramblings. This is my latest Guild Wars content, according to Google's blog search. Google says this is everything I've written about Guild Wars so far.