Tuesday, November 07, 2006

State of the Game @ GuildWars

Night Falls Upon PvP

Nightfall is upon us, and upon PvP, bringing with it a bevy of changes and improvements. Two new classes debut in Nightfall: the spear throwing Paragon and the scythe wielding Dervish. Both come with lots of skills, enriching the already diverse pool of skills and opening interesting synergistic possibilities with existing professions. Additionally, existing professions gained a number of new skills of their own and underwent extensive balancing.

The New Professions

The Paragon is the new ranged class in Nightfall. Paragons attack from a distance by throwing spears, and their attack skills are comparable to Ranger and Warrior skills. Unlike Warriors or Rangers, however, the Paragon supports and strengthens the team with Chants and Shouts. These vocalizations can have defensive or offensive properties and complement the Paragon's primary attribute, Leadership, which gives them free Energy for every ally (including themselves) affected by one of their Chants or Shouts.

The Metagame

Nightfall brings some new ideas to the ever-popular Warrior too. The skill "You're All Alone!" has great potential for split style builds. And the elite Headbutt might see some use in combination with the skill Plague Touch.

And Monks have even more healing options at their disposal. Considering the recent nerf to traditional Monk favorites such as using Mesmer skills for Energy management, some of these new options will probably see a lot of use. Healer's Boon, for example, is another maintained Enchantment like the long-popular Divine Boon. But Healer's Boon specifically affects Healing Prayers only, so we could start seeing more pure healing Monks.

Functionality improvements have also affected the metagame. First, there is now a morale boost timer on screen that players can display to show when their next morale boost will be coming. This is a great tool for flag runners who previously had to memorize and keep track of flag capture times. Using this timer, teams can coordinate their position based on impending morale boosts and flag runner movements. Body-blocking will become even more important and effective when you know for sure that you are a mere 10 seconds from a boost. It is much harder to block a runner for 30 seconds than for 10, so some teams may not even bother with a full block until they are closer to a boost.

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