I started playing in the massive, on-line, multi-player
world of Guild Wars towards the end of December 2005. I a bit addicted
to war games, always playing one of them, Dungeon Siege, Diablo and
so forth. Note: My MMORPG (Massively multiplayer online role-playing
game) of choice is now World of Warcraft.
I used to be a Dungeon Master (Narrator) in Dungeons and Dragons.
That was a long time ago. I made friends in Guild Wars, joined a Guild.
You can play solo but, if you want to get ahead in the tougher parts
of the game, you need to join a Guild. The game is based in large
part on co-operative game play with other, real live human players
located all around the globe.
I found my Guild through my sister on the west coast of Canada, who
a member and she recommended me. Her niece had tired of the game and
gave me her account. Now, I have two accounts and around 19 different
characters. All of them go through basically the same scenarios, they
share the same adventures. In these shared adventures each character
has different talents, which keeps things interesting.
You and your party are alone in the game, except for game-generated
characters called NPCs (non-player characters) and monsters. It
iss a challenge to the intellect, to reflexes, and to character
building (called Builds). You have a choice of skills to put in your
skill bar. You give points to a list of characteristics like strength
and tactics in the case of a Warrior character. Weapon strength, your
armor and how many runes youve applied to your armor help to
protect you and give you advantages. It takes thought and experience
to do this well. Players often share Builds with each other, so a
body of common knowledge is built up.
One of the more interesting characters is the Necromancer who is
always saying, Kill more! I need the bodies. He resurrects
these as zombie-like minions which fight on your side until they sort
of fade away like old soldiers. I should mention that there are a
number of character types, so the build and talents of a Necromancer
differ from those of the healing Monks or battle-ready Warriors. I
like to have a character for each class, so it adds up. New installments
of the game added new character classes such as the scythe-wielding
Dervish and the Ninja-like Assassins.
You bring your character along through various hairy adventures of
gradually increasing difficulty. You fight your way through all kinds
of terrain, The scenery and graphics in the game are gorgeous. You
go through the fire-blasted landscapes of post-searing Ascalon, through
the wintry Shiverpeaks fighting Ice Imps, or through Kryta, a semi-forested
area. Then, theres the jungle where there are poisonous spiders
and Trolls and other hideous beasties. You might fight a very nasty
group of NPCs (non-player characters) called the White Mantle who
are conspiring to do dreadful things to the Chosen, whom you have
sworn to protect, and so it goes.
Then, theres Prince Rurik, who is royal but stupid. Youre
always protecting him because, if he dies, then you dont succeed
at that Mission. Each Mission gets you to a different part of the
map and you work your way through until you reach the Crystal Desert
where there are, oh my goodness, Hydras and sand lizards and all kinds
of thing running about and nipping at your heels.
If your character is a bow-wielding Ranger you can have a pet and
train it up. My current favourite pets are a dune lizard and a wolf.
I generally keep the sound off because the wolf has a tendency to
I have a Mesmer character and she mesmerizes. She casts her spell
and mesmerizes the enemy so that they are inhibited in their fighting
I have an Elementalist who plays, magically, with the Elements
earth, air, fire and water.
My Ranger shoots poisonous arrows and lays traps. My Warrior is just
sort of hammer happy and hits everything. There you go. Thats
One of the most popular characters in the game is the Monk, the healing
Monk. Oh my gosh, the party cant go out without having a Monk.
Some Monks are a temperamental bunch of neer-do-wells but I
tend to play my Monk fairly straight. Her name is White Tara, named
after the female incarnation of the Buddha. Shes a pretty decent
Monk who does the right thing by her fellow players, to the best of
This can be a solitary game. I solo many quests and mission. For
the more difficult areas I venture forth with other online players
or with members of my Guild. The Guild I was in when I wrote this
was run by a crazy Welshman called Jenkins, with a slight fondness
for the bottle. He had a wild Irish sidekick who liked Irish Cream
and had no sense of humour. There were some lovely ladies from the
southern United States and another from California. Players from Alaska,
New Zealand dropped in and, then, theres myself, from Canada.
We text chat within the game but a lot of it is done with a side
program, called Teamspeak. Using Teamspeak you can talk over the Internet
and listen to what the other players are saying . The leader can give
directions such as, Hold back! Let those Mursaats pass!
and Were all attacking and targeting the Mesmer Boss instead.
A Boss is a high level monster created by the game software.
You you can sometimes capture valuable Elite spells and excellent
weapons when defeating these Bosses.
Military-style commands from the leader, spoken and heard by the
players, are actually quite useful, especially during difficult Missions.
One of the better young lady players is an ex-Marine and her husband
is a Marine too. No wonder she was so good in a fire fight.
At the time I wrote this in 2005 there was great excitement because
a new installment of the game was coming out, called Factions. Once
youve bought this game or one of its different Chapters
(Basic, Factions, Nightfall, and Eye of the North) then it was free
to play on line.
Within the game there is a thriving economy. Guild Wars and other
online war games help support young men in China who play to acquire
gold and weapons which are sold on other Internet sites. In the past
Ive bought gold and Ive bought a few weapons when my character
needed that extra edge. I dont recommend doing this any more.
The gold is soon gone and Id sooner farm when I need more cash.
Farming is a term used for doing repeat search and destroy forays
to get stuff, which can be sold to a Merchant an in-game-character
(NPC) for gold. You need the gold for better armor and for high-price
runes to empower it.
There are other ways to get the fancier green weapons
in dreadful places where you can go and fight horrific monsters and,
very likely, die. These monsters sometimes drop some very nice stuff,
if you can live long enough to collect it.
The game can become obsessive. Somehow, the little triumphs in the
game can make up for lack of same off-line. The game can become a
habit that is hard to break.
I owe a lot to the game. More for friends made on-line than for the
adventures, which are nearly forgotten once completed. Now, excuse
me, Ive got to go and kill some Corsairs.