Over the weekend, I grouped with a couple of random people on a long-ish mission in Guild Wars. Normally, I play with one of my guildmates (the Guild Officer), but her coursework, shoddy wireless network connection at her hall of residence, and other committments, as well as my own time limitations, have conspired to prevent us from questing together for the past several weekends.
I had decided that I wanted to finish the Ruins of Surmia Mission, which had been taking us far too long for the reasons I highlighted above. I was planning on using Henchmen for the mission, however I received a Join request from a couple of players who were 5 Levels below me, a male Warrior/Monk and a male Necromancer/Monk. I was playing as my main character, my female Necromancer/Mesmer. I questioned the other two whether the party was slightly unbalanced, having two Necromancer primaries, but they didn’t seem to care. We took an NPC Henchman, the (usually) useless Alesia the Healer (a Monk).
All we had to do was to act as a protective escort for Prince Rurik as we searched for and freed POWs. The mission was going smoothly. Despite the Profession imbalances, we were working quite well. My Necromancer, for the moment, doesn’t specialise in Death Magic, and neither did the N/Mo, so there was no competition for corpses from which a Necromancer Primary could raise a small army of Bone Horrors. Anyway, during a main Mission, there is usually a Bonus Mission, a side quest that you have the option of completing for more XP. The Bonus Mission involved us following a bunch of Charr to their Flame Temple, killing them all, and extinguishing the flames. I told them that I hadn’t finished this mission before, so I would follow them. The N/Mo seemed to know what was going on, moreso than the W/Mo, so I followed his lead. N/Mo made very good use of the compass to draw directions and issue commands. We had to follow the Charr Ember Bearers to their temple, and beyond the locked wooden gate that we passed earlier on. It was important that we follow them far away enough that we didn’t aggro them, otherwise they’d be killed and they couldn’t open the gate that barred the path to their temple.
When the Charr passed beyond the gate, the N/Mo gave the command to attack kill them all. We were doing fairly well, until the Henchman, myself, and the War/Mo got killed. That left only the N/Mo alive to face two Charr Shamans. They kept using Heal Area on each other, which was annoying. They were both the same level as the N/Mo, he didn’t have an advantage of being more powerful. The N/Mo was able to get one of them down to less than 25% health, but the other one kept healing his friend, and the N/Mo was also taking damage. He had no Resurrection Signet (or he had already exhausted its one charge prior to this point) or a spell that could resurrect a party member, even if he could get close enough to our bodies to rez one of us. Eventually, he had to flee. He went back to the drawbridge where Prince Rurik waited (for us to pull a lever to lower the bridge). I thought he would go get Rurik over the bridge, and then bring him back so that he and Rurik could kill those Charr Shaman. Since I guess the N/Mo couldn’t rez anyone, he just kept with the main mission objective and he eventually died. Mission failed!
We respawned at the fort, and everyone decided to go get food (IRL) before attempting the mission again. By the time everyone had returned from food, my Guild Officer (E/Mo, same level as me) was online and ready to do the Ruins of Surmia Mission. The N/Mo left, and the W/Mo was game for joining us, along with the NPC Monk.
This time, the E/Mo balanced the party out, adding her (Area of Effect) AOE and mass damage dealing capabilities to the W/Mo’s tanking and my (Damage Over Time) DOT support skills. I changed my Skill set slightly, adding the Resurrection Signet just in case one of us died. I also added the Mesmer Skill, Chaos Storm. Chaos Storm deals 7 damage per second (at my current level) to any enemies located in the AOE, and deals additional damage if the enemy hits party members who are casting spells. This spell has become one of my favourites, because it does a good job of taking enemy melee pressure off of the healers or casters. I was impressed (and annoyed) that the enemies actually ran away from the location of the (stationary) effect.
We hit a small snag in the Bonus Mission and had to restart, but once everyone was on the same page, we pwned those Charr mightily. I, perhaps, should have taken the lead in the mission, since I knew what had to be done and the W/Mo wasn’t doing much in the way of leading. Oh well. It all turned out fine in the end. The main mission was completed without any problems.
What was cool about grouping with randoms was that these two particular people were not assholes. They only seemed to care about getting the job done, which was fine with me. It was actually fun. I think I’ll be less apprehensive about grouping with strangers from now on, if/when the opportunity presents itself. I’m still wary of the jerks lurking around the corner, though.