Guild Wars Factions Extended Head Start Weekend

I wrote about the 24-Hour Head Start Event, the Day of the Tengu, wherein the generosity of friends and random people helped me get a Tengu Mask, an utterly useless, but cool-looking item. It serves no purpose — I think it has no armour rating (or a very low one), though you can probably apply Runes to it. I just wear it in towns because it’s neat. The Head Start was extended to run through the weekend. Those who had who had a had a Factions pre-order key could participate. My initial impressions are largely positive.

The first thing I did was take the ship from the port in Lion’s Arch to the port just outside of Kaineng Center. Apparently there is a weird plague in Cantha, and so we need to go there to help the NPCs find out what else is going on.

After playing in the high level areas for a while with my main character, I created an Assassin Primary. All new Canthan characters start in Shing Jea Monastary, on an island off of the south west coast of the continent of Cantha. After a really dull tutorial (for experienced players), you are awarded a Resurrection Signet and 1 000 XP. I did some of the Secondary Profession quests with her, which are supposed to help you choose what you’ll “minor” in.

I then deleted my Level 7 Warrior/Monk from Tyria, and re-created her as a Canthan character. Since our guild seems to be leaning heavily towards Assassins for the new campaign, I figured that a tank would be useful at times. I spent a while questing with her, and very quickly got her up to Level 7. It seemed much faster to reach that level in Factions than in Prophecies in a similar amount of time. I finished nearly all of the Profession quests. The only Profession quests I have left with her now are the ones that I’m actually considering as a Second Profession: Mesmer, Monk, Necromancer.

The Ranger Profession quest is really fun. You have to save some rabbits. The Ranger trainer is a nature lover, and he says really funny things when you’re out setting rabbits free. I charmed a Tiger, but sadly I’ll have to let it go when I choose my Secondary Profession.

I’m leaning heavily towards making my Warrior a Mesmer Secondary, but I don’t know if I can pull that one off. Warriors don’t have a lot of Energy for spellcasting, and Mesmers don’t have as much Energy capacity as Elementalists. They can cast quickly, but they are always hungry for Energy. Of course, this means that Mesmers have a lot of spells that help recover or leech energy… Not sure yet. I haven’t seen many W/Me builds around, and I have rarely ever seen a W/Me in town.

For my Assassin, I was originally thinking to make her a Necromancer Secondary. Now I am considering making her a Mesmer Secondary. Assassins get back Energy after each successful critical strike, but I’ll have to play around more with it to know for sure whether this could work.

Other impressions…

I met up with Guilded Lily at one point on the Day of the Tengu, and we talked a bit at Shing Jea Monastary. We agreed that the landscapes and art design are absolutely breathtaking. It’s so pretty. That’s not to say that Cantha doesn’t have ugly parts as well, though. The more heavily populated cities of the mainland have slums and shanty towns all over the place.

The attention to detail is amazing. There are water buffalo in the area outside Shing Jea Monastary. It made the place feel more alive. When I was running around Budek Byway with the Henchmen, I came across a (probably) stray sleeping cat in a corner of the street! That’s just what you’d expect to see in neighbourhoods in Asia (I have, at least). I’m wondering where the dogs are, though. I’d expect to see lots of stray dogs roaming around, too. This part of Cantha is crowded, so even whilst questing there are NPCs all over the place — including merchants, whom you could formerly only find in towns.

I discovered that I couldn’t kill the cat or the water buffalo because you can’t select them.

Overall, Factions has a very heavy Asian (Chinese and Japanese from what I have seen so far) feel and it sometimes hits you over the head (repeatedly) with the Asian motif. But that’s not a negative thing. It’s really different (for me at least) for a game to have this Asian-inspried style, and the art team really pulled it off.

I am still dissatisfied with the face options for the female characters. Most of them are not that pretty. There were only two or three Assassin female faces that were reasonably attractive and about two female Warrior faces that were okay. Hair selection was all right. I don’t know about the male counterparts, because I don’t usually play male characters, but I looked through all of the females, and came away feeling like the usual nice Guild Wars aesthetic sensibilities took a break for faces. There seemed to be a higher proportion of attractive faces to less attractive faces in Prophecies. Maybe that’s just me, though.

Jeremy Soule‘s musical compositions are again up to the same wonderful standards as he displayed in Prophecies. The Factions main theme is very memorable, just as the Prophecies main theme is. I’m looking forward to giving the soundtrack a closer listen when I receive my Collector’s Edition box.

Henchmen now talk randomly. It’s nice to see them have some personality.

So, I had a great weekend in Cantha. I want my Collector’s Edition to get here soon. In order to increase my chances of getting one, because I don’t trust CompUSA, I have ordered it from another online store. I even rang them up to check if they have it in stock (they do). If CompUSA do manage to come through with a CE for me, I know someone who will buy it from me. If he flakes out, I am sure I can find someone else who didn’t get in on the first batch of CEs.

EDIT: My CE box has been dispatched today. I think I should have it in about a week, perhaps a little over that. CompUSA order still reads as shipping on the 5th.

On a sidenote, the Callers of Cthulhu [Cthu] have agreed that we want to recruit. As part of my first attempt, I talked to someone from Japan in one of the International Districts. The player seems interested, but cautious. She (I’m going with the character’s gender here) doesn’t like big guilds, and doesn’t enjoy the sort of abuse and general ass-hattery that can go on in online games. That’s why she plays alone and has no guild. Anyway, we’ve Friended each other, and we’ll do some quests at some point. If she has fun and stuff, she might join the guild.

I think it would be nice to have more people in the guild, though it would have to be more international if we’re going to have a number of people who are in close enough time zones that people can meet up.

I also think it would be cool to have a sort of regular hang-out spot, much like The Boat Crew [boat] hang out in Lion’s Arch International 1, at the Canthan ship all the time to chat. Will have to discuss this with the guildies.

  6 comments for “Guild Wars Factions Extended Head Start Weekend

  1. bigwig
    3 May 2006 at 07:01

    most people who use a W/Me use it for the mesmer stances. elemental resistance, physical resistance, that sort of thing. And theres always mesmer energy replenishment skills if you’re worried about energy.

  2. 3 May 2006 at 07:56

    I played an Assassin/Necro character during preview weekend and found that to be a nice combo for quick damage with health regeneration benefits. I’m looking forward to your CE to arrive too!

  3. 3 May 2006 at 20:56

    I dropped out of Guild Wars back in (I think) early November last year (shortly after I got my Pumpkin Helmet from the Halloween event). I’ve been playing WoW for a while but have now dropped that because of the dissatisfying endgame. I always said I’ve revisit Guild Wars after the expansion. Considering my main problems with the game was a dissatisfaction with the underpopulated and unrewarding late game questing, and an annoyance that PvP play continually threw me against either the elite or the unskilled, rarely giving me a match “at my level”, has anything changed that would entice me back?

  4. 4 May 2006 at 03:21

    I’m not sure how rewarding you’d perceive endgame questing in Factions. You seem to receive more XP per quest than in Prophecies, but I’m only in the Southern Shiverpeaks in Prophecies, so I don’t know if I can quite compare. The Factions areas are quite condensed, and there are fewer Missions than in Prophecies, so this might affect the number of PUGs you can choose from. Perhaps it will be easier to find groups to quest with. I am not sure, because I haven’t done any Missions, just Quests, in the high-level areas. If you bring your Prophecies character over, you will have access to fewer Missions, I think, but I can’t say for sure as I haven’t got my copy of the game yet. There are additional types of Missions that allow alliances to co-operate, so that’s another new facet, however.

    As for PvP, I can’t comment upon it specifically since I am not a PvPer. I do know that there are more dimensions to PvP, since guild alliances allow a group of guilds to hold territory, locking other alliances out of it.

  5. bigwig
    4 May 2006 at 05:33

    greg – i can’t quite remember when pvp changed from arenas in tyria, to the battle isles, but there have been a few significant changes even just with the release of factions. competitive pvp missions as part of the pve story in factions for one, the new gladiator arena, on the battle isles that requires 10 consecutive wins in the… random arena i think. titles denoting peoples level of Rank, zaishen challenge and elite ziashen challenge… and of course the new professions, and several skill balances over the past few months. you can still check out the battle isles with chapter one.

  6. Bryan
    6 August 2006 at 08:12

    Does your guild have a website? I am looking for a nice, big guild to join.

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