Guild Wars Character Introduction

I might have been a bit hasty in jumping immediately to gearing out characters without actually writing about characters themselves first.  I will fix that now by going over what exactly characters are.  This is again an article for anyone starting the game and thus will skip some of the minutiae.  When you create a character, the first choice is whether you want to make a purely PVP character or a role-playing character.  Choosing the latter won’t exclude you from PVP, but it is the only way to access PVE content.  PVP-only characters start out at max level with access to stuff you have “unlocked.”   “Unlock” is a technical term in this game that I won’t go over now.  You will then be asked which campaign you wish to start in.  This has an impact on the professions (“classes” in other games) available to you.

Note the colored text ("37"). If I boost Blood Magic, that number will increase. The other numbers are energy, cast time, and cooldown (10, 2, 30, respectively).

Note the colored text (“37”). If I boost Blood Magic, that number will increase. The other numbers are energy, cast time, and cooldown (10, 2, 30, respectively).

If you want to play a warrior (W), ranger (R), monk (Mo), elementalist (E), mesmer (Me), or necromancer (N), then you can choose any campaign.  (In-game abbreviations and this sentence in parentheses.) These are the base professions and are always available.  If you want to play as a ritualist (Rt) or an assassin (A), then you must choose Factions.  Lastly, if you want to play as a dervish (D) or a paragon (P), then you must choose Nightfall.  After choosing your profession, you move on to character appearance.  Do note that for the base professions, which campaign you pick will determine which set of appearance options you get.  Some professions look similar regardless of campaign while others are drastically different.

I won’t go into what each profession is like since I am only familiar enough with a handful of them to go into the level of detail I’d want.  Instead, I’ll go over some generalities.

Here are attributes from my mesmer. The up arrow number is the cost to increase the attribute, while the down arrow number is how many points I get back if I decrease it. Blue 12 means boosted by gear.

Here are attributes from my mesmer. The up arrow number is the cost to increase the attribute, while the down arrow number is how many points I get back if I decrease it. Blue 12 means boosted by gear.

Unlike Guild Wars 2, your character can have a secondary profession.  Actually you will be forced to choose one very early.  The profession you chose at creation is primary and determines what armor and armor modifications you can use.  Functionally, a secondary profession is only there to grant you access to that profession’s skills.  Your campaign of choice affects your initial secondary choices, too.  So, for example, if you want to be a warrior/assassin (W/A) from the start, you must choose Factions, since that’s where assassin is available.  Later in the game, you will be able to unlock all other professions as secondary options, for a fee of course, and can switch freely between them from then on in any town or outpost.  You will be stuck with your first choice for some time, however.  You cannot change your primary profession, if you were wondering.

Each profession has either four or five attributes, one of which is considered the “primary” attribute.  The primary one often has passive benefits that apply all the time and/or to all skills, but usually has few skills directly tied to it.  The remaining attributes may or may not have passive benefits, but each one is linked to many skills.  When you look at a skill, you may see colored text in the description.  More points in the attribute associated with that skill will change those colored numbers for the better, such as more damage, more healing, or lower negative side effects.  An attribute can reach a natural rank of 12 by spending points, but can be boosted to 16 through gear.  You will get 200 attribute points total: 170 from leveling and 15 each from two quests early in your initial campaign.

Note the [Skills] tag. Not all skills trainers are as scary-looking as this guy.

Note the [Skills] tag. Not all skills trainers are as scary-looking as this guy.

When you choose a secondary profession, you get access to all attributes except the primary one.  For example, the mesmer’s attributes are Fast Casting (P), Illusion Magic, Domination Magic, and Inspiration Magic (see image above).  If you choose mesmer as your secondary profession, then you will get access to mesmer skills and all attributes except Fast Casting.  Remember when I wrote that your primary profession determines which gear you can use?  That means you cannot equip runes tied to your secondary profession or in other words, you cannot increase secondary profession attributes above 12.  Here is where the diversity in Guild Wars comes from.  By combining skills from one profession with the skills and/or primary attribute of another, people have devised some very interesting builds.  For clarity, a “build” is defined as the eight skills on your bar and what level each of your attributes is at (including boosts from gear).

The last topic for this article is how to acquire skills.  The tutorial will bestow upon you a handful of skills for your primary and secondary professions, but beyond that, you’re on your own.  The first and easiest method is simply buying them.  As you level, complete missions, and do other tasks, you will receive skill points.  You can visit a skill vendor and spend skill points and gold to learn whatever they have to teach you.  The second method applies to Prophecies almost exclusively.  Some quests will reward you with a skill or two for your primary or secondary profession.  You can often buy these skills anyway, but quests obviously save you skill points and sometimes offer a skill before you could ordinarily purchase it.  There is one more common method, but I’ll save that for another time, as it’s a bit more involved.

 

That should cover it.  Feel free to leave comments, questions, compliments, and home remedies below.

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