Guild Wars: Paragon Profession

The two other professions I discussed previously have counterparts in Guild Wars 2, but the one I will go over here does not.  Supposedly, the GW2 Guardian borrows heavily from this profession as well as the GW1 monk, but from what I’ve seen, it has much more in common with a monk who found clerics in the D&D player’s handbook.  Today, I will talk about the tallest profession in GW1: the spear-throwing, skirt-wearing, command-yelling, party-buffing & off-healing Paragon.

First of all, paragons are exclusive to Nightfall so you’ll have to start there.  They join warriors as the only other profession with “heavy” armor (base 80) and the only other one designed for shields.  Although anyone can equip a shield, only a primary/secondary warrior or paragon (depending on the specific shield) can get the maximum value out of them.  Warriors are still more durable since their armor comes with a passive +20 armor against physical damage, while the paragon gets a passive bonus of +10 energy instead.  Still, that’s 10-20 armor that other professions do not get.

They really wanted to drive home the angelic theme.

They really wanted to drive home the angelic theme.

The paragon’s signature weapon, the spear, is actually a ranged weapon in GW1.  It is tied with the shortbow for shortest range of any “ranged” weapon, but (like all bows) is affected by elevation.  You gain range and damage if attacking from a higher elevation relative to your target and lose range and damage if attacking from a lower elevation.  Always take the high ground.

Pro Tip: Since you must start in Nightfall, I recommend that you immediately upon reaching level 10 go back to Kamadan to recruit M.O.X. and start Eye of the North.  Even if you don’t want to actually do EotN yet, just doing the very first part will net you 2 more level 20 heroes and drop you off at Boreal Station, where an NPC who can make max armor resides.  If you go through the hero tutorial in Boreal Station, you can also get an unmodified, max damage weapon of your choosing for you or a hero.  This advice goes for any character native to Nightfall, not just paragons.

The paragon’s attributes are Leadership, Command, Motivation, and Spear Mastery.  Command and Motivation only buff their respective skills.  Spear Mastery is the first weapon attribute I’ve discussed and few of the professions have any (the others being warrior, dervish, ranger, and assassin).  In addition to strengthening skills, Spear Mastery also increases both the damage and critical hit chance of any attacks using a spear.  Other weapon attributes do the same for their respective weapons.

Leadership is the primary attribute and helps with energy management.  For each ally affected by a shout or chant of yours, you gain two energy.  This includes heroes, henchmen, other players, you, ranger pets, and summoned minions, but does not include minis (though some skills DO count minis as allies; check the wiki).  However, the energy you can gain per shout/chant is capped at half your Leadership rank, rounded down.  This may seem like a ripoff, but this in effect reduces the cost of energy-fueled shouts/chants and turns adrenaline-fueled ones into free energy restoration.

Command mostly holds offensive, defensive, and movement speed buffs.  Motivation is the off-healing attribute and governs skills that restore HP, energy, and remove conditions.  Spear Mastery, not surprisingly, houses spear-related attacks.  Leadership has a mix of all of the above.  Now I’ll go over the most popular and likely most useful build for a paragon.

Imbagon

This is the most famous or infamous Paragon/Warrior PVE build for players.  The name is a portmanteau of “imbalanced” and “paragon.”  The reason that this build is “for players” is because the two skills that make up the backbone of this build are PVE-only, meaning that heroes cannot use them.  Here are the two skills in question:

Female paragons do what the wiki describes as an African tribal dance while male paragons mimic MJ's dance moves in "Beat It."

Female paragons do what the wiki describes as an African tribal dance while male paragons mimic MJ’s dance moves in “Beat It.”

“There’s Nothing to Fear!”
For (4 + Leadership/2) seconds, party members within earshot take 20-35% less damage and get healed for 35-60 when this buff ends.

This is the Sunspear skill for paragons, meaning you buy it from a Hero Skill trainer in Nightfall and its effectiveness is tied to your character’s Sunspear rank.  Like most PVE-only skills though, max effectiveness occurs at rank 5 and for Sunspears specifically, that is REALLY easy to reach.  It costs 15 energy and has a 20-second cooldown.

“Save Yourselves!”
For 4-6 seconds, all other party members (meaning everyone but you) get +100 armor.

This is the warrior skill from the Kurzicks or Luxons in Factions and you must exchange 3000 faction points for it.  It’s the same skill regardless of version, but its effectiveness is tied to your account-wide “Friend of the [whichever]” title so obviously pick the one you have a higher rank in.  This skill requires 8 adrenaline and has no cooldown.

How much is +100 armor?  Well, some damage ignores armor altogether, but for any damage that does not, a 100-armor boost is a damage reduction of over 80%.  Combining both skills, due to how the math works, results in about a 90% reduction.  Obviously, the Imbagon is about keeping “SY!” up as much as possible.  To facilitate this, Imbagons will have 2-3 skills that aid in gaining adrenaline since eight adrenaline is expensive.  In the end, you’re usually left with about half of your bar to play with and you can pack it with more defensive buffs, offensive buffs, healing, conditions, or whatever you want.

You can use other builds besides Imbagon, but it really is the best support build, unless of course you encounter mostly or entirely armor-ignoring damage.  If you hate the idea of such a widely-used cookie cutter build or think it makes things too easy (and on normal mode at least, you’d probably be right), there are many other support roles the paragon can take on.  Imbagon is certainly not the only good build, just the most well-known.  Do what you like.

Profession Weaknesses

Notice that I didn’t mention any sort of damage-based build.  Damage is definitely not the paragon’s strong suit.  You can bend over backwards to get a good damage build going (like focusing on your secondary profession) or structure your team around boosting your own damage, but it’d be nowhere near as effective as the other way around.  Paragons are most definitely a support profession first.

In addition to general anti-skill hexes, there are skills that specifically target vocal ability.  Spells like Ulcerous Lungs and Well of Silence will nullify most of any paragon’s skill bar, not to mention their primary means of energy restoration.

Positioning is key.  You need to make sure that allies are within earshot at any given time.  Shouts will fire off immediately regardless of whether anyone will be affected.  Also, finding yourself alone is even more of a bad thing than it is for other professions.  Solo quests usually have you rely heavily on your secondary profession.

They have 3 non-prestige armor appearances available that are astoundingly similar.  There is variety in the prestige sets, but they’re much more expensive.  This is the curse of being exclusive to the last campaign to be added, I guess.  Dervishes have a similar issue.

As Heroes

Paragon heroes sadly cannot be Imbagons, like I already said, but they can be built into very good buffers.  The problem though is that generally speaking, there are better options for the spot in your roster.  While paragons do offer quite a range of support, they will usually contribute less than an extra healer, damage dealer, mesmer, minion master, spirit spammer, etc.  They’re not useless by any means, just suboptimal in most cases.  Remember, hero builds need to be foolproof.  Paragon primary builds tend to be a step above that if you want the full effect.

Oh look, a mesmer's relaxing butterflies. Who needs adrenaline, anyway?

Oh look, a mesmer’s relaxing butterflies. Who needs adrenaline, anyway?

Making a hero a secondary paragon, on the other hand, can be more advantageous.  If you have an extra skill slot with nothing else to use, go /paragon and throw in “Go for the Eyes!” or “Fall Back!” or a resurrection skill.

As Opponents

Paragons pose no danger to you from a damage standpoint, but they can be very annoying, depending on their build.  They are one of the few professions with hard resurrection skills and their AoE one fires off instantly.  Beyond that, they will just make your other opponents stronger.  Ironically, killing other enemies first makes the paragon less and less of a threat.

You can usually just ignore them until late in a fight, except for the resurrect-capable ones.  Hexes that punish skill use or attacking and those skills that specifically target shouts and chants will shut them down while you take out the tougher foes.  Frozen Soil (a ranger spirit) will prevent any and all resurrection attempts, but it’s an option if you’re confident you won’t need any resurrecting of your own.  Paragons are one of three adrenaline-using professions, so any skills that deny them adrenaline (Soothing Images, for example), may help.

To sum up, paragons are the angelic support profession who shine while in a group, but find themselves lacking when alone.  If you’re in the mood to be a mid-line supporter or want to take a break from damage or healing, then the paragon is a great choice.  As always, feel free to leave comments, questions, compliments, and inspirational speeches below.

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