Completing All of the Guild Wars Campaigns
Previously I wrote a blog post about my journey completing the Guild Wars Eye of the North expansion and Prophesies campaign for the first time. Well, after a couple more months of playing, I have now completed the remaining two Guild Wars campaigns: Factions and Nightfall. With all four of the major campaigns/expansions1 completed, I have finally finished what could be considered the main content of Guild Wars. I put a lot of time into Guild Wars when I was younger, but I had never actually seen either of these campaigns through to completion until now, so this is a big accomplishment for me!
Back in 2020 I made a new Guild Wars account and worked my way through Prophesies with a slight detour to complete Eye of the North. I beat Eye of the North2, beat Prophesies, and then took a year and a half break before finally finishing the post-final-mission Prophesies quests dealing with the Titans across Tyria. Overcoming the absolute insane difficulty spike of The Last Day Dawns got me back on a Guild Wars kick, and gave me the motivation to start working my way through Factions and Nightfall.
I chose to go through the rest of the campaigns with the fire nuker elementalist that I had used throughout Prophesies and Eye of the North, partially because I wanted to do a full-game playthrough with a single character, and partially because my elementalist already had a working build and decent gear. Much of my time in Eye of the North and Prophesies was spent developing a player skill bar that would be useful for a seven-hero single-player playthrough of the campaigns. By the end of Prophesies I had settled on build that used Arcane Echo in combination with high-damage fire spells like Rodgort’s Invocation and Flame Burst to deal a continuous stream of powerful area of effect damage to groups of enemies.
My bar consisted of the skills:
- Rodgort’s Invocation
- Flame Burst
- Arcane Echo
- Glyph of Lesser Energy
- Elemental Attunement
- Fire Attunement
Before engaging an enemy group I would cast Elemental Attunement followed by Fire Attunement as a cover. Then I would activate Glyph of Lesser Energy followed by Arcane Echo. Arcane Echo’s energy cost is completely negated by the first charge from Glyph of Lesser Energy, and the remaining charge, in combination with the effects from the attunement enchantments, make my next spell effectively free to cast. Generally I would lead the engagement with Rodgort’s Invocation, then follow up immediately with the echoed Rodgort’s Invocation, and then use Meteor to knock down enemies and build up overcast. Depending on how the engagement was going at this point I would either go back and forth casting my two Rodgort’s Invocations with the occasional Flare thrown in when both Rodgort’s were recharging, or if we were under heavy melee pressure I would use Flame Burst as often as possible with whatever Rodgort’s and Flare casts I could get in to prevent my party from getting routed.
I really enjoyed creating and playing this build. Being able to cast high-cost high-damage spells like Rodgort’s Invocation and Flame Burst without worrying about energy management feels fantastic. Elemental Attunement and Fire Attunement cover most of my spells’ energy cost, and occasional use of Glyph of Lesser Energy plus support from a battery allows this build to spam nuking spells indefinitely. There is also the option to echo either Meteor or Flame Burst instead of Rodgort’s Invocation depending on the combat situation. If the party is getting rushed by an overwhelming number of melee enemies, then it might be better to echo Flame Burst and explode the enemy group with a bunch of bursts in quick succession. Or if the party is engaging with a group of casters, then it might be better to echo meteor in order to access a second knockdown as a way to gain a tempo advantage.
The build is certainly not without its faults. Activating Elemental Attunement, Fire Attunement, Glyph of Lesser Energy, and Arcane Echo before every encounter ends up taking a lot of time over the course of a full campaign. Arcane Echo’s 20 second recharge starts after the echo effect ends, which meant the party would often have to wait until Arcane Echo recharged before engaging in another encounter. The build does decent damage, but all of the offensive skills are armor respecting, so the build does not scale well against high-level enemies with a high armor rating. And although it is fun to have a near infinite energy pool, if a spell is interrupted then energy used to activate that spell would not be recovered by the attunement enchantments.
Faults aside, the Arcane Echo fire nuker build was still a ton of fun to use for general PvE gameplay, enough so that I stuck with it throughout the entirety of the Factions and Nightfall campaigns. As for the rest of the team, I decided to swap out my party of assorted heros from Eye of the North and the introductory section of Nightfall for a team of seven mercenary heros before starting the Factions campaign. I used a slight variation of the 7 Hero Beginner Team composition since it had a great rating on the PvX wiki, was relatively easy to set up, and did not require hero micromanagement to be effective during nominal gameplay.
After settling on build and team composition I began my Journey through the Factions campaign. Although my younger self owned Factions, I had never progressed much past Kaineng City with any of my previous characters. So unlike Prophesies, Factions was an almost entirely fresh experience for me. The campaign provided a significant difficulty hike from the majority of the content seen in Prophesies, and the story felt much more focused. For this playthrough I arbitrarily decided to side with the Kurziks, but at some point I would like to go back and complete the Luxon branch of the campaign since I did not get to see much of the Jade Sea.
Overall I enjoyed my time with Factions. The campaign was a lot shorter than I was expecting; it took just 12 cooperative missions to complete Factions, which is less than half of the 25 cooperative missions it took to complete Prophesies3. However, I do not think the shorter campaign was necessarily a bad thing. Prophesies meandered all over the place with its plot and had like seven acts, so I can appreciate a tighter campaign where each mission feels relevant to the overarching story. The Afflicted and Shiro’ken were fun enemies to fight. Shiro Tagachi was a decent enough big bad evil guy. The story was entertaining. The combat was engaging. The new professions and skills further increased options in an already excellent skill system. And the new continent of Cantha was incredibly interesting to explore. Factions was a pretty good campaign, and I am glad to have finally seen it through to its conclusion.
Having finished Eye of the North, Prophesies, and Factions, there was only one campaign left for me to complete: Nightfall. Similar to my prior experience with Factions, my younger self owned Nightfall, but did not progress very far into the campaign. I specifically remember the Venta Cemetery mission being the farthest I had ever gotten, which is still relatively early within the Nightfall story. At this point I was comfortable with my build and team composition, so my party absolutely destroyed this campaign. It felt like the entirety of Nightfall was in easy mode up until the party reached the Realm of Torment, and even then the last few missions still felt like they were easier than what was seen towards the end of the Prophesies, Factions, and Eye of the North campaigns. For this playthrough I arbitrarily chose to follow the Master of Whispers branch of the story, but once again I would like to go back and complete the Margrid the Sly missions at some point down the road.
Nightfall was by far my favorite campaign to complete. The Guild Wars team was really hitting their stride at this point, and there is noticeable jump in the quality of writing from Prophesies/Factions to Nightfall. Varesh Ossa is developed much more as a villain than either Vizier Khilbron or Shiro Tagachi, and Abaddon is about as epic of an big bad evil guy as you can get. The continent of Elona feels less geologically diverse than Tyria and Cantha, but Realm of Torment is such an interesting area that Nightfall is now the campaign that I am most excited to revisit and explore in the post-game. Once again I am glad to have finally seen this campaign through to its conclusion.
With Abaddon defeated and the world saved (again) I have finished all of what I would consider to be the main content of Guild Wars. There are still plenty of things to do with this character: areas to explore, quests to complete, hard mode missions to tackle, titles to max, expansion content such as the Guild Wars Beyond storyline and the Bonus Mission Pack to investigate, dungeons such as The Fissure of Woe to clear, and much much more. I have accomplished pretty much everything I wanted to do when I started this journey, but my playthrough has been so much fun that I think will continue adventuring with this character for the foreseeable future.
I have thoroughly enjoyed my time revisiting Guild Wars. I originally embarked on this journey for nostalgia reasons, but after over 180 hours in-game I have to say that Guild Wars holds up really well in the year 2022. Coming back to Guild Wars as an adult has given me a better appreciation of the incredibly unique experience that this game provides, and I am so happy that I decided to introduce Guild Wars into my life again.
According to the Guild Wars store and wiki, Prophesies, Factions, and Nightfall are considered campaigns, and Eye of the North is considered an expansion pack. However, Eye of the North provides content on a similar scale to what one would find in an official campaign, so for the rest of this blog post I am going to include Eye of the North as an honorary campaign in order to avoid having to write out “campaign/expansion” every time I want to talk about the three official campaigns plus Eye of the North.↩
With the help of a very kind player, Migate Man, who assisted me and another player on the last Eye of the North quest, A Time for Heros, using a speed clear build that absolutely tore through the final boss!↩
Technically you can skip over 80% of the missions in Prophesies if you know what you are doing, but for the sake of this blog post I am only going to consider a nominal playthrough of these campaigns.↩