Guild Wars Nightfall Impressions

The MMOG with no monthly fee gets set for its second new campaign, with two additional professions, a whole new continent, and the ability to recruit companions too.

The massively multiplayer online game genre has grown hugely in the last couple of years, and so, it seems, has our willingness to pay monthly subscription fees. But Guild Wars, released in April 2005, went against that particular trend and has been highly successful ever since. The Factions edition followed in April of this year, and the third campaign is due for release in October. It's called Nightfall, and we got to take a look at it in a behind-closed-doors demo at Leipzig's Game Convention.

The first thing to note about Nightfall is that--like the other Guild Wars titles--it can stand alone or be combined with its predecessors. In other words, you don't have to own the original Guild Wars to be able to play Nightfall, but if you do you'll be adding a good chunk of new content to your collection.

The first headline additions to the game are undoubtedly the two new professions that you can choose to undertake. They are the dervish and the paragon, and more details can be found in previous GameSpot coverage.

What's more, you will be tasked with the exploration of a whole new continent, called Elona, which, in terms of environment, will have a North African feel to it. Sure enough, our look at one of the tutorial quests for the game was set in a sandy yet temperate zone, in which the player needed to complete a series of trials set in a massive stone temple.

The trials themselves consisted mainly of recovering stone tablets and placing them on pedestals to open a door to the next phase of the quest. However, something new to Guild Wars is an increased sense of adventure-based immersion, and you will face several new challenges.

These include traps, and we saw both crushing pillars and sideways spurts of flame, which meant that timing of movement was essential. There will also be various riddles to solve throughout the game, particularly in the 20 main story quests (although there will be plenty of other side missions to complete as well). One example of this new puzzle content involved four stone tablets that needed to be placed on four different pedestals. Each tablet could be recovered by killing certain ghosts within the temple, but given that you can carry only one tablet at a time, any tablet placed on a pedestal for any length of time would be stolen away by a respawning ghost. Therefore, you'll need to think of a way around that particular situation before you can proceed.

The tutorial level culminated in a boss fight with a particularly nasty-looking creature. Here again, new ideas have been added to give existing Guild Wars players a new challenge. In this case, the boss itself changes form throughout the fight. Each time the boss changes, it alters not only its appearance, but also its profession, meaning that standard profession tactics won't work for very long. In this way, ArenaNet hope to force players, and groups of players, to think more tactically, thus providing a more interesting and varied challenge.

The story missions will each take between 40 minutes and a couple of hours to complete in theory and will pose a challenge to both beginners and veterans of the game. The level cap won't be increased, so if you're already sporting a level-20 avatar, you'll be pleased to know there will still be plenty to keep you occupied.

The other big addition to the Guild Wars series in Nightfall is the use of heroes. These are companions to your main character that will accompany you in your adventures and follow basic commands. You may have up to three in total, and you can assign them instructions such as attack, defend, and stay back.

Heroes will be fully customisable, down to the equipment they use and the professions they follow. What this means is that the top-end dungeons can now be attempted by just two players, each with a main character and three heroes, totalling up to the maximum of eight characters. This will hopefully make it easier not just to assemble groups for the dungeons, but also to take the pressure away from some of the more role-playing-minded gamers who would prefer to dally a little more and take in the story.

But whilst Nightfall's storyline will have a distinctly player-versus-environment (PVE) feel to it, the heroes will make for some interesting changes to the player-versus-player (PVP) side of things.

For a start, it will now be possible to take on other players with your heroes fighting alongside you, meaning that in effect one-on-one combat will become four-on-four, and battles will have a slight real-time-strategy flavour to them. It should also bring a whole load of additional options in this area, when you consider that instead of thinking about equipping just your own character suitably, you'll need to do the same for three others too, and that should give you plenty to think about.

What's even more interesting is that your initial choice of hero will inform your following choices so that some potential companions may become available--or unavailable--depending on who's already in the team. This should add a degree of replayability to the game as well.

We've come to expect a pretty high standard of visuals from the Guild Wars series to date, and Nightfall will contain further visual enhancements. Tweaks have been made to add more-realistic water and lighting, although system requirements for the game will remain identical to those of the previous titles, which is great news for players with older machines.

The game will ship in standard and collectors' editions, the latter of which will include not just the game itself, but also a making-of DVD and a soundtrack CD featuring additional music by composer Jeremy Soule. Both versions are due for release in late October, although it's possible to buy a prerelease package from September 15 that will give you a few extra goodies once the game's out. These bonuses include an extra character slot, a strategy guide, and in-game surprises for the two new character classes.

We will have more on Nightfall in the run-up to its release, so stay tuned.

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Discussion

61 comments
Messiah925
Messiah925

This game is alright i might get it, im playing WoW at the moment but im might try this new MMO

Messiah925
Messiah925

[This message was deleted at the request of the original poster]

Snoflame
Snoflame

I got Guild Wars Prophesies and Factions, and i have to say, Factions was a bit of a dissapointment. BUT!!! When i played the Nightfall event, it had a good feel to it. The Hero-idea is very good, i liked to play with a semi-controllable character. The new proffessions are WAY better than the assassin and ritualist, those really sucked. The environnement was very impressive (Factions is a big city, a dark forest and a sea turned into jade) The music changes when you encounter enemies, thats good too. If you found Factions lame or boring (like overcode) i dont blame you. Nightfall is a must-have for guild wars fans!

overcode
overcode

Lame. Factions was a rip off... This series is gonna just get worse with Nightfall.

sandningaara
sandningaara

Sounds great, can't wait to get it. Might be worth it to get collector's edition, and hopefully it comes out when it is supposed to, not later.

Fxdm
Fxdm

I'm looking forward to the new heros concept, it sounds awesome.

thundera1178
thundera1178

I am really looking forward to NIGHTFALL., but I am doubtful on the 2 new characters. They somehow seem to be refinements and mixtures of the existing classes. I will know in a couple of weeks on how unique they actually are. Fingers crossed!!! If this is the final segment, I hope that they pack in more exploration maps than prophecies and factions.

Icekxg
Icekxg

also, it would be nice if they added a "duel" button while in town so that you could challenge players to one on one fights or challenge their whole party instead of just random battles.

Icekxg
Icekxg

I love the sound of environmental traps, that could add a lot more strategy into pvp than there already is. Now ppl will actually have to learn where to kite.

keizer0
keizer0

Can't wait, I liked prophecies (Factions wasn't that good), but Nightfall sounds much more challenging. Hope PvE is much more challenging

LordDeArnise
LordDeArnise

There was a sort of need to level up Factions characters quickly since some of the missions have them teaming up with Prophecies characters, and to allow players with only Factions to catch up with those who have both chapters. Nightfall looks very promising, as both the Dervish and the Paragon have some good PvE capabilities, especially since the Dervish have AoE attacks. The use of companions looks promising too, as sometimes, there are places in PvE where you want to have control of your henchies, especially your monk henchies.

Scott_the_Snow
Scott_the_Snow

The only feature I miss from WoW is that auction house. But..in the end the gold perfect weapons dont really matter that much. Maybe a 2% advantage over a new PvP character? Nothing compared to a nice selection of skills. I really like that they are trying to make the PVE more challenging and varied. Hey...and no skill jumps over lava either.

arnavdesai
arnavdesai

Cant wait for it! Bought Factions online and was kinda dissapointed but NIghtfall seems to add so much more!! I love the idea of incorporating puzzles into GW. It will be fun to discuss them with groups and your guild though guildwiki will soon spoil it in a month ;-)

blueranark
blueranark

Some friends and I created a guild before the Sorrow's Furnace expansion. We always had a lot of fun fooling around and stuff before the release of Factions. We were so hyped about it until we actually played it, which became a big disappointment. Everyone in the guild, including myself, practically quit Guild Wars. All of us agreed that we had more fun going to the movies than playing Factions.

peeviness
peeviness

Wtf is up with the level cap? I had a level 20, but once you play WoW you never go back.

MatthewShield
MatthewShield

it may be annyoing but its better than waiting while your PC downloads a whole new expansion for guild wars off the internet for hours on end, and anway how else do you think they get the funds to make the freakin game.

peeweeshift
peeweeshift

i hate how mmorpg try to add so many expansions. Its why i hated everquest after a while. Don't get me wrong i love guild wars and factions but i dont want to pay again for another expansion:( its just an opinion though.

Ariolander
Ariolander

Dark Fire is correct with that one. Anyone who suggests that they increase the level cap is a fool. Beyond unbalancing the PVP gameplay it would turn GW from a more tactical game requiring careful planning of your characters and builds along with your teammates to a grind level/equipment based game. But I would agree. Factions seem more PVP centered and its PvE could ahve used some work. I am really hyped about what is upcoming with Nightfall. Thes cusomizable Henchie 'hero's add a whole nother depth to the game not only planning for yourself but 3 others aswell. That is assuming the AI has improved... 'cause the AI sometimes ticks me off...

Dark_Fire11
Dark_Fire11

Increasing the level cap would be absolutely horrid. Think about it. PvP would become highly unbalanced for the first couple of months, the game would rely on level instead of skills, a level X(>20) could solo run any of the old missions, and most of the old skills would be ruined. No, what they need to do is come up with a clever use of skill points. Something that will make us REALLY want to get the EXP after level 20. Perhaps some endgame quests that require Skill points? I don't know. However, that brings me to the one thing that bugged me with Factions: After you beat Shiro, thats it. There aren't any quests continueing the storyline. And there was so much potential to do so, with the Kurzicks and the Luxons at war and all. And what about the damage Shiro caused when he returned? Doesn't that have to be undone aswell? I'm hoping Nightfall will have stuff like this, as it IS made by the prophecies team. The first two games were great, and I'm sure the third will be the same way.

comthitnuong
comthitnuong

i dont see the point in another guild wars

kaim_i
kaim_i

it sound exciting but it really really boring after 2-3 month

greg_v750
greg_v750

i agree with kruegersc4 but i'm saying that they MUST increase the level cup because it's getting a little boring for me... ... and the bad (always for me) is that i love that game very much!! btw it would be very cool if they improved a little bit more the graphics

_Sam_
_Sam_

no monthly fee Excellent!

kruegersc4
kruegersc4

Hmm... I still think they should increase the level cap by at least 5 levels every expansion... It would give you more to do and more of a variety of players.

MightyCowM
MightyCowM

Sounds like a nice addition of features. I may break down and get GW after waiting all this time.

devilzrule27
devilzrule27

I've been meaning to buy the origanal. Looks like a cool game to play. it doesnt have monthly fee's so im always down with free anything.

winnazdaluza
winnazdaluza

@merl57 Henchies aren't all that bad.... I hope you know how frustrating the Zen daijun mission in factions is!!! newbies almost always run itno the miasma and make togo die and if not that, they fail to target one opponent and attack a whole crowd of afflicted in disorganized manners and in few moments evryone is asking for rez and has a heck of amount of DP. I always hench zen daijun missions when i'm low level coz henchies will alwsys attack what your attacking .I sometimes wish i could do that on AB and not have a crowd of kurzik allies who are just there to be foder for luxons(that's why i rarely AB these days -coz strategy gets thrown out the window all to often)

nitrog
nitrog

Merl57 "OK well heres my problem. HEROS ARE HENCHMEN HENCHMEN ARE BRAINLESS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I can see myself failing quests and missions cause my hereos are being retarted. I hope theres is a lot of room for decision making when it comes to bringing heroes. I wonder if you can store stuff with your heroes or things like that. I think its a good idea but it might get out of hand if the AI remains as stupid as Alesia the Healer who likes to die a lot. I do want the extra character slot and hopefully A-net doesn't screw up like they did last time releaseing collectors edition months later." Ok calm down bro, hench are only retarded when your retarded enough to overstretch there use. besides you should of read more closely, it says you will have commands for the heros like defend attack ect. makeing it so the healer doesn't spend time and mana burning away some random monster rather then healing.

Merl57
Merl57

OK well heres my problem. HEROS ARE HENCHMEN HENCHMEN ARE BRAINLESS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I can see myself failing quests and missions cause my hereos are being retarted. I hope theres is a lot of room for decision making when it comes to bringing heroes. I wonder if you can store stuff with your heroes or things like that. I think its a good idea but it might get out of hand if the AI remains as stupid as Alesia the Healer who likes to die a lot. I do want the extra character slot and hopefully A-net doesn't screw up like they did last time releaseing collectors edition months later.

cowtrix
cowtrix

what are they going to do for the following guild wars though! they can't just keep adding new proffesions... maybe they could do a complete overhaul of the proffesions system to make it completely flexible... hmmm... I wonder if mounts, proffesions and crafting have a place in the guild wars saga... I wouldn't mind a fishing mini game, or even some kind of virtual gambling (Tengu racing anyone?)

Hikiera
Hikiera

What can I say. I love you Guild Wars.

Tuchaka
Tuchaka

sweet, now if we dont want our henchies to attack they wont ;D, and beiag able to custimise them as if they were in your partie, YAY

Maraxusofkelds
Maraxusofkelds

OMG customizable henchies! Now i will finally have someone to use my spare weapons!

aerosmith549
aerosmith549

i cant wait for this, it looks so awesome.

Archebius
Archebius

It causes me physical pain to read these comments...no one seems to be able to spell correctly...no one uses proper grammar... Yeah, NF will be awesome, need to get my 5 characters up to level 20 before then....

FRoStYisGoD
FRoStYisGoD

can't wait for this game GW is a damn fine game

7_armageddon_7
7_armageddon_7

Nightfall looks great! The new classes are certainly cool.

beldeti
beldeti

heroes > henchmen Great to hear that GW:N will have commands for Heroes, much like that Star Wars FPS which gives you 3 (bomber, sniper and i forget) commandos to order around using the F keys :) Guess I'll get Nightfall first with the money I'm saving up for Factions...

dragon247uk
dragon247uk

It is good to see that arenanet are sticking by their vow and keeping guild wars as a free online game. With new heroes that you command i will finally be able to ditch those retard henchmen once and for all!!!!!!

randomlysidd
randomlysidd

w00t cant wait its going to be wicked better than factions which in my opinion was terrible but i dont think it will beat the original that was great because absolutely everything was new (obviously) and that made it all exciting when you found a area or enemy or whatever

jazilla
jazilla

I am happy to see how much variation that they are willing to add in this series. It's really refreshing to be a part of a series that evolves with little or no opposition from the fan base. Sure, we all have our mundane criticisms, but I haven't ever felt anything towards these games that made me want to stop playing them. Kudo's developers!