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Survivor: Elona

Higgins: Oh! My! God! Magnum!

Guild Wars Magnum

*waggles eyebrows*

My newest Guild Wars character, an Elonian Elementalist, is now at level 17. One of the goals I’ve set myself for the character is to earn the Survivor title. It’s tricky since it requires reaching level 20 in PvE without dying. To put that challenge into proper perspective, my first character, a Tyrian-born Necromancer, has died 377 times in 229 hours of play.

I tried to earn the title for my Canthan characters (a Mesmer and an Assassin) but embarrassingly, both died during advance defensive tutorials.

My first attempt at achieving the title with an Elonian character also proved unsuccessful. My Paragon bit the dust at level 12 in Mehnati Keys after I made two terrible decisions in quick succession.

So take two.

Now, there are unsportsmanlike ways of becoming a Survivor. You could have someone powerlevel you, log out when things start to look bad or repeatedly farm easy foes in safe areas.

But that is, as they say, not cricket. I’m determined to earn the title the straightforward way by doing missions and quests. Play through the game normally, in other words.

I do, however, intend to make the process as easy as possible without resorting to dubious methods. I’ve got a huge stash of scrolls which provide XP bonuses ranging from 50% to 250% for a limited amount of time and these help a lot. Better XP gain means faster levelling which in turn means less time to achieve the Survivor title. My Elementalist has thus far racked up 111,000 of the 140,600XP I need.

I’ve also got a significant war chest which I’ve invested in items that will make the process a little easier. I upgrade my armour whenever the opportunity presents itself and on top of that, I’ve also added runes and Survivor insignias to the armour to improve my overall health. As a result of this, my Elementalist has more maximum health than my Warrior hero at the same level.

I was sorely tempted to take advantage of the fact players can be ferried (usually for a price) by other players to the Consulate Docks where one can buy the best armour in the game. But again, I’d like to play through the game in a straightforward manner.

Decisions, decisions

When you get right down to it, though, achieving the Survivor title is less about armour and more about canny decision-making. Which groups to engage, which to avoid. When to continue fighting, when to retreat.

To give you an example of bad decision-making, my Paragon died when I engaged an easily avoided tough mob and I compounded that error by attempting to revive my henchmen and heroes instead of escaping. I got hit by a snaring spell and got hammered until my death count read 1.

I find the game is a lot more tense and suspenseful when aiming for the Survivor title. Every combat encounter is a potential deathtrap, every tactical decision becomes critical. This is especially true when you’re in an area you’ve not played in before.

(I completed Nightfall with my Factions-created Mesmer but I had bypassed a lot of areas, quests and missions on Istan.)

I also find the game to be a lot more satisfying when you’re babysitting a Survivor-candidate. It’s immensely gratifying to still see “You have died 0 times” after a hairy quest or mission.

Despite all my precautions and planning, I’ve already reconciled myself with failure. There are about a hundred different ways to die in Guild Wars and I do believe I’ve managed to try them all with seven other characters. I’d certainly be ticked off if my Elementalist dies because of a technical problem like a massive lag spike or a server-disconnect but I think I’d get over it pretty quickly. It’s a game and I play games for fun and the satisfaction of meeting challenges.

Posted in Games, Guild Wars.

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