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PvE on auto

Guild Wars: Eye of the North: The Borrower
ArenaNet implemented Hard Mode last week for its recently released Guild Wars expansion, Eye of the North, together with a whole bunch of skill changes.

Leaving aside the question of why Hard Mode wasn’t included at the release of GW:EN, I’m delighted it’s here. The challenge is welcome since it forces players to consider tactics and fine-tune builds.

GW:EN in Normal Mode has its challenging moments but I felt I was playing the expansion on auto for the most part. My Heroes and henchmen were doing most of the work for me and I was left pointing and directing. C-spacing, the kids call it.

I sometimes livened things up by experimenting with my Mesmer’s build. At one point, I came up with a build I called “The Borrower.” Revolving around the Mesmer skill, Signet of Illusions, the build let me cast Sandstorm, Light of Deliverance, have a level 26 Flesh Golem as a personal bodyguard and use a foe’s spell against it. It was hardly the most effective of builds or the most efficient but by golly, it was hellacious fun.

Better healing through death

Of late, I’ve also been experimenting with my Hero/henchman team build. I linked to this Hero team build a few weeks ago but I haven’t had a chance to try it myself until recently. Now that I have tried it out, I’m going to strongly recommend it to PvE players who play exclusively with Heroes and henchmen.

It’s been called PvE on auto and in some circumstances it really does feel like that.

Even in Hard Mode.

The Hero team build is highly unconventional in that it relies on three Necro Heroes, something that’s unheard of in a typical Hero/henchmen set-up.

Why three Necros?

Well, this Hero team build is built around the Necro’s primary attribute, Soul Reaping, which provides an energy boost to the Necro whenever something dies in the vicinity. That something could be a foe, a minion, an NPC or even one of your own party members. This enables the Necro to keep on casting spells even during protracted battles like those found in Hard Mode.

Hard Mode battles tend to last longer because the foes are faster and hardier. This is a problem because Monks, the healer of choice for most parties, will eventually deplete their energy and when the healer is out of energy, the party is in serious trouble. You can compensate for this by equipping Monk Heroes with Inspiration skills but energy will still be a problem.

Enter the Necro healer and Soul Reaping.


I initially lacked Rip Enchantments and Weapon of Remedy but that didn’t matter as I breezed through the Lost Treasure of King Hundar dungeon quest in Hard Mode.
Guild Wars: Eye of the North: Chest of Wintersday Past
There were a couple of deaths and a near wipe in a particularly difficult spot but considering I had never done that dungeon run before, it was acceptable. For all intents and purposes it was PvE on auto.

So, killer Hero build? Well, not in every situation.

I later tried the build out for the Crystal Method quest with dramatically different results. The party was in trouble even before it had set foot in the dungeon itself because the dino-inspired foes in Sparkfly Swamp proved to be deadly in Hard Mode. The Necro/Rit healer racked up a significant death penalty as foes immediately zeroed in on her.

Things quickly went from bad to worse once the party was in Bloodstone Caves with death penalties all around. Between the pop-ups, the poisonous turrets, tough mobs and an almost ineffective healer, the party kept wiping out.

So, not quite PvE on auto.

But make no mistake, the build is very, very good.

(Don’t just take my word for it. See what others have had to say about it.)

If you’re keen on filling your Hall of Monuments’ Monument of Fellowship with GW:EN Heroes, try using this build for Glint’s Challenge. I tried it out in Normal Mode and hardly raised a sweat as I earned my Cloth of the Brotherhood Hero armour upgrade.
Guild Wars: Eye of the North: Glint's Challenge

Posted in Guild Wars.

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