Campaign Contributions

September 20, 2010 at 1:56 am | Posted in Guild Wars, mmorpg | 19 Comments
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After finally getting my account back after 5 days, even though I technically resolved the issue myself within an hour of seeing that someone was attempting to steal it, I logged in. I stumbled across Tigerfeet and Chaz from Relics Of Orr and we decided to play a bit.

The session itself was normal enough, but what was really fun was talking in vent about whatever happened to come to mind.

One of our discussions was about preferences for campaign. Suffice it to say there was a range of sentiments on the issue.

With all this difference in opinion on what shouldn’t be a very difficult to determine outcome, I thought a little discussion about why I prefer Prophecies and why others don’t, might be in order. Although I think I’ll stay away from more technical aspects.

As long as we’re judging campaigns of Guild Wars against each other, I thought I’d try to measure them by the only things that are reasonably different. Storyline, setting, voice acting, missions, quests, leveling, and armour.

Spoilers.

I had the other box, with the dude.

Prophecies

I think Prophecies has a lot going for it.

The story is pretty wide ranging for most of the campaign. A lot of things happen and there are some pretty good twists. In Kryta alone you deliver refugees to safety, team up with the White Mantle to defend against the undead, and then chase after the Shining Blade when they kidnap the chosen. All before you realize the White Mantle are evil jerks. Prophecies always has you on the verge of another story, kind of like a soap in some respects. Yet, it’s one of it’s best features. The story is grandiose and epic.

The settings range as well. Ascalon as a starting area is ideal. The pastoral, picturesque, cottage country feeling of the entire area appealed to so many players, maybe people permanently keep a character there. The shock the change in setting presents when leaving is seconded only by the story itself. Once you’re through the apocalyptic setting, there are frigid mountains, tropical landscapes, hot jungles, desert wastes, and volcanic scorched earth. There is no wider breadth of setting in Guild Wars.

The voice acting is pretty good. There are few moments where I’m outright dismayed or taken out of the moment. Some of the voice actors give memorable performances, and generally I think, for the time, it was better than average.

I much prefer most Prophecies missions to other campaigns. The completion bonus often felt more like a fun easter egg than an extra chore. The bonus often contains some kind of mini-story that compliments the main mission.

I think there are more memorable quests in Prophecies than other campaigns too. The Titan quests, Althea’s Ashes, Verata, that damned The Falls quest, and I’m sure people can name many others.

Leveling is slow. Damn slow. It takes a while, by the time you reach Kryta you’re lucky if you’re level 12. And since quests really start to thin out after Kryta leveling doesn’t get any better.

I think beginner sets of armour are clearly the worst in Prophecies. Yet there are some very classic sets of prestige and max level armour. The mesmers female Rogue is absolutely one of my favourite armour sets in any game. However I do think there is only a small number of these.

Nika you sexy bitch

Factions

Clearly the factions storyline is pretty bad. We are introduced far too quickly to Plague victims which we have to put up with until the end of the storyline. It’s quite short and truncated. There are plot holes the size of Arah which are only explained after the fact (in another campaign). I don’t feel like for a second that Shiro is a well explained villain. Nor is the war between the Luxons and Kurzicks ever truly explained. Two great conflicts and neither is justified at all. Another big problem is that you have to kill Shiro, and then kill him again 4 missions later. Tight plotting. Let’s not forget the divine intervention of weirdly gothic ghosts/emissaries that revive you from certain death even though you just defeated everything. I know it made me feel heroic.

There is no worse voice acting. There are plenty of bad lines in each campaign, that’s part of the problem of having just so much voice work, however I don’t think any campaign was as consistently bad as Factions. Part of that is the writing of course, but I will never be able to forget the hauntingly awful refrain of “Beware, the Harvest, Ceremony!”

The missions are almost entirely time based. While that can provide a challenge, at the same time it proves for the most part to be an annoyance. However I won’t throw the missions under the bus for that reason alone, in fact, there are a few bright spots. Eternal Grove’s mission is almost entirely stationary. Given the right conditions it can be fun. Vizunah Square and Unwaking Waters are a great opportunity for up to 16 people to participate in a group event, that’s the largest group size in the Guild Wars universe. My big complaint is the number of missions, a paltry 12, 2 being on the starter island and one being a short straight up boss fight.

I don’t remember many memorable quests. Aside from the fact that skills were removed as quest rewards for this campaign there isn’t anything particularly interesting to mention. Most quests after Shing Jea essentially are to get you from point A to point B. A couple of quests that involve lore and Canthan guilds are interesting. For a game with guild in the title there are precious few references to guild culture. One quest I specifically remember involved choosing to poison yourself and complete your quest. Quite challenging if you chose that option.

Leveling is quick and to the point. Streamlined in the extreme. 5 low level zones and two missions on Shing Jea Island. By the time you leave if you’re not level 18 or so you are probably rushing too much. By comparison Prophecies takes dozens of zones to do the same thing. The training regime put in place to educate people about playing their classes is a vast improvement as well, although it really takes a certain amount of studious attention to take it all in.

Armour tends to be a little more solid all the way through although I’d say the same about the high level armour sets. They are quality but they’re a little light on numbers.

She looks well dressed for a Canadian snow storm

Nightfall

Story in Nightfall is a lot like a bad action movie sequel. They dial up all the numbers to 11, and slightly ruin the previous films. That compelling villain from the earlier movie? Well it turns out he was really under the control of this even worse bad guy and everything you knew is wrong! And the stakes are even higher because if this bad guy wins the whole world blows up! There are a couple of points I like, like having to work with a particularly bad guy just so you can save the world, and I suppose I like fighting a god.

While I do love most of the setting, it can get a little old. It varies of course, but by and large there is a lot of arid, dry, African savannah, grasslands, deserts, etc. Even the Torment is just African landscapes in purple. You do get to a few unique spots but there too far between.

Voice acting in Nightfall returns to a solid footing, perhaps even an improvement over Prophecies. Koss sort of stands out a little more than most characters with his booming bass. There’s a lot more for the actors to do in this campaign too, and of course a few false notes.

Nightfall tries to split the difference of Factions and Prophecies missions, with timed bonus’ in some missions and more complicated bonus’ in others. As a result though I think they lose originality and charm. Where prophecies had side stories and alternate objectives, Nightfall has side tasks that require no story behind them. The timed missions are a challenge I guess, but the most challenging missions aren’t timed.

Quests are memorable but not necessarily for the right reasons. They’re even more about getting you from point A to point B here, but they’re also associated with gaining new Hero characters. Quests are a little more evenly dispersed in Nightfall but often feel pointless. They’re there to further the lore, instead of providing a fun challenge, good story, and meaningful reward.

Leveling also tries to split the difference of Prophecies and Factions. It’s a lot closer to Factions, in that you should be nearly max level by the time you leave the island.

I think the number of quality armour sets is best in Nightfall. Sure some people don’t like the fish armour, but I like it for it’s uniqueness. There are more sets here for my characters than in any other campaign.

Jora The Explorer

Eye of the North

I’m including Eye of the North because it’s such a large part of the content of Guild Wars. Sure it’s an expansion, I know that. Nobody starts here, but as long as it has so many other qualities in common I think it deserves mention.

The storyline is kind of thrown together. We all know that Arenanet was working on another campaign called Utopia, and suddenly had a change of heart and decided to work on Guild Wars 2. Utopias assets were thrown into Eye of the North and what resulted was kind of a mish mash. Various short stories relating to different races tying together a little too quickly in the end against a not very impressive end boss. Taken in short the three stories are too short to feel epic or engaging. Together they’re a little slapped together.

The settings are generally good. Much more detail, unique locations, interesting environmental effects. They definitely took what they learned previously and poured it into EotN zones.

I think the missions are a little less repeatable than other missions actually. In the previous campaigns I can only think of a few missions that offer no replay value (Tihark Orchard) but in EotN it seems like there are plenty. G.O.L.E.M. is pretty short and boring, sunk even more so by the cheat that truncates the first half of it. Against the Charr is also kind of easy and not terribly fun. Blood Washes Blood is a pain in the ass due solely to the fact that actually getting to the starting point takes like 10 minutes at least. Just to start the damn thing.

Quests have pretty good rewards here, and there are a few memorable quest lines. I kind of wish there were more, and it strikes me there is a severe lack in some areas but otherwise its okay. Quests are definitely mostly focused on getting you into dungeons instead of playing around in zones. One quest per dungeon is kind of a lost opportunity as well.

Leveling is irrelevant.

Obviously armour here is pretty much the best in Guild Wars, unfortunately there are only a few sets.

Conclusion

Prophecies is long, but good. Factions is short and sub-par. Nightfall is their love child. Eye of the North is a mish mash of everything.

So that’s my opinion on the differences between campaigns. They’re my opinions so I don’t expect everyone to agree. Feel free to offer insights of your own, disagree, comment on differences I haven’t taken note of etc.

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19 Comments

  1. lol congrats on having the account back.

    for PvE i like prophecies campaign. while most of my guildies don’t.

    when start playing Guild wars it was already the release of Factions. and i can get a hand on Factions Box first. i finally got a copy of prophecies special edition ,after a few weeks of searching and waiting the delivery (it was imported).

    i’m not sure if i can deliver my thought out right. (my english is not quite at advance level. lol)

    i like Prophecies story. Eotn and Nightfall. The story line that giving, like.. a Major event. Just doesn’t feel like it for Factions.

    i mean, yes the Jade wind nuke almost the whole continent, but i don’t know… it just doesn’t feel right. and the Voice act (some of them) always give me a big LOL.

    back to prophecies, what i lke about this one is not only the main story line, but also the quests and side quests. these stuff giving me a lot of fun exploring and such, lots of stuffs to do, get the pig back to the owner, deliver the blanket supply. the quests are kind of goes along with the story, before & after. they give me a lot of information about the game world (NF quests too).

    i kind of lean toward the good story telling…
    so my like rank will be :

    1st Prophecies Good story, slow pace, and emotional bit (pre-searing-post).

    2nd Eotn fun with dungeon challange (but after playing a couple times it become ez), HM, story after prophecies, more things to collect.

    3nd Nightfall fighting a fallen god in hell (lol),

    4th Factions Quick ‘n Ez. fun with AB JQ FA

    and other stuffs on my mind, may take a whole day for me to put it in English.

    so that’s all for now.

    • Yeah I agree with you on most of that. I think prophecies felt like you could go in different directions off the beaten path, more so than in other campaigns. one of its best features that I didn’t really get into.

  2. For me Prof is the one, my wife hates it because she believes the story is totally fragmented. She thinks you never really wrap up any of the stories, you never defeat the white mantle, never complete the refugues town, and each part of the story jumps you.

    For me I love it; but because of the Char and presearing. You get to wonder around this lovely area makes where u friends and find beautiful spots. I’d love to be able to fish here, and hunt. Those dam Char destory everything and poor Althea. I love that bit.
    The popups however nearly kill this area, dont do popups.
    Past that its a great story and enjoyale with missions that extend the story.
    I feel they never really got it that right again.
    EOTN was promising, I was hoping they were going to go back and expand on the original but they expanded north choosing not to touch the original – a missed oportunatey to prove they knew what was right with prof. I still think the fluked it, everything since has been below it.

    • Although prophecies is my favourite, I do think they gradually improved on most things. Graphics, armour, sound, structure, etc.

      I can see why nightfall is some peoples favourite.

  3. I agree with you in pretty much every regard except for armor. I really prefer Factions armor over most of the others and found the majority of Nightfall armors to be terrible. There are a few exceptions of course, but on the whole, I think I have only 3-4 sets of Nightfall armor that I have purchased for their appearance rather than necessity (i.e. My Derv hasn’t left NF and I don’t have a Para).

    • there are some sets of armour in nf that I think are just great. canthan armour is ok in most respects, but i think they got more ambitious in nf.

  4. Pretty much agree with you on most things. Guess I’d rate them in order as:

    Prophecies
    Nightfall
    EoTN
    Factions

    Specific things I like:

    Prophecies: Pre-Searing, the later missions, the variety of areas, War In Kryta

    Factions: the music, the armor sets, the Kurzick and Luxon areas (but NOT their character models or story lines)

    Nightfall: heroes, graphics especially Vabbi, armor sets

    EoTN: the area designs which are some of my favorites, more heroes, having The Brain (Vekk) as one of my party 🙂

    • argh, i forgot to talk about the factions setting. brief run down for anyone that cares.

      shing jea i think is most like pre searing. the city is by and large terrible. if it were all like wajun bazaar or bukdek, i’d be happy, but they’re mostly like the undercity. slums, ghettos, filth encrusted sewers. the jade sea and the echovald are great until you’re thrust back into the city.

  5. I was just having the “which campaign do you like best” conversation with my better half last night, and I would have to go with Prophecies as well. Although it has its flaws and played like a bad soap opera at times (we’re double-crossed and just plain wrong so many different times in the plot: see “Nice Job Breaking It, Hero” from TVTropes), I never got as attached to a game world or its characters before or since.

    I also liked their way of completing missions best (evident by my only having the Protector of Tyria title), and that you could get the bonus for a mission independent of the main objective. It added to replayability, IMO, that you could essentially “play” the same mission but do two completely different tasks, often in two completely different areas.

    Factions is one of those stories I fell in love with from the cinematic trailer, and have spent the rest of the time beating my head against in game-time because the actual game story in no way measures up to the emotions the trailer stirred up in me. I despise playing through Factions missions, and I hated the way the content was gated so that you couldn’t go *anywhere* without having completed the requisite quest, kissed someone’s butt, and had Togo or Mhenlo tag along and show their papers on your behalf. I’ll just re-watch the trailer rather than play through that campaign again, thanks.

    I agree that Nightfall is the love child of the previous two campaigns, and I personally felt it had the strongest plot, pacing, and characterizations, though I didn’t connect with it or its characters nearly as well as with Prophecies, and maybe that’s because I’d already given my heart to Gwen et al. I like the pacing of this campaign the best, though, and heroes really can’t be beat. Despite Prophecies being my favorite, the above reasons are why I refer newcomers to Nightfall rather than the original campaign. I guess I worry that if I don’t, they – like me – will stop playing GW when they get to pre-Searing, and unlike me, won’t return to see how it all turns out.

    At least with Nightfall you don’t get to the depressing Realm of Torment until 3/4 of the way through the story.

    I can’t speak for people who cut their teeth on Factions or Nightfall, but I can’t see how EOTN can have much resonance for them without having played through Prophecies, even though Prophecies isn’t a requirement for EOTN.

    • “I guess I worry that if I don’t, they – like me – will stop playing GW when they get to pre-Searing”

      And of course by that I mean POST-Searing. If they don’t like pre-Searing I don’t have anything nice to say to them.

    • I thought nf was much easier to connect with on a character level than the previous campaigns, due in large part to the quests to get your heroes, and their involvement in the story. There are a lot of heroes though, too many I’d say, and it takes away from the cohesiveness of the story over all.

      i feel similarly about some of the factions missions if I’m there in HM to get the bonus. otherwise i try to not let it bother me.

  6. I like how every campaign feel completely difference.

    • storyline and visually thats true. They certainly had a sort of cultural direction that was different from one another.

      After a while though they just seem the same to me.

  7. Before the add-on came out, my order was:
    Prophecies (best)
    Nightfall
    Factions (least)

    But things have changed a bit since then:

    Prophecies – my gf likes it the least of the four games, she thinks the story is utterly horrible, bloated and unbelivable. Like bad patchwork.
    I still like it the most of the four. I used to think (and still do) that ANet got most of the things they did almost perfect. There were some issues, but bye and large I thought it was very very excellent.
    I personally don’t like the mission bonuses. For me it feels to much like unnecessary or unrelated filler material.
    And with every new game they added stuff I found annoying and unnecessary – bad game design decissions. One of the reasons I’m a bit nervous about GW2. Was prophecies just a random hit *despite* ANet’s abilities or was it a hit *because of* it?!

    Factions is my gf’s favourite and for me by now a close second behind prophecies.
    I like the mission system the best: no unrelated side quests as bonuses. Instead a measure of how well you performed in that mission. And since you don’t need to do missions on master to continue I consider it an interesting/nice feature.
    The thing I dislike the most is the cut-scene at the end of vizunah square when evilguy shows up and does what he does.
    And those 2 cooperate missions are also not to my liking: You either end up with henchies on the other side (okayish) or humans (ranging from genuine fun to “osnap, can I have henchies plix”, since AI > noI)

    Nightfall is the bottom of the barrel for me (and nearly so for the gf): Those 3 or 5 roadblocks for native chars are barely acceptable the first time one plays nightfall but an utter annoyance the second time thru.
    Plus it has some of the most annoying NPCs in Tyria: I *so* want to she-dog slap Kormir until her stupid head falls of. My #1 most hated character in GW bar none.
    Plus some of the decisions the game makes for me are aggravating: I *really* wanna follow Zed’s suggestion for that short time ally in the desolation. No, I do NOT wanna let him go, thankyouvermuch.
    Heroes: BAD design idea. Badbadbad. Imo.
    Nightfalls also contains some of the worst-designed missions in my book. The main culprit being gate of madness. I’m of the opinion that when Mr. Ascended-Weh no Su-Shiro&Lich killer takes a balanced party, he should be able to manage every mission. Not necessarily on master, but be able to beat it. And having a long-winded mission (where you potentially can breeze thru with a normal meta team build) and still get your ar$e handed back in the end because even meta HM builds aren’t good enough – then there’s something foul.

    EotN (#2 for my gf, barely better than NF for me) is, well, barely better than NF for me.
    The main repeatable content (dungeons) is so unappetizing for me that I’ve done it only twice. And the second time only as a favour for the gf. Meh!
    The PvE only skills are ANet’s unconditional surrender to skill balance issues (and yes, 90 different profession combinations and over 1000 available skills don’t make life easy for a skill balancer – but some of those problems could’ve been foreseen (and were by players)).

    tl;dr 😉

    • I never liked any of the gating in gw, and I’m really hoping there’s a lot less of it in gw2. as of right now the only obvious gate seems to be one to get to orr.

      i agree to a point about GoM. i recently took a real team of real people with a mostly balanced build and got the HM bonus, and I think the difference is really just bringing a guild group of human beings.

      some of the dungeons of eotn are fun, others are terrible. I have little more to say about it.

      I’m not sure why anyone would prefer factions over other campaigns but to each his own.

      • Ha! Having 8 competent human players changes everything. I remember the good olden times when I was GvGing … *sigh*
        Please excuse an old man for babbling …
        But seriously: to complete my inequality from above: realI > AI > noI
        Having some decent human teammates is the best and you can do so much in that case, yeah. I never did GoM w/ more than 1 other human, so I haven’t testes that yet. 😉

        😀 As I said before: Not too long ago I would’ve shared your sentiment about Factions.

    • for me, i think any mission and dungeon can be done with a right combo of skills.

      at a several tries, you will finally find the combo to use for each mission/dungeon. it can even be done with Heroes&Henchies with a little micro manage (flagging and manual control heroes’ skills, but always better with real players).

      try those dungeon and elite missions a few more time. they’re quite challenging 🙂
      and it feel good when you can complete it, and even feeling better when u just breeze through HM elite mission. I’m not an ecto or item farmer I’d just stop doing those mission once i have a feeling they’re not challenging anymore. (but maybe just doing it with friends occasionally for a change)

  8. Oh old times, pre-hardmode was certainly best. Getting a mission done was an achivement. I miss that.

    • remember when thunderhead keep was a roll of the dice?


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