Guide to character creation

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This guide provides a detailed explanation of the process of character creation in Guild Wars. Creating a character consists of the following steps:

  1. Select character type
  2. Choose starting campaign
  3. Choose primary profession
  4. Decide character sex
  5. Customize appearance
  6. Customize body
  7. Decide character name

Selecting character type[edit]

There are two types of characters you can create:

See each of the above two articles for a more detailed explanation of how they differ.

In short, a roleplaying character starts off at level 1 and is provided with only minimum basic armor and a starter weapon. Such characters are expected to go through the campaign storyline to earn experience and gain levels. This eventually allows the character to gain access to all PvE and PvP content Guild Wars has to offer (except the use of the PvP Equipment panel).

A PvP-only character on the other hand, is for those who don't like to spend time leveling and want to just get into the action, or just want to experience PvP battles earlier than a PvE character would. A PvP character starts off at the maximum level (20), with weapons and armor which are fully customizable using the PvP Equipment panel. Weapon upgrades, runes, skills, and heroes are all available, provided they have already been unlocked. PVP-only characters cannot access any of the roleplaying content such as storyline missions or PvE zones (except for the PvE version of the Isle of the Nameless); they are limited to player versus player battles.

Prior to the introduction of skill and equipment templates, the creation of a PvP-only character was marked differently from the creation of a roleplaying character but they are now similar. Unless otherwise noted, the following sections apply to either character type.

Choose starting campaign[edit]

Choose a starting campaign

This is the first choice you will have to make. The starting campaign affects your subsequent options - the available professions that can be selected and the available appearance options. If you are creating a PvP-only character, you can skip the rest of this section. Aside from the starting location, the rest of this section applies only to roleplaying characters.

The starting campaign also determines your character's starting location, and the storyline that you will follow. For an overview of each of the storylines, see the Storyline article. Note that you cannot create an Eye of the North character, since it is an expansion and not a campaign. A PvP-only character will always appear in the Great Temple of Balthazar, and cannot access the PvE areas of the campaigns.

All characters can access all campaigns (provided you have those campaigns linked to the same account). A character need not complete their starting campaign before being allowed to go to another campaign. The character need only reach the location or point in the storyline where the access quests are offered. Prophecies characters need to reach Lion's Arch, Factions characters need to reach Kaineng Center, and Nightfall characters need to reach Consulate Docks. It is actually a good idea to switch campaigns before completing your starting campaign. The Prophecies campaign has quests that offer free skills; the Factions campaign gives early access to max armor and weapons; and the Nightfall campaign gives access to level 15 heroes.

The following sections attempt to discuss some of the technical advantages and disadvantages of each campaign.

Prophecies[edit]

The Prophecies campaign is a good first campaign for all new Guild Wars players as the pace is much slower. Ample time and opportunities are given to get used to your character's capabilities. It will take quite a while before your character will hit level 20. Party size and enemy difficulty are scaled up slowly. Almost 40 skills are awarded freely as quest rewards throughout the first half of the campaign as your character progresses towards level 20. All of this combines for a low learning curve.

The downside, especially for veteran players, is precisely what makes it good for new players. Skill rewards discourage skill purchases (from skill trainers), and thus somewhat discourages experimentation. With a slow difficulty scaling, elite skills are also unavailable until far into the campaign. The attribute quests and the profession changers are even further along, about two-thirds of the way into the campaign. Access to other campaigns are available at about a third of the way through (your character is most likely several levels below level 20).

Additionally, players that concentrate much on learning the game might not be able to understand the entire story for two reasons: First, it is a rather complicated story with many turns. Second, in Prophecies most missions can be run, which means the movies, which contain most of the story, are skipped just to finish missions faster.

Factions[edit]

The Factions campaign gives access to the Assassin and Ritualist professions. Unlike Prophecies, progress to level 20 takes a very short amount of time (it is not uncommon to reach level 20 in only 12 or so hours of gameplay). Early quests give plenty of gold that you can buy skills with (very few skills are awarded for free). Elite skills also become available early, although the bulk of them come much later. Access to other campaigns occurs very early, just a little after you leave the starting region of Shing Jea Island. This is a good campaign to start from to quickly get to level 20.

The problem with leveling up so fast is that it is not beginner-friendly. The starting region does not offer a lot of opportunities for new players to get used to their characters before being thrust into the mainland Cantha (which might surprise unprepared players due to the jump in difficulty). And without skill rewards, players are left to their own devices when deciding whether or not to buy new skills - possibly a good thing for experienced players, but much less so for inexperienced players. All non-elite core skills and a large number of Factions skills can be purchased in Kaineng City.

Nightfall[edit]

The Nightfall campaign gives access to the Paragon and Dervish professions. Most importantly, it gives early access to heroes. This campaign's leveling speed is slower than Factions, but still faster than Prophecies. Access to other campaigns is faster than Prophecies and Factions. This is a good middle ground for the two previous campaigns; however, if you just want the heroes, it might instead be better to switch to this campaign from other campaigns to get five of them at level 15.

Skill acquisition is similar to Factions in that players are mostly expected to buy their own skills. The gold rewards are also slightly less than the Factions campaign so a more careful use of gold is necessary. Elite skills are available in abundance from quite early on; however, unlike in Factions, many non-elite skills are not available from trainers until quite late in the campaign.

You can also purchase skills in Nightfall via Hero skill points. Each character gets a limited number of these (max of 36 in Nightfall), but they can be used to purchase skills from any profession, even if your character has not yet unlocked that profession. The same mechanic is available in Eye of the North.

Choose primary profession[edit]

Available primary professions in Factions

This is the most important decision in the creation of a roleplaying character. The choice of primary profession cannot be changed once a character has been created. You will need to delete your character or change its name for a fee if you want to make your name available for a new character with a different primary profession.

This choice should be primarily determined by your preferred play style. See the individual profession articles for an overview of what sort of roles each is suitable for. The six core professions are available in all campaigns:

The mightiest of mighty, the bravest of the brave, the Warrior is the master of melee combat and heavy armor.
An agile and wily survivor, the Ranger specializes in archery, beast mastery, and attunement to nature.
The servant of divine spirits, the Monk uses prayer to protect, preserve, and restore the well-being of companions.
One who has learned to draw power from blood sacrifice and communion with death, the Necromancer uses black magic to cast curses and raise undead minions.
A master of illusion, misdirection, and control, the Mesmer subverts the damage-dealing capabilities of others, manipulating their perceptions to achieve personal goals.
The master of arcane lore and magical aptitude, the Elementalist calls upon the power of fire, earth, air, and water to obliterate enemies.

These professions are only available to Factions characters:

A swift, silent master of shadows, daggers, and death, the Assassin can chain together increasingly deadly strikes that target a foe's critical areas, killing quickly and efficiently.
A living conduit to the Spirit world, the Ritualist spawns powerful Spirit allies that inflict harm on foes, and can channel restorative magic that heals and protects injured companions.

These professions are only available to Nightfall characters:

With a commanding voice and charismatic presence, the Paragon rallies the valiant through inspiration, motivation, and leadership.
Bolstered by the blessings of the gods, these holy warriors reap the benefits of multiple enchantments. With a sharpened scythe, the Dervish can unleash a whirlwind of destruction.

Other factors that can also be taken into consideration are a profession's primary attribute, skills, maximum armor rating, the aesthetic appeal of the relevant armor, and even emotes.

For more help or details in deciding your character's profession, see some of our player-contributed profession guides.

Decide character sex[edit]

After choosing a primary profession, the next step is to choose a character's sex. You can create characters of either sex in any campaign. Aside from one's appearance and voice, there is no difference between male and female characters in terms of gameplay; however, the The Great Norn Alemoot quest chain and the Tihark Orchard mission include slight differences based on the character's sex. The Doppelganger's appearance is also based on the character's sex.

Customize appearance[edit]

Customize appearance of Prophecies female necromancer

At this step, you can customize how your character looks by choosing a hair style, a face, and colors for your character's hair and skin. How your character looks does not affect gameplay in any way, but do try to choose something you won't regret. The choices available depend on all the previous steps. Bear in mind that after creating a character, the appearance cannot be changed unless you purchase Makeover Credits or Extreme Makeover Credits via the In-Game Store or NCsoft Store. These (Extreme) Makeover Credits can be used to change your appearance at Anatomical Engineer Llye at the Great Temple of Balthazar. On character creation, you are limited to the combinations offered in the campaign you chose, but Llye will allow you to use the options of other campaigns too.

Statistical trivia[edit]

Below you find a table showing the number of available choices. Where there are parentheses, the numbers inside show the breakdown per campaign (Prophecies, Factions, and Nightfall respectively).

Profession Hair style Hair color Face Skin color Total combinations Using Makeover Credits
Male.png Female.png Male.png Female.png Male.png Female.png Male.png Female.png Male.png Female.png Male.png Female.png
Warrior 27
(9+9+9)
29
(10+10+9)
32
(8+8+16)
24
(9+7+8)
31
(16+7+8)
23
(8+7+8)
17,928
(5,184+3,528+9,216)
23,376
(10,240+3,920+9,216)
476,928 661,664
Ranger 27
(10+8+9)
29
(10+10+9)
31
(7+8+16)
26
(11+7+8)
28
(13+7+8)
22
(7+7+8)
17,742
(5,390+3,136+9,216)
19,506
(6,370+3,920+9,216)
478,764 553,784
Monk 30
(12+8+10)
28
(10+10+8)
26
(5+5+16)
25
(10+7+8)
26
(11+7+8)
21
(7+6+8)
16,120
(4,200+1,680+10,240)
14,142
(3,850+2,100+8,192)
409,500 397,488
Necromancer 27
(9+8+10)
32
(11+10+11)
38
(11+11+16)
26
(11+7+8)
30
(15+7+8)
21
(7+6+8)
21,559
(7,623+3,696+10,240)
28,589
(12,705+4,620+11,264)
560,196 766,080
Mesmer 25
(8+8+9)
29
(10+10+9)
32
(8+8+16)
27
(12+7+8)
28
(13+7+8)
20
(6+6+8)
16,512
(4,608+2,688+9,216)
18,816
(6,240+3,360+9,216)
432,000 519,680
Elementalist 27
(9+9+9)
28
(9+10+9)
36
(10+10+16)
26
(11+7+8)
28
(12+8+8)
23
(9+6+8)
21,906
(8,910+3,780+9,216)
23,736
(9,720+4,800+9,216)
581,256 649,152
Assassin 8 10 7 7 7 6 2,352 2,940 2,352 2,940
Ritualist 9 10 7 7 7 7 3,087 3,430 3,087 3,430
Paragon 11 13 16 10 9 8 14,080 14,976 14,080 14,976
Dervish 12 11 16 8 9 8 12,288 12,672 12,288 12,672

The Nightfall campaign came with the highest number of appearance options, mainly because of the wide choice in hair color. Prophecies stands out as the campaign with most different selectable character faces.

The professions with the highest and lowest number of appearance options would be the Necromancer (233) and the Assassin (58) respectively. Although when campaigns are compared separately, it would respectively be the Paragon (91) and the Factions Monk (54) instead.

And logically following the above, the profession with the most possible combinations would be the Necromancer, specifically the female necromancer (28,589). The male Assassin lies on the other end with only 2,352 combinations. Again, with campaigns considered separately, the female Paragon takes the lead with 14,976 combinations, while the male Factions Monk brings up the rear with 1,680 combinations.

In general, Elementalists, Necromancers, and Warriors possess the most combinations, with Rangers, Mesmers, Monks, Paragons, and Dervishes moderately so, and the Factions campaign Ritualists and Assassins having the least possible combinations.

Customize body[edit]

Customize body of Nightfall male dervish

The second to last step is where you customize the color of your starting armor and your character's height. Despite this step being described as "customize your body", the only thing you can customize is the height. The height difference between tallest and shortest is not very large, but there is a difference between the maximum and minimum heights of different professions. For instance, female Monks and Rangers at minimum height are shorter than female Elementalists. There does not appear to be a difference based on starting campaigns. On the whole, male characters have a slightly higher maximum and minimum height.

Your basic starting armor comes in five pieces, each of which can be colored individually. They do not affect gameplay and they do not affect the color of any armor piece that you subsequently obtain. For PvP-only characters, instead of basic armor, you get PvP armor, which are essentially max armor with no upgrades.

Decide character name[edit]

The last step is to decide on a name. There are rules associated with the naming of your character that is dependent on which is your home territory. Note that after your character is created, the only way to change the name without deleting the character is to purchase the name change feature from the In-Game Store or NCsoft Store.

Warning: Do not create characters with obscene or offensive names, even indirectly, partially or suggestively. The filter will block most offensive words and words that have the potential to be abused. This is specifically mentioned in the Naming Policy. ArenaNet will offer you a chance to rename the character. Customized weapons and armor can still be used on or by a renamed character, because those items are bound to the unique id of the character, not to the name.

If you recently deleted a character (you must also have started playing that character), that character's name is reserved for your account for about 24 hours before it becomes available to other players.

America and Europe[edit]

Names must comply with these rules:

  • Does not exceed the maximum character limit (maximum 19 characters).
  • Must use a minimum of 3 characters (a space counts as one).
  • Must use two or more words (implies at least one space).
  • Must use only Latin letters (digits are not allowed).

Japan[edit]

You must first select whether the name will consist of only Latin letters or a mixture of Japanese characters and Latin letters. Those of the former are governed by same rules as those of North America and Europe above. Those of the latter must comply by these rules:

  • Does not exceed the maximum character limit (maximum 16 characters).
  • Must use a minimum of 4 characters (each Japanese character counts as 2 characters).
  • Must use at least 1 Japanese character (Latin letters are optional).
  • Must not contain any spaces.
  • Must use only Japanese characters and Latin letters (digits are not allowed).

Taiwan[edit]

You must first select whether the name will consist of only Latin letters or a mixture of Chinese characters and Latin letters. Those of the former are governed by same rules as those of North America and Europe above. Those of the latter must comply by these rules:

  • Does not exceed the maximum character limit (maximum 16 characters).
  • Must use a minimum of 3 characters (each Chinese character counts as 2 characters).
  • Must use at least 1 Chinese character (Latin letters are optional).
  • Must not contain any spaces.
  • Must use only Chinese characters and Latin letters (digits are not allowed).

Creation complete[edit]

Once you've confirmed the name, the opening cinematic for your chosen starting campaign will play (if creating a roleplaying character) and after that, you will gain control of your new character.

Anomaly Anomaly.If you create a Factions character, and log off immediately after the cinematic loads, your character is listed as being at "Embark Beach."

Character makeover[edit]

For a fee, you can make changes to your character's appearance anytime via the asuran Anatomical Engineer Llye.