New Players's Guide to Heroes
|Note: This article is geared towards new players.|
Please keep its contents to those which new players can reasonably understand and use.
This guide assumes the reader has access to the Nightfall campaign. While additional heroes can be obtain through completion of the Eye of the North and Beyond expansion content, players may find their heroes' overall effectiveness and end-game viability severely limited without having access to the Nightfall campaign.
The main purpose of this guide is to showcase some beginner hero builds for new or returning players that don't need elite skills, expensive weapons, or insignias/runes to function. You can almost assuredly beat everything in normal mode with the builds listed here if you learn how to manage monster aggro and Hero flag your dudes when and where necessary. These builds could probably tackle most of hard mode too, but by the time you are ready for it, you should have the cash and knowledge to create your own hero team.
All the skills listed in each build should be available as a default skill on a new character or newbie "free skills" quest (so you can get them by doing the secondary profession quests tied to those classes), equipped as a default skill on a hero you can get, or easily accessible from a vendor or Hero skill trainer.
Assassin, Ritualist, Mesmer, and Paragon hero builds are intentional excluded. These heroes are either obtained far into the game, are not particularly useful until late game, or can use end-game meta builds (like those in the GWPvX wiki) without much trouble.
This guide assumes that you've read through the following pages, so please do so:
- Hero - basic information on heroes
- Henchman - henchmen are just heroes with preset skills; good heroes > henchmen > bad heroes, so don't hesitate to use henchmen to fill out your party or to bring specific skills that the builds below are lacking
- Hero behavior - general AI and what skills heroes are good and bad at using
- Promotional weapon (aka /bonus items) - all builds in this guide use these weapons, so you don't have to spend anything on equipping your heroes until you're ready to refine your team
The best thing about Koss as a new player is that he holds a Serrated Shield pretty well; the worst thing about Koss is everything else. Feel free to use him if you really like warrior heroes for some reason. In the early missions where he's required you should be fine just leaving him with his default skills and equipment, and by the time you get to hard mode you should be able to figure out how to make him somewhat useful.
Always bring one healing monk as a member of your team. When you want to bring two monks along, bring protection. If you want to use all three monk heroes you can get, consider swapping out to some smiting builds that can inflict damage as well as heal/protect.
Both monks can make good use of Wolf's Favor, so make a couple copies of it for sure. You can use Luminescent Scepter for weapons until you find better monk-specific stuff.
- Healing Prayers 12, Divine Favor 12, Protection Prayers 3
|Heaven's Delight||Mend Ailment||Remove Hex||Signet of Devotion||Signet of Rejuvenation||Orison of Healing||Antidote Signet||Resurrection Signet|
Consider leaving Mend Ailment off this monk if most of your heroes are running Antidote Signet and you also have the protection monk in your party. That will free up your healing monk's energy for more direct healing.
Cure Hex is basically a pure upgrade to Remove Hex - just be mindful that it does have a longer recharge so you might want to keep Remove Hex on the protection monk in heavy hex zones. You can pick up Divine Healing once you're through most of Prophecies, which is a functional copy of Heaven's Delight that both monks (and any future smiting monks) can use.
- Protection Prayers 12, Divine Favor 12
|Heaven's Delight||Mend Ailment||Remove Hex||Signet of Devotion||Shielding Hands||Shield of Absorption||Guardian||Resurrection Signet|
Don't use Guardian until you get to 8 points in Protection Prayers, its duration is so short below that attribute level that you're basically wasting energy. You may want to get Aegis instead, especially in 8-person zones. It costs a bit more energy to use and is slower to cast, but it gives blocking to your whole party.
Later you can add in Inspiration Magic skills like Leech Signet, Power Drain, or Waste Not, Want Not for better energy management. This will let you add in more powerful, but energy hungry skills and remove less effective ones like Signet of Devotion.
- Flag Your Monks!
Keep your defensive heroes in the top three slots of my party. This allows you to flag them individually, which can be used to keep them behind your other heroes to keep them out of direct danger or apart from each other to minimize the damage from enemy AoE attacks.
Melee hero AI in Guild Wars is not the greatest, but since you get two dervish heroes for free early in the game, heres a useful new player build for this class, a Dervish/Ranger build, that will keep them at range while dishing damage and providing backup healing. It also shares a lot of skills with the ranger build below, making it easy to collect skills for both.
These guys can use the Poisonous Nevermore Flatbow. (Yay for free weapons!)
- Mysticism 10, Beast Mastery 10, Marksmanship 11
|Heart of Fury||Imbue Health||Faithful Intervention||Read the Wind||Scavenger Strike||Call of Protection||Comfort Animal||Antidote Signet|
Antidote Signet can be removed for Resurrection Signet.
Ranger heroes do not have the DPS of elementalists, but pet rangers are still great to have around for beating the storyline quests in normal mode. Pets make great damage absorbing tanks due to decent armor and innate 33% damage resistance, Call of Protection just makes them even more durable. A good reason to use pet rangers early on is that by leveling your pets to 20 and dropping them off at the Zaishen Menagerie, you can get pre-leveled pets for other heroes or yourself later, saving you the hassle of trying to level a pet down the road.
The best weapon for these heroes is the Poisonous Nevermore Flatbow, which you can get for free by using the /bonus command (you can get multiple copies by equipping the first bow to a hero). Flatbows have the best rate of fire and the Read the Wind preparation makes your arrows fly faster, removing their biggest drawback. The poisonous mod works out well for you as well, adding duration to Poison Tip Signet.
- Beast Mastery 12, Markmanship 10, Expertise 8, Wilderness Survival 2
|Distracting Shot||Poison Tip Signet||Lightning Reflexes||Read the Wind||Scavenger Strike||Call of Protection||Comfort Animal||Antidote Signet|
While you want to max out your Beast Mastery eventually, getting Marksmanship to level 9 to effectively use your bow is priority number one - if you don't have enough attribute points to hit r9, feel free to just split the stats. Subtitute in Resurrection Signet for any of the other skills except for Comfort Animal if you want another res on the team.
Elementalist heroes have good energy management, deals strong AoE damage, and receives a small, but steady stream of self-healing from Aura of Restoration. This build stacks great with itself, so feel free to use multiple heroes with it! If you do, use Mark of Rodgort spell on one of the heroes to trigger lots of burning.
- Fire Magic 12, Energy Storage 8+
|Fireball||Liquid Flame||Lava Arrows||Glyph of Elemental Power||Aura of Restoration||Fire Attunement||Antidote Signet||Resurrection Signet|
Substitutions include Glyph of Lesser Energy for GoEP if you don't have Fire Attunement and Flare for Lava Arrows until you can buy it. You can also swap out Antidote Signet for Remove Hex if you're in an area with more hexes than conditions.
These guys make good use of Tiger's Roar, and again Luminescent Scepter will work fine as a weapon until you find something better. Be sure to keep Energy Storage at 9+ if you want to get the max energy from the focus.
This build is end-game viable. Just pick up the elite skill Elemental Attunement and add Rodgort's Invocation for a super strong AoE attack (use GoLE with Rodgort's though). You can then remove Aura of Restoration and drop Energy Storage down to 8-10 if you want to add a secondary profession skill like Fall Back for increased party movement during vanquishing or missions where you have to run around a lot.
Both types of necro heroes listed here should use Soul Shrieker until you find better weapons.
Curses Support Necro
Here's a support hero that will help your warriors, rangers, dervishes, pets, and minions deal more physical damage. If you only have one necro and are running more casters than physicals, use the summoner build below.
- Curses 12, Soul Reaping 12
|Barbs||Mark of Pain||Envenom Enchantments||Weaken Armor||Enfeebling Blood||Faintheartedness||Parasitic Bond||Signet of Lost Souls|
Replace Envenom Enchantments with Rip Enchantment once you get it - use both in areas with lots of annoying enemy enchantments. In hex heavy areas, give this guy a Monk secondary with Remove Hex in place of one skill of your choice. As always, Resurrection Signet and/or Antidote Signet can take the place of any skill you don't have yet. I don't really like any of the Curses elite skills, so later on you'll probably want to have this guy specialize in something else and just keep whatever curses you find useful.
Minion Master Necro
Let's summon up some horrors and minions! I don't normally recommend using two different minion summoning skills on the same bar, but without an elite skill Jagged Bones or Aura of the Lich that the two skills in this build work fine with each other.
Generally speaking there are only enough corpses for a single minion master in your party at a time, so if you have a second necro you should use the curses build above.
- Death Magic 12, Soul Reaping 8+
|Animate Bone Minions||Animate Shambling Horror||Deathly Swarm||Death Nova||Putrid Bile||Signet of Lost Souls||
This hero has skill slots and attribute points to play with, so feel free to turn this guy into a secondary healer, add in a few Curses skills from above, experiment on skills you want to test out, or just add Resurrection Signet.
Use Bloodstained Insignia, which you should put on the gloves. The reduced casting time for your summoning skills is definitely worth the insignia's relatively inexpensive price.
Putting it All Together
Okay, so putting all these together, let's build a party using heroes that are easy to pick up! You can get the following heroes by playing about halfway through Nightfall, doing the intro quest of EotN, and reaching level 10:
- 3x Monk
- 2x Dervish
- 0-2x Ranger
- 2-3x Elementalist
- 1-2x Necromancer
There are lots of potential combinations of heroes you can use from just that pool. But even if you don't have Eye of the North, you can get a full party that makes good use of the builds in this guide:
- The Player (whatever you are)
- Dunkoro (Healing monk)
- Tahlkora (Protection monk)
- Melonni (Pet/bow dervish)
- Acolyte Jin (Ranger pet/bow)
- Zhed Shadowhoof (Fire ele)
- Master of Whispers (Curses necro)
- Olias (Minion master necro)
With this, you have two pets and a minion horde to tank & Body block melee enemies; one dedicated monk healer along with a protection monk, a secondary spike heal on the dervish, and some open slots on the MM necromancer to be used for whatever you need at the moment. Since a lot of these builds use default skills or just overlap with one another, you won't have to shell out a lot of cash to make it work. The biggest weakness with this party is a lack of interrupts and other spellcaster disruption, but those really come with good mesmer heroes (who shine with having access to a variety of skills and good equipment).