Guild Wars recently added “Mercenaries” which are ways to add the other players in your account to your list of heroes – or players that you control as part of your team. Heroes were added with the “Nightfall” expansion and at that time were characters that you gained by progressing in the game. Nightfall had about a dozen heroes, and the “Eye of the North” expansion added many more heroes to this list, but still with the idea that you gained heroes by doing quests.
Mercenaries allows you to build your own heroes in two ways:
- Use the other level 20 PVP or PVE characters in your account as heroes.
- Create a PVP character in your account, use it as a hero, and then delete it.
The second method allows you to quickly build a whole team of the professions that you need since every PVP character starts out at level 20, it’s available immediately for use as a hero. This is especially powerful since you can build a whole team with a specific use in mind.
A Team of Necros for Super Discording
For example, there are many hero builds, but one particularly powerful team is built around the necromancer skill called Discord. Discord is a powerful Elite health stealing skill that ignores armor and has a short recharge time. Before mercenaries were introduced, there was a limit of up to 3 heroes at a time in a party. This limited the complexity of team builds. Here is a three hero team built around the Discord skill.
The Discord team is balanced with lots of healing and lots of damage that works under lots of conditions. The only drawback might be that against foes with condition removal, the team may have difficulty keeping the necessary conditions on the foes so that Discord can do damage.
Before Mercs were introduced, if a player wanted to “solo” a mission, the party had to be completed with various Henchmen which were generally weaker than heroes could be. Also there was the difficulty of getting the necessary heroes. There are only three Necro heroes in Guild Wars, Master of Whispers, Olias, and Livia. Master and Olias require Nightfall and Livia is gained in Eye of the North, so one had to be a quite experienced player before they could assemble a Discord team.
Once Mercs were introduced, one could build a party with seven necro heroes immediately. All one needs to do is upgrade your account for the maximum mercenaries, which costs $44.99. Then one uses the trick of employing PVP heroes.
Recruiting PVP Heroes
To recruit PVP a hero, just build a PVP only character, using whatever campaign, face, hair, and armor color you like since you won’t be able to change any of these later. PVP only characters are immediately a level 20 so they can be immediately recruited as mercenaries. To Recruit the character to use as heroes for other characters on your account, just play that character, and visit the Mercenary Recruiter in Balthazar Isles and sign up to be a mercenary. At this point, you can delete the character from your account and create another one. To build a Super Discord Mercenary Team, you will want to build seven such characters. You may have other characters in your account already that are Necros, you can use them if you like as heroes, just sign them up at any convenient Mercenary Recruiter. They won’t be able to play as heroes helping themselves, of course. Make sure you have their armor on and in the colors you like before you sign up, because they are fixed at that point, unless you delete them. Be sure and read all the wiki pages for Mercenaries and ask any questions you have in GW Forums if things are unclear.
Building Your Heroes
Once you have your seven necros, and have recruited them, you can equip them with weapons and buff their armor. They come with no skills, no weapons and their armor is like other heroes, with no buffs. Any buffs they had when recruited are not copied, only the look and color is copied.
Thankfully, you get a “Bonus” to equip your heroes with weapons. Just type /bonus into the chat window and you will be given powerful weapons of every class.
You can buff the weapon and the armor, as soon as you can afford to make your hero more powerful. Remember that if you want to delete the hero, to recover all buffs from all instances of that hero from all the characters on your account before you delete it, or you will lose all those expensive runes and weapons.
Leveling Quickly using Mercenaries
You can level a Nightfall character very quickly using Mercenaries since you can begin using Mercenaries immediately after visiting the Recruiter in Kamadan. So as soon as you reach Kamadan, after your tutorial quest, you can begin using level 20 Mercenaries to help you level. Prophecies and Factions characters must wait longer since the recruiters are in Lion’s Arch and Kaineng City.
Building Your Skills
You will need to collect the elite Discord and other skills in the normal way that you collect skills for heroes. Check the Guild Wars wiki to find out where to get these skills, and apply them to your heroes. Of course, once one character has made the skills available to heroes, then they are available for all the Mercenaries too, even to level 1 characters who are starting out to use Mercenaries. This means that a Discord team is available to your low level character in Nightfall.
Modified Discord Teams
Since there are more heroes available with the Mercenaries update – 7 instead of the old limit of 3 – the teams can be more powerful. Here is an example of a team that I am using for most of my builds now:
Notice the Necro / Mesmer Reaper Boneclaw, which employs interrupts, echo and skill thief skills which are particularly powerful against bosses. If you steal a bosses elite skill, then they are much easier to knock down. Heroes can use echo quite effectively on their own, and they seem to know how to use Signet of Sorrows, which recharges instantly if the foe is next to a dead ally or pet.
Of course, if the mission is less challenging, and involves long distances, adding Koss, or another Warrior with “Charge” or a Paragon with “Fall Back” can greatly speed your progress through the mission.
Prophecies Can Now Be Beaten
Prophecies last three quests are among the hardest in the game to solo with H and H [Heroes and Henchmen], but with a modified Discord team of 7 Mercs, I’ve beaten it with 6 out of my 10 characters already and I’m sure I can do it with the rest. The Necro / Mesmer is especially effective for the last quest – Hell’s Precipice. The Signet of Sorrows is very effective against the Ether Seals.
I’m going to start working on the Nightfall end quests next.
Suggested Progress through Guild Wars
Eye of the North is much easier by comparison with the end game of the campaigns. My path for a character is usually as follows:
- Start a character in your campaign of choice and do missions to get to level 20.
- Use Mercs as soon as you can in your campaign of choice. Starting in Nightfall is easiest.
- Buff your armor and weapons using funds from other characters in your account, as soon as possible.
- As soon as you get to level 20, go to Eye of the North and finish it to get a powerful weapon and skills. The weapons of most importance are: Kerresh’s Staff with a +60 HP bonus, which will probably be your primary weapon if you are a spell caster, and the EotN bonus weapon if you are a melee character.
- The hard quests are the Asuran quests, especially GOLEM which you can do solo with a back route approach, and the last one, which I usually just purchase a runner since a specific build takes the monster right down. I usually party up for Destruction’s Depths, although with a Merc Team it may be possible to Solo this mission. A Discord team will even get you through the Shards of Orr if you also take a running skill for the end dash. An extended Discord team makes it much easier. Of course you have to get through the Shards of Orr to complete Kerresh’s quest chain.
- Most powerful and useful skills from EotN are Pain Inverter, which is near the end of the chain to get Kerresh’s staff any way, and the Bear, Wolf or Raven skills which used alone polish off the solo Augury Rock mission in seconds.
- Now go back to your chosen campaign and finish it since you have a very powerful weapon, great armor due to buffs you can add from funds from EotN, and buffed Mercs too.
- Your Mercs and EotN skills are going to come in handy if you want to solo the Crystal Desert. Before I had these, the Hydra and other monsters there wiped out all those level 17 henchmen and it was nerve wracking to even think about the desert. Now with a discord team, I walk the desert calmly, and solo all the quests there.
- The only NightFall mission that seems impossible to solo is Dzagonur Bastion. Not even an extended Discord team is enough to beat this one easily. I have not yet completed the last few missions solo, but killing Varesh in the Ruins of Morah is not such a big deal with a normal Discord team, and I’m sure it’s going to be easier with the extended team.
- Factions is pretty easy by comparison to Prophecies and Nightfall. Use the Luxon side to avoid the I usually finish Factions with a run for the last mission just to get the weapon, but it’s usually less useful since it’s often life-draining and there are no staffs, only wands and foci. The Raisu Palace mission is easy to solo with an extended solo team. Just be patient and use Pain Inverter on those elemental bosses. Being a mesmer or secondary mesmer so you can echo Pain Inverter helps with this any the Hell’s Precipice mission of Prophecies.
Getting a Handle on Guild Wars
I’m sure there are experts, or groups of players that scoff at my difficulty with these missions, but after playing for many months and reading the wiki for many hours, the end game of Prophecies and even Eye of the North missions were very frustrating. They no longer are that difficult. I sometimes wipe and some professions are more challenging than others, but I feel like I have an handle on some of the most difficult parts of GW.