A Time for Heroes
1/27/2012 6:20 PM
Welcome to Guild Tech! How was everyone’s SOPA strike day? Did you get any of your homework done?
Today is a day of Heroes! Well, not really, I just said it is to make this sound more epic. So lets begin our discussion!
Heroes are a system that allows you to fill up vacant slots in your party with characters that you meet throughout the story. This means you really do not have to “solo” content so long as you have a sufficient amount of heroes to fill up your vacant slots. This is a system that we saw heavily in Nightfall with Henchmen being introduced in Prophecies as a mean to address people unable to complete content without knowing a lot of people. The difference between Heroes and Henchmen is that Heroes are just as customizable as player characters. You share all of your collected skills with your heroes and can unlock other skills through a hero skill trainer or through PvP by turning in faction points at your local Balthazar Priest. All of the attributes are as customizable as your player and you can even dual class them. Currently, there are 3 of each class of hero and 1 of them (Razah) can change his primary class at will.
Pros: You can, realistically, do every last bit of content by yourself with your band of heroes. So, even if you have no friends, as long as you started or have completed the Nightfall campaign, you will have more than enough heroes to fill up any vacant slots, anywhere in the game. Having each heros customizable will also allow you to fill up any roles that you are lacking in your group, if you cant heal, make a couple of your heroes heal instead, you cant do damage, make your heroes do damage. You can either have all your heros be the same build or have each one so vastly different that it almost doesn’t make sense. You can even make up for any required skills by bringing along a hero (such as Pin Down for Maddock Crevice) without sacrificing your build. While some heroes are required for some missions, but usually this isn’t even a problem (it just means you have to leave someone out). You can either let the AI go free or control their every movement which gives the heroes a slight RTS feel to them, especially if you like that type of thing. You also only have to upgrade their gear once.
Cons: Heroes are not very smart and have a lot of issues managing their own mana. For example, a minion based Necromancer is very likely to kill himself by using Blood of the Master instead of letting a few minions die off. Healer heroes have a bad tendency to not cleanse people of conditions or hexes. They do deal damage quite well, but have issues targeting specific mobs such as healers. Often times you have to manually control them to be useful. Heroes also suffer from the same problem that players do in that if you do not have the right build, you are essentially worthless. Since guild wars has a very Trading Card Game type feel to the way you build characters, using heroes mean you also have to build them up as well and hope they become just as effective. With a bit of research, this isn’t a problem. But for new players, this trial and error process is daunting. Especially when you have to experience it yourself and have to spend a lot of time figuring out things (not everyone enjoys failing over and over again in the hopes of succeeding eventually). Also builds that work great for players do not necessarily work well for the AI. Going back to the cleansing bit, those are skills better left off the bar (targeted ones, not the Ritualist ones where they reduce the time they last) and replaced with something else altogether. Although you only have to upgrade them once, you have to collect a specific item to upgrade them in the first place which can only be acquired by trading in items in Challenge Missions or purchasing them from players.
So, all in all, heroes are a very nice system and we see similar systems in SWTOR with their companion system. I really enjoy it, I find building the right team is just like playing Magic: the Gathering back in my competitive days. I like that character building aspect is just like deck building. But if that isn’t your cup of tea, then there are sources out there if you look for them. No system is perfect, especially when it’s 7 years old.