There are times when you have to admit that you’ve made a mistake. After playing Khnum Maya until level 3, I had collected eight monk abilities and three necro abilities. The majority of monk spells were meant to heal and protect, and they specified that they could be used on allies.
The cloth gear, the healing and support powers, the wand weapon, ‘divine favor’ as primary attribute – it all lead to one unmistakable conclusion. My monk was just Guild Wars’ version of a priest. The game had tricked me into rolling a priest, the only class that’s less appealing to me than a mage. The plate wearing cleric of DnD or a paladin is fine, but I’m referring to the cloth wearer whose role is to stand near the back and heal others.
And I have to say, I’m impressed that they snuck this under my radar. I don’t know why, but I’m just more inclined to play a monk than a priest, even though the only real difference is the flavor. Priest wear dresses while monks where sensible robes that still distinguish them from the common labor, merchant, or soldier. Priests represent converting others to one’s beliefs while monks represent reflecting on their understanding. The power of a priest comes from a calling a specific being while the power of a monk comes from channeling the energy that makes up everything.
These are simplifications – stereotypes even - but conceptually I’m much more attracted to the idea/ideals of an Asian monk over that of a Western priest.
By level 3, I finally figured out how to get the stupid tattoo off my head. It’s the monk version of a helmet and can be disabled in the inventory.
I’d discovered the collectors: NPCs that stand around waiting for you to give them 3-5 of a specific item and in turn will provide access to possibly useful items. I picked up a belt pouch for extra inventory space, and much later (level 6 and 7) handwraps and a chest piece, the only armor I could find in this area.
I complained earlier about the barrenness of the world, so imagine my surprise at level 3 when I stepped from the shared city to the private instance and the world was crawling with mobs. It seems that what spawns in an area depends on your level. Many of the critters didn’t attack me, while a few did, and a few would attack only if others were attacking me. There’s no way to know beforehand which will or won’t do so as they’re all red dots on the mini-map. I am not sure if I like this or prefer the WoW, non-hostiles in yellow style.
Eager to see to what extent I could manipulate the world, I head to Farmer [NPC name] and gave him one of the eggs I’d gotten as a quest reward for smashing beetles. You see, Farmer [NPC name] has giant plague worms popping out of his farm. I’d already killed three of them to get their husks so I could trade them to a collector for my belt pouch. Farmer [NPC Name] says he can use a devourer egg to lure the plague worm queen to the surface, I’ll kill her and then the plague worms will leave the area.
In a regular MMORPG, I’d know this is bunk. Either a mob spawns as part of an event or it continuously spawns. If I’m in Un’Goro, and I have a quest to kill the queen of the hive in order to stop it from repopulating, that queen and those bugs will always respawn because there are five thousand other people who need to kill them. There though, no one needs to kill these plague worms but me.
I hurry after Farmer [NPC Name], kill the queen in a disappointingly unepic battle, and the worms keep popping up. Farmer [NPC Name] then thanks me then gives me a quest to find his bird in the catacombs. I have to say, that’s disappointing. Here’s a chance for Guild Wars to show me how it’s different from every other MMORPG, and it doesn’t even try.
What is the point of having an individual play experience if, like every other MMO, I truly have no effect on the world?
After wandering around the fields as plague worms continuously pop up like crazed whack-a-moles, Maya heads back to the small town Farmer [NPC Name] is from. It’s there that she meets her first real NPC. Meaning, the first non-player character with *character:* Devona. Maya is instantly moved by the way her armor sparkles in the sunlight. The way her strong hands grip the oversized warmaul she carries.
Devona asks Maya to help her defend the village from attacking Grawl. Our humble monk gladly accepts the quest, and together they run across the bridge where a band of the… ugly looking humanoid things have gathered. Maya stands back, healing and occasionally firing bolts of magical energy from her water staff, while Devona charges in, smiting the noxious creatures and their shaman leader. Afterwards, she reassures Maya that the Grawl won’t return for awhile; while violent, they won’t risk their numbers against an obviously superior foe. The group we just faced was a scouting party, sent to see how the village defenses held up as the Charr attacked from the north.
I only half-listen to this as I consider what just happened. I stayed back to heal and support another, and I liked it. Somewhat. It wasn’t bad.
Devona, still sweaty and covered in blood from the battle, and she asks Maya to join her in the pond beside the village for a bath. I imagine them stripping down, plunging into that cool water, and rubbing one another down. Afterwards, she’d wrap her muscular arms around Maya and they’d make love in the shallows, killing the occasional River Skale that wandered too close. While the attraction is obvious, I have to turn her down, as I can’t imagine monk vows allows for frisky business with righteous warrior types.
Instead, I have about five quests in the first dungeon: The catacombs
When I'm not defending the honor of my clan, slinking through the night in skin-tight leather, or making out with my totally hawt girlfriend, I like to play computer and console games. This is where I talk about them.
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