Guild wars 2 – Creating a Pacifist
I had an interesting conversation with a friend the other night. He was telling me about something he read that spoke about how you should change your playstyle, push your comfort zone in games in order to gain more interest in a game you love. The thought went around in my head for a little, especially since I am pretty much stuck in my ways, and today I thought to myself: I bet it would be possible to level a character without killing anything. So that is what this is. A record of my journey!
In most mmos, this journey would be impossible, but the more I thought about it, the more possible it seemed like this might be in Guild Wars since many of the quests have options that include non-fighting ones.
So I chose a Sylvari, because out of all the races, almost all of them who go by the teachings of Ventari’s tablet, set down by the centaur of the same name who was a pacifist himself. I chose the teaching ‘All things have a right to grow’ at character creation to reflect his nature.
I also chose to be a guardian, since they have some general healing skills. An engineer might have been a better choice for group events, since they have Med Kit which replaces your weapon skills with a healing set, but I thought the extra armour on the guardian would help me survive better, but they are also far more thought of generally as people who will help others.
Rules of non-engagement
So I have my character now, but what about the rules? There have to be rules, and self-imposed ones at that since the game was not designed to be played this way. Some I didn’t even think of until I got further into playing and the issue of whether to do certain things became a real dilemma.
1. Hurting and Killing is bad, m’kay
This one is pretty obvious. No killing of ‘living’ sentient creatures. You might think that undead are okay to kill? Wrong. They are sentient, despite having died, they are thinking creatures that have motion and purpose. Sure, they might be being controlled by Zhaitan, but there are many undead in the game that show they have their own thinking and actions outwith this.
2. Things you can destroy
There will be various things you can destroy. Turrets for example are a good example. They harm others but are not full sentient really. I would say that destroying enemy turrets, guns, catapults is fine, but NOT activating or firing your own sides ones. You can disable enemy mines, but do not then place them down for your team’s use. Minor corrupted plants, entangling vines, are fine, but killing Husks and oakhearts is not. One potentially contentious point are things like spider egg sacs. since you don’t know how well developed the hatchlings inside are, so I decided eventually to avoid touching those.
3. Weapons harm things
Yes, that is right, amazing you are thinking! But for this it really isn’t. Even on guardian, almost all the skills that will help heal others will also damage enemies. The only ones, other than pure healing skills that don’t do this are the staff skills 4 and 5. For this reason, I generally never have weapons equipped, preferring to take longer doing heart quests by avoiding having to hit turrets etc, than running the risk of accidentally damaging creatures. I also made a point to salvage any weapons I found, rather than selling them, so that my actions didn’t help others kill things.
4. No bodyguards
This came up in discussion with a friend of mine, who offered to bodyguard me through the different zones. That would also defeat the point. You are not to be directly or indirectly responsible for harm or death coming to others. If you have a friend running around with you and they are being your bodyguard, that is cheating. Bad! For staying alive, Dodge is your friend 🙂
5. No meat!
To stick to the ‘not being indirectly responsible for harm or death’ you really should not be eating anything with meat or animal/corpse products in it. This means you really have to be careful what food you ingest. Bread is fine, but a meat pie is not. I chose to take up chef as my profession, so I could be sure, but also because I can craft backpacks as my skill increases.
6. Fancy Armour is bad!
I didn’t come across this until I tried to craft myself some new armour. I found that crafting the initial Armoursmithing backpack was fine, but crafting armour was not. Any armour you craft in the game requires you to have items that came from corpses, such as vials of blood, fangs, poison glands etc. This means that anything other than white armour has perpetuated the deaths of others and should not be used or crafted. I made the point not to buy any either, and not using those given to me when leveling up. All armour that isn’t white has the deaths of things in them to make them work better. Don’t use it! You can buy white armour from vendors in towns or outposts around the world, or from the trading post.
The only exception to this is armour made with the snowflake insignias (giver’s) or watchwork sprockets (zealot’s). If you can get ahold of armour with the Giver’s prefix, then that is fine, but all others are not. Beware also of runes for your armour, many of them may be made with products from creature death! If in doubt, check the wiki page for specifics.
7. Do not use blood-tainted money!
This was a difficult one to keep track of, because all of your currencies are account-bound. This means that not using any gold or karma from your other characters is pretty difficult. To get around this, I have been keeping general track of my money and karma income from heart quests and selling of crafting goods, and spending very little, just to be sure.
Ways to go about leveling your pacifist
There are obviously quick and easy ways to level your pacifist, such as the use of tomes of knowledge, but the whole point of playing this way is for the challenge, and for playing a different way, not skipping it. So I amn’t going to use any.
The main ways you can gain experience without fighting is to explore and do renown heart quests. For each area you uncover, each waypoint etc you find, you will gain experience. Completing renown hearts however gives you a massive boost in experience and will be the main way in which I will be leveling. There will be some skill points you can do, such as ones that you can commune with, or eat an item from, but you will have to skip the ones that require you to best a foe. I was actually really surprised at how many renown hearts I was able to complete with time and patience.
Another great way of getting experience (and money) is gathering. Each node you gather from will give you roughly the same amount of experience as killing a foe, so its well worth purchasing some gathering tools early on since you don’t get given them as a reward till level 9.
Helping others by way of resurrecting players and npcs will give you experience.
Crafting will also give you some experience, though you have to be careful with the crafting due to the ingredients involved, as stated earlier. For this reason I will be changing my Armoursmithing skill to Jewelcrafting, since that doesn’t require items from dead creatures. Chef will also be fine to do so long as you stay away from meat-based products.
Completing events will also give you experience, but there will be very few you can actively participate and get rewards for doing. Most events seem to give experience based on how much damage you do, so you are unlikely to get much from participating. You can help heal others, but I don’t think that counts towards the reward, but I believe that resurrecting people does count, to a small degree at least. You are unlikely to get anything more than bronze in events that require killing since you cannot participate in that. Be aware also that events scale depending on the number of people involved, so if players see you being there but not doing anything except popping the odd heal, it could lead to some frustrations.
Usually I would tell players that doing their personal story quests is a great way to level in pve, however I think it is almost impossible to actually do these without combat on your part. I have not looked into the quests completely, but from what I can recall from my various alts, almost all of them, at some point, require you to kill an enemy. Even the level 10 one for finding healing salve requires you to kill the troll chieftan before you can leave with the ointment you have already picked up. Sad.