gw2 endgame guide

Guild Wars 2 Endgame Explained

This is a highly subjective and somewhat divisive topic in GW2. In many ways the game doesn’t have a clear endgame, instead it’s up to each player to figure out what they want to do once they’re done leveling. In this GW2 guide we are going to highlight the most common and popular types of endgame content and how to prepare for them.

Farming And Crafting

If you’re interested in PvE or WvW this should be where you start. Gold and gems are the two main currencies in GW2 and much of the game revolves around them. You can’t get into most highlevel content without the proper gear, and the two most common ways of getting it is through either buying gear from the Trading Post or crafting it. Both of these methods require gold.

Gold can be exchanged for gems too, and gems are the gateway to a some of the most extravagant skins as well as great convenience items. So where to start? First you should do something easy that requires next to no gear or game knowledge.

Dailies are a great starting point. Daily completionist requires you to complete any 3 daily achievements from the Daily tab and rewards you with 2 gold plus some Spirit Shards. This is a bit more advanced, but Spirit Shards can also be converted to gold with the help of the Mystic Forge and a site called gw2efficiency.

Login rewards are also decent, don’t forget to at the very least log in daily for them. Mystic Coins sell for good money on the Trading Post and Laurels can also fetch a nice price when you spend them on crafting material bags. To find out which bags are the best at the moment we recommend the relevant gw2efficiency page once again.

For more goldmaking tips feel free to check out this metabattle page.

Content and progression overview by reddit user Fynn1995

Note: End of Dragons is the upcoming GW2 expansions set in Cantha, this is content not yet available. We don’t know when it’s going to be released, the question marks below indicate the gap of potential unknown content leading up to it.

Gearing

Once you’ve decided which part of the game you’re interested in, it’s time to start getting the gear for it (unless it’s PvP, you can find out more about that here). Find yourself an up to date and viable build using the following resources: 

  • Metabattle – they cover every area of the game from open world to WvW and competitive PvP
  • Snowcrows – they are a high-end PvE guild that specializes in raiding builds and even offer training
  • Discretize – another hightier PvE guild, they focus on fractal guides

Level 80 Exotic gear should do the trick, if you’re lucky and your build uses cheaper stats you could even purchase an entire set from the Trading Post for a couple of gold coins. Once your Exotic set is complete you should look into leveling crafting, because crafting is the most reliable way of getting Ascended quality armor and weapons. 

Need help gearing a character? Check out this guide.

Don’t have the gold to get the gear? Try looking into the Daily Checklist and Maps/Event Farms section here. With that out of the way, let’s get started.

Fashion Wars

The first step is to find yourself a goal. Don’t expect the game to force you into any content once you hit 80, it’s up to you to find a purpose. Luckily in a game as vast as GW2, that shouldn’t be a problem. Aiming to get some shiny new skins would be a good starting point. 

GW2 has a cosmetic endgame and minimal gear grind, the main motivating factor behind gearing after a certain point isn’t the stats but the skins. One common approach is to just do what you like, learn how to earn gold from it and then convert that gold to gems to buy store skins. It’s possible to earn a decent amount gold from almost any area of the game, be it open world PvE or competitive PvP.

The other one is a bit more targeted – you could go after skins that are tied to doing specific content like raids or PvP and start grinding there. Or if you really want to keep yourself busy, aim for Legendary gear. An average Legendary weapon is in the 2-3k gold range and may even involve a scavenger hunt or two. In general farming gold and other currencies is a defining part of endgame.

PvE

Open World Metas

Fairly casual and beginner friendly, open world metas are the next logical step after leveling because you’ve likely been doing something very similar before hitting 80. Open world can also be a great money maker.

In GW2 open world makes up the bulk of endgame content with a heavy focus on meta events. On endgame maps you have to work together with dozens of other players performing various tasks in order to progress map-wide events. This is a solid starting point because these metas grant a lot of XP which you’ll need in order to level your masteries, not to mention gold and map specific currencies. 

Example of a GW2 meta event

Some of these map currencies are required for legendary weapons as well as unlocking new stats for crafting.

This is meant to be large scale group content, so always try to find a commander and join their squad! As for where to go, Heart of Thorns maps are still very popular and should be a good starting point.

Metas are often tied to timers, sites like gw2timer should prove useful when deciding what to do next. If the version of the map you’re on isn’t doing the meta for one reason or another, try using the LFG system and find a commander for your specific map through that. Joining their squad should bring you over to their map.

Fractals

Fractals are the instanced 5 man endgame content of GW2 that replaced regular dungeons. These are essentially a subcategory of dungeons, but there are many things that set them apart. The entrance is located in Fort Marriner, Lion’s Arch. Chatcode for the closest waypoint: [&BDAEAAA=]

The key differences:

  • All fractals are designed for max level players.
  • Each dungeon has its own currency and rewards while every fractal is tied to the same reward structure.
  • Fractals scale up to level 100. Each level is harder than the previous.
  • At level 20 the agony mechanic is introduced, more about this below.
  • Some fractals have challenge modes for the truly hardcore.
fractals loading screen art

Agony

This is a powerful debuff that quickly overwhelms those affected by it. To counter agony, players must build agony resistance (AR). The higher you go on the Fractal level scale, the more AR you’ll need.

AR mostly comes from infusions which can be put into infusion slots found on Ascended and Legendary gear. At lower levels you may get away with having no resistance at all or buying trinkets from sources like the Laurel Merchant and infusing those (which should be the cheapest thing to do). Eventually you’re going to have to get Ascended armor and weapons too though.

Instabilities

While agony can be rendered a nonissue through infusions, instabilities are something you actively have to play around. These are passive effects that significantly alter how you approach the gamemode from Fractal level 26 and up.

For example the Afflicted instability increases the duration of the Resistance boon applied by your team, but causes enemies to apply random conditions, heavily encouraging Resistance stacking. Social Awkwardness prevents players from stacking by pushing them away from each other when they get too close, while Stick Together incentivizes stacking by offering damage reduction based on proximity to allies and punishing loners through increased incoming damage.

There are more than a dozen instabilities and depending on the level of the Fractal, multiple ones can be present at the same time. From level 51 you’ll have 2 instabilities active and from 77 you’ll have 3.

Raids

The most challenging PvE group content GW2 has to offer, raids are instanced 10 player areas. An average raid wing consist of 3 bosses and no trash mobs, unless it’s part of an event. You should have the gliding mastery unlocked and maxed before coming here.

GW2 raid art

Raids are more accessible than Fractals from a certain point of view as they don’t force you to have Ascended quality gear, but due to their difficulty you really should have decent gear and a solid build if you are to attempt raiding.

The Lion’s Arch Aerodome serves as the Raid hub.

Strike Missions

These are like mini raids. Strikes are single boss encounters introduced with the Icebrood Saga that scale up to 10 players. You may join them solo or as part of a premade group.

If you’re only starting to get into more serious endgame and you’re not confident enough to do raids just yet, this will be great practice. Strikes are meant to be stepping stones into raiding. If you wish to learn about this type of content in greater detail here’s a link to the official wiki’s Strike Mission page.

Eye of the North serves as a strike mission hub.

Collecting Legendaries

This isn’t a specific type of endgame content but rather a culmination of progression for many GW2 players. Getting a Legendary is a fitting long-term goal that requires thousands of gold and sometimes even a scavanger hunt.

It’s an entirely optional grind however, as Legendaries aren’t stronger than Ascended gear.

Amassing the gold for it should keep you busy for a good while. If you’re interested, here’s a link to the gallery of Legendary weapons. Pick one based on 3 criterias: skin, usefulness for your class, and how many of your characters could make use of it (Legendaries are account bound, both the skin and the item).

Weapons are the “easiest” to get in a sense that they aren’t tied to high-end endgame content like Legendary armor is. But if you wish to sink your teeth into raiding, PvP or WvW then you should be aware of the available Legendary armors and start working towards them. You can learn more about Legendary armor following this link.

Achievement Hunting

Who doesn’t love those shiny popups on the screen? Hunting achievements and building up your achievement points isn’t only an excellent long-term goal, but also helps you discover and learn more about the game.

An example of achievement reward chests

Achievements cover each and every area of the game and there are thousands of them with each new Living Story/Saga chapter or expansion adding new ones.

GW2 account bonuses

It’s not just a meaningless number either, every 500 points you earn account-wide bonuses and reward chests – not to mention the rewards that are associated with individual achievements. These could include titles, gold and even Ascended gear!

PvP

The primary competitive format of GW2, Structured PvP (sPvP) can be played from level 1 with starter gear and you won’t be at any disadvantage. To learn more about how gear and levels work in PvP check out our PvP gear guide.

As for exactly what endgame is like in PvP, there are two main join formats: Ranked Arenas and Automated Tournaments.

Ranked Arena

This is for solo and duo players who wish to test their skill and compete for titles on the ranked ladder. To enter you must first raise your PvP rank to 20 in Unranked which should take a couple of days. When you’re in the PvP lobby or a PvP match, your PvP rank is displayed in the same place where your XP bar would be in PvE. Make sure you uncheck the Stronghold box before you queue unranked!

Regular Ranked seasons are set in Conquest, a 5v5 capture point gamemode. After 10 placement games your MMR (matchmaking rating) will be determined and you’ll be assigned a division based on that. 

ranked arena miniseason

Miniseasons

Miniseasons take place between Conquest seasons and are meant to spice things up by allowing people to compete for unique titles in new gamemodes such as 2v2 and 3v3. The only permanent gamemode besides Conquest is Stronghold, which is Unranked-only.

Automated tournaments

ATs are for groups of 5 who want to engage in the most competitive aspect of GW2. These tournaments open at various changing time slots each day. Playing in ATs can net quite a lot of gold as well as qualifying points for the prestigeous monthly tournament (mAT), which has its own unique rewards on an annual rotation.

GW2 automated daily and monthly tournament UI

World vs World

WvW is a very flexible gamemode and there are almost no ways to play it “wrong”. As long as you are getting kills or doing objectives, building participation, you should be fine. WvW can be divided into two major categories: blobbing and roaming.

Blobbing/Zerging

This is when you either join a blob (sometimes called a zerg) and be one soldier in dozens or tag up as commander and lead your troops to victory. You’re a cog in the machine.

Blobbing is all about playing for objectives. Defend your server’s land, repell enemy invaders and lay siege to towers and keeps in massive battles! If you love large scale PvP fights then this is for you.

There really aren’t a lot of requirements here, in larger groups you can get away with being poorly geared and running suboptimal builds so even new players get to participate. Still, you should try to pull your weight as much as possible and we recommend that you grab yourself a WvW build from metabattle before heading in.

GW2 wvw art

Roaming

If you’re not into these massive battles and want to do something on your own or with a group of friends, try roaming. It’s like a bit more casual and way less restrictive version of sPvP.

Roamers look for duels and smaller skirmishes on the map. When it comes to objectives, they take out sentries and supply dolyaks or even go behind enemy lines to flip supply camps.

Closing Thoughts

In the end, there really is no right answer to what’s the definitive endgame in GW2. Do what you enjoy most. If it’s PvP, go climb the ladder. If all you want to do is complete jumping puzzles or flip the Trading Post, you do you. The game has a lot of content and it’s up to you to set your own goals and define your own endgame.