Guild Wars 2 Leveling And New Player Tips
In this GW2 guide we are going to share a couple of tips and tricks that could not only speed up your leveling but also make your experience much smoother as a new player. On top of that we’ll also cover a few common mistakes that you should try to avoid as well as a few suggestions that could benefit you in the future.
Do not boost your first character!
Buying a GW2 expansion comes with a level 80 booster. This should be kept for an alt for many reasons. A lot of new players who don’t spend enough time trying out a class and just boost what sounded cool right away often end up either not liking their class or simply get overwhelmed by all the systems a max level player has to deal with. As a result, they reroll on a new character and the boost was wasted.
Gradually learning what the game is about and what each system does makes for a much healthier (and satisfying!) new player experience.
While we don’t recommend using a level 80 booster, a little bit of efficiency won’t hurt! There are a lot of items in GW2 that are fairly cheap and provide a boost to experience gained. We’ve gathered the cheapest options for XP boosts. Grab one item from each category and they should stack:
XP bonus: 10%
Duration: lasts until replaced
Source: Nathan the Bartender (Guild Hall)
If you own Heart of Thorns you should try and join a guild with a Guild Hall that has the right upgrades. From Nathan the Bartender you may pick up a Guild XP Gain boost which lasts until replaced by a different guild perk.
XP bonus: 10%
Duration: 30 minutes
Source: Bowl of Apple Sauce
Cost: ~15-30 copper
Bowl of Apple Sauce is one of the cheapest things you could get, it's around ~30 coppers when bought from the Trading Post and about half when purchased from Farmhand Paris. Of course any other food buff would also work, but this is as cheap as it gets.
XP bonus: 10%
Duration: 30 minutes
Source: Weak Potion of Outlaw Slaying
Cost: ~10 copper
Weak Potion of Outlaw Slaying is one of the cheapest options on the Trading Post. Rough Sharpening Stone is a tiny bit more expensive, but still dirt cheap and a little bit more useful in terms of actual combat benefits.
Canthan New Year Fireworks
XP bonus: 5-10%
Duration: 30 minutes
Source: banners in the open world
Cost: free (for you)
Guilds can call down banners that grant various bonuses when interacted with. Anyone can reap the benefits of these banners, you've just got to find one. These are limited duration items and could be anywhere, keep an eye out and ask around in map chat. Touching an XP banner could yield yet another 10% bonus.
Annual event hubs like the Crown Pavillion During Wintersday are always worth checking out for banners.
Gem Store Boosters
Everything else on this list is borderline free, except for this. XP boosters can be quite pricey and come from the store, they offer the biggest boost to your experience gain but honestly, not the best way to spend your gems. You could if you really want to, of course. It's an option.
- Guild perks. If you own Heart of Thorns you should try and join a guild with a Guild Hall that has the right upgrades. From Nathan the Bartender you should be able to pick up a Guild XP Gain boost which lasts until replaced by a different guild perk and grants up to 10% bonus XP.
- Food buffs. Bowl of Apple Sauce is one of the cheapest things you could get, it’s around ~30 coppers when bought from the Trading Post and about half when purchased from Farmhand Paris. Not bad for a 30 minute XP boost.
- Utility buffs. Weak Potion of Outlaw Slaying is one of the cheapest options on the Trading Post. Rough Sharpening Stone is a tiny bit more expensive, but still dirt cheap and a little bit more useful in terms of bonuses. 10% XP bonus on kills.
- Canthan New Year fireworks. These provide a 5% XP bonus for kills, come in increments of 5-10 minutes and stack up to 2 hours. Lucky Prismatic Rocket and Lucky Draketail are the two cheapest options on the Trading Post.
- Banner bonuses. Guilds can call down banners that grant various bonuses when interacted with. Anyone can reap the benefits of these banners, you’ve just got to find one. These are limited duration items and could be anywhere, keep an eye out and ask around in map chat. Touching an XP banner could yield yet another 10% bonus.
- Gem store boosters. Everything else on this list is borderline free, except for this. XP boosters can be quite pricey and come from the store, they offer the biggest boost to your experience gain but honestly, not the best way to spend your gems. You could if you really want to, of course. It’s an option.
Don’t farm one spot
Mobs that haven’t been killed in a while grant bonus XP. The longer a mob stays alive, the more XP you’ll get for killing it. This is to encourage players to spread out and explore.
People in general tend to ignore the non-hostile mobs which means that these often end up accumulating hefty XP bonuses, so these are always worth checking. You could easily end up getting more than double or even triple the experience for them!
Do the story
Every 10 levels you unlock new story chapters, we recommend you always do these when they become available. Story chapters provide a lot of XP, good rewards, and they are a nice change of pace from the open world content.
Fix your settings
Settings play a crucial role in how you interact with the game. The default ones new players have to deal with often leave much to be desired and can hamper not only your combat performance, but also your enjoyment of the game.
There are more than a hundred settings options in GW2, in this guide we’ll only go over the essentials.
Check the boxes for the following options under User interface:
- AoE loot on interact
- Autoloot: autopickup
- Show all usable object names
- Show skill recharge
Make the following changes to the Camera settings:
- Rotation speed slider all the way to the right
- Zoom sensitivity slider all the way to the right
- Field of view slider all the way to the right
- Enable camera shake – disable by unchecking the box
- Use free camera – enable by checking the box
Make the following changes:
- Ground targeting – fast with range indicator (now you’ll be able to position your AoE skills and cast them by simply letting go of the button)
- Double-tap to evade – disable by unchecking the box
- Autotargeting – disable by unchecking the box
- Melee attack assist – disable by unchecking the box
- Lock ground target at maximum skill range – enable by checking the box
Do your dailies
Even if all you do on a given day is log in, it shouldn’t be missed. Daily login rewards such as Mystic Coins or Laurels are quite profitable and will help you out a lot.
Don’t forget about daily achievements either! It’s possible to finish all your dailies in any of the 3 main areas of GW2 (PvE, PvP, WvW) without setting foot in the other 2, but you could also combine them.
Finishing 3 daily achies on the same day gives you a meta reward of 2 gold, 10 achievement points, and some spirit shards.
Unlock skills and specializations
The game lets you decide the order in which you unlock skills and specializations. Don’t worry – by the time you hit 80 you will have unlocked all of the base ones, and after hitting 80 you should be able to get all the elite specializations as well.
Your choice only matters in the moment, there is no irreversible decision when it comes to unlocking stuff.
Power > Condition damage
There are 2 types of damage. Direct damage which scales with a stat called Power, and Condition damage (damage over time effects) which scales with the Condition Damage stat.
Prioritize Power and direct damage when leveling. Condition damage takes time to ramp up and most mobs in the open world die quick, especially in early zones. Direct damage is also a bit less contingent on gear.
Don’t worry about gear
Leveling in GW2 is fairly quick and not very demanding, crafting or buying gear while levelling is almost always a waste of money for a new player. The gear you get from story rewards and kills should keep you competitive till 80.
Get the most out of the Trading Post
Unless you’re in a hurry to sell or purchase an item, try to use the ordering option for buying and the listing option for selling.
When it comes to selling, items stay listed on the Trading Post until someone buys them. In a similar fashion, players may place orders for certain items and these offers stay up until someone agrees to sell an item for that price.
In the example above, a player is listing their item for 32 gold while the highest offer from a buyer is about 20 gold and 70 silver. If someone agrees to sell this item, the buyer saves more than 11 gold, while the seller potentially loses out on that much.
Listing an item or submitting an order means that you’ll have to wait for another player to agree to your prices. This could take a while, but you’ll almost always end up getting a better deal than if you sold/bought the item instantly in which case the price would be set by others.
If it doesn’t work out, try to meet the other party halfway, which is still better than blindly agreeing to their terms.
You start off with 4 empty bag slots, try to fill them as soon as possible! Carrying more loot means there’s more items you can store and then sell not to mention that it reduces the number of times you have to stop to clear it up. Getting more bagspace is a great investment.
Avoid purchasing crafting/armor bags or safeboxes at first, these can only house certain types of items and you want as much flexibility as possible. An 18 Slot Silk Bag or 18 Slot Mithril Box (grab whichever is cheaper at the moment) could serve new GW2 players even at level 80 and tend to be in the 2-3g range on the Trading Post. We definitely recommend getting these early on.
Buy salvage kits
Blue and green quality armor and weapons you obtain but don’t need should be salvaged. Salvaging them yields crafting materials that tend to sell for more than the items themselves, not to mention that salvaging is great for inventory management or personal use in case you want to get into crafting.
A 25 use salvage kit could clear 25 items from your inventory without having to visit a merchant to sell them.
Salvaging also grants essences of luck. When consumed, luck raises your account’s Magic Find which in turn improves your chances of getting better loot from mobs and certain chests.
Salvage Kits can be purchased from any merchant in the game, and as you level up their wares scale up with you.
Right-clicking on a kit brings up a menu where you can select entire rarities of gear to mass salvage. Get used to this early because you’ll be doing a lot of salvaging at max level!
We recommend using Basic Salvage Kits while leveling, or investing in a Copper-Fed Salvage-o-Matic from the store. To learn more about the Copper-Fed and other useful store items, check out our guide of recommended gem store purchases.
Harvesting ore, herbs or wood requires no commitment in GW2 other than having the right tools – sickle for herbs, pick for ore, axe for wood. Any merchant NPC in the game will sell you these.
As you level up you’ll encounter new types of nodes that require better quality harvesting tools. Luckily, the tools offered by merchants also scale with your level so you could always get level-appropriate tools when visiting one.
Not only does gathering help you build up some gold, it also grants XP.
Get a crafting discipline
Crafting is a great way of getting XP – in fact, it’s probably the best. If all you care about is the XP then definitely level Cooking and Jewelcrafting as these are easy and cheap. gw2crafts.net is an excellent site, use it to figure out the most optimal way of leveling crafting disciplines.
You may only have 2 crafting disciplines at a time, but for a fee it’s possible to deactivate one and pick up a new one. When you do this, your progress on the one you discarded won’t be lost, but you’ll have to pay a fee to get it back.
Crafting is a necessity if you want to get top tier PvE gear once you hit 80, so might as well level something that fits your profession while collecting XP for it on the way.
- Armorsmithing creates gear for Warriors, Revenants and Guardians.
- Tailoring for Elementalists, Mesmers and Necromancers.
- Leatherworking for Rangers, Engineers and Thieves.
As for weapons:
- Weaponsmith produces martial weapons like swords and daggers.
- Artificer creates caster weapons such as staves and foci.
- Huntsman is for bows and horns.
Jewelcrafting creates accessories, but it’s almost useless at max level because endgame amulets, trinkets and rings come from other sources.
It’s possible to learn every crafting discipline on a single character, but it’s also fine to outsource crafting to alts. Highend items they create are always account bound anyways.
Make use of character slots
Fill all of your character slots right away, or at least don’t leave more than 1 empty slot on your account. Alts could easily serve as extra storage at the very least. There are also birthday presents going out every 365 days after character creation, so the earlier you create alts the sooner you’ll get more presents.
If you change your mind later and end up deleting characters that’s fine, but planning ahead just in case never hurts.
Parking alts at lucrative spots would also be a good move. Even if you’re not actively making use of a character you could simply park them at the end of a jumping puzzle or a cluster of herbs. From then on you can loot the chest/gather materials at least once a day with minimal effort. If you’re interested, we’ve gathered the best alt parking spots at this link.
Learn to use the PvP lobby
This place is great. You can enter the lobby from anywhere in the world with just 1 click and gain access to bank/Trading Post/merchants very close to one another. Once you’re done just click the “Exit PvP” button on the top left of the PvP UI to be returned to your PvE location. All free of charge! There’s even a portal to the main hub of the game, Lion’s Arch.
Obsidian Sanctum (a WvW map) could also do the trick. Here you can find merchants, bank, repair NPC and more right at the entrance.
If you’re thirsting for more, you’re in luck as the GW2 community is fairly active when it comes to creating guides. Here are a couple of other resources that may prove useful to you:
- Dak393’s new player guide is quite possible the most extensive such guide for Guild Wars 2
- Early builds and tips from the official forum
- ArenaNet’s own new player guide
- Metabattle’s leveling tips
Hopefully now you know everything you wanted to find out as a new player. Once you hit level 80 you may want to check out our guide to endgame. See you in Tyria!