(My) First steps in GW2

Aug 24

Written by:
8/24/2012 4:22 PM 

 


    Less than 24 hours left for me to pity myself.
   Normally, I would feel this way for those unfortunate ones who have never set their foot on Tyria's enchanting world - either because they have never played the original Guild Wars or because they were not lucky enough to participate in one of GW2's beta events. However, I've ended up regarding them as lucky, for they know not what they are missing and they shall experience all its magic at once and for good as soon as the game releases. What about me though? Me, who knows what he's missing and feels this absence so intensely? Who closes his eyes and his mind travels there instantly? My mind, which has already registered itself a permanent resident of Tyria and has packed up its luggage months ago... It is so hard for me to wait for all those XX:YY:ZZ 's to become zero. And on the other hand, it is so much easy for me to write another article about it!

   So I let my mind log in for the first time, on zero hour. I've already done my math: it will be Saturday, noon. Me and my wife (a new-born in the world of Guild Wars 2 but a fervent fan already) will have cooked lunch from the night before - or else we'll order a take-away! - and we will eat lightly. I will not drink beer or ouzo, despite the heat and them being much desired by my organism. After we have quenched all our basic bodily needs then, we will besit ourselves in front of our PCs and start warming up with the rest of the DragonSeason people on our RaidCall - until someone screams "It's begun!".

   First we will rush out to get the names we want for our characters! Personally, I've already reserved my main's name through the original GW, being a seasoned player and all. I could not do the same for my alts' names though, since they were single-worded and GW1 does not support such names. Now then, the process in GW2 is incredibly simple - and I would like to thank my friend Sohos for this very useful Tip ;) :   


Create >> select Race >> select Gender >> select Profession >> Skip to end >> Enter name
. Done.
(I know what you're about to say, but don't. Yet.)

   I go over the same process again, as many times as are the names that I wish to grab. That's it. Deep breath. Now, whenever I decide I want to play with one of my characters for the first time, I select it and click on... Delete! That's right, delete. After it has been erased (the game will ask us to type in its name, as a confirmation), I select the empty spot left behind and click on Create. Now I go through all the required steps for its creation, one by one, and at my own pace, until my character looks exactly like I wish it to.


Perhaps one would like to read through the «Guide for Noobs» that I have written (with a generous dose of humor, it's true) regarding this process.

   Reaching the end of this process, we will note that the deleted character's name is still available to us for use! Apparently, sending one of our characters to... the Mists, its name still remains reserved by our account for some time afterwards. I think it's for 24 hours but I'm not sure..

   A good idea at this point would be to setup the keys you feel most comfortable with, before you enter the game's world. There is a pretty solid reason why you'd best do this early: to get used to controlling your character as soon as possible. And the best place to do this is at the starting area, as I'll explain further below.
 


   The default keys are those displayed in the picture above. While you're in the game's main menu, e.g. after you've created all your 'dummy' characters, enter the ‘Options’. Change your controls here. Also bear in mind that there are quite a few useful actions for which there are no pre-defined keys. Take a look in the first section, here.

    After we're done with this step it is finally time to select our main character and press Play! We're getting to watch the intro video at the end of which we find ourselves inside a small, instanced zone which constitutes, in a way, our training grounds. Note that this is not a proper tutorial, in the familiar fashion of other games, but it intends to play out as one. Incidentally, do not attempt to walk outside its boundaries for something truly scary will befall you... (and I'm writing this knowing full well that you are going to do the exact opposite thing, which is my intention as a matter of fact). My advice is: do not rush to this area's end. Take advantage of the safety offered by this area to familiarize yourself with controlling your character, watching the mini-map and your skill bar, as well as the UI's layout and all the information displayed on your screen in general. Also make sure you unlock at least one more of your weapon skills (the one in slot #2), before you leave this place! Enjoy it, there's plenty of time to rush ahead later in the game.

    Following the green star then leads us to our first boss fight and to the end of our personal story's first step. We find our character standing just a few steps away from our race's capital main 'gate'. 


The course you will take now depends solely to the type of player you are: 'solo PvE' players will hopefully do what I describe next, while 'group PvE' ones will do more or less the same but in a different order and probably faster, thanks to the help they'll receive from their friends/guildies and, at the same time, due to the associated limitation of having to follow the herd. On the other hand, 'PvP players' will drift off in the Mists and stay there to haunt it - at their immense pleasure!


    We turn around and head towards our capital. It is of the utmost importance to familiarize ourselves with the environment and even more with our capital's NPCs' whereabouts, since we will be spending a lot of time there. Visit all the PoIs, Waypoints and Vistas. Discovering them easily yields 1.5 to 2 levels and quite a few money! Enough to pay for our first wanderings (waypoint travel) as well as for the equipment we must inarguably acquire before we set out: gathering tools, salvage kit and weapons.


During the final BWE, upon exiting the tutorial area I was almost at level 2 while upon subsequent completion of 100% exploration of «The Grove» I'd been at level 4! Without a single kill.


   Gathering Tools are somewhat pricey for your empty pockets at start (24 Bronze each set), hence my advice is to buy either only one or even two of them if you can afford them and come back for more at a later time. Depending on the area you are going to be exploring, entirely through my experience and off the top of my head, I suggest you buy:

      • Hoelbrak (norn): Copper Mining Pick, Copper Logging Axe
      • Black Citadel (charr): Copper Mining Pick, Copper Harvesting Sickle
      • Divinity’s Reach (human): Copper Harvesting Sickle, Copper Logging Axe
      • Rata Sum (asura): Copper Logging Axe, Copper Mining Pick
      • The Grove (sylvari): Copper Logging Axe, Copper Harvesting Sickle

   Money spent here are worth their weight in... XP, since gathering is indeed very rewarding in this aspect.  Obviously you will  start earning your money back soon enough should you decide to sell the gathered materials at the game's auction house (“Lion’s Arch Trading Center”, LATC for short), assuming they don't fit your own crafting discipline, if you have one, or that you do not intend to place them in some guild bank or donate them to a friend. Tip: don't forget to send these materials directly to your warehouse (bank), by selecting in your inventory's panel the option to «deposit all collectibles»!

   The second equally important tool you need to purchase early is a Crude Salvage kit. Knowing, roughly, what types of raw crafting materials can be salvaged from each item, depending on the material they are made of, you can maximize your profit at the broker (LATC). First, check a dropped item's selling price at a merchant NPC (this price is conveniently included in the item's description) and then check it against the LATC ([Ο]) value. Lastly look up the price of the crafting materials you expect to get from salvaging it, in the LATC. Your total profit can get even bigger if you are lucky enough to get rare materials or upgrades from salvaging. Tip: you do not need to return to a city to do any of these! At first it would be wise to purchase the lower quality salvage kits (crude, at 32 bronze coins or basic, at 88 bronze coins), until you can afford better ones. Then you can buy the more expensive kits which offer higher rate of salvaging rare materials or upgrades from an item, thus increasing its overall selling price. Tip: rule of thumb, when you finish your personal story's second step, one of the rewards is a Crude Salvage Kit (first step rewards us with a bag).

   The last tool we need for our adventures is none other than our weapons. Upon completion of our 'tutorial', the game rewards us with a weapon of our choice - out of two available. Our goal here is to unlock as many skills as we possibly can while we are still in the starting area (levels 1-15). This is where how social we are comes into play. Trading goods with friends or guildies can save us quite a lot of money! Acquire as soon as possible all the weapons (quality is not important) your profession can yield (see the picture above) and begin your training with them. Tip: do not neglect your aquatic skills! The best place to train safely is the Mists lobby, in the pond next to the asura Underwater Combat Trainer.


Estimated total starting cost for equipment:

Gathering Tools (2) : 48
Salvage Kit (crude)  : 32
Weapons (1h / 2h) : 40 / 64
Total (bronze coins) : 120 / 144

    After we get full and well equipped we enter the world outside the safety of our grand city's walls. Our guide here is "exploration". Wander around and stick your nose wherever you feel an itch to. Discover the PoIs, Waypoints and Vistas for ΧΡ. Confront the Skill challenges for priceless skill points (remember you get an additional skill point for every level you gain) and gather wherever and whenever you can. Always be on the lookout for a strange change in the scenery as it be the entrance to some hidden area or a jumping puzzle. Even the most pacific player can gain a lot of XP and gold by merely gathering materials and exploring 100% of an area!

   Naturally, and reasonably, something like this is rather infeasible without the spilling of a little blood. It is rather improbable that the Centaur who sees you approach him with a sickle at hand will regard you as an innocent botanologist. So do not hesitate to kill him first - the Seraph there will not accuse you, they will be grateful instead. A more earnest  and materialistic gratitute will be demonstrated however by the NPCs you help out with their mundane and dirty tasks. By filling (up) those renown hearts you come across, scattered around the map, you are rewarded with XΡ, gold and karma. Don't be tight-handed with your karma: spend it to buy consumables (food which give temporary buffs to your character), materials (usually for cooking), weapons or even gathering tools. Above all, do not forget every time to check on your Mail: the money that these NPCs reward you with come attached to their appreciation messages! During your first steps, these money will be your basic income.


As an indication, during the final BWE, the amount of ΧΡ I gained at level 4 from various activities was:

killing: ~5 XP
gathering: ~20 XP (5 XP x 4 materials/node)
PoI / Waypoint / Vista : ~50 XP
100% area completion: varies (e.g. The Grove:  444 ΧΡ)

   I deliberately left out the whole Dynamic Events matter. I don't think I need to tell you to go out there and do as many of them as possible, participating the most and the best you can, for this will benefit your character's progression immensely. Tip: don't leave an event's playground as soon as it ends. Hang around for a couple of minutes, because it is very possible that a follow-up (meta-) event will kick in. Typically these scale up in difficulty as they go, with the final one involving a boss fight and hefty rewards!

   One last thing, which bridges or crosses if you like all the others: by doing any of the activities mentioned above (gathering, killing, reviving, questing) almost always progresses some achievement – mainly of the categories Explorer, Hero and Slayer. Also, do not forget that these achievements contain tiers: the more you keep at it, the more you are rewarded. Additionally, your progress with them also counts towards some greater (monthly) achievement. Tip: if you find some day that you don't have much time to spend in the game and you don't want to start something that you'll end up not completing, you can simply do your 'dailies'. There are four of them and they include:

      • 10-30-60 “kills” (Tiers 1-3)
      • 5-8-11-15 “kill variety” (Tiers 1-4)
      • 3-10-20 “gathers” (Tiers 1-3)
      • 1-3-5 “events participation” (Tiers-1-3)
    Out of these the most time-consuming is without a doubt the second one, as it requires killing at least one creature of 15 different specIes - no particular type or order. However, there is a trick here! Since daily achievements are shared between all the characters in your account, you can do this: after you kill as many different types of creatures you can in your current area, you either relocate (via waypoint travel - costs a bit of money) OR you log in with another character (who's in another area, obviously) and you complete the killing spree with the missing creature types with him/her. Take heed though: the reward for completing an achievement goes to the character who put the last brick, so to speak! You'd better remember this because some of these rewards (XP and karma points) are untradeable. Furthermore, completing all the Tiers of all the dailies yields to the character who's achieved it a LOT of XP (3% of the total needed towards the next level), and a good amount of karma and gold - plus one Mystic Coin!

   I'll wrap this up with one final and pretty obvious piece of advice: run through your dungeons as soon and often as you can! Every 10 levels or so, beginning from level 30, a new one will become available. The four different routes each one offers yield an equal number of varying experience, served with good XP, gold and most importantly perhaps, Tokens. These we turn in to an NPC standing by the entrance of each dungeon in return for unique, in appearance, armour and weapons associated in theme to this dungeon. So we can brag a lot and amaze ourselves when we look at the mirror.

    In the following table we can see at a glance all the things you can occupy yourselves in the game, as well as all the rewards associated with each of them.

 Activity  XP  Gold  Karma  Other
 Exploration
     
 random item
(e.g. Mystic Key)
 Skill Challenge
       skill point
 Killing    *  
 random drops
(materials, junk, gear, salvageable items)
 Reviving        **
 Renown quests
(hearts)
      access to the Karma merchant NPC
 Dynamic Events
       
 Personal Story
     ***  gear, salvage kit
 Dungeons      
 random drops (as in "Killing")
 Achievements        Mystic Coin
 Gathering / Crafting
   *    crafted item
 PvP        Glory , Rank

*
Although it is not included in the rewards, there is always money to be made from these activities. In the case of “killing”, on one hand, gold can drop from the mob but the true profit is made from selling all the drops - either as 'junk' (directly from withing your inventory, selecting the related option), or via the LATC (by right-clicking on this object and choosing to sell it there), or from salvaging it and selling the materials we get. In the case of Gathering & Crafting, on the other hand, crafted items seel like crazy in the LATC. Just in: a very interesting survey by ArenaNet itself shows where money comes from in the game! Data was taken during one of the BWEs and the graph shows, among other things, what a huge source of income trading crafting materials can be!

** The case of “reviving” is quite interesting. The XP gained from it is rather insignificant, however the action itself counts towards your Achievements completion (“No One Left Behind”). This gives motive to compassionate players to stop and rally their fallen comrades or NPCs and pets. The Good Samaritan is rewarded in Guild Wars 2 !

*** If we aid another player in his/her personal story, then we are rewarded with karma points - among other things. Furthermore, some, if not all, the steps of our own personal storyline may include karma points in the rewards - but they're not enough to be worth a mention.



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1 comment(s) so far...


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Re: (My) First steps in GW2

very good read

By Keeoma on   9/3/2012 6:27 PM

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