We were going to do a Top 10 list, but decided that eight is a better number. First of all, top tens are a bit cliché as a general rule in this day and age. And as anyone who managed to survive the dreaded late 70s or early 80s will tell you, eight is enough!
The following list contains plenty of useful tips for new players, and is primarily focused on aspects of the game that may be less obvious, but are incredibly useful to know about. A few of the tips listed do have some crossover with topics that we’ve covered with more complete guides, but for the most part we tried to make sure it contains plenty of value in its own right without having to refer to much larger topics.
1. [Ctrl] shows enemy nameplates and gathering nodes, [Alt] shows friendly NPC nameplates
This key mapping carries over from GW1, and will be pretty familiar to anyone who plays that game. For anyone new to Tyria with GW2, however, you’ll want to get into the habit of holding down the left Ctrl or Alt keys while out exploring.
Holding down Ctrl will display the nameplates of any nearby enemies, and can also help you locate gathering nodes that may be less obvious at first glance. Making gathering nodes easier to spot is an obvious benefit, but holding down [Ctrl] can also make spotting aggressive creatures underwater much, much easier.
2. Don’t forget to check your mail after completing events
Once you’ve completed a dynamic event or following certain personal story missions you will commonly receive in-game mail from one of the key NPCs based on the completed activity. This will commonly contain a coin reward that will come in incredibly handy at lower levels. For example, if you hit level 11 and unlock traits only to discover you don’t have enough silver to purchase the training manual, be sure you’ve checked your mail for any coin the messages may contain.
3. Follow the
Yellow Brick Road Green Star Icon to find content appropriate for your level
As soon as you embark on your personal story missions at level 2, the location for the next step will always be displayed on your map (and in the mini-map) represented by a green star icon. While some stages will take you into your home instance or other areas within the major cities, many will require you to venture out into the explorable areas.
This beacon also serves the double purpose of pointing you in the direction of dynamic events and other content that would be appropriate for the level of your current personal story stage. For example, if the next stage in your story is for level 12, the area where you’ll need to travel to in explorable zones will contain dynamic event content that is appropriate for a level 12 character.
4. Mark Targets with [Ctrl] + [T], Assist with [T]
Another key mapping convention that’s survived the return of the Elder Dragons for Guild Wars 2 is the ability to call targets. This can be incredibly useful in just about any group setting, especially in dungeons or sPvP. The default mapping for doing so is [Ctrl] + [T] which will cause a few different things to happen.
- Your character will give an audio queue that a target has been called
- An alert will appear in the chat box that informs teammates which target has been called
- Red crosshairs will appear above the target’s head
- Teammates can assist by pressing [T] which will lock them onto the called target
In groups, it’s common to select a target caller prior to engaging in combat. For example, heading into an sPvP match, your team should decide who is going to call targets. This can help insure you’re focusing fire on a specific enemy, or even be used for other things such as to help keep mesmers targeted amidst a sea of clones and illusions, or make it much easier to keep a necro targeted that has a swarm of minions summoned.
5. Inventory Management and Account Storage
Within the main inventory screen, you will be able to do a few simple things that can make it much easier to deal with all the loot and gathered materials you’ll be collecting. In the upper right corner of that window [I] you will see a small gear icon. Clicking on it will bring up a list of options (shown here to the right).
Depending on how you like to sort items between your different bags, it can be handy to toggle the Show / Hide Bags option. Below you can see what inventory can look like in its default state (left) vs. what it will look like if you choose to compact and hide bags (right) from the options list. (Click the image for a larger view)
The other option you'll have is to Deposit All Collectibles which can be a real time saver as opposed to depositing each item individually. Also note that collections are shared across all characters on your account. For example you can gather a large amount of copper ore on one character, deposit it, and then use it in crafting on a different character that's on the same account.
6. Cooking is expensive and resource intensive
The Chef crafting discipline is great and makes excellent use of the crafting discovery system, but be warned that it will also be the most expensive and resource intensive of all the disciplines. As such, it may not be your best option when first starting out. In fact, the NPC Chef trainers will explain that it is considered an “advanced” discipline, and that you may want to pick it up a bit later in your character’s development.
There are, however, a few things that you can do to help make Chef much easier to advance depending on a few basic variables:
- Collections stored in the bank are account-wide, so be sure to harvest any foods you come across on any characters you create on the same account. While out gathering, also pay attention to maps or areas where specific types of food can be gathered in larger quantities.
- As you complete Renown tasks, be sure to check what items the NPC vendor has for sale. Many will sell specific food items in bulk for Karma. Take note of what each one sells so that you can quickly travel back as needed.
7. Not all utility skills can be used underwater
At lower levels you will have precious few skill points to spend on new utility skills. If you plan on diving into underwater content, you will want to pay close attention to the tooltips for each skill before committing to a purchase. Each profession will have certain skills – or even entire skill lines - that are not usable while underwater. These will be marked with a small blue icon that has a red X through it found in the upper right corner of the tooltip. An example of this can be seen here to the right.
There is also another way to see which skills cannot be used in underwater combat for your profession. Once you’ve unlocked your first utility slot at level 5, you will need to slot your normal (on land) and underwater utility skills separately. As soon as you’re able, find a nearby body of water and swim down beneath the surface.
Once there, click on the small arrow directly above the skill slot. This will bring up a list of icons for all utility skills for your profession. Those that you are not able to use underwater that have already been purchased will have a bold red X through them.
As you can see in our example above, some professions may lose access to entire skill lines for underwater combat. In this case, the necromancer will not be able to use any of their Wells.
8. Embrace the zerg
With the headstart access periods and official launch, there will no doubt be massive amounts of players populating the lower level maps. While many MMOs have trained us to run in the opposite direction when we see larger groups of players converge on the same gameplay areas, sticking with the mob can actually be quite beneficial in GW2.
While dynamic events will scale based on the number of active participants, many will become much more interesting or even challenging the more players there are involved. A perfect example would be the meta events that can spark from smaller events in certain areas. Meta events will be tracked in the same location of your UI as normal events (upper right hand corner) but will be distinguishable by the darker backdrop, and often indicated that they are intended for groups of players depending on the current status of an area.
For example, Godslost Swamp in Queensdale (human 1-15 zone) contains a meta event that can eventually lead to an encounter with the massive Shadow Behemoth. When you enter the swamp, you will be able to see the status of the event chain, and if enough players are actively participating in events in that area, it can help spark progressively more challenging stages. If you’re able to defeat the final encounter for the event, a giant chest will spawn that contains a wealth of rare gear and consumables.
Have your own tips for new players heading into the official launch for Guild Wars 2? Be sure to add them in the comments below!