Leveling quickly is the goal of some players in Guild Wars 2 and some of those players are having a bit of difficulty in reaching the levels quick enough. It’s no lie, GW2 is revolutionary in many of the ways it handles the traditional MMO mechanics, including leveling. It challenges what we’ve come to know from generations of RPGs and produces something familiar, yet brilliant. Mastering the system is the true way to master the leveling grind.
I’m not going to lie; I’ve seen hundreds of players bashing their heads into the wall “doing it wrong” in my adventures in Tyria. There are a lot of misconceptions out there, a lot of facts being repeated that aren’t true, and many players who are slightly frustrated with their leveling results. A lot of this can be traced to get rich quick schemes which ignore the depth of the game in lieu of an easier or faster leveling experience. However, the game is designed to accommodate all forms of playstyles and as such, rewards traditional play more than any other method.
That shouldn’t stop anyone from playing the game how they want to. You can level by gathering alone from start to finish if you so choose, however, the most efficient path is one filled with fun, excitement, and a bit of leg work. Our five tips below will set you on the right track to leveling quickly and efficiently and help debunk some of the rumors that you might find while you’re leveling.
Before I get on to the tips, I’d like to mention something – there isn’t a “fastest path to leveling.” The game is very open ended with how you can level. Some players can get to level eighty very quickly by funneling crafting materials to one player or by getting lucky in WvW and get in a party that takes keeps in rapid succession.
#1 – Do not neglect your daily and monthly achievements.
Each tier of your daily experience rewards about 3% of a level and are obtained from gathering, killing enemies, completing events, variety in the enemies you kill, and more. They reset each day, so the experience reward repeats day after day. Monthly achievements and regular achievements also contribute to your total experience gain.
It’s important to remember them, because it doesn’t hurt to mix things up – gather some stuff, do some events, kill some random enemies here and there. That experience really adds up and it’s one of the biggest and easiest ways to level quickly – or at least get a nice speed boost. It also helps motivate you to try different things – which really actually pays off in the long run.
In that regard, gather everything, slay everything, and do everything when you’re out in tyria exploring. Everything gives XP and if you pass it up then you’re giving up free XP.
#2 – Exploration is good.
This is so very important to leveling quickly. Exploration is critical to gaining experience. You’ve heard it a billion times by now that you need to explore everything in GW2. Well, there is a reason it’s repeated so much. You gain so much from wandering around level appropriate zones that it’s definitely worth your while. You can work on gaining your daily achievements, get XP from unlocking waypoints, vistas, and skill challenges. You also can gain more XP by killing enemies off the beaten trail and complete renown hearts and nearby events.
Hanging around one area isn’t a great idea. First, you won’t get any new waypoints, vistas, or skill challenges unlocked. Second, you get no bonus experience for enemies that have been recently killed. Third, you will not unlock any new renown hearts. It’s just not worth it. You don’t even have to really explore zones your level to benefit, although it’s slightly slower. I got a bit over a fourth of a level at 52 by exploring Caledon Forest, doing the skill challenges and visiting the vistas.
Remember, you get XP from a lot of things in the world. Gathering, killing enemies, doing renown hearts, dynamic events, exploration, etc. So going out there and just getting to it is a great way to move that XP bar up fast.
Some rough numbers (consider them to be somewhat accurate), but if you uncover a new area that’s 1% of a level, a renown heart is 8% of a level, a skill challenge is 4% of a level, a waypoint is 2.5% of a level, a point of interest and a vista are both 1.5% of a level. That can be a lot! Gathering is also .5% of the area’s level, per swing (so 1.5% for some stuff).
#3 – Ignore “the loop is broken” or loops in general.
With the two previous tips combined, I can finally get to something that a lot of players who wanted to speed level are doing, but is counterproductive to their desires. A lot of players will form into a zerg at lower levels, grouping up and running through the entire zone. It starts small, just a few cool dudes going out and doing Tyria a favor by beating wurms and collecting rabbits. Then, a few other cool dudes from another side of the zone show up, and then you have an entire army of cool dudes roaming around doing valor and justice.
Then, as these cool dudes who form into these zergs move into the next zones, they start making their cool dude zerg more effective. They start noticing a lot of events loop, especially if they keep meeting their “win” condition. So they start forming into a loop zerg, bickering amongst themselves that the loop is now broken as one of the stops isn’t up when they roam through, and in general gallivant around a few points, looping back to the start at the end.
It may seem like good experience, but it’s ultimately a fraud if you take it in the context of power leveling. Tips #1 and #2 introduce us to the power of exploration, which you gain the first time through the “loop.” You get all of the renown hearts, waypoints, skill challenges, and more as you help everyone zerg each event. You’ll see a massive boost of XP and believe that it’s truly the righteous way to go.
Well, the problem is that each time you repeat the loop; the XP is less until it becomes something of a meh amount and mindless roaming the same path over and over again. See, as the zerg of cool dudes grows bigger, so does the need to do more damage to reach silver and gold in the events, and the speed in which you’ll need to participate to even get a medal at all. The bosses will take longer to kill, the rewards get less, and you start spending tons of coin to keep hopping waypoints.
In that same time, you could have completed several other events running in the zone, while knocking down waypoints and renown hearts, got tons of loot, and had a more exhilarating experience. That isn’t to say that the cool dude zerg is effective at leveling, it’s just not the quickest way of going about it. The game is designed to let players decide how they enjoy their gametime, so there isn't anything wrong with zerging through events, nay it can be an easy and mindless way to level, but it isn't always the most efficient and effective way to level.
If you're curious - even if one of the events is down while the loop is going, as long as players are constantly doing events back to back, the loop "isn't broken." The loop only breaks when there is downtime, i.e. whenever there is no events running. A loop isn't "broken" if there is something for the zerg to do.
#4 – Level Outside of your Comfort Zone
This is the secret to GW2. Experience rewarded is a percentage of the events level. So a level 50 event will reward a set percentage of experience for a level 50 player. If you are level 45, you will get a much higher XP reward for doing the level 50 events. Of course, if you’re level 40, you might not get the reward at all since you’ll need to contribute enough to get a medal (or kill enough to fill in a renown heart). This means that you’ll level quicker, especially since GW2 is a social game and most everything can be completed as a group.
In my experience, anything five levels above you after level 30 is fair game. On my elementalist, I am capable of soloing enemies about four levels above me effortlessly with some careful play and decent gear. I can also easily hop into nearby active events and contribute enough to get gold, especially whenever there are armies of cool dudes around to help. So it’s really beneficial to grind experience outside of your comfort zone.
Likewise, if you’re finding things to be a bit too difficult, you can double back up to five levels below you and still get a good bit of XP. The only problem is – and this is a tough one, that the dynamic level adjustment system takes you down to that area’s level. So if you level in an area about five levels below you, you’ll be at the max level for the area and a little bit more powerful than someone naturally at that level, but you still won’t stomp everything into the ground.
#5 – Consider the Alternatives and Prepare for the World
Crafting grants experience, World vs. World grants experience, and well, everything pretty much gives XP. Don’t pigeon hole yourself into one method of leveling. Incite variety! You will actually level quicker if you do. As mentioned earlier, you’ll get the XP for the achievements in addition for the events. There isn’t really a clear cut method for the fastest way to level, since a lot of it relies on luck (being at the right spot at the right time, especially in WvW), so injecting variety into your leveling rotation is just the right spice.
Experience usually comes in batches, this is a small time lapse from random activities in WvW. (See our Leveling through WvW Guide)
You should also prepare for the world. Make sure you have upgrades in your gear and that your gear isn’t lagging behind. It can really slow you down if you’re doing almost no damage because you have a level 10 sword at level 30. Karma vendors are perfect for finding gear suitable for your level and you won’t have to really pay up in precious coin.
Some more tips, be cautious for “exploits.” A lot of players will find an event that spawns rapidly and stand and auto-attack it. On the surface, this seems like a great way to level, but as I’ve outlined, it’s usually not that fantastic since you’re not pulling in tons of EXP from exploration. ArenaNet has also mentioned that they’re cracking down on botters, so it might also lead to negative account actions if you start really trying to “exploit” fast spawning events.
Dungeons can also be a great way to get XP, but be cautious of the time commitment. Sure you get a huge block of XP at the end, but you may also spend a few hours in the dungeon. Dungeons shouldn't be ignored though, they're a fountain of XP and loot, but if you're looking at them for quick leveling then consider bringing friends and working through the dungeon together.
Well that’s our five tips for speedy leveling in GW2. What are some of your own tips? Share them with the community in our comments section below.