Guild Wars 2 is a big game. In some respects too big for a trial weekend. Lucky for you, we're here to help. Below are my ten best tips for how to make the most of our weekend. Some of these are obviously personal opinion on how to get the best out of your trial weekend.
1. Don't Play World versus World (For Now)
Unless you intend on getting no sleep to level up, WvW as it is commonly known is just too big to get to grips with over the trial period. To make matters worse, bolstering (where you are upscaled to match other players) really won't help you survive the huge groups of players and the attacks that come with them. The rule set, maps and entire concept of siege takes considerable time to get used to. Playing WvW at low level will see you running around aimlessly for long periods and dying repeatedly. Your time would be better spent truly enjoying the game world.
2. Experiment In Structured PvP
Structured PvP, unlike WvW is a little more accessible but can also be daunting. Thankfully, it will allow you to play every profession at level 80. Entering structured PvP will unlock every skill and trait for the profession you’re currently playing, meaning you can experiment to your heart’s content with builds and setups. If you want to make more than one profession, you’ll need to create a new character and go through that races starting area, before portaling into the mists. You can join sPvP (as it’s known) by hitting the crossed swords at the top of the screen (1) before selecting "Go to the heart of the Mists" (2).
Some quick facts you should know about sPvP:
- Vendors in the Mists provide all weapons and items for free. Just double click on them to “purchase”.
- You enter an sPvP arena by speaking to the NPC just near the Lions Arch Portal.
- You can leave sPvP and return to PvE by pressing the crossed swords again, and pressing “return to Tyria”.
- Amulets/Jewels you wear these (jewels go into amulets) and they give you the majority of your attributes.
- Runes – you attach these onto your armour to improve your attributes.
- Sigils – you attach these onto your weapons to cause an effect or improve them.
- Traits – you spend points here to improve your attributes as well as obtaining additional flexibility/utilities for your skills.
3. Try Human First
If you’re wanting to just have a quick look at the game world, experience a few dynamic events and learn the ropes, the human starting area is a great place to begin. It’s always the busiest, is nice and colourful but also incredibly easy to navigate around. You’ll find plenty of dynamic events here and have little trouble getting from A to B. While the other racial starting areas are fantastic, I do believe they’re a little trickier to get to grips with and can sometimes be quieter. If you decide to stay in Guild Wars 2 long term, you can always make a new character of a different race (it’s part of the fun!) and as any race, you can still visit any zone you wish (including other races).
4. Explore The Cities
Each race has a City unique to them. These cities tend to be enormous and all are visually unique to that particular race. If for nothing more than visual splendour, it’s exciting just discovering each city for the first time. Lions Arch is the capital city for all of Tyria and it’s here most players congregate. You can also access all other cities for free, from Lions Arch, through the giant portals.
5. Know Your Resources
If you have the time before the trial starts, you really should check out many of the fantastic community sites available. The primary ones however should definitely be in this list here. They'll all give you valuable information about the game, but also about the current content. You should check out this link here for the main ones, but if nothing else be sure to utilize the following:
All of these three cover the basics of what you need: information, groups and skill testing. The other links after the jump are for those of you who really want a solid framework to go into the weekend with.
6. Learn Your Map Icons
Despite a lot of work by ArenaNet to streamline the presentation of a lot of information, it can be confusing to understand what is actually going on. Without traditional "quests" it isn't uncommon for new players to have zero clue about where to go and what to do. The main things you'll need to know are:
1. Personal Story: These green icons indicate your personal story that is associated with the choices you made when you made your character! Go to these for a bit of story behind everything that is going on, but I recommend not going to deep into it until you know you want to play that character!
2. Waypoints: These blue icons indicate a Waypoint which is the travel system in Guild Wars 2. It will cost you money to move between Waypoints you've uncovered, but the cost is proportional to your level. You can always walk, but Waypointing is quicker.
3. Vendors: These array of icons indicate NPC's that can buy your goods or repair your armour. As a rule, never ever buy weapons or armour from such NPC's only ever use them to sell items you collect. The items they sell are overpriced and poor compared to things you can get from the Trading Post.
4. Vista: The red double-triangles are interesting in that they will take you into a movie-like panorama view of your general area or a specific point of interest. Definitely watch these because they can be some of the most gorgeous views in the game while the locations themselves tend to involve some exploration and jumping to get to.
5. Point of Interest: These small squares indicate a location on the map that ArenaNet feel is of interest. Sometimes there is further exploration to be found nearby or might simply be a monument or piece of scenary that looks interesting. Either way, they're always worth looking at.
6. Hearts: When you first visit an area, the map will be littered with these hearts. Unlike the image above though, they will be hollow. Heading to these will guarantee you an activity to undertake that once completed will award you with experience and other goodies. They tend to be the best places to head to for events and for meeting other players.
7. Skill Points: These blue arrows indicate a location where you have to test your skill against an object or NPC. Sometimes they are simple and require little more than your interaction while at other times you'll have a difficult fight on your hands. If successful, you'll be rewarded with experience and a skill point to spend on skills.
7. Enjoy Clockwork Chaos
Joining a trial account at this moment in time couldn't come any better. The latest Living Story has just landed and the world is filled with players taking in the battle against Scarlet and her twisted clockwork minions. It's a great opportunity to really see what the Living Story can offer (bi-weekly updates) but also just how Guild Wars 2 plays out its open world events. As indicated in the picture below, there are two event types: Common and Group. The former is orange (1) and the latter, red (2). The red icons will predominantly revolve around the Living Story and are random in a variety of different zones (level 25+) while the orange are standard event types that happen randomly or in cycles in any zone. Many trial players will achieve more than level 25 over the period, so taking part isn't unrealistic. I would recommend however that you take part in plenty of the standard event types along your travels.
8. Learn To Revive
I've lost count at the amount of new players I've helped to learn how to revive others. I assume many come from other MMOG's where once you're dead, you're dead. As highlighted in the image below, if you see anyone near you with the icon above their head, it means they're "downed" and can be revived by you and everyone else. There aren't many instant resurrection spells in Guild Wars 2, so reviving can take time (and is longer in combat) but is key to you and your parties survival. Simply approach a downed player and when next to them (1), press your interact key (2).
9. Dodge, Dodge, Dodge
It's incredibly frustrating to hear those who played Guild Wars 2 briefly undermining the dodge function. I'll make no bones about it, it's absolutely critical to survival in a game where healing is so limited. Ensuring you time your dodging to perfection can genuinely be life or death in large group encounters or even in small PvE fights. Mastering dodge will allow you to take on significantly more enemies, while avoiding damage entirely. Be careful though, you can only dodge twice before your dodge meter (above the health globe at the bottom of the UI) is depleted. It takes a little time for it to recharge.
10. Have Fun, Don't Rush
There are very few MMOG's that come along that provide you wish as much content as Guild Wars 2 does, to a level of polish other developers strive to match. I really can't recommend enough how you should take your time and resist rushing to level cap. The journey through Guild Wars 2 is incredible, with beautiful zones, pleasurable events and lots of exploration. Even after exploring all the world, there is still World versus World, Fractals of the Mists, structured PvP, crafting and the Living Story events that continue to be pumped out. It might be daunting, but you will undoubtedly catch up it's just best to make sure you've breathed it all in beforehand.
There are of courses dozens of other tips that I could have given in this brief guide, but these were the first 10 that I felt trial players might like to learn. If you have any tips for new Guild Wars 2 players, please post them below!