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Ten Tips For Guild Wars 2 Trial Players

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August 22, 2013 - 4:52pm -- Lewis B

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!


celeookie's picture
Submitted by celeookie on

While I appreciate you trying to get them engrossed in the living story, it is unlikely trial account players will get a chance to do Clockwork Chaos events. The events only occur in areas that are above level 25. Other than that, there's not much I could add to this.

My tip would be to roll on a busy or full server (if you don't have friends already playing). This way you'll be able to find lots of people to play with even in the, typically, more empty zones.

Lewis B's picture
Submitted by Lewis B on

Lots and lots of people will get to level 25 before the trial weekend is over and will thus be able to take part in the living world content :)

Lewis B's picture
Submitted by Lewis B on

I think most servers will be absolutely packed - I was going to give that as a tip but changed my mind as the last minute.

Old Ike's picture
Submitted by Old Ike (not verified) on

The lowest level map where Scarlets minion invade is Gendarran Fields which is for level 25-35. For a good idea bout the event you should be able to go everywhere in the map so be atleast level 30. Even then I suspect you spend most time on your back. 
The events take place every hour, but there is only one map you can actually do it on and thats Gendarran Fields. So this means once every 13 hours (on average). If you include the time needed to level up it will be a steep challenge. Considering every level takes 1 hour (on average), this means 30 hours to be ready and then another 13 hours in hoping the right map is selected. My advise would be to try to have more fun with the regular dynamic events. Specially checking out when you can do an event as the Behemoth or the fire ele would be recommended.

Also, it isn't required to play human to play in the human starter area. So if trial players want to play something else that is perfectly possible. If they find their own starting area too hard they can always travel to the human starting area.

Overall a good list of tips.

d8uv's picture
Submitted by d8uv (not verified) on

Finally, in terms of levelling in open-world PVE, the general order I go in for maximum enjoyment is:  Waypoints (blue with gold border trim icons) > Scouts (telescope icon) > Events (orange icons and circles) > Hearts > Skill Challenges > Vistas > Points of Interest. PoIs. Whenever you are vendoring your stuff, remember to repair, and don't forget about the "Deposit all Collectibles" button in your inventory screen. That button takes all of the mats you have and puts them into your bank, whereever you are. Helpful! You can also sell things on the Auction House (Black Lion Trading Post) wherever you are as well. I don't know if the bank or the TP are accessible by trial accounts, though.

Aby's picture
Submitted by Aby (not verified) on

As Celeookie said, while it would be nice for them to see what the Living Story can be like, it only happens in maps at Lv25+ and they also require you to know what you're doing, so I would highly recommend AGAINST doing it, as you're likely to just get confused, killed, not do the right thing, not have the map complete so be running all over the place and miss half of it and probably get frustrated and disappointed (not at the content, just at that happening).

Trying a Human first, nah. Try whatever you want first (and if that's Human then great). I know that because of Champ farming and the Behemoth and stuff Queensdale is usually populated, but really, I wouldn't say that's a good enough reason to have a Top 10 Tip be to start a Human.

I fully agree with not going for WvW if you're only on your Trial though, it's something to do if you buy the full game and once you've learned more about how to play. People can be assholes and very unforgiving in WvW unless you do exactly as they say and you know what you're doing. It's also filled with huge groups that will be running around doing things you won't have a clue about. That being said, it is good fun and important to servers, especially when Commanders (and players) are actually friendly and helpful.

sPvP is kind of a tough one in my opinion. Sure it can be fun and would be handy to try out, but on a Trial in a game you know nothing about, sPvP throws you in at the deep end. Having to pick every trait point and whatnot immediately, pick all of your stats and runes and sigils too, that's a bit much for a brand new player. You also have to learn the maps and figure out what to do on each map and learn that it's not the same as the majority of, if any, other MMOs when it comes to PvP (and other things).

Toran Allaires's picture
Submitted by Toran Allaires (not verified) on

I agree with the comments above.  I've played since pre-launch and I would say that, were I to devote the whole weekend to playing the trial, I would roll the first race that looks interesting, play through the starter map in PvE, then either decide to roll another race and class and play that starter map - do that for a good 75% of your playtime this weekend.  Then, if you're still on the fence whether you want to purchase the game (remember, no subscriptions fees, so it's a one time purchase to get the whole game!) then, poke your head into sPvP and WvWvW.  Just my two cents.  And yeah, try to get on the most populated server possible.  In GW2, you are encouraged and rewarded for helping other players so do it early and often.

Galanthas's picture
Submitted by Galanthas (not verified) on

I think what they'll fine appealing is easily being able to do unnecessarily micro managing stuff like armor dyes, resurrection and  having to be in a group to participate in group events. 

Anonymous's picture
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on

dodging is a great tip but i think moving in general needed to be the tip. if you come from WOW or rift where that 3 sec spell roots you then in GW2 you might assume that 3 sec spell roots you where most likely it doesn't. movement in general is crucial especially if your dodge is out and u need to get out of an aoe but still cast your spells. i understand why he said go with humans because you roll into the asura area and you are lucky to see a couple people maybe a few doing 100% from a different race. i have ran all the starting areas and the race areas you go from 17-25 and all but the humans were virtually dead. i understand if the person sees the sylvari and wants to play them but just know you won't have many people doing events with you sadly.

Yski's picture
Submitted by Yski on

This deserves to be highlighted more.

Tip 11: Keep moving! Never stand still while in combat unless downed, dead or reviving.

Every single forum I've used to spread anti guardian propaganda has subsequently died out on me. Coincidence? I think not!

Chris from Germany's picture
Submitted by Chris from Germany (not verified) on

1) in general: great top ten tips!

2) if you have friends who play GW2, ask them for their server before you create your character!

3) Do not hesitate to begin with any race you like - I had a human character *last* when I began playing Guild Wars 2 a year ago, because I wanted to play those Asura and Norn as quickly as possible... I don't think any starting area will be "deserted", and at least the Norn starting area is at least as crowded with people as the human first map.

4) The inventory's "deposit all collectibles" button is really helpful and can easily be forgotten, as d8uv already said - it is hidden on the top right of your inventory behind a little wheel icon.

Rivermoon's picture
Submitted by Rivermoon (not verified) on

I'd suggest you test your weapon skills in a relatively safe area. If you play a class with weapon swapping, equip a ranged weapon and a close combat weapon when you have them. Get used to your range with ranged weapons and use that distance to your advantage, especially if you're a ranger, thief, engineer or spell-caster. Most ranged attacks do more damage from a distance anyway, so it's a good habit to get into. I see lots of rangers (especially newbies) who equip longbow and shortbow and then try shooting stuff at pointblank range, or they find themselves faced by something that continually closes the distance on them and they have no melee weapon equipped. Even my guardian will begin a fight with ranged weapons before closing in with her greatsword.

Anonymous's picture
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on

"remember to repair" Forget that noise. Your gear at low level gets replaced too fast to consider repairing it. Unless it becomes broken of course.

Willow Barks's picture
Submitted by Willow Barks (not verified) on

also for quick travel to the cities you can hit the wvw or spvp tag and then portal directly to lions arch  from there you will have access to all major cities to explore at your own pace. have fun their is no wrong way to play this game every thing  you do will gain you exp =)

Nay of the Ether's picture
Submitted by Nay of the Ether (not verified) on

As for starting with a human, I don't think it will matter. Most starter zones are on equal footing. Also many people like myself and my whole guild are planning on being on standby in starter zones to help trial players out and I doubt we're the only ones so there should be plenty of people populating them. Lastly, much like someone said above, you can still move while casting the majority of your skills, so keep those feet going, save your dodges for the bigger hits (most really large hits are indicated by red rings on the ground, but not always. Sometimes it's just a telegraphed animation). Oh, and don't be afraid to play how you want. Many players will try to tell you "do it this way, this is best" but that's not always true. Do it the way you will have the most fun and the game is much more rewarding.

Drawnblud's picture
Submitted by Drawnblud (not verified) on

Um...most players will reach 25 before the end of the weekend? What am I doing wrong....sigh.

DoctorOverlord's picture
Submitted by DoctorOverlord (not verified) on


But seriously, while it is possible to hit 25 in one weekend, it's not exactly what I would call a reasonable amount of gaming.   More along the 'not leaving the computer to sleep' level lol

Lewis B's picture
Submitted by Lewis B on

If you grab some XP boosters and just follow the events around a zone, it only takes a few hours to get to level 10. Considering the curve is flat, on most of my characters it takes about 12 hours to get into the mid 20's :)

DoctorOverlord's picture
Submitted by DoctorOverlord (not verified) on

Great guide!  I hope people picking up the free trial read it. 

Emphasizing dodging and reviving was a good idea (Maybe explaining the orange gears in that pic are part of the event would make thing clearer?)

doctorcooler's picture
Submitted by doctorcooler (not verified) on

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