Tyria is a long way from Azeroth and many World of Warcraft players are going to be in for a shock when they load into the lush landscape of Shaemore. Instead of orcs and goblins, centaurs and destroyers will lurk in the shadows, and instead of an unlimited action bar, players will find only ten slots and no room for more. GW2 is truly in a galaxy far, far, away when it comes to traditional MMOs and you don’t get more traditional than WoW.
If the beta weekends and stress tests have taught me anything, it’s that GW2 can be confusing and difficult for a WoW player to swallow, but many WoW players are looking to give it a try – either as a replacement or conjunction to their current MMO of choice. While not a tip, remember that GW2 doesn’t have a subscription, so you can play it alongside any other game that you wish. There is no rush to complete content to get your monies worth.
To help soften the transition, we’ve gathered ten tips for transitioning WoW players. Soon you’ll move from guardian of azeroth to a lionguard in no time.
Tip #1 – No U.I. Mods in GW2
There is not going to be u.i. mods, addons, or any other interface adjusting module for GW2. You won’t need to go searching for the best action bar replacements or boss helpers like you do for WoW. The interface that ArenaNet has crafted is what you get and thankfully, it’s pretty awesome. There are only ten skill slots, so you don’t need any additional space and many of the interface items can be moved around and adjusted.
Even though there are no addons to download, the addon downloading utility Spark features the latest content
Tip #2 – Level Means Nothing
This dropped from a level two mob in GW2.
Your level (or season for roleplayers) is everything in the traditional MMO. You start your journey out at level one and have to crawl your way to the top, level after level, each one taking longer than the last. At the top, final level, you finally get to start playing the game, raid, PvP, and gear up. In GW2, it works a bit differently.
There are eighty levels in total, but both PvP types (structured PvP and world vs. world) level you up instantly to level 80. In sPvP you are given endgame gear along with traits (think talents) and all skills unlocked. In WvW you are given level 80 equivalency. In PvE, your level determines the maximum level you can do content at, but you can still level off of lower level content (although at a slower pace). Reaching level 80 allows you to complete all PvE content.
Ultimately, the “endgame” starts after the tutorial, although access to all cosmetic gear options requires you to reach level 80.
Tip #3 – There are no Raids
Raiding does not exist in Guild Wars 2 and there are currently no plans to add it in. It’s not a missing feature, but instead a design decision. Content in GW2 comes in multiple flavors, some of it is easier and some of it is harder, but all of the content in the game is assessable to all players. Story mode dungeons are much easier than exploration mode dungeons and everyone’s level is dynamically adjusted down to the dungeons level, making all of the dungeons in the game at or around the same difficulty.
So don’t expect to have to play Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday nights to raid. There isn’t any of that content in the game. Many of the meta events in GW2 can count as raid content, utilizing as many as 20 to 40 to an entire zone’s worth of characters to engage in mega boss fights that grant a truck load of high quality loot, but again, it’s not a requirement for your progression.
Tip #4 – Dungeon Gear is Cosmetic
WoW players are accustomed to gear being the evolution of their character. Running a dungeon provides loot far and beyond what you can get while leveling up and from most quests. However, in GW2 the dungeon gear is pretty good – but nothing that you can’t get elsewhere. Each dungeon provides a unique cosmetic appearance for the loot and that appearance can be transmuted into any other gear with transmutation stones. Story mode grants weapons, exploration mode grants armor, and you get these in the form of tokens, so that you can buy the piece that you need.
So, the point of running dungeons is to obtain gear that is visually appealing to you and to see the story unlock, not for character progression. Exploration mode dungeons exist for an extra challenge and contain lots of chances to get dungeon gear. Loot also drops per character, not per group, making it a lot easier to get the gear you want.
Tip #5 – There are no Mounts or Flying
That’s right, no horses, cows, donkeys, or flying speeders for your character to use to travel with. All travel is done via foot and waypoints. You can instantly teleport to the general area you want to adventure in and then hoof it on foot until you arrive at your destination. This actually works out rather well, as it removes a ton of the downtime associated with going long distances.
There are also Asura Gates that can teleport you long distances for free. A series of them in Lion’s Arch connects all of the major cities, so it’s not that hard to cheaply and easily traverse the world, no waiting on birds to take you or navigating miles of terrain to get there. A quick cheap tip: you can travel to the mists ([h] or bring up your hero panel, select the PvP tab, and choose go to the mists) and then take the portal to Lion’s Arch, which you can then portal to any of the capital cities for free.
Tip #6 – Skill trainers sell books, not train skills.
Skill trainers sell books that unlock trait tiers, they do not teach your skills. I see this one a lot in the map chat. Skills are learned with skill points; you can see your current skill points by pressing [H] or bringing up the hero panel. You can spell them at the skill tab to learn more skills, although your first five skills are from your weapon. You cannot have more than ten skills at any given time.
There are no talent builds either, you can assign points into traits and, at certain tiers, pick a passive ability to help you.
Tip #7 – No Traditional Questing
Somewhat like Rift and Warhammer Online, GW2 uses a dynamic event quest system. It works like this; basically you explore the world and run up across events. They come in two flavors: renown hearts (or tasks) and events. Renown hearts work like traditional questing, you go to an area and perform a task to get a reward. You’re generally given a handful of ways to complete the task. At the end, you’re given a reward. Dynamic events are a series of looping events that dynamically change the world, for instance centaurs can take over a city or you can rescue a city from the centaur. These are repeatable and change depending on which ones players win and fail at. In both cases, you just simply arrive to the area and perform whatever task is needed.
There is a quest log, kind of, which is your personal story. That’s the only thing that you track and it’s more of a breadcrumb that leads you to good hunting grounds vs. something that demands you to collect bear pelts the entire evening.
Tip #8 – No Holy Trinity
When picking a profession, it might be tough to consider that all professions can play all roles. There are no healers, tanks, and damage dealers. Some professions are better suited to play a support or tank role, but it doesn’t make that their exclusive purpose and it doesn’t deny other professions the ability to fill those roles. GW2 depends more on player skill than it depends on the profession.
Tip #9 – Choice is Important
When you’re doing your personal story, you’ll find that it’s important to think about the choices. Each choice will alter not only your story, but the missions that you’ll undertake. There is a lot of branching paths and one simple choice can have you going from one side of Tyria to the other. So be careful about clicking through quest test too fast during your personal stories, because it’s worth it to read what the choices are.
Tip #10 – GW2 is Free-to-Play, Cash Shops, and Gold for Gems
Our last tip is a simple one, GW2 is free to play (after the initial box copy) and that’s the biggest difference between it and World of Warcraft right now. You can put GW2 down and go play other games and come back at any time, no subscription required. GW2 supports itself with a cash shop that lets you buy boosts and cosmetic weapons for gems. Gems can be purchased with real money or you can use ingame currency to buy gems. You can also buy gems with real money and sell them in game to get in game gold, if you so desire.
Here are some additional tips for transitioning WoW players.
- Dungeons are hard, I did one today and I had to repair once from the amount of times we wiped, and we all knew the strategy. Be prepared to wipe, it's perfectly normal.
- On that front, being downed isn't a bad thing. It's the normal rotation of combat. You will be downed a lot throughout the game, so don't fret. Wiping in a dungeon in WoW is generally "the end" of the group, but in GW2, wiping is common practice. You simply respawn at a waypoint inside of the dungeon.
- If you die during a personal story, you can respawn at a checkpoint. Again, don't worry too much about dying.
- Leveling is a static experience. Each event gives a percentage of experience for the level it is designed for. So doing content above your level gives you more XP and content below your level gives you less. The only exclusion is content that is between level 1-20, which is dramatically less XP than content 20-80.
- Skill points buys skills, so they're valuable, and you'll start really needing them after level 30 when it comes time to buy your elite skills.
- Gear is great! Be sure to put upgrades in your gear, it's like enchanting your low level stuff.
- PvP will make you instantly think that there is a lot of professions that are under or overpowered, but that's because each build is a direct counter to something. If a guardian is giving you trouble, consider adding boon removal into your build. If a necromancer is giving you trouble, make sure you have condition removal. You may think about building pure offensively, but understand that will make you a glass cannon.
- Save your money for trait books. You'll need 10 silver at level 10 and that'll be a lot when you're first starting out, so be sure to save it.
- The auction house is the trading post, it's accessible everywhere but you'll need to visit an NPC to pick up any money you've made or items you've bought.
- You can deposit collectibles anywhere in the world from your inventory into your unlimited (up to 250 of each) collectable bank.
- As I said before, there are no mounts.
- Overflows are from every server, it works like the upcoming cross-server zones coming WoW except it's simply a map that funnels everyone extra from every server into it.
- There is no mana and energy is used for dodging. Most abilities are free, with the exception of some skills, like for the Warrior and Thief, that use special resources for some of their abilities.
Well that’s our top 10 tips for transition WoW players. Are you a WoW player who is giving GW2 a try? Let us know in the comments section below your thoughts on the game.