Guild Wars 2 Hub

Your Source for Original GW2 Guides and Features

Character Advancement from A to Z

Around the Web

August 16, 2012 - 1:28pm -- Sardu
GW2 Character Advancement

At launch, Guild Wars 2 will have more methods to help advance your character than many MMOs have much later in their overall life cycle. To help give you some ideas of the multitude of things you'll be able to do in GW2, we put together the following list of activities and aspects of the game that will have a direct impact on ways you can advance your character.

What's amazing is that this rundown from A to Z doesn't even list out every advancement option or method, but it should still give you an idea of just how many things there are for you to experience in-game.


While it would be easy to assume that achievements are simply completionist content, they assist in advancement by granting experience for each unlock, and can even unlock things such as new titles for your character.


You begin shaping the destiny or your character right away during character creation. Your biography not only helps decide part of your character’s back story, but will help determine what you will experience in your personal story.


Crafting can not only help you create useful items, such as armor, weapons, dyes, upgrades, and consumbables, but will also grant you experience. Even gathering the necessary metals, cloth, wood, and plants used in crafting grants XP, so is well worth your time!

Dynamic Level Adjustment

Thanks to the dynamic level system, you never have to worry about “out leveling” content. While the system only scales your effective level down, it still means you can always go back to lower level zones or dungeons and continue to advance your character at a natural pace.


Scampering around Tyria is a rewarding experience all on its own, but you will also earn experience for uncovering portions of the map, unlocking waypoints, points of interest, and vistas, or even discovering interesting dynamic events that are located off the beaten path.


Consumable foods can be purchased from certain NPCs, but the Chef crafting discipline also produces a sizable list of items as well. While most types of food will help improve your effectiveness in combat in some way, you can also gain a boost to XP earned from killing creatures. Needless to say, you’ll want to make sure to keep some food on hand at all times.


The guild system in GW2 is far more than a basic social group with a dedicated chat channel. Guilds come complete with their own robust advancement system that allows members to earn Influence which can then be spent on a wide variety of unlocks to benefit the guild.

Home Instance

As you advance through your personal story, certain aspects of your home instance can change based on decisions you’ve made. While your home instance won’t directly help advance your character, it’s a part of the world you’ll be able to permanently change the further you progress your story.


As you progress through the game, you’ll have a number of different ways to increase your available inventory space. While increased inventory space itself won’t directly impact your advancement, the more space you have available, the longer you can stay out in the world without having to track down vendors or make a trip back to your vault.

Jumping Puzzles

Jumping puzzles are explorable areas found out in the world that offer players a unique challenge, provide a reward chest upon completion, and even have their own achievement category. Most are found in difficult to reach, or less obvious locations, but are well worth your time to go out and discover.


Completing events can not only be rewarding from a gameplay perspective, but provides you with a number of tangible rewards as well, such as Karma. You could think of karma as something you earn for doing good deeds, but then you also get to spend it on a number of unique rewards from karma merchants found throughout the world.

Lion’s Arch

While each race in GW2 has its own unique capital city, Lion’s Arch serves as a massive social gathering point for all races. Natural character progression will lead you towards LA around level 30, but you can access this massive city at any time through asura gates, or via waypoint travel once you’ve unlocked them.

Map Completion

Each zone or map in GW2 has a number of activities you can complete, each providing some XP along the way. Completing all of the objectives on a given map will also reward you with a nice boost to XP and some additional rewards such as items to use in the Mystic Forge, or even consumable items that will help boost your XP gain for a brief period.


You may be asking yourself, what do necromancers have to do with character advancement? The answer is pretty simple: necromancers are awesome!


As you advance towards the mid-levels, you’ll be able to earn influence with the three Orders. Think of the Orders kind of like neutral factions that all have the same goal – defeating the Elder Dragons – but have different ideas for how to do so.

Personal Story

Your character’s personal story works on a number of different levels. Not only does it help give your character a meaningful place in the world, but will also provide some excellent rewards to help you advance your character. Not only that, but if you follow your personal story at the intended level, it can help point you in the direction of areas on the map where there is more content appropriate for your current level.


Out of all the things you can do to advance your character in GW2, generic questing isn’t one of them!

Renown Hearts

Renown hearts provide a layer of direction for players who may not be used to the idea of simply roaming around the map and completing dynamic events. They also help contribute to map completion, and can unlock karma vendors who sell unique items.

Skill Challenges

Outside of normal leveling, skill challenges will be the primary method for obtaining skill points to spend on unlocking new healing, utility, and elite skills. Just like renown hearts, completing skill challenges will also contribute towards your overall map completion, and you can even use skill points as an additional form of currency to assist in creating Legendary weapons and armor in the Mystic Forge.


As you complete certain achievements, you’ll be able to unlock unique titles for your character. A number of unique titles can also be earned through the Hall of Monuments reward progression.

Underwater Content

Most maps contain varying amounts of underwater content. As you’re out exploring Tyria, be sure to go for a swim to find all sorts of cool things like villages, dynamic events, or even hidden entrances to jumping puzzles.


While not linked directly to character advancement, your vault will allow you to store piles of crafting materials, and a number of different collectable items such as any mini-pets you acquire. Since vaults are linked to an account vs. individual characters, you can also use them to quickly and easily transfer items between any of your characters on the same account. One aspect of vaults that is linked to advancement is the ability for guilds to unlock and upgrade vault space for the entire guild to use.

World versus World

World versus World is far more than an interesting PvP diversion in GW2. You can literally advance your character solely in WvW if you’d like, complete with obtaining gear upgrades, skill points, and more.


What would an MMO be without the staple of XP? Just about every activity in GW2 will reward you with XP in varying amounts.


The most important part of character advancement in GW2? You. That’s right: since just about every activity in-game contributes to character advancement in some way, it’s really up to you to decide what activities you enjoy the most rather than being forced down a liner progression path, or to participate in activities you don’t particularly enjoy.


One of the five Elder Dragons, you could think of Zhaitan as the big bad of Guild Wars 2, or the thing you'll be advancing towards in the first place!


Shante's picture
Submitted by Shante on

Damn that Zhaitan artwork somehow reminds me Illidan.

If you don´t smoke weed, 

I don´t know why,

'cause everything better when you 'r high.

Artair's picture
Submitted by Artair on

In Guild Wars 2 official Wiki it is said:

[Achievments] can provide coin and experience, they do not provide any direct in-game advantage or alter gameplay

But here you say one could get

faster weapon swaps in-combat

What's actually true?

Sardu's picture
Submitted by Sardu on

For now I altered the entry for achievements until I can dig through my video / screenshots of the achievements from the stress test to confirm any other forms of unlocks or rewards.

At one point, the Weapon Master achievement did actually grant you a trait that gave faster weapon swaps, but I was working from memory on that one and forgot that it was linked to traits in the old system, and not a permanent or standalone unlock.

For what its worth, the official wiki is pretty out of date with a LOT of stuff right now. For example, the main page for warriors currently states:

This recharge can be decreased by equipping the Weapon Mastery trait once gained.

That points you to the weapon mastery achievement info, so a bit misleading since that trait gained via achievements no longer exists.

Artair's picture
Submitted by Artair on

Yeah all quite confusing at the moment... We will see in 6 days ;-)

On a side note: I'm still not sure if I got it wrong in the first BWE, but I remembered, that only 2-handed weapons did AOE-damage; now I'm not sure if all classes & all 1-handed weapons do AOE-damage now (but perhaps a smaller radius?) or if its only warrior & guardian... 

Galen's picture
Submitted by Galen on

All sounds good to me from the above...though I am rather skeptical on this whole advancement through being a necromancer thing.  I feel there may be some macabre, demented conspiracy a foot there.  or maybe a hand.  hard to tell one from the other with you corpse-desecrating maniacs.

<<suspiciously eyes Sardu, clearly unconvinced.>>





GolemCopp's picture
Submitted by GolemCopp on

I keep noticing errors in your articles. Can you proof read better before publishing them? It's getting to the point where I'm starting to think I should take your articles with a grain of salt. I'm pretty sure that achievements do not unlock character improvements other than cosmetic changes, coin, & xp. 

Sardu's picture
Submitted by Sardu on

As noted above, the article has already been updated to reflect the most current info on achievements, so I'm not sure why you're pointing that out again.

Otherwise, I've spent countless hours gathering info during the beta weekends and stress tests to insure we have the most up to date info as possible. We could simply log in and have fun like the rest of you, but I'm committed to making sure we have the best guides possible for the game online.

If you're spotting inaccuracies - no matter how minor - in any of our guides, please take a moment to note it in the comments so that we can make any necessary corrections. Also keep in mind a couple of things:

  1. Since the game is not live yet, info is changing constantly. As soon as the game launches we will be doing a full sweep of all our guides to insure accuracy and that they contain the most current info possible.
  2. The official wiki is largely out of date, and full of inaccurate info at the moment. Please do not base the accuracy of our guides on wiki entries until those pages have seen proper updates. I can guarantee that all of our guides have info based on the most recent stress test. The official wiki? Not so much.

If you ever spot blatant errors that we overlooked, you can always send me an email - sardu [at ] - and I will see to it that any necessary updates are made ASAP.

GolemCopp's picture
Submitted by GolemCopp on

That's weird. When I made the comment -none of these comments were showing up and the change had not been made to the article yet. What is up with that? 

On another note: there is no reason to get defensive over constructive criticism. I'm sure you guys work hard, and maybe what you should take away from this is the proof reading is getting a little loose. I had noticed errors here and there and finally I felt like I should say something. 

Sardu's picture
Submitted by Sardu on

It sounds like you were seeing a cached version of the page, though the updates had been made quite a while before your post. I'll look into things on the back end to make sure cached pages are being refreshed at the proper rate.

Also, apologies for coming across as sounding defensive, as that wasn't my intent. I just believe in being as transparent with our community as possible, and hate the idea of us getting a negative reputation as a site that serves up shoddy info. So constructive criticisms I'm totally cool with - in fact I encourage them - but it just concerns me when I see comments being made that the overall quality of the site is in question based on a minor error that had an easy fix.

And the notes on things like the wiki was just a bit of reinforcement in this case since we've been getting lots of comments and emails about something being inaccurate based on a wiki entry that we knew at the time was in need of updating.

Otherwise, I do take full responsibility for any errors found in our content, even if I didn't write it myself. As the manager of the site (and editor for our network) I really do care about quality control, but will be sure to continue working diligently to provide the best (and most accurate!) content possible. :)

sylvinstar's picture
Submitted by sylvinstar on

I've seen a few here and there (errors), but honestly I figured at the rate you all were putting these out, that a few errors here and there were to be expected.  Also I didn't want to be a pest about it seeing as you all have a lot on your plate, and I didn't want to sound like an ungrateful *ss or something.  Keep up the great work.  Come launch I know you all have a huge job ahead of you.yes

sylvinstar's picture
Submitted by sylvinstar on

Oddly enough, my comment #9 was made before GolemCopp's #8...*shrug*

GolemCopp's picture
Submitted by GolemCopp on

Just testing the time stamp. 


Okay so the time stamp is showing up correctly so I'm not sure what the deal is. 

Sardu's picture
Submitted by Sardu on

I'll be checking into this with my server admin, as it seems like there's a potential caching issue at play here. We recently did a major hardware upgrade and moved to new servers, but apparently there are still some kinks that need to be worked out following the transition.

In the meantime, thanks for helping shed light on any potential issues!

sylvinstar's picture
Submitted by sylvinstar on

Maybe it is the "reply to" feature that is doing it?..


Kathrynne's picture
Submitted by Kathrynne on

Although I generally don't post on these sites, I just had to register so I could let you know how very helpful all of your articles have been for me.  I pre-ordered the game late and have not been able to play in any of the beta weekends or stress tests, but after reading all of your articles and guides I feel that I will begin playing this game as if I had some experience under my belt :) 

I have sent the link for the site to my friends as the most comprehensive site I have found thus far (and believe me I have been surfing the web for information on the game for over a week now) to explain the unique aspects of the game.

Thank you so much for all of your hard work and effort to bring this information to those of us that are very new to the game :)



Sardu's picture
Submitted by Sardu on

Thanks, Kathrynne. I'm sure I speak for the rest of my team as well here when I say we truly appreciate that you took the time to register and provide your feedback. I've been pushing my writers pretty hard over the past few weeks, but we all love writing about this game and helping people like yourself learn more about it. :)

Alinar's picture
Submitted by Alinar on

"the big bad"


Intentional B/A reference?  If so, I approve.