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Guide to Earning XP

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July 29, 2012 - 3:00pm -- jeffprime
guild wars 2 guide to earning xp

Getting your character all the way from level one to eighty requires a lot of time, work, and, of course, experience. Unlike most MMOs, Guild Wars 2 does not chain you down to just one or two methods to earn xp for your character. In fact, there are quite a few different ways for you to harvest those xps laying all around Tyria. Whether you use all of them, or just some of them, depends upon how you wish to play the game. Let's take a look at the multitude of ways to bring your character from zero to hero.

Killing Creatures

The most obvious way to earn xp in Guild Wars 2 is to kill every creature you see. You get xp for every monster you slaughter, and with the game's scaling mechanism, everything you face will yield some xp. You can maximize your xp harvest from combat by traveling to out of the way locations in that Guild Wars 2 rewards you bonus xp if you kill a creature that's been alive for a long time. So it would behoove you to hit those lonely areas of a zone where few players travel. However, grinding out xp by killing creatures is probably the slowest way to earn xp overall. It is worth it if you're looking to do an achievement, but I wouldn't recommend that you solely focus on killing mobs to grind out levels.

guild wars 2 guide to earning xp


The second way to earn xp is to fill up Renown Hearts. These are fixed quest locations in every zone marked by a big heart on your map. You'll perform a number of different tasks associated with that area, and once you're finished with those tasks, you'll be rewarded with xp and some Karma you can spend at vendors.

Dynamic Events

Dynamic events are quests that will pop up as you travel through the various lands of Guild Wars 2. These events will show up on your map and can different forms. One of the most common events is providing escort to either a trader or for some person looking to get from one place to another. Naturally, there'll be plenty of attackers spawning along the way. Other events include defending local citizens from attackers or helping to gather items that need to be turned in to an NPC. The more you participate, the more xp your character will earn.

guild wars 2 guide to earning xp


Players can earn xp by going into dungeons, which are instanced areas that are group-based. You can replay the various dungeons as many times as you wish, but there are two modes to them. The first time you enter a dungeon will be story mode. This mode has cutscenes and follows a linear path. Once you've finished story mode for a dungeon, then you can play it in explorable mode. This second mode tends to follow the events of the story mode and has more options open to the players as they explore the dungeon.

Personal Storyline

Another obvious way to earn xp is to play your character's personal storyline. As your character plays through their personal storyline, you'll gain xp for each successful quest.

Skill Challenges

Scattered throughout the lands of Guild Wars 2 are various skill challenges. These can take the form ranging from simple communion with an object to single combat to fighting through a mob of creatures to trigger an item. Completing a skill challenge will earn you some xp and, perhaps more importantly, a skill point to spend on your slot skills.

guild wars 2 guide to earning xp


While normal PvP doesn't result in any xp gain, you can gain xp by partaking in World-versus-World (WvW) PvP. You'll earn xp by defeating enemy players in combat, taking keeps, and doing dynamic events.


Guild Wars 2 definitely rewards players for exploring. You'll gain xp for discovering new waypoints, vistas, and points of interest. You'll see points of interest on you map represented by small squares, waypoints as diamonds, and vistas as red arrows. The more areas you explore, the more likely you'll also come across or trigger an event.

Daily Achievements

There are a number of daily achievements that a player can do to rack up some xp. These include doing a number of events, gathering a certain amount of resources, killing a specific number of creatures, and killing a number of creature species. These achievements reset each day so you can gain this xp every day.

guild wars 2 guide to earning xp


You can earn a small amount of xp by reviving NPCs or other players. This is a nice touch as that it adds a little bit of incentive for players to heal each other as opposed to just running past their broken bodies.


Our final method of earning xp in Guild Wars 2 is through gathering and crafting. What is nice about the system in the game is that gathering resources isn't tied to any particular crafting ability. All you need is a gathering tool (pick, axe, or sickle) to harvest resources. Once you have resources, you can earn more xp by crafting items and discovering new recipes.

While there are lots of different ways to earn xp in Guild Wars 2, the beauty of the system is how it works together. While doing an event will net you xp, you'll also gain them by defeating creatures during the event. Escorting a merchant might take you to a new area, which will result in more xp for discovering a new point of interest. Loot drops may contain resources you'll use to craft, thus reaping in more xp. PvE not your cup of tea? Then head off to world-versus-world and start gathering xp there. Guild Wars 2 allows you to earn xp depending upon your own particular playstyle and the result is a rather elegant system.


JDL70's picture
Submitted by JDL70 on

Thanks for the run down. I loved getting exp for exploring.

sylvinstar's picture
Submitted by sylvinstar on

If you PvE, resource gathering should not be overlooked.  You can get pretty good XP gain from it, while you are out running around.  There are also the daily gathering rewards (as noted in the article).

ArcherAvatar's picture
Submitted by ArcherAvatar on

I found the "exploration" exp and Map Completion bonus for going around to the various major cities and Lion's Arch to be incredibly fruitful, especially at the beginning of a character.  The process of unlocking weapon skills is so much easier and smoother once a character is level 7 and can swap weapons during combat, and it's a piece of cake to get to level 7 by simply getting every waypoint, point of interest, and vista in a major city like Divinity's Reach or Hoelbrak.

You also then have the benefit of everyone of those waypoints being accessible for transportation to bankers or crafting stations, etc...

I've gone into Lion's Arch as a level 3 character and come out as a level 5 in roughly 20 minutes of running around.  Cannot recommend it enough!

Niwoe's picture
Submitted by Niwoe on

Just something you might want to clarify for those that are uninitiated to the game.  Grinding mobs is not really an effective way of gaining xp- unless you are killing mobs that have been alive a long time.  You did say something about it- but I think it could be clarified a bit more in your post :).  Your net gain from doing other things is way higher than simply going out and killing things.

Sardu's picture
Submitted by Sardu on

Indeed, the main payoff for killing creatures will be the achievement milestones or completion for daily / monthly / specific creature types. Otherwise, creature XP is some of the lowest in-game to encourage players to participate in events rather than grinding mobs all day.

oneeyered's picture
Submitted by oneeyered on

That's definitely a good thing though.

Its a simple world for complicated people



jeffprime's picture
Submitted by jeffprime on

Thanks for the tip. I went ahead and clarified it a bit more in the guide. I would hate to be responsible for people wasting time by trying to grind out levels solely by killing creatures. :)

Galen's picture
Submitted by Galen on

While the whole creature killing thing being a lower xp gain is a good thing, I think it will confuse some people.  There are many who like to grind levels and won't understand that killing creatures isn't how you should grind in this game, but rather repeats in DE's is how you grind.  Go to renown heart region and pick up those DE's, even when they repeate again and again.  And then, as you get higher, move on and grind out them.  The DE's are even great for the hearts since killing the mobs for a DE usually will finish up your heart quest at the same time.

This guide should help many people used to how to grind in other MMO's learn where to focus their grinding in GW2.




Wedge7's picture
Submitted by Wedge7 on

Great article, thank you. 

I've never had a problem gaining experience in GW2. If anything, I seem to gain experience too fast, and am thus constantly over-leveled for an area. I've also never felt the need to grind anything, ever. The beauty of this game is that there is so much choice in what you can do, that you never feel as if you have to grind to reach a certain level. 

Yski's picture
Submitted by Yski on

Nicely written, but you completely forgot to mention exploration and vistas (You did get xp from vistas, right?), they gave pretty nice xp as well

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

Cronck's picture
Submitted by Cronck on

The XP for crafting is a great thing IMO.

When life gives you lemons, shoot them back at life at high velocity.

Shadow Sanctus's picture
Submitted by Shadow Sanctus (not verified) on

A great way I found to grind is doing the queensdale champion train, almost all of the champs there have a

DE attached to them so U get rewards and exp ^^ minimum lvl 10 to begin is my recommendation.

So if you're starting a new char, as soon as U finish your "tutorial" warp to lion's arch and complete all cities, then go queensdale and complete it and finally join the champ train until U get bored :p and since exp scales with your lvl U can do the train until U hit lvl80