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So one of your friends has convinced you to try Guild Wars 2 with them. You’ve finally made your character, and finished the tutorial. But now what?

While most games lack a good end game, personally for me, Guild Wars 2 lacked a good start game, mainly because the lack of direction. By no means is there not enough to do, but rather too much to do in such a large world that you either don’t know where to begin, or can’t begin yet because you’re not high enough level.

A lot of your friends are probably raiding, running fractals, gathering mastery points to get above that level 80 cap, or farming for gold in some of the more fun and enjoyable Heart of Thorns maps. But what about you, the new starting player?

Outside of the personal story, which is basically the main storyline of the game, much of your gameplay is heavily driven by personal goals. Do you want to master all the dungeons and run them for gold and loot? Then do it. Do you want to earn map completion for the entire game world? Then do it. Do you want to collect all the armor styles and create each of your characters around an idea or style? Then do it. There’s a variety of things to do in Guild Wars 2, but as a starting character it can be kind of rough.

As soon as you finish the tutorial and gather some money, go and find the nearest merchant and buy bags. You’re going to need lots of bag space, because your inventory can fill up quick. Along with that, get some gathering tools, and a salvaging kit. Gathering tools will help you gather resources around the map, and a salvaging kit will help you break down unneeded equipment into crafting components. Now why would you want to fill your inventory up with crafting components? Because they can be deposited into your bank and free up space in your inventory by clicking the gear wheel. Those are pretty much the first few things you want to do, and will continue to do throughout the game as you continue to play.

Whenever you have the chance to do so, look for the green star on your map and top right corner of the screen to continue to advance the personal story. Your first run through the personal story can be interesting and fun, and gives you experience and levels really fast. At a certain point you’ll be gated from the remaining story until your high enough level again. If you’re ever lost and don’t know what to do, look in your Hero panel, find the Story Journal and see if you can continue your personal story and go to the green star on the map. This is the fastest way to level up. In between story quests you’re best off just roaming the map and finding points of interests, waypoints, vistas, hero points, and completing hearts. Look for orange circles as well on the map, these are dynamic events, and grant good amounts of experience as well.

At level 11, you’ll be able to use hero points to unlock new traits and skills. Don’t worry too much about what skills and traits are the best for your class; from now until level 80 is the time where you want to experiment with different skills, different weapons, and different armor stats to find your playstyle.

If you go into the PVP lobby by clicking the double sword icon, you can go to a merchant in the Heart of the Mists and buy all the weapons that are available to your class and try them out on the golems or class NPCs. Again, you’ll be boosted to level 80 and have all the skills and traits unlocked, but don’t worry too much about that just yet. If you do want to take an in-depth look at all the things available to you, perhaps you can even try your luck at playing PVP if you found a great combination of skills, traits, and gear setup. PVP will grant you Tomes of Knowledge that will grant you one level. If you’re not ready for PVP yet and just came here to try out the weapons then you can head back out.

Pre-level 40 or so it can seem like a grind, but if you take your time exploring the world, and enjoying the game you’ll have fun; and if you have a friend to do it with you it can be more enjoyable. If you want to switch starting areas, take the Lion’s Arch portal in your home city, and go to the other races’ starting areas, this is a great way to do map completion or change your environment a bit. Map completion and experience gain also works for the cities, so find all the waypoints, vistas, and points of interests there too. Everything in the game gives you experience, so always gather every resource node you cross, revive every player you see dead near you, and complete every event you cross.

With some map completion and your personal story, it shouldn’t be long till your level 20-25. From here you can continue to do map completion in some of the higher level zones or continue your personal story. Apart from that however, it’d be a good idea to start looking at crafting, PVP, and Edge of the Mists as well. All those materials you’ve deposited from gathering and salvaging can now be used to craft and can also gain you experience to level up. If you have the necessary materials you can gain levels actually quite fast, faster than map completion and personal story even. If you don’t have the materials, use the trading post to buy them.

On the trading post, you’ll also notice that you can buy and sell other goods. Merchants are great for selling your junk, and some karma merchants and heart vendors are great for buying trinkets such as rings and amulets. But the trading post is where every tradable item in the game can be bought and sold. If you feel the need to, you can buy a full set of gear for your character on the trading post around level 50-60. You’ll want to look for yellow gear, as this is rare gear that has much better stats than white, blue, and green gear, the lowest, second lowest, and third lowest quality respectively. A lot of your gear from the personal story, karma vendors, and general loot however should suffice, especially considering that buying a full set of gear can be expensive. In fact many players don’t touch the trading post to buy gear until level 80, as you’ll need the exotic gear then, the highest gear, right after ascended quality gear. At this point, you may also want to look at world bosses as you can do a considerable amount of them already. Many of them spawn in lower level areas like Fire Elemental, Jungle Wurm, Shadow Behemoth, and the Svanir Shaman; these also grant experience and loot. The higher level you are, the more of these you’ll be able to do.

If you chose to participate in PVP, learn to fight against other people by mastering your class and skills, capture points and hold them to gain your team points, and learn to play Stronghold which pushes teams to kill opposing teams’ lords by breaking into their keep with the aid of door breakers and archers. World vs World, or WvW, is a similar PVP experience but on a much larger scale. For lower level characters, Edge of the Mist may be easier to understand and participate in as it’s on a smaller scale than the normal WvW format which has multi-large maps and a lot more people. Edge of the Mists allows you to run with a commander and an army of people to fight against others and capture objectives. It’s similar to PVP where you hold objectives to give your team points and Tomes of Knowledge can be earned to grant a PVE level. It’s also worthy to note that PVP and WvW each have reward tracks that can grant other great rewards as well!

Once level 40, you should probably start to do dungeons (the first dungeon is however unlocked at level 30, and you can do a new dungeon about every 10 levels). Dungeons grant you lots of experience very quickly in bursts. There are several dungeons, each having an icon on your map with a door symbol. Be aware some of these are higher level dungeons, and you won’t even be able to go in them if you’re not the proper level. Dungeons have a story mode, and multiple paths, each run being a little different. It’s a great idea to use the LFG system to group up with others for dungeons. Aside from dungeons you can continue to craft on a second profession, if you’d like, continue to PVP and gain Tomes of Knowledge, participate in WvW and EotM for Tomes of Knowledge, or continue to explore the world of Tyria and complete hearts and do your personal story until level 80.

Once you hit level 80, everything becomes really fun as you’ll be able to go for more specific goals, do raids, do the full collection of dungeons and fractals, participate in all the world bosses, some requiring collective effort such as Tequatl, complete living world seasons, farm for masteries, explore the new Heart of Thorns content, and learn your new specialization which advances your class to gain more skills and traits.

Lastly, joining a guild or creating a guild of your own can make the game a lot more fun as more of the game will become open and relevant to you. You’ll be able to take part in guild missions, claiming your guild hall, leveling up your guild hall, decorating your guild hall, and much more!

And that’s pretty much it, I hope you enjoyed this guide, and found it helpful. If you did, I can also make a level 80 guide too! Check below for specific helpful links that are useful concerning world boss timers, crafting guides, and other helpful resources every GW2 player should know.

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