Getting Started in Guild Wars 2

This guide was written by reddit user SnickyMcNibits (originally at this link) and is reposted with permission.

Hello and welcome to all our new free account players! If you’re here, you’re most likely wondering what the heck is going on in this game. In this guide is some basic tips and information to help you get your feet under you and to learn to enjoy your time in Tyria.

Play whatever you like

The biggest change for character classes in GW2 compared to other online games is that what class you pick determines your play style, not what combat roles you may or may not fill. Warriors can heal, Elementalists can tank, and Thieves can play support; they just have a different way of doing things. For example if you’re a thief and you’re trying to help a wounded ally you might do so by crippling the enemy that’s chasing after them or stealthing your friend so they can slip away. A guardian in the same situation might choose to knock foes back with a hammer or use a defensive skill to deflect attacks. Different methods, but the same result.

Your race doesn’t make much difference as far as game play mechanics go – the only difference between a human or asura warrior will be a handful of race-specific skills, and all of those suck anyway so you won’t be missing out on much picking one race over another. Your looks, character voice and personal story differ depending on your race, giving them a lot of personality, so just pick whatever race / class combination that appeals to you.

Self plug! Here is a guide I wrote a little while ago giving a brief rundown of all the classes in case you can’t decide.

You can not screw up your character

All decisions you make about character customization can be changed at a later date without any significant cost, with the exception of picking a stupid hairstyle during character creation. Traits can be reset and skills can be reassigned any time outside of combat. You earn enough Hero Points at max level to unlock everything, so don’t worry about buying something you might not use later as you can just replace it with another skill or trait in a few levels. All of your bonus stats come from equipment, so if you don’t like how your stats are allocated you can just buy a new set of armor. Feel free to experiment and fine tune things to your own liking.

Explore and Experiment

I’d recommend going after every resource node, vista, point of interest or anything else you see that’s mildly shiny. The game throws EXP at you for almost anything you do, so there is no wrong way to play. Take your time to scour the world and treat the game more like Skyrim than WoW. I’d even say you should play impulsively – stop what you’re doing and complete nearby events or detour out of the way for that clump of ore on your map every chance you get.

Power and Vitality

These are your two most important statistics early on, so always look for them when deciding what equipment to use. Toughness isn’t bad either, and Precision can be good but get’s outdated quickly (you require higher amounts of Precision to maintain the same crit chance as you level up). Other stats like Condition Damage usually require specific builds to be effective, so stick to the basics.

Upgrade your armor frequently.

Having higher level armor makes a huge difference for all your stats, not just your defense, so I’d recommend never letting it get more than 10-15 levels behind your character. Weapons drop from mobs pretty frequently, but armor is much less common so you might want to look at crafting or buying some off the trading post.

If you’re going to craft, craft Armor.

It’s much harder to come by good armor than good weapons. You should be able to collect about the right amount of materials to level up a single crafting profession per character if you’re frugal, but don’t be surprised if crafting still empties your wallet.

Defensive Utility Skills

Defensive skills should be a priority over offensive ones while you’re learning the game. Sure that huge firestorm is fun, but when you accidentally provoke a pack of raptors having an “Oh Crap!” button to escape is the smarter option. Movement based skills that give you swiftness or slow/stop enemies are great for this.

Dodge. A lot.

Your best defense in GW2 is not getting hit in the first place. Dodging has it’s own resource bar, so there’s no reason to not dodge frequently. Don’t get hit by that big fire ball if you’ve got two charges of Endurance left.

You’re not competing with other players

Go ahead and help kill that mob you see another player fighting, you both get full loot and EXP! Whether it be events, resource nodes, or monsters, everything is made so that other players can’t steal a portion of your gains. Never players are never a bad thing.

Useful Links is amazing. You can even type “/wiki (insert topic here)” in the game client and it will send you to the appropriate page! is a collection of guides written by the community covering a huge number of topics.

Also, every weekend this subreddit has a Questions Thread – we’re all friendly here, so if you want to know how something works the answer is just a quick post away!

Welcome to Tyria!