This guide is designed for players who start playing Guild Wars for the first time. These tips are designed to help players new to both Guild Wars Prophecies and Guild Wars itself. We guide you through your introduction to the game's training area, a relatively safe area to explore and practice fight techniques. In this area (as with the rest of the game), don't be afraid to try, well, anything. It's the right way to play if it works for you.
Building a character
When you start Guild Wars, the game will ask you to create a character with a choice between a PvE (player versus environment) character or a PvP (player versus player) character. As a new player it's recommended that you start with a PvE character and experiment on enemies rather than face the high-demand for proficiency that the PvP world requires (PvP characters are level 20 and are expected to play like level 20 characters).
In other role-playing games it is suggested that one should start as a warrior because it is the easiest class to play. In Guild Wars all professions are very accessible and at the same time all suffer from disadvantages. So it does not matter which profession you choose to start with in Guild Wars.
For a complete guide on choosing professions, see: roleplaying character creation
Characters that start in Prophecies will have the advantage of receiving more free skills from quests instead of having to spend skill points on them (see Skill Quests for more info). Another option is to start in Factions or Nightfall, be sure you don't buy the skills you can get for free in Prophecies, and then when advanced to Kaineng Center or Kamadan (easy trips),travel to Lion's Arch by way of a ferry to start questing for free skills.
Stranger in a strange land
After a short cut-scene you will arrive in Ascalon City. Moving is easy by clicking the mouse or using the keyboard, but finding where to go is not as easy. Here are some basic tips:
- Hold the left 'Alt' key to see all the NPC characters whom you can interact with. They may offer quests, trade with you and even teach you skills.
- If an NPC has a green exclamation point over his/her head it means they have something to tell you. This is always a quest related activity. They will give you a quest.
- If an NPC has a green arrow pointing down above their heads, it means they will help you move forward in a quest or reward you for completing one.
- In outposts and towns like Ascalon City, you will be able to chat with all players online and currently in the same town by hitting 'Enter' then using the '!All' channel. To buy/sell something, use the '$Trade' channel. To speak to someone privately, either click on his/her name in the messages, or type the name in the '"Whisper' channel.
- After talking to a few NPCs with green exclamation points, you will be expected to go out of Ascalon City and accomplish these tasks. Use of the Quest Log is further explained in the section below. Follow the green arrow on your mini-map (round map) to where the green star is. Exit through the gate to go to Lakeside County.
Questing, fighting, and exploring
- You have just moved from an outpost into an explorable area. In outposts, you were safe, there were no monsters and there were other players. In explorable areas, you will find monsters and you will not find any of the thousands of other Guild Wars players currently online except those you joined in a party. This means you are safe from other online players coming to slay you and taking your loot as is done in other MMORPGs.
- Press 'L' key to bring up your Quest Log. You will find a list of all quests you agreed to do and a description of each. If you have more than one quest, you will notice that as you click on each, there is a sound and the green arrow/star on your map will point to a different location.
- This is a good time to examine your map. Hit 'M' and notice where the green star (which shows your destination to complete the current stage of the current quest) is located. Pick a quest and follow the path to its star.
- As you delve deeper into the area you will notice that there are foes. They are marked by the red dots on your map. Whenever you are in an explorable area, hold left 'Ctrl' to see what these nearby foes are. The monsters in this area will be easy and most of them will not attack you unless you attack them. You should go ahead and engage a few to get used to the fighting system and earn some experience.
- As you fight monsters you will notice that using the skills at the bottom of the screen kills foes much faster than simply attacking. Skills are paramount to your success in the game and the fact that you can only equip 8 (yet learn dozens if not hundreds) is one of the biggest strategic challenges in the game.
- When you fulfill tasks in the quest they will be crossed out and the next task will be highlighted. Follow a quest until you complete all the tasks and gain the reward. Use the map 'M' to determine which quests lie nearest and which require further travel. The nearest quests in Lakeside County will be the easiest generally. You can also open a smaller map, shortcut 'U', that will not take up the entire screen, and allows you to quickly check distances while keeping an eye on the game.
- To travel back to an outpost while in an explorable area, simply bring up the map and click on the outpost's name. Note that if you were in a party, this will break up the party if you are not the leader of the party (the first person on the list of party members)or if you died during the battle and were revived even if you are the leader.
- After completing a few quests and killing a few monsters, you should have enough experience to level up. You will notice that the bar on the top left of your screen (which was slowly filling up as you gained experience) has emptied and started to refill again with a green button next to it. Press on this green button (or hit 'K') to bring up your Skills and Attributes panel and start making your character stronger. As you level up in the game, you gain attribute points which you can then assign to the core attributes of your class to make yourself stronger.
- There are many philosophies on how you should assign attribute points, but for starters, examine the skills on your skill bar. When you float the mouse over each, you will see that it gives a description of what the skill does and also which attribute it is based on. It may be a good idea to expend your first attribute points enhancing those attributes that power your current skills.
- Spending Attribute Points does not have to be right the first time. You can reallocate attribute points from one attribute to another as you see fit at any point in the future provided you are in a town.
- As you level up, you also gain Skill Points which you can spend to learn new skills.
- Once you are in Post-Searing Ascalon, you may notice some characters there as low as level 3. While it is possible to enter the academy at such a low level, for new players it is recommended that you be at least level 6.
The big picture
There is a storyline to gameplay in Guild Wars. There is a plot about Ascalon and the Charr invasion and the Searing that will unfold and much more complex plots to follow. It is important to be mindful of this story line as you play the game in more than one way:
- If you stay in the same area, you will discover that as you level-up, the monsters in the area are no longer a challenge, nor are they worth attacking (they give much less XP when they die).
- The key to unlocking new areas is to advance the plot of the game. The plot can be advanced early on by doing quests marked as primary quests. These will later be mostly replaced by doing missions.
- It's important not to rush through the plot too quickly. If you simply keep doing missions, you will be too low in level to stand up to the monsters in an area. Generally, you should be a few levels ahead of the monsters in area when you go exploring early on in the game to avoid dying too often.
- The way to become stronger before advancing the plot is to take on side quests found in the new areas you arrive to or to simply just walk out the door of the current outpost into the nearest explorable area and kill monsters. Explorable areas regenerate their monsters every time you enter them, so don't worry, you'll never run out of monsters.
- This is also the hazard of running. You will find people who offer to run you from one place to the next for a small price. While this will get you to fast forward the plot as well as get to cooler weapons and armor sooner, it will make you weak compared to the other players and monsters in the new area. A level 13 character is a liability in a party of level 17 characters fighting level 17 monsters. You will find yourself dying too often and with mounting death penalty you will be simply a burden on the rest of the party.
- Go out and explore the world. In the process, complete some of the pre-Searing quest list. Once you go beyond that area, use the list of quests on this site to find all the quests and gain experience. Quests are the fastest way to earn experience.
- Find every outpost in the game. Use the maps on this site to locate them and adventure to them. Different outposts contain NPCs that offer different services, such as armor crafters and/or skill trainers.
- Exploring is the best way for a new player to unlock new weapon upgrades and runes in the game. Upgrades give a boost to your attributes, defense, skills or damage.
- Adventure with others. In almost every town and outpost, you will find parties planning to explore (some use shorthand such as 'GLF'). You can also announce your services on the "!All" channel (use the short hand 'LFG'). While adventuring with others offers all the complexities of dealing with a bunch of people you never met before, it is generally the best way to train yourself on using your character as well as see how others play the game and respond to different situations. You will need to join others when doing missions. Remember that the other side of the game is PvP, and only playing with a team of henchmen will not prepare you for this style of play.
- Read about and study the game's economy.
- Read the guide on avoiding scams.
- Take breaks when needed. The Guild Wars reminder is usually a good clue that you need a break.
- You can take more with you in your inventory if you find/buy Charr Bags, these Charr Bags have 10 slots for items and are therefore very useful. The bags you can buy in Post-Searing need an upgrade since they start with 5 slots, Charr bags can NOT be upgraded!
- If you really seem unable to do a quest, do ask in any outpost for someone that might be able to help you out. Ask politely, including "please" and "thank-you"s should they help you out. It sounds picky, but anyone would be more obliged to help you out if you ask politely.