Guild Wars 2 – new player tips

GW2-logoTips for new players

Since one of the main things that can put players off Guild Wars 2 can be how complex the game to grasp in the beginning, I decided to put up some useful tips for new players, a sort of simplified guide.


User Interface (UI)

GW2-UIMost of the things you will need on a daily basis are linked on the Menu bar, such as your bags, the trading post and all the settings.

 Skills, talents and weapons

Different classes are able to wield different types of weapons.  You can check which weapons your class can use by checking here:
Menu Bar > Hero > Skills and Traits > Weapon Skills

  • When you first try a weapon, you won’t know how to use it, but the more you use a weapon, the more of the skills you unlock in it.  Once you have unlocked the skills on that character, you will always know them.
  • Different classes that can use the same weapon have different weapon skills related to that weapon.
  • Most classes will unlock weapon swapping at level 7. Elementalists and Engineers do not have this because their learned skills have a similar effect.

Every type of class has one main healing skill, this is always shown as the 6th button to the right of the health circle.  You can learn several healing skills from the selection listed, but you can only have one active at a time.
Menu Bar > Hero > Skills and Traits > Slot Skills

Slot Skills
Slot skills become active as you level up, the first one opens up at level 5.  Using the Skills and Traits page, you can pick slot skills to learn, but to learn one costs skill points.
Menu Bar > Hero > Skills and Traits > Slot Skills

  • The more advanced slot skills will use more skill points.
  • You gain skill points through levelling up, or finding Scrolls of Knowledge from rare chests found from defeating very strong enemies.
  • Like healing skills, you are limited in how many you can have active.  You can have a maximum of 3 slot skills active, and the slots for these will activate as you level up.

The toolbar skills will change depending on what class you are, and what healing and slot skills you have active.

Traits will start to unlock at level 30.  These will allow you to choose some passive buffs, that will help boost your chosen skills and abilities.
Menu Bar > Hero > Skills and Traits > Traits

 Chat tips and useful Chat commands

You will generally find that depending on what map you are on, map chat tends to move quite fast, and you can miss when guild members, friends or people around you speak with you.  I find adding new tabs and customizing them for different circumstances works well.  I have one set up to show any items I pick up, as well as party chat and whispers, having map chat on a different tab.  Play around with it until you find something that works for you.

Here are some useful basic chat commands.  For a full list, check out the wiki page here.

Shortcut Command Channel Seen by
Say All players nearby your character. (Appears to be 2000 weapon range)
/g /guild Guild Active guild.
/p /party Party Current party.
/d /squad Squad Active squad.
/t /team Team Active team (PvP and Keg Brawl only).
Map All players in your current Zone or City.
/w /whisper
Private Sends private message.

Guilds and Banners

In Guild Wars 2 you can join up to 5 guilds, but you can only represent one of them at a time.
Menu Bar > Guilds

Joining and representing a guild may give you some benefits such as some passive bonuses, the ability to do special guild events and so-forth. There is also the guild chat.

A guild that has levelled up their perks will also have the ability to put down different banners that will give anyone (including non-members) the chance to click it for different buffs, such as increased resource gathering, increased Karma gain and increased magic find.  You may come across these banners while out and about as they tend to linger for quite a while, but the most likely place you will see them is around Boss events where guilds will put down banners to increase the chances of getting good loot.

Bags, sorting and bank space

Bag upgrades
You can upgrade the space of your bags by buying larger bags to add to your backpack.  Drag and drop these to the slots on the left side of the bag to increase the size.  You can buy larger bags from the trading post, by crafting them from some professions, or by finding them from some more difficult monsters or sometimes even from quest rewards.

Bank SpaceGW2-bankicon
Everyone has a bank automatically, and the bank space is shared between all your characters.  You can access it via a Bank Teller in major cities and some outposts, or from any crafting station.

In addition to the bank space, each character has a collections space.  This is where crafting items and miniatures can be stored.  You put items into your collections space from your bag, by right clicking on the item and choosing ‘Deposit collectable’, or opening the drop-down list at the top right of the bag, and select ‘Deposit all collectables’.  You can access the collections once more from your bank or from any crafting station.

 Sweet loot

Changing your settings to loot things easier is always a good start:

GW2-lootMenu Bar > Game Menu > Options

  • AoE Loot On Interact (loots more than one corpse within an area)
  • Autoloot (loots all items without you looking through them) 

Selling Loot

Any vendor will buy loot from you, but you will get more for it if you trade it to other players on the trading post.
Menu Bar > Black Lion Trading CompanyGW2-tradingicon


Remember that you can put any of your items up on the trading post, or buy items no matter where you are through the menu bar, but you have to actually visit a Black Lion Trader in order to pick up any items or gold from trades.  These can be found in all major cities, but also sometimes at outposts.  The vendors always have a little scales icon above their heads.  The same icon will show on your map and mini-map.

    • Sell junk to npc vendors
    • Soulbound or Account bound items cannot be traded to other players
    • Small bags that have random items in will generally sell for more than the contents are worth
    • Cloth armour and cloth salvage items will generally sell for way more than their base price


There are several currencies in the game.  You can see your different currency amounts at:
Menu Bar > Hero > Wallet

  • Gold / Silver / Copper – the standard and most used currency
  • Karma – this currency is used instead of gold by karma vendors for special items.  Doing renown heart quests, random events and boss events earn karma
  • Laurels – got from doing daily achievements, rare and high level items on this vendor.  There are laurel vendors in all main cities.
  • Gems – the cash shop currency
  • Badges of Honor – pvp vendor currency
  • Transmutation Charges – used to change the look of your weapons and armour
  • Dungeon currency (various) – used for special items relating to each dungeon


Quests in the game tend to come in two main areas:
Personal Story Quests
This is the first type of quest that a player will come across, because the start of their personal story is the start of the game. Your personal story will generally be shown on the top right of the screen, or alternatively you can check on your hero page for more details:
Menu Bar > Hero > Story Journal

  • Your personal story is dictated by the choices the player makes at character creation, and then later the decisions he/she makes in the game.
  • Your personal story will continue as you level up, bringing more content and exploration right up to level 80.
  • When you complete your personal story, you open up the new Living World story content that goes after it

Renown Heart Quests
These are quests that are scattered throughout the world.  Instead of there being random npcs with a quest here and there, you have Renown hearts showing up on the map, where you have npcs needing things done for them.

  • Do items in the area of the heart to fill it.
  • When you have it filled you get a reward of karma, gold and experience
  • When you have filled it the heart npc will have things to sell to you

Travel and Exploration

Exploring can be both useful and profitable!  Each map in the world has a certain number of items in it that you can find and explore.  Finding each will give you experience, and finding all the items in the map will give you a chest filled with loot!

  • Vistas – shows a view of the surrounding area
  • Points of Interest – places of note
  • Hearts – quests/tasks given by npc
  • Waypoints – travel locations
  • Skill challenges – completing these gives you a skill point

Waypoints are the fast way to get around Tyria.  They let you travel instantly from anywhere to a waypoint you have discovered.  Waypoints in a city cost nothing to go between if you are already in that city, but travel anywhere else by waypoints will cost you money.  That cost will increase as your level does.


Achievements give you more things to do in a game, but in Guild Wars 2 they can actually give you loot, special weapon and armour skins and permanent account buffs.  You can view the achievements page here:
Menu Bar > Hero > Achievements
The ones that players should take note of the most are the Daily Achievements:
Menu Bar > Hero > Achievements > Daily and Monthly > Daily
Doing five of the daily achievements each day will give you loot, as well as a laurel.  You can buy some of the best accessories and jewellery in the game on the laurel vendor, so it is worth doing.  The daily achievements change each day so there is always variety.

 Customizing your Weapons and Armour

In Guild Wars 2, you can change your weapons and armour into any other look that you have already unlocked the skin of.

Unlocking SkinsGW2-unlocked
To unlock a skin of a piece of armour or weapon, you can Soulbind it by putting it on, or you learn the skin when salvaging the item with a salvage kit.

  • You will know you have unlocked the skin of an item by the tooltip changing from ‘Skin Locked’ to ‘Skin Unlocked’.
  • Once you have unlocked a skin on one character, it is available for all your characters.

Changing your look
To change the look of any weapon or armour you have, you can go to the Wardrobe panel:

  1. Menu Bar > Hero > Wardrobe
  2. Click on the item you want to change, this brings up a list of the skins for that item on the left
  3. Select the skin you want to change your item to look like
  4. A box will appear on the right allowing you to apply the change/changes to your armour and weapons GW2-transmute

 Useful Links

Guild Wars official News page
This is generally good to keep checking, as it can list useful information, links and point out when they have certain promotions or free items when you might have missed them.

Guild Wars 2 wiki
If you are looking for information about, well, anything to do with guild wars 2, the chances are that information is going to be listed in this wiki.  It is very well maintained.
If you are looking for information on the newest events, cash shop items and different guides, this is the one-stop-shop.  They are super fast at getting new information up, as well as great guides.

Boss Timers timer – Allows you to get audible reminders
Guild Wars Temple timer – has a more visual representation of the bosses

Guild Wars 2 Armor Gallery
This is a very handy page for seeing how different armour will look when searching for that -perfect- look for your character.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s