Guild Wars 2 Beginner Guide

Guild Wars 2 Beginner Guide

Guild Wars 2
Apr 8, 2020

Making your first steps in a new MMORPG is always a tall task. Even more so with a title like Guild Wars 2 that attracts plenty of players who are not familiar with the genre. The great storytelling and beautiful graphic style encourage a lot of people to try out GW2 as their first MMO. While the game definitely isn’t the most difficult title to pick up, there still are quite a few things to learn.

In this text we’re going to break down the basics of Guild Wars 2. We’ll explain all the most important mechanics – from the character creation process all the way to the endgame content. We’re also going to talk about some of the terms that you can encounter in other, more specific guides. This article is aimed at the very beginners – if you’re a veteran GW2 player you probably know most of these things already. That being said, you still might learn a thing or two. First, we’re going to talk about the important system and mechanics that can help you understand how the game works. Then, we’re going to focus on all the amazing activities that Guild Wars 2 has to offer! Buckle up, because it’s going to be along one! Without further ado, let’s jump right into it!

Guild Wars 2 Character Creation Process

The character creation process in GW2 is pretty standard for an MMORPG. You get to choose your character’s name, race, profession, gender and personalize their appearance. Beyond that, you’re going to have to answer five questions about your character’s personal background. After that, your character will spawn in your race’s starting area. Three of these questions are determined by the chosen race and one by profession. Finally, there’s one extra to establish your character’s starting personality. If you’re not interested in this aspect of the game, you can rush through them without too much consideration, but it might be a good idea to put some thought into your character’s background, as it helps you get attached to them.

Guild Wars 2 Races

There are five races to choose from in Guild Wars 2: Asura, Charr, Human, Norn and Sylvari. If you’re a former Guild Wars player, you probably know at least four of them. As we mentioned, the race choice determines your starting city. Respectively, the locations are: Rata Sum, Black Citadel, Divinity’s Reach, Hoelbrak and The Grove.

Besides the different starting areas and visual designs, each race has six unique skills. That being said, you shouldn’t worry about it too much – the most powerful builds are not based on any of the racial abilities, so you can freely pick whichever race you like the most. There are no differences of base stats between the races, so you don’t have to worry about getting the perfect profession + race combo, for any other reasons than aesthetics and role-play.

Guild Wars 2 Professions

Gameplay-wise, the profession choice is by far the most important choice that you make during the creation process. They’re the GW2 equivalent to character classes in many other games. With the exception of the few aforementioned racial skills, the profession will be responsible for all the abilities at your disposal. It also determines most of your character’s development options and the equipment that they can use.

There are nine professions in Guild Wars 2: Warrior, Guardian, Revenant, Thief, Ranger, Engineer, Elementalist, Necromancer and Mesmer. They’re divided into three categories, based on the type of armor that they’re wearing.

Before we go into the descriptions of each profession, make sure to take each of them with a grain of salt. In Guild Wars 2 each character has access to some healing and utility skills, as well as damage. At the beginning of the game, all characters were supposed to be self-sufficient. It’s still the case in the early game and open world content.

The expansions (Heart of Thorns and Path of Fire) added some endgame instances and Elite Specializations. This change made party roles much more important, creating a clearer division between supports and DPS characters. That being said, there still are multiple viable builds for each profession, even in the challenging endgame content.

While the defensive stats are influenced by the armor category, the base Health growth depends on each individual profession. Warrior and Necromancer have the highest Health per level. Revenant Engineer, Mesmer and Ranger are in the middle category. Meanwhile Guardian, Thief and Elementalist get the least.

Soldier Professions

They use heavy armors what gives them the most innate survivability and defensive stats.

Warrior – the most standard fighter profession that has access to a unique resource called Adrenaline. It allows them to use powerful burst skill if they stay in combat for a long time and land multiple attacks. Warriors excel at melee combat. They can also support their team with Banners, Shouts and crowd control abilities.

Guardian – a profession that mostly focuses on supporting and protecting allies. It has access to additional skills called Virtues that are always available (not taking up the slots on your standard skill bar). Guardians receive some more powerful offensive options later in the game, when they unlock Elite Specializations.

Revenant – the newest profession in the game, it has been introduced in the Heart of Thorns expansion. They can use special skills called legendary stances that allow them to posses various abilities. While doing that, Revenants have to manage a special resource called Energy. It’s a complex and strong class that has great builds for multiple roles in the game (each stance specializes in different aspect of the game). We don’t recommend it as your first GW2 character.

Adventurer Professions

These characters wear medium armors and use a combination of ranged as well as melee weapons. They’re less durable, so they have to focus on blocking and avoiding the incoming damage with their abilities and dodging.

Ranger – this profession fights alongside their animal companion. Rangers have are great marksmen that can use either longbows or short bows. At the same time, they can fight with melee weapons like swords and axes. They have some unique abilities, like summoning nature spirits and commanding their pets to perform extra powerful attacks.

Thief – a damage-focused profession that can combo multiple skills in a row to quickly delete targets. They’re allowed to do that, because of the unique resource called Initiative. Thief’s weapon skills don’t have cooldowns or recharge timers, instead they consume Initiative. You’re allowed to spam your weapon skills as long as you have this resource. However, it takes a while to regenerate after you use it. Thieves excel at dealing massive damage with critical hits. They have access to multiple different weapons, but dual daggers are their trademark setup.  

Engineer – a really complex profession that has access to a lot of additional skills. Their tool belt mechanic provides a set of extra abilities that are displayed above the standard skill bar. This means that every time you place a new skill on your bar, you’re actually getting two. This mechanic doesn’t apply to weapon skills. To make it even more difficult to manage, Engineers can replace their weapon skills with various Engineering Kits. It’s an interesting profession, but we recommend learning the game on a more streamlined character.

Scholar Professions

The last category contains the light armor users - the traditional spell casting professions. However, not all of them will stay safely in the backline, using abilities. There are multiple great melee builds for these characters. If you choose to play one, make sure to be extra careful – you don’t have that many defensive stats.   

Elementalist – the most traditional mage that uses powers of all four elements to cast spells. Their unique profession mechanic is called Elemental Attunement – it replaces your weapon skills with ones associated with the element that you’re using. Fire and Air are generally focused on dealing damage. Meanwhile Earth and Water provide defense and supportive options.

Necromancer – they use all kinds of dark magic to empower their allies and get an advantage over the enemies. Necromancers can summon undead minions, inflict multiple negative effects onto their targets and buff teammates with Blood Magic. Finally, they have a unique resource called Life Force that allows them to enter Death Shroud. It’s a temporary transformation that provides some passive stat bonuses and extra abilities. This mechanic is extremely valuable if you want to play a melee Necromancer build.

Mesmer – a deceiving character that excels at confusing and misdirecting their opponents. Mesmers do it with a great mechanic that allows them to create damage-dealing Illusions of themselves. Even though it’s a scholar profession, it’s really proficient at melee combat. However, this playstyle requires the ability to dodge potential damage and proficiency at using the Illusions. 

Guild Wars 2 Skills

The skill bar in Guild Wars 2 has a very specific construction, the players have a lot of control of their final skill bars, but there are some rules that you will have to follow. First of all, there are 10 skills on your bar.

The first five are so called weapon skills – they’re determined by the weapon you’re using. The main way to change them is switching your weapon. Luckily, you can swap weapons in combat – some of the powerful endgame builds rely on complex combos and rotations that require cycling through two available sets of weapon. At the same time, each profession has a different set of weapon skills – Warrior’s axe skills are different than Necromancer’s axe skills. If you’re using a two-handed weapon, it will determine all five slots. If you’re using a combination of main hand and off-hand, the former affects slots 1-3 and the latter slots 4-5.

The second half of the bar consists of the so called slot skills. You have some more freedom in choosing which ones you’re going to take. Each profession has at least a few options for each slot. The number 6 is reserved for a healing skill – it can help you and your allies survive the combat. Slots 7, 8 and 9 are taken by the utility skills – for the most part, this is where you’re going to have the most freedom. It’s important to choose utility skills that synergize with the weapons that you’re using and the rest of your build. Finally, the last slot belongs to an Elite Skill. Usually, they’re really powerful abilities with long recharge timers (there are some exceptions though). It’s the last skill slot that you unlock - you’ll get access to it at level 31.

The standard numbers for each base profession are: 4 healing skills, 20 utility skills and 3 Elites. You can get access to some more choices, by unlocking Elite Specializations at level 80.

Boons and Conditions

A vast majority of statuses that can affect your GW2 character fall under one of these two categories. Boons are the positive buffs that increase some of your stats. Conditions are the negative status effects that can impair your combat abilities or deal damage over time. Both conditions and boons can be stacked (it will either make them more powerful or extend their duration).

A big portion of GW2 gameplay revolves around boons and conditions. You can provide boons to your allies with the right skills and traits. Some characters also have the ability to remove boons from their targets or corrupt them into corresponding conditions (boons and conditions are matched into pairs, see the table below).

The same goes for conditions - you can apply them to your targets, cleanse them from yourself or your teammates and even convert them into boons. These aspects of the game are most important in the challenging high level content. Players created specific party setups that allow them to stay maxed out on the most important boons. At the same time, condition damage is not affected by the enemy armor – it makes it more valuable against tougher enemies.

List of corresponding boons and conditions



Blocks the next incoming attack


Deals damage over time


Increases the skill recharge rate by 25%


Decreases movement speed and skill recharge speed by 66%


Increases critical chance by 20%


Makes the next attack miss its target


Increases outgoing damage


Decreases Endurance regeneration and makes half of the attacks deal 50% damage


Decreases incoming damage by 33%


Increases incoming damage


Increases skill and attack speed by 50%


Reduces skill and attack speed by 50%


Heals over time


Deals damage over time


Temporarily negates the effects of all conditions


Decreases movement speed and skill recharge speed by 66%


Deals damage to enemies that hit you


Deals damage when you activate skills


Immunity to fear, taunt and control effects


Makes the target run away


Increases movement speed by 33%


Decreases movement speed by 50%


Increases Endurance regeneration by 50%


Deals damage over time


Increases outgoing damage


Deals damage over time


Temporarily negates the effects of all conditions


Makes you involuntarily attack a target


Temporarily negates the effects of all conditions


Roots you in place



The effects marked blue effects stack in duration and the orange ones stack in intensity. Not every pair works both ways – we had to repeat some statuses to get all the combinations.

Besides conditions, you can also disrupt your enemies with crowd control effects like: Daze, Knockdown, Knockback, Pull, Stun and Launch. Most of them are pretty self-explanatory, but Daze prevents the target from using skills and Launch send the enemy airborne and knocks them down. There also are two control effects that work exclusively for underwater combat: Sink and Float.

Finally, there are some more effects that you may encounter in Tyria. Some professions have access to barriers – shields that provide additional amount of hit points on top of your health bar. You can also get Superspeed – 100% movement speed buff. Some characters can break out of crowd control with Stun Break abilities. Consumables can provide extra buffs, including bonuses to experience gains from Enhancement and Nourishment. You can get extra combat power from Auras, but these skills are almost entirely exclusive to the Elementalist profession. Finally, in the endgame you might have to deal with Agony in the high level Fractals of the Mist, but we’re going to talk about it later.

GW2 Attributes

The Guild Wars 2 attribute system is somewhat complex. They are divided in multiple categories and some terms have similar, but not identical meaning. Whenever you receive a boon, choose a piece of equipment or get a trait that empowers a certain aspect of your character, it will usually increase one of your primary or secondary attributes.

First of all, GW2 features four primary attributes. They have their base values that grow as your character reaches higher levels. A level 80 character has a 1000 of each one of them (not counting items, traits, temporary buffs and so on).

Power – increases all the direct damage dealt by your character. This statistics scales linearly, so doubling your Power will make your character hit twice as hard (before calculating your target’s defenses). Direct damage is a term that applies to everything that’s not a condition, but we’re mostly talking about skills and basic attacks.

Precision – increases your chance to land a critical strike. Every 21 points of Precision over 1000 will give you 1% extra critical chance. Moreover, you start with base 5% that’s always available. This formula is a bit complicated, the important part is: it’s much easier to get to a high critical chance on a higher level.

Vitality – the primary attribute that increases your Health. Every point of Vitality provides 10 Health.

Toughness – a defensive attribute that increases your Armor, resulting in smaller amount of direct damage taken. It has no effect on the damage taken from falling or conditions.

Secondary attributes work similarly to the primary ones, but there are no base values. You can only get them from items, traits and boons.

Condition Damage – increases the damage you deal with conditions. We’re not going to dive into the calculations, since every condition has its own ratio.

Concentration – extends your character’s Boon Duration (it affects boons that you apply). 15 points equal 1% extra duration.

Expertise - amplifies the Condition Duration of conditions that you apply. Every 15 points provide additional 1%.

Ferocity – empowers your Critical Damage. Once again, every 15 points amount to 1%.

Healing Power –increases the amount of Health that you can restore with healing spells. Each spell has its own scaling ratio.

Finally, there also are the so called derived attributes. These are the more basic statistics that, for the most part, are pretty self-explanatory. They’re calculated from the primary and secondary ones, as well as some other sources (items, boons, traits etc.). The full list is: Armor, Critical Chance, Critical Damage, Boon Duration, Condition Duration and Health. Most of them are rather self-explanatory. The only one that might be unclear is Armor - it’s a sum of Toughness and Defense Rating (provided by gear). The game uses Armor to calculate the amount of mitigated direct damage.   

Guild Wars 2 Equipment

Besides the weapons, each GW2 character has six armor slots (helmet, shoulders, chest, pants, gloves and boots), five trinkets (two rings, two accessories and a single necklace) as well as one cape or back item. Beyond that, the usable gear includes the gathering tool and your underwater equipment. Most professions have access to two sets of weapons and the weapon-swapping mechanic. The only exceptions are Elementalist and Engineer, who get additional weapon skills from their unique mechanics. If you use an item for a long time, it will become damaged and you’re going to have to fix it. Luckily, this doesn’t apply to trinkets.

As we already mentioned, the armor category that you’re able to wear is determined by your profession. However, you have a lot of freedom in deciding the exact stats that you want to get out of your gear. The stat profiles of your armor items are affected by insignia and runes, the weapons can be altered with inscriptions and sigils. Insignia and inscriptions are used during the crafting process, runes and sigils can be added to complete items. Some of the most expensive, high level items can be further empowered with infusions.

In Guild Wars 2, there are 16 types of standard land weapons and three categories that you can use under water. You could create a classification based on their range, but looking at the weapon slots that they can occupy is much more important.

Two-handed weapons: Greatsword, Hammer, Longbow, Short Bow, Rifle, Staff

Main-hand weapons: Scepter, Sword, Axe, Dagger, Mace, Pistol (all of them but Scepter can also be used as off-hands by some professions)

Off-hand items: Focus, Torch, Warhorn, Shield

Underwater weapons: Spear, Harpoon Gun, Trident

Each profession is restricted in terms of which weapons it can or can’t use. We’re not going to list them all here, since it would make the guide too chaotic. You can find that information if you search for a specific GW2 profession or item type.

Certain weapons are mostly associated with specific types of build. For example, basically every healer build uses a staff. At the same time, certain weapons tend to synergize better with specific damage profiles - for example axe, torch, pistol and scepter excel at applying conditions, while greatsword and longbow work better with powerful, direct attacks. 

There are seven equipment rarity tiers: Basic, Fine, Masterwork, Rare, Exotic, Ascended and Legendary. You shouldn’t worry about them too much in the early game, but when you hit level 80, your first goal should be to collect a full set of Exotic items. They’re not exactly the most powerful pieces of equipment in the game, but they’re really strong and relatively easy to get.  

Power DPS and Condi DPS

If you have ever searched for a GW2 build, you have most likely encountered these two terms. Overall, these are the two different types of damage-dealing characters in Guild Wars 2. It’s slightly different than in many other MMORPGs, where the division between the physical and magic damage is the most prevalent.

In general, Power DPS builds rely on direct damage. The main way of empowering them is investing as much as possible in the Power attribute. In general, these build reach higher damage numbers, but they can be significantly decreased by enemies with high amounts of Armor. You can further increase your direct damage output, with Precision and Ferocity. More Critical Chance and Critical Damage are always incredibly valuable in these builds.

The Condi DPS setups rely on applying multiple stacks of conditions and killing the enemies with damage over time. The most important attributes for these builds are Condition Damage and Expertise (since it provides the extended Condition Duration). There are two major things to keep in mind while comparing the two damage profiles. Firstly, the damage from conditions isn’t mitigated by Armor, so it’s really efficient against enemies with a lot of defensive stats. Secondly, this type of damage can’t crit, making the attributes like Ferocity and Precision less useful.

At the same time, Might and Vulnerability work with both types of damage, so they’re going to be useful no matter what build you’re playing. Furthermore, it’s not like your build will deal exclusively a single form of damage. Even the Power DPS setups often apply some form of Bleeding or other condition. Meanwhile, Condi DPS builds deal some direct damage with attacks and abilities that apply the DoT (damage over time).

While it’s possible to play a hybrid build, you can usually get better results with focusing on a single damage type. It allows for a more optimal stat distribution and overall higher damage numbers. In GW2, you have a lot of freedom in creating your final build. The bonuses provided by gear, traits and skills can all facilitate each other and synergize extremely well.

Both damage profiles can be effective at any point of the game. That being said, we strongly recommend prioritizing Power DPS in the early game. The low level monsters don’t have that much Armor and you should be able to kill them really quick with direct damage. The Condi DPS becomes more valuable in the endgame, when monsters have more defensive stats and bigger Health pools.

Specialization System

A huge portion of character development and build optimization in Guild Wars 2 happens through the specialization system. Each profession has access to five core and two Elite specializations. A complete build features three full specializations, but only one of them can be an Elite. You can start developing the core ones from the beginning of the game, but Elites only become available after hitting level 80. Moreover, they’re a part of DLC content, so you will need access to the expansions.

Specializations are sometimes referred to as trait lines, because they are composed of traits. Minor traits are inherent parts of the tree and you can’t swap them out. Major ones provide some wiggle room – you can choose one of three options for each slot. Eventually, you’ll end up with three minor and three (out of nine) major traits per specialization. Elites have additional trait categorized as Minor Proficiency – it unlocks a new type of weapon for you character.

You won’t have access to all your traits right away. You’re going to have to unlock them by spending Hero Points. The specialization trees are often focused on specific aspect of the profession’s kit and the traits within them have some inherent synergies.

Creating GW2 Builds

There are a lot of elements that combine into a full build. Let’s sum up: you start with your profession and choosing specializations as well as traits. Then, you’re going to choose the weapon types and skills that you’re going to use (the first five slots are determined by your weapon). Furthermore, there are the additional stats that you get on your gear, thanks to insignia, inscriptions, sigils, runes and infusions. Finally, some builds may rely on certain consumables and/or support that you get from other players in your team (this part only applies to group content).

Creating a whole build from scratch is a difficult task that might be overwhelming for a new player. However, we have two pieces of advice that can make this process much easier. First of all, feel free to find a website with tested, efficient Guild Wars 2 builds. Then, as soon as you hit level 80, simply follow the guidelines and copy the setup that you found. Just keep in mind that some of these builds might rely on reaching specific stat breakpoints and if you can’t get the full version, you might lose a lot of power. Besides, having a good build won’t do everything for you. The player still has to understand what to do and play the fights well.

The second option is more relevant to the early game and we recommend doing that until you reach level 80. Just try using the strongest items that you can get without spending too much Guild Wars 2 gold and focus on a specific damage type. You’re playing a build focused on direct damage? Get as much Power, Precision and Ferocity as possible. You lean towards Condi DPS? Make sure that you have some Condition Damage and Expertise on your gear. This simple rule of thumb should save you some time and frustration.

Guild Wars 2 Activities

We already talked about the most important systems and mechanics that can help you understand the game. Now, let’s take a look at something different - what to do in Guild Wars 2? There are plenty of great activities in each part of the game.

Early Game Progression

Early levels are a crucial part of the game. This is when you learn the unique mechanics of your profession. Ultimately, this is also when most people decide if they want to keep playing their character or try rolling a new one. Since it’s a beginner’s guide, we’re not going to talk about rushing through the leveling process. Instead, we’re going to describe the best early game activities that will make your early progression not only efficient, but also interesting.

Personal Story

Remember the questions that you answered during character creation? They have an impact on the Personal Story quests available to your character. Don’t worry though, it’s not like there are right and wrong answers – each path has basically identical difficulty and rewards.

The Personal Story is not only a great way to explore Tyria and play through interesting scenarios - it’s also a great source of experience points and gear. You will get your first quest at level 10. A new chapter of the Personal Story will get unlocked every 10 levels after that, all the way to 80. This is the main campaign of Guild Wars 2 and it always leads to the same final encounter. Just the road there is different, depending on the choices you made in character creation and earlier in the game.


Each Guild Wars 2 farming zone has multiple important locations. They’re divided in a few different categories.

Point of Interest – notable places that show interesting information about the current situation or history of Tyria. There are no additional tasks to perform at these locations – you just have to visit them.

Waypoints – also called magi-matter-transportive devices, they’re the GW2 equivalent of teleport shrines. Once again, you only have to approach them to get the activation.

Vistas – interactive locations with special cinematics. They are often located in some of the most beautiful, hard-to-reach parts of the different zones. They showcase the wonderful design of Tyria in GW2.

Renown Hearts (or simply Hearts) – tasks given out by the NPCs. They’re usually pretty simple and relatively quick to complete. It’s a Guild Wars 2 equivalent to side quests.

Hero Challenges – challenges (usually fights) that reward the player with an additional Hero Points. They might be some of the most difficult battles during the early levels.

Unlocking each one of these points will grant you a small reward. When you activate all of them in a single zone, you will fully complete it and receive really worthwhile prizes. Achieving the map completion on all zones in the Central Tyria results in World Completion (it’s a difficult and time-consuming task though).

While attempting to complete a map, you will have an opportunity to partake in a few more activities. Besides slaying random monsters that get in your way, you can also complete jumping puzzles (for daily resetting rewards) and participate in dynamic events. The latter is always a good idea, as it lets you explore the storylines of each zone and provides valuable rewards. Following the meta-event chains in certain zones may lead to fights against world bosses.

In general, your leveling process should mostly consist of exploration and the Personal Story quests. Interweaving these activities is a great way of seeing a lot of Tyria and experiencing a lot of game’s content while also effectively gaining levels.

Besides the farming zones, you can also get rewards for exploring the major cities. Every race’s starting town has some Waypoints, Vistas and Points of Interest to unlock. You can easily access them all, by using your home city’s portal to Lion’s Arch – the main hub that has portals to each starting town. When you’re there, you can also complete the Lion’s Arch map! That being said, you won’t get to participate in any combat while exploring the cities, so you might want to choose a farming zone instead.

Living World

The personal story isn’t the only story component that Guild Wars 2 has to offer. The developers introduced new maps, characters and storylines in the expansions as well as free updates. The story of Tyria continues to unfold through the amazing Living World feature.

Each major update introduces new threats to face and missions to complete. They sometimes bring the major changes in the overall landscape of Tyria. Besides the new locations being added, the whole cities or maps can temporarily disappear or return significantly changed. ArenaNet came up with a fitting name for this feature, since the world of Tyria really lives. Currently, the game is in the fifth season of Living World – The Icebrood Saga.


Achievement completion is a great activity that doesn’t necessarily require the player to participate in the most difficult content. There’s a list of achievements for all the different parts of the game: both PvE and PvP. For example, you can get the regional Explorer titles by completing maps in a specific region. Others are related to the game’s story or dynamic events in various zones. We’re not going to list them all here, but a goal-oriented player can simply pick an area of the game and grind towards completing all its achievements.

Besides the standard achievements that you can accomplish for a one-time reward and satisfaction, there also are dailies that you can repeat as farming method. The new seasons of the Living World usually introduce some new achievements to complete. Most of them are story-related, but there might be some others too.

Crafting and Legendary Items

As almost any other MMORPG, Guild Wars 2 has a crafting system. It consists of nine disciplines. There’s one for each category of armor: Armorsmith (heavy) Leatherworker (medium) and Tailor (light). The three weapon crafters are: Huntsman (physical ranged weapons like bows and firearms), Artificer (magical weapons) and Weaponsmith (standard melee ones). Finally, there are three remaining disciplines Chef makes food and drinks, Jeweler crafts trinkets and Scribe is a unique discipline that produces mostly Guild Hall furniture and decorations.

As a beginner, you shouldn’t really care much about crafting. It’s only valuable in the endgame, when your character is level 80 and you have some maxed out crafting disciplines. The lower level items that you can craft are usually less valuable than the materials that you’ll have to use. In the late game though, the crafting disciplines become much more valuable, as they can allow you to craft the powerful Exotic and Ascended items as well as some great components.

Crafting disciplines have a separate progression system. The ones associated with weapons and armors can level up to 500, the rest is limited to 400. There’s just a single way of getting the crafting experience – you get it by producing items. At level 400 you’ll get access to Master crafting recipes (Exotic items) and level 500 unlocks Grandmaster recipes and Ascended items. The equipment crafting recipes are usually quite similar. In a single tier, the base components are always the same - the only difference comes in form of the stat-deciding component: in case of weapons they’re inscriptions, for armors it’s insignia.

The crafting process is relatively straight-forward, you just have to approach the right crafting station and combine the correct components. You can click on multiple tabs in the crafting screen. The most important ones are Material Storage, Discovery and Production. Discovery allows you to create items that you have never made before by combining the right ingredients (you can find the formulas in the Internet). Some crafts may require a recipe item, but it’s a rarity. Discovering a new item provides additional crafting experience. Production panel shows the recipes that you already know and allows you to quickly produce items.

Besides the standard crafting disciplines, you can also use the special crafting station called Mystic Forge. It has some great unique recipes, including ones for the Legendary items. Chasing Legendaries is a big part of GW2 endgame. These items require tons of expensive materials and some extremely rare components. Even if you’re farming really efficiently, you will need a few months to get a single Legendary weapon! Moreover, they’re not even stronger than the much cheaper, Ascended items. Guild Wars players build them just for the amazing visuals and prestige.

In general, the so called Fashion Wars are a big part of GW2 endgame. Many players collect multiple amazing armor sets, outfits, mini-pets and other cosmetic items to make their characters look as cool as possible. That being said, in order to get the Legendaries, you’re going to have to play and complete achievements in multiple types of the GW2 content – including the most challenging raids and fractals.

Group content

Guild Wars 2 features three major types of PvE group content: Dungeons, Fractals of the Mist and Raids.


They’re the most casual of the three. Dungeons are designed for a full party (5 players). You can complete them in two ways: story mode and exploration mode (you have to complete the story to unlock exploration though). They’re a great place to learn playing in a team environment. The personal story and exploration are things that you can do all by yourself. At the same time, if you’re interested in the endgame content, you will have to play with other people eventually. It’s best to start with instances that are not that challenging.

Dungeons can reward you with relatively decent loot from monsters and some valuable items from the final chests. We recommend completing each dungeon at least once in both modes, since it provides access to a great achievement – Dungeon Frequenter. This can later allow you to farm a lot of gold and other rewards through clearing dungeons. 

Fractals of the Mist

Technically speaking, fractals should be considered a category of dungeons. That being said, they introduce some unique mechanics and the rewards they provide are way more valuable than anything you can get in dungeons. Fractals are one of the best places to farm for the proficient, max level players.

These 5-man instances are available through a hub location called Mistlock Observatory. There are 20 unique fractals, but they have multiple difficulty levels. The whole list consists of 100 challenges. The higher the level, the more difficult they get. The fractals are also divided in four tiers.

The first tier is available to all the level 80 characters - you can unlock higher tiers by increasing your personal fractal level. It happens gradually, as you complete the more and more difficult ones.

The 20th fractal introduces a new mechanic called Agony. Every player inside the instance is constantly affected by Agony and it cannot be cleansed with any condition removal abilities. This status reduces the amount of received healing by 70% and every 3 seconds deals a fraction of player’s health as damage. You can’t completely eliminate Agony, but you can significantly mitigate its effects with special equipment that has Agony Resistance on it.


Raids are the only PvE content in Guild Wars 2 that requires organized groups larger than 5 people. They’re designed for groups of 10 players. They are the most complex and difficult instances in the game. Besides requiring specific, powerful team comps and near perfect execution, they also throw multiple mechanics at the players.

Every raid encounter consists of multiple phases. Each of them presents somewhat different threats and challenges. Every misstep may result in your death and everyone has to know exactly what to do if you want your team to finish the raid flawlessly. These instances provide amazing rewards, but you can only get them once per week in each raid.


PvP in Guild Wars 2 consists of two major modes: mass scale World versus World and smaller, but more controlled structured PvP.

World versus World

We’re not going to dive into an in-depth explanation of this game mode - we will stick to the basics. A single WvW is played between three sides (each world is more than a whole server, it's usually a few servers grouped together) and lasts a whole week. The teams have to take capture and hold as many objectives as they can. Every five minutes each team receives a number of War Points based on the number and power of objectives that they control. The main point of contention is the Castle of the Mist located in the middle of the map.

The matches are divided into 2 hour long round called skirmishes. At the end of each skirmish, the worlds are awarded Victory Points, based on their position in the ranking. The final winner is decided by the number of Victory Points at the end of the match. WvW takes place on a huge map and it’s pretty easy to contribute to your team’s success (just follow the commander and assist them). This, alongside the mass scale, makes this mode extremely fun and accessible even for new and/or casual players.

Structured PvP

If you’re looking for a more competitive mode, you should check out sPvP, specifically the most popular mode - Conquest. It has significantly shorter, 5v5 matches with a lot of room for both strategic thinking and mechanical outplays. There are two ways of earning points for your team: controlling the three strategic points on the map and killing members of the opposing team. You are likely to do both, as these points are where the action usually takes place.

Just keep in mind that sPvP is not exactly a beginner friendly mode. There is a ranked mode, so you’re not going to instantly face the best players, but it’s still pretty difficult. A lot of people try really hard to climb higher on the ladder and you will mostly see people play a lot of similar builds that are believed to be most effective at that time.

GW2 Beginner Guide

As you can see, Guild Wars 2 is a complex game. We hope that this guide helped you understand some of the crucial mechanics and gave you an insight into all the fun stuff to do in GW2. Now use this freshly acquired knowledge in your journey across Tyria! There are lots of great things that you’ll get to experience for the first time as a new player!


How do you get gear in Guild Wars 2?

You can receive gear as rewards from quests, loot from monsters as well as chests and through crafting.

Is it worth buying Guild Wars 2 expansions?

Yes, definitely. It’s really worth it,As long as you like the game. Buying the Path of Fire DLC will also give you free access to Heart of Thorns. That’s a lot of new content in form of story, maps, specializations and even the Revenant profession!

Does race matter in GW2?

Not really. The race choice will affect the beginning of your character’s personal story and provide some racial skills, but they’re not that useful. Every race has identical base statistics.  

Is Guild Wars 2 free?

Yes, the base version of the game is free-to-play. If you want, you can spend money on expansions and on the optional items in the Gem Store.

How do I join a guild in Guild Wars 2?

To join a GW2 guild, you first have to get invited by the Guild Leader or another player who has the permissions to do it. Then, open the Invitations tab in the Guild screen and accept the one that you like the most.

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