The GW2 Quickstart Guide

So you bought Guild Wars 2 and downloaded it. Now what?

The following is a collection of tips and tweaks that will hopefully make your beginning experience that much smoother in Guild Wars 2. For the purposes of this guide, I am going to assume you already made it through character creation.

Improving the Framerate

Even if you have a super-computer, chances are good that you may only have 40 fps or less if you start out with everything at max settings. Two quick changes in the graphics settings gained me +15-20 fps, and will hopefully work likewise for you:

And you won’t feel a thing.

In text form:

  • Reflections: All –> Terrain & Sky (+10 fps)
  • Shadows: Ultra –> High (+5 fps)

I am not sure what possesses MMO companies to add graphical features that require computers from the future in order to run properly, but once you tune those two options down a step, you should gain around 15 fps with zero apparent loss of graphical fidelity. Every computer is different, of course, so your own gains may be more or less. Screwing around with some of the other settings resulted in the following for me:

  • Shadows: High –> Medium (+5 fps) –> Low (+10 fps)
  • Shaders: High –> Medium (+10 fps)
  • Textures: High –> Medium (+10 fps)

Again, those numbers may not be accurate for your machine, or even my own machine for that matter – it could be I was simply in the wrong area for a legitimate test. Regardless, I did notice a reduction in game fidelity (i.e. graphics took a hit) when I started bumping that second set of numbers down, so if you like your shiny games to be shiny, stick with the slight Reflections/Shadows tweak.

If you find additional tweaks on your own, feel free to leave it in the comments below.

Improving the Controls

On the default option screen, the two biggest things are turning on Autoloot and increasing the Camera Rotation speed:

You WILL Dodge to your death many a time.

Turning off “Double-Tap to Evade” is a good idea when you start doing any of the jumping puzzles, and it may be a good idea to turn it off permanently anyway. I have not quite worked out what button to comfortably assign Dodge to though, as it has to be one in which you can reliably hit while navigating around with WASD. Right now, I have it assigned to V but may move it to C later (or see if my side mouse buttons will do the job).

Speaking of WASD, take the time now to disable keyboard-turning, you noob:

MMO companies should really disable this shit by default.

I also recommend moving “Interact” from F –> E, but that is just me. The idea behind it is that with Autoloot turned on, what you can do is run through that pile of bodies created by a nearby Dynamic Event and just spam the E key to pick up all the loot.

Improving Quality of Life

At this point, I am going assume you made it through your race’s tutorial, e.g. level 1-2.

One of the first things I recommend is to save up 72 copper and purchase the three basic types of gathering tools:

Start this early, and you’ll thank me later.

If you spot a vendor immediately upon zoning in from the tutorial, you will likely only have ~50 copper or so. Go ahead and purchase the Copper Logging Axe and one of the other two; the herbs are going to be more common, but the ore nodes are going to be more immediately useful for crafting. Otherwise, you can wait until after you finish your first Renown quest “hub” or so to get enough cash to buy them at the same time.

Once the gathering tools are in your inventory, double-click them to “equip” them and you will be ready to go. Each node you tap gives you the equivalent of ~3 or so mob kills and contributes to your Daily Quest achievement score (which itself nets extra XP and rewards).

Incidentally, you might have noticed the Salvage Kits in the vendor window above, or may have received such a kit from completing story quests. Salvage Kits basically “disenchant” old gear into crafting material. I do not recommend buying some right at the beginning of the game like with the gathering tools, especially since you will get several packs of them free from story quests.

If you find yourself lacking in funds, check your mailbox. Each Renown Heart you complete will get you a follow-up letter in your mailbox, which will contain some cash too:

This early copper will be HUGELY useful in the early game.

Between gathering and Dynamic Events, chances are that your bags are going to get full in no time. The good news is that there is an app a button for that:

Hands down the best feature in GW2.

Open your Inventory (I), click the cog, select Deposit All Collectibles. Bam! All your crafting materials (etc) automatically get whisked away to the Collectibles tab of your bank. Want to use those items for Crafting? Any Crafting table will give you access to your Bank and Collectibles tabs, which lets you drop the needed item into your normal bag to use it for crafting purposes. Your bank and Collectibles tabs are Account-wide. There is literally no reason to not use that button, but you can deposit individual items by right-clicking and selecting Deposit from the menu if you wish.

If you find yourself not getting a healthy selection of weapons from drops, check out a weapon vendor. While such vendors can be found sparingly out in the world, it is likely the easiest to seek one out in your race’s capital city. The entrance to every race’s capital city is usually a portal right behind where you spawned from the tutorial. The main entrance is only meaningful for your first trip there, as every time after that you can simply teleport to a Waypoint inside from anywhere.

The weapon vendor will be a marked as a (tiny) icon with a sword:

Harder to find in some capitals than others.

The significance of these vendors is that you can buy every weapon type from them. While the weapons themselves are of low-quality, and expensive for low-level characters anyway, the point is that it is entirely possible to never run across, say, a pair of pistols on your Thief or a Longbow for your Ranger. Not only can you miss the opportunity to level up those weapon skills until you manage to get a random drop, but some classes are worlds more fun with certain weapons – you have not played a Guardian until you played a Guardian with a Broadsword, or an Elementalist with dual-daggers. So if you find yourself creeping up on 2 whole silver pieces and have not unlocked the majority of your weapon skills, I suggest making a shopping trip in town.

By the way, if you happen across an NPC (or object) in town with a golden boot above their head, talk to him/her/it. You will receive a ~5 minute speed boost to make your shopping/exploring trip that much easier.

Improving Globe Trotting

The last Quickstart tip I have is to help you move about the world. Did you roll a Norn and want to quest with your Sylvari friend? Or maybe you just want to check out the Charr area? It is easier than it looks.

  1. Press H, to bring up the Hero menu.
  2. Click on the PvP tab, along the bottom left.
  3. Click “Enter the Mists.”
  4. If this is your first time here, go ahead and do these tutorial Hearts.
  5. This next area is the “lobby” for PvP. Feel free to check out your level 80 abilities.
  6. Otherwise, run into the gate your should be facing. It should say “Lion’s Arch” when near.
  7. In this next area, press M for your map. It should look like this:

…almost there…

  1. Run North across the bridge, the hook around to the West.
  2. One portal for each starting zone.
  3. Pro tip: you can tell which starting zone a gate belongs to by the race of its guards.
  4. Go through one of them, grab the nearby Waypoint, then find your friend.

The good news is that there is a Waypoint right at the cluster of portals, meaning you won’t have to the do the PvP portaling trick again. On the other hand, traveling to a Waypoint clear across the world is fairly pricey for a low-level toon (something like 50+ copper for a level 8) so you may want to save those pennies by taking the “long way.”

As you might surmise, each capital will have a portal that leads straight to that Lion’s Arch cluster of portals. If you know your way around your own capital good enough to figure out where it is, feel free to cut out the PvP zone detour. The benefit of the above outlined path is that it is easier to tell someone to click a button and head North than it likely is shepherding them around the utterly massive capitals.


And that, my friends, is that. Crafting is a bit beyond the scope of a Quickstart Guide, and I am not entirely sure how useful a Renown Heart/Dynamic Event rundown would be in comparison to just running around doing it. In any case, hopefully this post was useful in some way, either to yourself or as something to point a friend towards.

Now if you will excuse me, I’m still trying to figure out which character will be my main.

Posted on August 28, 2012, in Guild Wars 2 and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 5 Comments.

  1. Nice going, thanks for the guide, will help alot


  2. “I am not sure what possesses MMO companies to add graphical features that require computers from the future in order to run properly” – I think this makes even more sense for MMOs than any other game type, especially if you consider the mindset of “you will play this game each day, every day, form now for the next 5 years” that many MMOs are still developed with. They in fact build their graphics settings so the game might even look decent in a year or two, when the computer from the future is the computer you’ll own.

    It only becomes problematic when everything below the “medium” preset becomes almost unplayable. I call this the “Vanguard effect”.


  3. Great post, thanks for the tips PLUS the great screenshots and red circled highlights. Makes it really easy to find what you are referring to!


  4. You argue people should not use turn left and turn right (I agree) yet you neglect backpeddling with ‘S’. You also neglect the movement of the fingers between ‘WASD’, main abilities ‘12345’, and special abilities ‘67890’. They’re too far away from each other.

    I’m not sure my solution is the best but it works for me. I rebound as follows: ‘ASD’ for movement. ‘QWERF’ for primary abilities. ‘12345’ for special abilities (I am not sure on ‘5’ here as it is far away from the rest but I don’t have an elite skill yet). Active dodge off, autoloot indeed on. Dodge on ‘V’ for now. My caps lock is my PTT in gaming (tho I also use Skype).

    I don’t have FPS issues and do have top notch hardware, but have put Vertical Sync on because I hate tearing.

    Other than that a top notch quick start guide. I will recommend everyone who starts playing GW2 to your guide. Heck, some people who speak in /map should simply read it. The amount of people who don’t know about “Deposit Collectibles” is astounding.


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