The most helpful advice

In the Facebook GW2 group there are a lot of newbies who transition in from WoW. Not surprising. It’s exactly what I did.
I think this is the most helpful response I’ve ever offered.

Hello to whole community. New player here, been playing World of Warcraft for years and came up to give Guild Wars a chance, I like it a lot, just don’t get it how to get gear, is it same as WoW, trough dungeons and PvE, or? Also would appreciate if you give me a YouTube link or channel who explains game for newbies. Thanks!

I did the same thing. You’re smart to ask now. I didn’t. I didn’t have a clue and got to level 80 and to the end of PoF and was naked by the time I offed Balthazar. I was so stressed/unhappy/frustrated I deleted my character. Dumb. Really dumb.

Your very best option is to craft armor for yourself. People will tell you to just struggle through with whatever drops or buy matching stats on the TP but that’s truly not your best option. Your goal isn’t to get to 80 as fast as you can, it’s to understand your class by the time you get to 80. The shock of trying to manage the level 80 content if you’re clueless is truly painful. Plus you’re going to need max level crafting to get the most out of the game so you might as well work through it as you go.

Figure out which stat set works best for the build you’re running and make it. Crafting, with the Guild Hall boost (you do know you can get free specific boosts from the bartender in the guild tavern?) for crafting will help speed along your progress. Collect mats from the guild hall daily. (If you can, get into a guild that has four guild halls that are all farmable daily.) Get into a full home instance every day (park outside a home instance and catch a full home instance offer) and farm it for mats.

You can learn all crafts on the same character and that’s the best way to manage. When you switch between crafts it costs 50 silver. You don’t lose any progress. You can switch as often as you need to. In the beginning you will only need three or four (armor, 1 or 2 weapon crafts, jeweler). As you build your stable of characters you’ll need all the crafts.

Weekly Keyfarm

I run a keyfarm character each week to get the key that drops when the first My Story chapter is complete. I make the same character (human ranger), give it the same name (Keyfarm Guy/Gal), play through Chapter 1 to collect the key and then delete the character. Every week. That’s 52 keys a year for spending a bit of time each week leveling a temporary character. For me it’s fun to see how efficient I can be each week, where I can vary things, how fast I can kill stuff.

To help clarify my thinking and improve my efficiency I’m working through this mini guide. I’ve included tips for keeping the keyfarm from being the same grind each week while still having it be fast and efficient.

One of the keys to fast keyfarming is skipping all dialog and killing lots of stuff really fast. Getting the right gear is key. There’s a complete set of purchase/make/acquire lists at the bottom of the post. Getting the equipment purchased and set up is a one-time effort. All the equipment will be account bound on use so you can use the same gear each time you keyfarm.

You’re going to store all this stuff between keyfarm runs so plan for that. You’ll need 11 inventory slots for the level zero gear (chest, gloves, legs, boots, 2 axes, utility buff, food buff, 2 bags, backpack). You’ll need 11 or 12 more slots for the level 10 gear (mask, chest, gloves, legs, boots, 2 axes, shortbow-optional, 2 trinkets, 2 rings). You can do without the level 10 shortbow if you want to save a tiny bit of coin and the space to store it. It really isn’t necessary and I usually don’t use it anyway. The axe strikes do more damage and bounce up to five times. Most things are dead before they can get close enough to touch me.

Buffs are key to a fast keyfarm run. They give an experience increase which speeds the process. Use any half-hour XP buff tokens you have but don’t waste a 2 hour XP buff on what will be less than a 45 minute run. Use a guild XP banner (purchased using Guild Commendations) and a guild XP buff (available from your Guild’s bartender) in addition to the food and utility buffs from your purchases.

With the latest game patch the repair anvil now gives an armor enhancement and vitality boost so don’t hesitate to use the repair anvil in your guild hall before you get heavily into the story line.

When setting up your character, select the human race and the ranger class. The human race has the fastest keyfarm run. The ranger has the best starting utility. You’re going to delete this character so sex and appearance make no difference. The character choices are going to make little to no difference and not knowing what the algorythm picked for all the fussy bits will add interest to your keyfarm run.

Create a new character, choose a sex (if you must), pick ranger and hit “skip to end”. Name your character and you’re done. Skip any dialog you can.

Here is the one snag that can be an issue. You must be able to access your bank before you start your keyfarm run. Access to the guild hall with a scribe station (bank access) is restricted until the first episode of the story is complete. To circumvent this you have a few options. You can purchase a bank golem which lasts two weeks. That may seem like a silly purchase but every time you create a new character it gets access to the golem. Open the email, take the golem, use it for the duration of your run and delete it.

Alternately you can use a temporary or permanent Bank Access Express.

You can also clear out shared inventory slots and put everything your keyfarm character needs in those spots. While tiresome, it’s still a viable option if you have enough shared inventory slots.

If none of those options are available to you slog through the first episode with the provided equipment, then go to your Guild Hall and use the Scribe Station to access your bank.

For the initial grab you need to retrieve the Tomes of Experience, Tomes of Mentorship and/or XP tokens you plan to use, a Guild XP banner (buff lasts 1 hour), invisible bag, 18-20 slot bag, level 0 gear (2 axes, coat, gloves, leggings, boots, backpack), food and utility buffs (food only lasts 15 minutes – you’ll need 4 Grilled Steaks and 2 Rough Sharpening Stones for each keyfarm run).

Equip the bags, coat, gloves, leggings and boots. Equip the axe with the Minor Sigil of Force.

Put the remaining axe and your food in your invisible bag. Put the equipment you just took off (the stuff your character was created with) in your backpack. Plant the Guild XP banner and collect the buff. Use your food and utility buff and start killing stuff.


  • Don’t replace ANY of your equipment. Don’t even look at the stuff that drops. Salvage or sell it. It doesn’t have runes and though tempting, doing anything but salvaging or selling will just waste your time. Do not replace any of your account bound stuff. Leave it equipped until you replace it at level 10.
  • Spam your number 1 axe skill at anything enemy. If you’ve equipped the recommended equipment most targets will go down in one or two hits. Your number 1 axe skill bounces five times and does impressive damage. You’ll do more damage striking a target in a group or when there is another target close enough to be struck by the bounces. The more stuff you kill the faster you’ll level. The faster you level the sooner you’ll be done.
  • As soon as you’re done with the first episode go to your guild hall and get the tavern buff. It’s another 10% XP on top of the buffs you have from food, utility and banner. If you haven’t grabbed the repair anvil buff yet, get that now.
  • Watch your food buff. It’s only good for 15 minutes. When it runs out and isn’t replaced your down 10% XP.
  • Watch your utility buff. It’s good for 30 minutes. When it runs out and isn’t replaced your down 10% XP.
  • When you reach Level 6 equip your off hand axe.
  • Expect the first few times through the keyfarm process to be a learning experience. You’ve got to learn where to go and who to interact with for each story arc. Once you are acquainted with all the story arcs your keyfarm will go really quickly.
  • Use Tomes and XP tokens judiciously. Don’t overshoot Level 10. It’s a waste of Tomes/tokens.
  • If you don’t have or don’t want to use Tomes or tokens your fastest leveling is to keep all your buffs up and complete hearts.

When you reach level 10:

  • Go to the bank and replace all your Level 0 gear with your Level 10 gear
  • If you get the Faren story arc make sure you do the Zamon’s House fork. The other is long, tiresome and not worth the effort.
  • When you get to Level 11 train the Signet of the Hunt and ignore everything else. You’ll be done with the keyfarm before you get to a high enough level to use more than a single talent. Passive Signet of the Hunt is going to give you extra speed. Active it will prevent your target from blocking your strikes. Win win. If you end up in the cell block with Serpetine you can use it to prevent the soldiers from blocking your strikes.

When you’re done:

  • Consume the karma token in your bag.
  • Salvage/sell everything that can be salvaged or sold.
  • Deposit anything that can be deposited
  • Salvage everything that can be salvaged.
  • Sell everything that can be sold.
  • Destroy anything that can’t be salvaged or sold
  • Once your bags are as cleaned out as you can make them, take off everything you’ve equipped. EVERYTHING
  • Deposit your gear in your bank. Try to keep it grouped together so it will be easy to find the next time you keyfarm.
  • Unequip your extra bags and put them in the bank. If you forget to do this and delete your character they are gone and will have to be replaced.
  • Double check that all equipment has been unequipped and stored, anything that can be salvaged has been salvaged, anything that can be sold has been sold
  • Delete your character. That’s it, you’re done!

Enjoy your keyfarm. It shouldn’t be a grind so don’t make it one. Embrace the variety in the various story arcs and enjoy the fruits of your labor.

From the Trading Post purchase:

  • 4 Minor Rune of Speed
  • 4 Minor Rune of Air
  • 1 Minor Rune of Divinity
  • 2 Minor Sigil of Force
  • 2 Minor Sigil of Accuracy
  • Level 0 Mighty Rawhide Vest (add purchased Minor Rune of Air)
  • Level 0 Mighty Rawhide Bracers (add purchased Minor Rune of Air)
  • Level 0 Mighty Rawhide Leggings (add purchased Minor Rune of Speed)
  • Level 0 Mighty Rawhide Boots (add purchased Minor Rune of Speed)
  • 2 Level 0 Mighty Axes (add one Minor Sigil of Power, one Minor Sigil of Accuracy)
  • Level 10 Mighty Rawhide Mask (add purchased Minor Rune of Divinity)
  • Level 10 Mighty Rawhide Vest (add purchased Minor Rune of Air)
  • Level 10 Mighty Rawhide Bracers (add purchased Minor Rune of Air)
  • Level 10 Mighty Rawhide Leggings (add purchased Minor Rune of Speed)
  • Level 10 Mighty Rawhide Boots (add purchased Minor Rune of Speed)
  • 2 Level 10 Mighty Axes (add one Minor Sigil of Power, one Minor Sigil of Accuracy)
  • small stack of Grilled Steak
  • small stack of Rough Sharpening Stones
  • OPTIONAL Level 10 Mighty Shortbow (purchase 1 additiona Minor Sigil of Power and 1 additional Minor Sigil of Accuracy for this weapon)

Make or buy:

  • 12 or 15 slot invisible bag
  • 18 or 20 slot bag
  • 2 Garnet Copper Studs
  • 2 Garnet Copper Rings


  • Level 0 backpack with a garnet pebble inserted in the expansion slot

Not to confuse things any further but there is an additional option you should be aware of. Each character’s birthday produces a level 20 boost token that can only be used to level your keyfarm character. Use it, equip the level 10 gear and work through the story line. It’s a simpler and faster way to go but the supply of the tokens is finite.

Who do you play and why?

Owena Gaia, sylvari engineer

I don’t play my engineer enough. She is truly awesome . . . now. Whether she will stay that way is up to the whims of ANet’s planners and programmers. Before EoD she was okay but not stellar. Now that she’s running a mech build using a mace and pistol in full Svaard/Marauder, she’s awesome. Do you pick names for your characters that gives their existence meaning? “Owena” means “yew” according to How perfect is that for a sylvari?

Even back when her build wasn’t awesome she wasn’t ignored. I have a policy of using my entire string of characters,  playing a different one each day. When I get to the end of the rank of characters I go back to the start. EVERYbody get played, nobody is unused, nobody sits because their build marinally sucks. There’s no such thing as a “main” in my stable of guys and gals. Whoever I’m playing that day is my favorite/main. With only eight characters, playing them all in rotation is not a hard chore. Plus I love all my characters. Those that I didn’t love got deleted. I had a mes sylvari I literally could not stand. HATED him. I got him to 80, played him a while and happily deleted his sorry butt, replacing him with an asura I like a lot.

I’ve only missed one of the now deleted band because I was new, stupid and played her (an ele) as a glass cannon. By the time I got done killing Balthazar she was totally divoid of clothing, battling away in her underwear. By the end of PoF I hated her because I couldn’t keep her alive. New players should NEVER be encouraged to play glass cannon. New players should be advised to start characters that are easier to keep alive. Trust me on this, it’s for the best. Rangers. Let all new players play rangers. With twin axes and a short bow. Yeah, that’ll work.

What my glass cannon ele experience taught me is I do really poor DPS when I’m downed or dead. I can afford to do a little less than spectacular DPS and stay alive because I come out with better DPS at the end of the fight for not having lost DPS opportunity while trying to revive myself/laying there lifeless/teleporting out to run back. This is just common sense.

I’ve got some characters I temporarily don’t like very much. It’s not so much the characters themselves as it is what ANet has done to the build in their latest patch. I’m not much enchanted with my mes right now. Of all the mes’s I’ve built and deleted (not really fond of the class in general), I’ve had him the longest and will probably keep him long term. It doesn’t hurt that he’s really cute (Gorrik minus glasses and the total cluelessness). He stays alive okay but doesn’t do enough damage to make me happy. I’m a “slam-bam, die right now” kinda girl and when the build gets messed and I don’t get my kill fill, I’m just not that happy. I’ll continue to fiddle with his build as he comes up for play until I have something I can live with.

Unlike the ele I started with, I love my current asura ele running a weaver build. She kills most things open world with three or four blows and handles mobs relatively easily. She’s in full Pahua/Trailblazer running a scepter and dagger so she’s not a glass cannon. She can toe-to-toe most stuff but could stand to have a little more alacrity. As a result, that lack may push me to a catalyst built . . . eventually . . . maybe.

So, who do you play and why do you love them?

Time changes playstyle

Have you ever thought back to what your play style was like when you first started? I’m not so far away from my beginning gamer days that I’ve forgotten. I stood as far back as I could and lobbed shots at the target while almost everyone else was crowded in at the boss’s feet hammering away. And I died a lot. A LOT.

There are reasons for why new players don’t get close and die a lot. For me it’s a combination of can’t see what’s going on and can’t process the volume of action on the screen quickly enough to do anything productive. As time passed my eye developed. I was more easily able to process what was happening and my automatic reactions became progressively more fine tuned. But of course that’s not where I started. That’s not where any of us started. Remember that when you’re inclined to make fun of a new player who is as clueless as we all were in the beginning.

A self-inflicted wound

I’ve got a hardware problem. I know I have a hardware problem . As a result I encountered a self-inflicted wound . . . <sigh> . . . or two.

When I last rebuild my computer system I was running on a bit of a tight budget. I had budgeted for $700. The rebuild cost was under $800 to replace all the bits I needed replaced. The result has been an awesome solid fast and reliable system with one exception. SSD prices at the time were a bit stiff so I scrimped. Instead of getting a 1T or 500G M.2 SSD, I bought a 250g. You can see where this is going. Because the only way to run a game without disk spinup issues is to put it on an SSD, storage space became a huge problem.

Once SSD pricing dropped I swapped out a failing 10K spin up drive (one of two) for a 500g SSD. I then moved all the system files I could to the new SSD to free up space on my skimp-purchased 250g (ugh, just ugh) leaving GW2 on my main drive. I earned a temporary “beauty”, but it was truly only a temporary fix. As time passed it became glaringly obvious I was in trouble.

I did a (supposedly) totally innocuous thing, swapping the positions of my two monitors, a 14″ and a 32″ (TV). Given how awesome Microsoft is (if you don’t get the sarcasm you shouldn’t be reading this) you can guess the result. It blew things up. Totally. I lost the .dat file for GW2, a file that takes hours to download. To add insult to injury, the file was showing in the directory, taking up disk space, but no longer connected to the GW2 install. Oh joy.

So I re-downloaded the .dat file, missing out on some really good guild stuff (missions) while pausing play time to achieve mastery of the .dat file download. I reiterate, oh joy.

So today, in checking the cleanliness and integrity of my file storage I mastered a Level Two self-inflicted wound. I use the Microsoft utility to clean my drives of extraneous files. I’ll give you one guess as to the file it deleted that should have remained sacrosanct. Yup, you got it.

I’m now re-downloading, for the second (third?) time, the GW2 .dat file. Oh joy.

Karma is a funny thing

I lucked into an awesome guild in GW2. I was looking for a big guild that did WvW and that’s not what this guild is. It’s a small guild, it’s a quiet guild and it’s an awesome guild. They are kind, helpful, generous, entertaining and inclusive. Need help with something? There may only be four people online but half of them will immediately step up to help. That’s beyond awesome. Nobody swears, no one is denigrated or ignored.

Now compare that to the guild I just left. It’s devolved from something I raved about two years ago to a guild who tolerates a bully in a leadership role. My discomfort started with an event accompanied by Discord chat which included grotesque swearing and talk about auto erotica while children’s voices could be heard in the background. That was bad and pretty much rocked my boat. From there it devolved to a bully in leadership who, when presented with logical arguments got abusive and denigrating while blatantly lying. Rather than continuing to put the guild forward for new players as I had in the past, I kept my mouth shut. There have to be better guilds out there and I’ll happily let someone else suggest one. There was no “sweet sorrow” in parting with the guild, none whatsoever.

When a guild tolerates bullies in leadership it’s no longer a place I want to be and certainly NOT a place I want to advise others to go.

Equipping level 80’s

I’ve joined a GW2 forum on Facebook. It’s an interesting forum and I’m enjoying it. I see a fair number of players come through saying “do I boost to 80”, “how do I equip my 80”, “I can’t keep my 80 alive” and similar noob posts. We’ve all been there. Yup, every single one of us have danced that dance.

MetaBattle gives user-developed builds that are rated by other players. It appears only the fanatical players contribute builds to Metabattle . . . with few exceptions. One exception is the “basic staff ele” and “leveling summoner” builds for elementalists. The “leveling summoner” is full of lots of super helpful information for a new ele player.

So, given how much information is provided on builds in Megabattle, here’s my two cents worth. This advice is worth EXACTLY two cents. It’s JMPO.
No matter what you play, you have to develop a build you love to play. Read MetaBattle. See what others recommend. Read the notes, play with the build, change what you aren’t comfortable with . . . do what works FOR YOU. Don’t like the way the great sword plays? Try something else. Don’t like the stats they recommend? Try something else!
Here’s my example of lessons learned.
Elementalists are glass. They die very fast. VERY fast. Blink=dead. The first character I ever leveled was an elementalist. Poof, dead. She finished a lot of battles naked because she literally had no armor left to damage. I ran my first elementalist all the way through PoF, fully dressed in the recommended gear. By the end I was so frustrated I deleted her. Gone. Just like that.

That was over a year ago. I now have two elementalists and I LOVE them. They are SO fun to play. What did I do differently? Instead of equipping them in armor that gave them great DPS, I equipped one in all soldier (80 boost, power-toughness-vitaility) and the other in all ascended Tizlak (Commander, power-precision-toughness-concentration), armor chosen to offset how easily elementalists die.

Neither of these stat sets are huge dps producers, nor are they popular/recommended on MetaBattle. Putting them in soldier and commander stat sets was a test and I think, for me, it was a winner. My elementalist STAY ALIVE while I’m killing stuff.

In case you haven’t heard, you do exactly ZERO DPS when you’re dead. The goal is to not be dead. After that, it’s all selecting what you prefer.

Playing Guild Wars 2 for free . . . and why you should

I have two paid GW2 accounts. Yup, I bit that bullet twice. I also have a free account. Why? Because playing for free multiplies the joy. Truly!

We live in an “instant gratification” world. We want it and we want it now. But there isn’t a lot of joy in that. I’ve re-discovered the joy in building a base slowly and working smartly, and that’s where the free account comes in.

Admittedly, I’ve cheated. I’ve sent things from my paid accounts to my free account, but I’ve really worked hard to keep it within reason. Big bag (one 18 slot silk, one 18 slot invisible)? Yes. Minuscule amount of gold (10g), sure. Low level mats to buff the crafting? Sure! Cheating? Uh . . . yeah, I sent unbreakable tools and glyphs for those tools once my free character hit 80 . . . I probably shouldn’t have done that but I did. It’s done . . . moving on.

Here’s the point and my goals. I plan to do everything, all the map completion, crafting, story line, events . . . everything I can do on this free toon until I run out of things to do . . . and then, and only then, I will consider upgrading to a paid story line.

I am maximizing the fun by not getting HoT or POF until I’ve done everything else first, maximized every craft, explored every map, completed the story line . . . everything. You cannot imagine the joy of working toward a goal instead of paying to reach it.

Guild Wars 2, the most misnamed game in the MMORPG universe

I have been playing Guild Wars 2 (GW2) for two years now. I know that’s not long in the world of MMORPGs but consider . . . I played World of Warcraft for two years before I bailed . . . completely and definitively. One day I was playing, the next day I was gone. Completely and totally never went back gone. Masses of gold, something close to 40 character . . . GONE. When it’s done, stick a fork in it, done.

So, why do I think GW2 has the least representative name in the genre? Because it isn’t about guilds. Okay, it is about guilds but only in the most general overview imaginable. You can be a member of up to five guilds so guilds are vying for your membership but that is the least important feature of the game. Truly! Once you find a good guild that’s where you want to stay!

GW2 is about the story, the mechanics, the environment, the players, the joy. It really is. And to understand what I’m telling you, you really need to play the game to understand.

Not looking back . . .

I stopped playing WoW. Yup, cold turkey. One day I was playing, doing the same thing day after day and the next I was gone. WoW had become a job instead of an entertaining distraction from pain and frustration. I was paying a monthly fee and felt like I HAD to play to justify spending the money. Ugh. Just ugh.

So I took some time to see what else was out there in the world of MMORPG. I tried a bunch of different games. I either couldn’t stay alive or couldn’t figure out where to go and what to do. Yup, not happening. MMORPG is supposed to be fun, not frustrating.

Then I found GuildWars2. OMGosh. GAME CHANGER. Some of it made me laugh. WoW was just starting to integrate the awesome features GW2 has had forever. And the big plus . . . I could SEE what I was doing most of the time, something I constantly struggled with in WoW.

To give you a flavor of why I think GW2 is superior, here’s a very small list of things that GW2 does much more brilliantly than WoW.

  • Resource storage – click a button in your bag screen and all the materials are automatically deposited into the resource bank regardless of where your character is in the world.
  • Trading Post access – right click an item in your inventory and sell it on the trading post regardless of where your character is in the world. Need more of something? Buy it from the trading post from ANYWHERE. You have to go to the TP or one of its agents to collect items and profits, but you can interact with it from anywhere.
  • Transportation – Portals and waypoints instead of flight masters and flying mounts. No more wasting time flying from one point to another or traveling to a portal to get to a different part of the world and then flying to where you want to go. Travel from one side of the world to the other in the time it takes for the screen to load. Buried in the bottom of cave and don’t want to fight all the spawns to get out? Open the map and click a waypoint and you are out of there! Truly amazing logical stuff that makes the game FUN .
  • Player attitude – When you lose too much health to fight you can work to heal yourself before you’re truly dead. ANYONE can heal or resurrect another player. I laughed out loud the first time I got the “there are too many resurrectors” message on my screen. If you’re dead and the battle is so fierce there’s no time to resurrect you or you’re in a spot where no one can safely get you back up, you can waypoint out and run back in full health. No wasted time whisping to your dead body. If you fall in GW2 SOMEONE will get you back up either during the fight or right after. You won’t be left lying there dead while everyone else wanders off to do their own thing. Player attitude in GW2 is COMPLETELY different. The attitude fostered by the game’s mechanics is a wonderful thing.
  • Armor repairs – Are completely free. Yup. No more spending 100g+ because of damage during a boss fight. It. Is. FREE. There is no armor damage if you fall and die. The boss has almost killed you off? Yeah, jumping off that cliff might not be a bad thing.
  • Guilds – It’s called Guild Wars for a reason. Guilds are busy busy busy. EVERY DAY our guild runs one or two activities. Guild groups get together to do something all the time. ALL the time. Ten percent of the guild members are usually online playing at any given time. If you need help filling a group or killing a boss, people leap to help. It’s a whole different world.
  • Activities – GW2 has daily activities in addition to achievements, holiday activities, dungeons, raids, events, boss spawns . . . the list is so long there’s no way I could cover it here. There’s so much to do there isn’t enough time in the day when running just ONE character. I had nearly 50 on WoW and was bored, bored, bored.
  • Wiki – If you need to know something, /wiki whatever in the chat box will get you the wiki page on that thing. It. Is. AWESOME.
  • Wardrobe – All the armor comes uncolored. Color is added via dyes which are acquired from chests, boss drops, story achievement chests, the trading post, etc. The look of the armor can be selected from a wardrobe. My toon may be wearing the same leggings as another but that’s where the similarity ends. With three dye locations and over 100 colors, the chance of my toon wearing the same thing as another is rare indeed.
  • Questing – WoW had quests which must be done in order, a rigid and boring system. GW2 has stories which branch depending on the choices you make and the type/race of the character you are running. This is separate from map completion which can be done at any time.
  • Armor Scaling – When you go to a lower level zone to do an event or kill a boss, your armor is scaled to that zone. There are no one-stroke kills here.
  • Crafting – There is no greater contrast to WoW than the way the crafting professions are handled. They aren’t even the same species. In GW2 components are made which are combined in the discovery screen to find recipes. You can buy from the trading post, sell to the trading post, create components from the main recipe screen, refine ingredients from that same screen. OMGosh. Example . . . if I need a pair of leather zerker leggings I can open the recipe. From that screen I can pull up windows to make all the necessary components. It’s fabulous!
  • Characters/toons – The character creation screens have a wonderful range of options with a wide selections for every aspect (nose, eyes, hair style and color, body type, height, tattoos, horns, ears, mouth size and shape, skin color, etc.). I was unlikely to find any other toon in game which looked like mine. Each character I created was truly unique. And each character has a personal story based on choices made for that character.
  • Mounts – This is one of the best things GW2 has done differently. There are four types of mounts and questing is done for those mounts. They each have a different perk which makes the game fun and interesting.
  • JUMPING PUZZLES – OMGosh! Jumping puzzles! Every map has at least one. Complete the jumping puzzle to get to the chest at the end. You can do them all every day if you like though I don’t know that you could manage them all in a full day of play. It would be fun to try . . . if I weren’t doing so many other things.
  • GLIDERS! – OMGosh. Instead of flying mounts, GW2 has gliders and updrafts. OMGosh. SO much more fun.

So, as you’ve no doubt figured out, I dove into GW2. I played for free until I was hooked. Then I bought the game’s current expansion and I haven’t looked back. I’m spending about the same amount of money every month, but I’m spending it on things that improve the game for me. More bag slots, more bank storage, keys for Black Lion chests. Occasionally I buy gold when I don’t have enough time to create the gold I need. The beauty of it is, I can CHOOSE what I spend my money on instead of wasting it on a subscription that does nothing but give me access. And if I’m short of funds I can play and spend nothing. It’s a beautiful thing.