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.

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?

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.

Let there be loot!

The Draenor expansion’s absolute best thing is Findle’s Loot-a-rang. Did you kill something that’s surrounded by things you can’t or don’t want to kill? Send the loot-a-rang in to fetch the goodies. Did something you kill end up halfway down the hill with no way to loot it? Yup, you get your loot.

Hands down, without question, this little device made by engineers is a true treasure, worth the slot it takes up in your bag. Not only will it loot everything within killing range, it is usable by level 1 players.

Key layout is key


Overall layout

Overall layout

I’ve gone through a number of iterations of addons.  The one I’m most thankful for is Bartender 4.  For a newbie or someone who doesn’t see well, being able to move and expand the action bars is a godsend.

Closer look

Closer look

Having a mouse with enough buttons to handle all the toon’s movement (Anker 11 button gaming mouse) lets me keep my right hand for movement and pointing and my left for casting. Beauty.

How do you choose?

Before I get to the topic of this post, I want to say . . . I’ve decided to stop procrastinating.  I had originally intended to rewrite all the emails I’ve sent to various friends about my experiences in playing WoW, both the funny and the comically anxiety ridden but I will embrace that plan no more.  I hope to (eventually) drag those stories out of my email archive and share all the good stuff therein but for now I’m going to share what’s happening now and save what happened then for later.

After much consideration, I think I’ve finally got my cast of characters set.  I don’t have a Paladin or a Warrior but I can live with that.  I’ve got a wonderful elegant and serene druid, a powerful and stalwart hunter, a cunningly quiet rogue, a stoic and responsible mage, a carefree and crafty shaman,  a capable and practical priest and a serene and mighty monk.  I have deleted four hunters and shuffled my professions to cover everything.  The hunters were vital in learning to play the game, manage the professions and generally stay alive but their day of filling my slate are over.  I only need one hunter and my steady dwarf Frahngahg with her corehound Fluffy suits me perfectly.

Moema and the Fel Reaver

Moema and the Fel Reaver

I am currently running Moema, my gnome monk, through Hellfire Peninsula. I’ve been through this zone a number of times (3 hunters, a druid, a mage and a rogue) and with that level of exposure know it well enough to be fairly relaxed about questing here. Though I’ve been through it many times it’s still fun to play . . . it definitely is. Hearing the Fel Reaver up close and unexpectedly produces the same adrenalin spike as the first time through when the rat bastard stepped on Frahny and squashed her like a bug . . . <shiver> The continued interest in this zone is in the differences in the classes and core abilities of characters.  Each must approach the quests from a slightly different angle which adds a freshness to the fun.

Moema qualified for her flying license just before coming to Hellfire Peninsula.  With that license, because she’s a monk, she can use the glyph for zen flight.  Zen flight is interesting.  It’s like and very different from the druid flight form.  Moema can gather (fishing, herbs and quest items) using it just as the druid can, but unlike the druid flight form, there is no flight speed attached to this ability.  In zen flight, Moema flies at the same speed as her ground movement.  Before you think that makes zen flight worthless, read on.  Like the druid flight form, she can cast zen flight when she’s falling through the air or riding her gryphon.  She can cast zen flight from while on her gryphon.  Unlike the druid flight form, she can be knocked out of zen flight.  If she’s dismounted at sufficient height she parachutes to the ground.

While the flight forms have a few similarities, they are very different.  The monk in zen flight can cast quest items.  Moema was able to use the torch to burn the catapults in Hellfire Citadel.  Calfuray (druid), when she quested through, had to clear space around each catapult to safely cast the torch.  She either flew to the catapult, transformed to Moonkin and fought her way out (no casting flight form in combat) or she fought her way in, clearing the area so she could burn the catapult and cast flight to get out.  Moema flew in, hovered over the catapult, cast the torch to burn the catapult and flew away without killing a thing.  That’s not a plus if you like killing things, but it’s a fine option to have available if you don’t want to waste time killing everything in sight.


Because I’ve done this zone so many times, I don’t feel a need to do every single quest.  Once Moema’s leveled fit for the next zone, we’ll move on.  At this point it isn’t about the story, it’s about getting my girl leveled so we can go on to other things.  Once she reached level 60 she blew out of the Blasted Lands without retrieving, reassembling and resurrecting Loramus Thalipedes.  She skipped Surwich which is a quest chain I really dislike.

The point of the post is on choosing which race/class to build and play.  It truly is hard to choose.  I love them all.  They all have something that is unique.  A few have traits that are annoying.  The little “OOO” the gnomes make when they”re hit is irritating.  The lameness displayed by the draenai females is an unscratchable itch.  The sound dwarves make when they’re killed off is a bit off-putting.  But all in all, they’re fun, fun, fun.  So, how do you choose? In this I have no advice. An alt will get a new ability and I’ll think “this is SO cool!  How would anyone not want to play with this!?” and then I repeat the same thing with another race/class I’m leveling when a new skill arrives.  So, how do you choose?  No clue.


Oh, to be a rogue

When I first starting playing WoW I was truly overwhelmed.  I couldn’t keep my characters (commonly called “alts” in WoWland) alive.  For someone new to WoW there is so much you have to learn and your brain can only absorb a given amount at a time.  Every WoW player has been there.  The fortunate ones have a mentor, someone who had gone before (thank you Mickey) to ask.

Oighrig, level 74 rogue dwarf

Oighrig, level 74 rogue dwarf.  Do not ask me how she lifts her arms without impaling herself on the protrusions of her shoulder armor.  No clue.

By the time I got around to trying a rogue (sneaky backstabber class), I had played a number of different classes.  I had started and deleted a warlock (FYI, gnomes cannot see around their big blue demon sidekick which is a separate frustration), a mage (magic user who was so pathetic – totally my fault, not hers – she remained in the main Alliance city handling auctioning and never leaving town) and a bunch of hunters all at different levels all with different professions (alchemist, tailor, etc.).

By the time I started playing the rogue, and because the rogue made sense to me, I cruised along doing not badly until I hit Arathi Highlands and had to escort Kinelory (Night Elf druid) through a bad guy stronghold to grab plans from a wicked alchemist.  Escort quests are all about throwing you off the deep end with lots of people coming at you at once.  This is a quest I literally breezed through with my hunter so I didn’t give it a second thought.  After failing the quest three times in a row (either I died, she died or we both died, all of which equaled FAIL) I took a break to do some actual research on how you’re supposed to play a rogue.  Yeah, really.  Did I do it when I started?  Oh, come ON.  You know me.  I dove in head first and paddled like mad.  No one is surprised I drowned, least of all me.

So, how to play a rogue . . .

Rogues wear leather armor.  Okay, it’s better than cloth but it’s still one step up from tissue paper.  As an effective means of defense, it’s not cutting it.  This armor means, though rogues are a melee (up close fighting) class, they can’t take much damage before they croak.  If they stand in front of the bad guy and stab like mad they’re going to take damage and all damage costs coin to repair.  You’ve got to develop another way, something other than standing before the target with knife/sword/mace/axe in hand.  Points to me for figuring this out . . . yeah, I’m rolling my eyes at me too.

As I leveled my rogue I developed a style that let me do the job without taking a lot of damage.  The development of this technique happened over the course of leveling my rogue to the mid-sixties (levels are from 1 to 90).  After dying so ignominiously on the Kinelory escort quest, I finally started reading my spells and practicing different sequences to see what, for me, worked.  From that point on I started spending less on armor repair.  Who knew?

Rogues get sap and stealth early in the game.  Sap can only be used from stealth which means once the fighting starts, sap is off the table.  Sap, however, does have some pretty nifty uses.  If you have to take out a target and he’s in a group you can use sap to disable one of the group members thereby reducing the number to be fought by one.

Sap can also be used to make a target hold still so you can get a positioning advantage (behind them), pick their pocket and breathe before stabbing them in the back.  Go rogues!  So if you are working on a target group you can, one by one, sap them and pick their pockets.  Once all pockets have been picked, leave one sap-disabled before starting your combat.  Rogues get a lot of nifty junk boxes by picking pockets.  Oh, and extra coin.  Always extra coin.  Very occasionally they’ll get something really good.  I keep thinking if I sap one of the big guys I’ll get something good from their pockets but no joy.  Coin is all they offer.

Oighrig’s level 60’s rotation was premeditation (provides two pre-fight combo points which are vital for the use of kidney shot), sap (only if the target won’t hold still), ambush (extra points if dagger in main hand), kidney shot (disabling shot with duration based on number of combo points available), shadowstep (instantly behind target), backstab or ambush (depending on if stealth is still up) and, if the target hadn’t already dropped hemorrhage until it did.  In a level on level fight with a target she usually dropped her target before the cooldown on kidney shot expired.  This is with poison, sharpening and weighting buffs.  Go Oighrig!

If you’re playing a rogue, take the time to learn what your spells do and how your equipment plays into the damage you can inflict.  Rework your spell rotations each time you get a new spell or skill.  The goal is to drop the target as quickly as possible.  If your rogue is under level 90 and isn’t taking down most targets that were sapped before fighting in under five or six seconds, rethink your rotation. Use your grinding (kill 10, kill 15, etc.) quests to practice your spell rotations to see what works and get the timing down.  You have to be out there killing things, put the time to good use.