I am aiming to teach people the basics of how to survive kill and discover the world efficiently so you can have more time to get cool looking skins and enjoy the various types of content available in this game.
Some background on me. I’ve been playing video games since I was 2 years old. I played the original everquest before its first expansion, I’ve played Diablo 2 countless hours, I played Guild Wars 1 in beta, I’ve played WoW from Wrath of the Lich king until Pandas came out.
Guild wars 2 is unlike anything else I have ever played. In my opinion if you play guild wars 2 like its any other game you can place real limits on your enjoyment. But if you play guild wars 2 for fun, experiment with new things, sit for a minute here and there to actually look at the screen instead of running with your map open you can really appreciate this game for what it is.
When first starting out I recommend you immediately change your keybinds to things that will be more confortable for you, if you want to use 1 through 0 keys its definitely an option the game doesn’t demand tons of fast access to skills but even still I would recommend changing some stuff around. The most important thing is removing the double tap direction to evade and binding it to a key, I use my middle mouse click on my wheel, many people use mouse 4 on 2 button mice.
How to Survive
In PvE world completion most enemies do not hit hard and do not use many statuses there are a few exceptions to this, Trolls for instance attack VERY slowly and do a lot of damage where as enemies in Orr and in Frostgorge use a lot of status ailments.
In every zone except for those you can expect to run a pretty similar set up and for it to work for you.
Tons and tons of people will tell you that you need to run full berserkers gear for PvE in this game, this is simply not true, for some classes like Warrior and Guardian they have enough passive regen passive defenses and AoE to just swath into whatever they want going full damage and they are fine. But other classes like Thief and Mesmer lack the natural bulk to make this work vs large groups of fast hitting enemies. This is why you need to be somewhat creative with your builds on those classes.
For thief simply using a pistol in your offhand gives you enough access to area of effect blind that you can basically fight as many things as you want provided they are not ranged. Once you are level 30 you can fight as many ranged things as you want every 3 minutes when your elite skill blade storm is off cooldown.
For Mesmer you are going to want to limit yourself to fighting small groups of enemies, by using 1 handed sword you can do an AoE cleave attack with a built in dodge on its 2 ability. The phantasmal defender will help you to reduce damage you take by 50% on a pretty small cooldown.
If you are playing an elementalist you have pretty decent access to about everything you would need for PvE except mobility going dagger focus and using the signet heal.
How to Kill things
The key to killing things efficiently in gw2 is to make use of both weapon sets and to make sure they compliment eachother. For instance if i am playing necromancer and doing pve I really only need dagger warhorn for damaging and killing enemies, the only time I would need something else is for AoE fights or for pulling so I use staff, if I had used scepter I would still have a ranged option but it would not synergize as well with my power based build or deathshroud. Since deathshroud gains damage based off your weapon damage if I swap to staff before using deathshroud 4 I am going to do much more damage to weak groups.
For thief I want an AoE option for my second weapon since they are not cd based I only need it for utility or for AoE so in my main set I run dagger pistol this gives a solid damage auto attack and i get blind from the pistol. The bow gives me a strong option to hit in an AoE as well as poison enemies that self heal a lot.
What matters more in this game than gear, traits, your class, is player skill. Knowing combo fields and finishers for different situations, learning attack timings of enemies for efficient dodges, knowing what you can and cannot blind, learning the best times to heal (sometimes you should never use it, for instance on a warrior its almost always better to save it even if you think the next hit will down you because as long as you dodge properly it will eventually heal for so much more).
My favorite thing about this game is how much there is to learn and know and practice and get good at, it has so much depth.
That being said equipment can and will make life easier, I recommend at low levels to go full power gear, hit ‘O’ or whatever youve change your black lion trader (auction house) to and click armor, now hit the gear icon and change the usable to your class, then sort by power and probably by price. Buy one piece for every slot starting at level 5 and place a +10 power rune in each one, the names must be different vampirism, strength, flame legion, ogre, are some examples of runes that add plus 10 power these are not the only ones, if you type the word rune and sort by price you can find the cheapest ones. Upgrade your equipment again at level 14 (masterwork becomes available) ~20-24 (second stat line) and around every 10 levels, at 60-62 you can get gear with 3 stats , if you are dying a lot try soldiers or knights for power vitality and toughness.
For weapons I get one at level 5, 14 and every 10 levels or so afterwards also, weapons make the largest difference in damage so upgrade these as often as you feel comfortable. Make sure to put sigils in your weapons, if your crit rate is 30% or higher you cant go wrong with sigil of fire or sigil of air. Sigil of speed can help with map completion by giving you 10 seconds of swiftness for every enemy you kill. This is especially good if you dont have good access to swiftness. I also tend to use sigil of bloodlust, once it stacks to 25 you will do much much more damage (put one in your underwater weapon too to avoid losing the buff everytime you have to swim).
Pick the class you like the most aesthetically, every class in this game is good, every class can provide utility, every class is fun I’ve played 6 of them to 80. If you arent having fun try a different class.
Warrior – Can use tons of weapons is very bulky has really good AoE revive that people really appreciate in hard world events
Necromancer – Has extremely good AoE conditions and condition spread very deadly for AoE conditions OR AoE burst in world vs world.
Elementalist – Can do top DPS in dungeons with easy rotations, access to tons of fields and party support abilities. Lots of variety in skills if not using staff.
Thief – Best decapper in sPvP, make great scouts in World vs World, does INSANE burst damage because of lack of cooldowns, provides easy repeatable blast finishers which are extremely valuable.
Guardian – Good access to reflects while still being difficult to kill, lots of party buffs, most access to aegis which is very valuable for negating big damage.
Mesmer – Best access to reflects, good utility with portals to help people with jump puzzles or to make certain world events easier. Null field is one of the best condition cleansing abilities in the game for long fights. Lasers.
Ranger – tons of variety in skills with pets, highest ranged burst, really strong in sPvP especially in lower skill brackets. Furthest auto attack range which is helpful for certain bosses in the open world.
Engineers – Probably the most build versatility, get to push a lot of buttons which is tiring but insanely fun. Lots of access to explosions, flamethrowers, can inflict tons of conditions, can complete maps without jumping.
If even one person finds value in this post then it will have been worth my time writing it. I hope that you find as much enjoyment in this game as I have. <3 gw2 community.