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General Leveling Tips


This is a basic, short list of general tips for leveling a character.

Last updated August 2020


Leveling Up

In Guild Wars 2, leveling up is a major part of the game. You start leveling right away by finishing the tutorial and you don't ever stop.

As a new player, your goal shouldn't generally be to get to level 80 (the maximum base level) as fast as possible but rather to enjoy and learn the game. Guild Wars 2's leveling process is smooth and well thought out, so taking your time can be as rewarding as any other activity you might choose to do. There are a number of ways to increase your level:

1. Standard Leveling

In this style of leveling, you explore the world and complete hearts and dynamic events, unlock waypoints and points of interest, view vistas, and interact with the core world of Tyria. This also involves doing dungeons and completing your Personal Story. This is the style of leveling primarily covered in this guide, as it requires you to make decisions about your build fairly early on.


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There are a number of sources to look out for when earning experience through the "standard" methods.

Map Completion

One of the best sources of experience is map completion. This includes traveling to maps of your level and finding the Vistas, Hero Challenges, Hearts, Waypoints, and Points of Interest to complete. Each of these gives experience equals to a percentage of the maximum experience you need to level up. (Editor's Note: For my own sanity, we'll be referring to this value as "Percent Experience" from now on).

Events

While wandering around Tyria, you will often encounter Dynamic Events. These appear as large orange circles or icons on your map. Participate in these events; on completion they will award Percent Experience.

Dungeons

Dungeons are an excellent way to gain massive amounts of experience (Up to 75% Experience per path!) provided you can find a group to run with. They are covered in detail further down.

Monster Kills

On killing any creature you will be awarded experience based on the creature's level. Additionally, the longer a creature has been alive, the more experience it gives!

2. Bulk XP

This includes several methods, but the most common is crafting. Training any crafting profession grants you experience for each successful craft, granting far more experience if you are under level 15 or have a currently active Booster which affects xp from crafting, like an Item Booster. Since training at least one or two professions is strongly recommended, it can be good to do this if you have the gold or have farmed the materials on your own.

3. Tomes and Writs of Experience

Tomes and Writs can be obtained through many different methods in the game, primarily through sPvP and World vs World. Some can also be gained as part of the daily Login Reward systems. A Tome of Experience will give you 100% of your current level's maximum XP, effectively boosting your level by 1, while a Writ will grant you 5%. It is fine to use these as you gain them when you are below level 80. Post-80, they can be useful for gaining Spirit Shards, a valuable currency, or for leveling alts quickly.


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4. Level Boosts

Level 80 Boosts come with the expansions and can also be bought in the gemstore. These boost your character directly to level 80 in addition to granting them a basic set of starting gear. The gear and build granted to you by a level 80 boost is typically very poor, with the exception of Necromancer which starts with a decent open world build, but will suffice while you get your start as a fresh level 80. The boost also grants a number of other benefits, such as unlocking all the level 80 waypoints and giving you a very small amount of starting gold.

It is heavily recommended that you avoid boosting to level 80 for your first character. The game can be quite overwhelming, as there is an incredible amount to learn. Take it slow, get a feel for the combat system.

5. Level Up Rewards

Each player gains special rewards and unlocks each time they level, until they hit level 80. These are called Level Up Rewards, and while most of them aren't especially useful, some will be used and referenced in this guide.


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6. Dungeons

Dungeons are a useful resource for new players, as they can help teach you how some late-game instanced content, such as a fractals, will work. Dungeons can range in difficulty from "impossible to fail" to "harder than most end-game content", but in general they are an excellent way to introduce yourself to instanced PVE. Dungeons are also a significant source of income at lower levels.

There are eight dungeons in total. You will unlock a new dungeon in each tier of your progression, and each dungeon has two modes - "Story" and "Explorable".

6.1 Ascalonian Catacombs

The first dungeon unlocked is Ascalonian Catacombs, or AC. AC Story unlocks at Level 30 and Explorable unlocks at Level 35. There are three Explorable Paths. You can find the dungeon in the Plains of Ashford at this waypoint: [&BIYBAAA=]

The dungeon is relatively easy and popular, so it is recommended that you complete the story and the three Explorable paths when you are comfortable doing so.

  • Note that especially for Explorable Path 1 (Hodgins), your group should be primarily Power focused, as otherwise you will have a hard time in Hodgins's first Scepter Room.

6.2 Caudecus's Manor

Caudecus's Manor, or "CM" (not to be confused with "Challenge Mode") is unlocked at level 40, with the Explorable Paths unlocking at 45. This dungeon is significantly more difficult than AC, but at a minimum the Story should be completed before moving on to higher tiers. CM can be found at this waypoint in Queensdale: [&BPoAAAA=]

  • Note that a thief who knows how to chain stealth can make this dungeon much, much easier.

6.3 Twilight Arbor

Twilight Arbor, "TA", is found within the tangled vines of Caledon Forest at the Twilight Arbor waypoint ([&BMgGAAA=]). The TA story unlocks at Level 50, however the dungeon is a bit unusual beyond that. It has two Explorable Paths, known as "Up" and "Forward", which are unlocked at level 55. Additionally, TA contains the "Aetherblade" path, which is a level 80 Explorable Path and one of the hardest dungeon paths to complete. While Up and Forward are not overly difficult, it is recommended to revisit TA Aetherblade after level 80 to complete it.

  • A good thief can stealth the party through the dangerous blooms. Blooms can also be destroyed with ranged weapons.

6.4 Sorrow's Embrace

"SE" is one of the physically largest dungeons and has one of the easier paths of the bunch. SE story unlocks at level 60 and its three Explorable Paths unlock at 65. It is recommended to at least attempt to complete both the Story and the Explorable Paths before moving to the next tier, though it maybe hard to find a group for Path 2 of this dungeon as it is somewhat unpopular among low-level groups due to its length and difficulty. You can find SE in the Dredgehaunt Cliffs, at this waypoint: [&BD8FAAA=]

  • It is advised to bring projectile reflects against the dredge, as they often have very hard-hitting projectiles.

6.5 Citadel of Flame

Perhaps the most popular dungeon on this list, Citadel of Flame, or "COF", is a gauntlet of fire and violence with a very "classic dungeon" feel to it. COF's story unlocks at level 70 and its Explorable Paths unlock at 75. The dungeon can be found at the Citadel of Flame waypoint ([&BEAFAAA=]), though this is one of the few dungeons with an entrance that is frequently locked by an event.

If the COF entrance is locked behind a wall of spikes and fire, the "Escort Razen the Raider to the Gates of Flame" and "Hold the Gates of Flame Against Waves of Flame Legion" events will need to be completed to unlock it.

  • Classes with portals, such as Thief, Necro, or Mesmer, can be extremely useful in this dungeon.

6.6 Honor of the Waves

One of the most hated dungeons, Honor of the Waves (HotW) takes place in the frozen wastes of Frostgorge Sound. Its story mode unlocks at 76 and its explorable paths are available at level 80. The Story is relatively easy and gives a good amount of experience, so it is recommended to complete it before hitting level 80. The other paths are not necessary but contain a handful of achievements. At the minimum, Path 1 is somewhat simple and doesn't involve underwater combat like the other two. HotW can be found here: [&BEMFAAA=]

  • Paths 2 and 3 of this dungeon contain underwater combat.

6.7 Crucible of Eternity

"COE" is one of the more difficult options in this list but also one of the most rewarding. Kills in COE have a chance of awarding Charged Cores and Charged Lodestones, which are quite valuable. COE's story unlocks at level 78, with its Explorable Paths unlocking at 80. Similar to COF, COE's entrance can become blocked by map meta events which must be completed to unlock its entrance. It is recommended that the player complete COE's story before hitting level 80, as it gives significant experience and is fairly easy. COE can be found here: [&BEIFAAA=]

  • This dungeon requires decent party coordination in several areas, as well as high DPS from the party.

6.8 The Ruined City of Arah

Arah is the last dungeon on this list and is absolutely gargantuan, with many useful glitches and skips that a party can use to bypass sections of it and a mid-boss that is harder than a lot of "hardcore" end-game bosses. Arah's story mode unlocks at level 80 as the final segment of the player's Personal Story. Once completed, the Player can also venture into Arah's Explorable Modes.

Arah contains four Explorable Modes: The Jotun, The Mursaat, The Forgotten, and The Seer. Each path has completely different bosses and mechanics other than the midboss - Giganticus Lupicus. Lupi is a major obstacle for most groups due to his extremely high health and damage in addition to his "Grub" mechanic which is often quite a challenge for newer players. While there are ways to exploit Lupi into being relatively easy, it can be beneficial to cut your teeth on him as he is simple to learn but can be quite difficult even when compared to some other end-game bosses.

As you are already level 80, you will not need to complete any of the Arah Explorable Paths. Arah can be found here: [&BCADAAA=]

  • Very rarely the entrance to Arah will be locked by an event that spawns there. The event is much shorter than COE or COF's events and spawns less frequently.
  • Editor's Note - Arah Path 3 is relatively easy if a group just wants to power through one path for quick achievements. To succeed in this dungeon you will need high DPS and extremely strong group utility, such as stealth, crowd control, boons, and projectile reflects.


General Tips

While we'll be getting into the specifics of leveling in this build, a few general bits of advice can prove useful and will apply to all pre-80 levels.

1. Upgrade Gear Often

Even Common (white) gear of a slightly higher level can outclass Masterwork (green) gear of a lower level, so upgrading your gear often can be critical. You can visit Armorsmiths and Weaponsmiths that you find to obtain Common gear that you can use - Be sure to compare the stats on the gear you're looking at with what you're wearing by hovering over it. If the numbers are red, they're lower. Green? Higher. This can be a good way to keep your stats up to par as you level up.

Note that there is an easily-accessible Armorsmith and Weaponsmith in the PVP lobby which will sell you Common Gear of your level tier.


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2. Stick with Power

You always want to focus on gear that has Power as its main attribute Pre-80. The secondary and tertiary characteristics of the gear can effectively be whatever you want, but Power should be your primary focus. Couple it with Toughness for more defense or Precision for more damage. Avoid Condition Damage, as Pre-80 builds can seldom make effective use of it outside of a few exceptions.

3. Take It Slow

You can grind out a level 80 by hand in just a few hours if you're dedicated and know the routes, but that's not going to be recommended here. You want to absorb the game, get a feel for its combat system. Guild Wars 2 is very different than many other MMOs, so rushing to 80 won't do you any good.

4. Party Up

This one actually applies to the whole game, but Guild Wars 2 is a social game. While its fine to play solo, bringing in friends can make the game more fun and rewarding. You can use the LFG tool if you own the core game or the expansions, so don't be afraid to post looking for more folks!


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5. Follow the Content Guide

This one is more of a preference than anything; just under or above your minimap you will see an arrow pointing to nearby objectives. While leveling, it is recommended to follow this objective compass which will lead you towards new content.

You can also ignore it, or even change what kind of content it will point to, but if you're a bit lost this is a helpful tool to use.


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6. Use Consumables

There are a large number of consumables which will boost your experience gain, in fact there are too many to list here. Some of the more common consumables include:

  • Nourishment (food) - 10-15% bonus to all experience gained. Obtain these from crafting or as drops!
  • Enhancement (utilities) - 10-15% bonus to all experience gained. Obtain these from crafting or as drops!
  • Banners & Guild Buffs - 5-10% bonus to experience. Obtained via Guild Commendations or found in frequently-traveled locations.
  • Experience Boosters - There are many types of these, such as Birthday Boosters, Celebration Boosters, Experience Boosters, and Laurel Experience Boosters. These can boost your experience gain by up to 150% and some will also grant you "kill streak" experience boosts for chaining monster kills together.
    • Note that Celebration Boosters will usually stack with Experience Boosters

If this is a bit overwhelming, that's totally fine! Try and at least use some food and utilities frequently, as the slight bonus to experience they grant is significant over time.

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