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Returning to Guild Wars 2 – Returning Player Priorities

Steven Weber Posted:
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Over my past several articles I’ve spent time outlining the classes and delved into players handling their inventory. Now we will head into the meat and potatoes, outlining some of the massive changes ArenaNet has added over the years for end-game play, while helping players prioritize what may interest them most upon returning, and when they may need to employ new tactics on the battlefield.  Warning returning players, there be tough decision ahead!

Guild Wars 2 can be overwhelming and somewhat daunting when you finally return to Tyria. With two expansions unveiling new abilities, new modes of transportation and new ways to fight enemies, players can easily become overloaded, aimlessly wandering without purpose.  What’s confusing and maybe a little ingenious about Guild Wars 2, is that it’s very simple to give yourself a purpose, and the best way to do that is to determine what your goals are.

The short answer lies in what expansion packs a player has access to, if any. For example, Heart of Thorns players may want to simply gather their bearings by entering the Maguuma Jungle to work towards their Glider and Lore Masteries, which will allow players the use of their glider in all areas of Tyria.  For players with Path of Fire, they may opt to simply obtain all of the new mounts that they’ve missed.  For players that have neither expansion, they may want to begin their reacquaintance by achieving their Fractals or Legendary Crafting Masteries. If none of that appeals to you, a great way for new and returning players to learn the ropes is to simply start their journey to World Completion, which means they’ll have to complete every Heart Task, find every Waypoint, earn every Skill Point and find every Vista in the legacy game.

In the event you have all of the expansions available to you, prioritizing what you want to do may be a difficult task within itself. There are several options, as we’ve just covered, so in my personal opinion, the first step for those with every option on the table, would be to start with the newest expansion, Path of Fire, and aim at getting your mounts first. As the latest addition to the game, mounts add quality of life improvements that will aid you in every other facet of the game. Even simply obtaining the Raptor and Springer mounts will make your life much easier, even if all you want to do is finish world completion.

From that point, obtaining your glider basics will also aid in some additional quality of life features, such as not worrying so much about falling from great heights without a backup plan, or escaping across a canyon when you’ve taken on too many enemies at a time.  Whether you choose to focus on your Mounts or your Glider, both will introduce new and returning players to ArenaNet’s Mastery System which requires you to earn mastery points and experience to progress your expansion-based abilities. A good example of this is your first mount, the Raptor, that initially has a somewhat short-range jump, but after some points spent in the Raptor Mount Mastery, will be able to clear very large gaps, which is necessary to progress in Path of Fire.

To get players started on their path of choice will obviously be determined by your end goal, but a great place to start would be the Story Journal.  For Path of Fire and Heart of Thorns objectives, the easiest way to start your journey, is to press H to open the hero menu and click on the objective star to bring up your Journal, where you can then select which story episode you’d like to begin. Depending on where you are in your story, you’ll either find an objective way point, or you may be asked if you want to automatically teleport into to an instance. 


Finally, a quick word on a new system that ANet implemented to elite and boss enemies, the Defiance Bar.  This system adds a secondary bar to certain enemies, some of which cannot and won’t be defeated unless you wear down that defiance bar to zero, often resulting in a special effect like a stun to the enemy.  Defiance bars are only affected by crowd control, such as knock backs and stuns, but also chilling, slowing, blinding, fearing and several other crowd control conditions will also decrease an enemy’s defiance bar, making them vulnerable. It is important that I bring this up as players will encounter these kinds of opponents often during their journey, so knowing how to handle them can literally make the difference between life and death.

We have covered a lot of ground for new players, but there is still so much more to cover.  I have more upcoming articles for the new and returning player, answering questions and aiding in their unquestionable rise to power. My next article will focus on World Bosses, including how to find them, when you can find them, and why you want to find them.


Steven Weber

Steven has been a writer at MMORPG.COM since 2017. A lover of many different genres, he finds he spends most of his game time in action RPGs, and talking about himself in 3rd person on his biography page.