Returning to Guild Wars 2: That Pesky Itemization
In keeping with my recurring theme for returning players, or rather, those interested in returning, this week I’ll be looking into the sleeping giant known as Itemization. The way Guild Wars 2 seemingly inundates players with items, lootboxes, crafting materials, gathering tools, gear and collectibles is borderline sociopathic on the part of ArenaNet. Luckily, we’re going to cover the basic three here in the broadest possible terms, Buy, Sell, Keep, to ease the itemization shock new and returning players may experience upon entering Tyria.
If you are a returning player, the first thing you will be attacked with will be the anniversary rewards, filled with birthday boosters, dye packs, and other helpful items such as leveling scrolls. In truth, most people end up saving these items, but for players that already have max level characters don’t really have much use for experience scrolls. Space management is the name of the game when you’re returning or starting GW2. While it’s completely possible to expand your available inventory slots with different size backpacks, and even add additional backpack slots by purchasing them through the Black Lion Trading Company, most players don’t want to go through the expense of expanding slots on a game that hasn’t entirely won them over yet.
Buy Slots - Yes or no?
Generally, it’s imperative for players to know that, even if you don’t purchase any additional slots, players have 3 sets of inventories to aid in managing their goods, with a somewhat not-so secret fourth and fifth inventories, which really just opens up the opportunity to clear achievement, styles and collection-based items. You have your main inventory and bank inventory which allows you to place any items you’d like to keep in them with the bank inventory being shared across all of your characters. You also have your material storage which will house all of the crafting materials you encounter. You can simply deposit these at any time from your backpack to the material storage by selecting “deposit material” from the options menu within your inventory overlay. Lastly, you have the collections and wardrobe inventories, which will add items that fall into these categories either automatically, or when you specifically select to add these items by right clicking on them and unlocking or adding them manually. For the vigilant gamer, buying additional bag slots isn’t necessary, as long as you have a plan on what to do with your items.
The purpose of explaining this is two-fold. For one, most new gear items you encounter will undoubtedly be trash, or items you choose not to use. While you can simply break them down, obtaining the style from them if you haven’t already unlocked it, you can always right click and “unlock the style” as well so that you can simply sell it to a vendor later. Equally so, once you have obtained a style, or opted to add an item to your collections, you no longer need to keep the item. Collection items can often stay in your inventory and unnecessarily take up bag space, feel free to rid yourself of them, sell them, or even delete them in a pinch, if they’ve already been collected. Often the worst-case scenario is, if you do end up losing a collection that you need later, you can always find them again.
Too Many Loots
One of the most common items you’ll begin to receive as you venture through the various lands are loot boxes. Loot boxes come in many different shapes and sizes, and most of them contain gear, materials, or junk that you don’t even really need. There are some benefits to these boxes being delivered in this manner. Loot boxes take up substantially less space than having tons of gear flooding your inventory after killing an enemy. A good suggestion is to house these loot boxes in your inventory until you get to a place where you can open, break down, or sell the gear and junk items you don’t need. In the even you’re really hurting for space, opening some of these boxes and sending the gear you don’t want to the Auction House might be able to carry you through a dungeon or mission where you’ve run out of space, but micromanaging your inventory this way can get tiresome.
It's also important to note that, if you don’t plan on crafting, material sales on the auction house can be very lucrative, simply by breaking down items as you go, accumulating enough of them, and then selling them in bulk. Ideally, you would do this after completely filling up your material bank slots of those particular items, but it’s entirely your call, if you wish to keep any crafting materials on hand, or if that doesn’t interest you and you’d rather have exchange those materials for Gold. In virtually all cases, yellow and orange items are worth breaking down for either the ectoplasms, which sell for a decent amount, or inscriptions when it comes to exotic weapons and gear. In most other cases, breaking down the gear is only really helpful if you want the raw materials, otherwise, you can generally make as much from selling the gear outright, plus the sigils and amulets that will eventually overrun your inventory from breaking down greens will cause more space issues than they’re worth for the newbie GW2 player.
Currencies, Luck and Karma – Oh My!
Finally, we’ll touch on currencies, luck, and Karma. Currencies and special items will eventually clog your inventory, as it seems like there are dozens of in-inventory currencies and no place to put them. For PvP players, Shards of Glory may start stacking up as you champion your way through the ranks. Other players may find trade contracts piling up, or writs of experience, and wonder what they should do with them. Some currencies you do need to keep if you intend on using them, such as the Shards of Glory, while others, like transmutation charges or trade contracts, can be consumed to your wallet. There is no need for consumable currencies to build in your inventory. This is also the same for Luck, which you can obtain many different ways, but most commonly you get it from breaking down gear.
Luck has no use in your inventory, and consuming them will increase your luck bar which will eventually increase your rare item find with the more luck you obtain. Karma also works this way, and is used as a currency that has no place in your inventory. These currencies are saved account wide, so you never have to fear about missing that karma you consumed on your Elementalist when you are playing your Ranger. In fact, the only time this is detrimental is when you DON’T consume these items from your inventory once you obtain them.
As always, the depth at which Guild Wars 2’s itemization is implemented is nigh impossible to explain in great detail as new items are added almost monthly. With each new story change and with each added content update, more items flood the inventories of the unsuspecting players only convoluting what players need to keep and what they shouldn’t feel guilty about getting rid of. If I were to sit and detail every facet of itemization, we could be here for a very long while, but as an initial understanding of what players should expect until they get into the flow of Guild Wars 2, this should suffice as a panacea. In my next segment on returning to Guild Wars 2, we’ll be talking about world interaction, which will include basic enemy strategies.