At launch, Guild Wars 2 will have more methods to help advance your character than many MMOs have much later in their overall life cycle. To help give you some ideas of the multitude of things you'll be able to do in GW2, we put together the following list of activities and aspects of the game that will have a direct impact on ways you can advance your character.
What's amazing is that this rundown from A to Z doesn't even list out every advancement option or method, but it should still give you an idea of just how many things there are for you to experience in-game.
While it would be easy to assume that achievements are simply completionist content, they assist in advancement by granting experience for each unlock, and can even unlock things such as new titles for your character.
You begin shaping the destiny or your character right away during character creation. Your biography not only helps decide part of your character’s back story, but will help determine what you will experience in your personal story.
Crafting can not only help you create useful items, such as armor, weapons, dyes, upgrades, and consumbables, but will also grant you experience. Even gathering the necessary metals, cloth, wood, and plants used in crafting grants XP, so is well worth your time!
Dynamic Level Adjustment
Thanks to the dynamic level system, you never have to worry about “out leveling” content. While the system only scales your effective level down, it still means you can always go back to lower level zones or dungeons and continue to advance your character at a natural pace.
Scampering around Tyria is a rewarding experience all on its own, but you will also earn experience for uncovering portions of the map, unlocking waypoints, points of interest, and vistas, or even discovering interesting dynamic events that are located off the beaten path.
Consumable foods can be purchased from certain NPCs, but the Chef crafting discipline also produces a sizable list of items as well. While most types of food will help improve your effectiveness in combat in some way, you can also gain a boost to XP earned from killing creatures. Needless to say, you’ll want to make sure to keep some food on hand at all times.
The guild system in GW2 is far more than a basic social group with a dedicated chat channel. Guilds come complete with their own robust advancement system that allows members to earn Influence which can then be spent on a wide variety of unlocks to benefit the guild.
As you advance through your personal story, certain aspects of your home instance can change based on decisions you’ve made. While your home instance won’t directly help advance your character, it’s a part of the world you’ll be able to permanently change the further you progress your story.
As you progress through the game, you’ll have a number of different ways to increase your available inventory space. While increased inventory space itself won’t directly impact your advancement, the more space you have available, the longer you can stay out in the world without having to track down vendors or make a trip back to your vault.
Jumping puzzles are explorable areas found out in the world that offer players a unique challenge, provide a reward chest upon completion, and even have their own achievement category. Most are found in difficult to reach, or less obvious locations, but are well worth your time to go out and discover.
Completing events can not only be rewarding from a gameplay perspective, but provides you with a number of tangible rewards as well, such as Karma. You could think of karma as something you earn for doing good deeds, but then you also get to spend it on a number of unique rewards from karma merchants found throughout the world.
While each race in GW2 has its own unique capital city, Lion’s Arch serves as a massive social gathering point for all races. Natural character progression will lead you towards LA around level 30, but you can access this massive city at any time through asura gates, or via waypoint travel once you’ve unlocked them.
Each zone or map in GW2 has a number of activities you can complete, each providing some XP along the way. Completing all of the objectives on a given map will also reward you with a nice boost to XP and some additional rewards such as items to use in the Mystic Forge, or even consumable items that will help boost your XP gain for a brief period.
You may be asking yourself, what do necromancers have to do with character advancement? The answer is pretty simple: necromancers are awesome!
As you advance towards the mid-levels, you’ll be able to earn influence with the three Orders. Think of the Orders kind of like neutral factions that all have the same goal – defeating the Elder Dragons – but have different ideas for how to do so.
Your character’s personal story works on a number of different levels. Not only does it help give your character a meaningful place in the world, but will also provide some excellent rewards to help you advance your character. Not only that, but if you follow your personal story at the intended level, it can help point you in the direction of areas on the map where there is more content appropriate for your current level.
Out of all the things you can do to advance your character in GW2, generic questing isn’t one of them!
Renown hearts provide a layer of direction for players who may not be used to the idea of simply roaming around the map and completing dynamic events. They also help contribute to map completion, and can unlock karma vendors who sell unique items.
Outside of normal leveling, skill challenges will be the primary method for obtaining skill points to spend on unlocking new healing, utility, and elite skills. Just like renown hearts, completing skill challenges will also contribute towards your overall map completion, and you can even use skill points as an additional form of currency to assist in creating Legendary weapons and armor in the Mystic Forge.
As you complete certain achievements, you’ll be able to unlock unique titles for your character. A number of unique titles can also be earned through the Hall of Monuments reward progression.
Most maps contain varying amounts of underwater content. As you’re out exploring Tyria, be sure to go for a swim to find all sorts of cool things like villages, dynamic events, or even hidden entrances to jumping puzzles.
While not linked directly to character advancement, your vault will allow you to store piles of crafting materials, and a number of different collectable items such as any mini-pets you acquire. Since vaults are linked to an account vs. individual characters, you can also use them to quickly and easily transfer items between any of your characters on the same account. One aspect of vaults that is linked to advancement is the ability for guilds to unlock and upgrade vault space for the entire guild to use.
World versus World
World versus World is far more than an interesting PvP diversion in GW2. You can literally advance your character solely in WvW if you’d like, complete with obtaining gear upgrades, skill points, and more.
What would an MMO be without the staple of XP? Just about every activity in GW2 will reward you with XP in varying amounts.
The most important part of character advancement in GW2? You. That’s right: since just about every activity in-game contributes to character advancement in some way, it’s really up to you to decide what activities you enjoy the most rather than being forced down a liner progression path, or to participate in activities you don’t particularly enjoy.
One of the five Elder Dragons, you could think of Zhaitan as the big bad of Guild Wars 2, or the thing you'll be advancing towards in the first place!