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The Basics of How to Play Guild Wars

by: Sheri Newton ; edited by: Michael Hartman ; updated: 4/17/2012 • Leave a comment

This how to play Guild Wars guide will explain the basics on what you need to know to start playing Guild Wars. It covers everything from creating your character, campaigns available, to how armor is used in Guild Wars and how to use Heroes to your advantage.

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    Guild Wars

    Guild Wars is free to play each month. Players do have to purchase the game initially, and may be purchased together now in the “Guild Wars Trilogy” package (which includes all three campaigns) and buy the expansion pack “Eye of the North” separately. The “Guild Wars Complete Collection” is also available, but is sometimes hard to find.

    Guild Wars: Prophecies – this was the first campaign released. It takes place in Tyria and includes only the core professions (Elementalist, Mesmer, Monk, Necromancer, Ranger, and Warrior).

    Guild Wars: Factions – this was the second campaign released. It takes place in Cantha and includes the core professions and two new professions available only with Factions (Assassin and Ritualist). Factions also added the Luxon/Kurzick alliances.

    Guild Wars: Nightfall – this was the third campaign released. It takes place in Elona and includes the core professions and two new professions available only with Nightfall (Dervish and Paragon). Nightfall introduced the addition of Heroes.

    Guild Wars: Eye of the North – this is the only expansion pack that was released. It takes place in Tyria and offers players new quests, heroes, armor, and the biggest addition of all: the Hall of Monuments.

    You do not need to have all in order to play Guild Wars. Each campaign is able to be played without the other (with the exception of the expansion pack). However, thinking about Guild Wars how to play, and if you are seriously going to play Guild Wars, it is suggested to purchase them all. Each game gives new skills, armor, heroes, elite missions, quests, PvP areas, and more.

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    Create Your Character

    First thing you will need to do to start playing Guild Wars is create a character.

    There are two types of characters that you are able to create: Roleplaying or PvP-only. Note that your Roleplaying character may also PvP, but PvP-only is only able to play in PvP matches.

    Next, you will need to choose a campaign that your character will be from. You can select Prophecies, Factions, or Nightfall.

    Guild Wars Ranger Attacking Next, you need to pick a profession. The core professions Elementalist, Mesmer, Monk, Necromancer, Ranger, and Warrior, are available in all campaigns. The Assassin and Ritualist are only available in Factions. The Dervish and Paragon are only available in Nightfall.

    Now you get to choose a gender and customize appearance/body of your character. Each campaign has different hairstyles and faces. If this is important to you, play around with it before selecting one.

    Finally, you get to choose a name (at least two words or first and last name) for your new character! If it is already taken, try again!

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    Complete the Tutorial Areas

    After creating your character, you will find yourself in the tutorial area (or starter area). This is a place where everything is pretty easy to figure out, and the game teaches you the basics of Guild Wars how to play. If you are just starting out with Guild Wars, this is really something you need to do because from here you will learn all of the basics on moving around and accomplishing things in Guild Wars.

    Guild Wars Pre-Searing Gwen In Prophecies, the starter area is in a place known as Pre-Searing. This is a special area, and unlike the other campaigns. Once you leave here, you are unable to return.

    In Factions, the starter area is the island of Shing Jea. You can level up rather quickly in this area by killing foes and completing quests. It is a good place to start the game at.

    In Nightfall, the starter area is the island of Istan. You can level up rather quickly in this area by killing foes and completing quests. It is a good place to start the game at because it gives early access to Heroes, which you can add to your party and level up with you.

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    Complete Quests and Missions

    One of the basics of how to play Guild Wars is to know that NPCs with green exclamation points over their heads are offering your character the opportunity to complete a quest. To activate the quest, simply click on them and talk to them, and then select the option to help them with whatever it is they are asking.

    Primary Quests are the quests that tell the main part of the storyline you are following. These lead you on the path to completing the campaign or area you are in. You want to do these as soon as you are able to do so.

    The rest of the quests are generally just secondary to the storyline, but are fun to complete and often give some great rewards for finishing (gold, experience points, skills, items, etc).

    Note: Your Quest Log is easily opened by pushing “L” while playing the game (or from the main menu). From here, you can see all of your active quests.

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    Guild Wars armor might work a little bit differently than games you are used to playing. In Guild Wars, once a player has armor crafted, it is bound to them so that only they are able to wear it. They may trade it to another character, but the other character can’t wear it.

    Armor consists of five pieces: Head, Chest, Hands, Legs, and Feet.

    The Armor Rating of a piece of armor is the statistic that determines just how much damage your character will take from foes.

    • 60 Armor Rating: Elementalist, Monk, Mesmer, Necromancer, Ritualist
    • 70 Armor Rating: Assassin, Dervish, Ranger
    • 80 Armor Rating: Paragon, Warrior

    Runes and insignias may be added to armor to enhance their rating. For instance, a Superior Rune of Vigor will add 50 Health to a character (only one rune of this type will be effective), and the Survivor insignia (if applied to a chest piece) will give a character 15 additional Health. Runes and insignias are available each specific professions, and ones like those mentioned are available for all professions.

    Guild Wars Ranger Hall of Monuments Armor 

    There are two types of armor available in Guild Wars: regular and prestige. Regular armor is generally just known as “starter armor” and is unable to be placed in a character’s Hall of Monuments. The prestige armor is able to be added to a character’s Hall of Monuments (through the Eye of the North). These armors will unlock something in Guild Wars 2 (what it will unlock exactly, is not known yet).

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    Heroes and Henchmen

    Heroes and Henchmen are the NPCs that you can add to your party to adventure with you to complete quests.

    Henchmen are found in towns and outposts and may be added to your party to adventure outside of the town. They are available in all of the professions (depending on the area/campaign). They come with skills already selected for them, and you cannot change them.

    Heroes were the new addition when Guild Wars: Nightfall was released. As you complete the quests for the hero, they are able to join your party from there on out at any time. You can level them up (to level 20), add runes and insignias to their armor, give them weapons, and change their skills to whatever you want them to be (as long as you have the skill unlocked on your account). You are also able to bring up their skill bar and select what skill you want them to use at any given time (outside of the town or outpost).

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    PvP Areas

    PvP areas aren’t just available to PvP only characters. PvE characters can go in and have some fun in these areas too!

    Jade Quarry PvP Arenas available include: Alliance Battles, Heroes’ Ascent, Guild Battles, Codex Arena, Fort Aspenwood, Jade Quarry, and Random Arenas.

    When your team makes a kill in a PvP match, they earn Balthazar faction (and Luxon or Kurzick if in that type of match too).

    Before entering into a PvP match, make sure your character has the highest Health they can get, the specific skills you want on their skill bar (you cannot change during a match), and an organized group of people (if possible) playing to help you if you need.

    Beware that some skills act differently in PvE than they do in PvP so make sure to read the descriptions of skills you want to bring into these matches before you enter!

    How to play Guild Wars is up to you: PvE or PvP. Whatever you do though, have fun!