Over in the Google+ community “Good Guys Gaming” I have tempted a few people into playing GW2 and buying the Heart of Thorns expansion and so to help those totally new to the game I wrote this very brief primer on getting started – I thought I’d re-post it here just in case anyone wants to check out #GW2HOT and join in :)
A Guild Wars 2 Primer for the Good Guys Gaming G+ Community (updated 27th July 2015 – originally written 21st July 2015)
Buying the game. First thing to know is that the game is buy-to-play so you buy the game and never have to pay a sub. Ever. Most updates are free with only Expansions requiring payment (also the Living Story episodes if you miss them when they are released) as Arenanet make money from their cash shop which sells cosmetics and ‘quality of life’ items. When you are looking at buying the game there are currently two main options each with three sub-options:
1) The Core Game only – this will give you everything you need to play up to the Heart of Thorns Expansion that is currently in beta. The only exception is that you won’t have access to the Living Story Season 1 (no one does as they haven’t yet found a way of making it available) or Season 2 (you can buy access to the story episodes in the store for a couple of quid each). The three variations of this version offer additional cosmetic and QoL items that are nice but you don’t need – if you are a budget get the cheapest one (currently about £15 via http://www.g2a.com). Last thing to note is that is you buy this version you will have to buy the Heart of Thorns Expansion separately (which has the core game bundled in – see next).
2) Heart of Thorns Expansion – this bundles in the Core Game (see above) and grants access to the HOT content once released. As above there are three versions offering increasing levels of cosmetic and QoL items but the bottom line is if you can afford £35 then the HoT Standard edition represents the best base content value for money as you get Core & HOT together. You can get it from here:http://buy.guildwars2.com/
Choosing a Server. As we have just found out (sorry Max!) you can’t play together across the Pond – EU & US servers are totally segregated and so if you want to play with the GGG players and join the GGG “All the Gs” guild you need to select Piken Square in the EU server farm as your home server. This might give US players a 100ms to 500ms lag according to various Reddit posts, but many GW2 players play across the divide with no lag effects at all. One thing to note is that changing servers can cost about £20 so choose wisely.
Joining the GGG Guild. Simply whisper one of us in game or ask to join in the GGG G+ community and we’ll add you to the list – once added you need to open your guild panel and accept the invitation with a small button at the bottom. The GGG guild is called “All the Gs” and once you accept and ensure you are representing the guild (you can be in 5 guilds but only represent one at a time – again see the guild panel for the represent button) you’ll have the following tag after your name [GGG].
Choosing a race and profession and crafting skill and… ARGH! It’s a wee bit beyond the scope of this post to advise you on that so I would suggest you check out the following resources first but bear in mind the game is well balanced so race doesn’t give you any real benefits and professions and skills are going to be situationally useful rather than over-powered. Choose what you like and enjoy
Story Telling. When you start you will be in a small story instance that sets you off on your quest to save the world. After that you are treated to a new episode in your Personal Story each 10 levels or so – the Personal Story can be great at times and totally awful at others but Arenanet have learnt a lot about story telling in the three years the game has been live and it does get a lot better. Arenanet release a season of “Living Story” each year (or more) and these are episodes released each two weeks or so over a two to three month period. You are free to ignore all aspects of the story and just adventure through the world, but you’ll need to complete the Personal Story to defeat the big bad boss of the core game.
Arenanet’s introduction videos to GW2 (a little dated now but still good):https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLDCvogxNKN3mGOwjcP9FgfYH89UIiOh6d
Arenanet’s Living Story videos:https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLDCvogxNKN3kbJT9ljubaYM15p34suHnr
Arenanet’s Heart of Thorns videos:https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLDCvogxNKN3nGKOHQs_7mq9ipI13bpnCm
Arenanet’s Points of View (PvE) videos:https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLDCvogxNKN3nCrcluAuZPGIsF_ygcbnJk
Arenanet’s Ready Up (PvP) videos:https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLDCvogxNKN3nmdmYoblp6T3Pz44t5bCI4
Arenanet’s profession guides videos (again, dated but good for an overview):https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLDCvogxNKN3mUgCRQ2CuOLpNq57ARjvHj
Wooden Potatoes – UK YouTuber who’s played GW for 10 years now so knows it inside out and provides tones of lore and insights as well as updates, news, views and comment:https://www.youtube.com/user/WoodenPotatoes
Guild Wars Reporter – Under the MMO Rorter banner, a great and friendly weekly podcast about the state of the game:http://mmoreporter.com/category/podcast/gwreporter-podcast/
Races of Tyria: https://wiki.guildwars2.com/wiki/Bestiary
Official GW2 News feed: https://www.guildwars2.com/en-gb/news/