A Leveling Guide: Early Builds and Tips — Guild Wars 2 Forums
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A Leveling Guide: Early Builds and Tips

Ojimaru.8970Ojimaru.8970 Member ✭✭✭✭
edited May 5, 2019 in Players Helping Players

Quick links:

Elementalist
Engineer
Guardian
Mesmer
Necromancer
Revenant
Ranger
Thief
Warrior

Who is this guide for?

I starting conceptualizing this guide after hearing countless new players feeling lost, or even not unlocked a single Skill or Specialization because they feel overwhelmed with their choices, and the perceived scarcity of Hero Points. Hence, I wanted to give some structured path of Skill and Specialization unlocks, for those that desire it. The builds I recommend will mostly mimic those seen on endgame guides, such as Snowcrows and Discretize, which I hope will help ease players into harder content as their characters progress. Along the way, I will also explain the core concepts of the builds, both to help players understand the strengths (and weaknesses) of the build, and to better understand damage rotations when they eventually reach endgame content.

Power or Condition Damage?

The Rule of Thumb is Power builds are better than Condition builds while leveling.

This is due to the low health pools of most enemies your character will face while leveling, and the propensity for Power builds to burst these enemies down far quicker than relying on damage-over-time attacks.

Furthermore, the damage scaling of Conditions rely on Expertise and Condition Duration, both attributes that aren’t easy to come by while leveling, or are very cost inefficient to gear for (e.g. buying specific runes and sigils). Conversely, Power builds have easy access to the attributes they rely on, i.e. Power, Precision, and Ferocity.

This is not to say it is impossible to level with Condition Damage. Throughout my guides, I will try to provide my best take on such builds for each profession.

Bonus XP

When defeating an enemy, your character gains experience ("XP"), which is needed for them to progress in character levels. However, shortly after an enemy is spawned into the game world, they will start accruing Bonus XP that will be awarded to the character(s) that defeated them. Following this logic, you will often gain the most Bonus XP from defeating enemies not associated to Heart Quests and Events, such as neutral wildlife outside of the common paths players take while leveling.

In the figure below, you'll see that the Plains Worm Hatchling that had just appeared gave its base 20 XP to the player character. In comparison, the Brackish Skales nearby gave nearly twice the total XP when defeated, whereas the Bandits ten steps to the East gave over three times the XP of the Hatchling, despite taking approximately the same time to defeat.

You can speed up your leveling even more by activating one or more Experience Modifiers. For example, a fresh free-to-play character could increase their XP gain with the following:

  • Food
    ** Loaf of Bread sold by Master Chef NPCs (aka Cooking Trainers; +10% XP gain from kills for 15 min; 40c each)
    ** Bowl of Apple Sauce sold by Farmhand Paris in Shaemoor Fields (+10% XP gain from kills for 30 min; 16c each)

  • Utilities
    ** Apprentice Maintenance Oil (Huntsman crafting; +10% XP gain from kills for 30 min)
    ** Apprentice Tuning Crystal (Artificer crafting; +10% XP gain from kills for 30 min)
    ** Rough Sharpening Stone (Weaponsmith crafting; +10% XP gain from kills for 30 min)

  • Guild XP Gain (up to +10% XP gain for 1 day)

  • Guild Experience Banner Bonus (gained by interacting with Guild Karma and Experience Banners and Guild Heroes Banners; +10% XP gain from kills for 30 min)
    In other words, these buffs can increase XP gain from kills by another 50%.

Other non-Gem Store XP bonuses include:

As an example, stacking all the above can yield big jumps in XP gain, as demonstrated in the image below.

Changelog:
March 25, 2019: First post!
April 27, 2019: Minor update to Revenant to include use cases for Ancient Echo.
May 5, 2019: Expanded on Bonus XP section to include XP gain buffs. (Thanks @”Khisanth.2948”)

"Thief? How rude! I'm a Procurement Specialist." -Glenn Gynnafante

Tagged:

Comments

  • Biff.5312Biff.5312 Member ✭✭✭✭

    Awesome - thanks for putting all the work into this. New players can now get answers to half the questions we see posted time and again in this forum. Kudos.

  • Loosmaster.8263Loosmaster.8263 Member ✭✭✭✭

    Well done Oji. Anet failed to allow me to give more than 1 thumbs up...

    Playing the PvE scene because WvW is just "BAD"...

  • MeththeMadman.7420MeththeMadman.7420 Member ✭✭
    edited March 26, 2019

    This is great. As a new player this is very helpful. Actually makes me want to create a rev to level. Thanks for the effort.

    How do you recommend setting up keybinds as a new player? I play a warrior.

    I'm thinking my key binds should be set up like this:

    key 1 - Signet of Fury
    key 2 - Bull's Rush
    key 3 - GS #2
    Key 4 - GS F1

    Can I do that? (Sorry for the stupid question)

  • @MeththeMadman.7420 said:
    This is great. As a new player this is very helpful. Actually makes me want to create a rev to level. Thanks for the effort.

    How do you recommend setting up keybinds as a new player? I play a warrior.

    I'm thinking my key binds should be set up like this:

    key 1 - Signet of Fury
    key 2 - Bull's Rush
    key 3 - GS #2
    Key 4 - GS F1

    Can I do that? (Sorry for the stupid question)

    Unfortunately, you can't set character specific keybinds, so if you bind Utility Skill 1 to R and Weapon Skill 2 to T, all characters will use that setup.

  • This is a great guide! Honestly a candidate for pinning, and definitely something I need to save the link to!

  • @Tanner Blackfeather.6509 said:

    @MeththeMadman.7420 said:
    This is great. As a new player this is very helpful. Actually makes me want to create a rev to level. Thanks for the effort.

    How do you recommend setting up keybinds as a new player? I play a warrior.

    I'm thinking my key binds should be set up like this:

    key 1 - Signet of Fury
    key 2 - Bull's Rush
    key 3 - GS #2
    Key 4 - GS F1

    Can I do that? (Sorry for the stupid question)

    Unfortunately, you can't set character specific keybinds, so if you bind Utility Skill 1 to R and Weapon Skill 2 to T, all characters will use that setup.

    You'd need special software that allows you to set macro profiles that you can swap on the fly. For example, some logitech keyboards allow you multiple profiles and a key that will swap between them. As @Tanner Blackfeather.6509 says, the game itself doesn't allow for per-profession or per-character settings.

    Hype is the path to the dark side. Hype leads to unfulfilled expectations. Disappointment leads to anger. Anger leads to disgust. Disgust leads to "oh, new shinies! I'm back!"

  • @Illconceived Was Na.9781 said:

    @Tanner Blackfeather.6509 said:

    @MeththeMadman.7420 said:
    This is great. As a new player this is very helpful. Actually makes me want to create a rev to level. Thanks for the effort.

    How do you recommend setting up keybinds as a new player? I play a warrior.

    I'm thinking my key binds should be set up like this:

    key 1 - Signet of Fury
    key 2 - Bull's Rush
    key 3 - GS #2
    Key 4 - GS F1

    Can I do that? (Sorry for the stupid question)

    Unfortunately, you can't set character specific keybinds, so if you bind Utility Skill 1 to R and Weapon Skill 2 to T, all characters will use that setup.

    You'd need special software that allows you to set macro profiles that you can swap on the fly. For example, some logitech keyboards allow you multiple profiles and a key that will swap between them. As @Tanner Blackfeather.6509 says, the game itself doesn't allow for per-profession or per-character settings.

    Thanks!

    So how do people set up key binds so that they are easily reachable?

  • @MeththeMadman.7420 said:
    So how do people set up key binds so that they are easily reachable?

    Here is what I've done:
    Weapon attack skills stay on 1 - 5
    Switch A & D for strafe left and right - you don't need keys to turn if you control your direction with your mouse.
    Heal skill (6) on left shift
    Utility skills 7, 8, and 9 are bound to Q, E, & C
    Elite skill - 0 - is bound to an extra button on my mouse, same with the special action key.

    This works pretty well for me. Dodge is still on V (and double tap), and the selected mount is still on X. My hands are large enough that I don't have problems reaching F1-F5. I do have an 18 button MMO mouse, but really only use a couple of extra buttons on it for combat related stuff.

    The nice thing about this set up is that it works regardless of what character/profession I'm on - my heal is always the same, my elite is always on my mouse, etc. Since I have all 9 classes on my main account and I rotate through them, it really makes it easier to switch from ele to warrior to ranger. I only have to remember what to use when, and not which key it is bound to like I would if we had unique character binds.

  • Ojimaru.8970Ojimaru.8970 Member ✭✭✭✭

    @Kaltyn of Torbins Deep.2946 said:
    Switch A & D for strafe left and right - you don't need keys to turn if you control your direction with your mouse.

    Great point raised here! One of the most underrated and best quality-of-life change you can do for yourself is to learn to turn the camera with your mouse, rather than using a keyboard hotkey. This is because "keyboard turning" is not only cumbersome when you're trying to move and attack at the same time, the rate at which your character turns is fixed, and is actually much slower than using your mouse to turn.

    "Thief? How rude! I'm a Procurement Specialist." -Glenn Gynnafante

  • Aetatis.5418Aetatis.5418 Member ✭✭✭

    good job!

    i do miss some choices/different approaches on some professions though.
    but i guess its a compromise - keeping it simple/short and still providing enough information.

  • Lasiurus.4067Lasiurus.4067 Member ✭✭✭✭

    Really, really, good job, nice core elementalist build for open worlds
    Cellofrag

  • Orion Templar.4589Orion Templar.4589 Member ✭✭✭
    edited March 28, 2019

    @Ojimaru.8970 said:

    Point Blank Shot (Longbow 4) is a skill you should assume does not exist. Don’t use it. Don’t look at it. Don’t even think about it.

    This was my favorites part of the write up. If all rangers used Point Blank Shot intelligently (when it was appropriate) it would cut down on a lot of angst.
    Nice work on these write ups!

  • Ojimaru.8970Ojimaru.8970 Member ✭✭✭✭

    @Rubi Bayer.8493 said:

    @Ojimaru.8970 said:

    Who is this guide for?

    I starting conceptualizing this guide after hearing countless new players feeling lost, or even not unlocked a single Skill or Specialization because they feel overwhelmed with their choices, and the perceived scarcity of Hero Points. Hence, I wanted to give some structured path of Skill and Specialization unlocks, for those that desire it. The builds I recommend will mostly mimic those seen on endgame guides, such as Snowcrows and Discretize, which I hope will help ease players into harder content as their characters progress. Along the way, I will also explain the core concepts of the builds, both to help players understand the strengths (and weaknesses) of the build, and to better understand damage rotations when they eventually reach endgame content.

    Thanks a ton for taking the time to create this! I posted a link to it on the Guild Wars 2 Twitter in order to direct more of our community to it–it deserves to be seen!

    You're very welcome, and thank you for the shout out!

    "Thief? How rude! I'm a Procurement Specialist." -Glenn Gynnafante

  • Khisanth.2948Khisanth.2948 Member ✭✭✭✭

    It seems you forgot food and utility consumables? Not for the stat increase but for the 20%/25% exp from skills they offer. There are plenty of very cheap ones available on the TP.

  • Ojimaru.8970Ojimaru.8970 Member ✭✭✭✭

    @Khisanth.2948 said:
    It seems you forgot food and utility consumables? Not for the stat increase but for the 20%/25% exp from skills they offer. There are plenty of very cheap ones available on the TP.

    Yeah, I'm thinking of putting together a mini-guide for XP buffs. Where possible I want to avoid using the TP as free-to-play players do not immediately have access to it.

    "Thief? How rude! I'm a Procurement Specialist." -Glenn Gynnafante

  • Just wanted to say thank you for these guides. After picking up the game years ago and never getting past level 10 I have just recently picked it back up and have been quite lost on what direction to go with hero points. Very useful guides for someone new where all the options and skills can be a bit overwhelming

  • Anchoku.8142Anchoku.8142 Member ✭✭✭✭
    edited April 22, 2019

    @Ojimaru.8970
    Just saw this thread and have three suggestions:
    1. Identify trait, skill, and rune options for each profession to improve running speed. This is huge for those without mounts.
    2. Identify AI pets or other skills to help in PvE. Easy-mode is nice for new players adjusting to the game or just a new profession. Pets, minions, turrets, elementals, spirits, clones, and so on can help new players a lot.
    3. In the absence of AI help, or despite it, perhaps identify an, "Oh, kitten!" skill or two for use in emergencies that new players can learn to use to disengage. Something like stealth, a long distance mobility skill, or sending a pet to preoccupy an enemy.

  • Ojimaru.8970Ojimaru.8970 Member ✭✭✭✭

    @Anchoku.8142 said:
    @Ojimaru.8970
    Just saw this thread and have three suggestions:
    1. Identify trait, skill, and rune options for each profession to improve running speed. This is huge for those without mounts.
    2. Identify AI pets or other skills to help in PvE. Easy-mode is nice for new players adjusting to the game or just a new profession. Pets, minions, turrets, elementals, spirits, clones, and so on can help new players a lot.
    3. In the absence of AI help, or despite it, perhaps identify an, "Oh, kitten!" skill or two for use in emergencies that new players can learn to use to disengage. Something like stealth, a long distance mobility skill, or sending a pet to preoccupy an enemy.

    Thanks for the feedback.

    1. Good point. I suppose I have taken mounts (and Choya Pinata Tonic) for granted. I'll look into this.
    2. This one's tricky. First off, all the relevant builds suggested, i.e. Necromancer, and Elementalist, already feature summoned pets; similarly Mesmer clones and phantasms are a core part of the gameplay, as mentioned; finally, the Ranger section does mention pet management as something to learn. I included the Rifle Turret in the Power Engineer build, but generally don't want to recommend turrets too highly due to the tediousness of cooldowns and setup. Secondly, I don't want to players to rely too heavily on summoned minions; to my experience, it can be difficult to wean players off these crutches.
    3. Another good point. I suppose my mindset has been, for the longest time, that nearly all open world encounters -- even while leveling my alts/keyrunners -- end far too quickly to represent enough threat to warrant escape skills. I'll chalk that up to the to-do list.

    "Thief? How rude! I'm a Procurement Specialist." -Glenn Gynnafante

  • Anchoku.8142Anchoku.8142 Member ✭✭✭✭
    edited April 22, 2019

    @Ojimaru.8970 said:

    @Anchoku.8142 said:
    @Ojimaru.8970
    Just saw this thread and have three suggestions:
    1. Identify trait, skill, and rune options for each profession to improve running speed. This is huge for those without mounts.
    2. Identify AI pets or other skills to help in PvE. Easy-mode is nice for new players adjusting to the game or just a new profession. Pets, minions, turrets, elementals, spirits, clones, and so on can help new players a lot.
    3. In the absence of AI help, or despite it, perhaps identify an, "Oh, kitten!" skill or two for use in emergencies that new players can learn to use to disengage. Something like stealth, a long distance mobility skill, or sending a pet to preoccupy an enemy.

    Thanks for the feedback.

    1. Good point. I suppose I have taken mounts (and Choya Pinata Tonic) for granted. I'll look into this.
    2. This one's tricky. First off, all the relevant builds suggested, i.e. Necromancer, and Elementalist, already feature summoned pets; similarly Mesmer clones and phantasms are a core part of the gameplay, as mentioned; finally, the Ranger section does mention pet management as something to learn. I included the Rifle Turret in the Power Engineer build, but generally don't want to recommend turrets too highly due to the tediousness of cooldowns and setup. Secondly, I don't want to players to rely too heavily on summoned minions; to my experience, it can be difficult to wean players off these crutches.
    3. Another good point. I suppose my mindset has been, for the longest time, that nearly all open world encounters -- even while leveling my alts/keyrunners -- end far too quickly to represent enough threat to warrant escape skills. I'll chalk that up to the to-do list.

    Thank you for the quick response.
    I know the second suggestion is tricky but very new players can get around easier by using an AI to hold aggro and provide a minimum dps while requiring fewer active skills. I had thought pointing out AI helpers as dps and aggro control would be helpful until a player gained enough personal skill and character levels to unlock and practice more active combat skills.

    Mesmers and Rangers come with stock AI pets but I see no harm in reminding players of their most basic use.

  • Ojimaru.8970Ojimaru.8970 Member ✭✭✭✭

    Update: Expanded on Bonus XP section to include XP gain buffs, as suggested by @Khisanth.2948

    "Thief? How rude! I'm a Procurement Specialist." -Glenn Gynnafante

  • Thank you, helped me to get back in the game after some years

  • Thanks for all the helpful info.

  • @Ojimaru.8970

    Not sure if you are still active, but wanted to thank you for this post. I finally get the game because of this.!

  • Thanks for putting this together, it's very good info.

  • Would be great update this guide...

    '' Hey Moxxi you should be bright orange, because this body... is LEGENDARY!''. (Borderlands 2 Drunk)

  • Gitwut.7956Gitwut.7956 Member
    edited April 22, 2020

    @Ojimaru.8970
    I appreciate the time and effort put into this guide. I find it very helpful. Why aren't primary attributes for each build included?

  • i think for leveling power+max crit cap is good speed kill mob,but when max lv mob lv80, champain bosses ,bosses group event. condition build is good choice esay to make dps and survival (carrion,trailblazer stat)

  • Saraneth.6021Saraneth.6021 Member ✭✭✭

    Thank you. Just coming back to the game after a long, long break. I have forgotten how to play my Mesmer, so I am starting fresh at level 1 with a Guardian. About 28 now. Thanks again for the guide.

  • Thanks for this, as a new player who's recently started on a necromancer, I've been watching videos and reading up, compared to what I'm used to, GW2 feels a bit more complex but I'm sure it'll make sense eventually!
    Definitely enjoying it though and it was money well spent.

    Been trying around with a few classes started as Elementalist which is fun, looking forward to seeing what comes out of this.

  • SubZero.4319SubZero.4319 Member ✭✭

    @Loosmaster.8263 said:
    Well done Oji. Anet failed to allow me to give more than 1 thumbs up...

    We are of one mind when it comes to my anger at not being able to give more than one thumbs up! xD

    In hoc signo vinces.

  • just started a necromancer and at lvl 14 , glad i found this guide
    thank you so much it is really helpful

  • @Ojimaru.8970 said:

    Ranger

    Longbow


    Of course, it would be remiss of me to not offer a build that uses the iconic Longbow. In which case, I feel it would be most appropriate for me to begin by laying down some core concepts of the weapon every Ranger should understand.

    Long Range Shot (Longbow 1) is not your main damage source. Think of the listed damage bonus as incidental, and not something you should aggressively reposition to obtain. In most cases, fighting next to the enemy is just as well as fighting at maximum range, if not better. This is because…

    Rapid Fire (Longbow 2) is your main source of damage. BUT it’s not an attack you use thoughtlessly. More on this later.

    Hunter’s Shot (Longbow 3) does very little in PVE, and should only be used at the very start of combat to allow your Ranger’s pet to engage the enemy faster.

    Point Blank Shot (Longbow 4) is a skill you should assume does not exist. Don’t use it. Don’t look at it. Don’t even think about it. The only exception is when you see a teal Defiance Bar under the enemy’s red Health Bar. This is not only because it does poor damage, but also because it will very, very often knock enemies away from your pet and allies, and lead to some rather annoyed players.

    Barrage (Longbow 5) similarly does not exist, outside of situations where your character is fighting three to five enemies within the abilities area of effect. Against single targets, you’ll deal more damage autoattacking.

    Now that we’ve gotten the most important part out of the way, let’s move on to general combat ability priorities. As mentioned, while fighting single targets, we want to use Rapid Fire as often as possible, and Barrage for larger groups. We will use two Longbows and a neat little trait known as Quickdraw to greatly reduce the otherwise lengthy cooldowns of both skills. For example, for a single target encounter, I would enter combat with an autoattack, activate Quickdraw by swapping to a second Longbow, and attack with Rapid Fire. This causes the cooldown of Rapid Fire to be reduced to just over 3 seconds, as opposed to its original 10. Fill the time with some autoattacks, and launch a second Rapid Fire. Next, wait until Rapid Fire becomes available once more, and weapon swap to continue the rotation.

    Since Quickdraw forms a core part of the rotation of this weapon set, we will spend the first Specialization Slot on Skirmishing, unlocking as far as Quickdraw before moving on to something else.

    Marksmanship comes next for some flat damage bonuses, as above, as well as more cooldown reduction with Lead the Wind.

    Again, for an easier time adventuring in the harder zones while you further acclimate to the character, Specialize in Wilderness Survival for some sustain.

    I'm using a longbow for the first assault and Sick'em, so my pet can get close. Then I'll switch to a short bow and poison the enemy and start firing rapidly with auto-attack (skill #1). My specializations are using skills to pin the enemy down to it's place. If I'll get in real trouble I'll summon my entanglements so I can get away while the enemy is stuck. Probably not the highest DPS build but works like a charm for me.

  • This guide needs an update...

    ''Hey Moxxi you should be bright orange because this body... is LEGENDARY!!'' - Borderlands 2 Drunk.