Extended Online Manual

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Welcome to the Guild Wars 2 Extended Online Manual, the follow-up manual from the Guild Wars 2 Online Manual which will take you beyond the basics of your first hour of gameplay in the world of Tyria. The Extended Online Manual is hosted by the Guild Wars 2 Official Wiki, the Guild Wars 2 resource created and maintained by the players! Please note that this page is a living document and will keep evolving as players regularly add content, making sure that this page is up-to-date.

This page will introduce you to the many aspects of the game, providing you with links to separate articles covering each topic in detail. Feel free to explore these topics whenever you need to, depending on your gameplay experience. Follow the links about a topic you'd like to know more about and use the "Back" button of your browser to come back to the Guild Wars 2 Extended Online Manual.

Let's now take a closer look at all the information you can discover about Guild Wars 2!

Getting started

World selection: This is the first thing you'll see after logging into the game and the choice of your home world. While due to the megaserver you may come across players from different worlds. You will be tied to your home world for World vs World (WvW). You can change your home world later on for a fee.

Race selection: Once you chose your home world, you'll have to choose between one of the five playable races: asura, charr, human, norn and sylvari. Each race has its own starting region and personal story, as well as a choice of racial skills. Note: If you want to play with a friend who has a character of a different race, you'll have to travel from your race's city to the city of Lion's Arch via an asura gate.

Choosing a profession: Your next choice is to give your character a profession. While each profession is able to be self-sufficient, your choice of profession will have the largest impact on your gameplay as it determines the skills you'll be using and many other things. Click through for more information on one of the 8 professions available: elementalist, engineer, guardian, mesmer, necromancer, ranger, thief or warrior.

The rest of character creation involves setting up your physical appearance (which has no impact on gameplay), your personality (which affects some options available during some dialogues), and filling out your biography (this affects your personal story).

The last screen of the character creator will ask you to give a name to your character. Once this is done, you can watch the Introduction cinematics of your race, tailored to your character!

Playing the game

User Interface and controls

You can jump right in the game and the main controls will be shown to you through a series of tool tips. GW2's minimalist user interface is explained in detail on the Graphical user interface (GUI) page. In short: you use the WASD keys to move your character in the 4 cardinal directions, the 10 keys to activate your skills and the F1F5 keys to launch your profession-specific mechanics. You can find more detailed information in the Controls article.

Some other important UI elements include the Hero panel and your skill bar. There are many other controls available to you that you may not discover through playing. Check out the wiki's detailed Controls page for information on these as well as how to change them to best suit your playstyle.


Targeting enemies and pressing buttons on your skill bar is an important part of combat in Guild Wars 2, but being aware of everything that is going on during a fight is key. Healing is essential to staying alive, dodging will help you avoid damage, and keeping an eye on effects will help you take advantage of enemies' weaknesses while avoiding your own. If your health reaches zero, you will enter the downed state, where you will have access to four special downed skills dependent on your profession.

Combat is not just about damaging enemies, you also have to use the following tactics:

  • Control - actions and skills that interfere with or disrupt enemies
  • Support - aiding allies so they are more effective
  • Boons - positive effects on you or allies
  • Conditions - counterpart of boons, they hamper or damage the target

The world of Guild Wars 2

The compass

The (interactive) map can be activated by pressing the M key and presents an overhead view of your location. Zooming in and out can give you a better idea of where you are and what is around you. It also allows you to travel through the use of waypoints. Indicated on your map are:

  • Renown regions - activities centered around an NPC that gives rewards
  • Dynamic events - periodic events that you and others can participate in to affect the world around you for rewards
  • Asura gates - portals that take you across vast distances of Tyria at no cost

You can also find a "level indicator" at the bottom-right corner of the map, to show you 3 different "contour levels" (underground, ground level, overground).

The compass is a miniature version of the map available on your normal screen that indicates your immediate surroundings and other interesting (players, vendors, and other items of note).


A character

Your character has a number of abilities that you will discover and update as you play the game. All of these are available on the Hero panel.

Skills are available in the skill bar at the bottom of your screen and can be divided into five types:

  • Weapon skills (number 1 to 5 on the skill bar) are unique to each weapon and profession combination. They are unlocked over time simply by equipping and using a weapon of the appropriate type. Note that all professions except the elementalist and the engineer can swap between two weapons during combat, thus changing the 5 skills altogether.
  • Healing skills (number 6 on the skill bar) are used for self-heals. You will automatically start with one and can unlock others to choose from by using hero points.
  • Utility skills (number 7 to 9 on the skill bar) come in a wide range of types, including signets and profession specific skills such as the warrior's banners or the engineer's kits. Utility slots open up for use respectively at levels 11, 15 and 19. You unlock these skills using hero points.
  • Elite skills (number 10 on the skill bar) are powerful skills with long recharge times. Your elite slot will open up at level 31. They are also unlocked using hero points.
  • Bundle/Transform Skills will replace the normal skills on your skillbar if you pick up an item or are transformed. You can return to your normal skillbar by pressing the 'drop bundle' or 'leave form' buttons (on the left of your skill bar).

Levels are earned through experience, and affect your attributes, the strength of your skills, skill bar and trait unlocks, as well as allowing you to use level-restricted items. The maximum level a player can reach in Guild Wars 2 is 80. If you go back to an area of lower level, you'll note that your level is dynamically adjusted to match the content. This Dynamic level adjustment is shown in the bottom left corner of your screen by a number between bracket.

Personality is set initially at character creation. As you play through the game you'll be able to fine tune your character's personality by making certain dialogue choices, which are marked with icons. In turn, your personality can open up new dialogue options. Note that personality will never restrict your gameplay.

Attributes are characteristics of your character which improve a his or her effectiveness in combat. They increase automatically as you level, and can also be increased via equipment and by investing in certain traits.

Traits are one of the primary methods of customising your character's abilities and your gameplay. They are unlocked using hero points. You'll receive hero points every odd level after 10 and by completing hero challenges.

Achievements are earned by completing tasks in-game, and reward you with coin, experience and titles. Achievements are available for nearly everything you can do in-game, and include daily, monthly and long-term goals. Achievements in Guild Wars 2 are account-wide.

Titles are rewards for completing certain objectives, including personal stories and achievements. They can be displayed in-game so you can show off your achievements to others.


Character equipment

In addition to skills and traits for your character, your character is able to equip armor and accessories. Weapons are equipped on your character and dictate the weapon skills available to you. They also set the strength of your skills based on their damage. Armor provides defense along with attribute bonuses and can provide distinct looks for your character. Depending on your profession, you can only equip a certain category of armors. Accessories can also be equipped (generally as jewelry) and also provide bonuses for your character.

The appearance of your character's equipment can be modified via skins, outfits and dyes. Skins can be applied to individual armor, weapons and back items using transmutation charges. Outfits are full-body costumes that hide currently equipped armor and can be applied without any additional cost. Dyes can be applied to armor and outfits to customize their color.

Armor, weapons, and other items are shown on the Hero Panel or stored in your inventory. Pressing the I key brings up your backpack with an initial capacity of 20. In addition to the backpack, there are bag slots for equipping bags for additional capacity. Both the backpack and bags can be upgraded. If there are items that you may not use frequently or your inventory is full, you can store items at the account vault, an account-wide storage for coin, gems, and various items.


There are eight main currencies in the game:

  • The normal currency is coins (copper Copper coin, silver Silver coin, and gold Gold coin), which are rewarded throughout the game and used to purchase items from merchants, the Trading Post.
  • Karma.png Karma is a reward for completing your story and events, and is used to trade for weapons and armor from karma vendors.
  • Badges of Honor Badge of Honor are earned by participating in World versus World. They are used to purchase various items related to World vs World.
  • Laurel.png Laurels are earned from login rewards and certain achievements. They can be used at a Laurel Merchant to purchase various items.
  • Guild Commendation.png Guild Commendation are earned by completing guild missions. They can be used at a Guild commendation trader to purchase various items.
  • Influence Influence is the currency for guilds. Guild members earn influence for their guild and can then purchase guild-wide upgrades such as guild storage.
  • Gem.png Gems are bought with real-world money and are used to buy services, convenience and decorative items from the Black Lion Trading Company. You can also use the currency exchange to trade for gems using coins you've earned in-game, or exchange your gems for coins.
  • Spirit Shard.png Spirit Shards are earned by completing daily achievements and as random drops for level 80 characters. They are used to buy special ingredients for the Mystic Forge.

For a full list of currencies please see the page on Currency. The core currencies for an individual including the dungeon currencies, and Transmutation Charges are stored inside of the account Wallet. Token can at times be used as a currency however they are not stored inside of the account wallet and must be in your inventory to trade for items.

Playing with other players

Groups of players can form together into a party to benefit the play of members. Party members are marked on the map, can see basic information about the members (level, profession, health), have a separate channel for communication, and can join other members in instances and overflows. Parties are limited to 5 and are present in all game modes.

For groups too large for a standard party, squads are available. Squads are essentially a larger group of players following the instructions of one person. Players can join squads by either being invited or selecting the squad icon above characters already in the squad.

Guilds are more formal groups of players that are together for additional benefits. In addition being able to play together more efficiently and getting a separate chat channel, being a member of a guild allows you to earn influence for the guild. Influence is gained by participating in events in PvE or PvP and can be spent to purchase upgrades for the guild. Accounts are tied to guilds (not characters) and may be in more than one guild. However, you can only be active in ("represent") one guild at a time, but can change freely. Guilds can be joined and representation can be changed in the guild panel.

Instanced areas

Most of the game takes place in the open world, but there are a few exceptions. When you enter an instanced area, you will be alone and other players will not be able to join you unless they are in your party.

Home instance: A home instance exists in each racial city. Your personal one will depend on your race: Applied Development Lab for asura, Hero's Canton for charr, Salma District for human, Hunter's Hearth for Norn, and Dreamer's Terrace for sylvari. Your home instance will change as you play through the game to reflect your achievements. If you are in a party, party members will be invited to join you upon your entering your home instance.

Personal story instances: Individual sections of your personal story often take place in instances. The location of your next story instance will be marked on your map with a green star. If you are in a party, party members will be invited to join you upon your entering your story instance. If a party member has this instance as their current story step as well, upon finishing the instance they will be given the option to accept your choices (if any) and receive credit for completing this step. Otherwise, they will simply receive karma for helping complete the step.

Dungeons: Beginning at level 30 with the Ascalonian Catacombs, dungeons are instanced areas designed for parties of 5. The first time you complete a dungeon you will play in story mode, which is a mode intended for casual players and tells the story of Destiny's Edge. If you're looking for a challenge, once you've beaten story mode you can play a dungeon in explorable mode, which requires strong team play to complete. Explorable mode has different lore with many branches and random events, ensuring you get a different experience every time you play the dungeon. When you reach the appropriate level, you will receive an in-game mail directing you to the dungeon.

Crafting and Trading

Crafting is an activity that is available to all characters and allows players to create equipments and consumables. There are eight crafting disciplines, but only two can be active at a time. The disciplines are: armorsmith, artificer, chef, huntsman, jeweler, leatherworker, tailor, and weaponsmith. Crafting materials are needed to make items and can be gathered, obtained by loot or scrap, or be crafted.

Players also have access to the Trading Post, a global market for buying and selling items. Both kinds of transactions can be started from anywhere, though you need to go to a physical location to finish them.

About the wiki itself

This Official Guild Wars 2 Wiki strives to be a complete encyclopedia of Guild Wars 2, covering each and every aspect of the game and beyond. And the beauty of it is that it achieves this by empowering the community with ArenaNet's support.

As a user of the wiki, if you want to find out more about an event, NPC, area, or anything else you find in-game, simply type its name into the search box. It will either point you to the right article or will show you the articles which may have what you're looking for.

Beyond the use of the wiki, you may be interested to know that the wiki is not connected to the game database. All the information you'll find here is discovered and added by Guild Wars 2 players like you. All players are welcome to add information! So if you look up a dynamic event you're doing and find your favourite part is missing, there's in fact a way to add this to the article (it's the little 'edit' button at the top of each article)!

If you're curious and possible interested in getting more involved in the wiki, you should check out the how to help page for a detailed introduction to wiki concepts. There are thousands of players on this wiki that are also ready to help you, because, like you, they once started as a newcomer to wikis. So create an account and say hi!