Note: This isn't mine.
The beta weekend launches Friday afternoon. Are you ready?
In the event that you aren’t (or even if you are!), we have a list of tips for how to handle the beta, the game and everything you will see this weekend. Credit for this goes to a member of SomethingAwful.com who asked to not be named. Thank you, anonymous contributor!
Don’t just skip through the questions after you design your character. Your answers impact your story and will also impact some NPC interactions in different areas.
Guilds can be created the second you are out of the opening cinematic. Hit “G” to create a guild or to represent/stand down from a guild.
The intro instance boss encounter WILL down you. This is so you can see how downed works. Even if you stay downed, the NPCs will win the encounter for you. For most classes, the 3 button will get you back up.
Right away, hit H then select the PVP tab. Hit “Be in the Mists”. After you port, there will be an Asura Gate in front of you. Take it to Lion’s Arch. After this port, cross the bridge to Lion’s Arch. At the fountain make a left. Here there are Asura Gates to every major city. The gates to Asura and Sylvari land will be blocked. Port to each major city and get the waypoint for zippy travel around the world. (This of course will also let you choose your newbie leveling zone)
There are no breadcrumbs and no quest hubs. You progress in this game by EXPLORING. Pick a direction that looks good and you will stumble upon adventure. Getting sidetracked is how you will spend most of your time.
If you have no idea where to go, look for a scout. They are marked with binoculars. They will reveal hearts for you. Also sometimes NPCs will beckon to you or run up to you and say “hey jerky, help a bro”. Talk to these NPCs. They will reveal previously hidden dynamic events.
Waypoints are graveyards. As you begin exploring and leveling, you want to collect waypoints as fast as possible. Before you start working on a heart or dynamic event, get the closest waypoint or you will be very sad when you die and have to schlep all the way back.
Your weapon skill unlock makes progress by killing a mob. When you get a new weapon, grinding out the unlocks real quick will make for a more varied and strategic game experience early on.
Your first skill is auto-attack. Everything else has a cooldown. Since you have a small number of skills, this means you can do something you’ve probably never done in an MMO: look up. The primary thing holding your attention should be where and how you are moving and tells from the mob. To take care of that, you’ve got to watch carefully.
Circle-strafe is your friend.
If you run up to a mob, usually they will pause for a split second to punch you or to wind up a big attack. Use this to your advantage.
Look at your skill tool tips and check for conditions. Conditions are fight changers. Sure you can just spam 1 and win, but proper use of conditions will greatly increase your survival and speed of killing.
If you pull off a combo (a special attack combining your skills with another players skills) you will see “combo” in the heads-up combat spam. Experiment with this for hilarity and hi-jinks. The easy combos involve a field + a projectile or a field + a jumping/leaping attack.
Move, move, move!
In-combat weapon switching unlocks at 7.
EXPLORING, EVENTS AND KARMA
DO NOT RUN AWAY AFTER COMPLETING ANY DYNAMIC EVENT. This is the best advice I can give. Most of the time, after a dynamic event completes, the NPCs will chat for a minute and then another dynamic event will start. You owe it to yourself to hang out and see what the next bit is. If you stay in a place for 3 minutes or so and nothing happens, it is safe to move on. The world around will change A LOT. Whether you are there to see it, is entirely up to you.
If you see a different looking dynamic event box that has a background and stays active in a wide area, this is the zones meta dynamic event and requires coordination over a wide area to progress. The end of these events are usually really really satisfying. For instance in the human zone, there is a gigantic scary netherworld monster.
You will start getting karma quickly. When you fill up a heart, the NPC will sell you gear or other goodies for karma. DO NOT BANK KARMA. Keep in mind you aren’t getting gear quest rewards… because there are no quests. If a karma vendor has an upgrade for you, buy it then and there. This will insure that your relative power stays above the mobs you are fighting.
There is no reason why you have to go to a higher level zone. You will automatically downlevel for an area and get appropriate rewards. If you finish a 1-15 zone, consider going to another 1-15 zone.
Your 7, 8, 9 skills unlock at 5, 10, and 20 respectively. To get skills you need skill points. Do skill challenges for skill points. Every major city has a few skill points that you can just buy.
Traits unlock at 11.
You want to gather. There is no gathering skill. If two people hit a node, both get full reward. You can get upgrades for your equipment in the form of crystals from gathering. Even if you don’t intend to craft you should gather for the crystals. You will need a consumable to gather. Axes are for logging, picks are for mining, sickles are for herbs and veggies. Most merchants sell these.