Awesomely Helpful UI Tips and Tricks


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By now many players have gotten used to the way Guild Wars 2 handles combat, dynamic events, and other big ticket features. But through talking to some guildmates and other random players, I’ve been seeing an interesting pattern that really isn’t all that surprising; people don’t know everything about some of the game’s most useful menu and UI options. Being the ever helpful player I am, I want to do my best to inform people of these little gems whenever possible.

So without a further adieu, here’s a list of helpful UI tricks for those not in the know!

• Mini Map Options and Controls

The Mini Map is a rather helpful tool for many players in the game. It’s a quick and easy way to see what the immediate surrounding area has to offer in terms of terrain, NPCs, and gathering nodes. Though, not many know about some of the useful features that are available for the Mini Map.

Guild Wars 2 Tips - Map Draw & Personal Waypoints

Brighting the day with happy faces.

1. In-Game Clock: By going into the General Options tab of the Options menu, you can see where to enable it under User Interface. This digital clock can be set for either your current Local Time, or the game’s Server Time. Once enabled, it will appear on the bottom left-hand corner of the Mini Map. This little extra tool can help players keep track of the time while they hack and slash through Tyria!
2. Drawing and Marking: While playing in a party, or even on your own, players have the ability to coordinate with their fellow party members via drawing and dropping a red ping on the Mini Map. To do so is actually pretty simple. All you have to do is hold down shift and right click on the map in order for a red ping to appear. Alternatively, if you hold down shift and hold and drag the right mouse button, you can draw on the Mini Map. With these simple trick coordinating in dungeons and WvW raids with party member on the fly can be simple!
3. Personal Waypoints: Personal Waypoints aren’t exactly what you may be thinking. They aren’t Waypoints people can make and use to teleport to anywhere on the map, but they do allow people to know where they’re going. They are persistent markers that players can set by holding down the left Alt button and right clicking on the Mini Map. These markers allow a way for players to mark a specific point on the map they wish to travel to, or a way to show their party a specific location they want the group to travel to.

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Real Life Lore: Tyrian Settlement Through 12th Century Eyes


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As a medievalist I read a lot of books which form the basis of fantasy worlds like Tyria: Arthurian romances, tales of chivalry and myths of exquisite beasts which have been told and retold for centuries and have become embedded in our culture. In the present day, people draw upon these legends for inspiration, be it for books, films or videogames, and the world of Guild Wars is no exception.

What I’d like to do today is begin to look at possible sources of inspiration for Tyrian lore, beginning with the pre-history of the world, and what the game creators may have drawn upon in the birth of Tyria.

A brief gloss of Tyrian pre-history is possible through archaeological evidence in-game, however there are little surviving texts from that period which makes it difficult to have a true understanding of the events of that time. The Giganticus Lupicus, or true giants, are believed to have walked Tyria before 10,000 BE (before the Exodus of the Gods), when they went extinct at the hands of the Elder Dragons. They can be seen as the ‘true inhabitants’ of Tyrian land, having been the original occupants. Far later, around 786 BE, the Six Gods settled in Tyria and brought humanity to the world, who pushed from Orr into Kryta and Ascalon.

A similar situation is recorded in Geoffrey of Monmouth’s Historia Regum Britanniae (published c. 1136), which tells the tale of the original settlers of the British Isles, their battles and struggles, and the stories of the kings who ruled, including Arthur. Brutus, who is exiled from Greece for the accidental murder of his parents, sets sail with the Trojans for a new land free from persecution and attack. In his hunt, he comes across a Goddess in a dream, who tells him the following:

 “There is an island […] once inhabited by giants,

But now it is deserted, ready to receive your people.

There kings shall arise from your line, and unto them

Shall all the lands of the Earth be subject.”

 

If we look at what this passage says, we can clearly see the parallel between the message from the Goddess, and the assumed message from the Six Gods of Tyria: humans go to a land which was once dominated by giants but is now empty (in Tyria, this is due to the rampage of the Elder Dragons, from which the land is still recovering), and are sent to rule. The humans in Tyria’s eldest age, with the assistance of the Gods, assume power over three kingdoms, and conquer the natives in those areas, such as the Charr in Ascalon.

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Shield of Absorption – A Bastion in the Dark


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Shield of Absorption - Guardian - Talk Tyria

You’re standing on the edge of your keep wall, peering over the crenelations into the morass of writhing bodies, baying for blood below. Your commander shouts directions to the troops: “Man the cannons! Push them back!” Your allies rush along the length of the walls, dropping fire and arrows on the invaders below, but they just keep coming. Agitated, your grip tightens around the edge of your shield.

“Get that siege up! And for Dwayna’s sake step back from the edge!” but the command comes too late – you catch the eye of an unsuspecting sylvari: too concerned with building her arrow cart to notice she has strayed within reach of the scorpion wires and deflective walls from the enemies at the base of the wall. In an instant she is gone, enveloped into the chaos below.

You have to act fast – the ground troops in the keep’s courtyard could get the soldier back on her feet if only there weren’t seventy angry invaders clawing at her from all sides. She has a split second of invulnerability before she is lost, but you only need a second more to save her… if only the path were clear. You grip the arm-guard of your shield and, taking a running jump, leap over the wall’s edge.

Landing in the tumult below, you stumble – that was a long fall. A protective symbol sprouts from your feet and spreads across the ground around you soothing some of the pain and burning your enemies. Standing over your downed comrade, you crouch into a protective stance and activate your shield of absorption – a pale blue light erupts from your shield. The sheer force of the mystical energy drives the surrounding enemies back. You now stand alone over your ally, a clear ring of ground between yourself and the enemy. Arrows and fireballs fly from the twisting mass of opposing bodies – but each bounces uselessly against your bubble, sending waves of energy across the entire dome, like ripples on a millpond. You hear the keep gate open behind you; your allies rush out and pull the sylvari to her feet. “Retreat!” you shout, spurring your allies into a sprint back towards the gate. 

For me, this is the most satisfying part of being a guardian. There is no more pleasing sight than 50 arrows bouncing limply against my Shield of Absorption. You, effectively, take out roughly 1/3 of an armies’ firepower with just one skill AND you can activate it a second time during its duration to heal all allies AND seeing as it is a “light” field any projectiles which pass through it will heal conditions on allies! What’s not to like?

What is even better is chaining shields with another guardian to provide a full 8 seconds (or even more, with more guardians) of protection for a downed ally. I was doing this with a player I met called Sigma in the Aurora Glade Borderlands a couple of weeks ago. We were directing our troops back and forth from our keep gate to the enemy main base – each time one of our allies fell we run up and Sigma would begin to heal and I’d pop my shield, after 4 seconds we would swap. It pretty much guaranteed that we would be able to get the ally back on their feet almost every time.

For complete protection, you can also slot “Sanctuary” – a tier 3 slot skill – which provides a much smaller but much more effective shield which, in addition to blocking projectiles, also makes sure enemies cannot get within melee range. The only issue with this skill is it’s prohibitively long recharge, and the 1.5 second cast time. It’s not as effective as a “quick fix”, but you can drop Shield of Absorption and then use some of the protection that provides to effectively position yourself and cast Sanctuary. Sanctuary also heals and doesn’t need you to maintain it, so once it is up, you’re free to move, resurrect, attack etc.

Both of these skills are extremely effective if used correctly. Drop your shield at a choke point (such as the archway leading to the South Western supply camp in the Borderlands) to stop your allies from being mowed down as they attempt to push through. Push multiple enemies towards the edge of a cliff, away from a gate (from the inside) or off your tail when being pursued, with the knock-back effect.

The majority of the guardian population seems to have an infatuation with the greatsword. I get it – who doesn’t like swinging their large weapon around, after all? But the humble shield needs to get a bit of love, if only for this one skill. I firmly believe that it is the most useful tool in the guardian’s arsenal.

To the reader: Which is the skill which you most enjoy using with your profession? Do you use a “sword and board” with your guardian, or do you find you’re better off with a different weapon set?

 

About the author:  Distilled (Will) has just started his PhD so will soon (well, in 4 years time) be Dr Distilled. In his spare time he enjoys first being the Talk Tyria ranger writer, then having a falling out with his drakehound and divorcing his ranger and moving in with a guardian . He writes regularly on Guild Wars and gaming over at Distilled Willpower. You can also follow him on Twitter at@Distilledwill!

Guild Wars 2 Armor Guide – Basic Naming Conventions & Runes


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So I’ll be honest; I wrote this mostly for myself, because for whatever reason the naming conventions on armor in Guild Wars 2 had me completely befuddled until I had it explained to me like I’m 5 years old by my twitter krewe.

I figured if I went ahead and wrote an article on it, I could hit three birds with one post. First, by writing it out, I’d remember it better. Second, I’ll now always have this to come back to when I get confused again (and let’s face it- that’s gonna happen). Third, it’s now available for all the world to see just in case there are other players like me.

So, here’s hopin’ it’s useful!

I’m focusing on armor, here, as weapons do differ slightly, but most of the core ideas apply to them, too.

Why understanding the naming conventions is important

I guess, technically, it’s NOT required since you can just hover over items to see what they get you. But having a general / better idea of how gear is named and what it all means will make finding what you’re looking for specifically faster and easier. I’m not suggesting we memorize every single name and what stats that refers to, although if you WANT to, nobody’s gonna stop ya.

Honestly, though, it’s extremely helpful at higher levels, since you’re more likely to want to have more than one set for different roles or play styles.

Also; it makes you feel smart, and who doesn’t like that?

So let’s start with the basics.

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Elementalist 101 – Utility


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Zojja: Famed elementalist and former member of Destiny’s Edge.

“Where does he get those wonderful toys?” – The Joker, Batman

Elementalist Profession Series Part 2

In the first installment of the series I talked about the weapon skill bar with the intent of giving you, the reader, a sense of what each weapon and attunement felt like to wield. Today I will be talking about the utility skill bar, which allows for a lot of versatility in play style and complements the strengths and weaknesses of the weapon skill bar. My goal for this article is to give you a quick and dirty understanding of the different types of utility skills, make a case for when to use which ones, and offer a bit of advice on how to maximize the benefit of many of these skills by using traits. Follow along below for more information.

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Five things I DON’T like about Guild Wars 2


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Many moons ago I had written a draft for an article that never made its way to the sunlight. It was kind of an open letter to the community in which I tried to explain how Guild Wars 2 was not going to be perfection, that no fan new or old should expect it to be, and how that didn’t matter in the long run because it was still going to be a fantastic journey.

I still stand by those sentiments. So before I go into my little countdown, I suppose I ought to start by saying how much I freaking love this game. So don’t get me wrong, universe, when I spend some time on the aspects of it I particular dislike or perhaps don’t understand.  And trust me, it wasn’t easy to come up with five points in the first place.

So here we have it, folks. Izzie’s top five gripes in increasing order of sad-panda levels, complete with enriching quotes that may just change your life forever.

 • Character-bound dyes. Runway rebellion. 

“I had a lot of dates but I decided to stay home and dye my eyebrows.”
~Andy Warhol 

The woe of fashionistas everywhere. Originally dye unlocks were proposed to be account-wide, but they’ve since changed that system to be character-based. Most other dye changes I was happy with (the whole seed thing being axed sparked an enthusiastic “HALLELUAH”) but this one still irks me. I understand this choice most of all my gripes, though. Dyes are actually pretty limited and only a handful highly prized. That and the fact that they are no longer consumable but forever-friends for your hero once you’ve got it pretty much means they need to be character based.

Having maybe 5-6 colors you actually care about readily available on all your characters would basically guarantee the dye market would eventually crash (both in the gem-store and in-world economy) so this was a necessary evil. You can snag dye packs from the gem-store, and at 200 for 7, with guaranteed 2 uncommon or rares, it’s really a worthwhile investment. Any colors you’re not crazy about, you can throw on the trading post to make a small profit.

I may not like it, but I’m willing to suck this one up for the team.

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Elementalist 101 – History and Systems


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Guild Wars 2 Elementalist Guide

Severe Weather Warning!!!

Good ol’ Master Bronk taught me the benefits of superior firepower. He liked to say, “When it comes to besting the enemy, there’s no such thing as overkill.” – Asura Biography

Elementalist Profession Series Part 1

So…you are considering making an elementalist in GW2? You wanna control the weather, eh? Make things go *BOOM* *ZAP* *SPLASH* and *CRUNCH*? This article series can help with that decision. In this first installment, I plan to talk briefly about the history of the profession from GW1, race-specific skills that complement the profession, attunements, and weapon skills; all of which are important to consider from levels 1-30 or so (the history lesson is a bonus).

What this article series is: This series is meant to be a quick and dirty guide and advice column about the elementalist profession. I hope to promote discussion and encourage people to play this fun and versatile profession. This is primarily written for PvE gameplay.

What this article series is not: This is NOT a comprehensive strategy guide on how to play the elementalist profession. It does not include a list of all of the skills/traits with commentary. It does not discuss PvP strategy.

I can be long winded in my articles, but I’m also a big fan of tl;dr, so I’ll include that at the end of each section.

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