Awesomely Helpful UI Tips and Tricks

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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Guild Wars 2 Armor Guide – Basic Naming Conventions & Runes

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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The Power of Choice

Guild Wars 2 Thief

I choose YOU!

Choice is incredibly important in all facets of life. Ranging from simple choices, like what to eat for lunch, to complex and life-changing decisions, like getting a new job or buying a house, our lives are dominated by choice. Many computer games (notably recent RPGs such as the Mass Effect series or The Witcher series) give players important choices to make, each of which can affect the outcome of the game. I am a big fan of having choice in games. The power to choose where you want to go, what you want to do, and how you go about doing it. Freedom of choice, I believe, is vital for a game to thrive, especially an MMORPG. Luckily, Guild Wars 2 has choices in abundance. Follow along after the break for a brief breakdown of choice in Guild Wars 2Continue reading

Belenos’ Engineering How To: Item Transmutation

Greetings fellow Tyrians! It has been a little while since I have chimed in on a subject, but I had the opportunity to play around with this particular game mechanic in the recent BWE2, during June 8-10, and came away impressed. The mechanic I am referring to is, of course, item transmutation.

 

While certainly not a totally new mechanic to the MMORPG world, it is most definitely one of the most intriguing mechanics; both in its innate simplicity, and its ability to give us – the end user, what we REALLY want! What exactly IS item transmutation, you say? Well, let me elucidate-

Safely tucked away in my bank at Divinity First Credit Union

In your travels on Tyria, you may loot, or otherwise obtain a weapon that looks amazing… or perhaps armor that makes you look like you have “just that look” for your roleplaying character. By their very nature, MMO items are meant to be outgrown. That same item you found several levels ago might be outclassed by higher level items you find later, and while it pains you to have to ditch the super cool looking item in favor of the one with better statistics, often times we will do this in order to keep up with the higher damage output and hitpoints of the mobs we encounter. Item transmutation allows you to use a special item called a Transmutation Stone (a depletable item), in order to have the best of both worlds! You can have the look of the item you want (which you have outgrown the stats for), combined with the raw power of the better statted item, to make an essentially upgraded item that you can continue to use, and feel good about using!

 

How is it done, you wonder? Continue reading

The Memoirs of Klaine; a Mesmer – Chapter I

I was a noble, a fancy Memser, and a vision in pink and purple. I was the most flamboyant man in Tyria – really, a Mesmer in pink/purple armor, you think you can top that? – and I was gorgeous. I slicked my hair back as I admired my reflection in the mirror. No, I wasn’t going to go all cray cray and ask the mirror who the fairest of them all was because I knew in my heart that it was me. Period.

 

 

Though I was born to riches and a silver spoon – literally – in my mouth, I knew I didn’t want to become one of those fat, jolly men who bathed in gold and didn’t give a tinker’s toot to the plight of the less fortunate. Yeah sure, we were rich now and could afford all kinds of luxurious fabrics and exotic meat from the land of Tyria but we should never ever tempt Fate because the cosmic universe just loves to throw you a curveball when you least expect it. And what that happens, all you horrible human beings who’ve never known hardship will be thrown out on your asses and starve to death.

And seriously, dolyak meat? Really? What the hell is wrong with you people?

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Playing the Race Card on Builds

http://wiki.guildwars2.com/images/e/eb/Destiny%27s_Edge_03_concept_art.jpg

If each member of Destiny's Edge had their professions mixed up, would they fight the same?

With the recent Press Beta, and the bombardment of news that followed, we were presented with an influx of information fully revealing weapon skill sets and a large chunk (if not all) of each profession’s utility skills. We also saw the new Trait System that players have at their disposal to customize their chosen profession to suite their wanted play style. Now there have already been several websites that have used this information by creating helpful tools that many future players have begun to use to make their preferred builds. Although it’s great seeing these theorycrafters work with the information given to them, there is still one piece missing in this customization pie; Racial skills.

Remember, from the information ArenaNet developers have presented to us, we know that racial skills are more or less the flavor given to each individual race, making them distinct from each other in a mechanical sense. They also allow a person to tweak any given profession by giving them access to skills they normally wouldn’t have. Are you a guardian seeking a way to hinder an enemy’s movement without relying on a scepter or two signets’ activated abilities? Well, as a sylvari you can have roots magically grow from the ground to do just that, or as a charr you can place a few mines that can cripple, with the added benefit of bleeding, foes who step over them. Do you want to give your rifle wielding charr warrior some more gunpowder love? You’re in luck; charr can pull out a hidden pistol and shoot someone in the face with it! Let’s also not forget norn animal forms, asuran battle suits, and Hounds of Balthazar! Racial skills allow for a bit more diversity within any given profession, allowing for better customization to anyone’s play style. Continue reading

Cracks in the Patio: Where ANet might trip

I love my metaphors. Bars and Guilds, Sex and Games etc. Well, here’s another: the Patio.

Ok, picture the scene: A swanky London garden party, the grass is immaculately trimmed to the millimetre. On the patio, erudite people wearing sunglasses in the early evening light drift between waiters carrying canapés and empty wine glasses. As the sun begins to drop below the horizon, a lone waiter steps out from the house through the sliding patio doors carrying a perfectly stacked tray of sparkling champagne, the crowd turns and applauds – the champagne cascades down the tower and the waiter grins with pride. No sooner has he stepped onto the expertly laid stones is the silver tray flying through the air, the grin turns to horror and the guests are showered with fizzy-pop and broken glass. With a screech, the violins from the band punctuate his landing in a pile of shattered flutes and broken pride. The patio stones are hewn to a fine and flat sheen; they are billiard-table flat – every single one. How on earth did he manage to trip?

In a complex system, often, even if every element is perfectly constructed and each works with its own immaculate internal logic it is the joins where you can trip up. You can look at a skill and see that it is built perfectly: not excessively powerful in its effect, a recharge time which is not too long, but not overly short to encourage spamming, a cast time which is proportionate. Great – send it out, this skill is ready! But the skill might be internally balanced, but it is where it rubs up against other skills that the imbalances begin to emerge. The same goes for every game element.

Guild Wars 2 is an extremely complex system. Skills, traits, crafting, armour, weapons, dynamic events, mini-games, dungeons, PvP and countless other elements we probably haven’t heard of yet. Thousands of elements pulling and pushing against each other, each one likely honed and iterated till it reaches the very high standards we have all come to expect from ArenaNet.  It is where these elements interact that there is the potential for unforeseen problems.

So, when we are lithely scurrying over the patio of Guild Wars 2, and our shoe (shined to military-standard sheen) gets trapped between one of the cracks, will we fall? Will the contents of our tray bounce or shatter? Will we pull ourselves up, laugh it off and head to the dance floor?

To the readers: Do you expect bugs in every new game release? Even after such a long testing period, would you be surprised to find glitches? Is imbalance an unavoidable part of MMO gaming?

About the author:  Distilled (Will) has been playing Guild Wars for almost 6 years, he works as a clinical researcher in the UK but has recently been accepted on a PhD place (starting in September, woo!). In his spare time he enjoys kicking ass, chewing bubblegun and restocking his bubblegum when he runs out. He writes regularly on Guild Wars and gaming over at Distilled Willpower. You can also follow him on Twitter at @Distilledwill!