I have become increasingly aware that I may have had a teeny tiny part in motivating a few people to either start playing Guild Wars or to increase their Guild Wars game playing time. Occasionally, these people ask me questions, and I’m happy to answer because it helps them understand the game more. I also realise that I have probably picked up a few useful bits of information during my two years of playing that others will also find useful.
I enjoy the game a lot, but I’m not an expert at Guild Wars. I don’t hold volumes of intricate, nerdy Guild Wars knowledge in my brain. However, other people do and they have shared their knowledge with the world, so here are a few useful links:
- Guild Wars: PvE Beginner Tips
- A Guide to Parties — Party etiquette (how not to be a n00b)
- Guild Wars: PvP Beginner’s Guide
- GuildWiki — An invaluable resource for information, including Mission and Quest guides.
- Guild Wars Wiki — The official Guild Wars wiki. When you call up the in-game help menu, it links to the official wiki. The information here is less extensive and less detailed than GuildWiki, because it’s relatively new, but it’s getting better.
- PvXwiki — This is a wiki devoted solely to build combinations. There is a rating system in place so you can see what the community thinks about a particular build. Elite Skills are generally the lynch pin or defining characteristic of a build, and as far as I can tell, all of the builds on PvXwiki require an Elite Skill, so bear that in mind. If anything, this can serve as a shopping list of sorts.
- Guild Wars Elite Skills Listings with Maps — This will show you exactly where those Bosses lurk so that you can capture those coveted Elite Skills.
- Cartography Resources — If you look at the comments to this post, you will see that someone has linked to a number of sites that will help you unblur the map for that Cartographer title.
- How to Use the “-image” Function to Reduce Waiting Time Between Maps — As most people are aware, Guild Wars never ever has downtime for new content “patches” as is common in other online games. All game content is streamed to you in bits and pieces during game play. This content is downloaded between instances, usually causing a short delay (depending on your connection) if you have never been to that instance before. This resource shows you how to download all of this content at once, so the delay between maps is reduced significantly. After the initial use, which will usually take a long time, it’s best to use it at least once a week. The “-image” function is especially useful for those on dial-up connections.
- Guild Wars News RSS Feed — Put this link into your RSS reader to receive all of the latest Guild Wars news, including Skill balance changes, directly from ArenaNet.
There are a few tricks that are not immediately obvious to a new Guild Wars player. Some of the resources above assume that you have this knowledge, so it may be helpful for me to go over them here.
One of the great things about Guild Wars is that ArenaNet have created some very useful methods which allow people to play together without the use of voice chat. This is very helpful in a PUG situation, where you’re grouping with random people. For normal PvE play in Guild Wars, I honestly never saw much need for voice chat. During my brief interlude with World of Warcraft, I was baffled by my higher level guild mates’ insistence on voice chat. I soon found out that WOWhas very poor party management utilities, which makes voice chat practically a requirement.
If you are the party leader or the designated target caller, the other members of the party (if they’re a good party committed to efficiency) will wait for you to designate a target to attack. How do you tell the other members of your party that you want to attack one particular monster (such as the Monk) in the mob of 13 monsters that are currently attacking you? To attack, you use the Space Bar or the left mouse button. To call a target, simply hold down the Left Control key and the Space Bar (or double click on the target) at the same time. What this will do is ‘ping’ the target on the compass map, a small “T” icon will appear next to your name in the Party list, and the following text will appear in Team Chat: “[Player Name] is attacking [Target]!”. The compass map will briefly show the location of the targeted monster and there will also be an auditory cue. You will also start to attack this target. However if you do not want to attack, and you simply want to point out the target, just hold Shift, Control, and Space Bar after you have selected your target. This will avoid aggro.
Great. Now your party members know which monster to attack. There are a lot of monsters attacking you right now. How do your party members quickly attack the monster you want them to attack? Well, after you’ve called the target, all they have to do is press ‘T’, which will automatically select the called target, and press Space Bar to attack it. So easy! So smooth! So fast! People who have played both World of Warcraft and Guild Wars probably understand why I was utterly frustrated by WOW’s terribly clunky target calling system, in which there was no quick and easy way to attack the same target a party member is attacking.
The Left Control Key is Your Friend
We can see that Left Control is very useful for target calling. Left Control is probably one of the most used keys during Guild Wars game play. Holding down this key when you’re running around the game world will reveal fabulous secrets unto you, or more accurately, it will show you where all the enemies are, as long as they are within range, and this includes behind walls and above or under you.
In addition to informing your party members which target you are attacking, the Left Control key can also be used to inform your party members which Skill you are using against a particular target. All you have to do is hold down the Left Control key and activate the Skill either by clicking on the Skill on your Skill bar, or pressing the number on your keyboard that corresponds to that Skill.
If you hold down the Left Control and double click on an NPC, you will announce to your team mates: “[Your Name] is talking to [NPC Name]!” This is helpful if you want to tell your team mates where you’re going.
If you are in town, co-ordinating your party’s Skills so that they complement each other, holding down Left Control and clicking on your Skill Bar will show your party which Skills you have equipped in Team Chat if they left click on the text chat. Not only that, they can also get a copy of your Skills Template, which they can save to their Skills Template manager if they really like your Skills combination and would like to use it themselves.
Left Control can do a whole lot of other things if you hold down the key and start clicking on the user interface elements with your mouse. For example, Left Control and clicking on your Weapon Set will announce your currently equipped weapons in Team Chat if you feel like bragging about your gear. If so, I’d ask whether you are a WOW exile. Try holding the Left Control key and clicking on your Experience Bar, your Health Bar, and your Energy Bar.
The Left Alt Key is Also Your Friend
Holding down this key during game play will reveal all non-aggressor NPCs and many environmental objects that you can interact with: chests, sign posts, dropped items, quest items, etc. If I don’t see any enemies on my compass map, I usually hold down Left Alt about 80% of the time. When I do see enemies on the radar, I’m almost always holding down Left Control so I can see exactly where they are in the game screen.
N00bs generally reserve the compass for drawing penises or breasts, but it is more useful as a party co-ordination tool, e.g. drawing arrows or “do not cross” lines and pinging areas for attention.
I generally use the wikis I have linked above as the first stop for information. If I am looking for new builds, critiques on Skill balance changes, or just to keep up on the Guild Wars zeitgeist, I check the forums at Guild Wars Guru or Guild Wars Online.