Coming straight from many years playing WoW, leveling in GW2 is a change. I really have to throw away all of the old ideas I had about leveling. It’s not a matter of going from quest to quest to quest. Toss that notion right out of your head.
At first you open the map, look around at the quest hearts (yes hearts—don’t look at me, I don’t know either), and mouse over them. Here’s one at level 2….3…..4….hmm, it looks like there’s only a handful of things to start with.
If you think you can progress from one to the next as you would quests in WoW, and not quickly have the quests out level you, you’re sorely mistaken (ask me how I know–and how often my Guardian died).
“Does this mean I have to GRIND?”
Well…no. There’s a lot more to a zone than just the quests the heart offer. The heart is often just a bread crumb. As you’re doing that quest, other events will often pop up. And then another and another and another. Even though I leveled 3 lowbie humans back to back one night while I was checking out classes, the flow of events was still different each time.
Don’t ignore events you’ve done before, either, especially not if a group forms. Tag along, experiment with some different skills. Swap to a new weapon to unlock. Maybe you failed a part of the chain last time, and success will lead to new events! Or maybe you’ll fail this time and THAT will lead to new events. Groups are also a great way to sneak in on those events that are a little high for you.
Go find waypoints and points of interest. Omnom XP. Don’t neglect the ones in towns!
If you still feel that you’re leveling too slowly, pick up crafting. It’s entirely possible—if you level every single profession—to level from 1 to 80 with crafting. No, I’m not kidding. By the time you are done leveling a profession, you’ll get 10 levels out of it. I wasn’t sure what I thought of this when I read it on the beta forums but…on second thought, it’s pretty awesome. Suddenly the level cap of 80 seems less daunting.
As a side note: don’t forget to rez people. Not only will your fellow players appreciate the help, but rezzing NPCs is often to your benefit. Alright, so maybe the fisher isn’t going to help you much, but the guards sure will. It’s nice to have some bait around to keep the mobs occupied for a bit. ;) There were a few events that I really struggled with unless I got some of the NPC’s up to assist. Of course, if you’re me, you keep accidentally rezzing your pet by accident, and not the other person. Oops.
Last but not least, there’s your personal story! As an RPer, I’m inclined to treat the personal story arc as some bizarre ass daydreams my character is having, but it’s yet another option for gaining XP (and meeting some awesome NPCs.).
If ALL OF THAT still leaves you staring at your zone making sad faces, then GO SOMEWHERE ELSE. Started a Charr and can’t find something else to do in their zone? Go play in the Norn starting zone. Even if you’ve gotten your way to say, level 10, it’ll scale you down appropriately. In fact you probably want to do this anyway, to hit up more skill point challenges. Although I suck at skill point challenges, apparently, and have still not done half of them. >.>
I don’t think that GW2 will have the same problem as Rift, where if an event doesn’t get “done” and you come along later, you’re half a dozen kinds of cock-blocked. I attempted an event on my own with my Guardian, failed…and all that happened was that another event opened up, to retrieve the supplies that I couldn’t protect. All I lost, really, was a few coppers for my repair bill.
All in all, I think it’s an interesting concept.
ArenaNet seems to be doing a good job so far–some player requests were granted this time around (oh /say, how I missed you), and despite the typical bug fest that is beta, it seemed to run smoother over all. I’m still quite looking forward to this game.