How to switch between the starter areas in Guild Wars 2

Updated June 2014: After Scarlet had attacked Lion’s Arch, it could not serve as the central hub for players anymore. With the recent patch, this has changed and the city is slowly being rebuilt. We had previously changed this post to reflect the changes (Vigil Keep was used as the destination for all those portals). But now that Lion’s Arch is the centre again, we’re reverting the post. Please note that the path from the cities to Lion’s Arch is still up-to-date, but when you are in Lion’s Arch, the portals’ positions have slightly changed. We will update this as soon as possible!


If you have played Guild Wars 1, you may remember that it wasn’t possible to immediately switch between the different campaigns’ starter areas. It is not this complicated in Guild Wars 2, thankfully. However, we have seen people ask in-game and we have also found this question in our search terms. As it may not be immediately clear for new players, we have taken a few pictures and will guide you to the different starter areas now.

After you have created your character, you will be in a short tutorial. This is in an instanced area where switching is not possible yet. Play through it first and defeat the boss at the end. Directly after this tutorial, you’re ready to switch to whatever area you would like to go!

You need to know that all races’ cities are connected with each other through asura portals in Lion’s Arch. So if you want to get to another starter area, you need to go to Lion’s Arch first. There are two ways of reaching this city: You either go through your own capital city or you go through the Heart of the Mists. Just look for your race below or for the part with the Heart of the Mists.

Asura: Metrica Province – Rata Sum – Lion’s Arch

The left half of the picture above shows the location you’re at once you get out of the tutorial. Turn your character around and enter the portal to reach your capital city “Rata Sum”. If you have already moved away from the location and can’t find it, look on the upper right of the picture which shows a part of the Metrica Province map. The portal to Rata Sum is on the left where you can see the white dots and the arrow.

Asura quite like their portals and you will find a lot of them in their city (the purple swirly markers on the map show you their location). You’ll enter at the bottom right of the map. Ignore the other portals next to you and walk towards the one on the top of the map (shown on the lower right in the picture). The portal up there will bring you to Lion’s Arch. Jump to the last paragraph to see where to go from here.

Charr: Plains of Ashford – Black Citadel – Lion’s Arch

The upper half of the picture shows you where your charr will end up once he or she gets out of the tutorial. Turn around and run through the portal to enter The Black Citadel which serves as your race’s headquarters. If you don’t know where you came out after leaving the tutorial, have a look at the lower left part of the picture. It shows a little part of the “Plains of Ashford” map and the location where you enter The Black Citadel.

Once inside the city, follow the dotted path that you can see on the lower right of the picture. There is only one asura portal, so it should be easy to spot. Hop through it and you’re in Lion’s Arch. Jump to the last paragraph to see where to go from here.

Human: Queensdale – Divinity’s Reach – Lion’s Arch

If you’re a human, you will not land directly in front of your city’s portal after the tutorial. Instead, you will be inside a building. Leave it, turn right and walk towards the portal (which can be seen on the lower left part of the picture). The picture above also shows you a part of the map of the Village of Shaemoor with the location of the portal to Divinity’s Reach.

Inside the city, take the right ramp up the path, walk straight on towards the green swirly marker that you can see in the picture on the right part. Once through the portal, you’re in Lion’s Arch. Jump to the last paragraph to see where to go from here.

Norn: Wayfarer Foothills – Hoelbrak – Lion’s Arch

As a norn, you just need to turn right after getting out of the tutorial and run towards the portal up there. The upper right half of the picture shows quite well where you need to go. The map on the lower left shows the exact location, in case you’ve already wandered away from that place and don’t remember where exactly you ended up after the tutorial.

Hoelbrak itself is also pretty straight forward. Just walk the path shown on the right map in the picture. When the path makes that turn to the left, there’s some stairs, so make sure not to miss those! Once there, hop through the portal to Lion’s Arch. Jump to the last paragraph to see where to go from here.

Sylvari: Caledon Forest – The Grove – Lion’s Arch

The sylvari are a special case. Before you go anywhere, please look at yourself. You may notice you’re lacking something important. Walk a few steps forward. Over there you should find an NPC that can help you. Yeah, we are trying to be vague and probably fail miserably.

Once you’re done, walk back and through the portal. The map on the upper right in the picture shows you the path to said portal. The map on the lower right shows you where to go once you are inside The Grove, the sylvari’s capital. Walk straight on, turn left, hop through the portal and you’re in Lion’s Arch. Jump to the last paragraph to see where to go from here.

Anywhere in the World – The Mists – Lion’s Arch

You’re not always going to be near your city – or any other city – and may still want to travel elsewhere. Please note that as long as you’re not in combat and the waypoint isn’t contested, you can always click on any waypoint your character has already unlocked and travel there. But this can get quite expensive and sometimes, you just want to go to another city quickly. You can also reach Lion’s Arch by going to the Mists – and by doing so, you will not pay anything!

Open the “PvP tab”. That is the icon with the two crossed swords on top. Then click on the button that says “Go to the Heart of the Mists”. When you get there for the first time ever (on your account, not per character!), you will be asked to do the PvP tutorial. You can skip it and do it later, or do it immediately. It doesn’t take long and explains a few basic things about combat and PvP.

The left half of the picture above shows you the map for this PvP tutorial. The picture on the upper middle part of the picture shows where you appear when you go to the Heart of the Mists for the first time and thus, end up in the PvP tutorial. Right below, you can see the portal you get through when a) leaving the PvP tutorial through the portal (seen on the left map at the top) or b) whenever you go to the Heart of the Mists after having done the tutorial. The right part of the picture shows you the map and where you’ll find the portal to Lion’s Arch. But it’s really easy, as you can see on the lower middle picture: It’s right in front of you! There’s also an NPC on your right that will let you do the PvP tutorial if you have skipped it before.

Once you’re in Lion’s Arch, this is where you get to other capital cities

(Update June 2014: The above picture is outdated. We will upload a new one soon!) Now that you’re in Lion’s Arch you may wonder where to go next – or maybe not because it’s quite easy. At least, if you have come from another city. The middle part of the picture above shows all the cities’ portals. As you can see, they’re all in the same area. And you don’t need to run up to each one to see where they lead. Each city has guards from the respective race standing near them. Look for them and you’ll know which one is which.

If you came from the Heart of the Mists, you’re south of those portals which you can also see in the picture. We labelled it “Mist and WvWvW Gates”. If you’re there, you can either run towards the cities’ portals (or use a waypoint if you have been there before) or stay where you are and sign up for a WvWvW battle. There is one portal for each of the worlds’ battlegrounds (Green, Red and Blue Borderlands) and the central one (Eternal Battlegrounds).

7 responses to “How to switch between the starter areas in Guild Wars 2

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  4. You did something that I always make myself promise to do but never get to: update an old entry! Thank you for this. There are quite a few people just beginning their journey on Tyria and this topic is *hot* for them!


    • It is very hot. It’s been the no. 1 post almost every day in terms of traffic. I say this shows us two things:
      1) ArenaNet did a bad job in explaining how the travel system works and how you can get to other places.
      2) There must be a constant influx of new players, because those who have been playing for a longer time probably need to look up the travel system once, maybe twice, but certainly not every day. ;)


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