Ask Nerdy Bookahs

It’s time for another “Ask Nerdy Bookahs”. We have looked at the questions in the search terms that led people to our blog for which we know we do not have fitting entries and we’re trying to answer those questions now.

Do I need to have played Guild Wars to play Guild Wars 2?

Technically, no. There is nothing holding you back from purchasing Guild Wars 2 and playing it if you don’t own Guild Wars 1. But I assume that this question is not about the technical aspect of setting up an account, entering game codes, etc. but rather about the lore behind it. Guild Wars 2 is based on an established lore, it has a history of more than 250 years (Guild Wars 1 takes place 250 years before Guild Wars 2). There are two (soon three, I assume) novels connecting the story of Guild Wars 1 with Guild Wars 2 (“Ghosts of Ascalon” and “Edge of Destiny”). At the end of Guild Wars 1, there were hints pointing towards the happenings of Guild Wars 2 (sylvari, the awakening of the Elder Dragons, just to name a few).

Having played Guild Wars 1, I cannot say how good or bad Guild Wars 2 is in introducing you to the world and its story. I would say that reading “Edge of Destiny” would be a great starting point. But two of our friends started Guild Wars 2 without having played Guild Wars 1 or having read any of the two novels and neither of them complained, with one exception: They both did not really understand what the “sylvari” are. Reading through the wiki entry that I linked would be a big help there, especially if you decide not to play a sylvari yourself. The other races just aren’t properly introduced to what sylvari are.

Other than that, I think you’re perfectly fine without knowing anything about Guild Wars 1 and the history between those two games. If you still want to be up-to-date on the lore, check the lore videos from Wooden Potatoes. They are a bit fast but brilliant!

How do you gather in Guild Wars 2?

GW2 Mithril Orichalcum Harvesting toolsYou’ll need to get the appropriate gathering tools. Those can be bought from a merchant. There’s one kind for gathering plants, one for chopping wood and one for mining ore. And then there are different “qualities”. The higher the area, the higher the gathering tool needs to be. Fortunately, they are compatible downwards. Copper ore, for example, can be found in the low-level area, but you can buy the highest mining tool and still mine copper with it. The gathering tools have special slots, so you won’t have to replace them with your weapon when you want to gather something. Once you equip those tools, you can finally gather all those items you’re running into. Just be careful when you enter a new area. If you gather “ruined…” items, then that means that your gathering tools are too low-level for that item.

How long does it take to reach endgame in Guild Wars 2?

That depends on what “endgame” is for you. There is structured PvP which basically means PvP in instanced areas (like scenarios in Warhammer Online or battlegrounds in World of Warcraft). sPvP, as it’s often shortened, can be accessed from level 1. Once you’re in sPvP, all characters are level 80 with the same level of equipment and access to all skills, etc. So if all you are interested in is sPvP, then you would not need to level any character at all. Just create one and have fun playing sPvP!

Levelling from 1 to 80 doesn’t take too long, though. And once you’re 80, all areas of the game are open to you. The great thing about the game, however, is that you can always go back to lower level areas where your character is getting downscaled. While you will be a bit stronger than a regular character at the lower level, the areas will still be challenging for you. Speaking of strictly “level 80 content”, there are areas that are designed for level 80 and you probably shouldn’t go there with a much lower level (you’re not getting upscaled in the PvE world, after all).

But as I said, levelling doesn’t take too long. It took me 6 months to reach max level in Lord of the Rings Online and that was with Siege of Mirkwood as the latest expansion. In comparison, it took me about a month to reach level 80 in Guild Wars 2.

Can you play through Guild Wars 2 solo?

Yes and no. You have your “personal storyline” with quests that will lead you to instanced areas and you’ll be the only person in there unless you want to take other players with you. Outside of those, you can play “solo” as in you don’t need to form a party with other players. But the game itself is designed in a way that you will not be completely on your own. You get full experience points and loot for any mob that you’ve hit often enough (that is, more than once usually), no matter how many others have hit the mob as well. In other words: There is no tagging a mob like you know from games like World of Warcraft. You will also have skills that give you and “allies” buffs. “Allies” means friendly players and out in the PvE world, all other players are “friendly players” and will be effected from such buffs, even if you’re not in a party with them. You also get experience points for rezzing other players, so it’s not unusual to have people stop in their track and come over to help you get back up.

There are also events taking place in the world (“group events”) or skill challenges that will be too difficult for just one person alone. So every once in a while, you will need the help of another player if you want to do them. They are not required, though, to advance your character.

To sum it up: Yes, you can play solo and do not need to form a group. But no, you will probably not be alone and fight mobs completely on your own and you will get help from other players more often than you probably do in other MMOs.

How can I take a screenshot with having my character visible?

GW2 Lions Arch Horn
See the horn at the bottom of the picture?

Sorry, but you can’t. Not without workarounds, at least. I seriously do hope they are changing that soon, as it’s very annoying.

One tip: Type “/sleep”, then hide your interface (I’ve rebound the key for hiding/showing the user interface to “#”, by the way, as it is much easier to remember than the default key combination), position the camera accordingly and you can take a screenshot without your character. Unfortunately, this is much more difficult to do with asura than humans, for example. Charr can be tricky as well if you’ve chosen one with long horns.

Can you have more than one character in Guild Wars?

If you buy one campaign in Guild Wars (1), you’ll get 4 character slots: 2 for the account itself, 2 for owning the campaign. Every campaign (there are three campaigns: Prophecies, Factions and Nightfall) adds 2 more character slots leaving you with 8 character slots total. The game has 10 professions which means that if you want to have one character of each profession, you’d have to buy two additional character slots.

Guild Wars 2 comes with 5 character slots and offers 8 different professions. So in order to play all professions, you’d have to buy 3 additional character slots in Guild Wars 2.

Do you have a breath bar in Guild Wars 2?

Nope. Once you get underwater, you will automatically switch your headgear to a breathing apparatus allowing your character to breathe underwater just like she would above. This item works just like other items in that it has stats and you can exchange it in higher levels for items with better stats. But they will all work in letting your character breathe and you will not need to watch any breath bar. Swim and dive for as long as you like!

Why do you want to be a blogger?

Good question. I guess I just like talking and writing. ;) It’s a nice hobby, one I do for fun but not for money. I’ve become part of a community and have met several people who also write about games. It’s just something that I really enjoy doing and if it comes with the benefit of getting to know other people from all over the world, it’s perfect for me.


  1. Interesting read. The sad thing with Guild Wars (1) is that, although many want to play it because of GW2 and the HoM, there aren’t many people left in the game anymore (well, that was to be expected). If anyone reading this is looking for people to play with, your best chances of finding someone probably are looking for them in this subreddit:


    1. Yeah, I actually thought there’d be more people left playing Guild Wars 1. I am still not finished with Prophecies… so I’ll likely get back to it at some point. ;)

      Thanks for that link! I didn’t even think about checking there for other players, but it’s good that we have something like that. :)


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