I'm sure many of you have heard about Surfeuze, the first level 80 in Guild Wars 2. We had a chance to interview him about his experience in-game this weekend. Here's what he had to say about it:
First off, congratulations on completing such a feat! Can you tell us a little about yourself and your guild?
Hi, I’m Jeremy, 29, and at the risk of disappointing some, I’m a man. I currently live in Toulouse, France. I started playing video games with Counter Strike and Dota, as many other players. I started playing with War Legend in 2002, and then on Warhammer, WoW, PlanetSide and Aion.
War Legend was created in 2000 by Denpxc, and had always been a Hardcore Gaming PvP-oriented guild.
Now tell us a little bit about your in-game self! I see you chose the elementalist. Can you tell us what attunement(s) and weapon set(s) you favored while leveling?
It’s hard to say what attunement I favored, because each one is important; as an elementalist, I need to adapt to every situation by choosing the right attunement. Each one has its particularities and each one is essential! If I were to keep only one, it would be the fire attunement. I mostly played with a staff, which casts mainly AoE skills.
What about your trait build? Did any of it change much as you leveled or did you stick to the same set-up?
I spent my trait points in the arcane, air and fire trait lines. I decided to use the following major traits: Internal Fire/Pyromancer’s Alacry/Pyromancer’s Puissance in the fire line, Zephyr’s Boon and Arcane Lightening in the air line and finally Elemental Attunement and Blasting Staff in the arcane line. While the fire line grants more powerful fire spells, the arcane line enlarges AoE: if you use both fire attunement and staff, your fire AoE will be “explosives”! It’s an AoE based DPS build. I used the same build as I leveled. [Link to build.]
What kind of pre-game preparations did you make? Did you do a lot of research prior to launch?
We did a lot of researching/tests during the few beta week-ends and stress tests, in order to have an overall idea of what we’ll be doing when the servers go live. For example, we already knew which race, which maps we’ll use, and also that the crafting will be part of the rush: we knew that crafting was the easiest way to burn through the last levels so we simply prepared it cautiously : leveling 4 or 5 crafts with T1 to T3 materials was enough.
Did you make use of the XP boosts from the gem store or any other consumables?
We used something like ten XP boosts, and a few Craft boosts, and only from levels 40 to 80. We also used some cooking consumables that you can buy in Queensdale.
When you went out into the world, did you run solo or did you have a group? Did you find one or the other "better" for speed leveling?
As said in the news on our website, I ran with 3 other guildmates: Denpxc, Muji and Tiphaine. As promised by Arena Net, Guild Wars 2 is really a game made for groups and socializers: it’s way faster to play in group than to play solo, contrary to most of the other games; in Guild Wars 2, another player represents help, not encumbrance.
What types of content did you rush to or away from to help max out your leveling?
Since the WvW was down on Vizunah Square (and since it isn’t the fastest way to level) we didn’t use it at all. The whole leveling was done in PvE: the first 60 levels were done by completing “renown hearts” and dynamic events, the last 20 using craft.
Were there any zones or types of hearts or events that you steered clear from?
Yes, we avoided epic quests (green quests), group events (most boss have so much hps it's taking too long), escorts events, and most renown hearts events that we never did before in beta and stress tests.
Which two crafting disciplines did you choose to level up first? How many disciplines did you end up leveling?
We decided to level up first cooking and armorsmith. Given that all crafting disciplines (except cooking) use items like totems/bloods/venins … it’s quite hard to level up two crafting disciplines at a time, except for the cooking. Else, you can level up the first 140 points of the cooking discipline in only a few minutes and spending a 50 pa to gain more or less 2 levels, as explained in this guide, so the cooking was for us the best choice to do. On the other side, armorsmith was a random choice; it could have been tailor as well.
We ended up leveling 5 disciplines, but only a few points: since our guildmates weren’t as high leveled as us, it was impossible to obtain high level materials, so we leveled up a bit of each discipline, around 200 points.
Since the Trading Post was down all weekend, how did you get all the materials for your crafting disciplines?
Since the trading post AND the WvW were downed, all our guildmates were stuck in PvE: by simply recycling all the items and gathering materials on your way through events, we obtained what we needed. It wasn’t farming at all : all players were leveling in a normal way.
Which of the crafting disciplines did you find the easiest to level? Which ones would you consider the hardest in regards to materials needed and cost of said materials?
Cooking is certainly one of the easiest to level … At least the first 200 levels! The next 200 levels are way harder, because you need all the materials to discover recipes, and there’s so many of them that you don’t even have enough place in your bag … Moreover when you gather a “vegetable root” for example, you can’t be sure of what you will get from it, so as a chief you must adapt to this randomness : you may need a particular item to pursue your crafting, and you can’t even find it … Jewelry is also a hard one to level, because of the need of gems that also appears randomly in ores/trees when you gather other materials. The 6 other crafting are way similar in their mechanics.
I'm sure you saw the comment made by Mike O'Brien on Reddit. What was your reaction when you saw it? What about when he made his apologetic post later?
We were very happy when we saw the apology because the first message was more or less accusing us of having used an unfair tactic or an exploit. We knew he was not talking about us at that time so we were still fine in our mind but the community was asking for more and we had no idea how to prove ourselves. I mean Mike is the President of ArenaNet!
We thought that he would never take the time to correct his message since he must be so busy with the game launching. This really proved once again how ArenaNet is different from the others games company, they are really listening to the community from all front and do not hesitate to do everything they can even in hard times.
Thank you for taking the time to answer some of our questions! Is there anyone you want to give special thanks to for helping you out this weekend?
I’d like to thank again Frix, who oversaw and organized all the crafting part, and our guildmates that made this achievement possible with all their support. Thank you, GW2 Guru, for this interview!