10 steps to gearing your first level 80 character
This guide is for Guild Wars 2 players who have recently hit level 80 with their first character. Though it includes a few explanations of endgame content, the guide’s primary focus is explaining how to get better gear. The guide starts with a summary, followed by in-depth explanations.
You should read the entire guide at once instead of piece-wise, as there are a number of things you should start doing now to prepare yourself for later.
Summary for the lazy gamers:
- Pick and practice a dope build. Use MetaBattle to find an in-meta build for your profession.
- Finish your personal story. Get nearly a full set of Rare gear just by finishing your level 80 personal story questline.
- Join at least one guild. Find an established guild, and start participating in Guild Challenges each week to get Guild Commendations.
- Unlock the rest of your specializations. Farm Hero Challenges to unlock the rest of your Elite Specializations. Prioritize level 80 areas, as Hero Challenges award +10 Hero Points (as opposed to only +1).
- Grind dungeons for tokens. Complete dungeons, get tokens. Spend tokens, get better gear.
- Login for Laurels. Earn Laurel's (and other rewards) through daily log-in rewards.
- Do the Fractal Dailies. Complete Fractal Daily quests to earn Pristine Fractal Relics.
- Take down World Bosses. Use a World Boss Timer to track World Boss spawns. Take them down for phat loot.
- Cap your crafting level. Use guides from GW2Crafts.net to cap your crafting level at the cheapest price.
- Craft time-gated materials. Figure out what Ascended crafting materials are time-gated, and start crafting them every day.
- Get money. Salvage all of the Rare or Exotic items you find that you don’t need. Sell your Fine or Masterwork items to the highest bidder—the Trading Post or an NPC vendor. (Exception: Continue salvaging your Masterwork items if you haven’t capped your crafting level.)
Since your newly 80, you’re likely wearing primarily Masterwork gear. Though this will be sufficient for a lot of endgame content, the better your gear is, the easier your time will be. Thus, priority numero uno is better gearing your character. Here’s the item quality hierarchy:
Basic < Fine < Masterwork < Rare < Exotic < Ascended < Legendary
Masterwork is 10% better than Fine; Rare is 10% better than Masterwork; Exotic is 20% better than Rare; and Ascended is 5% better than Exotic. Therefore, the biggest bang for your buck will come from Exotic gear, due to the 20% jump in stats. You can worry about the last 5% bump into Ascended gear later.
Note that weapons are the only items that can be Legendary: Armor and trinkets are capped at Ascended. Legendary weapons are crafted using an absolute megaton of materials, and are primarily a status symbol—as the item stats aren’t any different from Ascended weapons.
Step 2: Upgrade to Heart of Thorns
If you haven’t upgraded already, reaching level 80 is when you want to upgrade to the Guild Wars 2: Heart of Thorns expansion. The expansion unlocks new regions, new specializations, new game modes, and a new profession called the Revenant. Oh...and gliding!
Step 3: Learn your profession
Even though you’ve played through 80 levels of your selected profession, you likely don’t yet know everything. You’re likely spamming sub-optimal skills, using sub-par stat combinations, or wielding the wrong weapon.
Luckily for you, you don’t have to be a master of your profession to reach level 80. However, now that you are level 80, there’s no reason not to know what you’re doing. Where should you start? Read the Class Guide that corresponds to your profession on Dulfy.net, and bookmark the site while you’re at it!
Step 4: Select a build
Before you can start acquiring better gear, you have to know what gear (and, specifically, what stat combination) is best for your character. Use MetaBattle to find a build that matches your profession and target game mode. Even though you’ll acquire different sets of gear to correspond with different game modes, your first set should be PvE (Player versus Environment). Having a good PvE gear set first (and focusing on PvE content) will make obtaining additional gear sets easier. These builds are currently referred to as “Fractal” on MetaBattle, which refers to Fractals of the Mist.
The easiest way to find a build is to select “By Profession” and scroll down to the “Fractal” builds. From these builds, pick the one you think will be most fun.
Important: After you’ve put a Hero Point into your first “Elite” specialization, you’ll be given an Exotic weapon. As this will likely be your first Exotic item, you should favor MetaBattle builds that incorporate it. For example, Necromancers receive an Exotic Greatsword; therefore, new Necromancers should favor a Greatsword build instead of, say, a dagger build.
Step 5: Put the build into practice
Once you’ve selected your build, you’ll obviously need to:
- Rework your skill bar with the skills from the build;
- Pick up whatever secondary or off-hand weapons you need (buy Fine or Masterwork items for cheap from the Trading Post); and,
- Update your Specialization trees.
Step 6: Get your Exotic weapon
Elite Specializations are special specializations you unlock once you (1) are level 80, (2) have purchased Heart of Thorns, and (3) have completely unlocked all other specializations. (At level 80, you should have enough Hero Points to unlock all lower-level specializations and put a few points towards your Elite Specialization.)
As was alluded to in the previous section, your first skill in your Elite Specialization will be a new weapon proficiency. Unlocking this skill will award you with an Exotic weapon corresponding to the proficiency.
Step 7: Finish your personal story
It will take a few hours to finish your level 80 personal story quest-line, but doing so will get you almost a full set of Rare armor in quest rewards.
Step 8: Use the Trading Post
After you’ve finished your personal story, you should replace whatever Masterwork or Fine armor pieces you have left with Rare items using the Black Lion Trading Company (O); also known as the Trading Post. If you have the money, you should also replace any Rare items with incorrect stat (stats that don’t match your selected build) with Rare items with correct stats.
If this shopping trip costs you more than 1-2 Gold, you’ve done something wrong.
Buy sigils, runes, and jewels
Sigils, runes, and jewels are upgrade components for gear. Sigils apply only to weapons; jewels apply only to trinkets; and, runes apply only to armor. All of these components have a quality hierarchy:
- For sigils and runes, it goes from Minor < Major < Superior
- For jewels, it goes Adorned < Intricate < Embellished Intricate < Gilded < Embellished Gilded < Ornate < Embellished Ornate < Brilliant < Embellished Brilliant < Exquisite
Important: You can salvage your items when you find replacements using higher-level Salvage Kits. That way, you can keep or reuse the upgrade components.
Step 9: Grind for Exotic items
Spend your Karma points
Ruins of Orr is a level 70-80 zone that consists of six temples. Each of the temples spawn a Karma vendor that sells Exotic armor sets. However, each vendor will only spawn after successfully completing an associated event to capture the respective template. These events require ~10 people.
Use this Dulfy page to find the correct armor set for your build and the location of the wanted vendor.
Each armor piece, no matter the vendor, will cost 42,000 Karma points. However, Karma gear is not available in all stat combinations.
Important: You cannot salvage gear purchased with Karma, so you won’t be getting any of your upgrade components back. This really only matters if you end up purchasing Rare items with Karma (which you shouldn’t anyway). If you buy Exotic items with Karma, you should buy the best upgrade components possible, irrespective of the fact that you’ll never get them back.
Collect and spend dungeon currency
Every dungeon path you run will award you 60 tokens once per day. (Every path you run of the same dungeon after that will award you only 20 tokens.) Every dungeon has different types of tokens. For example, Ascalonian Catacombs reward you with Ascalonian Tears.
All dungeon tokens can be spent at the Dungeon Armor and Weapons vendor, located at Fort Marriner in Lion’s Arch.
Important: Be sure to check that the dungeon tokens you’re farming can be spent on the correct armor or weapon pieces. You can’t buy all stat combinations with all dungeon tokens.
Spend WvW badges
World versus World (WvW) is an endgame Player versus Player (PvP) game mode. You can collect Badges of Honor by playing it, which can be traded for Exotic armor pieces with an Armor Master.
Once you’ve hit level 400 with your crafting discipline, you can craft Exotic armor or weapons (depending on the discipline you’ve selected). Each piece will require a recipe (typically for one of the materials used to craft the piece, instead of for the full piece itself) from a Master of your respective craft. These recipes cost ~900 Karma points. You can then discover each item accordingly using the “Discovery” tab when interacting with a crafting station.
Important: Before you head to the Trading Post to buy materials to craft each piece (or even before you buy the recipe), check the price of buying a fully-formed piece of armor, weapon, or trinket. Sometimes buying what you want premade is cheaper than buying the crafting materials. When searching, be sure to include the price of the upgrade component you want, as most people list the fully-formed piece already upgraded.
Get lucky against World Bosses
There are a number of different world bosses that spawn at designated times across the map. Using a World Boss Timer will allow you to track each spawn. Each World Boss has a chance to drop at least a Rare or Exotic item; however, even if you get an Exotic item drop, you won’t always be able to select the stat combination you want. That means you’ll be waiting not only for an Exotic item to drop, but an Exotic item you need with the stat combination you want. This model isn't terribly scalable.
With this World Boss Timer, you can quickly find the location of each boss by pasting in the “Nearest Waypoint” bracketed code into the game chat window. For example, Tequatl the Sunless spawns here: [&BNABAAA].
Step 10: Grind for Ascended items
Once you have a full set of Exotic gear (including your underwater weapon) you can focus your attention on Ascended items. These items are 5-10% better than Exotic items; however, most people will tell you that a full set of Ascended gear isn’t worth the trouble.
Even though you may never get a full set, there are specific pieces that are easier to get than others. Ascended trinkets, for example, are certainly worth your time!
Buy Ascended Accessories using Guild Commendations
Every week, guilds are tasked with Challenges. Participating in each Challenge will award you with a single Guild Commendation. These can be traded to a Guild Commendation Trader for Ascended Accessories. You can find a Guild Commendation Trader in the Guild Initiative Headquarters, located in the Postern Ward of Lion’s Arch.
Your character can be equipped with two Accessories. Each accessory costs 5 Gold and 12 Guild Commendations. To get 12 Guild Commendations, you’ll need to participate in two weeks’ worth of Challenges with your guild (assuming your guild completes them all).
Buy Ascended Rings using Pristine Fractal Relics
Fractals of the Mist (also known as Fractals) is an endgame PvE game mode. A Fractal is a dungeon (there are 14 different dungeons in total) that increase in difficulty from 1-100. Each Fractal takes 15-20 minutes to complete, depending on the skill of your party.
Fractals are broken down into fractal sets based on difficulty: 1-20, 21-50, 51-75, and 76-100. Each Fractal you run will increase your Personal Fractal Level (PFL). If you’re PFL is level 3, and you run Fractal Level 3, your PFL will increase to 4. If you’re PFL is level 3, and you run Fractal Level 2, your PFL will not increase (as you ran a Fractal Level that’s lower than your PFL).
Your PFL will start at 1 when you hit level 80; however, you can run any Fractal level up to the highest PFL of a member of your party. For example, if you have a party member that has a PFL of 82, your party can run up to Fractal level 82.
Completing a Fractal Daily quest, for example, awards one Pristine Fractal Relic (not to be confused with regular Fractal Relics that you receive by running any ol’ Fractal). Pristine Fractal Relics can be traded to the BUY-2046 robot in the Fractals of the Mist lobby for Ascended Rings.
Each of these items costs 10 Pristine Fractal Relics.
Important: Ascended trinkets are unique, so you cannot equip two of the same trinket. Keep that in mind when you're spending your Pristine Fractal Relics: You cannot equip two Red Ring of Death's!
Important: If you don’t have any Agony resistance, you should not run fractals above level 20. If you do, your party will highly dislike you.
Buy an Ascended Amulet with Laurels
You will receive Laurels in one of two ways. First, you can receive Laurel's through daily log-in rewards. Note that all Daily achievements reset at 7:00PM EST. That means if you log in for the first time at 6:00PM and then out at 6:55PM, you will not receive your log-in reward that day. Second, you can receive bags of Laurels after certain Achievement point benchmarks. For example, once you have 1,500 Achievement Points (H), you’ll receive 1 Laurel and 1 Gold as a reward.
An Ascended Amulet can be purchased for 30 Laurels at the Laurel Merchant, located in Commodore’s Quarter in Lion’s Arch.
Important: You can also purchase an Ascended Amulet for only 20 Laurels and 250 Badges of Honor, obtained by playing WvW. Generally, 10 Laurels is worth a lot more than 250 badges.
Get super lucky against World Bosses
Any World Boss that drops a Champion Loot Bag has a chance to drop an Ascended item. The drop rate is extremely low, and—similar to Exotic item drops from World Bosses—you can’t control the stats. Thus, you can’t be sure that even if an Ascended item drops, it’s one that you’ll use.
The only way to guarantee you get Ascended gear with the stats you want is by crafting. Once you’ve hit level 500 with your crafting discipline, you can craft Ascended armor or weapons (depending on the discipline you’ve selected). Each piece will require a recipe from a Master of your respective craft. These recipes each cost 5 Laurels and 3 Gold.
Crafting any Ascended item will require time-gated materials (i.e. materials that can only be crafted once per day). For example, an Ascended tailoring item requires Bolts of Damask, which each require one Spool of Silk Weaving Thread. These are time-gated, as you can only create one Spool of Silk Weaving Thread per day.
In addition, Ascended items require materials that are “Soulbound on Acquire” and, thus, must be farmed—Emphyreal Fragments, for example. Figuring out what these are early will ensure you don’t spend them on something unnecessary.
Step 11: Cap your +Agony Resistance (AR)
If you're planning to run high-level Fractals or get into raiding, you're going to need Agony Resistance.
After Fractal Level 20, bosses will cause Agony. This is an effect that will reduce healing and remove a percentage of your health every second. To mitigate this damage (as you can’t remove it completely), you must infuse Agony Resistance with your Ascended items. Infusions are an upgrade component like sigils, runes, and jewels. (You can find a table of the Agony Resistance needed for each level fractal here.)
There are two often-misunderstood types of "agony infusions" in Guild Wars 2: (1) Agony Infusions and (2) infusions with Agony Resistance. You'll find that +1 Agony Infusions drop frequently in Fractals. (These can be combined to form higher level Agony Infusions by an Artificer or the BUY-437 robot in the Fractals lobby.) These infusions can only be used on Ascended rings or an Ascended backpiece.
The other type of Agony Infusion, infusions with Agony Resistance, can be used on Armor and Weapons. For example, you can buy a Versatile Simple Infusion with +3, +5, or +7 AR for 75-150 Fractal Relics.
The maximum amount of Agony Resistance that you'll need (and only if you're going to run the highest level Fractals) is +150 AR. Click here to learn the most cost efficient way to do it.
Attune and infuse your ascended rings
You can infuse a ring or backpiece in the Mystic Forge to gain an additional infusion slot. You can also attune Ascended rings for an additional Agony Infusion slot. Attuning and infusing a ring can be done in any order; however, do not apply any upgrade components until you've done both, as you'll lose your infusion when upgrading.
Bonus: Get a legendary weapon
Once you have a full set of Ascended gear, you’re ready to craft a Legendary weapon. At this point, what you really want to do is sit straight up, turn off your computer, and go outside. That big bright light? That’s called the sun.
Thanks for reading!