My longtime group of gaming buddies includes a bunch of casual GW2 players. Pretty much everyone bought the game, and the lack of subscription fee allows people to hop in and out at a whim. One of them noticed that I had more than 8000 achievement points, which seemed bafflingly high to him, and you can only imagine his reaction to my explanation that people are 5000 points and more ahead of me, like my guildmate who was competing for the achievement point leaderboards and used to consistently do every daily every day.
When I am into a game, I am a bit more hardcore than average, but I am not always in hardcore GW2 mode. Let me lay out how I keep advancement rolling in Guild Wars 2 on less than an hour a day with no serious investment of time, effort, or attention. (If you want to invest one of those three, you can do a lot more.)
The first principle of Guild Wars 2 is that everything gives xp, so do what you want. Almost everything moves you forward, and the only consistent sinks are repairs and waypoints. If you do anything, you will progress. Try everything, find what you like, and go for it. If you just enjoy yourself and do not care about how far or fast you progress, you can stop here.
As I have stated about GW1, minimal attention can make you progress much more quickly for the same investment of time and effort. For Guild Wars 2, I summarize that as “do your dailies.” Why are we using dailies to guide our time investment? Daily achievements provide three big things: experience and laurels.
- Completing a daily achievement yields 5% of a level. If you complete five dailies, that is a quarter of a level, and you likely earned another quarter of a level while completing them.
- Laurels are a valuable, time-gated currency. They are the best source of ascended amulets and the only source of ascended recipes. If you are playing casually, I recommend accumulating laurels and forgetting about them until level 80. If you get back to playing seriously, you can look into where to spend them. If you are going to be casual forever, just ask a guildmate what you should buy; you know who the hardcore players in your guild are.
- Every 500 achievements points, you get a chest of rewards. These are nice, and some of them are really nice. You get cash and items and cash shop items and permanent boosts to things like magic find. If you run your dailies and complete the Living World meta-achievements, you can realistically get one of these chests per month.
Those are the benefits. The costs are minimal because dailies overlap. For example, defeating a champion might count as a kill, a kill in a zone, an aquatic kill, a kill variety, an event, an event in a zone, a group event, a mentored event, and/or a champion kill; in the process of killing it, you might impose or cure conditions, dodge, and/or revive someone; its loot will probably give you something to salvage; and there will probably be a gathering node or four near the champion. Wow, one good event can check a lot of boxes. On a good day, I timed it at 27 minutes to complete 8 dailies.
I have three areas I use for easy daily completion. I like to use dailies to advance alts, who need the 5% xp more than my main character, so these are all areas you can access as soon as you exit the tutorial.
- Lion’s Arch always has dailies available. The daily activity is always available by the fountain, and most of them are quick. Lion’s Arch also lets you complete crafter, laurel vendor, karma spender, costume brawl, mystic forgesmith, and feast (1 silver worth of cookies at the trading post). If the current Living World is a social event like Wintersday, its daily will probably also be in Lion’s Arch. Crafter gets a special note because you should be completing Daily Gatherer every day, and refining materials 10 times gives you Daily Crafter. Costume brawl gets a note because you need someone else interested in completing it, but you get costume potions for completing zones, and there are usually volunteers to trade costume brawl wins.
- The Queensdale champion train is a great source of all those checkboxes I mentioned above. On my server (and most, as far as I can tell), there is always a group going from the boar to the troll (maybe to the bandit) to the oak to the spider. The train runs continuously at all hours. The boar area is good for bonus revives on downed NPC hunters and for veterans. That covers most of your kill variety right there, and you will pass a dozen gathering nodes on that loop.
- Linnea’s hunt for the jackalope is another low-level event area that checks many boxes. It is a chain of three events (two of them quick) in the Wayfarer Foothills (Hangrammr Climb) that passes a few harvesting nodes and includes a veteran. It ends next to a potato farm that gives you more nodes plus another veteran. Following that wall takes you to one of the fastest jumping puzzles. Rabbits and ravens in the area give you lots of ambient kills for that daily.
- WvW is a bonus area for quick dailies some days of some weeks. There will always be a daily for 10 WvW kills; joining the main group in the Eternal Battlegrounds will usually get you that quickly, along with a few captures and then miscellany like kill variety or gathering nodes. I find the enemies’ borderlands to be a great source of quick dailies if you can solo supply camps (not for alts), or bring a guild group of achievement hunters. There are dailies for yaks, camps, guard posts, and veterans, and those are readily available just outside the borderlands spawn. The enemy borderlands spawns are also overflowing with ambients, and you have quick access to a WvW badge vendor (5 rams is a daily).
There will always be daily group content of some sort, but forming and running that is less quick and reliable. I mentioned the Living World content above, and I recommend it as another source of quick advancement. The first week it is available, there will always be groups for it. It is a fresh source of achievement points and loot, and any special rewards you do not want can usually be sold to the hardcore players for plenty of gold. I may not have been a big Super Adventure Box fan, but I was a fan of getting about 30 gold by selling skins. I recommend checking Dulfy on patch day to see if you should pursue it in a certain order; remember, we are saving time, so if you need to complete one thing for the rest of it to “count,” do that thing first. Even if you avoid spoilers, you can unlock progress and then pursue the rest unspoiled.
I have not re-evaluated the value of sPvP as a source of daily progress. It is another quick source of dailies, and I have never failed to get all 4 achievements in three games. PvE progress has been added to sPvP, so it now gives you even more advancement. I have not found sPvP as quick or profitable as the PvE dailies, but once you have completed the easy PvE dailies, that is another source of quick achievement points and progress.
On all these, remember that there are monthly achievements and meta-achievements and other other achievements you complete along the way. These can yield more xp, loot, and progress towards your achievement chests. Going back to our champion-slaying example, that champion counts for a slayer achievement for both its enemy type and your weapon type; and there might be a monthly for events, group events, and/or champions; and occasionally the Living World content overlaps, like when champions could spawn with the Nightmare poison buff. Get paid twice.
I also recommend filling your character slots. Guild Wars gives out birthday presents, so an alt you never play is still getting closer to its birthday while it is offline. That also allows you to park one at the end of a jumping puzzle, at the bank (mule!), or by your favorite events and/or harvesting nodes. Plus, your guild gains influence based on logins, so more bonus.
This is easily one of the most mercenary posts I have ever written, but it answers an efficiency question. I am always thinking about efficiency.