After creating an account, installing the client and downloading the game files, our journey will begin with the selection of the server (Initial Home World Select). This choice is irrelevant for PvE (Player vs. Environment) or PvP (Player vs. Player) mode because we will be able to create teams and play together with friends from different servers. However, it may be important if we plan to play the WvW mode (World vs. World), that is, large-scale multiplayer battles between servers. Another important thing is to decide whether we want to play on a European or American server, and choose the one closest to us.
While creating our character, we have to choose from one out of the five races: militaristic, cat-looking Charr, classic Humans, Norn, natives of the north, short and arrogant Asura, and Sylvari who are interested in the world and living in harmony with nature. This choice will affect not only the look of the character and our starting location but also the initial storyline, which we shape by making "biographical" choices in the next steps of the creator – they are unique to each of the races. For example, the Charr choose one of the three legions, and the Sylvari choose a vision that they experienced shortly before their awakening. Each race offers both genders.
Our choice of class is equally important. Eight of them (Warrior, Guardian, Ranger, Thief, Engineer, Necromancer, Elementalist and Mesmer) are available in the free version of the game, and the ninth (Revenant) becomes available after purchasing any of the expansions. Unlike many MMORPG games, the classes are not rigidly divided into tanks, healers and DPS, and our role in the party will depend on inventory, selected skills or active talent trees. Interestingly, the skills available from our weapons will vary depending on the class – a Warrior uses a two-handed sword in a typical way, but a Mesmer will use it as... a ranged weapon. Each of the classes is available for each race, and due to the lack of specific racial characteristics affecting the character's stats, none of them will be the best or worst. So, we can safely choose the combination that interests us the most.
As for the aesthetics, it is necessary to spend a lot of time in the character creator, check the available options, hairstyles, colors and play with the sliders that determine the detailed appearance of our character. After creating the character, the changes can be done only through a special object available for virtual currency. After the introductory cut-scene, we will be thrown right into the center of the events, that is, a training instance that depends on our race. We move with the keys [WASD] keys, jump with [Space], we can rotate the camera by holding [LMB] or [RMB].
Take a few minutes to familiarize yourself with the interface: the skills panel to the left of the red ball symbolizing our health shows your Weapon Skills which depend on what we are currently using. Initially, we only have the basic attack combination available under  key. We can unlock new skills by leveling up (move the cursor over individual slots to learn when they will become available). The panel on the right side depends on the unlocked and selected skills – we can change them while we are outside out of combat by clicking them with [RMB]. The  key is for our Healing Skill available from the beginning of the game, ,  and  are for Utility Skills, and  is for our Elite Skill.
The yellow bar, divided into two parts, is above the red sphere. This is our endurance, which determines how much dodges [V] we can do. Endurance regenerates over time. Combat is very dynamic, and the vast majority of skills can be used in motion. Due to the mentioned lack of specialized roles like tank or healer, we must master the art of dealing damage through proper positioning, dodging, blocking or using other options depending on the chosen class and skills. It is worth focusing your attention on the battlefield, not on the skill bar – opponents preparing a strong attack will glow, and enemy skills covering a specific area will be marked as red circles, which are best avoided.
We can continue the tutorial by following the green star displayed on the mini-map presented in the lower right corner of the interface (press [M] to open the enlarged map). We can also use the compass in the upper right corner (Content Guide), which will direct us to the current objectives of the mission, unexplored areas or events taking place in the game world. Press [F] to interact with objects or characters, as well as the corpses of defeated enemies. The chat is at the bottom left part of the screen. After a few fights and cut-scenes, we will face a more powerful enemy. Defeat him to complete the opening instance and move your character to the game world.
You get a few experience points, you gain a new level and a little better weapon – press [I] to open the inventory. We can also manage our equipment by pressing [H]. As we progress, we will also unlock the second weapon skill slot, and above the map will appear information about what we have just unlocked and what we will unlock in the upcoming levels. Sometimes, we get extra rewards. Our next step should be a visit to the nearest Scout, marked on the map with a telescope icon – this character will take us to a new area, talk about the risks that live in the wild, and suggests places we should visit. We also learn the rules of the Waypoints to which we can teleport for a small fee, and which we will gradually unlock as we explore the map.
The game has no traditional system of quests – you don't have to look for NPCs with exclamation marks above their heads. Instead, we should look for Renown Hearts marked with yellow hearts icons. Each "heart" can be completed in several ways, depending on its specifics – for example, we can kill enemies, interact with objects or collect items. During our adventures, we can also come across Dynamic events marked with orange circles on the mini-map. Completing them will also provide us with experience even we get defeated, so it is always worth taking up the challenge and participate in some of them. After reaching level 10, we will receive a letter and unlock the rest of the plot for our character (Personal story). A green start will appear on our mini-map again. We have no choice but to go in this direction and continue our adventure!
Tips for starting an epic adventure:
- The biggest number of experience points is received for completing "heart" regional tasks and participating in dynamic events. Also, killing monsters shouldn't be your main focus, although sometimes, you have to go off the road and fight with the neutral opponents (those marked yellow). The longer the opponent has lived since its last respawn, the more bonus experience we get. It is also worth buying Food and Utility items because they also increase the amount of experience gained.
- Mounts were introduced in Path of Fire, a paid expansion. The first one, Raptor, will be automatically unlocked in the first mission of this expansion – Sparking the Flame (we need a character at 80 level to start it.)
- Wings, unique costumes, exclusive weapon skins or vehicles can be purchased in the virtual store [O] for Gems, which are available for real money. We can also purchase useful improvements such as additional character slots, more bag slots or more bank space,
- Reaching the maximum level is just the beginning of our adventure – it is up to us to decide what we will do next. We can complete the storyline (this will take quite a lot of time, especially if we bought expansions or additional story seasons), focus on Dungeons, Fractals of the Mists, Raids or focus on collecting skins for weapons and armor. There's also a whole bunch of achievements,
- The plot of the main game and the two expansions (Heart of Thorns, Path of Fire) is intertwined with Living World seasons, that is, additional mission packages. If we log into the game when a given episode is active, we will get it for free – otherwise, we will be forced to purchase it for gems. The plot order is – base game, Season 1 and 2, Heart of Thorns expansion, Season 3, Path of Fire, Season 4,