A Great Way to Play Guild Wars 2: Leveling Two or More Characters at a Time
If you are anything like me, you only create an alt when you're bored with your main character. But I have found that for a game with as much cross-character synergies and account-wide features as Guild Wars 2, there are great reasons to be leveling two or even more characters at the same time.
Should you choose to play Guild Wars 2 with an alt, you should make sure that it does not share the same class, race or crafting skills as one of your other existing characters. I have been alternating between a higher level Asura Mesmer with Tailor and Jeweler crafting (middle in pic), a lower level Human Elementalist with Leatherworker and Artificer crafting, and an Asuran Necromancer -- and it has been an enjoyable experience so far.
Below I share the four advantages I found while swapping between characters instead of focusing on just one “main”.
Gathering and Crafting Synergies
I won’t claim that this is the most efficient way to craft and gather materials, because it isn’t. Instead, my characters seem to provide for each other. My Mesmer uses up the cloth and ores and gems, while my Elementalist has priority use on logs and leather. So that no matter which character I use, I can go to a gathering node and salvage items knowing that the materials I pick up there will be usable for crafting.
ArenaNet deserves a lot of praise for adding the ingenious feature called “Deposit All Collectibles” (you can find it by clicking the cog icon on the upper right corner of your opened inventory bags.) It automatically sends any crafting ingredients to an account-wide collection. After a few hours of adventuring and gathering with my Mesmer, I will have sent over a substantial amount of logs, leather and other rarer crafting materials to the collection which my Elementalist can then use the next day.
Each character also produces items that the other can use. Bags made by my Elementalist leather worker can be sent to the others, increasing bag space and lowering the times I need to sell items, while my Mesmer tailor sends light armor hand-me-downs to my Elementalist.
I know a lot of players who complain that mail cannot be sent between characters, but I believe the Guild Wars 2 account-wide crafting collection and bank features makes item transfers faster and more efficient that any mail system would.
Achievements in Guild Wars 2 are also shared between characters, and playing with an alt has helped me progress faster in the Tradesman and Slayer characters. I am able to advance four professions at the same time, and since my characters are usually at drastically different locales, I am able to kill a wider variety of mobs.
Deeper Class Knowledge
Sure, YouTube has a wealth of videos now that will let you see how a class plays. But there is no better way to learn a class than to actually pilot it, tinker with its weapon and skill combos, and test out its strengths and weaknesses on the field of battle. Such deep class knowledge will be invaluable for players who hope to excel in structured PvP and Realm vs. Realm. This advice is true for all MMOs, but especially so in Guild Wars 2 where an Elementalist can come in dozens of possible builds, many of which you will recognize since you would have considered them as well while leveling up your own Elementalist.
But arguably the best advantage of character swapping is that it drastically lowers the grind. Guild Wars 2 feels a little bit fresher when I spend a few days off from piloting my Mesmer. I also find myself exploring every single nook of this beautifully made game, from hunting down vistas and reading the quest dialogue, instead of racing blindly to the endgame.
Michael lives for MMOs. You can catch him spamming alts in every online game imaginable from the standard-bearers like World of Warcraft to Kickstarter-funded upstarts and everything in between. He is a contributing writer at MMO Play.