Interested in the fastest ways to max level (80) in Guild Wars 2? Read on to learn the best strategies for how to level up a GW2 character fast, while still having the most fun. (In other words, NO GRINDING!)
How Leveling Works
Leveling in Guild Wars 2 is all about XP. Earning karma and gold is a nice side benefit, but neither affect your level. Therefore, you should maximize your XP gain by using as many buffs as possible:
- If you belong to a guild and have the Heart of Thorns or Path of Fire expansions, use the guild XP buff available from the Tavern.
- Always use a Food and a Utility buff. These last for 30 minutes and each provides +10% XP gain. For brand-new characters, we recommend:
- Grilled Mushroom (level 0 food, craft this yourself with the Chef discipline. Requires no Chef skill)
- Rough Sharpening Stone (level 0 utility, buy them on the Trading Post for 4 copper. Also grants a power bonus).
- Any other buffs you find, including XP buffs awarded for leveling, guild banners (like the Hero’s Banner), and more.
- Remember ABB – Always Be Buffed!
The best way to level is to mix-and-match from the following options. All of these strategies level up your character quickly, so choose the one that’s the most fun for you.
Level Up With Personal Story
Personal Story kicks in when your character reaches level 10. You get a new “batch” of Personal Story every 10 levels after that. We highly recommend you keep up on Personal Story, for several reasons:
- The first few levels of Personal Story are some of the best-written content in the game.
- Personal Story leads you through Tyria, which is very helpful for new players.
- You get high-quality weapons, armor, bonuses, and other gear. This equipment is locked to the Personal Story level, which means it won’t be useful to you if you wait to do Personal Story until you’re a high-level character.
- You get SO MUCH XP. This XP is awarded at the end of each Personal Story chapter and is a significant amount. Probably the best ROI (Return On Investment) for XP in the game, meaning the most XP for the least amount of time
Map Completion to Level
Clearing a map is a quick way to level, due to:
- XP earned from each discovery, and from completing Renown Hearts.
- A large amount of XP is awarded for map completion.
Map completion also gets you a lot of good loot, including coins, crafting materials, and either a Transmutation Charge or a coveted Black Lion Chest Key.
As a brand-new character, your best strategy is to start with map completion for each of the six capital cities: Divinity’s Reach, Black Citadel, Hoelbrak, The Grove, Rata Sum, and Lion’s Arch. Cities have no hostile enemies, no Renown Hearts, and there are lots of players around if you need help trying to figure out how to get to a particular Point of Interest.
Your character already has their race’s capital city unlocked so you can start there. You can reach the rest of the cities through the portals in Lion’s Arch.
Note: free-to-play accounts cannot get to Lion’s Arch before level 35. Paid accounts can get to Lion’s Arch through an Asura portal in your home city. Lion’s Arch is also connected to Gendarran Fields to the north and Lornar’s Pass to the east.
Power Leveling With Dungeons
Dungeons used to be Serious Business, but they have not been updated since they were released in 2012. Between power creep and other new activities (like raids and the expansion world bosses) being added, dungeons are not nearly as popular as they once were.
On a positive note, dungeons are now a more casual affair. Many players still enjoy running dungeons for fun and rewards, but you may struggle to find or build a party during off hours.
See our Dungeon Guide for more details.
Use Crafting to Level
Players tend to either love crafting or hate it. Even if you hate it, it’s a great way to level up. The best way to get XP from crafting is to use the Discovery panel.
For more information on crafting, see our Crafting Guides.
Each time you harvest plants, mine ore, or cut down a tree, you earn XP. Take the time to stop and gather everything you can, as this helps you level in two ways: by earning experience, and by gathering crafting materials you can use later.
Kill Yellows for Bonus XP
Non-aggressive creatures like deer have a hidden XP mechanic. These creatures (called “yellows” due to the color of their names) slowly accrue bonus XP over time. The longer a yellow creature remains in the world, the more bonus XP you earn from killing it.
As you travel Tyria, keep an eye out for mobs of non-aggressive animals in out-of-the-way areas.
Leveling in WVW and Edge of the Mists
Older leveling guides recommend using WVW and EOTM (Edge of the Mists) to level fast. However, this is no longer true. Changes to the rewards structure, along with the falling popularity of these two game modes, means we no longer recommend them for leveling.
Leveling in Mad King’s Labyrinth
Mad King’s Labyrinth (or “laby”) is a seasonal dungeon which is only available during Halloween. It is an efficient way to level up while earning tons of loot. The downside: Labyrinth is very grind-y, and quickly starts to feel tedious.
For more information, see our Guide to the Mad King’s Labyrinth.