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Creating your first character

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Guild Wars 2 is a very unique game, full of different mechanics, and innovative solutions in the MMORPG world.

With nine unique professions, that branch out into even more specializations, character creation may be overwhelming in the beginning. This guide aims to ease you into the world of Tyria.

Don’t worry too much–leveling is relatively easy. Once you level up your first character and try end-game content, you’ll be aided in leveling up your alts, with instant level-up tomes and account-bound equipment. Guild Wars 2 is a very alt-friendly game, with many veterans having tons of characters to swap between as they see fit.

Regardless, let’s start with creating your first character.


The first choice you’ll make when creating a character is picking your race. There are 5 playable races in Guild Wars 2 and unlike in other MMORPGs, your race and profession combination doesn’t matter when it comes to combat efficiency. There are some racial skills but these are worse than those offered by your profession. Which race you choose only impacts your starter zone, the first three chapters of your personal story, and the look of your character. While the features of your character can be changed, your character’s race and profession cannot be changed.

Charr, starter zone: Plains of Ashford

The Charr are a race of large, menacing felines that live in a militaristic society. They have been at war with the humans over their homeland, Ascalon, for the past 250 years, but recently peace negotiations have started as the Elder Dragon threat grows larger.

Human, starter zone: Queensdale

The humans are on their last leg. They’ve lost Ascalon to the Charr, lost the Kingdom of Orr to the bottom of the Unending Ocean, and their gods have abandoned them. Even after all these hardships, the human spirit remains intact in their capital city: Divinity’s Reach in Kryta.

Norn, starter zone: Wayfarer Foothills

The Norn are tall, muscular hunters that reside in the city of Hoelbrak in the Shiverpeak Mountains. They find strength in the Spirits of The Wild: Bear, Raven, Snow Leopard, and Wolf.

Asura, starter zone: Metrica Province

Asura are incredibly smart small creatures. They were driven out from the Depths of Tyria years ago by an Elder Dragon, finding a new home in the city of Rata Sum at the Tarnished Coast. Asuran society is built on science, technology, and a drive to research the wonders of Tyria.

Sylvari, starter zone: Caledon Forest

The Sylvari are a race new to Tyria, with the oldest appearing roughly 25 years ago. These plant-like creatures aren’t born but instead awaken from The Pale Tree, a giant tree located on the Tarnished Coast. Sylvari society is based on the teachings of Ventari: an elder centaur turned pacifist amidst a war between centaurs and humans years ago.


In the second step, you’ll be asked what gender you’ll want to play. Every race has two options: male and female. This choice only impacts the appearance and the voice of your character, and can be changed using Total Makeover Kit[s].


After selecting your race and gender you will pick your profession. This is equivalent to a “class” in other MMORPGs. There are 9 professions available in Guild Wars 2, but only 8 of them are available to all players; the Revenant requires the Heart of Thorns expansion to create.

It is important to note that there are no “trinity” (tank, heal, DPS) roles tied to professions in Guild Wars 2. Instead, professions can equip certain equipment, traits, and skills to fit these roles in group play. While all professions can typically fulfill a variety of roles, some are better equipped to be a healer or a tank than others.

The professions all have different mechanics. For example Warrior will gain adrenaline in combat and can spend it by using powerful burst skills while a Mesmer creates clones of themselves. Each unique profession mechanic manifests in a different way.

To further extend the profession’s mechanics, elite specializations are unlocked after reaching max level. These change how professions work, offering yet another set of new mechanics and new gameplay.

Another difference between professions is armor weights. This distinction does not impact armor stats. Instead, armor weight impacts the visuals of the armor and what characters can wear the armor:

And finally, each profession can use different weapon types and has different weapon skills associated with each type.

Selecting a profession is the most impactful decision during character creation. Like Race, this choice cannot be altered except by deleting your character and restarting. Each profession is very unique from the others, offering a diversity of gameplay. While the best way to learn about each profession is to actually give them a shot, we’ll go over each of them quickly.

If you want more info on what skills and traits (talents) to use, make sure to check the game basics guide, especially the Builds and Training section.


Weapons: Greatsword, Hammer, Longbow, Rifle, Axe, Dagger, Mace, Pistol, Shield, Sword, Torch, Warhorn

Warrior is a fighter-type profession, offering mostly melee DPS and some support with Banners and Shouts. Warrior’s profession mechanic is the Adrenaline mechanic — attacks and heals will fill your adrenaline bar until you are ready to unleash a powerful attack.


Weapons: Hammer, Rifle, Pistol, Shield, Sword, Mace

Engineer is truly a jack of all trades, providing a plethora of utility options to fill any role. Its unique gameplay mechanic is Kits. Using each Kit replaces weapon skills with a new set of skills, be it medical, utility, or damage focused. These additional skills come at the cost of weapon access — Engineers can not weapon swap in combat.

In addition, each heal, utility, and elite skill equipped gives you a powerful toolbelt skill that manifests above your weapon sets.


Weapons: Greatsword, Hammer, Longbow, Staff, Axe, Mace, Scepter, Sword, Focus, Shield, Torch

Guardian lives up to its name. This profession has easy access to shared offensive and defensive support skills. Guardian is not solely relegated to support though, as it can pack a serious punch. Guardian’s profession mechanics are Virtues, three powerful skills that offer passive bonuses when inactive and powerful activation effects when activated.


Weapons: Greatsword, Staff, Axe, Scepter, Sword, Dagger, Focus, Pistol, Shield, Torch

One of the most unique professions Guild Wars 2 has to offer, the Mesmer creates Clones of itself to attack its foes or to be sacrificed for particularly powerful attacks. This profession can be run as a support or as a DPS and is a popular choice for difficult content thanks to unique profession skills such as a group-wide Portal.


Weapons: Greatsword, Staff, Axe, Scepter, Sword, Dagger, Focus, Pistol, Torch, Warhorn

The Necromancer is a master of death and the dark arts. This profession can summon undead Minions and absorb life force from fallen enemies to transform into a powerful spectral form. Transforming swaps your weapon skills with powerful Shroud attacks, and gives you an additional health bar. Don’t assume this profession is relegated to DPS though, it offers some interesting support options and utility skills.


Weapons: Greatsword, Longbow, Short bow, Staff, Hammer, Axe, Sword, Dagger, Torch, Warhorn

One with nature, the Ranger can tame powerful creatures and fight with them in battle. This profession offers interesting interactions with pets during fights as every animal offers different utility. The Ranger has DPS and support options in different game types.


Weapons: Rifle, Short bow, Staff, Dagger, Pistol, Sword, Scepter

Sneaky, stealthy, and acrobatic, the Thief is a fast-paced trickster. While it offers very strong damage, you can play Thief as support and even as a tank in some situations!

A unique mechanic to this profession is that weapon skills are tied to a resource rather than to individual skill cooldowns. Additionally, what sort of Thief would it be without the ability to Steal? This mechanic “steals” unique skills from foes and allows you to use them to your advantage.


Weapons: Staff, Hammer, Dagger, Scepter, Sword, Focus, Warhorn

A true master of elements, the Elementalist has access to Attunements: elemental states that alter your weapon skills. Swapping between multiple elements in combat alters your gameplay, making your weapon skills do heavy damage or offer support to you and your allies. Similar to the Engineer, you will only have access to one weapon set during combat.


Weapons: Mace, Sword, Axe, Shield, Greatsword, Hammer, Short bow, Staff

Revenant was introduced in Heart of Thorns and is only available if you have purchased this expansion. This profession channels the power of deceased Legends.

Unlike other professions, Revenant's heal, utility, and elite skills aren’t easily swappable. Instead, the accessible skills are determined by which two Legends you have selected. You will see Revenants filling different roles in all game modes.

Appearance and Character background

Once you selected race, gender, and profession, you will have the ability to customize the looks of your character. Don’t worry, all of this can be changed later with Self-Style Hair Kit[s] and Total Makeover Kit[s] you’ll get during your adventures.

Note: Some elements of customization are limited during character creation — premium hair styles and face styles are only available while restyling an already created character.

As a final few steps, you will answer a few questions about your character’s past. These will determine the foundation for your personal story quests. While some of the early quests will branch in different directions based on choices made here, the main questline is the same for all background choices.

Finally, the first question you will answer will determine your starting item (helmet, shoulders, or in the case of a Ranger, pet), but this only matters when it comes to unlocking this item’s skin on your account.

Once you’re done, name your character and you are ready to start your adventure in Tyria!

Note: Keep in mind that if you are using a free account or are low level you will have some additional restrictions placed on you. You can check these out on the Guild Wars 2 Wiki.

Are you ready to start your adventure? Well… sort of. Guild Wars 2 is a bit like drinking from a firehose; there’s so much information available from the start that it can be overwhelming to get oriented. Be sure to take your time and see what Tyria has to offer! We have a few guides you can check out to help get your feet under you.

If you have any questions please feel free to reach out to Hardstuck through our Discord where everyone is welcome to join! Good luck, and we hope you have fun!

Guild Wars 2 Guides

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