Towns and Landscapes
Towns are the social hub of Guild Wars. When you are in a town, you can see and meet other players, visit merchants and trainers, collect quests from quest-givers, form an adventuring party (or hire henchmen if you prefer to play solo), and even organize your fellow gamers into an impromptu dance party. While in town you can rearrange your skills and attributes and trade up for better equipment. Once you leave town (either by walking out the front gate or entering the mission attached to that location) you will no longer see other player characters, but will have the whole world to yourself and to your party. You may encounter NPCs—especially collectors, merchants, or traders—while in these explorable areas.
Buying and Selling
As you fight the good fight across Tyria and Cantha, you will collect a lot of loot from fallen foes. Often this will be gold (the accepted legal tender throughout the world of Guild Wars). Sometimes the loot comes in the form of an item: a weapon, a piece of armor or a shield, perhaps a salvageable hunk of your enemy's hide. Most town marketplaces offer merchants and outfitters, weaponsmiths, crafters, and trading vendors of various types that can take these items off of your hands in exchange for what you really want—better items or even more gold.
Left-click on a vendor to start a transaction. Most trades are a simple matter of selecting the item you wish to buy or sell using the appropriate tabs at the top of the commerce window and the left mouse button, but sometimes you will need to adjust for market forces by obtaining a price quote. To easily spot NPC vendors in the crowd, hold down the Alt key.
You might find better equipment (and better deals) buying and selling with your fellow players. To trade with another player, target that player and hit the Trade button at the top of the screen. You may then submit an offer in gold or trade for another item from the trading player, but you must accept the offer to seal the deal.
Meet the Townsfolk
Most of the following types of NPCs can be found in towns. Smaller outpost towns will usually be inhabited by a less diverse variety of non-player characters—a merchant, a Xunlai storage agent, one or two quest-givers or storyline figures—while the larger hub towns (which are distinguished by a larger icon on the map) usually have a larger and more varied population. Mission towns—signified on the map by the large shield icon—are geographically large, but like outposts they have a limited variety of NPCs.
Henchmen are computer-controlled adventurers who are always available to help round out your party so you can take on missions even when you don't have the required number of living players. Need one more player in your party? Hire a henchman that fills the specific party niche you need. Want to play a difficult mission by yourself? Hire several henchmen that can fill the roles normally taken by your fellow players.
During a mission, henchmen will follow you and attack the targets you choose. They'll also heal your party (and will resurrect fallen party members if possible). Henchmen take their share of the spoils of each mission, including experience points earned from vanquishing enemies and loot, but will not take from XP earned from completing your objective. Look for henchmen in towns and outposts near mission gateways. You won't find them at the beginning of the game, but it won't be long before you find them indispensable in certain situations.
Merchants sell basic supplies, such as Identification Kits that tell you exactly what a magical item in your inventory does, or Salvage Kits that allow you to recover crafting materials from otherwise useless loot. Merchants, like other vendors, will buy all manner of items from you—weapons and armor, found items, dye, and crafting materials. Look for [Merchant] after the NPCs name when you're looking to trade. If your alliance controls a town, the Merchant in that town will give you a discount when you purchase items.
Whenever you acquire a new weapon that you plan to equip and use, it pays to visit the Weaponsmith to have it customized. If you plan to sell armaments on the open chat market, don't customize them—customized weapons are only useable by the individual player they are tailored for, rendering them useless for everyone else (except Weaponsmiths). Look for the [Weapons] suffix after the name of a Weaponsmith when you're ready to trade implements of war.
Weaponsmiths will also craft weapons for you, provided you bring them crafting material and pay for the service. Generally this equipment will not be as powerful as the rarer magical items you may earn on your adventures, but you can upgrade crafted gear using magically enhanced components such as hilts, pommels, bow strings, and runes.
||Armor is always customized for the character using it, so don't bother trying to sell or purchase armor from other player characters. And always use common sense when trading with other players, and take a good look at what you're buying and selling before you agree to a trade. A customized weapon can be wielded only by the hero for whom it has been customized (though you can always sell it to a Merchant or salvage it for common crafting materials).
The Armorer can create new armor out of raw materials you've found or salvaged, such as shells, hides, ingots, or slabs of rock.. [Armor] will appear after the name of armor crafters. Remember to salvage your old armor with an Expert Salvage Kit if it has runes on it; often you will manage to retrieve your runes and for use on your new armor. Even if you don't get the runes back, you will get materials you'll likely need for the new set of armor.
Traders buy and sell items that you can use to alter existing ones or to create new items. Traders base their prices on what the market is currently offering, so you must get a price quote when you want to sell or buy an item in a Trader transaction. Traders deal in dyes that you can use to customize your character's armor, runes that add powerful bonuses to weapons and armor, and scrolls that improve Experience gain. There are also Traders who deal exclusively in materials (either rare or common) that Weaponsmiths or Armorers can use to create new items. If you're simply out for gold, you can usually get a better price for your materials from Traders than with a Merchant. The Trader's specialty is indicated after the NPC's name ([Dye Trader] for example).
Xunlai Storage Agents
Xunlai Agents are NPCs that belong to an ancient, respected, and utterly incorruptible banking guild. Xunlai Agents can be found in most every town you encounter, as well as guild halls. Each character wishing to utilize storage must pay a Xunlai Agent 50 gold to open an account, but once this nominal fee is paid that character will never have to pay again. The storage account is shared by all of the characters on your Guild Wars account, making it an easy way to transfer gold or items from one hero to another. For example, if your level 20 Warrior/Monk finds a rare bow that your level 15 Ranger/Elementalist could make good use of, your Ranger can withdraw the item from storage. By effectively using an agent to store your useful and valuable items, you free up your character's personal inventory so you can acquire new spoils. Xunlai Storage Agents are easy to spot since they do not have proper names—just look for any NPC named Xunlai Agent [Storage].
The Skill Trainer sells skills belonging to all professions, though each vendor usually boasts a unique selection. The Skill Trainer may offer skills that you can alternately earn by accomplishing quests, so spend your skill points (and the gold that the Trainers require) wisely. At higher levels, Skill Trainers sell the Signet of Capture, which is a special item that temporarily takes up a skill slot. As the name implies, you use this signet to capture skills—including valuable elite skills—from any fallen "boss" enemy. Boss enemies are identified by a proper name (first and last) and are bathed in a colorful aura which signifies their power. They are usually located at the heart of an enemy stronghold or territory and are significantly more powerful than their surrounding minions. The boss must have skills that you can use or the Signet of Capture will be unable to target the fallen foe. A Skill Trainer's name is followed by [Skills].
Collectors are one of the only types of NPCs you find as often outside of a town as you do inside. Collectors are NPCs who, for whatever personal reasons, need large quantities of certain trophy items that fall from the bodies of enemies that you slay in the wild. Many Collectors offer a wide variety of somewhat powerful weapons and other items in exchange for these trophies, while a few can give you high-grade magical armor that you won't find for sale at a Crafter. Even if you don't have a great need for whatever reward the Collector has to offer, you can almost always turn a profit selling that reward later, trading it to a friend, or giving it to one of your own alternate characters via Xunlai storage. Collectors are identified by the suffix [Collector] after their names. Don't be surprised to find them in the most unlikely and inhospitable landscapes.
Many NPCs have no particular profession related to buying or selling. But like most citizens, they require the services of a hero or two (or six, or eight). If an NPC has a quest to offer, you will see a green exclamation point over that NPC's head. You may not always return to the same NPC to "cash in" that quest for experience and other rewards, so consult your Quest Log (press L) to keep track of your current quests, missions, and objectives. Some quest-giving NPCs have multiple jobs to hand out throughout the story, so check back with your old contacts as often as you like.
Not every NPC buys, sells, or even offers quests. Sometimes an NPC might be part of a quest or mission objective. For example, an NPC's job could be to pass on crucial information or fight at your side against a dire foe, or act as a temporary ally you must protect at all costs. Some NPCs are essentially part of the environment (like guards, town criers, or students) or become such when the quests they assign to you have been completed. Others might provide you with a bit of information about the current region, including history, current conditions, and local enemy activity.
Encountering Other Heroes
To communicate with other heroes, use the chat commands to speak to the entire town, to your party members, or to a single, specific player. You can buy and sell rare items on the trading chat channel (usually for a better price than you'd get at the Merchant). You can chat exclusively with the members of your current team using the team chat (press #), or check in with the members of your guild on the Guild channel by pressing the @ key. Interacting with other players, competing with other guilds, and teaming up for quests and missions is essential to maximizing the gameplay experience.
You can type messages into the chat window and send them instantly to everyone in the area, or just to your team or guild specifically.
- To open the chat window, press Enter.
- To chat, type your message in the text field, then press Enter again.
- To select a specific chat channel, left-click on the appropriate tab, or use the shift and number keys associated with that channel. The Team Chat channel, for example, can be accessed by hitting the # symbol (i.e., shift +3).
- To review a chat session, click on the word balloon symbol in the lower left and use the scroll bar to view the text.
- To whisper a private message to another character, bring up the whisper chat menu and type the player's name. Whispering works across districts and geography and is the best way to track down friends when you're not sure where they are.
Your character can perform a number of different actions that help you communicate with (and entertain) your fellow players. To perform an emote, hit Enter to bring up the chat window, then the / key followed by the name of the emote. For example, /dance will make your character get down and boogie until you take another action; /laugh will cause your character to erupt with hearty laughter. Experiment with different commands to see what your hero can do. A complete list of emotes can be found in the Guild Wars game manual and in the strategy guide (on sale separately).
Forming a Party
Missions are generally designed to support four to eight players. A few areas allow parties of up to twelve players. Travel directly to the mission area to find party members, or stop in towns along the way to recruit a team. To add a player to your party, select the desired player by left-clicking on him with the mouse pointer, and then press the + symbol next to the character's name to add him to your party. If the other player is already in a party, you will have the option to join that team if there is room. You can invite henchmen onto the team in the same manner, but they do not have the option to refuse.