Guild Wars 2 is now over 8 years old, and still has many active players and will receive the new expansion "End of Dragons" in 2021. Now is the best time to start playing Guild Wars 2 (again). Tyria awaits you!
To have the best experience in End of Dragons, it is highly recommended that you familiarize yourself with the game and get to know the story. The best thing is that you can do both at the same time, since the best way to learn the basics of the game's mechanics is to play the story.
An additional advantage is that if you want to start relaxing with the story, the beginning is completely free and you can get to know the game without any costs and decide if it's right for you.
First, choose a class that you want to play. In general, it is recommended to have all classes (at least) once on level 80 for the end game. So it's not a big deal if you just take the class you spontaneously like best and level up some more characters if necessary.
You'll start in a tutorial area, where you'll also defeat your first boss opponent. After that, you'll first have to reach level 10. To do this, it's best to complete hearts (actually "tasks", but almost always called hearts by players because of the distinctive icon on the progress bar) and events. Along the way, you should unlock all the waypoints you pass. This is done simply by walking past them. You can recognize the activation by a blue glow of the waymark and the fact that the symbol on the map is now filled in blue.
Events are occurrences in the world that can be advanced by the players. You can see if and which event is currently active by the orange indicator in the task area (top right). There are different types of events. Some are limited in time. Some are repeated at regular intervals. Some events are started only after other events have succeeded or failed. There are also group events. These are much harder than normal events and ideally require at least 3-5 players. Experienced players are able to play many group events alone. So if you want a bigger challenge you can try a group event before there are enough players. Don't worry, you will also get experience points, gold and karma for failed events.
Hearts are local tasks where you help NPCs solve their problems. They bring a lot of experience points and can be completed at any time. They are therefore the perfect companion on the way to level 80. The problems to be solved are different and thus contribute to a diverse leveling.
TIME SAVING TIP:
Many events also count towards progress on the hearts. Therefore, you will save time if you do the events near a heart first and then do the tasks related to the heart.
Once you reach level 10, the story begins. A green star on the map and minimap always shows you where your story continues.
The story is divided into sections that you unlock once you reach the corresponding level (10, 20, 30, 40, 50, 60, 70, 80). The experience obtained through the story is usually not enough to play the next story section, and you'll have to level up a bit in the so-called open world until the next step of ten.
Starting at level 30, you unlock dungeons. This is your first contact with end-game content. You can either use the dungeons to speed up your level progression and experience more group play, or save the dungeons for later and level up through story and map exploration.
When you reach level 80, I recommend that you complete the story first. However, if you don't feel like doing story anymore, you can also take a break from the story and start directly into the end-game content.
First of all, you should go through all your old characters and collect (and open) all the birthday presents that have accumulated over the years.
After that, you should consider whether you want to continue playing with an old level 80 character or level up a new character to get back into the game better.
If you have not yet unlocked Heart of Thorns, Path of Fire, or Seasons 3 and 4 of the Living World, your best preparation for End of Dragons is to unlock these chapters and play the associated story.
After that, you can enjoy the other end-game content at your leisure.
Guild Wars 2 has many different types of end-game content to choose from. It's best to try them all and choose the content that suits you best.
There are three groups of end-game content:
Content for groups of 5 or 10 players working together to solve a task (Usually a strong boss opponent).
Compete with other players and achieve rankings
Different content that you play alone. Can be used well to fill gaps while you wait for other players to become active together.
Dungeons are the oldest end-game content. It is designed for 5 players.
Also for 5 people. Similar to Dungeons. Somewhat faster, somewhat more challenging boss opponents
Challenging content for 5 players. There are 4 difficulty levels, good difficulty curve. Brings relatively much gold. Daily changing modifications in higher difficulty levels.
Content for 10 people. Consists mainly of a short boss fight. Originally designed as an easy entry point into the raids. Can be used well to get gear for other end-game content. Offers good rewards on a weekly basis.
Content for 10 people. There is a good reward every week. There is a distinct speedrun community, as well as many groups that complete all 7 wings weekly. Getting started is not easy, but worth it.
Classic battle between two groups of players. There are regular tournaments.
Structured groups engage in epic battles with up to 50 players per group on a large map where 3 servers battle it out
Small groups of 1-5 players cause trouble in enemy areas on the WvW servers through targeted maneuvers
Enjoy the story of Guild Wars 2 (relaxed)
The complete exploration of the map of the core game, brings some rewards and is necessary for the creation of Legendary Weapons.
Especially with regard to the announced Armoury it is interesting to create legendary equipment, which will be available for the complete account afterwards.
Being rich is always a possible incentive. There are many ways to collect large amounts of gold
There is a high level of prestige when players have a lot of achievement points.
Make your characters look as good as possible or even cosplay in-game. This can also bring a lot of prestige and even prize money in competitions organized by the community.