During the final Beta Weekend Event, I got a chance to play among the trees and frolic in the leaves as a sylvari. While doing so, I explored the sylvari starting area– Caledon Forest. The area is one of the most beautiful I’ve seen in the game so far. If you choose to explore Caledon Forest, you’ll find plenty of lush foliage, underwater treasures, and forts gleaming in the sun along with dangerous enemies, sharp terrain, and swamp creatures. As a bonus, most of the events and storylines are quite enjoyable. I highly recommend a scenic tour– just, uh, be sure to take a few weapons or spells along on the journey.
Now, Guild Wars 2 isn’t really a game where walkthroughs are needed, and in fact exploration and running off the beaten paths is sometimes encouraged and extremely rewarding, but I do think there are times when a rough guideline of sorts can come in handy, especially for players new to GW2 and many of its unique mechanics. With that philosophy in mind, I have created a guide of sorts for the Caledon Forest area. Its emphasis is on the renown heart quests, and suggests a path that branches them together. Players are free, of course, to follow whatever patch they choose– that’s the beauty of GW2– paths can vary quite considerably. I’ve also included a nifty map of the entire area, showcasing points of interest.
Part 1: Tutorial and Introduction
The sylvari tutorial is quick, extremely linear, and basically just an introduction to many of the game’s mechanics. Get a feel for the quest tracking system, the controls, combat and follow the main road, fighting enemies as you run into them. At the end, you’ll face a super-huge dragon enemy, similar to the enemy bosses in the other races’ tutorials.
Following the tutorial, you’ll get an introduction to the sylvari story and Caledon Forest. Make sure and talk to the NPC that has your class outfit, since sylvari are born fresh from the dream in petal-shaped underwear, apparently. Also, make sure and talk to the Scout as you make your way through the beginning area. Scouts are important to chat with, since they reveal portions of the map, and pinpoint Renown quests. They’re easy to distinguish from other NPCs since they have little telescope icons above their heads and on the map. Also, if you have a desire to explore The Grove– the sylvari main city– run back the way you entered, and step through the portal.
As we begin, here are some other broad tips to keep in mind while leveling in the sylvari area and throughout Guild Wars 2:
- Many of us in BWE3 wondered where the iconic sylvari “plant-looking” armor was. It’s actually purchasable in-game, as are all racial armors. For the sylvari armor, it’s found in The Grove, at the location marked above on the map. There are light, medium, and heavy versions available for sale from the three armorsmiths. The first set requires level 35, but it’s possible to buy the armor then use a Black Lion Trading Company Transformation Stone to give your current armor the same appearance.
- As you complete renown heart quests, make sure and take a peek at the original NPC with the heart above their head. They’ll each have goods available for purchase using karma, and it’s possible to grab some excellent upgrades through karma.
- Consider grabbing some mining picks, logging axes, and harvesting sickles before journeying too far into the world. No matter which crafting disciplines you end up choosing, gathering grants experience, crafting ingredients, and gems that can be inserted into gear. Most of the basic merchants sell these.
- Make sure and try out all the weapon styles as you level. Some combinations will provide additional damage, utility, crowd control, mobility options, and healing powers, and you’ll quickly find that having multiple weapon options in Guild Wars 2 is very useful. Having trouble with a group of enemies? Switch up your weapon, and try a different approach.
- Do as many dynamic events as you can. This will help bridge the gap between the suggested levels that accompany renown heart quests and story quests.
- Some of the story quests are the most difficult quests in the game, so be prepared to do some questing and events in between story portions.
- That said, if you find yourself below the curve, explore a bit, find some additional renown heart quests in the area, participate in dynamic events, or try exploring other areas of the world. Simply grinding out mobs isn’t overly beneficial in GW2.
- Also, make sure and keep your gear as updated as possible. Karma vendors and even normal armor and weapon vendors can provide useful upgrades. Loot everything you can, because upgrades are often found as drops, as well. Don’t forget the autoloot function in the Options menu!
- Grab every waypoint possible. Quick travel options are awesome. Also, if you want to explore other areas of the world, simply go to The Grove (or the nearest major city), until you find the purple asura gate. This will lead you to Lion’s Arch– Guild Wars 2′s central city and travel hub.
- Keep a look out for skill point challenges and vista points as you explore. Some will require you to defeat a powerful monster, others will rely on your jumping and exploration skills. Skill point challenges grant skill points, and vista points show off a little cutscene and grant experience.
- Speaking to NPCs with giant, orange suns above their heads will begin new dynamic events in the area (shown above in the screenshot, to the right of the map).
Part 2: Renown Heart Quest Guide
Remember I mentioned a nifty map? Here it is in its rather hugely-sized glory (click for the full size version):
Shown on the map are most major points of interest, including renown heart areas (yellow heart icons), skill point challenges (aqua arrows), waypoints (diamonds), vista points (red mountains), location names, and point of interest markers (tiny orange squares). I’ve customized the map and numbered all of the renown heart quests in a suggested order of completion. You’re free, of course, to choose whatever order you’d like– my suggestions are merely that– suggestions. They’re kind of aimed toward players who generally stay right around the suggested level for quests. If you find yourself ahead of the curve, by all means– explore the more dangerous areas ahead of time.
I’ve also included basic quest description text on the map, along with the game’s suggested level for completion (marked as (3), etc.). Also included are some basic navigation marks, including the starting point for all sylvari (the red ‘X’) and arrows showing the entrances to other map locations, the location’s name, and approximate level in the immediate zoning area.
The following list contains detailed information on the renown heart quests, organized by the number system shown on the map. The nearest map location is listed, as well as the detailed version of the description text and my own comments, including tips, suggested courses, nearby points of interest, and some random commentary.
1. Wardenhurst Waypoint: Help Gemai support the wardens of Wardenhurst. (2)
Clear any undead from around Wardenhurst, replenish withered territory markers, and spar with local Wardens.
2. The Verdence: Help Danador manage his kennel by becoming a hound. (3)
Talk to Danador to become a hound. Then help lost hound, investigate strange smells with your super-sniffer, play with pups and fight pests.
- The sylvari hounds are pretty adorable. It’s also possible to complete this without turning into a hound, but why would you not want to?
3. Grenbrack Delves: Help Elain clear the spider cave. (3)
Find and destroy spiders in their hiding places, gather edible mushrooms for Elain, tear down spiderwebs, and destroy toxic mushrooms.
- Experimenting with the mushrooms grants nifty size buffs.
4. Sleive’s Waypoint: Assist Wyld Hunt Valiant Caillech with the undead. (4)
Burn undead corpses, smash noxious plants, protect Wardens, and battle the Risen in Sleive’s Inlet.
5. Spiral Waypoint: Help Warden Brulians destory undead and crush any plague-spreading plants. (5)
Defeat undead, clear corrupted grub holes, and destroy Orrian artifacts around Morgan’s Spiral.
- There’s a skill point challenge nearby at Morgan’s Spiral, and yep, it concerns the floating stones. You’ll need to jump and make your way up and across. It’s quite involved as a warning, and besides the skill point, Rangers can grab a new spider pet at the very end. Here’s a Youtube video of the jumping course.
6. Dreamdark Enclave (right of): Disrupt the Nightmare Court at Briarthorn Den. (6)
Speak to Warden Spy Alarin to gain access to Briarthorn Den. Once inside, defeat Nightmare duelists, reassure hounds, clear thorn barriers, and help captives.
- Talking to the various NPCs helps quite a bit here. Also, head north up the tunnels for a skill point challenge that requires killing a trio of wolves.
7. Village of Astora (north of): Help defend Caer Astorea from the Nightmare Court. (6)
Clear Nightmare Court spider webs, test organic weapons on practice targets, activate mortar pods, and fight the Nightmare court.
- Plenty of Nightmare Court to slay in the area. Alternatively, the flowers open up to form neat ranged weaponry.
8. Ogham Wilds (south of): Assist Arias in maintaining his garden. (7)
Speak to Arias to become a keeper of nature. Clear Stranglethorn, heal the wilting garden, clear groups, and bring new life to the region.
- Speak to the NPC to become a slow-moving keeper creature. Hobble around and shake your fairydust-spewing behind to cause pretty flowers to grow. I’d recommend avoiding combat altogether as a keeper, and just concentrating on growing flowers. At least during beta, the keeper’s combat moves were extremely underwhelming.
- After you’re done here, there’s a skill point challenge at a waterfall to the northwest. To get there, go through the trail of spiders, and hop up the green rock directly next to the waterfall.
9. Gleaner’s Cove Waypoint: Help Harvester Mavad manage the kelp harvest. (7)
Help gather lavender, search sand piles, build scarecrows, feed tamed siamoths, and protect harvesters from nearby threats.
- Kill, gather, and use the random shovel at piles. Directly to the north, is a Scout NPC.
- While in the area, there’s a mysterious patch of ground that’s actually a skill point challenge near Brigid’s Overlook Waypoint (east of Sandycove Beach). Three wurms spawn. I found this to be soloable as a level-appropriate melee thief. The largest wurm can be reset if you kite the smaller wurms away from it, which gives you plenty of time to kill the little guys, heal up, and tackle the big guy.
10. The Weeping Isle: Help the Soundless deal with the Nightmare Court. (8)
Repair fishing nets and traps, cull the wave rider population, help divers, and fend off Nightmare Court raids.
- Fiddle with traps, kill the hermit crabs that come out, and slay wave riders. There’s a nearby Scout.
11. Below Hemlock Coil: Help Tovar harass the Nightmare Court. (9)
Kill courtiers and their pets, free prisoners, destroy turrets, and generally wreck havoc in Hemlock Coil.
- Directly west from Town of Cathal Waypoint is the portal to the next area which is level 13+, Metrica Province.
12. East of Ventry Bay: Help the Atzintli and Zopatl tribes battle the krait. (10)
Assist the Atzintli by battling the krait, rescuing captive hylek, and repairing territory markers.
- Heading north afterwards will bring you to the Dominion of Winds Swift Arrow skill point challenge. Cross the bridge and Kill the bird guy.
13. The Rootangles: Help Zippti study the hyper-aggressive skritt. (11)
Help Zippti’s golems with their experiments, fight the skritt, knock over their shinies, and activate tracking devices to monitor their response.
- Keeping the golems entertained is, well, pretty entertaining if you take a moment to read some of the dialog options.
14. Titan’s Staircase: Help Yoal weaken the krait and recover kidnapped hylek. (11)
Defeat krait, bring her Hylek Armor, and rescue hylek slaves.
- This one’s underwater, and respawns can be pretty quick down here, so be cautious if your underwater combat isn’t quite up to snuff yet.
- As you head north afterwards, you’ll see a vista point– head into Hanto Trading Post then jump down the cliff to get to it.
15. Quetzal Bay: Help Fisher Leudap support the fishers of Soggorsort. (12)
Light fishing lanterns, check quaggan traps, destroy krait blood idols, and defend quaggan villagers from marauding krait.
- More underwater fun! Interact with the lantern balls, kill the blood idols and nearby enemies, and watch out for poison balls. They’re kind of painful.
- There’s a Scout north on an island.
16. Kraitbane Haven Waypoint: Assist Lionguard Hester in recovering slaves from Slaver’s Deeps. (13)
Defeat krait, rescue slaves, and put slave remains to rest.
- Plenty of underwater action in this area. There’s a skill point challenge in the area, too. You’ll have to dive down fairly deep and release a champion krait that must be killed. A couple nearby players comes in handy for this one.
- The north road leads to a portal to Kessex Hills (20+ area).
17. Wychmire Swamp: Help the wardens in Wychmire Swamp. (14)
Destroy corrupted plants, husks, and thorns; fight the Nightmare Court and their minions; and free prisoners.
- There’s a skill point challenge in this area. Kill the Nightmare Court member that spawns. There’s also a Waypoint and dungeon entrance for later nearby.
- One of the area’s large dynamic events– The Battle for Wychmire Swamp– is in this area. It’s a multi-phase dynamic event that ends in a giant wurm battle that divvies out some decent loot (everyone gets to loot the chest!). A fairly large group is needed for this one, but it’s definitely rewarding.
18. North of Wychmire Swamp: Help Lionguard Cern safeguard the road. (15)
Repair signs, light torches, and keep the road free of dangers. Destroy skull monuments, poison troll food, and drive the trolls away.
- The northeast corner leads to Brisban Wildlands (16+). There’s also a level 15 troll champion dynamic event in this area.
And that’s it! Now it’s time to pick another zone to explore, or go back and finish up your personal story or hunt after any missing discoveries.
If you’d like to see similar maps and/or guides for other leveling areas of Guild Wars 2, drop me a line in the comments section below, and I’ll do my best to have some others up ASAP after headstart begins!