During the last beta weekend event, I noticed something that may, or may not, have a significant impact on how far you level during the first few hours of the game: exploring. In case you didn’t know, discovering waypoints, points of interest and vistas all grant experience. How much experience? Enough that when I login for the first time, I’ll be hitting up the cities to explore them and earn myself a good amount of experience along the way. Here’s why you should consider doing this too.
Each waypoint in the early levels grants 100xp (experience), while points of interest and vistas grant 60xp each. It sounds like a little bit but when you start crunching the numbers, it really adds up, and it adds up to making you level 5 if you explore each of the major cities.
The major cities all have a number of waypoints throughout them, and they are all connected by asuran portals to Lion’s Arch. When you finish the tutorial zone, you will be level 2 without fail and you could go out into the world and start doing dynamic events and hearts. I suggest that instead, you turn yourself around and go into the capital city for your starting race.
Here is where the fun starts: to go from level 2 to level 3 requires 2110xp. So as an asura, which I believe is clearly the best race in the game, you head into Rata Sum and gather up the nine waypoints. 9×100= 900xp. Once you’ve finished that, head to Lion’s Arch and then head to the next capital city via asuran portal.
If you continue doing this for each of the capital cities and Lion’s Arch, you’ll be getting a good amount of experience in the end. Here is how it breaks down in good old number crunchy format:
Level 2 to level 3: 2,110xp
Level 3 to level 4: 2,379xp
Level 4 to level 5: 2,674xp
Total required to reach level 5 and unlock your first utility slot: 7,163xp.
Now let’s compare that with the amount of experience that you’ll get just from collecting the way points:
Rata Sum: 9 waypoints, 900xp
Divinity’s Reach: 13 waypoints, 1300xp
The Black Citadel: 11 waypoints, 1,100xp
The Grove: 4 waypoints, 400xp
Hoelbrak: 14 waypoints, 1400xp
Lion’s Arch: 13 waypoints, 1,300xp
The total experience gained from just those waypoints is 6400xp. “But wait, you said that you need 7163xp to reach level 5? What gives?” Ah, but you are not just collecting the waypoints themselves along the way. Without a doubt, you will be gathering Points of Interest, plus you also get discovery experience for visiting each of the cities.
In my experiment during the last stress test, I created a new character and followed this same strategy. I was level 5 in 58 minutes, and that was without speed buffs most of the time. Going out into the world at level five with the first utility skill unlocked makes life much easier. At the same time, just going out into the world and trying to quest from the beginning resulted in me being only level 4 within the same amount of time.
This is also an investment in the future, because when you do need to go back to those major cities, you will already have all the waypoints unlocked, making the time necessary to get around town that much shorter. And when you are ready to grab the points of interests and vistas, the same rule applies.