So you’ve hit level 80 in Guild Wars 2. How do you gear up at level 80? You’ll want a full set of exotic quality gear for WvW! (Or PvE if that’s your cup of tea.) In Guild Wars 2, there are several options to get level 80 gear. Unlike other MMOs, you can mix and match sets without penalty. Your path is decided based on the stats you want. That means you have to pick and choose through different sets. And that means you may have to do something besides PvP. Stop crying, i’m only kidding. Mostly. There are several ways of getting your level 80 exotic gear for WvW or PvE. For now, sPvP gear is separate, but changes are coming.
World versus World
No PvPing for this method. Said method being pretty self explanatory. You strike out into the wilderness (with or without a set of Magic Find gear), and hope you get an exotic to drop. Easier said than done of course. You can hit up the Trading Post with all that money you’re not making from WvW for this kind too. Generally they can be had for 2g to 2g50s each. If you get a piece you can’t use, try selling it and using the proceeds to buy one you can. In some cases you can actually make money. While it’s theoretically feasible to do this in WvW, I wouldn’t think it was helpful to your realm or time efficient by any stretch of the imagination.
World versus World
This is the hardest way by far to collect gear. Fighting in WvW lets you collect Badges of Honor. These are earned from killing players and enemy NPC guards. They drop 1 or 2 at the time – when they do drop. Unfortunately the drop rate is terrible. I got about 40 badges after several hours of WvW. And that was when we were steamrolling. On the losing end, the rate is unforgiving. The armor runs 396 badges per piece, the weapons even more. It’s a long road ahead collecting these pieces. You can find the Badge of Honor vendors in the Citadel of your home realm, or the starting areas of your realm on other worlds.
You can also get Badges of Honor from completing the jumping puzzles in each world once per day. These drop 5-20 and some siege schematics depending on which world you’re in.
Crafting is arguably the easiest way to get level 80 exotic gear. The materials required are moderately extensive, and not simple to come across. You need 5 Globs of Ectoplasm per Weapon and i’m sure something similar for armor. They require you to salvage level 80 rares to get Globs of Ectoplasm. You get 0-3 globs per rare. Make sure you are using the Master Salvage kits. This is also an option if you can find someone to make the gear with the mats you have collected. Crafted level 80 exotic gear can also be bought off the Trading Post. They can be had for the same 2g to 2g50s as loot drops. Again, feasible by solely doing WvW, but not preferable. A whole set of exotic gear, runes, and sigils, can be had for about 30 gold as of 12/20/2012.
There are 6 karma vendors that sell level 80 exotic gear. The first bit of bad news is they cost 42k per piece. That’s a lot for karma farming. The vendors are scattered across Orr in the various cathedrals.
Straits of Devastation
Cathedral of Glorious Victory
Cathedral of Zephyr
Cathedral of Eternal Radiance
Cathedral of Verdance
Cathedral of Silence
The second bit of bad news is the vendors only spawn when your realm controls the temple. The events must be done to clear out the area which could require a large group of players. You will know they are contested when the cathedral symbol has the crossed swords through it (like contested waypoints). Pay close attention to the stats, as each set does not share the same stats. The gloves may have healing while the boots may have power. You will have to mix and match across the vendors. Generally I have found at least one vendor is always available, so if you play your cards right you can probably scrape together what you need over time. Weekends at peak time they are commonly all open. This one may be a little more feasible in WvW than other methods. You can get a lot of dynamic events done if you have an active back and forth going on the world you’re fighting in. Farming dynamic events outside WvW is probably going to be more efficient by far though.
I have the least experience with this method as it is PvE related. You get badges at the end of each dungeon, which can be spent on certain vendors. These vendors can be found in Lion’s Arch near the Fort Marriner Waypoint. Pay close attention to what you are buying. The vendors sell low level armor on one of the tabs, and level 80 exotics on another. The armor runs 180-330 badges a piece, and the weapons run 210-390 badges each. There are some nice skins to be had too. You get around 15 badges per run in my experience, so if you like PvE this is an easy path for you to take.
In Game Events
With all the Living Story content every two weeks, there is always some kind of event going on. Since the beginning of the game, events have rewarded level 80 exotic gear. The Karka event gave an exotic accessory, the Mad King (Halloween) event rewarded exotics for completing the jumping puzzle, and there are many other examples. Ask your friends, or in chat, if there are any level 80 exotic gear rewards for completing the Living Story content. Not all events give rewards, so this isn’t the most reliable way to get gear.
There are also world bosses and events that drop chests. Unlike the Living Story, these are around all the time. Tequatl is an example of this type of event.
Black Lion Trading Post
Of course there is always the Black Lion Trading Post. You can buy level 80 exotic gear directly. At times, it will even be exceedingly cheap. For example, at the time of this update, Ascended level armor crafting has been released. That means the Trading Post is flooded with exotic gear, making it extremely cheap. Less than a gold per piece in some cases. So check the Trading Post when you get to 80, and see if the gear you want is selling at a good price.
To Sum it up
These are your options for getting level 80 exotic gear. Each set of gear is equivalent to the other as far as stats. One exotic is equal to another exotic. There is no tier 1, tier 2, etc. You just need to focus on what stats you want. If it’s exotic quality, and it has the stats you want, then go for it. The only thing better that you can get are the legendary weapons. I’ve seen some guides on those and WOW. It’s pretty intensive. Then consider you’ll want to get 2 or 3 of them per character, and you can see where Guild Wars 2 will keep you occupied for a while where legendary items are concerned. That’s not to speak of maxing out your bank and bag space, or your dye collection or whatever you’re trying to 100%.