Guild Wars 2: Heart of Thorns Mastery Leveling Guide

Not sure where to begin with masteries? Overwhelmed by what seems like a crazy grind? Never fear! Here's a quick guide to help you figure out what to do first.

Guild Wars 2's new expansion, Heart of Thorns is out, and it's huge! There's tons of new content to explore, a continuation of the amazing story, and lots of new toys to play with.

One of the most interesting new features is the Mastery system, which allows players to put experience toward unlocking new perks, like gliding, being able to talk to Hylek tribes in the new Maguuma zones, or even granting bonuses against very tough Mordrem enemies.

While this is very exciting, it can be a little confusing, and at first it looks like a whole lot of grinding just to be able to travel around the zones. Well, don't worry -- here's a quick and dirty guide to get you started and help you get over that initial milestone as fast as possible and access as much new content as you can.

How to Unlock Masteries

Before you can unlock masteries and start getting access to the neat new tools available to you, you need to find your way into the Maguuma Jungle (you also need the Heart of Thorns expansion -- masteries are not available without it). You need to play through the new story mission Torn from the Sky, and once you do, you'll find yourself in a new zone, Verdant Brink, with some new options for you to check out.

At the very bottom of your hero panel is a new icon that indicates masteries -- right now, the only Heart of Maguuma mastery you can select is Glider Basics (Gliding Level 1), which is just fine, since it's the most important one. Once you finish with Glider Basics, though, many others will open up, and you'll have to make a choice.

For now, your focus needs to be on leveling Glider Basics high enough to be unlocked. A lot of players are struggling with this, grinding the same events over and over again to get XP. It doesn't have to be that way! There are a couple of things to bear in mind while you work toward your first couple masteries.

Mastery XP is account bound, so once you've unlocked it on your main, your alts can take advantage of it too. Second, achievements count toward mastery progression as well as XP, and some can be earned very quickly. One of the best ways to get through the initial mastery grind and open up gliding is to run Torn from the Sky a second time, possibly with an alt, and try for some of the achievements -- some are very easy (one you can get just for being a Sylvari!), and you can earn 15-20 AP in less than half an hour.

Another often overlooked way to level quickly is by doing Adventures. Getting Gold on an adventure grants a huge experience bonus, and you can repeat them every day. The Salvage Pit in Verdant Brink is very easy to score highly on and is easy to get to even before you've unlocked your masteries.

Either way, you'll get there eventually, and then you'll need to make a choice.

Mastery Unlock Order

Obviously, your first unlock will be Glider Basics, but from there, you a few more choice. You automatically select Updraft Use after finishing Glider Basics, but that's not the best choice -- Bouncing Mushroom (Itzel Lore Level 1) will unlock a huge part of the jungle for you, and should be your next step.

From there, it's up to you, but there are some Masteries that are more valuable than others. Here are the ones that are required to finish the story, and that you should probably focus on:

  • Glider Basics (Gliding Level 1) 
  • Bouncing Mushroom (Izel Lore Level 1) 
  • Exalted Markings (Exalted Lore Level 1) 
  • Updraft Use (Gliding Level 2) 
  • Nuhoch Hunting (Nuhoch Lore Level 1) 
  • Itzel Poison Lore (Itzel Lore Level 4)

So get out there, commander, and start hunting some Mordrem! Good luck!

Published Oct. 26th 2015

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