Flameseeker Chronicles: Brother, can you spare a diamond?

I've spent a lot of time the past few days with my inventory and storage panels open in Guild Wars. Like it did to pretty much the entire Guild Wars community, the surprise announcement of the Hall of Monuments calculator sent me into a tizzy of "What do I have? What do I need? I have to PvP? Noooooo!!"

OK, maybe that last thing was just me, but my point stands. The revelation of all the shiny rewards and titles available on the point scale is thrilling. Personally, the "Flameseeker" title was my immediate goal, and I scrambled around to get that one right away. Now I'm chasing 50 points, as are several of my guildmates.

I was happy to see so many of my inactive guildies back because of this, but I noticed something immediately. They were confused! (No, seriously. I love you guys, but I could practically see the "omg too much!" looks on your faces.) Just from hanging out and watching the community both in and out of game the past few days, I realized pretty quickly that this is happening all over Tyria.

So many longtime players have gone inactive while they waited to see how GW1 was going to link to Guild Wars 2. Now they're back in droves after being gone for a while, and they feel like they might never catch up. So, this week's Flameseeker Chronicles is for you guys. Follow along after the jump and I'll help you get back in the game and all caught up.

Where do you stand?

The first thing you want to do is see what you already have. Pay a quick visit to the Hall of Monuments calculator and key in a character name. It's very important to understand that this is account-wide. If Bob Hulksmash your warrior has three heroes in his hall and Skinny McSneaky the assassin has five in hers, then the Hall of Monuments calculator will give you credit for all eight. So even you altoholics might be in better shape than you thought.

Next, log in and start going through your Xunlai chest and all your characters. Check any alt accounts you have as well. First and foremost, you are probably going to have birthday presents scattered all over. Round 'em up on your main account and start opening. Voila -- now you have a bunch of fresh new minipets for your hall! You might have some duplicates, but hang on to those, because I'm going to address that in a moment. Do you have any hero armor upgrades that you never quite got around to using? Been hoarding sweets, booze, or party items? All of these things are a quick and easy boost to your point totals. Even if you don't want those consumable titles, hang onto those items as well for the same reason you're hanging onto the minipets.

While you're at it, you might want to visit the wiki and make a list of minipets you still need. For some reason, the Hall of Monuments calculator keeps a list of what your account still needs in every section except the minipet one. Minis are the most difficult to keep track of, so I find this probably the most irritating and baffling part of the calculator. I have no idea why it was left out, but your only choices are running to your Hall of Monuments and squinting at the popup window every time someone asks what you still need, or just making your own list. I suggest the list.

Check your materials storage tab and wherever you keep your overflow materials. Do you have enough to put together some new armor for that monument? What about War in Kryta items? If you showed up at all in the past months to participate in those events, you probably have some Medals of Honor lying around. Oppressor weapons were recently added to the Hall of Monuments, so if you've got at least 10 Medals, there's a quick point boost for you.

Finally, make sure each of your accounts has paid a visit to High Priest Zhang in the Great Temple of Balthazar. He'll give you 50 free Tournament Points, which can be exchanged for Zaishen Keys. Use them to get a jump on yet another title, or hang on to them for the same reason as before. (I'll tell you in a minute.)

Spend some quality time with your guild

If you're lucky enough to be part of an active or even semi-active guild, start participating. I don't mean do missions with your friend and ignore the other 50 people in the guild. I mean participate. You'll find a surge of activity everywhere right now, and we are almost all interested in the same thing right now: scoring points for our Halls.

People are running dungeons and missions for various points, so jump in when someone in your guild announces he is doing something. If you're looking for a particular title track, put it out there and round up a few guildmates for a group! This is a golden opportunity to reconnect with your guild, meet people who have joined since you went inactive, and have some fun.

Additionally, I have been delighted to see that many players are trading back and forth. If they have duplicate minipets or extra hero armors, they're going up for grabs to guild mates. Remember that one time when I told you to hang on to all your duplicates and extras? Use those things! Offer them for trade, discounted sale, or give them away out of plain old generosity to your guildmates. Everyone's got extras of something, so get it out there -- this is exactly the sort of thing that makes for a great gaming community. Share the wealth, and you'll most likely find your generosity returned in kind.

A few things about that: for heaven's sake don't beg. In particular, don't beg then never give anything in return. If you need something, ask if you can (and be prepared to) purchase it. If a guildie offers it freely, then accept it graciously and be on the lookout to return the favor. Don't be greedy, either -- don't leap in to snap up everything that's offered before anyone else gets a chance. Finally, be generous. If you've got something that you do not need, you probably have a guildmate who would love to have it.

But I don't have a guild!

If you're a solo player who finds himself burdened with extras of things, it's time for a visit to Kamadan. The American districts of Kamadan are insane right now, with people buying and selling like crazy. Prices have spiked on a few items and are up a little bit on most things, but overall the market is still fairly reasonable considering the circumstances.

Don't price gouge -- take a few moments to check out the trading window and get an idea of where prices are at the moment. Start throwing your items out there for a mid-range cost and you'll find things sell almost immediately. Once you've lost extras and gained cash, I strongly suggest you just sit back and wait. You have time. Guild Wars 2 is not launching tomorrow. (Or the next day, or the next day, or... sigh.) Anyway, if the things you are hoping to gain are currently out of your price range, then sit back and wait for the market to calm down a bit. Come back to Kamadan in a week or two and see how it looks.

Heroes and pets

Over the past few days, I've found this to be one of the most fun parts of gaining points in my Hall of Monuments. Let's start with pets. First, the Pet Unlock Pack in the store won't really help you out here, so save your $10. You get one point for having a level 20 pet dedicated on this monument, and another for having a rare pet. If you've finished Factions, the Phoenix is probably the easiest and quickest pet to tame. Take out Shiro in normal mode, run to the end of the finishing zone while people sing your praises, and tame a phoenix. Don't forget to add Charm Animal before you start!

Hero armors can be a blast to unlock. There are six different types of hero armor upgrades, which can be a little overwhelming. Deldrimor Armor Remnants and Cloth of the Brotherhood are for all Eye of the North heroes, but I honestly recommend focusing on the Cloth. Deldrimor Armor Remnants come at the end of Slaver's Exile, and it requires completion of several long and difficult dungeons to acquire one Remnant.

Alternatively, you can do Glint's Challenge. Glint's Challenge hovers around the 15-minute range for completion, and at the end, everyone gets one Cloth of the Brotherhood. The challenge consists of Destroyers only, so be prepared for that. They come in six waves and are intent on killing the baby dragon in the center of the area. Meet the Destroyers at the gates, take them out, and raid the chest at the end.

There are more options for outfitting your Nightfall heroes. Primeval Armor Remnants will outfit every Nightfall hero you have, and they can be a little tricky to acquire. They're not too bad if you know what you're up against, though. You get them in the Domain of Anguish, but some areas are easier than others. I favor the City of Tor'Qua, simply because the Margonites there are mostly fixed patrols. With careful pulling you can burn through them fairly quickly. The Armor Remnants are not a guaranteed drop, so check your inventory at the end -- if you got one, it will go directly into your inventory.

Finally, there are three challenge missions in Nightfall that give armor pieces for a limited number of Nightfall heroes. While the armor is still not guaranteed, I prefer them. They're much more fast and furious -- lots of running around and killing as quickly as you can -- and overall you get more armor upgrades more quickly. Dajkah Inlet (Stolen Sunspear Armor), Remains of Sahlahja (Ancient Armor Remnant), and The Shadow Nexus (Mysterious Armor Piece) all have similar goals. Kill a group as quickly as you can and move on to the next. Don't worry about picking up armor drops, because they'll appear in your inventory, allowing you to aim for pure speed.

Weapons

Finally, weapons. You get points for variety here. Add one each of a Tormented, Destroyer, and Oppressor's weapon for bonus points. It's difficult to give solid advice on how to advance in this section, because it honestly depends on where in the game you currently are. If you've finished War in Kryta, my suggestion is to do the bounties and build up some Medals of Honor. If you've not finished War in Kryta, you should aim for that. You'll wind up with some weapons for your Hall along with some great rewards in cash and random gifts from Salma.

Destroyer weapons are pretty hard to obtain at the moment, as the trader is completely sold out of the diamonds and onyx needed to obtain them. If you're chasing these, I suggest running dungeons in normal mode -- diamonds and onyx are pretty common there. You can min-max this by choosing dungeons that advance whatever Eye of the North title track your character happens to need most, bringing her closer to another point in the Hall of Monuments calculator.

Tormented weapons are undoubtedly the hardest to obtain. If you've got Globs of Ectoplasm and aren't saving for Obsidian Armor, you can purchase armbraces in Kamadan. As of this writing they are hovering around 19 ecto each -- pretty reasonable given the circumstances. That's the quickest way to obtain one, but if you want to save your money and go the Anguish Gemstone route, you stand a chance of gaining some of the aforementioned hero armor pieces in the process. It's a matter of preference in the end.

Good luck!

Of course, even this extra-long edition of Flameseeker Chronicles can't begin to cover all the ways in which you can work on your Hall of Monuments. It should help get you to 30 points pretty quickly, which will earn you every Guild Wars 2 HoM reward currently revealed. View it as a sort of starting point, but if you're a completionist and want the full 50 points, keep your eye on Massively today. We'll be running a five-day feature series called "The Road to 50," focusing on a specific monument each day. This series will serve as a guide to maxing out the point totals on each monument.

If you've got additional questions, I'd really love for you to leave a comment here. I'll be keeping a close eye on the comments this week and answering everything as quickly as I can!
Rubi is a longtime Guild Wars player and the writer of Flameseeker Chronicles here at Massively. The column keeps a close eye on all the events in Guild Wars, Guild Wars 2, and anything bridging the two. It's also the home of a weekly summary of the travels of [MVOP], Massively's Guild Wars guild. Email Rubi at rubi@massively.com.

This article was originally published on Massively.