The Hall of Monuments in GW might only award titles and cosmetic goodies, but we gamers do love our shinies, so lots of people are diving into present-day Tyria to make some HoM progress while they wait for GW2. I posted a series of Hall of Monuments guides almost a year and a half ago, and while most of it has stood the test of time very well, I want to revisit it.
The reason I want to do this is to smooth the path a little more. So many people are still coming into Guild Wars for this reason, and starting from scratch with such an enormous goal can make a lot of them throw in the towel. Thankfully, ArenaNet has added some features into the game in the past few years that can make your Hall of Monuments progress more "hare" and less "tortoise," with the same prizes at the end. They all work together so you can get the most of your travels through Tyria in a much shorter time.
This one's for the min-maxers, so follow along to read about three simple things you can keep an eye on to speed up your HoM progress!
I'm starting with these because they are, to my mind, the most crucial component of anyone's Hall of Monuments pursuit. Let's start with what they are. A storybook is an item you can acquire in GW that keeps a record of your accomplishments. For example, the storybook for the Factions campaign is titled Shiro's Return. The book has one entry for most of the missions in Factions. (We'll address that "most" in a few minutes.) They are initially blank, but when you complete a mission while the book is in your inventory, the corresponding entry is filled in.
Once the book is full, you can hand it in to an NPC for a huge pile of gold, XP, and reputation points. For example, if you hand in a completed hard-mode hero's handbook for Eye of the North, you'll receive 6,000 gold, 60,000 XP, and 30,000 reputation points of your choice (Asura, Norn, Ebon Vanguard, or Deldrimor). You can also turn in a partially completed book. NPCs will accept them once at least half of the entries are filled in, but the rewards are exponentially better for a filled book.
Each book comes in hard-mode and normal-mode versions, so if you're going through a campaign for the first time, you'll pick up some nice bonus rewards, and when you go back and take on the hard-mode challenge, you'll get even better ones as long as you have the book in your inventory. If you happen to forget and leave it in storage once, don't panic -- you don't have to do the mission over. You have 30 days after a mission to take the book to the appropriate NPC, and he or she will fill in the missing pages for 100 gold each.
The wiki links for each storybook include information on what NPC in each campaign and expansion to see for your book. (The books are free.) In most cases, what sort of reputation points you receive depends on whom you hand the completed book in to, so make sure you know whom you want to present it to in the end. The location of these NPCs is tied to how the books work. For example, you can't pick up the Prophecies book until you arrive in Lion's Arch, but that's OK because you're not missing anything. Each of the main campaign storybooks begins the entries with the missions available after you've reached the acquisition point. So, for example, Shiro's Return does not include the missions on Shing Jea Island, and those missions are not required to fill the book out completely.
That brings us to Young Heroes of Tyria, the one storybook not tied to a single campaign or expansion. Young Heroes of Tyria contains all of those early missions missing from the Prophecies, Factions, and Nightfall storybooks, 13 in all. This is only available for the hard-mode version, and once you've completed it you can turn it in for your choice of Kurzick or Luxon faction in Factions or Sunspear or Lightbringer points in Nightfall.
The way to get the absolute most from these books is to pick them all up at once. If you've already been playing through GW, talk to the NPC again as soon as you get the book from him or her. Choose the Written Evidence? option again to find out whether there are any pages you can get filled in for the 100 gold fee I mentioned earlier. You might find that you have a very pleasant head start. Keep all of the books in storage and be diligent about grabbing the correct one any time you're about to start a mission.
If the correct book is already in your inventory, you've essentially got an enormous passive bonus that will pay off before you know it. You'll get big boosts to various reputation titles and lots of extra cash, which you're going to need for some of those other Hall of Monuments statues. One final tip: If you're thinking of going for the survivor title, filling out one copy of every available storybook, saving them all up, and turning them in all at once will get you 70% of the way to the max title. Patience is most definitely a virtue in this case.
Capturing elite skills is an expensive title, but if you do it over time, it's not too painful. You need one Signet of Capture for each elite skill, so just buy them from the skill trainers in little batches of five or ten at a time, replenishing as you run out, and don't think too hard about the total cost. It's money well spent both for the skill acquisition and for the way these titles work. You see, once you capture all the elite skills for a particular campaign, you get the skill hunter title for that campaign, which counts toward your Hall of Monuments. Once you earn the title for all three campaigns, you get a fourth "free" title of Legendary Skill Hunter. Four titles for the price of three is a sweet deal for those seeking to flesh out their HoM.
My suggestion is to not actively go skill capping to start with. Don't go out in an explorable solely to hunt down a boss and cap his skills. Instead, roll it into your regular gameplay like your storybooks. Before you do a mission or a vanquish, take a second to check the wiki for that particular mission or area. Every single one has a sub-entry labeled "bosses." Click it and it will drop you down to a listing of every boss in the area along with his elite skills. You can have up to three signets on your bar, so if you're a Paragon, for example, and you see that there are both Paragon and Warrior elites available where you're going (and you haven't yet captured either), change your secondary to Warrior, drop two signets of capture on your bar, and grab them both!
Once you've picked up a fair amount gradually through regular gameplay, it'll be much quicker work down the road to go back and see what you still need (and easier on your virtual pocketbook, too).
Something else to keep an eye on as you play are the Zaishen Challenge Quests. These fit in beautifully with progression on the guardian, skill hunter, and vanquisher titles, giving extra XP, gold, Zaishen coins, and bonuses. There are three quests on the PvE side of things, and they change every 24 hours. Since these have been around for a while, players have kept track and compiled a running list of the rotation, allowing everyone to plan ahead. Currently, the predictions are available through late March.
If you combine the challenges with your mission and vanquish progress, your storybooks, and skill capping, your progress toward titles is going to be so much more efficient than it would be otherwise. To pick up the daily challenges, head to Embark Beach and look for the three signposts with quest markers over them. It's important to note that you're limited to three of each type in your quest log at any time, so you can't hoard them and clear a dozen at once.
These are the three biggest things you can do to speed your progress along. I certainly don't advocate spending an hour with a spreadsheet open every time you log into Guild Wars, but it's unrealistic to assume that everyone wants to run through the same content a half-dozen times to achieve various goals. These are three quick and simple things you can keep an eye on to fill out your Hall of Monuments much faster than you would otherwise.
Best of luck, and don't forget the most important part: Have fun!
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.