The Die by the Arrow Network is blogs about World of Warcraft, RIFT, and Star Wars: The Old Republic. Focused on ranged damage dealers.

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Three days ago early access opened for those who pre-purchased Guild Wars 2. With a nice amount of sleep and a trip back into The Secret World for an evening, I still managed to log enough hours to get my ranger to level 25. I’ve completed a ton of content, explored large swaths of the world, and even found some time to survey crafting. To put it simply, so far the game is amazing.

Less than a third through level progression, 25 levels is barely 30% of the total 80 levels to earn. Still, it’s no small accomplishment considering the breadth of activity required to gain them. It took several days of steady playing, exploring all five starting cities, and clearing to completion two of the five starting zones to gain level 25. But Guild Wars 2 brought the fun back to the journey, making all 25 levels a joy to gain instead of an exercise in grinding. Read through the cut for a full review of the first 25 levels.

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I’ve jumped into Guild Wars 2 head first and logged many hours in these first two days of pre-launch. I’ll be writing a full review soon and another at the one month mark. So far, I like what I’ve experienced. ArenaNet has refined and polished so many standard MMOG features that just scream “try me” it’s staggering. Get some - you won’t regret it.

I will be streaming the game as much as I can over the next month of play. It seems to run a lot smoother than The Secret World so I’m actually able to enjoy playing and streaming at the same time. So if you aren’t already watching, head over to my Twitch.tv channel to watch some live gaming.

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Guild Wars 2: Batter Up

The next slugger in the MMOG war is about to take the plate in less than three days (for players who pre-purchased, anyway) and it is one of the single most anticipated titles to hit the market since Star Wars: The Old Republic. Guild Wars 2 has seen as much hype and marketing as any MMOG out there. ArenaNet has billed it as a “living, breathing fantasy world” and a genre defining game - an action-oriented, personally customized game with dynamic world events. Read on for more!

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nw-gear-glyphs

There’s already a lot of good information out there on the Internets about gear, glyphs, and how to acquire it. Most of the posts about it are highly technical, throw a lot of numbers around, and generally don’t tell you exactly what to do and how to do it. With that in mind, this guide will consolidate and reference much of that data and spell out the details in simple English so everyone from casual to hardcore can get the most out of their nightmare dungeon runs.

To summarize it quickly, the very best gear you can get as of patch 1.1 is found on the Nightwatch vendors in your faction headquarters coupled with a Nightwatch glyph. Read on for the explanation of why and how obtain and maximize the gear.

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I’ve gotten a lot of positive feedback about my AR Soloist deck; while it’s a fairly simple build from the start, some folks have asked how to build it up from the first ability point. I’m happy to oblige. This deck starts to do its job right out of the gate, making it excellent for newbies just getting started as well as experienced players looking to turn the harder missions easy. In any case, read through the cut for the essential guide to building the AR Soloist deck.

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interface-mods

It’s pretty common knowledge that I love to play with the interface in these games. As far back as Everquest when it upgraded to the XML ui, I have almost as much fun playing a game as I do modding it’s interface. My touch in Vanguard still exists as my old DroxyCore still remains popular. I had a portal back for LotRO. And let’s not forget my 200+ folders in my WoW addon folder (and dual-screen setup). Obviously, I love to tinker with the ui.

With The Secret World, most of the modification of the user interface is done with Flash editor. Unfortunately, I don’t have Flash editor (I know, a web designer without Flash, how can it be?!). But that doesn’t mean I can’t load my game up with the other awesome mods that authors are dropping like crazy. There are already names starting to spring up in the forums that are becoming synonymous with the TSW ui; names Catagorical, Viper, and… Dave? Yes, Dave. Read through the cut for details and screenshots on my latest ui changes!

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After completing each of the eight dungeons on the Elite difficulty, it came to my attention that there is more to life than just blowing stuff up. Crazy, I know. So in the interest of preparing for Nightmare modes, I thought it would be wise to invest in a few utility builds. While there are barely a handful of situations in the Elites where utility is useful (but not necessarily required), I know from the Looking for Group channel that they are more or less required for safe passage through a Nightmare dungeon.

Utility in The Secret World is much the same as it is in every MMOG: stuns, purges, cleanses, and debuffs. Each of these abilities is usually narrowed into the scope of one or two different weapon choices. This means no single person can be the jack-of-all-trades, making group composition important. By building a few decks each with one or two specific utilities, you can ensure that you will be an asset to any group.

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