What money can buy


They say “money makes the world go round” and in MMOs it is definitely true! ‘Rewards’ and ‘gold’ are two words that you will hear more often in chat – as well as the perpetual question: how (or where) can I acquire this? Almost 3 years after launch, Guild Wars 2 nowadays features thirteen (13) types of currency units striving for a slot in our wallet.

Unlike real life currency, the units used in MMOs are numerous and varying in the method of acquisition as well as the market (i.e. items) they can be used for. To make things worse, one could add the many tokens currently in GW2 on top of these 13 units of currency! Almost every player’s bank these days is certain to contain at least a couple of stacks of these items. What can one get for all of these?

Tokens, consumables, gizmos, skins, crafting material… an orderly mess!

Currency vs. Tokens

The first thing to identify is the difference between these two. They are both used to acquire items from vendors, but that’s about the only similarity they share. Currency items are stored in the Wallet (see below) while Tokens take up space in our inventory. In most cases Tokens are account bound trophies, springing from Living World releases and are usually time-limited in their use – in the sense that the vendors exchanging items for them go away after the respective release ends. Examples include Pieces of Candy Corn and Ugly cloth pieces. There are however some ‘permanent tokens’, such as Globs of Ectoplasm and Black Lion Claim Tickets & Scraps, Geodes and Bandit Crests, Pristine Fractal Relics, etc.


As of August 6, 2013 when it was introduced, the Wallet is the place where the following game currencies are stored:

  • Gems
  • Coins
  • Karma
  • Laurels
  • Transmutation Stones
  • Badges of Honor
  • Guild Commendations
  • Dungeon tokens (8 different ones)
  • Fractal Relics (not the Pristine ones though)
  • Skill Points (per character)
  • Supplies (only while in WvW)
  • Guild Merit (guild currency)
  • Guild Influence (guild currency)

When a unit –or number of units- of the above listed ones is acquired, it is automatically added to your Wallet. Hovering your mouse pointer over the bottom line of your Inventory window displays a pop up window with the contents of your Wallet.


Alternatively you can display a dedicated window with more details by going to your Hero panel [H].


NOTE: in the upcoming Feature Patch, the Wallet will be re-designed. One of the major changes –besides the new UI- will be that it will store some items that are now regarded as Tokens. More specifically: Geodes, Bandit Crests, Pristine Fractal Relics and Skill Points in excess (which will be renamed to Spirit Shards).

Vendors and Items

There are two ‘sources’ of item acquisition through currency units: NPCs and the Trading Post (TP). As a matter of fact, considering that to actually ‘get’ something you bought off the TP you need to talk to an NPC, there’s really just one source ^^

Vendor NPCs can be found in cities, outposts (camps), out in the wild, or in WvW keeps and the Mists. They are marked by specific icons on the map and mini-map, such as coins, laurels, armor or weapon icons, karma icon, etc. One feature commonly missed by –or unknown to- most players is that one can actually filter the information displayed on your map to display the ‘merchant’ NPCs! This is done by the little [icon] mark in the bottom-right corner of the world map [M]. Try it, it’s handy!

The items one can acquire with some currency unit also vary greatly. As a rule, each item can be acquired with more than one currency unit – with a few, notable exceptions, e.g. ‘Mystic Items’, sold by Miyani, and various specific ‘Gifts’ –more on those below. On the other hand, Vendors usually sell different versions of some items – e.g. different stats, looks, or simply exclusive uses, like WvW-only. In other words, before you set out to meet a certain NPC or spend your precious ‘money’, be sure they are the ones selling what you are looking for 🙂

Yet another HUGE table…

As the table is truly too big to be displayed here, please download and open it for your ease of use. It is in standard Microsoft Excel format (.xls).

This table isn’t intended to be used as a “where to go to get this specific item” guide, by no means. It’s sole purpose is to demonstrate the complexity of the currency system currently in GW2 (which is only going to get worse in the years to come, I’m afraid…) on one hand, and the various sources of item acquisition for each of the main item types in the game, on the other. There are, indeed, a few items sold exclusively by one or two vendors but the majority of them are spread among the bunch. If you are looking for a particular item then or one with specific stats, you should first consult with the wiki.

A few final points to note before I wrap this up:

  1. The table only shows a few ways of acquiring each type of item and is by no means definitive. For example, we can also get armor pieces through crafting.
  2. The table is built to demonstrate the use of the various currency units; tokens are not taken into consideration. E.g. one can acquire PvE skins by exchanging event tokens, such as the Dragon’s Jade Claim Tickets.
  3. Mystic Items: these are items used in various Mystic Forge recipes, such as Philosopher’s Stones and Crystals.
  4. Gems: these are rather exceptional as they are both currency and item! On one hand we can use them to purchase something (hence, currency) and on the other one can sell them at the TP to earn ‘coins’ (hence, item).
  5. Skill Points: there is one case where SPs can be considered as ‘items’ instead of ‘currency’. One can purchase Dessa’s Experimental Journal(s) in exchange for Fractal Relics (=currency). Double-clicking this item gains 1 Skill Point for the player. Note that should this item remain in the game after the update to the Wallet, using it will give 1 Spirit Shard to the player instead of a Skill Point.

What’s your opinion about the way currencies work in GW2? Leave your criticism and ideas in the comments below 🙂

One thought on “What money can buy

  1. Oh, thanks goodness for the upcoming wallet update.

    There’s two things in this game that is ruining my quality of life: one being that there are too many currencies (including seasonal/temporary ones) and the other is that too much clicking is required in this game for opening bags/boxes, using items like luck essences, and for salvaging/selling items.

    Too much of my playing time is spent on trying to find space to store currencies/mats (already bought max banks slots) and on cleaning out my inventory, which takes away from the gaming experience in GW2.

    I hope to see Anet working to significantly improve these two aspects of the game, and improving the account wallet is definitely a great start.

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