Legendary Survivor of Ascalon
A Legendary Survivor of Ascalon (LSoA) is an unofficial description of a character that has earned at least the first tier of the Survivor title without leaving pre-Searing Ascalon. As a consequence of the amount of experience required for Survivor, the character will also have earned the Legendary Defender of Ascalon title in the process. Previously, Survivor was impossible to get since the only way to level up above level 16 in pre-Searing had been through death leveling. Since the March 3rd, 2011 update, Lieutenant Langmar now provides quests with enough experience (through rewards and killing foes) to allow one to reach the title.
Differences between the Survivor titles in pre-Searing
There is a gap between Survivor, Indomitable Survivor and Legendary Survivor. The first tier of the title is much easier to get because of several reasons :
1) Starting from level 1, the player can get on average more experience per kill due to a higher difference in level with the enemies.
2) Starting from level 1, killing foes is easier. The Fire Imp (summon) plays a crucial part in that, ensuring not only faster but also safer kills.
3) The experience needed to get Survivor is "only" 140kxp, while Indomitable Survivor requires over three times more and Legendary Survivor over eight times more.
Getting the first tier of the Survivor title is the same as getting LDoA with the only restraint of not dying in the process.
Survivor r1 (starting from level 1)
Levels 9 and less
Fighting Ice Elementals and Oakhearts (and other low-level foes) with the Fire Imp is generally risk free. Beware of your imp always having a clear line of sight. Avoid confronting Charr and do not hesitate to fall back or even log out whenever you feel overwhelmed. A maximum shield such as the Serrated Shield can increase your survival abilities greatly. Power leveling is also a good way to get a lot of experience but has a higher risk.
At this level, you can restart rather fast should you die.
Levels 10 and more
At level 10 and above the character can take the daily vanguard quests to spawn high-level foes and get a daily 1000xp. The quest also provides a bonus, "Vanguard Initiate". To keep the bonus and to spawn the vanguard foes, you should refrain from doing the vanguard quest on the LSoA until the next one become available.
Vanguard Rescue: Farmer Hamnet is the best quest for farming experience : leave from Foible's Fair and simply kill the first two bandits in Wizard's Folly. This farm is safer than any other due to the Academy Monk near the resurrection shrine which is actually a good healer : it will help the character survive a bit more in case of lag. Bandits raiders are the most dangerous enemies so killing them first is advised.
Some may prefer Vanguard Bounty: Utini Wupwup to kill the Grawl boss in a loop for a high experience gain. This requires a fairly high damage output to overwhelm the Grawl shamans and Utini himself.
Below level 14, killing the Charr bosses will usually be very fast and high-rewarding in terms of both drops and experience and is therefore a good solution, albeit being dangerous for a survivor character.
Levels 16 and more
The Charr bosses, and therefore all non-vanguard foes in pre-Searing don't give experience any longer. The only two ways to get experience (without dying) are the reward from the daily vanguard quest and experience from killing the vanguard foes. If going for r1, level 16 is the moment to turn in any non-vanguard quest you still have for their experience reward.
Survivor r2 and r3 (starting from r1)
At level 20 you lose your power to summon the Fire Imp, which is deadly. From now on any computer crash or lag when fighting vanguard foes or even regular foes, if the duration of the dysfunction is long enough, is equal to death. As such, avoid facing Charr and even low-level foes.
Using a runner
Getting only the daily vanguard quest reward with a runner completing the quest for you provides a regular and solid basis of 1000xp/day for an average time of 10min/quest, but requires to play everyday for several years (~2 years for r2 and 4 years for r3).
The quest runner should preferably be a Mesmer due to their overall strength and access to Empathy/Backfire very useful for vanguard quests (bounties and annihilations especially). Level 10 is required for the vanguard foes and NPCs to spawn. Fire Imp is advised. Using Birthday Cupcakes can speed some runs greatly, notably the bandit annihilation.
The Way of the Fire Imp - Hamnet Farming
The Way of the Fire Imp Video on YouTube:
Main idea: The Fire Imp is an extremely powerful ally, but it cannot be summoned at level 20. The idea is to use a level 19 secondary character to summon it and then die in combat. As dead characters don't steal experience, if a LSoA joins the fight, it will get the xp per kill as if it was fighting on its own while still being helped by the fire imp.
Prerequisites: The method requires a second account which will summon a Fire Imp to help the LSoA character. This method mainly works when farming the two bandits outside of Foible's Fair during Vanguard Rescue: Farmer Hamnet.
First account:The LSoA character. Any profession. Must have an active vanguard quest for the Vanguard Initiate Bonus.
Second account : requires the Imp bonus Imp Summoner. Must be able to summon the fire imp, at least level 17 but level 19 is advised. Preferably caster class with warrior as secondary (for dying more quickly with Frenzy and Healing Signet), necro with Blood Renewal can also be used to speed up the run. No armor. Must hold Vanguard Rescue: Farmer Hamnet unless the LSoA character already holds it (in which case the runs will be faster since the Imp Summoner is denied the Vanguard Initiate bonus). Damaging skills are advised, the best of which are Fire Storm, Symbol of Wrath, Empathy (may slow the run) and Backfire. Imagined Burden and Faintheartedness can cripple the dangerous bandit raiders. Soul Barbs is a good hex if your LSoA uses Mesmer or Necromancer hexes.
Farm description: Team characters. Enter Wizard's Folly from Foible's Fair. Using the Imp Summoner first, follow the right cliff. Do not aggro the academy monk but aggro the ice elemental. Meanwhile, on the LSoA, take the left path (aggro the academy monk). Back on the Imp Summoner : aggro, ball and let the two bandits kill you. Use your suicide skills if you have and also any damaging skills to weaken (but not kill) the foes : this makes the run safer and faster. When close to dying, summon the fire imp. Have now your LSoA join the fight and finish any remaining foe.
Advantages: The imp deals a lot of damage and since it draws aggro first it will become the focus of the raiders' attacks. Having a high armor rating, steady healing and being not fleshy (immune to bleeding and therefore deep wound from the raiders) it should tank the attacks with ease. Weakening the foes beforehand allows for faster, easier and safer kills, especially for LSoA with a low damage output such as monks. It can also be used to cast powerful spells with a long recharge time such as Fire Storm, Empathy or Backfire. The Imp Summoner's corpse can be exploited to summon a minion if the LSoA is a necromancer.
Drawbacks: Two-accounting requires either the use of a Third-party program (not supported by Arenanet) able to open several accounts (such as GWMultilaunch) or having two computers. Getting a caster character at least level 17 in pre-Searing on another account is roughly equivalent to creating a new LDoA character.
Conclusion: While still unsafe and with complicated prerequisites, the Way of the Fire Imp provides the safest way to farm experience in pre-searing. It also allows non-mesmers and non-elementalists LSoA characters, such as monks, to really farm experience as their low damage output do not allow them to do so on their own.
The method also requires two-accounting (with the second account having a level 17 character), and is a lot less safe than the previous method. This is however the fastest run, approximatively 20-40% faster than Hamnet due to the superior experience gain.
Your LSoA. Must always hold a vanguard quest for the Vanguard Initiate Bonus. Damaging moves able to outdamage the healing of Utini Wupwup and any two Grawl shaman groups you may encounter on the way. Warriors will have a lot of troubles against Symbol of Wrath and Bane Signet, rangers will have to avoid Bane Signet, and last but not least the melee Grawl will use Hammer Bash fueled by Frenzy so any profession can be affected by knockdown. Tanking using a pet or minions as a meatshield is advised. Fire Storm and Domination Magic skills (mainly Backfire and Empathy) can help outdamage Utini or take down its two melee Grawl servants.
Utini Quest Holder. Level 17 or higher
Utini Wupwup is rather close to the outpost and can be killed rather easily (for caster classes). As a lvl18 boss, he yields 128xp (and its surrounding Grawl 32xp, for a total of at least 160xp per run if you kill all three). The run can be as fast as 1min and as long as 3min for an average of 75-85xp/min.
Team characters. Enter Green Hills County from The Barradin Estate. Have your second character leave the game. Now go straight east, then north towards the first spawning point. Maintain ctrl left pressed to see the name of the foes. Either kill Utini if he is there, or go further to the east(up the small "hill"). From there, you should be able to see at which one of its other spawning points he is (one south-east close to the Green Hills Caravan, the other further to the east, and the last one in the middle of the stone elementals to the north)
Fastest runs implies less time during which a lag or computer crash can occurs and less pain reaching your title.
Two-accounting requires either the use of a Third-party program (not supported by Arenanet) able to open several accounts (such as GWMultilaunch) or having two computers. The method's prerequisite is also hard to achieve (allbeit easier to get than the one of the other method above), as it means getting a character at least level 17 in pre-Searing, which (unless the player has already one) is roughly equivalent to creating a new LDoA character... Last but not least the method is very unsafe and if a big lag or computer crash occurs your character is as good as dead.
With a very high damage output, this method may be faster than the Way of the Fire Imp for roughly the same requirements. However, it is much less safer due to the absence of the Fire Imp.
The quest Rites of Remembrance will spawn several lvl 10 Restless Spirits which can help during the Vanguard Annihilation: Undead.
Likewise, Ben Wolfson can be recruited in The Northlands as long as his quest isn't completed.
Using an animal companion (which can be charmed without having to choose Ranger as secondary profession) can prove to be a great choice as it can be an efficient shield against foes' attack due to its higher armor and because unlike the Fire Imp it can be kept at level 20.
Use walls as much as possible to avoid getting hit or for using Healing Signet with less drawback.
Morale Boosts along with Retribution are the only permanent buff available in pre-searing. Consumables can help, especially Birthday Cupcakes which are an efficient way to break aggro (useful for the bandit annihilation quest).
Auto-attacks will still occur if you lose your network, therefore having a high damage weapon and/or high attribute may allow you to survive by killing one of your foes. Best weapons for this are arguably Promotional weapons, especially the Luminescent Scepter and the Glacial Blade, the Soul Shrieker, Rhino's Charge, Darksteel Longbow, Nevermore Flatbow and Hourglass Staff. Remember that the shield base armor is voided under Vanguard Initiate.
As per the regular survivor title, avoid playing with high ping, and when you are not in a normal state of mind and body (e.g. when tired).
To err is human, and it's very easy to underestimate things.
As per the regular survivor title, always keep a longbow or Flatbow to pull foes apart from surrounding groups, and do not hesitate to fall back in case of overaggro, especially when farming bosses.
Do not touch the flame geysers in the Catacombs.
Doing stuff non-related to getting experience means unnecessarily increasing the risks of getting killed. Charr runs with a level above 16, but also simple farming such as getting the required items for Nicholas Sandford should be avoided on the LSoA character.
Beware of Charr, Bandits Firestarters (and any nearby Bandit Blood Sworn), River Skale Brood. These enemies can deal a surprisingly high amount of damage.
The most dangerous foes during Vanguard quests seems to be :
For the bandits-related quests : Bandit Raiders (Deep Wound, Bleeding), Countess Nadya (watch out for her Empathy/Backfire), Bandit Ringleaders (high level in Fire Magic)
For the undeads-related quests : Undead Illusionists (snare, dangerous combo with the Undead Necromancers' Soul Barbs), Restless Corpses (same as Bandits Raiders). Beware of the Undead Necromancer raising an army of minions at the statue of grenth (wait a bit until all are dead due to the natural health degeneration, this can be a good strategy), as well as the one requiring to enter Swamp Water.
For the Charr-related quests : Charr Fire Callers (high level in Fire Magic)
For the Grawl-related quest : foes are not really dangerous, but all enemies can knock down with Bane Signet or Hammer Bash and heal using Orison of Healing or Healing Signet.
Exact time calculation:
The required time to get the r2 (respectively r3) go from ~110 hours to 1 years and 7 months (~310 hours to 3 years and 8 months). Depending on the method you've chosen, this time will be:
Only farming the bandits right outside of Foible's Fair (30s-2min runs, 32xp/run) :
150h-600h (350h-1400h) which translates to 7-25days of non-stop farming (14,5-58days) starting from 0 experience,
114h-450h (314h-1250h) which translates to 5-19days of non-stop farming (13-52days) starting from lvl20 survivor r1.
All of the Academy Monks are female, and have a sword and shield equipped.
Their priority is to heal allies. Their Equipped Skills (With 6 Divine Favor, 7 Healing Prayers) are Heal Other & Orison of Healing
They will follow an injured ally no matter how far, as long as the injured ally is being targeted by the Academy Monk and requires healing.
(This is the fastest way since it is not impacted by daily limit, provided the character does not die in the process of course.)
Claiming only reward, having a runner doing the quest (1000xp/day):
1 year, 7 months (3 years, 8 months) starting from 0 experience,
1 year, 3 months (3 years, 3 months) starting from lvl20 survivor r1.
With an average time of 10min/quest since you only focus on completing the quest. Unlike the other method, the character is safe.