The Survivor title is granted to any character who can avoid death while building up experience. In order for a death to count, damage or degeneration must take the character to 0 Health. The character begins to show progress when reaching Level 5; the first tier is reach at L20 and the title is maxed at the equivalent of approximately L102. Before the update of thurstday 3 March 2011, it was one of only two titles whose progress may be halted, thus making the title unattainable for that character. However, since the update, the progress will not be halted permanently when the character dies, but simply reset to 0.
The three survivor tiers are:
Title Experience gained without dying: Equivalent Level Survivor 140,600 20 Indomitable Survivor 587,500 52 Legendary Survivor
Not every death counts against the title; progress only stops when a character's health reaches 0 due to damage or degeneration. Thus, most forced deaths do not count against the title. When in doubt, avoid any type of death by skipping cutscenes, walking in Sulfurous Haze, etc.
Types of Deaths
Deaths that count against the title can be measured using the emote, /deaths, so you can make use of another character to confirm which events will stop progress and which will not.
- These deaths do not count against the title
- Dying during any of the Bonus Mission Pack missions (the game considers that you are not playing your character).
- Being "knocked out" during a Dwarven Boxing match. However, it will count as a death if you do not refill your energy quickly enough using STAND UP!.
- Forced deaths as part of the the Factions and Nightfall tutorial quests.
- Deaths due to mission failure: losing a critical NPC (e.g. Rurik
- Resigning, i.e. using the /resign command.
- Instant deaths due to machines, e.g. crushing traps in Sorrow's Furnace, Sulfurous Haze in Nightfall, boulders in EotN.
- Instant deaths due to skill triggers, such as Death Pact Signet
- Any death in an outpost, including during Halloween.
- Any death in event-driven PvP contests, e.g. Dragon Arena.
- Deaths which in the Underworld while doing festival quests, e.g. those offered by the Rift Warden or the first two from the Mad King's Steward.
- These deaths are not supposed to count against the title, but have been known to result in a /death.
- Programmed cutscenes: minions can turn hostile or enemies can pull into aggro range while the party is waiting.
- The cutscene during Vizunah Square (when the party suffers temporary death) sometimes results in a /death.
- These deaths will cause a real death, halting Survivor progress
- Losing all health from damage or sacrifice in either PvE or PvP.
- The Junundu you are in loses all health.
- Failing to regain enough energy using STAND UP! while brawling. (However, getting knocked down is safe.)
- Getting killed by Catacombs flame geysers or Fort Ranik catapults.
- Dying during the PvP battle that is one of the last steps before leaving pre-searing Ascalon. (Tip: Log out and log back in before the battle begins; when you return, the PvP battle will be over and your character will be ready for the mission briefing from Prince Rurik.)
- These unexpected deaths will also cause a real death, halting Survivor progress.
- Deaths occurred while in a state of disconnection; the servers try to keep you logged in, so even though you see the login screen, your character remains vulnerable.
- Random glitches during rapid resignations.
Practice makes perfect
Nothing will improve your ability to survive better than playing the game before attempting the title. Battle tactics and build strategies improve, thus enemy mobs die faster. You also begin to memorize skills enemies use and the best way to counter them. You also learn to recognize a losing battle and how to react before falling dead.
If you want to survive, know what you're up against. Learn how each mission operates before trying to take your Survivor through. Many explorable areas and missions have tricks and traps that can easily doom an unsuspecting character. With practice, you'll notice missions that you used to fail over and over are no longer as hard. Read the associated wiki pages to pick up tips and tricks others have found to make missions easier and try them with another character until you feel comfortable with them.
Leave an escape route. While it may be tempting to logout when it looks like death is near, your character may be sitting on the server for a few seconds helplessly being attacked and perhaps killed before the final cutoff message is processed. Also, most players do not appreciate their team mates quitting. Learn to leave plenty of running room, perhaps killing enemies you might otherwise be able to avoid just to make sure you have somewhere to run in a later battle. With practice, you'll learn to recognize when things are turning for the worse and when to pull back.
Note: Calling targets will make you the prime focus of the enemies initial attacks in most PvE situations. This can prove especially challenging for players who use henchmen rather than other players as party members, as you have to initiate combat. If you are the target caller, you will need to target foes, and pull back immediately after the first hit (leaving team mates to absorb the melee assault, and minimize the damage you take from casters and rangers). Preparation is not an option; it is a necessity. Leave yourself a clear escape route, and be prepared to use it at any given moment. A safe way to call targets/aggro is to use any longbow so that your henches/heroes will move in while you are still more than one aggro bubble away from the mobs. Be mindful of teammates' positions, and hold your retreat once you are out of the main fight, to provide some support for your team mates, henchmen and/or minions. This approach may not be acceptable to many players in your group, so it is a good idea to confirm your intentions with your team before venturing into combat. Alternatively, It would be better to simply avoid being in a group that requires you to call targets.
- Calling targets using Ctrl + Shift + Space [attack/interact(do it) button] will not make you initiate combat, as it does not automatically do an attack. If using henchmen, depending on your distance from the enemy, they will run in and attack the target.
The monster AI is very predictable, and you can use that to your advantage. In addition to target calling there are various other things that make you a more or less lucrative target in the eyes of the monsters. Having high armor and high HP usually makes you a less salient target, as does some form of health regeneration. However, having the highest HP in the team makes you the primary target of necromancers with Grenth's Balance, an extremely dangerous skill for survivors. Also, health regeneration from an enchantment is easily drained, or even worse, shattered. Hence skills like Mending Refrain are safer for the purpose. Concerning positioning at the battlefield, monsters prefer to use their AoE skills on larger concentrations of opponents. Therefore it's advisable to keep some distance to everybody else whenever AoE damage dealing monsters are around. This may be tricky when adventuring with heroes / henchmen which have a tendency to ball around the player.
Also, make sure the conditions outside the game are right. Playing while tired, intoxicated, when you're likely to be interrupted or distracted by Real Life events, or when your computer has recently started to spontaneously crash, is a proven way of significantly reducing the life expectancy of your survivor.
Choose your companions wisely
If you want to stay alive, you'll need dependable teammates to help you through. Even the best players will fall if not properly supported. You do not know the skill level of most of the players in the game, so if you join a random group, you may be placing your character's life in the hands of someone inexperienced. Thus, it is recommended to travel with a group of friends, guild mates, or alliance mates you trust. Let them know you are going for the Survivor title and thus want to avoid any risky maneuvers. If starting a fresh character, friends may also want to try for the title as well and thus you can put together a group of trusted individuals with the same goal.
For those comfortable with using them, Henchmen can also provide reliable and predictable support. The introduction of Heroes has meant that you can now customize your companions to your advantage. e.g. Olias can be configured as a Minion Master and can provide you with an entire army of minions. While the Henchmen AI is notorious for poor decision making at times, it does operate in a very predictable manner. They always follow the player, follow targets quite well and usually disengage from battle when the player runs away. However, to use them effectively requires a good amount of practice in itself, as you act as a commander in battle as well as a participant in it (see note on calling targets). Henchmen healers also have an advantage over human monks because they have instant reflexes and usually start casting the healing spell that could save your life before a human ally would. Some prefer to use the positioning flags for Heroes and Henchmen to allow them to keep a safe distance from danger. In such cases, party-wide spells such as necrotic orders or Heal Party may still be used to assist them.
Summoning stones provide free extra allies which have the added benefit of not sharing experience with the player.
The Hero M.O.X. is available starting at level 10, and as he comes at level 20, he will likely be more powerful than the henchmen available at the time.
Also, Use GW:EN heroes, if possible. They always start at level 20, so they will give a big boost to your total power. Just be careful getting them, as the quest is created for level 20 characters.
The Kournan quest Old Woman River poses a very real threat to a Survivor zoning into The Floodplain of Mahnkelon from Kodonur Crossroads as you will spawn in the middle of a very large group of enemy Kournans who will immediately start attacking you.
Choose your role
Depending on your profession, different play styles may increase your risk. A front line assassin is at much greater risk getting caught in multiple Afflicted Soul Explosions than the same profession playing a A/R Critical Barrager. Likewise a necromancer with touch skills is much more likely to be overwhelmed by melee foes than a minion master who has an army of undead meat shields. Learn what you can do with your profession to reduce the general risk of dying while still making yourself an asset to the team.
Never go AFK
While this may seem an obvious point, it should still be mentioned. When in an explorable zone, NEVER go away from your keyboard, not even for a minute. While areas in-zone may appear to be clear of enemies, patrols can come by when you least expect it. Stepping AFK to grab a drink, go to the bathroom, answer the phone, etc. can bring doom to potential survivors. Stay at your keyboard at all times. This is especially dangerous in Tyrian zones
Tips on gaining experience
- Scrolls: These will give you extra experience while adding no more risk to your battles for a moderate cost in gold.
- Elite skill captures: At 5,000 xp each, a mere 20 elites will give you 100,000 towards your title provided you are level 20 at the time you start capturing, which you should be in all four game areas. Note that you can even double that amount during Double XP Elite Weekends. Once you can change your secondary, constantly swap it to capture what you can. You can also earn the skill hunter titles along with the survivor ones. This method can also be expensive so you might not want to capture too many unnecessary elite skills at first.
- Augury Rock (mission): Aim to complete this mission, as it is unique with a 50,000 xp reward. Note: You will not receive the 50,000 xp reward if you have already completed the Nahpui Quarter (mission) in Cantha or the Hunted! quest in Elona. Make sure you read the associated Guide to defeating doppelganger before attempting it with an unfamiliar class.
- Reduce your group size: If you travel with a smaller group, you will gain more experience per kill. Keep in mind this may greatly increase the chance of death, and probably will increase how long it takes your group per kill, so only do so at your own risk. This method is seriously not very efficient for working towards your title.
- Hard Mode: Pretty much the same as decreasing your party size. It decreases your chances of living but yields more experience, so if you're confident in yourself, then feel free to try it.
- Blessings: Shrines of the Five Gods are all over the place in both Factions and Nightfall campaigns. Blessings can greatly increase your combat efficiency and survivability, making farming with low party sizes or even solo a more viable venture and paying for themselves at the same time. Take advantage of them whenever you can.
- Farming: After all the missions and quests are done, find a place and build you can use to safely gain experience. Methods include performing Repeatable Quests or finding a group of high-level critters you can consistently kill (such as the Mountain Trolls in Talus Chute). This is most likely the most boring method(but you may gain a good amount of gold doing so), so it is highly recommended to find alternate means of gaining experience first.
- Another good alternative is the Luxon repeatable quest The Jade Arena. With practice you can easily gain 2000xp, 400 Luxon faction and 150gp every 2-3 minutes for as long as your patience lasts. The Kurzick have a similar quest called Duel of the Houses, but it tends to be more time consuming, although you might prefer it if you want to build up a stock of amber.
- Although it may seem to be the opposite, the Fissure of Woe is actually a good place to rack up experience. Even though it's considered one of the more elite areas in the game, an experienced player, especially in a fairly well-balanced group, has a very high rate of survival there. If you don't trust PUGs, get a guild group started, and possibly plan out consistent FoW runs with your guild or with a friend. (2 humans + 6 heroes) Clearing the whole realm can grant upwards of 120,000 exp.
- The campaign you start out in affects how you get the title. For example, in Cantha, you start out 2 missions away from the mainland, where there is lots of easy exp available. In Tyria, you basically have to go through Ascalon and the Northern Shiverpeaks to get to the Canthan mainland. In Nightfall, you may avoid most battles on Istan, and make it to Cantha quickly. You also acquire heroes on Istan, which are far superior to the henchmen available in outposts.
- One of the fastest (and perhaps safest) ways of gaining experience in the game is by participating in Kilroy Stonekin's Punch-Out Extravaganza!. In normal mode, you can easily gain more than 7k experience in kills and 2.5k as reward, or about 10k experience in less than 10 minutes. This goes as high as 17k in hard mode. The experience gained can further be boosted by the use of scrolls (which drop frequently from Lieutenant Mahgma, a dwarven boss). Keep in mind however that you have to recover after each knockdown by pressing the appropriate skill key or the death WILL BE COUNTED! See below for full details.
- If you are using Scroll of the Lightbringer, you gain around 15-17.5k (NM) 30-40k (HM) xp per run (+2.5k from the quest). Starting from level 20, you can get legendary in under 30 runs.
- Probally the fastest way to get this title is to go to Eye of the North and get a run through to Doomlore Shrine. From there, buy as many Hammer's of Kathandrax that you need and get a run down to Catacombs of Kathandrax. Take the quest Kathandrax's Crusher and then accept reward. Zone in and out of the dungeon to reclaim quest and reward until you either run out of the Hammers or get the title.
Warning about lag
The survivor titles have been jokingly referred to as a second Lucky title due to the belief by many that you are more likely to lose this title due to lag than you are by lack of skill when trying. Even though the game is instanced, a player can still (and many often do) experience lag in a solo instance with no other players in it. The belief that a solo instance operates solely on your own computer is incorrect.
Lag may cause you to think you have more health than the game server believes you have. So, it may seem to you that you are moving away with 1/4 health, the server may reckon you have been hit by attacks and a few seconds later, you find your character dead. If the game is laggy, account for this in your encounters and fights with monsters and make a bigger buffer of health than usual at which you would consider fleeing from an encounter.
In some instances, players have reported they had a great deal of health while mapping or logging out, only to have a death when they logged in or entered the new map. This is likely due to the disparity in true health and displayed health. As such, you should keep in mind that many types of farming are not guaranteed as 'safe'. Having high health regeneration and other kinds of protective effects, as well as having other party members - especially healers - around may increase the chance that your character survives the time it takes the server to process your logout request.
A computer freezing up while in the middle of a mob can also result in death; even if your health is stuck showing 100% on the screen of the computer that just crashed. For the best chance of success, try upgrading your hardware and getting a reliable computer before attempting this title.
Although you may try to recover your title by contacting arena net after losing it due to lag or a computer crash, generally this will not happen- due to difficulty to prove exactly what happened, and what caused the error. There are very little, to no reported instances of restored survivor titles after this tragically.
Be sure to check to see if ArenaNet is performing any kind of server maintenance, since these kinds of period of server maintence would make survivor title difficult due to lag.
Equipping skills like Endure Pain, Illusion of Weakness, and Generous Was Tsungrai that can give you a huge health boost in an emergency are a great way to get that little extra that may be needed in some battles. Wearing armor and weapons with +health modifiers often make the difference between surviving and not, especially against unavoidable elementalist and ritualist bosses in missions that can do more than half your health in damage in one shot. Having a monk as a secondary profession if you're not already a primary monk is also a very very good idea. Skills like Protective Spirit can be the difference between life and death though you have to watch out for mesmer bosses who can shatter or remove the enchantment. If all else fails: hit the F12 key immediately followed by Enter to log out of the game rapidly.
Please note that if you Alt-F4 out of the game your character can still be seen as "logged in" by the servers for over 10 minutes. So it is possible to die after the game has already been closed. Therefore it may be safer to map to a nearby outpost or city, or to your Guild Hall, even if that requires more effort on behalf of the player. The F12-Enter key combination also seems to keep you logged in, but not nearly as long as the Alt-F4 key combination. Especially if you log back in at the title screen.
The Guild Hall Escape can be more effective than the F12-Enter combination and is probably the fastest escape method. This is because you never logout and don't have to worry about your connection with the server. Lag can still occur, but it is much less than other escape methods. Unlike map-travel you never have to open the map window to travel somewhere (as this can sometimes be to slow when trying to survive). You can have the Guild menu ("g") open at any time and just hit the "Guild Hall" button within seconds (followed by a quick "Enter" if you are in a party with other players, clarifying you wish to leave).
Due to a new feature introduced in the game, if the computer or the game experiences a crash, or the internet connection is disrupted, your character remains on the server for up to 10 minutes, in the same instance, so be mindful of your progress and try to pull as few enemies as possible, to insure that your party will be able to keep you alive until you can log back in the game. Note: This is also what happens when you press Alt-F4.
You can gain experience from books. If you gather all the XP gaining books, and complete all the required quests in Hard Mode, you will gain a total of 517,500 experience when you turn them in. One book is only available in Hard Mode. The others all have a Normal Mode version of the same book, and turning these in nets a total of 300,000 experience. Thus, if you complete all the required missions both in Normal Mode and Hard Mode, and keep the books in your inventory, you can turn them all in at once, for a net gain of 817,500 experience. In addition, you will simultaneously gain either Allegiance with Kurzick or Luxon titles, or Reputation for Lightbringer, Sunspear, Asura, Norn, Ebon Vanguard, or Dwarf titles. Assuming you do this, you only need an additional 520,000 experience for the Legendary Survivor title.
Another option here is to complete the books, place them in storage, and get new copies. When you have saved up enough books for the title, cash them all in at once.
The most rapid method of doing this would be to complete The Flameseeker Prophecies missions repeatedly. This book has the greatest yield of points/mission, at 4444 xp per mission in Normal Mode, and 6666 xp per mission in Hard Mode. To gain enough xp for the Legendary Survivor title, you would either need 17 copies of the book completed in Normal Mode (306 missions completed), or 12 copies completed in Hard Mode (216 missions completed).
Solo Survivor Guide with GW:EN
A full guide can be found here.