Hi, I'm not sure if this is the best place to post these questions:
1) I am a westcoast player, is there any server that has more players online during PST timezone after work hours than others?
2) Are there any servers that stand out for any reason and may be beneficial? I personally don't want to be in a server that is dead or something, I'd like to interact with folks more regularly than not
3) Is the strategy guide for GW2 useful? I like guides personally, but is it useful?
4) So far I particularly like the Mesmer and Thief classes, any pros and cons for each you can share that I may not not about yet to decide which class to go to?
1) Most high populations servers have similar peak hours.
2) There are some servers that are better at WvW than others, and some are more into the Role Playing, but overall if you choose a high population server you're going to get a high population. I can vouch for Tarnished Coast as a good server, but that's just from my experience. I'm sure there are other servers that are also great!
3) The official strategy guide is pretty useless, imho. It's more of a novelty item. It really only provides basic information on various zones, professions, etc.
4) Unfortunately I've had very limited experiences with both of those professions and I'm sure others will be able to describe the pros and cons better than I would. From my own playtime I've enjoyed the Mesmer far more than the Thief, and I'm not usually into caster classes. Thief is a decent profession but I'm biased against all assassin classes. Don't ask me why, I've just always been that way.
I'll answer 4 for you. I have a 80 mesmer (my main) and a 80 thief (my 2nd main )
First off let me say no matter the profession there are many different ways to play the same profession even with the same weapons. my mesmer traits are 20/10/10/30/0 (I can't remember what those lines are atm, but thats what they are) I also use a mixture of Power/toughness/Vitality and Power/Vitality/Crit damage armor and accessories. For weps I have sword/pistol and Greatsword. For utlities I use Blink, null field and Feedback. As for trait perks, I can't remember those atm. A few notes with this build, I do good damage, have great survivablity and can solo camps in WvW with no trouble. (almost soloed a tower once, but people came and joined me, I also once solo catapaulted down outer bay wall and inner to 70% before I was found, but thats more to stupidity of the enemy then my class )
Basicly my build is a balanced one designed to give me good damage (I have only 9% crit rate and 41% crit damage) and good survivablity without making me into a pansy bunker build that can walk through a supernova but not kill anything. 1 on 1's I almost never lose and in a defense or an attack I am there moving around the front lines and the back taking people down and getting lots of kills (rolled over 10k yesterday)
For Combat, PvE or PvP is a big question.
PvE I can basicly let my clones/phantasisms do all the work. They usually keep the agro of mobs which means I usually don't have to move around dodging unless the mob/boss has aoe or I just feel like it.
PvP I can get up close and personal with folks or stay in the back with my greatsword. Feedback is my favorite utlity skill (reflects projectiles back at shooter and is a combo field), when used on a zerg you will see all kinds of numbers fly and many times a well placed feedback can turn the tide of a battle. (I've thrown it out and caused an entire zerg to lose half its HP and then my guys wiped them) Nullfield is extremly useful too, it removes all conditions from you and your allies, while removing boons from your enemies. Whenever I encounter Dagger/Dagger Elementalist or a Guardian I drop nullfield and kill them as they lose all their boons.
Thieves have a lot of different builds to them as well, although right now the most common I think is the near perma stealth build which I do not use and is about to be nerfed to nonexistance That being said, my thief is dagger/dagger and pistol/pistol. I acutal use power/precession/toughness armor and power/vit/crit damage accessories. It gives me more HP and more toughness than most other theives while my traits are 30/30/0/0/10 and so I still do good damage, the 15-20k crit hits that glass cannon thieves get I don't (I get 8-12k fairly often though) but I also have much better survivablity and I don't rely on stealth to survive. I can stealth, but I usually only do so when I need to escape or just finish someone off. I use sigil utilitys (I think that is what they are called) for power, precession and Speed and dagger storm elite, which is just awesome.
PvE combat is a peice of cake (which can be said while playing any professions really) You can bleed them out easily with death blossom #3 d/d skill or burst them down through backstab and pistol bursts. Very few things give me difficulty (just champions and group events I solo) Again though mine is a more balanced thief, glass cannon thieves can kill more quickly, by can't take a hit.
PvP combat with my balanced build I'm a different type of thief in WvW. I do great damage still, but I can take a hit and it throws many players off when they hit me and my hp doesn't disappear. Then I get the choice to hit back or stealth and do even greater damage.
A lot depends on what you find fun in the game on if how I play would be fun for you, or if you prefer different builds. By no means am I saying my builds are the only ones or the best ones, they are what I prefer and help me get fun out of playing. The only wrong way to play is the way that you don't have any fun.
I will say don't expect to be good at a profession right away. Dieing is ok. Even though I have been playing since beta I still die for stupid reasons (usually jumping from things I shouldn't). I also wasn't magicaly good at my professions, my builds continuesly evolve as I learn more or switch things up as will yours. If you try a build out and don't like it DO NOT just throw out the toon and start over. You can completely change your build with very little cost, just by talking to a trainer. So try things out for yourself.
And I am on Darkhaven if you are still looking for a good home, we have trolls yes, but we mostly keep them in Lion's Arch so don't let them get to you.
1) Pretty sure that any of the north american servers will have communities that run on PST. Myself and most of my guild are PSTers but even the easterners are still able to play during our prime time hours. I would say your decision should be based more on the friends you make. Finding a good guild to call home and settle into might be your first step
2)As Izzy said most of the high population servers will be pretty active during the times your looking for. Some are better at WvW than others, some have RP. The unofficial (fan appointed) RP server is Tarnished Coast.
3) I personally didnt get the strategy guide cuz i prefer to figure stuff out myself :P but the internet is a plethora of information just waiting to be obtained. Book version strategy guides are kinda outdated and more of a novelty item now ^^
4) I loved my thief. I have been arguing with myself since making it if its going to be my main character or not. Its got amazing ability to dish out massive damage quickly but most builds leave you pretty squishy so you better be good at dodging. In WvW atmospheres ive seen thieves stay cloaked (invisible) almost indefinitely and they are a great support for getting your teammates back up in dungeons. Great class and alot of fun to play.
Mesmers are amazing support characters and can do some pretty damn decent damage too. They can turn a bad group into a good group and a good group into a great group. Amazingly useful traits and skills for both PvE and PvP atmosphere and they have some very unique and suprisingly useful utilities at their disposal. And the best part (imo) is they wear light armor (totally the best looking armor in the game).
Both classes could be alot of fun for you. Finding the right gear and build make all the difference in the world. Dont be afraid to experiment. The game is still new and things are changing and growing. You might find something that works great for you that others didnt think of
Also remember that GW2 is not a grindy game. It takes very little time to reach max level. So make both and figure out which one you like better. Hell ive got 8 level 80s and i still dont know which ones my main! ha!
1B) If you have not already chosen a world to call your home when you look at the server list it will show in red/orange/yellow the population of the server. Most are medium to high right now.
2B) As i said TC is the unofficial RP server however there are several others that also have RP guilds in them. I would highly suggest taking a look on the GuildWars2Guilds.org site to narrow down what type of guild your looking for and go from there.
Best of luck to you and i hope you find everything your looking for in GW2. If you have any other questions i do check back here often so drop me a PM