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=AQ= The Guidewriter's Manual to Excellence

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10/10/2007 7:07:43  1 votes
Eternal Chaos

Table of Contents - Search
  • Introduction (OS.01)
  • The Unbreakable Rules (OS.02)
  • General Guidelines (OS.03)
  • General Steps to Writing a Guide (OS.04)
  • [BSG] Battle Strategy Guides (OS.05)
  • Quest Tutorials (OS.06) - Under Construction
  • Your Own Style (OS.07)


From time to time, as I've browsed through the Guides section to search for good reads, I notice that some guides lack several elements of greatness. Since some people are less experienced in guide-making, this guide is mainly stating how to help them. You can't just write down a few little things, links, and/or "stuff" in a guide and declare it as one. A guide should be more than that. It should really be able to help somebody, and not waste one's time.

Guides are written for the purpose of helping others. The definition of a guide is 'Something that offers basic information or instruction' and/or 'Something that serves to direct or indicate.' The definition of a guide does NOT mean 'Something that is written for your own selfish little reasons.' I realize that many of us are not always doing it to glorify ourselves, and that we really do have good intention. However, even with good intention, a walkthrough in guide-making will surely bring you to serve others through providing excellent information.

"You should not post a guide just because you want a 4/5 star rating. You probably won’t get it then. A guide is for helping people. If you do it just for the rewards, it won’t be right and people will regard you as a selfish person."


Before anything else, you're going to have to know the rules of the Guides Board. Let's have a look -

Guides Rules and Tips
  • ›› Making a Battle Strategy Guide? Don't post it here! Please go to the Battle Strategy Forum and post a guide there. This board is NOT for such purposes. If you have a Farming Guide, then post in the Farming Guide Compilation thread. ‹‹

  • Pending Guides Tips: Make your guide as well as you can make it before you submit it! Why? If it's insufficient to qualify for a guide's standards, you'll be given a deadline to meet to change it around, and if you don't meet it, it will be deleted. The guide should be helpful and unique - imagine as if the least experienced readers were reading it and they could be able to understand just like that! "Tips: Always save guides in a text document (rather than writing everything on the forums) to have a backup copy and something that can be saved as more content in added. Those who aren't familiar with PGD code (bold, underline, etc.) can use Preview (instead of 'OK') to see what the guide will look like without submitting it."

  • Check for previous guides! Please don't make a new guide if there is a guide on the same topic already. If you see that there could be improvementrs that could be added, feel free to politely give some constructive criticism. If you do find a way-outdated guide, please post a reason in your new guide (a good way to do this is to simply ask the original author to remake it, if they are still active). When you hear "Search," that means use the Search Function! It may just happen to not be listed in the Guides Index. The Search Function: Making it Work for You! is a useful guide to read about the search function.

  • Please try not to post any kinds of spoilers in your guides. And please give credits, no matter where they came from! They do not degrade you in any sense - it is to respect the user who contributed to the guide!

  • Please read the rest of the =AQ= Guides Forum Rules.


  • Be Thorough and Comprehensive. You'll want to list almost everything possible about the subject to truly make it worthy of an exceptional guide. This goes from Stats, Strategy in Quest Guides, Functions in Forum Guides: generally, every possible subject that you can do to inform the reader as if they were a beginner. Try to explain things, even if to you, everybody should know it by heart. Long story-short, make it as in-depth as possible.

  • Be Organized at the same time. In the course of writing guides, things can be very messy (for me, at least). :) As you collect information, you'll likely have words cluttered, and the like. Sometimes, Guides can become one long paragraph, or without some centered and larger text, and that will make it strained on the eyes and harder to read. This includes putting things in order for a particular section. For example, if you were to write a guide on the Guardian Arena, you wouldn't want to put the Creepy Crawlies section first. Use dividers if necessary. They help the readers know what they're reading much more easily. Dividers can go from Horizontal Rules to Image-Dividers.

  • Have a Search System and/or Index for longer guides. Since longer guides have many different subjects, it's good that you have a Search System. It's hard to scroll through the entire guide and attempt to do this. Indexes are Search Systems are always at the top of the guide, usually along with a code by the section to find it. This requires a Find Tool, which can be found by pushing [Ctrl + F] on your keyboard for most web browsers.

  • Attractiveness counts as well. It's great to add color, pictures, a banner, and some centered text will help a lot. They might not have a banner and such, but are usually organized with pictures and other links, center text, and the like. This counts as a big part of making a great guide - and is what gets you your Guide Feedback. *Guides rules states that the max file size should 250KB or less for all images.*

  • Use simple and easy-to-read formatting. For more information on forum coding and how to use it, please check out the Forum Commands (screenshots, images, links, colors, signatures) guide.

    • Color
      Color is cool but this is hard to read. Color like this is a lot easier to read and draws attention to the word. Also remember that the Guides rules say that 90% of your guide should be in black text.

    • Bold / Italics / Underline
      Bold, italic, and underline text can add a lot to your guide. These formatting styles can be used to make headings, draw attention to a certain word or link, or emphasize a point. However, they lose their potency when an entire paragraph, sentence, or even just a whole line is formatted this way. Use these tags sparingly, and again recall that Guides rules state that 90% of your post should be in normal (that is, unformatted) text.

    • Larger Font Sizes (3+)
      Large font can be great for headings but too much of it is distracting. Make sure to keep font sizes larger than 3 to a minimum, and make sure that your post follows the Guides rule concerning formatting.

  • Spelling and Grammar counts. True, a mistake here or there won't kill your guide. But in general, the spelling, grammar, and conventions should be correct. It makes the guide easier to interpret, so the reader is less likely to be confused. As the rules expounds, please use proper English! If you need help with anything, feel free to ask for assistance.

  • Know what you're talking about! Are you going to go write a guide on defeating Ultra Akilroth Dragon and say "You should use the Blade of Awe because it's good!?" This makes guides very incomplete. This does not mean that you have to have beaten Akilroth 100 times, but simply means that you have developed a good and effective strategy (of course, this should explain why). Ancient One says: "You should have at least done this once, and paid attention. An ignorant person creates an ignorant guide."

  • An informative, catchy title is also a key element in a great guide. It doesn't have to necessarily be either one, but this generally catches others' attention. This way, you can get more responses and your readers aren't wasting their time because they know exactly what is in the Guide just from a glance.

  • Simplicity is beauty. Sometimes, it's best to just make a long guide, but with simple, easy steps. You can make it simple, with brief explanations to the side. This creates less stress on the reader's eyes and lets them know that this is still something they can trust.

  • Give readers an easy time — I don't think the readers will like having to go off into the Encyclopedia to look for a particular item, where you can just take a few more seconds or minutes to include the links for them. Bilbo Baggins says: "Always put youself into the Shoes of the Reader and not yourself, so that others will know what you're writing about."

  • Have patience. A truly good guide can take several hours to complete. In my guide writing experiences, each of my longer guides have taken at least a good 5 hours to complete. If there is no patience, then your guide may be ruined. Don't be in such a rush and stress yourself out because of timing - a quality guide that took a long time is much more useful than a mediocre one that took 10 minutes.

    Lanesra2412 notes:
  • Keep updating your guide. There is no point in making a Weapon Comparison guide if when new weapons are released, you do not update your guide with the renewed information. If a guide remains un-updated (that is, without new information) for too long, it will get outdated and lose its relevance and helpfulness.

  • Listen to the comments of others. Very few guides are finished from the first post. Almost always, guides live on the constructive criticism and feedback from other players, who might have new information to add, or new suggestions which can improve your guide. Consider each comment carefully.


  1. Use the Search Function and Guides Index. Use the Search Function before anything else (even the Index, it's not always as accurate as you would think) and see if there is a Guide already written on that particular topic (see Guides Rules Section - Code OS.01).

  2. Start with an outline or Table of Contents. Like writing a story or essay, Guides need an outline as well. Think about the general details you can give, such as Strategy, Dialogue, and Lists in Quest Guides or Functions, Rules, and the like in Forum Guides.

  3. Gather General Information. Start with more important details first, such as Rules in Forum Guides or Lists and Strategy in Quest Guides. No need for pictures and all that yet, gathering information is the important part.

  4. Gather Complex Information. For example, now you'll want to go collect Dialogues (Quest Guides), Functions (Forum Guides), and Stats/Numbers (Battle Strategy Guide, Quest Guide, etc.). Though, Dialogues are usually irrelevant, since it usually can be found in the Encyclopedia.

  5. Add Pictures (optional) and Format your Guide. This makes the guide not only attractive, but easier to understand. If you have diagrams, that's always good. The brain is said to work better with pictures. *Guides Rules states that maximum file size should not exceed 250KB.*

  6. Proofread your guide for mistakes. Now that you've got everything down, check to see if you like the formatting and such. Then, it's ready to be posted!


In the world of Lore, there are various monsters that may give some a lot of trouble. Many Battle Strategy Guides Focus on just one specific monster that gives players a hard time. These guides are generally shorter guides, but still prove useful. However, since they focus usually on one simple monster, you'll want to think of every possibility and/or strategy of beating the monster, not just putting 'Use Ice Needles.'

We want to see detail, people...detail. This means that you put in details on preferred weapons, shields, armor, spells, miscellaneous items and pets as appropriate. And also alternatives for those who don't have/can't get the preferred equipment. A [BSG] is a guide, after all. The wider the range of equipment (covering a range of character levels) the better. Nothing is more frustrating than finally finding a guide on how to beat a monster - only to find it gives a strategy for L90+ Guardian Mage builds!

That's not to say that there is no place for such a guide. The title of your guide, however, should let people know exactly who it is intended for. So a [BSG] for a build like that SHOULD have a title like [BSG] Defeating Tower Carnax - L90+ Guardian Mages.

Note: All Battle Strategy Guides (BSGs) must be posted in the Battle Strategy Forum.

Battle Strategy Guides generally contain two major sections: Information and Strategy.
  • Monster Information is rather a smaller part of the guide. However, information is almost just as important as the Strategy section itself. The information part usually contains information of the monster, from its stats to defenses to attacks. Commonly known as "Know Your Enemy."
Short Version
  • Post the stats accordingly, and try not to have only an Encyclopedia Link
  • Consider posting images for stats and the monster, but not too large.
  • Posting normal stats in text is also fine (and preferable, since information can be lost through broken image links).
Formatting the Information: If you only post an Encyclopedia link, this makes your guide lose its attraction. I would prefer to put all the stats in a nicely done format with a picture and/or stats of the monster to spice up the post. I'm going to steal this from Hero of Winds. This is a neat, organized format to use. *The monster is Carnax*
  • You don't have to add a picture, but when you're solely focusing on one particular monster, an image of the monster adds some taste to the guide.


Element: Fire
Level: 108
HP: 4500+
XP: 5000
Gold: 1000
Stats: STR 250, DEX 250, INT 250, END 250, CHA 250, LUK 250
Defenses: Melee 25, Ranged 25, Magic 25
Resistances: Fire 100%, Water 140%, Wind 140%, Ice 99%, Earth 100%, Energy 100%, Light 100%, Darkness 140%
Description: A terrible otherworldly being that is only able to partially appear in Lore, we are lucky it isn't able to fully form itself here -- yet!

As you can see, Hero of Winds neatly formatted Carnax's 'stuff'. *As for picturing, you can also provide a simple link to it.* However, another viable choice for listing Stats, Defenses and Resistances can be displayed like the following (this makes it easier to read)...

Stats (by the way, using abbreviations is nice too - STR, DEX, INT, END, CHA, LUK)

Strength: 250
Dexterity: 250
Intellect: 250
Endurance: 250
Charisma: 250
Luck: 250

You'll usually want to list them accordingly in that order, since in AQ, all statistics (stats) are listed that way. *If all of them are the same, you could also simply put it this way '250 to all' works just as well.*

Of course, same goes for the Elemental Resistances and Defenses. So, I could then put it this way:


Melee: 25
Ranged: 25
Magic: 25

Elemental Resistances

Fire: 100%
Water: 140%
Wind: 140%
Ice: 99%
Earth: 100%
Energy: 100%
Light: 100%
Darkness: 140%

Stats can also be provided with picturing. This is preferred, as it makes the guide more attractive and organized at the same time. Since we see this format in AdventureQuest, it'll be easier to read and interpret. The following is a collection of Carnax’s stats. How do I take a screenshot? How do I post a picture? is a great guide that you should consider reading about taking screenshots for the following picture (and the like).

Notice that the picture is rather small. You want smaller pictures. You DON'T want something like this. True, its graphics may look better, but as stated in the General Guidelines and Steps, large images posted aren't good. Links to those images work just fine, but huge images aren't going to make things any better.

Great job! You now have your Information down. Now, for your Strategy...

Strategy is almost the entire part of the guide.

Note: We can't work miracles. If your character is obviously lacking in stablity - decent stats and good inventory items, it's VERY unlikely that you'll be able to beat many monsters. Get your character rated ( Character Ratings / Advice) so you can develop it appropriately, or read up on some guides on character development.
The strategy section in be written in various ways. Here are some ways I have seen from other writers.

Short Version
  • Preparation: A Strategy, list of essential/optional equipment
  • Enter the Fray: Steps to defeating the monster for each specific Build
My Recommendation
  • The type that appeals to me is that you have a section for each specific builds [if possible, by Levels for each build]. An outline for the guide might look like this in the end.
  • Essential Equipment, Level, HP/MP and Stats [perhaps for separate Levels, like Level 50-60, Level 60-70, Level 70+]
    • Weapons
    • Armors
    • Shields
    • Spells
    • Pets/Guests
    • Miscellaneous/Accessories
  • Optional Equipment
  • Preparation
  • Steps (Enter the Fray)
  • Exceptions
The same format is with the Mage and Warrior builds [and perhaps Ranger, Beastmaster, etc.].

At the end, consider a concluding paragraph. You're done!


Origin: AdventureQuest features several Quests for the Adventurers to enjoy. These original storylines prove for great entertainment. Quest Guides usually offer the Storyline, Information, and Strategies. Each section is important as the next. Sometimes, Quest Guides vary from a very detailed guide on one specific quest, or a very general guide on many Quests [a good example can be found here.

Quest Guides contain 3 to 4 parts. They are Information, Dialogue, Strategy, and possibly Farming.

Information is a shorter, but significant part of any Guide. Usually, Information is given through a list of Monsters, Sequence of Events, and Rewards.

Short Version
  • Give information through a list of (Random) Monsters, Sequence of Events, and Rewards.
  • Have the Dialogue typed up {not necessary, but adds spice to your guide}.
  • Give Strategy to beat it, preferably by Level and by specific monster.
Formatting Monsters

Sometimes, we have Random Monster Lists and sometimes, designated monsters. Depending on the case, there are [generally] specific ways to order monsters. Always make the guide more professional and versatile by adding links to those monsters!

If we have Random Monster Lists, they are normally listed Alphabetically - and sometimes by Level if there are specific monsters for those Levels. Here is an example (thanks to Suikoman444) [only part of the complete list is listed, but this is to give a general idea].

Level 25 and Below
Level 26-50

So, as you can see links are provided and the monsters are listed in alphabetical order under specific Level categories.

If we have a certain order for it, we need to put those monsters in order [make sure to label it something like 'in order'].

Wizards (and sorceresses) listed in order:
Formatting Quest Outline

Here is a good example of a Quest Outline. This provides the General Information, so that the reader doesn't have to search through everything to be able to find the information. All the 'Simple' information is collected here. Remember when I said 'Simplicity is beauty?' Here it is.


ORIGINAL: Mazkaraht

1. Fight a Vampire Bat.
2. Fight 2 Vampire Bats.
3. Fight a Vampire Warrior.
4. Fight a Vampire Warrior.
5. Fight 2 Vampire Warriors.

Dialogue in general is not as important as the other parts, but 'spices up' your guide. Remember, Quest are not just about Strategy and Information, Quests are solely for the rich texture of Dialogue. Dialogue can be typed up in any format you wish, but you need to have your Spelling correct. Here's an example.


Lucretia: Hello there, traveler. You look like you've been moving all night long. You should see if there's a room next door at Boog's place.
You: I wish I could! I was sent here by Robina Hood, from Battleon. I have brought 3 poison sacs from sneaks in Augerthorne.
Lucretia: Ah, I see. That can mean only one thing. You need a cure.
You: Yes. For Sage Uldor.
Lucretia: That blind old fool...he should know better than wandering about in Augerthorne. He should stay closer to town!
You: Well, it wasn't really his fault. He had a vision...and, well, I was part of it. I don't know what it all means yet, but—
Lucretia: Don't feel guilty. I am sure Uldor does not blame you, and neither do I. He should know better, though. Next time he should ask Blackhawke to escort him...
You: So do you actually know Uldor? You sound concerned...
Lucretia: My father tried for ages to cure his blindness. He never succeeded. Even though I told my father time and again that the Sage's blindness was magical in nature, and our natural cures might never work. Well, enough about the past. You need a poison cure. I'll need those poison sacs right now!

There are few restrictions to Dialogue, but when you do type up Dialogue, you usually want to Bolden, Italicize, or Underline the Speaker. This makes it easier on the eyes to read.

Strategy does not need to be as thorough as Battle Strategy Guides, because this is not the Sole Purpose of a Quest Guide. However, accurate and precise information is highly recommended.

Formatting Information

Although I've never seen any Quest Guides with Strategy (so I follow my own path) I normally use the following format.


Monster Name: Information on the Monster
  • Weapons: Recommended Weapon, sometimes in Order of Power

  • Armors: Recommeneded Armors, with brief explanation of how it is effective.

  • Shields: Give brief explanation of their defenses and why they are useful in that particular situation.

  • Spells: Recommened spells.

  • Pets/Guests: These can vary. But, you should make a list of pets that can be useful in that particular situation.

  • Combinations: This includes some Scrambler Beam + Freeze + Call Forth the Fire Dragon etc. combinations that you may wish to use.


Eternal's way is rarely the only way. Many guides that are exceptionally outstanding have little to do with my styles of guide-writing. From mini-guides to comprehensive, detailed, and decorated ones, guides will all suffice and all have their amazing components - but they depend on you! It's up to you to make all of it, to idealize your guide, and to help it grow! Some quest guides don't even have dialogue - why not? It's irrelavent! I mean, it always is nice to have some to add flavor, but you can leave some of these things up to the Encyclopedia entries with a quick link, too. Too much clutter isn't always a good idea. Of course it sounds like I'm being controversial to my previous statements - I am! But both have their good things and some have their flaws. Looking at some different styles, we've got guides like... this, this, this, and even some just-for-fun guides like this! You see, it all really depends on what you do.

If a guide's not going to be 'you,' then why do it? We want you to be as yourself as you can! :] Nobody's going to judge your guide based on your style - because we all have different interpretations. The only thing that we ask of you is that you provide sufficient information to be able to help others with your guide. Now, get out there. You wanted to change the forums for the better, didn't you?

Then why don't you start by writing a guide - helping one heart, and one soul at a time. What are you waiting for?

I wish you the best of luck as you write your guide! The wind is blowing - but you must hoist your sail!


  • Tip: Keep Updating your Guide.
  • Tip: Listen to the Comments of Others.
  • Tip: Give Credit where Due.
Well there you have it. No, I can't cover every single type of guide because guides vary a lot. However, just following the general guidelines and having some dedication of helping and everlasting endurance will make sure that your guide becomes an excellent one. Eternal over and out.

< Message edited by James Lu -- 10/3/2014 23:13:27 >
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