How To Get Better Armor In Pre-searing
I didn't see a guide for this anywhere, so I thought I'd write one up. I wrote under the assumption that players know where the locations I refer to are, but if you're new or are just not sure, here is a map of pre-searing.
I've done this routine with three characters of different professions (Warrior, Elementalist and Ranger) so far and it has been the same for all of them so I don't think there are any differences that are class dependent.
The armor you get isn't dramatically better than what you start with, but it is better and it doesn't look like newbie armor (hey, it doesn't matter if you win or lose, as long as you look good!). Plus, you'll enter into post-searing with armor that's better than the starter set if not quite as good as what can be crafted and it won't cost you a minimum of 600 gold - just an hour or so of your time. The only piece I haven't found is headgear and I'm starting to wonder if it exists in pre-searing; this guide covers the other four pieces.
The easiest piece to get is the boots. Go to Ashford Abbey and enter the Catacombs. Once you enter, you'll see Necromancer Munne in front of you. To your right and behind Munne is a set of stairs going inside of a building where you'll find Karleen [Collector]. Talk to her and she'll tell you that she wants 5 Gargoyle Skulls in exchange for your profession's boots. Go back out the doorway and circle around to the back of that building along its right side (if facing the front of the building where the stairs are) and you'll find a path that leads to... a whole mess of Gargoyles! Kill them to get your skulls. You might have to zone outside once if you run out of Gargoyles before you get all of the skulls you need. Head back to Karleen to get your boots.
Next up, we need to take a side trip to prepare for a later trip, so head over to The Barradin Estate. On the west side of The Barradin Estate is a field where you'll find tons of Aloe Husks and Aloe Seeds. (To get to it, exit the zone into Green Hills County, run west a little, then turn south to loop around the hill north.) It really helps to make good use of the Ctrl key here to find the Husks/Seeds. Kill as many of those as you need to get 5 Unnatural Seeds. There's also a quest you can get in Barradin Estate where you have to go to a vineyard or farm or something nearby and kill some Aloe Husks/Seeds that are created only for that quest. I haven't done the quest in a while so I don't really remember, but you might want to kill two birds with one stone.
Okay, now that we have our seeds, head down towards Foible's Fair. When you exit from Foible's Fair into Wizard's Folly, you'll see slightly to your left Savich [Collector] and an Academy Monk - go talk to Savich. Savich will tell you that he's looking for three Icy Lodestones for which he'll give you gloves/gauntlets for your profession. Once again, what a coincidence! There is snow nearby and... Ice Elementals! Go kill Ice Elementals up in the snowy hills until you have your three Icy Lodestones, then return to Savich for your reward.
Next we need to get to Fort Ranik. If this is your first trip there, it's a pretty good run with lots of mobs that will attack on sight, which will get you some xp as well as the last items we need for the armor. Fight your way over to the fort and along the way you'll run across spiders (actually, they'll find you) as you get closer to Fort Ranik. (If you can use the map to get to Fort Ranik, you might as well start from there since the spiders are nearby). Kill as many spiders as you need to collect 3 Spider Legs. Once you have the legs, head over to Fort Ranik.
Inside Fort Ranik are two collectors. To get your leggings, talk to Varis [Collector] and exchange the 3 Spider Legs for them. Next, go to Hatcher [Collector] who will want the 5 Unnatural Seeds you collected earlier in exchange for the shirt/vest.
That's it! You now have some spiffy new armor that didn't cost you a bunch of gold and take you hours to gather materials!
*** This article was written by Nevver and because it is great guide for all of you that want to get better armor on first steps in Tyria, I posted it here. :)