A game crash constitutes any case where the game may close unexpectedly or become unresponsive.
Typically, a game crash is accompanied by a pop-up error message, and/or the generation of a crash log file called "Arenanet.log" which can be located at C:\Users\[WINDOWSUSERNAME]\AppData\Roaming\Guild Wars 2 in your computer's files.
While identifying the cause of a game crash can be tricky, there are a few ways you can narrow down what is happening that can lead you to a quick and easy solution, or help you know who to contact for help!
Repairing Game Files
One of the most common reasons for a crash is having corrupt or outdated game data installed with the client. Luckily, this is also one of the easiest things to fix!
First off, try repairing your game client using the built-in repair function on the launcher.
If that doesn't work, it may also be worth it to try fully uninstalling and reinstalling the game, especially if you have been playing from the same client install for a while, or if you encountered any issues (such as an interruption of your internet connection) during the install process. Both of these can lead to bits of outdated or corrupt files that, if allowed to pile up, can eventually impact game performance or result in crashes.
Using the Crash Log to Identify a Faulting Module
As stated earlier, crashes of the game client itself often generate a log file called "Arenanet.log" In C:\Users\[WINDOWSUSERNAME]\AppData\Roaming\Guild Wars 2 on your computer. Sometimes, a summary of the most recent crash will even appear as a pop-up when the game unexpectedly shuts down as well.
While a lot of the information here is most valuable to our development team for solving client issues, there's one piece of valuable information that may be listed that can help anyone solve the problem - a "Module."
Most often, the faulting module will be some sort of .dll file. While some of these files may have names that provide obvious hints to their purpose only to tech-savvy players (such as the d3d11.dll pictured below being a DirectX module,) some may be a bit more obscure, and players unfamiliar with terminology and abbreviations may find it more difficult to identify the source of the problem.
Luckily, most .dll files are common enough that their source is well documented online - a quick internet search for "what is d3d11.dll" will often bring up a number of articles identifying it as a DirectX-related module, as well as potential cases where this module may result in crashes for various programs.*
* Be careful when searching online for .dll file information! Some websites may try to convince you to download a "replacement" .dll file to solve a problem, but this is often unnecessary and could lead to you downloading an infected file that could put your device at risk.
Common Solutions for Crashes with Modules
Once you know what the file is, you can usually make an educated guess as to what is happening - if the file is related to a graphics driver, then perhaps your current drivers are out of date or corrupted and need a reinstall; if you see a module related to another program running on your computer (such as a chat program, VPN, or streaming service) then you may have identified an incompatibility and need to disable some features or settings in the conflicting program to avoid further issues; if the module is something you recently installed as part of a third party program, then perhaps the program is out of date or incompatible with the current version of the game.
Below are some of the most common .dll modules you might see listed, and some tips for resolving issues:
- d3d11.dll (DirectX) - Typically caused by graphics driver issues or third party add-ons. Try following our guide to using GPU-Z for troubleshooting, or review our article on Third-Party Programs.
- ntdll.dll, amdxx64.dll, etc. (Nvidia, AMD Graphics Drivers) - Typically caused by outdated or corrupt graphics drivers. Try updating your drivers or use GPU-Z to help troubleshoot.
- RTSSHooks.dll (MSI Afterburner, EVGA PrecisionX, etc.) - Caused by GPU overclocking software. Disable any overlays from the program, or disable the program when playing Guild Wars 2.
- LavasoftTcpService.dll (Adaware) - Bloatware that can lead to crashes. Disable or remove the program from your device.
- bink2w32.dll, CefHost.exe (Modules for in-game features such as cinematics or the trading post interface) - Contact support!
If these solutions fail to resolve the issue, or if you see a different module than those listed here, please submit a support ticket and include your crash logs. Our team will review them further and, if needed, escalate them to the development team for further review!
Identify Other Symptoms
Just like if a person is sick, a computer will often show more than one symptom when something is wrong. Identifying the context in which a crash occurs and other clues can help to further narrow down what is happening.
Here are some common occurrences to be on the lookout for, and what they might mean!
If your game is stable until a specific condition (entering specific story instances, loading a specific item model)... Then the files being loaded in these specific circumstances may be corrupt. Try repairing or reinstalling the game.
If your game begins to slow down and lag, or the frame rate drops before a crash... Your graphics hardware may be overloaded or beginning to overheat. After you ensure your graphics drivers are up-to-date, run GPU-Z to look for overheating or other signs of overloaded software, and try reducing your graphics settings. You can also try more tips from our article on Troubleshooting Performance and Frame Rate Issues.
If your whole PC begins to lag (sluggish mouse movement, static sounds or stuttering in audio output)... Your CPU or RAM (memory) may be overloaded or overheating. Try a clean boot to reduce the number of programs running in the background, or lower your in-game settings. If all else fails, ensure you meet the minimum system requirements for the game.
If you notice graphical "artifacting"... Your graphics hardware may be overheating. Run GPU-Z to confirm. Visual artifacts are the most common sign of overheating graphics hardware, so try lowering your settings and ensuring your device is getting enough airflow - ensure that all fans and vents on your device are not blocked and, if you are able, ensure your system is free from dust that might clog up the cooling system.