Daily Guild Wars 2: PvP. (31 days left!)

I tried my hand at structured PvP during BWE3.  Holy cow, was there a learning curve.  It was very frustrating at first because our team kept getting curb stomped.  But once we started to figure it out it was some of the most rewarding game play I’ve experienced and definitely the best PvP system in an MMO.

So, for today, let’s talk PvP.

First off, when playing WoW, for example, and you see a warrior coming at you, you probably know what’s about to happen.  You know that 99% of warriors in PvP play the same spec, you know they’re certainly going to charge and stun you and unload.  You also know that every warrior, no matter what their weapon, will have the same set of attacks.  Same story for every warrior.

Not so in Guild Wars 2.  In GW2 if you see a warrior, you have no clue what’s about to happen.  Is he going to pull out a rifle and shoot you?  Is he going to try and close the distance?  Is he going to pull out a sword and shield and throw down war banners to buff everyone else?  Is he going to use an axe to stick and move and beat you with bleeds?  Is he going to use a hammer or a mace to control you?  You really have no clue, and so you have to adjust on the fly rather than having your strategy for every warrior laid out ahead of time.  Same goes for pretty much every class.

Second, the pacing.  sPvP is fast.  You’re always moving trying to counter the other team.  You can move while using most abilities in GW2, so instead of parking and spamming your most powerful skills you’re darting around the battlefield being cognizant of distance from your foe and a host of other things.  It’s intense.

Third, builds.  Your build in PvP is very important in GW2.  It’s something you’ll want to spend some time on since it determines your style.  The trait system is set up so you can’t really get one thing without sacrificing another.  Want to hit hard and crit a bunch?  It’s going to cost you a lot of hit points.  Want more survivability?  You’re not going to hit nearly as hard or you’ll have to give up some control.  Want to use grenades as an engineer?  Then your ability with potions will suffer.  This means, like I said above, that no two characters of the same class will play exactly alike (in fact, most will be quite different).  It also means that you can have a character that’s unique, which is pretty cool.  It also means that every player and every team will have strengths to avoid and weaknesses to exploit.

Fourth, it actually feels like battle!  Dodging is important!  Using the environment to your advantage is important!  Because your abilities are situational instead of being based of a resource meter, you actually spend most of your time watching the battle and thinking.

I PvP’d mostly as a warrior.  I started out with a rifle build that could switch to a mace and warhorn (for the speed boost to get between nodes).  It worked pretty well as a support class.  It didn’t do the ludicrous damage of a greatsword warrior or an elementalist, but it was very survivable.

Later I tried a banner warrior who fought with sword and shield.  My goal with him was just to stay alive so my team could keep getting my sweet buffs.  He specialized in helping groups win large battles or holding a node long enough for help to arrive.

I also tried a greatsword build.  The strategy there was simple: close the distance and unload.  Do as much damage as you can before they burn you down while your elementalist drops AoE all over your area.

They were all fun, and all very viable.

Here’s the build I’m thinking I’ll PvP with at launch.

Have you guys tried PvP?  I didn’t get the chance to do WvWvW, but I’d like to.  What are your thoughts?

Godless Guild facebook group.

Codex site where you can toy with profession builds.

My Guild Wars 2 review (for those wondering what all the fuss is about).

Sweet guild page/forum.

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About JT Eberhard

When not defending the planet from inevitable apocalypse at the rotting hands of the undead, JT is a writer and public speaker about atheism, gay rights, and more. He spent two and a half years with the Secular Student Alliance as their first high school organizer. During that time he built the SSA’s high school program and oversaw the development of groups nationwide. JT is also the co-founder of the popular Skepticon conference and served as the events lead organizer during its first three years.

  • http://www.facebook.com/jdsanchezdaza juandaza

    I forgot to try PvP, but I did go to WvWvW… It could be pretty calm if you were on a hardly fought map, but if you were around where people fought each other… it was intense! you had to keep looking around to see what might come around, be careful because there were mostly AOE attacks being thrown at you and your teammates, and for some reason there weren’t many support players (I played a support Guardian while at it, and it felt like it really mattered having supports around) gotta try PvP when the game comes out, it seems it’s as action packed as WvW but more… organized. Hopefully this will be the first MOBA like PvP I’ll get the chance to like and get into.

  • Joe

    I’m always a bit wary of PvP because of the tendency of a level 80 player to come along and curbstomp me. Is this ever an issue? That or I curbstomp some poor player that is miles behind me and then feel guilty about it.

    • b00ger

      From what I’ve read, when you go into a battleground GW2 automatically scales everyone up to max level so there is an equal playing field. Not sure if this mechanic is the same for all PvP scenarios. Someone who has actually played the game with have to chime in.

      • kagekiri

        For World v World (WvW) and normal arena style PVP (sPVP), you’ll be leveled to 80.

        In WvW, you stay with upscaled-to-level-80 versions of your normal weapons, gear, and character. You can still contribute as a level 2 (the normal level after the tutorial quest) who was upscaled to 80, but your gear’s quality and your available pool of skills will be quite weak. You can still kill most mobs on the map like this, but it’s much more difficult than a character who’s got more gear selection, some skill points acquired in PVE and therefore more skills unlocked, more skill slots that are unlocked through leveling (which is noticeably faster in PVE).

        You can actually level through WvW, so it’s not like those are permanent handicaps, but while you’re low leveled, you could get destroyed in 1v1 by someone with rather superior gear, even if you’re technically both upscaled to 80. It won’t be nearly as bad as WoW’s power disparities, though, and you can be totally useful with siege weapons, supplies, and other tactics without having to worry about maxing out your gear before trying WvW out.

        In sPVP, you basically get standardized gear. This uses a separate PVP version of your character, with everything automatically unlocked, and with vendors with the best weapons (stat wise, though some more specialized/cool looking versions can be unlocked), sigils, runes, etc, all for free, so you can gear up and skill yourself out like a true level 80 and immediately be on truly level ground with everyone else in sPVP.

        Changing your skills and gears in sPVP mode will not change or affect your WvW/PVE version of your character, and you have access to all possible skills on your character except racial skills (which I believe are left out so they can’t unbalance the system in favor of specific races).

        • Joe

          That sounds prety balanced. It seems a good compromise between making sure no-one is ridiculously outclassed while still rewarding people on higher levels.

  • leftwingfox

    Alright, alright, I’m convinced. I’ve Pre-ordered Guild Wars 2. Looking forward to seeing folks online.

  • Daniel Schealler

    Just FYI: I found that the codex site was out-of-date regarding some of my Guardian abilities, as well as my preferred Guardian trait lines.

    It might be out-of-date for other areas as well. Not a big deal – just keep it in mind.

    I found that the GW2 Wiki is a good place for up-to-date info.

    List of Warrior Skills

    List of Warrior Traits

    • kagekiri

      Yeah, quite a few popular skill builders are out of date with respect to changes found in BWE3, and we should probably expect further deviations before release based on feedback they’re processing from BWE3.

  • Daniel Schealler

    Also: No, I didn’t try PvP. PvP rarely appeals to me.

    But I tried the hell out of WvW in BWE2. It was hard to get into WvW in BWE3 – only managed to get in there once for twenty minutes, then my connection dropped.

    Having not tried PvP yet myself, I have to be cautious comparing the two. But the way I think about it is that WvW is about strategy, but PvP is about tactics. It’s a much larger scale that requires larger numbers of players to take strategic resources. Siege weapons mix things up a lot. Those things hit hard.

    It becomes a game of guerrilla squads going out to destroy the enemy’s siege engines before they destroy yours.

    I’m still stuck at the bottom of a very steep cliff regarding my WvW learning curve. If you’re not running with a well-organized group then it can be boring. But the times when I got into a large group that played cooperatively and strategically it was the most fun I’ve had in a video game in a LONG time. There’s something very satisfying about watching while your elementalists take out the boiling oil cauldron then storming forward with a group of your teammates to drop a battering ram, and watch the health of the gate slowly fall… While your teammates defend you from the inevitable outrush of enemy combatants from behind the wall trying to take out your ram before it can do too much harm.

    When it works, it’s fantastic.

    I’m really looking forward to forming up a party with you guys for some strategic warfare in WvW after the release. I wanna see our banner flying on some towers. ^_^

  • Laen

    Sooooo…I’m the only idiot that likes PVP and spent all my time doing PVE…dammit. Not sure how I missed getting involved in the PVP and WvW….but I did. Dammit.

    • Daniel Schealler

      Don’t feel too bad about WvW. The WvW worlds were pretty much full the entire weekend.

      I was permanently queued to get in, but only managed a 20 minute run on the second day.

      Chances are good you might not have made it in anyway.

      Don’t know about PvP of course. :P

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1698151270 John-Henry Beck

    I’m one of those who didn’t get around to trying any PvP or WvW.
    It does sound like something I’d like to try, though. Especially if getting together with a group from the guild.

  • Raptor Ready

    Hey Guys,

    I was really bummed some real life stuff came up and I had to miss the BW3. Everything sounds awesome and I’m excited to meet everyone at launch (-3 days)!

    Andrew – Orlem Norn Warrior

  • RuQu

    I don’t normally do PvP, but I popped into the WvWvW to check it out.

    Long-time PvE players verdict: It is awesome.

    It requires strategy, teamwork, control of points. Your world earns points towards buffs every 5 minutes, so even controlling part of the map benefits everyone on your server. The battles rage for quite a while (2 weeks I think), and then they reshuffle the worlds. This means if one world is doing great and your world can’t seem to gain any ground against them, then in 2 weeks you will be against weaker PvP worlds and them against stronger. Nicely balanced.

    The gear setup in GW2 is also much better than WoW. Max level gear all has the same stat budget. Upgrades beyond that are cosmetic, so your success is about strategy and skill, not who has farmed PvP gear for the longest time.

    • Daniel Schealler

      I think that they were planning to do daily re-matching of the WvW servers at first while the servers are fluctuating wildly. The plan is to settle down to fortnightly rematches once things calm down a bit.

  • Epinephrine

    While there are lots of builds now, I imagine it’ll become pretty standardised rapidly. There’s a lot of variety in PvP because there hasn’t been time for the game to settle. Guild Wars had orders of magnitude more builds available, and quickly resolved into several key types. A bit of a metagame developed, with small skill tweaks occasionally upsetting the balance, but more often a minor change causing a metagame shift as people adapt. With a simpler system, I fail to see how the same won’t be true here.

    Soon enough, you’ll know what a warrior with a X and Y will be doing, and there will be a few valid builds per profession (if we are lucky – some may have only one build, or even none that fit the current metagame). WvWvW will probably always remain more random, as you’ll have people of all levels competing, and using whatever they like using in PvE, but I think sPvP will become pretty fixed, with skill tweaks upsetting things from time to time.