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Guild Wars 2 Column: The PvP Question

By William Murphy on December 20, 2010

The original Guild Wars is known not only for its unique and engaging story but also for its highly competitive brand of player versus player combat. It’s odd then that most of the content ArenaNet has spoken of or shown at various gaming shows has nothing to do with PvP. In fact, there’s very little we know about the highly anticipated sequel’s plans for competitive combat. So far, we know that the game will have PvP and that some of it will take the form of Server versus Server (World vs. World) combat. We also know that it will have a structured PvP system where players can come and go in matches as they please, making the system “hot-joinable”. What any of that really means is anyone’s guess.

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So let’s go over the basics of each, since WvW will be a very different beast than structured PvP. World versus World (or server versus server) will be massive large-scale PvP where players will take their current character as is into a battle and vie for rewards and bonuses for their world. Often when MMO veterans speak of their favorite games of yesteryear, they talk of DAoC and the “Realm Pride” they had for Hibernia, or Midgard, etc. ArenaNet seems to be taking that notion one step further by trying to get players pumped and fighting for their entire server. Can’t you just see yourself getting into arguments already with friends who play the game over which server to play on or whose is best? I guarantee you’ll want to iron out which server you’re playing long before launch, and gods willing ArenaNet will release a list long before that day.

What the bonuses and such will be, now there’s the kicker. How will the battlefields shape up, what kind of action can we expect? It’s all up in the air still as ArenaNet has gone dark probably until the next round of conventions start up in early 2011. World PvP is certainly a novel approach when it comes to the ongoing massive conflict, and we’re told it may even have an RTS sort of feel in some regards, so we’re anxious to hear more about it.

But chances are, the most popular form of PvP among the truly competitive will be ArenaNet’s patented Structured PvP system. While not all MMO fans will be glad to hear it, ArenaNet is taking some cues from FPS games with how they handle PvP in GW2. GW2 will use the same game modes across pick-up, random, and tournament play so that everyone at all times will be learning skills that are relevant in all levels of competition. Additionally as it was in GW1, though GW2 has a level 80 cap, all players in structured PVP will be raised to the same level and put forth two equal teams to duke it out. This is likely where the bulk of the sanctioned tournament play will take place, and where dedicated guilds and groups will lay claim to the title of “Most Bad-Ass.”

Really, as we near the close of 2010, I can’t help but wonder what else ArenaNet has up their sleeve. Guild Wars 2 is shaping up to be an extremely bold new step in online gaming, but it seems like there’s still so much more to learn about the deeply under-wraps title. We still have more professions to learn about, not to mention the nitty gritty of PvP to go over. Oh and there’s that niggling little detail about a release date and impending beta that I’m sure we’d all like some clarification on. Here’s hoping that the studio doesn’t stay dark too much longer.

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