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WvW: Should I Follow the Zerg or Go Havoc?

David North Posted:
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When I first started playing Guild Wars 2, all I played was PvE. It was fun to be part of the lore, and do dungeon runs, but after I explored the world it was time for something else. That's when I tried WvW, and I've been hooked ever since. There's just something special about doing battle with enemy armies, or sneaking behind enemy territory to stop their supply flow. The only bad thing is deciding if I should become a part of the zerg, or go havoc.

For those of you who are new to WvW (or gaming in general, which I doubt is the case here), a zerg is a massive group of players that move as one. But what makes the zerg so effective isn't just their numbers, but their leaders known as Commanders. They lead the zerg to keep battle formation, and give certain commands like using spells, or building siege weapons. Just think of the zerg as an army, running from objective to objective to capture enemy  territories.

Capturing towers and keeps can be a lot of fun, but the best part is when two zergs collide. It might be one of the most epic things in the entire game. I'll play some of the LoTR soundtrack during these intense fights. It's like you're taking part in one of those great battles you see in the movies.  A lot of players join the zerg because they know they are about to get a ton of loot bags. Well, as long as they win the fight that is.

Nothing is worse than getting loot bags and dieing before you can grab them.

If you're new to WvW, the zerg may also be very appealing because it increases your chances of staying alive. Fighting another player is very different than taking on a mob. Players can be unpredictable, and use a larger variety of different builds. When you're with the zerg, other players stick close together so everyone is getting in on each other's healing spells.

Being with the zerg is fun, but lately I've been playing a havoc role for my server. Havoc is when you go with a much smaller group, maybe 5 to 10 players, capturing smaller objectives, and just creating havoc for the enemy forces. What I love about playing this role is how a good havoc team can actually benefit the zerg, which then benefits the whole server.  You think you’re playing a small part, but really you’re vitally important.

Playing a good havoc role means you have to know what your zerg is doing. If the commander says they are going to start taking some red enemy towers, you go and capture red camps so that the zerg has supplies to build their battering rams. If the commander says they are going to take the blue keep, then you'll go and start attacking a blue tower far away to draw the enemies attention. To the enemy it seems completely random, but it's actually part of a strategy.

Activate ninja mode! Now you’re ready to havoc.

Zergs often have a lot of trouble without a commander, because they don't keep in formation as well during fights, and no one is keeping track of supplies. What's nice about a havoc team is that you can still be very helpful without a commander. It's always a good idea to take enemy camps to control their supply flow. An enemy zerg without any supplies is a very slow zerg, which buys your server more time to get organized. And if you're really feeling good about your abilities, it's always fun to just try and actually take a tower. Sure it takes longer, but it's more exciting because you're racing against the enemies' response time.

Sadly playing havoc also means you're basically just a punching bag for the enemy forces. If the zerg finds you, you're chances of survival are very slim. It's highly advised that you tread on enemy soil like a ninja.  The other downside is that you won't get nearly as many loot bags. Every once in a while you'll run into a few stray enemy players, but really the rewards for going havoc is the thrill of not having a safety net.

It's great that there are options in how you play when you enter the Mists. I spend most of my time playing havoc now, but still joining an army and smashing through enemy forces can be the perfect way to pass the time. The pressure is on to think about victory however, as the Spring 2014 WvW tournament is in full swing. If you haven't jumped in to try it out, I highly recommend you get started. At the very least, give the Edge of the Mists a try. It's a great area to practice both zerg, and havoc tactics, all while giving you credit towards the tournament meta. Now if you'll excuse me, I have lands to conquer.

Do you prefer to follow the zerg, or do go havoc?  Tell us how you experience WvW in the comments below. 

David North / David North is a freelance writer for MMORPG.com.  David loves to play and makes games, but now he writes about them!  If you want to creep on him and make fun of his ability to draw, follow him over on twitter @David_the_North.

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