The European Guild Versus Guild Tournament
Currently, the game is in the midst of one of the most highly anticipated PvP seasons to date, coupled with a rehashed Wintersday that still has not failed to bring joy and love to all the players (and orphans). Amongst all these big updates, it would be pretty easy to have missed the end of the European Guild versus Guild tournament that took place, especially considering that this project was 100% community run and funded.
For me, this tournament marks one of the most exciting moves from the World versus World community in recent years. Guild fighting one another in Guild Wars 2 has been one of the most disappointing parts of this instalment in the franchise, with absolutely 0 supported avenue for Guild competition for the majority of its years, and only recently having attained what has been fairly small support in the form of guild PvP teams (who, notably, can no longer queue together in ranked anyway).
So to give you an overview of what has been happening, a few months ago on the 18th of October, a tournament between the World versus World oriented guilds on the European servers kicked off, and continued up until the finals which ended on 8th of December. This tournament involved 15 players from each guild facing off in a round robin style event, which was then cut down to the finals. Tournaments like this have taken place in the past, back when the North American scene was more active a few years ago, but this is the first one since the release of Heart of Thorns to draw a proper crowd and attention.
Guild versus Guild is essentially a ‘first team to die loses’ game mode in Guild Wars 2, and has always been completely community created and driven. Commanders from both side communicate, with one side usually conceding defeat at the loss of four or five players when they know that winning is out of the picture. The meta for this game mode revolves around big front line tanky classes engaging and defending their squishy, high damage classes, and takes a high degree of skill not just as an individual, but also as a team to work together effectively. Fighting smart, calling vital skills, healing, cleansing and reviving your party are some of the key workings of the game mode, with co-ordination being the difference between winning and losing in 95% of the rounds.
The reason I considered this tournament so important is mostly due to the history of the game mode. Over the years, there have been many, many guilds who have all been exclusively GvG guilds within the WvW game mode, and even more who are WvW oriented guilds that dabble in GvGs at times. Throughout the years there have been literally thousands of GvGs taking place, whether its outside the Windmill behind South Camp, on Zerg Island, in the Obsidian Sanctum or more recently in the Guild Hall. And yet, despite what has been a consistent and dedicated presence, the game mode has been put on the back burner by developers.
As a player who has dedicated time to every game mode, clearing the raids, doing my fractals daily, grinding my PvP and even playing off season just for the fun, I have seen the impacts of development in work, and watched huge changes impact both PvE and PvP at a fairly fast pace. And it quite clearly races past any efforts being put in to World versus World. Without launching in to a full list and rant of all the things that WvW needs, wants, and hasn’t gotten, there is a pretty clear consensus by the players that the game mode doesn’t get as much work as the others, with many viewing that in a positive light as it means more work for their own preferred game mode.
Not that I can blame Arenanet for this choice. Honestly, when you look at population across the game, it is very clear that Guild Wars 2 is a game that is first and foremost for the PvE players. The PvP scene is huge, and reward incentives coupled with an amazing combat system have made it the most enjoyable PvP I have encountered in any MMORPG. However, it does really hurt to see what was such a flagship of the game in the World versus World scene being slowly killed off due to a lack of dedicated support. Skill balance, crippling lag and population imbalance plague the game mode, and although it is not the most popular of the three game modes available, it still draws players in their thousands day in and day out, with a huge opportunity for growth.
The tournament once again raises that issue to the forefront, where we see literal hundreds of players involved in a game mode that has been created completely by the community, and is getting upwards of 700 viewers on its first day, with absolutely no support or plan to support. Is this a missed opportunity for Arenanet? With the unique chance to take advantage of this game mode, it seems that instead they have happily let it flounder from a lack of updates and dedicated balancing. The end result of the lack of interest from developers has seen hundreds upon hundreds of players over the years leaving a game mode they really enjoyed and were dedicated to because they didn’t see it going anywhere.
What I consider to be a big accomplishment of these players was the ability to draw traction and support in the form of viewers in a place where many thought the game had completely died off. If these guys can draw a thousand plus viewers without support or advertising from Arenanet, imagine what could be accomplished if Guild combat became an area that was supported. I’m not talking a dedicated dev team, or skill balance, but even just a link, a mention and a congratulation would go miles in getting more people interested in a part of the game they might not have known existed, and who end up sticking around and becoming Guild Wars 2 fans.
I am looking forward to the next one of these tournaments and hope for an even bigger turnout of guilds and viewers, and wanted to say a big thank you to Roy, Domi and Cabi who put on what was a very entertaining event, as well as all the guilds that took part and a congratulation to the winner, [LAYS] Pirate Chips.
If you’re interested in checking out the GvG tournament, you can find the finals uncut at this link: https://www.twitch.tv/iamthefreakshow/v/106169238