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Who Wants to Play WvW in Guild Wars 2?

By Ed Orr on October 05, 2018 | Columns | Comments

Who Wants to Play WvW in Guild Wars 2?

Way back when Guild Wars 2 released I came into Tyria riding high off the waves of Atreia. NC Soft’s pigeon loving playground was a haven for many of us that loved large scale combat. Gigantic battles full of factional warmongers were regular as clockwork and Guild Wars 2’s World vs World seemed like the natural successor.

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For those of you who haven’t dipped into WvW, you might not be aware but you’ve always had one foot in WvW. From the moment you picked a home server at the character creation, you picked a side. Wuvwu is a pretty simple concept. Three teams of opposing players fill a map and battle it out to see who is king of the castle. A series of keeps, camps, and towers are scattered around four maps that are filled with a mix of PvP and PvE. Groups of players roam the surrounding walkways of alpine borders and crawl through the deserts of the Mists while NPC’s guard their territory, and it’s all up for grabs. Each team is generally defined by their home server and it's up to these teams to duke it out for as much territory as possible.

Guild Wars 2’s implementation of Realm vs Realm combat was not exactly perfect when it went live back at launch. Systems were not as mature as they seem today, tactics hadn’t reached a stable meta, and severe lag was a better early warning system than any set of scouts. Still, it had its charms. The Alpine Borderlands flanked the huge Eternal Battleground where servers smashed against stone walls, castle gates were doused in burning oil, and I spotted my first portal bomb. This classic mix of PvPvE game was entirely my bag and when ArenaNet managed to turn off their culling things started to look up. Several years later, and probably another column in the making, the history of WvW has moved on significantly, and yet something seems to be lost in the mist wars these days.

While I could, in an entirely different column, lament the good old days, there’s plenty of reason for new players to get into WvW now.

Easy Access

You’ve got your gear, right? You’ve been following the returning guide to Guild Wars 2 and you’ve tackled the class and itemization features, but dungeons are pretty dead and it feels like maybe everyone’s off doing raids and playing in map’s you might not be able to access. Well, World vs World is almost instantly available. Free to play accounts can access WvW at level 60 and paid accounts can jump in at level 31. Just hit B to drop in and choose a map. While it’s my opinion that brand-new players will get the best experience from Edge of the Mists before jumping into Eternal Battlegrounds or an Alpine Borderland maps, really, you’ll thrive in any situation with the right direction.

A Level Playing field?

While PvP normalizes stats, scales levels, and focuses on the fairest possible implementation of combat, WvW is not quite the same. Its mix of PvP and PvE elements makes levels fairly mute but makes utility incredibly important. This means class build and gear have an impact. I’ll dig into these a little later but this does mean that you’ll find the level grind is mostly irrelevant.

A Core Community

While the recent changes to WvW feel like tweaking around the edges and have left a dwindling population, these dedicated WvW players are a different kind of community. Rather than find yourself caught up in the flow of mega servers, awash with schools of players you may not ever see again, WvW guilds are a fairly constant presence. While population atrophy occurs in every game, community pride makes for one of the stickiest incentives to keep on playing. WvW isn’t about the loot, it’s all about the right to say your team won. PvP might be an e-sport but WvW is the team game to play in Guild Wars 2.

Rewards

While WvW isn’t about the loot, things are a lot better than they were on launch. In particular, while Dungeons are pretty dead, the same PvE reward tracks that the PvP scene got some time are now a staple of WvW. If you are having trouble finding a group for those dungeon runs, it might be worth considering pointing your sword at a different foe.

If you do decide to deviate from the PvE grind and tick it to another server, then what do you need to know before you hit B?

Pick Your Weapon

So you’ve probably already done this days or weeks ago and, thankfully, re-rolling for WvW isn’t strictly required. As above, utility and gear are important and as long as your class can bring something to the table when your group clashes with another. Because WvW borrows from PvP and PvE, you'll find the expectations of your teammates can fluctuate, and the best thing to do is adapt your build to the current meta. You can find the current consensus over at MetaBattle. Despite, some of our own staff issues with it, this is still the quickest way to get your character up to snuff.

If you really are ready to re-roll for WvW then Scourges, Spell breakers, and Firebrands are helpful. Guardians, in addition, never go out of fashion.

Getting a Group

This can be a group of friends or a guild. The number of active WvW dedicated guilds has been in decline for some time and the community as a whole is shrinking. However, you can find a few of them in the official forum  and even on Reddit. The easiest way to get started with a group though is to log into WvW and watch for the colored dots floating around the screen. Find some friendly blue dots and play along. Any multicolored diamonds are Commanders, players able to group large numbers of players into logical units and keep them in a single cohesive unit. At least, that’s the theory. Given some time following these Doritos, you’ll notice the local map chat, look out for server-based chat, Teamspeak and discord information popping up. Get to know your fellow WvW players and the ones that get to know you might even point you towards a guild.

Guilds will become increasingly important in WvW. The introduction of the WVW alliance system and world restructuring system, when it’s ready, will largely eliminate the need to group players based on their home server. It will group WvW teams based on their guild allegiances. You don’t need to know the specifics but getting a guild will impact your WvW experience immensely now and going forward. You can check out more on this via the official Guild Wars 2 forum.

Get Geared

Unlike other game modes, such as Fractals and Raids, WvW has a fairly achievable bar for gear. While Ascended is the minimum standard for competitive PvE, in many cases, the Exotic tier is good enough for WvW players. There’s a definite power gap but if you drop into WvW and start following Commanders, you’ll quickly accumulate Badges of Honors, which you can spend at Armor Master and Weapon vendors, near your home spawn. It’s easily the most efficient way to get to a minimum gear standard.

Winning with Weapons

While we’ve started working on a more comprehensive step by step on all aspects of WvW, winning at WvW involves one thing, taking territory. This is a capture the flag style game. You’ll find towers, keeps, camps scattered across every map with various defenses. Camps can be dispensed with a little care, killing the enemy guards and loitering around until they turn your color.

Make sure when you do kick over camps that you interact with the supply and grab some. You’ll need it for more heavily defended towers and keeps.

Keeps and Towers are giant stone structures, like Eternal Battlegrounds central spire. They are guarded by a variety of your enemies, NPCs, and fortifications. Thankfully, everyone in WvW can utilize the supplies from friendly camps to build Siege weapons. Items of significant power, you can buy them from vendors next to your home spawn point. We will get into Siege weapons in a longer guide, but know that without these you aren’t even going to get close to capturing anything more than a camp. Players that have a group will quickly see this in practice, so please find a group.

Once you’ve seen off your enemy teams, slain any guards, and broken down the door of enemy keeps, you can capture these massive fortifications in the same manner as a camp.  The bigger the prize, the more points it’s worth for your team as the clock moves forward and points are for winners.

Participation

Participating players that score points in WvW don’t just get loot from their victims and let them crawl through their dungeon reward tracks. WvW experience tracks drop a multitude of currencies that include Badges of Honor, Skirmish Claim Tickets. For new players, you’ll mainly be worried about those badges. Get plenty of them and revert to getting geared to start picking out the best stats for your character.

Once you’ve been playing a little longer you’ll want to check out your WvW progression track.  Hit B and make sure you spend the point’s you have accumulated to help boost your performance in WvW. This is a long treadmill, but the first few pips can make a huge difference to your movement around the world.

If you do decide to jump into WvW for the first time, don’t be overwhelmed by everything going on. Putting these high-level tips to one side, there are two things you need to survive. Situational awareness and a good commander. So, go on, hit B and try a different track, get a group and keep your eyes peeled.

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