Thank you to everyone who reads what I write here. Seriously, many thanks! Anyways, I write a lot of stuff and create a lot of video, but I can only come up with things that I think are interesting. If you have any questions, feedback, things you want to read about, etc., please tell me! Use my email (“Contact Me” section) or the questions and requests button on the right, or sign up on the GW2 WvW forums (which you should anyway) and reply to the thread there!
I’m tired as hell, but here’s what I think about this weekend’s beta and the changes that have been made.
Hello everyone, and welcome to the special Beta Weekend Event 2 edition of The Structure! While TS is a column dedicated to SPvP, this week we’re talking about both SPvP and WvW. I’ve got some helpful tips for everyone regarding both, but first we’ve got big news on both fronts. Earlier this week, ArenaNet posted on the official blog what we would be seeing added to the game for this weekend, and everyone’s excited about it. What do us PvP nerds get to geek out over this weekend?
For everyone that’s into SPvP, we get to finally see automated tournaments! We don’t yet have player-defined matches or tournaments yet (something we have been promised at launch), but this is a big step up from having just a “Join a Match” button. They’re also drastically expanding the WvW experience. Things to be excited about include skill challenges to help WvW as a viable leveling method, dynamic events to provide more PvE components, and a PvP mini-dungeon that includes a chest and loot!
Now, on to business as usual. I know a lot of people in the last beta that did virtually (or literally) nothing except play WvW. I know a lot of people that did only SPvP and no WvW. Some of you reading this are probably in one of those two groups. Sure, there are going to be new things on both sides to go back and check out, but this weekend I hope that you’ll give the other a chance as well. That’s why for this pre-beta edition of TS, I’m coming up with a list of tips to take with you as you go from one into the other.
For Going From WvW Into SPvP
If you’ve played WvW and are going to try SPvP for the first time, follow these few tips to make yourself more successful in your new endeavor:
- Big fights over an objective are actually not helpful. If three of the enemy team are at one objective, that’s the last place you want to be. That means there are two other objectives with one player each (where you can simply fight them off) or no players at all simply waiting to be captured.
- The objectives in SPvP are small. While you can stand anywhere and nuke things in WvW to help break into a keep in WvW, nothing you’re doing actually helps win in SPvP if you’re not in the circles.
- SPvP matches are short. It takes very little time to go from winning to losing in SPvP. Even if you have every objective in SPvP, it takes less than 30 seconds for the enemy team to run in and take over two objectives very quickly and suddenly be gaining the lead on you.
- Killing off the defense actually helps take the objective. Kill enemy siege weapons quickly, and stop new ones from being built. Since it takes very few players to erect a siege weapon and wreak havoc on your team, all enemy players are a significant threat.
- There are four maps to choose from. It sounds like it should be obvious, but a lot of people don’t understand that there are other maps aside from the Eternal Battlegrounds. If your side is getting completely demolished in EB, grab a bunch of guildies/friends, pick a Borderlands map you don’t have much of, and you can often ROFLstomp your way through most of the map before other players figure out what’s how to stop you.
- Figure out who you’re running with. While you’re not going to want to get everyone on your team into Skype like you will for SPvP tournaments, it’s very important to know who the people on your side are. If there’s one large guild running together, talk to them. Chances are someone in that guild may be running a stream to help coordinate people. If no one’s running a stream and you can, offer to do so. It may seem insignificant, but that tiny amount of coordination is all it takes to decimate the unorganized masses.
Lastly, everyone have a ton of fun this weekend! As usual, I will be with the Gamebreaker TV folks on Darkhaven (unless they announce a server transfer, in which case I will follow them), and you can add me as Yoshi Gwtwo. For more beginner’s tips for WvW and SPvP, read my guide for each (link: WvW, SPvP). Happy pwning!
With the announcement of the beta next weekend, I’m going to do collapse the two remaining posts in the balance series into one article. Next week, then, I’ll have something special for the beta to give you all. Also, since next Friday we’ll already be in the beta, I’ll get that article out a day early so you won’t have to be conflicted between reading and playing. Today, we’re going to simultaneously build a balanced and offensive build. It’s really going to be the same build done two different ways. This way, you’ll also get to see how you can vary the play style of one idea dramatically using the same profession.
Picking a Profession
“…a thief, which many people think of as being highly offensive.”
When I originally made this build during the weekend, I had a very specific build in mind, and I made this a balanced build. The entire build revolves around a thief, which many people think of as being highly offensive. But, the build is based around whittling down the enemy so you can hit for a major finishing blow with Heartseeker. So, it’s safe to say we need to take a thief.
Picking a Weapon and Skills
“In short, the off-hand dagger is great offensively and defensively.
While the major part of the build is based around the main-hand dagger skill, I still had to figure out what I wanted on the rest of the build. Then I still needed to come up with a second weapon set as well. Looking through the other weapons, I really wanted to use the dagger for my off-hand as well. The 4 skill is a ranged cripple, which is incredibly useful to keep people from getting away and make it easier to get to people. Remembering how a thief’s 3 skill changes for both weapons equipped, the 3 skill for wielding two daggers is quite powerful as well with the bonus of hitting more than one target. Thinking defensively, the 5 skill also gives us a nice way to either open up an enemy or (more importantly) get out of trouble. In short, the off-hand dagger is great offensively and defensively. Now, for the offensive side of things, I’m going to use two sets of double daggers, and you’ll see why towards the end. For the balanced off set, I’m going to use a sword in the main hand and keep the dagger in the off hand. The sword gives us a good way to get into range on people but also a quick escape out of range and a nice evading attack for the 3 skills.
“Scorpion Wire: a gap closer that can disorient your enemy, too.”
The biggest possible pit-fall here is that we don’t have a ranged weapon. It means we’re going to need a lot of skills to get us in melee ranged and keep ourselves in melee ranged. The biggest thing I like about Heartseeker, the basis of this build, is that it’s also a leap. That’s automatically one gap closer. The sword set has a shadow step, which is even better. Remember that we already have the built-in shadow step to the Steal profession mechanic. This is nice, but we’ll still need more. My personal favorite utility skill for the thief is Scorpion Wire: a gap closer that can disorient your enemy, too. I’m also going to take Signet of Shadows. The passive 10% movement speed increase is noticeable when everything else runs out and you have to simply run someone down. There’s also the wonderful immobilizing component with the blinding as icing on the cake of a great skill. For the balanced build, I’m taking Skale Venom, to give us a bit more ability to open up for one big hit but also give us the defense of the weakness. In the offensive build, we’ll instead use Assassin Signet to be able to make one enormous hit possible. For both builds, we’re going to use Dagger Storm for a very powerful elite and Hide in Shadows for a very useful heal and stealth.
Picking Our Traits
“Even with identical weapons and skills, two builds can be totally different…”
Up to this point, with weapons and skills, the offensive and balanced versions of this build look very similar. Even with identical weapons and skills, two builds can be totally different depending on the traits. With the balanced build, we’re splitting out traits out to 30-0-20-10-10, giving us a relative balance in stats. Our Deadly Arts traits are to increase dagger damage, gain might when applying venoms, and cause vulnerability with critical hits. These work together to make us do more damage and also make our venom that much better at opening an opponent. For Shadow Arts, we’re taking the regeneration on stealth and initiative gain on stealth. In Acrobatics, we want the initiative gain on weapon swap. Lastly, in Trickery, we’re leaving caltrops behind as we dodge. Stealth is obviously a defensive mechanic, and we’re going to make a lot of use of it. But, we’re also making it an offensive ability by gaining us health every time we stealth (such as using our heal skill). Gaining initiative on weapon swap almost guarantees us the ability to use Heartseeker when we swap, as well as gives us more initiative in general. Lastly, caltrops can be timed well for a snare, given their crippling side.
“Instead of slowly whittling down our opponent, we’re now forcing them down…”
Now, when we look at the offensive side, we’re only going to be taking three of the same major traits. We’re going to run with 30-30-0-10-0, maxing out on power and critical attributes. We’re keeping the initiative gain on weapon swap from Acrobatics along with the dagger damage and critical hits cause vulnerability from Deadly Arts. Lastly, in Deadly Arts, we’re going to increase the damage of our dual skills, giving us better multi-target damage and better damage to get opponents into a threat range. In Critical Strikes, we’re going to reduce signet recharge times, cause more damage to targets under 25 percent health, and increase our dual skills’ critical change. Instead of slowly whittling down our opponent, we’re now forcing them down into a range where we can quickly finish them with a hard hit.
Kitting Out With Equipment
“The biggest difference… is the inclusion of toughness and vitality.”
Thankfully our weapons will pretty much be the same for sigils. The sword/dagger set is going to have a Sigil of Superior Energy and Sigil of Superior Hobbling, to help us stay alive longer while working our opponents down. The double dagger set in our balanced build and both of our double dagger sets for the offensive build are going to use a Sigil of Superior Intelligence and a Sigil of Superior Doom. This guarantees our Heartseekers to hit for that much more, and lets use put out more damage more often in the offensive build. Using the balanced build, I was able to hit for up to 4.9k once with a Heartseeker during the last beta, so think about doing that every ten seconds with the offensive build. The biggest difference in the armor stats between an offensive and balanced version of the same build is the inclusion of toughness and vitality. With the balanced build, I basically focused on Power, Vitality, and Toughness, in that general order. I used six Superior Runes of the Warrior to also get the faster weapon swaps. With the offensive build, we instead want six Superior Runes of the Eagle and a focus on Power, Precision, and Prowess. Since the offensive side is based more on critting and doing more damage to low health targets, the Eagle runes really work out the best.
Playing the Build
“The main difference between playing an offensive and balanced version of the same build is the pace.”
The basic idea behind both builds is the same: get the target to low health and hit them with an extra-strength Heartseeker to put them away. It’s a very basic idea that compounded and compounded the further into developing the build we went. In the balanced side, you’re very survivable. Your basic goal is to outlast your opponents. By keeping up the pressure while using defensive abilities, we’re sure to get them down to about 20 percent. Once they’re sub-20, they’re more-or-less in Heartseeker range. Unless they’re a very offensive-heavy build, the balanced side of this can get an opponent sub-20 while comfortably sitting at 40 percent or more. Shadow stepping and using stealth, along with the basic key of dodging, are instrumental both offensively and defensively to the success of the balanced build. On the offensive side of things, we’re looking a little different. We’re not going to outlast anyone, so it’s all about jumping on them hard and quick. Before you engage an enemy, swap weapons to activate your sigils. Get right on top of them by shadow stepping with Steal or pulling them to you with Scorpion Wire. Open hard and give them a chance to get away. Once they’re under 50 percent, you can start thinking about how many Heartseekers you have the initiative for and where to throw in a weapon swap in the finish. The main difference between playing an offensive and balanced version of the same build is the pace.
Trait graphic created using Luna Atra Skills Tool.
“One of the coolest things that we’ve added to WvW recently is a persistent mini-dungeon that can be accessed through the three keeps in the center map. This area is designed with multiplayer PvP in mind and players can do things like activate the traps in the mini-dungeon to defeat enemy players. Of course, at the end of the area there’s a chest full of rewards.”
That’s the most important thing to read in this, but the rest is still worth reading. Think about it: a PvP dungeon.
Last week, I talked about the value or lack of value of balancing offense and defense in your SPvP builds to begin this series. This week, it’s time to start talking about how to build all-defensive, all-offensive, and balanced builds. I thought I’d start us off with a defensive build this week. In all of the SPvP I did throughout the weekend, I saw a lot of offensive and balanced builds, but no one seemed to be running defensive builds. I’ll admit, it doesn’t feel as rewarding as killing foes all match long. But, it’s nice looking at that victory screen and knowing you’re such a big part of that lead in points.
Picking a Profession
“They all have their own bunch of defensive skills…”
Everyone automatically associates “defensive” in GW2 with “guardian”. It’s even in the name: guardian. It guards. It’s defensive. But, what about the other seven professions? They all have their own bunch of defensive skills in addition to their healing skills. But, when you look at most of them (e.g., the warrior, the engineer), they really don’t have enough options to make more than one pure-defensive build. Now, the elementalist is worth mentioning. With all of the skills that vary with your attunement and the earth/water attunements, you can make quite the defensive build with a lot of variability. But, for the sake of going with everyone’s first thought, we’ll use the guardian. This will somewhat mimic the actual guardian build I used.
Picking Weapons and Skills
“…which are the most defensive?”
Now that we’ve picked our class, we need our weapon and slot skills. There’s a ton to choose from, so which are the most defensive? Since we’re going for defensive, the shield comes to mind. What does the shield have for us? In addition to the extra armor while we’re wearing it, the shield has two incredibly useful skills. The 4 skill lets us give ourselves and allies Protection with the added benefit of damaging enemies. The 5 skill is the really powerful one that pushes back enemies and absorbs projectiles. The big radius on the 5 skill is also a huge plus. So, the shield is in. Now, we need a main hand with it. The scepter doesn’t have anything really defensive except for an immobilize skill. Similarly, the sword has mostly offensive skills except for one block skill. The mace, however, is really nice for us. It’s got a heal at the end of the auto attack chain, a symbol with Regeneration and Burning, and a useful whirl that can combo with the symbol to remove conditions as well as can Knockback enemies and give Protection to us and allies. The mace/shield combo is in. But, let’s look at a nice two-hander as well. The greatsword is too offensive, so its out. This leaves us with the staff and the hammer. The staff gives us a swiftness symbol, a potential healing orb, a condition-absorb with multiple boons, and a wall of you-can’t-move-here. The hammer gives us a little offensive power, a symbol with Protection at the end of the auto attack chain, an immobilize AoE, a launch, and a circle of you-can’t-move-here. We’ll go with the hammer, since it gives us a more stuff.
“All of our skills are working toward one goal.”
Now that we’ve got our weapons down, it’s time to pick out the rest of our skills. We’ve got five to pick from, so let’s do the easy ones first. For the elite, we can choose to go with Renewed Focus or Tome of Courage. Renewed Focus sounds powerful at first, but the 3:135 duration-to-recharge ratio makes the Tome of Courage a much more attractive skill.. Now for the healing skills, we get three options. Since you’re on your own a lot in SPvP, we’ll rule out Healing Breeze. We’re going to use Signet of Resolve over Shelter, because the signet heals almost as much with a much faster recharge and a potentially more useful secondary mechanic. For utility skills, we’re immediately going to take Wall of Reflection. It’s got a GREAT duration-to-recharge ratio, and reflecting mechanics are great for protecting you and hurting them at the same time. We’re also going to take Sanctuary, because it’s a powerful skill. It’s a circle of you-can’t-move-hear, plus it stops projectiles, and then it also heals allies inside. The duration-to-recharge ratio could be better, but I’m okay with that when all of that power lasts for a whopping ten seconds. If you notice, both Sanctuary and Wall of Reflection are Consecration skills. For the sake of making better use of Consecration-boosting traits, let’s take a third Consecration. This leaves us Hallowed Ground or Purging Flames. I personally like Purging Flames, because it can remove the same conditions Hallowed Ground prevents with half the recharge and the added functionality of burning enemies. All of our skills are working toward one goal.
“…a lot of strong skills with big recharges, so anything that helps with that…”
Having a class and skill set is only half of making a build, so now we need traits. What kind of traits do we want? We’re obviously going to want to take a good bit of Valor and Honor to have more Toughness and Vitality. But, let’s look at our skills to get a better idea. We’ve got a lot of strong skills with big recharges, so anything that helps with that is a good thing (see note at bottom of article). Our utility skills are also all Consecrations, so we should look at things that help with those. This now puts us 10 points into Valor for a 20 percent recharge bonus on shield skills, 10 points into Honor for a 25 percent recharge bonus on our hammer skills, and 20 points into Virtues for a 20 percent recharge bonus on Consecrations as well as extended durations. Now, we have 30 more points to spend. Let’s do 10 of each into Valor and Honor, because we need more Toughness and Vitality. For Valor, let’s pick the 30 Toughness bonus to allies. Not only is it good for when we’re near allies, but it’s up more often on us than the 90 bonus while using a shield. For Honor, let’s pick the Shield of Absorption when you start reviving allies trait. Reviving allies can be really useful, especially when you can survive standing still for it. Better yet, Shield of Absorption is a powerful skill (the 5 skill on the shield), and getting to use it potentially much more often for free is a great thing. Now, we have 10 points left, and I’m going to put them into Virtues. At this point, I could take the extended duration on elite skills trait, but instead we’ll make our Consecrations ground-targeted. You’ll really be able to surprise your opponents when you can pop up your Sanctuary and Purging Flames anywhere around you.
Kitting Out With Equipment
“…we’re going to focus on anything with Vitality and Toughness…”
Now we have our build, but we still can’t go fight yet. We have to pick our equipment. Obviously, guardians wear heavy armor and we’re going to use a mace, shield, and hammer. But, we need to pick our sigils, runes, accessories, and jewels. Accessories and jewels are the easy parts, because we only have to pick raw stats without considering the other bonuses available to us. For this, we’re going to focus on anything with Vitality and Toughness, preferably with more of the former. Whenever we have the option after those three, we’ll want to pick Malice or Condition Damage. We don’t focus enough on boons or heals for Concetration and Healing to be useful, and most of what offensive ability we have is in burning. You’re not going to go on a rampage with this build, but at least having something you can use to help finish weak enemies is good. When it comes to runes, we’re going to go outfit all of our armor with Superior Runes of the Dolyak. It’s got more Toughness than Vitality, keeping the two roughly even between armor runes and accessories/jewels, as well as a constant health regeneration to add to our Virtue of Resolve. Lastly, we’re going to take a Sigil of Superior Energy on both our mace and hammer. This way, every time we switch weapons we get enough endurance for an entire extra dodge. Since putting two of them on the same weapon set is pointless (there’s an internal cooldown), we’ll pick a Sigil of Superior Hydromancy for the shield. Now, whenever you swap to the mace/shield set, you’ll also Chill nearby enemies. This slows down their attacks and their movements, letting you survive and control them more.
Playing the Build
“If an enemy is in the objective, literally shove them out and keep them out.”
The very last thing we need here is to go over the playstyle of the build we’ve now created. It’s going to be hard for anyone to actually kill you with all of the Toughness and Vitality you have and the surprising amount of dodging you’ll be able to do. But, you’re also not going to kill anyone on your own either. All standard SPvP advice applies, especially fighting only at/in objectives. You have a skill on both weapon sets to shove enemies away as well as one that triggers every time you start reviving a downed player. Then, you have a skill on the hammer as well as a utility skill that can restrict enemy movement. Use that to your advantage. Objectives are captured and held by occupying the capture area more than the enemy. If an enemy is in the objective, literally shove them out and keep them out. If you get hit with a lot of conditions, especially to kite you, use your Purging Flames to make it all go away. Use Wall of Reflection when enemies try to fight you at ranged, but try to make sure you catch their bigger skills with it when possible instead of simply wasting it against auto attacks. Save Tome of Courage for when things get real. It’s not going to save you from near death, but if you drop something long lasting like Sanctuary and then activate it when a bunch of enemies show up, it’ll certainly help you last longer. Otherwise, focus on staying alive and keeping the objectives the right color. When you see an enemy with low health, don’t hesitate to jump over and help get them down. If there are three enemies in the area, it’s much more useful to make that two than it is to keep pushing one or two of them away.
As a last bit, I want to explain how increasing recharge speed works. Take the original recharge length and divide it by the decimal form of 100% plus the increase rather than taking off that whatever percentage of it. That is, a 60-second recharge with a 25% increase in recharge speed recharges at 48 (60/1.25) seconds instead of 45 seconds. Here’s the recharge speed increase of this build’s major skills with their traits:
- Shield of Absorption - 33.3 seconds (6.7 sec. difference)
- Banish - 28 seconds (7 sec. difference)
- Ring of Warding - 36 seconds (9 sec. difference)
- Wall of Reflection - 25 seconds (5 sec. difference)
- Sanctuary - 100 seconds (20 sec. difference)
- Purging Flames - 33.3 seconds (6.7 sec. difference)
Skill and trait images created using the Luna Atra Skill Tool.
Everyone please do me this favor: reblog this link. If you like GW2 in the slightest, or if anyone you know likes GW2 in the slightest, reblog this link. If you only ever listen to one thing I say, reblog this link. Don’t like this, just reblog it.
“But, Yoshi, why should we reblog it?” you ask. I’ll tell you why:
- GW2 WvW is a great GW2 community site for PvP — both WvW and SPvP.
- There’s even some non-PvP content.
- It’s run by some really great people.
- Content is provided by the community, and there are a lot of good ideas there.
- They’ve just started, and they’ve already got a #1 thread on the Reddit page.
- They’re small and need more exposure.
- If three of my followers reblog this, and three of theirs do, and… you know.
- I’ve started writing for them as well as my own blog.
- I’m asking you all really nicely, and I’ll even put sugar on top.
Everyone knows the phrase, “don’t put all your eggs in one basket.” Its meaning is simple: don’t commit 100 percent in one direction. When making plans, you should always have a back-up in case things change. In investing, you should never invest all with one account or in just the stock market or certainly not in stocks of only one company, because companies go under every day and markets can crash. I’ve talked many times in the past about the importance of balance in PvE builds, but what about SPvP? Is balance necessary, or can you go significantly one-sided for damage or defense? This is going to be the first in a multi-part series to look at balancing offense and defense.
Surely some one-sided balance gets you to such a one-sided match?
When you’re balancing your build, there’s a big spectrum between a purely damage-oriented focus and a purely defense-oriented focus. But, there’s really three areas you can fall into: damage heavy, defense heavy, and balanced. You can take your character all the way for damage, but what do you get for it? Is it worth it to be an unstoppable juggernaut if you don’t have the guns for stopping everyone else? Is the medium reall happy?
Balls to the Wall: All Damage
If you throw caution to the wind and run with a build based on completely overpowering your enemy, what are you actually doing? For starters, you’re basically ignoring any toughness, vitality, or healing for all of the other stats. You’re ignoring skills that keep you alive or keep the enemy away from you in complete favor of skills that hit hard, hit often, or keep the enemy near you. That really powerful shield on 5 doesn’t matter if that other weapon has a skill on 5 that will trash everything in sight.
“…watch the corpses create themselves around you.”
There are merits to being completely damage-based. It’s useful to clear out an area quickly. When everything you have is focused on putting out a lot of damage, it’s generally all front-heavy. You don’t have a high rate of damage over a long period of time. You’ve got big skills with relatively long cooldowns. All you have to do is hit all the big buttons and watch the corpses create themselves around you. By yourself and run up to an objective with a guard? It’s all yours. The only downside is that if something can live through or get out of those big skills, you’re a sitting duck. You can’t actually fight for a long time, so while you can clear an area to capture it, you can’t hold and defend it.
The Impenetrable Fortress: All Defense
To be untouchable, you have to look at all of the skills that keep you alive and keep enemies out. Unlike going all-out offense, you have to play the long game as well as the short game. Powerhouse builds will be able to pump out damage over a short period of time, so it’s important to have a big skill here or there to work against that. It’s equally important to have smaller skills to keep you going after that first wave or against builds that are less burst-oriented. Sure, this weapon’s 5 button makes you invulnerable for a few seconds, but is it worth not having the other weapon’s two skills with shorter cooldowns, even though they’re weaker?
“…expect yourself to last through any onslaught…”
The important thing about being defensive is that it isn’t all about shields and healing. Anything that keeps the enemies away from you also counts. A really defensive build can withstand or disrupt major spikes of damage from enemies, but can also take a beating for a while to outlast enemies with less damage. However, the lack of damage means that you won’t be killing much of anything. Don’t expect a fully defensive build to capture an occupied objective by itself, but expect yourself to last through any onslaught against your objective.
Best Of Both Worlds: Balanced
Sitting in the middle is the world of balance. It’s a nice place where you don’t have to work as hard since you don’t need to get all of the best skills in one way or the other, right? Wrong. Being balanced takes even more thought. You’ve gotta think of which way you want to lean and which skills you can afford to not have in either direction. You can have Obsidian Flesh, or you can have Meteor Shower. You can’t have both, so which is more important? You can pick Meteor Shower and then use Mist Form for an invulnerability, but then you’ve used a utility slot. It’s a lot to think about. You can’t have big buttons for everything, so which gets which focus? Elites are almost all one way or the other.
“…find skills that work both ways…”
If you go for a big attack skills with smaller defense skills, you’re going to have to find a way to make them use their big defensive abilities before you use your big attack, or you’re not going to have enough smaller attack skills to get past their smaller defense skills. You’ve also gotta worry about finding a way to escape their major offensive since you don’t have big stops. If you’re the other way around, you’re fine at taking the brunt of their attack, but you’ve gotta last until everything is back up. You’ve also gotta find a way to get them down without a major attack cooldown. The most useful thing you can do is find skills that work both ways, meaning skills that are just as useful offensively as defensively. Then, you can pick your elite to go with your lean or you can pick it to go against as an emergency when your smaller side isn’t cutting it. Either way, you’ll find yourself with the above dilemmas whether you’re assaulting an objective or defending one.
Unstoppable Force vs. Immovable Object: Who Wins?
Every time the Super Bowl has been between the NFL’s top defensive team and top offensive team, the defensive team has won. The same is true in GW2. If you took a team of all pure-damage builds against a team of all pure-defensive builds, the defensive team would win. But, why? No matter how many major skills you’ve got as an offensive build, they’ll have just as many major skills to stop yours. That’s where it all matters, because defensive skills are going to win out over offensive skills after the initial spike. You have to last until you can get your major skills off cooldown. They only have to last until your lack of healing and defense gives out to their basic offensive ability.
“…it’s whoever spends the most time holding objectives that wins…”
The problem is, however, you’re never going to get anywhere with a full team of defensive builds. If it’s all defensive against all balanced, you’re going to stalemate when the balanced team has enough defensive skills to ignore the defensive team’s basic attacks. Defense on defense is even more of a stalemate for the same reason. An offensive team against an offensive team will be a toss-up for who can kill each other the fastest. An offensive team against a balanced team will usually result in the offensive team losing, as it’s easier for the balanced team to skirt by the offensive team’s major assault than it is for the offensive team to skirt past the balance team’s steady attacks. A balanced team against a balanced team is as much of a toss up as the offensive match up. But, this doesn’t mean that being defensive is the best way to go. You need a balance even in your team.
Consider this: you have a team with two offensive builds, two balanced builds, and a defensive build. At any given time, your defensive player can hold one objective by themselves against one enemy, and force the need for two enemies to take it. The two offensive players should be able to clear out enemy objectives easily for balanced players to run in and hold them. Two balanced players should be able to hold out against at least two enemies. You have to be able to claim objectives to hold them, but it’s whoever spends the most time holding objectives that wins at the end of the day. If your team leans either way, lean defensively, but don’t ever ignore the potential of a power house build or two.
Next week, I’ll start looking at how I create a build for each type: offensive, defensive, and balanced.
So, there’s a pretty new PvP community site for both WvW and SPvP in GW2 that you should all check out. It’s called GW2 WvW, and they’re trying to come up with a large community driven by community-created content. Why am I telling you this? Aside from the fact that we’re all GW2 enthusiasts and that I hope all of you learn to enjoy PvP in the game as it’s a great system, I have an awesome announcement.
I’m going to begin writing with them on a regular basis. Before you freak out, I’m not stopping this at all. Everything I write that goes up on GW2 WvW will also get posted here, the same way I’ve posted before. Because there’s a slight delay once I write something and getting it to them and them getting it up, there will also be a slight advance for all of you here on Tumblr. You’ll be able to read my articles here before they go live on GW2 WvW. Also, there will still be some things I’ll write exclusively for you all that won’t make it up there. We’re still working out some details via email and Twitter on everything, so at the moment they’re getting up my old WvW Strategy and my recent SPvP Skills posts loaded up (with some edits). If all goes well, I’ll start writing an article each week with them, day to be determined (possibly Thursday, but we’ll see).
Again, PLEASE go check them out and get involved. They’re still new and small, but they’re growing. Please go be a part of that growth. They just launched forums, are posting a lot of videos from users, and have some fairly interesting articles thusfar. More important than you going and checking them out, though, is you helping spread the word for other people to check them out. They’re helping me reach more people, so we should help them reach more people. This is Tumblr. Everything is a reblog of a reblog. So, get the information out about their site! After you check them out, put up a post about them and get other people to reblog it when they check it out. Tweet it to all of your followers and ask them to RT you. Share them on Facebook. Do everything you do for me, and then some.
Unfortunately, I didn’t get to spend as much time in SPvP during the beta as I wanted. I plan on spending a few hours doing more later today during the stress test. In the (roughly) hour-and-a-half to two hours I did spend in SPvP, I noticed one thing: people are pretty bad. There was one ranger I specifically remember for being smart, but mostly a lot of really bad people. This might be you, or it might not. Either way, here’s a few bits of advice to help you get better.
The most important part of SPvP is research. Knowing really is half the battle. Learn the maps well. You have to know the lay out, the secondary objectives, the short cuts, everything. In the downtime between betas and stress tests, read up on the other professions. Play multiple professions long enough to get the general gist. The more you know about each profession, the better suited you are to adapting to them. At the very least, give all of the skills a quick read. It takes a lot of time, but knowing more than the opponent is the most valuable advantage you can have.
SPvP is objective-based. It’s a capture point, not kill count. Keep that in mind. Don’t fight everyone you run into all over the map. If you run past someone and they start trying to attack you, do what you can to just get away from them and keep going. Don’t fight back or you’ll end up wasting a good 30 seconds with nothing to show for it at the end. Get to the objective you’re after and fight there. When you get there, unless the enemy is sitting off at a range firing at you, don’t leave the objective zone if you can avoid it. If they’re melee, they need to be either just as close as to you as you need to be to them to fight (if you’re melee) or even closer (if you’re ranged). If they’re running around outside it and you’re not, you’re claiming or holding the objective while they waste their time.
Similarly, take skills with you that let you control who is or isn’t in the objective zones. At the end of the match, it doesn’t matter if your team has two hundred kills to two kills if the other team has more points. You don’t have to be a high damage character if you can force the other players out of the objective zones and keep them out. Skills that push or create impassable barriers are worth more than skills that can do a lot of damage in many situations. If you’re a lonely guardian with a hammer defending the clock tower (see image above), you do more to smack them out of the zone and drop a ring of warding in their way back up the stairs than you do chasing them around the room trying to kill them.
He who fights and runs away lives to fight another day. Back when I used to play WoW, my favorite saying I picked up at Tankspot is “it’s easy to calculate the DPS of your corpse.” Think about it in terms of SPvP. The more time you spend hugging the floor, the less time you’re spending putting more points on the board for your team. If you’re about to go down and you don’t have your heal up, roll out and run away. Get behind cover. If you can buy yourself those few seconds before your heal is back, maybe even enough to get some auto-regeneration going on, you’ll be able to get back into the fight much faster than running back.
Very similarly, there are a lot of talents that can be taken to trigger a self-defense skill when you are downed. They’re often very useful for getting you out of harm’s way when you go down so that you can get back up and back into the fight. For example, the elementalist can automatically enter a mist form that makes it invulnerable for three seconds. The thief can automatically stealth and shadow step, even through floors and walls. These skills usually begin on cooldown, so the talents also bypass the cooldown. On my thief, I had one match where just that skill kept me from being finished for over a minute and let me even capture an objective all while downed.
Think Outside the Box
If you can see it, there’s almost always a way to get onto it. If someone is running somewhere, you can probably find a faster way to get get where they’re going. Keep an open mind to the environment. It can block you from attacks. It can keep enemies away from you. Just because there are roads and ramps build in doesn’t mean you should always use them. The ranger I mentioned earlier found a way, after the trebuchet opened the clock tower, to get up onto the broken wall. He could rain arrows down at us but could also knock us off the ramp when we tried to get to him as we rounded the corner.
Fight Smarter, Not Harder
As I said before, knowing more than your opponent gives you a huge advantage. Thinking smarter than your opponent is how you use that advantage. Doing stupid things is bad. Running head-first into a one-on-two is suicide. Leaving an objective the moment you capture it when you lost track of an enemy player is irresponsible. Learn when to hang back before fighting and when to stick around to fight a little more. On your own, you can make a huge difference in a SPvP match by out-thinking everyone else. You can’t, however, make a huge difference with a death-or-glory mentality.