First Foray Into WvW

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Having spent much of the last couple of weeks talking about PvP, be it on the blog, my podcast, or comments on other blogs, and also spending much of my gaming time participating in PvP (albeit in other genres), I started to feel the craving to play some MMO PvP. I would have preferred to play an Open World PvP game, because that was the focal point of all the discussion, plus I get my “instanced” PvP fix from MOBAs. However, the more I read about ArcheAge the more I don’t want to get involved, plus I’m standing on principle that I don’t like my preferred content gated, and that seems to be the case with all current MMOs outside of EvE or Darkfall, and I’m not interested in either. I can handle it when a game requires you to hit level 10 before you can queue for some instanced PvP, I’m not cool with having to play over half the game’s content just to see if you even enjoy the PvP. There’s more to my dislike for ArcheAge, but that’s the story I’m sticking to.

As a gamer on a budget (read: I’m broke as fuck), I don’t have the funds to pay for a subscription, so that eliminates playing WoW or trying ESO (I hear the PvP there is pretty fun, but you do have to get through a lot of the content. I still want to try the game anyway), and I already know that WoW is Battlegrounds or Arenas, unless you play on a PvP server, and even then it’s not really what I’m looking for. Same goes for Rift. I had been toying with going back and trying to get to cap and through the expansions I have yet to touch, but I already know that the PvP there is the typical themepark style — Plus side, it’s free. Guild Wars 2 was the other game on the list to try, as I’ve owned it for a while and never really played it, and being buy to play, I don’t have any expenditure to play it. I also read somewhere that you can basically complete the tutorial and jump straight into WvW. We had a winner.

After starting up a week ago or so I was unpleasantly surprised to find that you cannot just jump into WvW right away, not even the sPvP, both are level gated — the former level 18, the latter level 22. However, with the game’s level cap being 80, you don’t have to go through a large chunk of the content to get to level 18 or 22. As I mentioned in my last post, I had randomly ended up playing this Ranger class, and had just completed what there is to do in Queensdale, and had ventured into Kessex Hills.

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I was level 16 when I started my session last night, and sadly that’s the only shot I thought to take, but it was a group event I happened upon to kill a big ass spider and she was rather tough. I do like the fact that the game feels pretty populated, in most places I have been. I have participated in many different randomized events through the two zones I’ve been in. After finishing a few events and some hearts, I dinged level 18 and decided it was time to try out WvW. I was advised by J3w3l that the upscaling to level 80 is shite, but I just figured I’d peek my head in and see what it’s all about.

Let me just preface by saying, I really have no idea what’s going on in WvW. I mean, there’s a tutorial guide and he tells you what the different symbols on the map are, and I understand the basic concepts, but I feel like I should read a guide or spend a night talking with someone who plays the game to get a better grasp on things. One of the things that I liked to see was a rather large map, something that isn’t just a little instanced battleground. It makes it feel more OWPvP than instanced, along with having portals to other sections that appear to be all linked in an overall battle via worlds. It appears there are 3 different worlds which are colored red, blue and green, and a scoreboard of sorts that shows who owns what and who’s winning overall. Again, I don’t really know what I’m talking about, but it looks interesting enough.

I wasn’t able to test out whether or not the upscaling was good or not, because I didn’t see a single person while I was in the Mists. I wandered around the map for quite a while too. I ended up going towards a landmark that was colored Red (I was on team Green), thinking that I might find some enemies to fight, but it was simply a camp with NPCs, and far too many of them for me to solo. I wandered around some more, still never found a single soul. Granted, it was after midnight, and being a server that is on North American time, perhaps that means I was playing at a bad time. Or maybe between the 3 servers involved, these are ones with a lower population? I’m really not sure.

So I ask you, people who play WvW in GW2 regularly, am I correct in assuming the three teams are from 3 servers? Or does the megaserver thing work differently? I get how it works among the normal PvE stuff, but not really sure on the WvW. Would you also say that there is a peak time for WvW? I really want to try it and the sPvP out, just to scratch that itch if nothing else. I might not even like it in the end, and might just go back to waiting for H1Z1, but I’d like to hear your input.

#guildwars2 #gw2 #wvw #pvp

12 thoughts on “First Foray Into WvW

  1. This is one of those cases where the New Player Experience (“NPE”) makes decisions for you that are crushingly idiotic. Those game modes are accessible at level 2 via either portals in Lion’s Arch or by using hotkeys, but the buttons are hidden on your account’s first character until levels 18 and 22. So, you could have jumped right in after the tutorial if you had known the magic incantations, but alas, that sort of arcane knowledge is reserved for those who have been forcibly blessed by the beneficence of the NPE.

    WvW is rather complex and I would argue it is best experienced – initially – as part of a group at a higher level. You may very well have arrived on the playing field at an off-peak time or you may be a member of the victorious team in a lopsided matchup in which the other team(s) stopped trying or are fighting for second place. There are a whole host of factors that may have played a part in creating the situation you found yourself in. You can find more details on your server’s peak times by checking out their website (Google search); for example, my server – Yak’s Bend – has a wealth of server-specific information available at http://www.yaks-bend.com/ after registry and confirmation.

    Megaservers operate exclusively in the PvE domain, which is why you’ll typically find yourself in lively maps most of the time. WvW is strictly server-based, so if you’re guesting on another server you won’t be able to fight for your server (or “home shard,” as the Battle Historian calls it). Who is active and when on your server is typically referred to as “coverage” and it takes some experience to get a feel for NA and SEA primetimes. If nobody was on after midnight it could be that either your server isn’t active during that period or the nature of the matchup was such that the zombie NA crew didn’t feel the need to be there (e.g. winning big or getting blown out).

    I’d say that sPvP might be what you’re looking for if it’s a quick fix you’re after. If you click the “Join Now” button you’ll be automatically placed on a team and you’ll rotate through a set of arenas with different objectives. In that regard, it’s more instanced than open-world. And unlike WvW, you have access to all of your traits which is great if you’re playing a profession like Mesmer which is heavily dependent on them.

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    • Thanks for the insights. I agree that it is stupid that the NPE makes it to where you don’t know you can get into PvP before those levels, despite it being listed elsewhere as possible. I kind of assumed that it had to do with it being the first toon I had leveled to that point, and assumed that it would be open earlier after the fact. They usually do want you to learn a thing or two before being thrust into other facets of the game that require some skill. But in this day and age, they should assume most people have played an MMO before. But I digress.

      I figured sPvP would be too much like WoW or Rift battlegrounds and I’ve been bored of those in the past. However, I do like the set up of abilities in GW2, in that there aren’t countless abilities to spam. At this point I have 8 open, two of which I bought with skill points. Makes it feel more streamlined but also simple enough to just jump into. I suppose I’ll just hit level 22 and then jump in, since that’s the way the game “wants” me to do it. I’m only 4 levels off anyway.

      I will see if I can find some info on servers. I’m on Ferguson’s Reach (or whatever the last word is) only because that’s where some people I know IRL are, but none of them are playing the game right now, nor would they participate in PvP, so perhaps I should have thought that through more. Ah well. I think there’s maybe 2 or 3 bloggers that are playing the game as it is, so it’s not as if I have a lot of people to choose from to play with. I guess I should be friendly in-game for once and maybe get involved in a guild? I think I should wait and make sure I actually want to play the game for a while before I do that.

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  2. How, sir, did you manage to pick one of the absolute rock bottom three servers where WvW is concerned? 🙂

    http://mos.millenium.org/na/matchups/

    This website will show you the current rankings. It’s little wonder you found the place pretty deserted.

    And I would actually be extremely interested to find out if you’re really locked out from WvW or PvP, or if a completely new account can just walk through the portals in Lion’s Arch and get to those areas – under the assumption that someone has been guiding you to those places.

    I would suggest though that if you want a good WvW experience, you think about popping over to the first six servers in Gold League (aka T1 or T2), or the next 6-9 in Silver League (T3) before getting too attached to your existing character.

    Server transfers are free if you delete all characters, or you’ll have to spend some $$$ to transfer.

    Knowing your preferences though, you may find that you’re content enough with sPvP, which are a lot more MOBA-like in the sense that it’s 5 man vs 5 man, short lobby matches.

    But if you’re interested in seeing the large scale WvW stuff, I really recommend a T1 or T2 server. The feel is absolutely different at that level, and T1 is a lot more competitive minded.

    Feel free to chat with me regarding anything GW2 over Steam, or in blog comments, if you’re curious about anything else.

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    • The ONLY reason I joined that server is because it was the one my Dad and some of his friends play on. He also gifted me the game, so it felt like the right thing to do. But he hasn’t touched it, and I know he’s not a PvPer, so I’m going to take your advice and delete everything and switch servers. Think I’ll stick with the Thief since that seems to be something better suited for PvP according to the other commenters here. Are you playing in the NA region? If so, what server?

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      • I’m on Tarnished Coast. Eri was on Jade Quarry, last I hear, unless her guild moved. Blackgate is also known to be highly WvW competitive.

        If you want to come over to TC, I can definitely show you and get you in touch with the serious WvW guilds on the server, or the semi-casual one I’m in. Prob Eri can do the same for JQ. Or we can prob point you to Blackgate’s forums and you can go it from there too.

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      • Well Eri doesn’t play to the point where she was saying she’d give me her log in info so I could play her account! I declined, because I’d prefer to level myself and all that jazz, but it’s clear she’s not going to be playing anytime soon. Since you and the few commenters here are the few people I know that still play, (but Endalia and Droniac are EU) I’d prefer being on a server with at least someone I’m friendly with.

        So with that said, I’ll get with the deleting and transferring to TC. I’m probably more casual leaning to start, since I don’t really know how serious I’ll get. I’ll get back to you once I’m there and perhaps we can meet up.

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      • Huzzah! Feel free to friend me, /friend Shudd is the shortest to type, I’m usually on as Finder Blazebane.

        Tarnished Coast server forums are forthetoast.com, and usually have a skew of WvW folks. We have roleplayers here too, but sadly I don’t see as many just wandering around ever since megaservers hit.

        Our timezone might or might not quite coincide till the weekends, now that I’ve gotten a bit busier and daylight savings has hit in places, but that probably gives you some time to get some levels back in.

        Feel free to visit Lion’s Arch and poke your head into the different portals – Heart of the Mists is the sPvP lobby, Edge of the Mists the nonserious power leveling so-called WvW zone, the Green/Red/Blue Borderlands and Eternal Battlegrounds are the real thing.

        Stat-wise, if you want to kill fast, look for Power as a main stat, precision as secondary, just be aware that doing this on a thief means a lot of movement and observing mob animations and dodging/stealthing/blinding (pistol offhand has a very helpful blind field for leveling)

        You can also experiment with condition damage with certain builds, mostly pistol or dagger based, anything with bleeds or poison, aim to stack bleeds 12+ up to 25 deep.

        Toughness, vitality are tankier stats and tend to compliment condition builds which require survival until bleeds do the other person in, or if you just want to stay alive and troll (in the sense of annoy, rather than gank) people, but the tradeoff is tissue paper damage to anybody.

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  3. WvW is indeed three servers fighting over the same areas. Peek hours on my server (Far Shiverpeaks) are in the evenings, friday night and the whole weekend as most people have jobs. You can also check out Edge of the Mists. One of my guildies leveled from 20 to 80 just doing that, gathering tons of loot and equipment for his level.

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  4. ***Some basic pointers to World vs World***

    The ‘real’ World vs World experience can be found in the three colored Borderlands – and the Eternal Battleground zone that’s located in between them. Each colored Borderland is a ‘home’ territory for one of the three servers in that week’s match-up. That makes your home border the safest bet for introducing yourself to WvW. Eternal Battlegrounds is more of an open free-for-all that involves a lot more player vs player fighting.

    In ‘real’ WvW the point is to capture objectives. Each objective held by your server will generate points every tick (15 minutes) for your server. The server with the most points by the end of the week – friday evening – wins.

    The objectives on WvW maps are as follows:
    + Supply Camps – sends out supply caravans with Dolyaks to nearby main objectives (+5)
    + Towers – a simple defensible location (+10)
    + Keeps – a larger defensible location (+25)
    + Stonemist Castle – an enormous castle in the center of Eternal Battlegrounds (+35)

    Supplies are important. They’re used by yourself to help build siege equipment or repair fortifications. And they’re used to upgrade objectives, such as sending out more supply caravans from Supply Camps or even adding a waypoint to Keeps and Stonemist Castle.

    The easiest way to get into WvW is to join your server’s TeamSpeak server and follow a commander (denoted by colored double-triangle/diamond shape tags on the map) on your home borderlands. You can usually just ask for the TS information in map chat when you’re in WvW. You’re playing on Ferguson’s Crossing which has its site here: http://www.fergusoncrossing.org/home

    ***Some other stuff***

    The server you picked ranked 4th in NA Bronze Tier last WvW season. So it’s a low-population WvW server and you’ll usually be matched against similar servers. That’s one reason why WvW was dead when you tried it; the other reason is the recent update that introduced a new area to the PvE world. This new area included an amazing farm site that even most WvW players left their regular perch for. It’s been nerfed as of this morning.

    The peak times differ a lot. Some servers have queues all day and night (Gandara/Desolation EU), whereas others never have queues. Some have heavy peaks in the evening, others at night, or even in the morning. And some are just completely random (Far Shiverpeaks EU).

    As a low-level player in ‘real’ WvW you should expect to die constantly. Regardless of whether you’re playing solo, in a party, or with a zerg you will almost certainly die the moment you spot enemy players. WvW really isn’t a great experience until you’re level 80 and can afford to make a decent build.

    Fortunately, there’s an alternative WvW experience tailored specifically towards low-level characters. It’s called Edge of the Mists and can be accessed on the right side of the WvW menu. This area introduces you more gradually to the basic concepts of taking over objectives and managing supply. It also provides better loot and helps you level faster than regular WvW.

    All you need to do in Edge of the Mists is follow the commander tag. (S)He’ll guide you to the various objectives that need capturing, usually by killing a Champion that drops some nice loot bags. Actual PvP is more of a rare occurrence in Edge of the Mists so you won’t die nearly as often.

    ***sPvP***

    You can get into this straight away since you’re leveled up to max, with all traits / skills / weapon stats / sigils / runes / trinkets available to make your own build. It puts you on an absolutely even playing field with everyone else, so if you die it at least won’t be due to a level/item disparity.

    I feel it’s important to note here that the Ranger class isn’t – and hasn’t ever been – renown for its competence in sPvP. You probably won’t run into many issues on regular public servers, but if you’re headed into Solo Queue then expect to be stomped by the heavy Engineer/Elementalist/Thief/Guardian favored meta. Moreover Solo Queue doesn’t seem to take rank into account, so you could be facing sPvP lvl 70-79 players straight off the bat. People who have already put in hundreds/thousands of hours.

    Probably safer to just join a public server to get started xD

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    • Thanks for the depth of info here. I think I’m going to follow Jeromai’s advice and delete and transfer to a better server. I also felt like thief was going to be my main, but the Ranger was fun for a couple of nights and I just wanted to see the WvW stuff. Now that I’m a little more informed, I think a switch is in order.

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