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Guild Wars 2 Player vs. Player Overview

Posted Wed, Aug 17, 2011 by Sardu

Today marks a significant date in the development cycle for Guild Wars 2. One of the biggest questions asked of ArenaNet ever since the game was first announced has been, what kind of PvP will be in the game? While we’ve known for quite some time now that there are two core types of PvP in Guild Wars 2 – Structured and World vs. World vs. World - the specifics of how the system works or how it differs from GW1 PvP have been under tight wraps.

That all changes this week as players will be given their first look at GW2 PvP live on the show floor at gamescom, and again next week at PAX Prime where fans will be able to sign up to participate in PvP matches in the Logitech booth.

New Guild Wars 2 PvP Details Emerge

To give us a primer on structured PvP in GW2, the official site for the game was updated with a closer look at the two available styles for structured PvP, and how the system differs from what we’ve experienced in GW1.

There are two main types of structured PvP: pickup (Hot Join PvP) and Tournament Play:

Hot Join PvP

“Hot join” games are the casual side of structured PvP. By nature, fighting other players is never going to be as casual as fighting PvE monsters, but this is a place to experiment with builds, learn the maps, and try out a PvP game against other players. Hot join PvP can be played from 1v1 all the way up to 10v10.

Players can browse through a list of available games, each displaying the current map, the number of players, etc. Players can search by server population or friends list. Even if a game is in progress, you can join or leave at any time. If one side loses players, the servers can auto-balance the number of players on the teams. Once the current round ends, the server loads the next map in the rotation, players can reselect teams, and the fight starts again. This kind of setup allows players to find favorite servers and build online communities by playing more than one game with the same settings and people.

Tournament Play

Tournaments are the more organized side of structured PvP. Tournament play is 5v5, but matches take place on the same maps that are used for hot join play. Tournaments will run with varying frequency, and different reward levels will allow some players to get their feet wet in the smaller tournaments while more-organized teams battle it out in the larger tournaments.

Tournaments come in the following flavors:

  • Pickup Tournaments - These single-elimination tournaments wait for 8 teams to join before starting. Once they start, they go through 3 rounds of eliminations, with winners receiving qualifier points.
  • Monthly Tournaments - For monthly tournaments, you’ll need a certain amount of qualifier points to join.
  • Yearly Tournaments - These grand tournaments feature the winners from the monthly tournaments slugging it out for the right to call themselves the best PvP players of the year.
  • Player-Run Tournaments - These tournaments will be customized by players, allowing for great flexibility and unique bragging rights.

Guild Wars 2 PvP - Game Select Screen

The Conquest Game Type

Guild Wars 2 PvP features different maps that all dramatically alter a single gameplay type called Conquest. Conquest involves teams competing over a certain number of capture points which improves your team’s score, as does killing enemies. The team to reach the score limit first, or with the highest score when the time runs out wins the match.

Conquest also includes a number of secondary objectives:

We vary this game type by creating important secondary objectives. These can be trebuchets, repair kits, and destructible environments, like those in the Battle of Kyhlo map. In another map, for instance, a secondary objective takes the form of a giant dragon flying overhead, blasting portions of the map and killing players who are fighting below.

Secondary objectives allow us to create an environment where you always understand the basic objectives, no matter which map you’re playing, but they also let us create radically different high-level strategies through the unique mechanics of each map.

Storing Templates for Builds

Players will also be able to store templates for builds. This has been a staple in Guild Wars for a long time now, so it would make sense to adapt the system for storing builds in GW2. Hopefully we’ll get to see how this system will work at one of the events this month, as it will give us some more insights as to what officially constitutes a “build” in GW2. I would imagine that it would factor in weapon sets, utility skill choices, and traits, along with any profession-specific mechanics such as the necromancer’s Death Shroud ability and accompanying skills.

In terms of PvP builds, the game will also save your last PvP setup:

When a player takes a character into PvP, they are granted access to all the necessary skills, items, etc. Characters are set to the maximum level, putting everyone on an even playing field. This makes player skill more important than time invested in a particular character. When you take your character back to the PvE environment, you return to the skills and gear you had there, but the game will save your last PvP setup. You’ll also be able to store templates for builds. This way, you can try out new stuff in PvP but still easily return to your familiar builds.

Each profession will load into PvP with a starter template that allows new players to have a competent build without needing to delve into detailed skill selection, item selection, or other tweaks. However, these more detailed customization options will be available for players who are more comfortable with the system.

A New Downed Mode Mechanic in PvP

An interesting change has been made to the way the downed state functions in PvP. It sounds as though the usual downed state abilities can be used by the player that they’ll have access to in PvE, and can still be revived by other players like usual. However, when an enemy player comes within range they will be given a prompt to “Finish Them!” Once this becomes an option, hitting the F key “starts the animation for a finishing move that sends your opponent straight to their defeated state.”


Team Ten Ton Hammer is in Germany this week for gamescom 2011, so stay tuned for more details on Guild Wars 2 PvP from the event. In the meantime, be sure to head over to the official site for Guild Wars for more details: Player vs. Player Overview. And don’t forget to share your thoughts on the first details about GW2 PvP in the comments below!

I know most PvPers won't care about this, but I wonder if the tournament play will feature something akin to what happened in the book Destiny's Edge where they came together as a group of tournament fighters. People could watch them, bet on them, root for them, etc, etc. This brings the PvP into the "story" of the game instead of having the same old same old battlefront/warfront PvP of every other game. It would not only draw in more people who are not necessarily normal PvPers (because the story element of it would make sense to their character), but would add a whole dimension to the story of the game out of play with people betting, others setting up as agents for the groups, setting up more structured PvP matches with the player option. Yeah, I'm an Rper, but I like to spice things up with PvP, I just like for the PvP to have some meaning to my character. Tournaments that are actually happening "in the world" would be a lot of fun to RP trying to become a tournament champion. Perhaps the player tournaments will allow for this. Would be fun. Sounds like they have a good varied mix. I wonder how conquest will feel and if there will be sense of defending your world from other worlds (alternate dimensions). It sounds like it could have some fun potential to more than just straight PvPers. I always like when a game gives many options. A good many Rpers are not the typical "carebears" that many name us, we simply want the aspects of the game to keep us immersed in the world and PvP often is the one area where it doesn't unfortunately. I hope they think about this in the details. Still sounds like fun for those who really want the PvP....and no waiting to a certain level or worrying about getting ganked because you are too low. That's awesome. This way if you earned your way to the top people know you really earned it by competing, not by ganking lowbies in the bottom of your tier class. (Players may still suck but that isn't you fault).

Hehe let the mortal kombat begin! Can't wait to see the vids once GC is over.

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