PREVIEW: Guild Wars 2 – World vs World [PC]

When asked if I'd like to participate in the Guild Wars 2 beta on behalf of Player Attack, I think I paused for all of half a second before saying yes. Though I never ended up spending as much time as I would have liked in the original Guild Wars, I've always admired the developers for going in a different direction within the MMO genre, with the game not requiring a subscription fee and only giving you a handful of skills to work with at a time.

The sequel is continuing down the same path with a relatively meagre 8-12 abilities available to a character at any one time, with dozens more available to be learned, unlocked and swapped between. Even equipping different weapons, or combinations of weapons, can open up new skills to your character. For a system that seems so simple on the surface, there's a lot more depth to it than some other titles in the genre, which is promising for players who really like their characters to be unique.

Guild Wars 2

Guild Wars 2

Whilst the original game was released after the launch of World of Warcraft, it was close enough in time that WoW hadn't yet dominated the market, but Guild Wars could not crib the best parts. This time around, developer ArenaNet has had time to investigate what people enjoy in the modern crop of MMOs and has created systems to cater to those desires.

The PvP Battlegrounds players have become familiar with thanks to WoW, Rift and particularly Star Wars: The Old Republic's Warzones are present in Guild Wars 2 and like SWTOR Warzones, players all have their statistics boosted to the equivalent of the game's maximum level. In GW2's case this is level 80.

However, unlike every other MMO, Guild Wars 2 unlocks everything for players to tinker with as they choose, gives everyone access to the same gear and trait points and then sets them loose in the assigned battleground. This ensures that everyone is on a completely level playing field in regards to gear availability and time investment, but does strip away much of the drive to complete other parts of the game to better your PvP experience.

This is likely to appeal to a lot of people who've grown tired of competing for positions in PvE raids to get specific pieces of gear, but for the people who prefer just joining and having a thrash around with their regular character (like me!) it's disappointing.

Guild Wars 2

Guild Wars 2

Without a great deal of interest in the general storyline and questing the boss lady discussed in her earlier article (after a Bioware MMO, I'm harder to impress) I thought maybe I was done with the game after a brief play session. I didn't want to be, I want a new MMO to play and I still needed to write this article.

It was then I discovered the game's World versus World mode and I finally fell in love with Guild Wars 2.

World versus World (WvW) takes place in the Mists between worlds and is primarily a PvP game mode, though many PvE objectives exist and can be completed to help your side achieve victory. The Worlds in question are entire servers of players. As there is only one playable faction in the game, everyone gets to fight for the glory of their home server, if they participate in WvW, thus wiping out the usual concerns with factional imbalances.

And unlike the heavily restricted battlegrounds system, WvW only lets you use whatever you actually own with your character. The statistics are all still boosted, so your weapon will do meaningful damage and your armour won't seem made out of a sheet of paper, but your character will be wearing her own gear and using her own weapons and will thus actually feel like your character, not a collection of skills, statistics and items you haven't earned.

Much of the gameplay revolves around capturing and defending the various Supply Camps, Towers and Keeps spread across the map, with players battling to advance towards the Cradle of Power for the opposing Worlds. Each Cradle of Power holds an Orb of Power at the start of each two-week long bout. Capturing the Orb and successfully bringing it back to one of the Keeps controlled by your World grants bonuses to everyone on your side of the conflict. Having your own Orb spirited away naturally makes it that much harder to fight back against the side who took it from you.

Grabbing the Orbs is the end goal of a game but between the start of play and getting to that point, your side will need to progress through the various fortified areas either capturing them for your own World or building on the defenses already established. Walls can be upgraded with additional masonry to withstand attacks for longer. Cannons, mortars and cauldrons of boiling oil can be mounted on the parapets and above the gatehouse to repel invaders, as well as additional NPC guards hired and useful vendors encouraged to set up shop.

To get those cannons and catapults built you're going to need supplies. These are ferried from the Supply Camps by Tyria's beast of burden, the dolyak. It looks like a yak. With saddlebags. And while it is just as sturdy as you would expect a yak to be, there's a series of monsters and bandits that will try and stop the supplies from reaching their destination. This can mostly be prevented by hiring some NPC guards to protect the shipment, but if you're thinking they must be popular targets for other Worlds trying to cripple your side's economy? You'd be right!

Conflicts often spring up around the supply yaks, even when the WvW zone is otherwise fairly empty. A small group or a particularly adept individual can take out these vital links in the supply chain, rather than trying to tackle the much harder Towers or Keeps (which even the basic NPCs can defend quite well against a small number of attackers). Choke off the flow of supplies to a Keep and they can no longer build new defenses or repair the ones they already have. If done in preparation for a siege, you could starve them of the supplies they need to defend themselves, thus ensuring your victory.

Guild Wars 2

Guild Wars 2

With all the consequent cooperation required it's easy to see how this could hold a great deal of appeal for guilds from small to large, or even just lone players looking for a means of advancement a little different to the traditional.

Most other games that have a cross-server system choose to group certain servers together, usually based on the respective population levels, factional balances and the like. Guild Wars 2 is going to keep track of how well each server is doing in WvW and every two weeks will match them up accordingly. Thus, servers with a very active and successful WvW population will be matched against others who are similarly accomplished, rather than constantly smashing the same outmatched or outnumbered opponents.

The game is still in beta at this stage and there's aspects that clearly will need a lot more work before the release date, whenever that may be. But with such a well thought-out solution to a problem that has plagued other games, ArenaNet is definitely on the right track.

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35 Responses to “PREVIEW: Guild Wars 2 – World vs World [PC]”

  1. Richard Stone says:

    You seem to have missed one very important point in this article. Guild Wars has always had one of the strongest PVP experiences in any MMO thus far and this time around it will only be that much better again!

  2. random_person says:

    I’d have liked to read this article all the way through, but the constant hammering of ANet’s choice of PvP lobby design was rather jarring. It’s as if the author is completely ignorant of the fact that ANet has designed the PvP lobby with the intention of promoting GW2 as an e-sport.

    You don’t have to like their design choices, but the least you could do is come up with solid, meaningful reasons for disliking it, not flimsy arguments such as “it doesn’t feel like your character when they put everyone on a level playing field.” That or keep your dislike of it out of the article completely — it seriously tinged what came after.

    • me says:

      Actually I don’t get your comment. I thought the article was good (did seemed a bit superficial to me, nothing too in depth here) but the author only makes one comment about how he did not like the “Team Fortress” BattleGrounds style pvp game play. However he goes on to later state that he “fell in love” with the WvW pvp game play. This to me is a valid opinion worth mentioning, players will love some aspects of GW2 more than others aspects. Completely normal.

  3. GW2PRE3ST says:

    I completely agree with random-person, that in my opinion the author’s job is not to insert their own opinions but to tell us what was interesting because of certain reasons and what was lacking because of other certain reasons. However, this review told me something that I have been worried about WvW. I was curious what will happen when a WvW crazy server meets a non-interested server? But you answered it and put my mind to peace! Thank you for adding that in :)

  4. i don’t like your review style.

  5. Iris says:

    I don’t like the review either. Firstly, because I watched several PvP exhibition matches and I find them really fun and addictive, somehow like Team Fortress 2 which you can just log in and enjoy, and somehow during the process learn how to perfect your combat performance. Secondly, like the Anet team said, they don’t want to make players to grind to reach to the power level that the players can enjoy the PvP content. I quite like that consideration since I’m working and rarely have time for grinding. All in all, they are only my opinions. But I do appreciate the thoughtfulness and the insightful details the author put into the WvW.

  6. Tig says:

    I think most of the posters above me completely misunderstand the point of a review. The reviewer is supposed to give us his/her opinions and personal reflections on what they saw and experienced. If they were to completely take their point of view out of it, it would simply become a rote listing of facts and things they saw. While that may be useful, one does not read reviews solely to find out facts about a game. You read it to hopefully gain more insight about how those facts might appeal to you by learning how they affected the reviewer; for the positive AND the negative. Even a negative review can shed light on a game and let you see how you might enjoy or be put off by aspects that you have yet to experience.

    With that said, I do wish the reviewer could’ve stepped back a little bit more from their own misgivings about certain aspects of the game and tried to understand and explain how they might put off or engage others. Giving only a single personal reason as to why they disliked GW 2′s structured pvp seemed a rather hasty and incomplete analysis but, as I stated above, that’s the reviewer’s right to include as much pros and cons as they saw fit. Plus, I believe the reviewer’s main goal was to focus in and more thoroughly review the world versus world aspect of GW 2, as indicated by the article’s title.

    I am rather concerned, like the author, that the ‘level playing field’ of equal gear will take some of my enjoyment out of the structured pvp. Though derided by a previous poster above as a ‘flimsy argument’, I think it has merit and will take some getting used to for players coming from other games where the pvp gear is ‘earned’. There was a certain satisfaction in working to obtain that gear and saying to yourself ‘that is my I earned that is bashing in the other guy’s face’. The sense of ownership and time invested into your gear is a very strong motivation for many pvp-oriented players and I don’t think it can be dismissed casually.

    However, I’m very open to seeing this sentiment of mine challenged in GW 2′s structured pvp and am quite open to eventually deciding it was a change for the better. While I’ve enjoyed earning pvp gear in the MMO’s I’ve played, the gear difference in fights and the inherent advantages it brings have always been a source of aggravation. Without distinguishable gear differences, it really puts the emphasis on using your skill to make yourself notable amongst your pvp peers and I couldn’t like that more. Will it be enough to outweigh my pride and desire to earn cool looking gear and be able to be distinguished not just by skill but by the glowing, jagged hunk of steel on my back? I think so, but I’m still a bit hesitant to agree fully.

    • ne says:

      you’ve got some misconceptions there. Yes stat-wise you get all the best stuff in structured pvp from the second you step in. However by playing PvP matches you can earn glory which you can then use to unlock shinier and shinier skins. So you very much can look glowy if you want.

      • Tig says:

        True, I understand that but part of the ego-trip of pvp (which I readily admit it is) is not just looking powerful but also *knowing* that you are more powerful than the next person. The reason you took pride out of of the glowing glob on your back was party cosmetic but more so the latent knowledge that that glob hit ever so slightly faster and/or harder than that other person’s glob. So yes, being able to look different will satisfy a part of my pvp-based bravado but I wonder if I can feel the same sense of satisfaction and pride knowing that while it may look different, it’s essentially the same thing as that fresh pvp player is wearing next to me. As I said at the end, I think I may in time come to like it and appreciate it more than my past experiences with pvp gear seeing as the emphasis on skill is greater and less on the slight edges a better piece of pvp gear might give. I just have to wait and see.

        • Steve L says:

          Or you can just be you know…skilled…and know you’re better than other people. Plus there will be PVP achievements as well.

          However, if you really ARE better than other people, you shouldn’t need the game to reinforce that by making you even MORE powerful.

          Why would anyone want the game to boost them, making it harder for anyone to see how good they really are?

    • Kreiden says:

      In a sense, I think that you can still, very well get the same satisfaction of “I’m smashing a guy’s face in with what I’ve earned” in GW2.

      First off, there is WvW PvP, which does not adjust your gear OR your skills. This only adjusts your level, thus meaning that you will HAVE to earn your gear AND your skills in order to take your gaming to the next level.

      You were referring to battlegrounds though, so I’ll explain where this reigns true here as well. The GW2 skill selection, trait selection, gear stats selection (which is moderately adjustable in PvP zones, so even though they are maxed, there is still plenty of customization), and weapon selections will ALL affect your effectiveness and must ALL be thought out. This is where I argue that the way you build your character is your NEW proverbial gear that you have earned. If you create and craft a build for your character that is dominant and that you can master, THAT is your trophy. This is your sense where a sense of pride comes from. It’s not about “I’m winning because I have better gear” now, it becomes “I’m winning because I was able to craft a strategy that is superior to yours.” This means that the entirety of your success is on YOU, which SHOULD give you a better sense of pride in your accomplishments. You being dominant in PvP is a reflection of your time spent mastering your class, the time spent thinking, tinkering and adjusting your skills, and your personal skill level, knowledge base, and understanding as a whole.

      In PvP, respect should be earned, not provided due to length of time spent and a shinier piece of metal.

      • Tig says:

        I think I will certainly derive a lot more satisfaction from adjusting character skills, weapon loadouts, and traits than what I have previously in other games due to the wide variety and scope of customization in GW2. However, no matter how much I fine tune and tweak it, the newest max-level toon beside me can simply copy the build that I’ve worked on and we *appear* to be the same. I stress appear because obviously if I’ve truly been refining and tweaking my build I’ll be able to play with that toon setup much more proficiently than the other person who simply imitated my build.

        But appearances do matter; otherwise we’d all be playing the newest MUD and thinking it was the best thing since sliced bread. We want to look cool and give off the impression of ‘awesome-ness’. I would like to think I could do that primarily with my skill/trait setup but most games eventually have each professsion devolve into a few ‘ideal builds’. Rare is the game that has many viable builds for each class. Could GW2 be one of them? Sure, but the odds are against it. I don’t have enough information to comment further on this nor do I think the community as a whole does. We wait and hope.

        Should professions go down this typical path of refinement and end up with a few viable builds for each, then what’s left to distinguish you is your skill and your gear. Your skill is what you’d ideally like everyone to see and respect but we’re a visual community and we want to display visually that we’re better than the next person standing besides us. Gear and your appearance is what’s left. So can I be satisfied simply on gear that looks different but is not statistically better than the newest pvp player’s? Probably.

  7. Anon Y Mus says:

    This is an artistically motivated MMO with a FRESH perspective and a very OPEN minded approach at the core of its development. Yet you’re using the OLD and STALE standards as your frame of reference?

    That’s fail-tastic when reviewing something this radically innovative. BAD Player Attack…BAD! *Smacks with newspaper*

  8. deva says:

    to me “leveled playing field” will mean PvP will be based more on skill, strategy and whits. personally, i dont really pvp much so to me this looks appealing even tho i know ill still suck lol one where the things i mentioned above matter more then me being used to wipe the floor with cuz someone purchased better gear (or mats to get them) then me in a cash shop. im not saying thats how it always is though but thats my view. i hated entering pvp mode cuz i could be attacked at anytime, even while helping a low lvl friend. also the chance to lose gear i worked so hard to get is frustrating as hell and worrying about binding it. dont go on about how thats “suppose to be how it is” either i mean rly who said that anyway? i guess that sounds a bit whiny but thats my reason so to me, Anet is just trying to be more pleasing to everyone and i must say they are doing a great job. again, just my opinions.

  9. Puraimaru says:

    Gee… what is up with this Author >.>

  10. IGameBeffer says:

    Was the author out of it when he wrote this? Some of it makes no sense…not a good review imo.

  11. [...] [PlayerAttack] Guild Wars 2 World vs World Preview [...]

  12. RiotOfficer says:

    - As a player of Guild Wars PvP (more 4-man Team Arenas then the larger 8-man Guild v Guild), having not played any other MMO pvp for the most part, and not having played the GW2 beta, I would like to shed some light on the PvP gear issue. In the original guild wars any player could get access to all of the same statistical gear as another player by playing PvP and just PvP if they wanted. The difference, however, was the look of the weapon. If you played with just PvP unlocked gear, you were locked into a specific skin (couple of choices for armor), and you had less way to distinguish yourself from others.

    - However, a lot of players would enter with their own gear that they “earned” through PvE. Both PvE and PvP gear can have the exact same stats, but the PvE “earned” gear looks a lot better, and it is a way to distinguish yourself (the cash shop might give the option to get different skins for money as well). In other words, for the people that just want to PvP on a equal footing, they are able to do that (and it seems like you won’t even have to unlock in GW2), and for the people that want to earn their gear and look badass with it, you have plenty of work (or a small? fee) ahead of you. Although, once again this is just speculation because I have not played the beta, but this is probably still their main ideology on this issue. Allow anyone to compete immediately, but if you want to look awesome, you need to work for it.

  13. DAoC_Fan says:

    I like that there is a huge aspect on WvW and that you have to fight for these Orbs like you fight for Relics in DAoC (Dark Age of Camelot – Where GW2 probably took alot of inspiration from – Which is good!) But one thing that REALLY concerns me is: What will happen at 80 with your character? What kind of Character progression have you made for us? – Is there a RR (Realm Rank) system like in DAoC that will over time make your character stronger or will you be at end level all the time and “only” truly fight for the Orb?
    Wish these questions would somehow end up on the WvW / PvP designers table…

    • ne says:

      he’s not 100% right on the orb thing. Yes there are orbs, yes they give you bonuses, but that’s not the main aim of WvWvW. The main aim is to get the most points at the end of the 2 week period and you get points by capturing keeps/camps etc. I have no idea what you’re asking for when you say character progression because that’s more of a PvE (hunting for rare skins, do dungeons etc) or PvP (unlocking rare skins, winning tournaments) question.

      • DAoC_Fan says:

        What I mean is this:

        http://darkageofcamelot.com/content/realm-abilities

        This is why this game is so powerful, because even though you gained 50 (max level) and got the gear, then there is still plenty to do for your character, because over time you will be more powerful. Note that if you dont know the game you might think this seems really OPed, but you have to keep in mind that groups consist of a max of 8 players and even though 1 player is max Realm Rank (RR) he cannot go about slaughtering full groups, small groups… he can perhaps take out 2 others depending on thier RR.

        So in short what I mean with character progression:
        Give us some tools like abilities passive and active that we can play with the higher rank we become. Then there is always a reason to stay on that character. If you look at WoW (sorry for generalizing) people tend to go make alts all the time once they got the best gear avalible for them. They make Alts because they are bored with thier main, because the main no longer has a progression.
        Therefor, my biggest fear is that if there is no character progression in PvP people will become bored eventually with the rinse and repeat.

  14. Nidwin says:

    Finaly a good review. Thanks a lot.

    Structured PvP -> clearly moba, hmmm. Why not 6 vs 6 vs 6 ?

    W vs W vsW -> 60-80% of your time spent killing NPC’s ( pre WH-online 1.4.0? OUCH )
    Strongest server going to roflstmped the 2 others for 2-3 days and after that it’s going to be 100% of your time spent killing NPC’s in the Mist or go play something else if you’re the one getting roflstmped.

    I don’t care about PVE, can be fun although once in a while.

    I’ll give it a go as it’s new and shiny, but

    • ne says:

      1. people need sleep, even the stronger server will lack players at some points
      2. Servers are ranked and auto-matched, so that strong server will face servers of equal strength in the future. Sure for the first couple of weeks clear winners will dominate, but it will balance itself out over time.

  15. Maria says:

    A perfectly good beta access wasted on someone who isn’t competent enough to write a decent/impartial review.

    I don’t mind impartial reviews, constructive criticism are necessary specially in this beta phase, and to keep overhyped fans realistic. But what I do expect from any reviewer worth a dime, is that they provide ->constructive<- criticism, because you are a *reviewer* and not just a fan. More then half of the article was simply describing what was already known in the gameplay from any other video/review, without any constructive criticism for better or worse to engage the reader. Anyone could've played the beta and write what the author did, bottomline is that this article strikes me as a huge waste of everyone's time and serves no purpose whatsoever in terms of enlightenment for readers about the game, or opinions for better or worse, so I ask…what was the point?

    And no, what the author wrote isn't even worth debating. If I wrote a article simply with the title "Guild wars WvW – discuss" and no content, would probably have resulted in the same level of debate of what this author got in this review.

  16. [...] Attack focused heavily on PvP play during the beta weekend, but came away with an appreciation for many of the underlying systems of the game, including [...]

  17. [...] Attack focused heavily on PvP play during the beta weekend, but came away with an appreciation for many of the underlying systems of the game, including [...]

  18. [...] Thread Here's some news about Guild Wars 2, written about the Closed Beta. PvP Article: PREVIEW: Guild Wars 2 Cool video of some Beta PvP: Guild Wars 2 WvW Golem Throwdown in the Eternal [...]

  19. [...] PREVIEW: Guild Wars 2 – World vs World Gamebreaker TV: [...]

  20. [...] Guild Wars 2. In the beginning there was my article on World versus World and it was pretty good. Or so I thought. Comments ran the gamut from sort of backhanded compliments [...]

  21. [...] you've read my love letter to Guild Wars 2's World vs World, you might already have worked out where this does become a problem! Guild Wars [...]

  22. [...] PREVIEW: Guild Wars 2 – World vs World Gamebreaker TV: [...]

  23. [...] None of that matters if the system just doesn't work, of course. As an Australian gamer there's an expectation of a certain amount of lag interfering with precise timings in MMOs and while this isn't entirely absent here, you can get in your dodges and interrupts and protective skills with enough consistency that it is rarely a source of frustration. World versus World, the game's showpony centrepiece for massed Player versus Player battles works beautifully, even with dozens of players on each side battling it out. Latency between firing off an ability and the results playing out remains consistent throughout, something many other MMOs have struggled with when trying large scale battles. I've written previously about the game's WvW mode, but the short version is this: It's amazing, deep and going to suck up a lot of people's game time. [...]

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