PvP Basics to Improving Individual Play

Guild Wars 2 is a very situational game which makes it difficult for players to give helpful advice to those that are newer to the game and looking to improve. Below I’ve comprised a list of 10 PvP basics you can do to significantly improve your play in Guild Wars 2 and make a difference for your team.

1. The mini-map is your best friend

I cannot express enough how important the mini-map is for each and every player. Your eyes should be glancing at this little guy every 3-5 seconds to count enemy numbers, check for enemies leaving fights, potential enemy point decaps, and teammates pinging for help.

Unlike some other games, our map pings do not make noises thus we don’t realize pings are being thrown out. While it’s quite likely the majority of pings are players being targeted, it is a good tool to use to ask for help since talking in chat while in the middle of a fight isn’t the easiest thing to do.

2. Secondary objectives are secondary objectives

The primary objective of conquest is to capture nodes and accumulate points from these nodes. Second objectives, hence the term ‘secondary’, come after the primary objective. This means making a push for Chieftain/Svanir (Forest of Niflhel) or the lord (Legacy of the Foefire), is not your team’s primary goal at the start of the game. As an individual, you can single-handedly lose a game for your team by doing this.

The points and added buffs from Chieftain and Svanir are a good little boost but very situational and are useful when in times of need to seal a victory or get a slight point boost. Doing this over contesting a node in never advised and will put your team at a huge disadvantage. The overall point accumulation of a single node will vastly overshadow a 25-point beast kill unless it comes down to a last second play to end the game.

Remember it’s a secondary objective.

3. Stay away from 1v1s on enemy nodes against bunkers

You can tell the difference between a bunker and an assassin quite easily these days. Unless you’re sure of a decap within a reasonable amount of time, pushing to an enemy node to 1v1 is not advised, especially if they are just sitting at the node.

If an enemy is rotating back to their node to fight you and you’re sure of a decap, it isn’t necessarily a bad move. However, if the enemy is actually sitting at their point waiting for someone to come to them, leave them. Allowing them to sit there will put your team at a 5v4 advantage elsewhere on the map, leaving the other two points for the taking.


4. Rotations are a difficult part of PvP, but must be learned to succeed

Complimenting the last tip, rotations are everything in Guild Wars 2’s PvP. I am going to highlight the rotation that I would like to see more often: leave the point you are currently sitting on.

In times of pure need, I can understand not wanting to leave a node you’re sitting on because you can’t win without it or a thief is nearby looking to take it from you. Without knowing numbers, rotating away from a point is difficult. Without team communication, knowing numbers is difficult. However, you can make an effort to count numbers using your mini-map, knowing who is on respawn, etc.

With this in mind, you can’t expect to sit on your home node all game and win as the enemy team will exploit this and 5v4 you around the map, as we learned in the previous tip. One thing that will help your team drastically is taking a peek at your game timer when getting a stomp onto an enemy. Know they will respawn in 15 seconds and potentially take X seconds to go from their base to your home node. Always be aware of this when getting a kill around the map.

5. Be the hero: be the one to improve your team composition

The unsung hero is the one who changes their class to better their team’s composition. Countless times I’ve ran into players who are too stubborn to change their class or generally give you a brief “**** you” because you’ve kindly asked them to change.

Team composition makes up a great deal of the ending result. Too much damage? Not enough? Be smart about what you’re running and what you’re playing against.

I am a firm believer that you’ll play at a higher level if you’re on your best class, however, there are several classes in every meta that can be picked up within a few games to make the biggest of differences.

6. Don’t EVER give up

I have witnessed first-hand some of the largest and most incredible comebacks in PvP. Not only that, but if you’re vying for pips, the more points you have the less of a chance you have to lose pips.

The difference between 200 and 300 points for your team could be the difference between losing one pip and not losing any at all. It’s all based upon the chances you have to win/lose going into the match.

7. Don’t play in ranked to practice new classes

If you’re truly new to the game or looking to play a new class for the first time, do yourself a favor and join a hotjoin match or queue for unranked. You will avoid unnecessary chatter with teammates and overall feel better when you’re accustomed to the class playing in one of these game modes rather than the one that counts.

8. Don’t bring your science project to the game

You’re not in ranked to experiment with four-signet thief, play support bombs engineer, or run a 30k health pool revenant. You don’t have to run a meta build, but something remotely viable is advised. I’m not thrilled when I get a minionmancer on my team, but it can hold a node down and be a nuisance for the enemy to say the least. All in all, run something that will make a difference for your team, not leave you in perma-downed state.


9. Communicate before the match begins

Get some sort of communication flowing through your team before the match begins. Know where everyone is heading from the start so you’re not leaving your home node uncontested. Along with this, understand the meta. Most teams at right now will push three points due to the slow-paced games. Odds are, you will need to do the same.

If you communicate from the start you can make sure the rest of your team has some sort of flow going into the match and quite honestly, it can make things a lot smoother for the rest of the match if you know what roles each teammate will be fulfilling.

10. Disengage when things go from bad to worse

I’ll admit I’m guilty of believing I can win an outnumbered team fight when things poorly. In the end, it ends up costing your team. Let me give you a scenario of what could potentially happen and use your imagination to bring that into the scope of an entire match.

At the game’s start there’s a 5v5 at the mid point. One member on your team goes into the downed state. You all take massive pressure when going for the resurrection and he eventually gets stomped. You’re now 4v5. But OH! You have one of their guys low! You overextend for the kill but lose your warrior (“Wait what!? A WARRIOR!?!? WILSON GET OFF YOUR WARRIOR!!”) in the process. He gets stomped!

Now what do you do? You first teammate just came off of respawn. It will take 15-20 seconds for him to arrive. You warrior is on respawn for 15 seconds plus another 15-20 to arrive. You’re 3v5. There is no scenario other than already having several people in the downed state in which you need to stay at this fight. Of course, you could funnel in to have a chance at winning the fight but in the end you’ll always be outnumbered and the enemy team will sneak out for a decap on your home node.

The point is, disengaging from a lost fight is something you will hate to do but is necessary in order to avoid utter defeat. One lost team fight doesn’t mean you’ll lose the next, but you can’t push for another team fight if you’re constantly fighting 2v5 because you’re funneling into a point you’ll never win.

Finally, let’s be clear about how the meta plays into this. Disengaging from a lost team fight in our current meta is less realistic, but these are general guidelines. Nowadays you could have two mesmers sit on the point and stay alive until your team fully regroups on the node itself.

I hope these PvP basics were helpful and will make a difference in your future games!

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Storm 68 posts

Storm is a commentator and writer in both the Overwatch and Guild Wars 2 professional scenes.

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  • So helpful, you can believe. Mainly for the beginners (like me).

  • Storm