Guild and Alliance

Types Of Play

Player versus Environment or PvE is a style of gaming where players fight against computer controlled creatures. There is a strong focus on the setting, storyline and interactions with NPC's in the game world while playing PvE. This is in contrast with Player versus Player (PvP), where players fight against other human-controlled opponents.

PvE is characterized by a character moving through a series of missions and quests to in effect "beat" the game. Once a character has progressed through the last mission of the game there are additional missions and quests still available, either through elite areas such as the Domain of Anguish, Fissure of Woe, or the Underworld, or attempting to attain further titles, such as the protector title. PvE in Guild Wars is restricted to role-playing characters. PvE is also the place where characters "Farm" for rare or common items.

Player versus player is a style of game play that pits players against each other in a competition. The objective in PvP is to defeat the opposing team(s), which can be accomplished by one of several different means, depending on the PvP format. This could be capturing control points, defeating the opponent's Guild Lord, scoring a higher kill count or just regular death match.

Guild Wars itself in its origin has been very much focused on the ability to play against other players. (Hence also the "War between Guilds".) To this end, Arena.Net chose a relatively easy to reach level cap of 20. Once this level is obtained and the PvE character has obtained all 200 attribute points, it is able to participate in the high end PvP game play.

There is no particular advantage to either PvP or PvE characters in PvP play, except that it may be harder for PvE characters to obtain perfect equipment, and Arena Net also has elected to "sell" a full set of skills for PVP purposes which allows a player to quickly "re roll" their PVP character with different professions, upgrades, and skills.

Another choice is to create a PvP character, who has the luxury of being able to create perfect, maximum damage weapons and armor at no cost (except the cost in Balthazar faction points). Once a modifier (such as a rune or a sword hilt) is unlocked either by identifying it in PvE play or unlocking it via faction in PvP play, it can be added to a customized PvP weapon that any PvP character is capable of creating for free in any outpost on the Battle Isles. Many guilds that focus on PVP play "require" a PVP only character for membership just because of this flexibility.

Low-end PvP
The following forms of PvP play have level limits and can only be accessed by PvE characters.

Ascalon Arena in Ascalon City - Level 1 to 10 only.
Shiverpeak Arena in Yak's Bend - Level 1 to 15 only.
Shing Jea Arena from Shing Jea Monastery - Level 1 to 10 only.
Sunspear Arena from Kamadan - Level 1 to 10 only.
Level 20 PvP
The following forms of PvP play can only be accessed by level 20 characters with 200 attribute points:

Random Arenas on the Battle Isles.
Team Arenas on the Battle Isles.
Heroes' Ascent on the Battle Isles.
Guild versus Guild from the Guild Hall.
Hero Battles from the Battle Isles. (Requires Nightfall or Eye of the North).
Alliance Battles from the Guild Hall. (Requires Factions).
Fort Aspenwood from Echovald Forest or The Jade Sea as well as Great Temple of Balthazar. (Requires Factions).
The Jade Quarry from Echovald Forest or The Jade Sea as well as Great Temple of Balthazar. (Requires Factions).

Automated Tournaments
Three times a day, automated tournaments take place for the Guild versus Guild and Hero Battle play types. After paying a small entry fee, players (or guilds) compete in several round robin matches. Winning matches gives players tournament reward points (used to unlock new skins for items and weapons in PvP) and the top players (or guilds) in each tournament receive qualifier points needed to enter a monthly tournament.

Guild versus Guild, also known as GvG or Guild Battle, is a strategic form of PvP which matches two teams of eight players from different guilds against each other in the Guild Halls. The core objective of the combat is to kill the opposition's NPC Guild Lord before the opposition does the same to your Guild Lord.

Each team must have a minimum of four members of the guild, including at least one officer. The remaining four players on the team may either be members of that guild, guests from another guild, or heroes and henchmen.

GvG competition can be played as either ladder based play or as part of automated tournaments. GvG can also be played as an un rated scrimmage. GvG combat for top rated teams, tournament battles and the last GvG for the Guild can be watched in observer mode with 15 minutes delay.

Winning conditions
Kill the enemy Guild Lord.
Have all opposing players reach 60% Death Penalty.
Only one of these conditions has to be met for a match to end.

GvG game mechanics
There are several features which define the strategic elements of GvG combat.

Each hall plays differently and favors different builds, due to their layout and unique features, such as environmental effects. A guild might select a hall which suits their style of play or compliments the build type which they play.

The map selected depends on the competition. For ladder play the Guild Hall of the lowest ranked team is selected. For automated tournaments the maps are fixed for each round in the tournament.

The flag stand
The flag stand is an object central to a GvG map that grants a 10% morale boost to a team that can hold it for two minutes. The stand is captured using a flag. Many GvG teams have a flag runner to run the flag to the flag stand repeatedly.

Non-player characters
There are many NPC's on the Guild Hall map which can influence game play, particularly in the closing stages of a GvG match. Guild halls are defended by a variety of NPC's including archers, footmen, knights, and bodyguards. Generally, footmen guard the front entrance to a guild hall, archers line the walls and perimeter, and a bodyguard and two knights stand directly next to the Guild Lord along with more archers. Killing off these NPC's prior to Victory or Death may allow a team to gain an advantage at the final battle at the flag stand.

Victory or Death!
"Victory or Death!", or VoD, is an important mechanic in GvG, one that guilds often design builds around.

At 18 minutes of expired game play all gates open, and any living NPC's move to the flag stand. The monster skill "Victory or Death" also comes into play, which increases damage done by 15%. NPC's do 30% more damage, and an additional 10% more damage each minute after Victory or Death.

At VoD the NPC's move to the flag stand in 3 waves one every 15 seconds from the 18 minute mark. The first wave contains archers and any footmen, the second contains 4 archers and the final wave contains the 2 knights and the bodyguard. The pathing and bunching habit of NPC's at the flag stand is often exploited by players using AoE skills. A team facing a full compliment of NPC's at the flag stand with few of their own has a significant disadvantage.

At 20 minutes, the Guild Lords themselves move to the flag stand. When they reach the stand they prioritize attacking the opposition Guild Lord above player targets and will use their axe to attack.

See VoD tactics and VoD team for more details on tactics and builds focused on VoD.

Prototypical builds
The main function of GvG builds is to take every single one of the players from the team and to build them so that they work together perfectly to win. Many teams will design eight characters to work together in intricate combinations; other teams will use eight "generic" characters that are useful in a wide variety of situations. These teams will often use their versatility to force more specialized teams into a fight they cannot win, often by a split. To be successful, a good team will often include:

--A mix of offense (damage) and defense:

Some "frontline" melee characters, who are the main damage dealers of the squad. Examples: axe warrior, hammer warrior, Melandru dervish.
Some "midline" ranged or caster characters, who disrupt both the enemy offense and defense, and add damage at range to help kill targets. Examples: Domination mesmer, Crippling Shot ranger, Blinding Surge elementalist, Defensive Anthem paragon.

Some "back line" characters, typically Monks, who keep everyone else alive as long as possible. Examples: Light of Deliverance monk, Shield of Deflection monk.

A dedicated flag running character, who is able to survive one-on-one or small-group encounters with a wide variety of threats and who has a speed boost.

The ability to fight both as a whole team and in small split groups.
--Snares, to control enemy movement. --At least one hard resurrection skill, to bring back teammates without wasting Res Signets.

A large number of builds have been run so often in GvG that they have come to be referred to by a single term. These include ranger spike, Thumpers, FoC spike, Thump smite, SB/RI, Fast Cast air spike, Euro spike, and more. Some of these builds are similar to those that were run in 8v8 Heroes' Ascent, but many are unique to GvG. Other teams run non-gimmick "balanced" builds with more generalist characters; likewise, these generalist characters are often referred to simply by naming the elite and possibly a few other skills: for instance, "Blinding Surge elementalist" or "Light of Deliverance monk".

Standard GvG strategy and development

The most straightforward GvG's consist of two teams meeting each other at the flag stand, engaging each other 7v7 while the flag runners run flags and participate briefly in the combat while at the stand. If a team can, they will often try to delay the enemy flag runner enough to gain a morale boost. Delaying the enemy flag runner is important even if you do not get a boost, since it means your own flag runner is able to stay and fight at the stand for longer. If one team is able to get a decisive victory at the flag stand, either by wiping out the other team or by forcing them to retreat, they will generally push the opposing team's base and start killing NPC's The defending team, with the aid of newly-resurrected members, NPC's, and fresh energy bars will then try to push the enemy out of their base and regain the ground they lost, often with the aim of getting a flag through.

A team that realizes that they are unable to fight the enemy head-on will often split a small force to the enemy base to kill NPC's or harass the flag runner. This forces the other team to either split their forces as well, or lose NPC's and potentially lose at Victory or Death. Many teams will include a couple of strong solo characters (warriors with Healing Signet, Crippling Shot rangers, etc.) to use in split situations. Some teams are set up to split from the beginning, sending a predetermined squad to the enemy base from the start. Matches that involve a lot of splitting generally involve the multiple squads running around, trying to either get to undefended NPC's or force an engagement with an enemy squad that they can score kills on (or kill the enemy flag runner). Snares are invaluable for this; teleports are an annoying way to make a squad hard to catch.

The 2-minute resurrection cycle factors into tactics: teams will often try to spike a target right before the two-minute mark and force them to resurrect at base, or "save" a lone survivor or straggler and kill them right after the two-minute mark, ensuring that they stay dead for a while. If enemy members are dead and you have some team members near the enemy resurrection shrine, they should be aware if characters are going to resurrect on top of them (with full energy and recharged skills!). Remember that Death Penalty only makes them easier to kill; they still do just as much damage!

At Victory or Death, whichever team has less Death Penalty and more NPC's will typically win. Some teams are especially good at VoD, however, since they include lots of area of effect damage sources for killing wads of NPC's If you're facing one of those teams, you should try if at all possible to get an NPC or morale advantage before VoD.