Lone Wolves Need Not Apply
From my experiences in the first beta weekend and the recent stress test, PvP in Guild Wars 2 promises to be some of the most dynamically engaging and thrilling MMO PvP to date. From the epic scale of World versus World, to the small unit tactics of structured PvP, trait build speculation and team composition theorycrafting are two rabbit holes that will only get deeper as we get closer to launch. However, there is one consistent truth I have observed across all of GW2’s PvP: team composition is more important than any one individual’s trait/skill/weapon build.
Don’t get me wrong, choosing the right traits, weapons and skills is clutch, and mastery of your class is a huge element of success. However, too many of the PvP demonstrations on youtube focus on a lone wolf mentality. While there are certainly some cool solo builds out there, each profession TRULY shines when they coordinate their support abilities with their allies. However, unlike other games where choosing to play a support role locks you into the monotonous task of buffing and debuffing, boons and conditions in GW2 are much more tactical.
For instance, certain boons and conditions stack duration while others stack intensity. Vulnerability and might, notably, stack intensity, which provides a huge potential for group-coordinated burst damage. Even the biggest health pools will melt to the ground when they are stacked with a bit of vulnerability and then blasted with might-buffed DPS cooldowns. While this tactic requires a tremendous amount of group coordination (due to the short durations of vulnerability and might) its effectiveness is absurdly powerful.
The effectiveness of team coordination is something that players might not immediately notice, especially if they spend most of their time solo. If you’re slugging away on a practice dummy, your numbers won’t reflect the difference between an ability that buffs your damage by 20% and an ability that debuffs your target to make them take 20% more damage, but with a coordinated team, the difference is huge. That 20% incoming damage debuff on your target means that EVERYONE in your party is swinging for 20% more, not just you. That effectively adds a sixth man to a five man team. Add to that the coordination of combo fields and crowd-control rotation, and it becomes even more evident that Guild Wars 2 is built around the team, not the individual.
So, adventurer, when you stand upon the bloodstained battlefields of Tyria’s Mists, be certain to secure the support of powerful allies, for it is dangerous to go alone. Who will you trust to watch your back? What profession will you choose to practice? The Mists beckon, will you heed their call?
Braz, the Mad is a Texas-based gamer, freelance writer and lunatic with a huge nerd boner for Guild Wars 2. He brags that he has been playing MMOs since they were called MUDs, and learned to type from text-based PvP. If you’re not focus-firing him, then you have poorly assessed target priority.