Guide to GvG
Guild combat is some of the best gameplay Guild Wars has to offer. Part of its appeal, in my opinion, is that it involves two teams on equal footing with the same objectives-killing the Guild Lord. The Tombs Arena offers a variety of different forms of combat, from capture the flag to king of the hill. Typically, however, there are numerous outside variables that can affect a certain match. Your team could destroy three teams in a 5-team free-for-all, for example, only to be charged from the rear by the last team, resulting in a possible loss. Or you could hold the center in a king of the hill for 9 minutes only to have two teams rush you with 16 players, concentrating fire on your hero, who is killed and replaced with only a few seconds to spare. The Tombs can be an exciting and fun place to compete, but in my opinion guild combat is where the most all-around talented groups will shine.
Of course, getting into a guild that can field a competent group can be an obstacle in itself. But with the matching system that is based off the ladder, teams should be able to compete against guilds of similar ability, thus making for an exciting fight, regardless of their ability (or lack thereof). In order to spark more enthusiasm for guild combat, I am writing this guide to explain its character and some basic strategies to employ when competing in a guild combat.
A few things should be pointed out about general rules for guild combat. First, if you are dead you will automatically be resurrected every time the game clock reached an even-numbered minute. For example, resurrections (including the Guild Thief but no other NPCs) are done map-wide at 2 minutes, 4 minutes, etc on the game clock. If your Death Penalty is at -60% (maximum low point) you cannot be resurrected by the Resurrection Shrine and can only be resurrected by another party member. The only way to win in a guild battle is when one of the Guild Lords is killed or if a team completely quits the match. There is a flag stand in the center, which will accept the flag from either team. Once planted, a timer is started. Every 2 minutes the team controlling this flag stand will receive a Morale Boost of 10%, up to a maximum of 10% above base stats.
Each team starts inside their keep. The Guild Lord resides at the back of the keep, surrounded by 2 Arcanists, which are powerful Elementalists. The Guild Thief also starts here. Scattered around the ramparts are various Ranger NPCs with 3 NPC Footmen outside the main gate. Down the stairs from the Guild Lord is the Resurrection Shrine and the team's flag. The keep is completely enclosed, with two entrances/exits. The main exit is the quickest path to the center, while the 'side' exits lead to a path around the outside of the map. Each gate has levers on each side that can open the gate. Inside, levers can be used by anyone at any time. Outside, levers can only be used by the members from that keep or by the opposing team if they have their Guild Thief with them. The Guild Thief is an NPC that will follow you much like the Hero does in the Tombs. The only way inside an enemy's keep is through use of the Guild Thief, rushing in when opened by the opposing team or an ally operating the lever from the inside, or through Necromancer teleportation spells.
A new addition to guild combat is the catapult. There are two catapults on the map, each on a hill facing the main entrance of each keep. Anyone can operate the catapult if they are carrying a Repair Kit, which are located around the map. Although slow in firing, they launch a massive area-of-effect stone which randomly lands somewhere inside the keep it's facing. Needless to say, if you're anywhere near the point of impact, you can expect to be eating grass waiting for a resurrection.
Avoid bringing henchmen into battle unless absolutely necessary. They are pretty decent when it comes to PvE, but in player combat they just don't have the capacity to function even close to the level required for success.
Don't charge through an enemy gate without support. Too many people try chasing someone down after they've run inside, while the gate closes behind them, thus separating them from the rest of their group. If you're going to charge a door, make sure most of your party is with you.
Don't wander around the inside of your keep if the other team is operating the catapult. This is just plain wrong. At the point of impact, the catapult does roughly 900 damage, with the numbers diminishing as distance from the center increases. It is quite easy to have your entire group decimated by a single catapult shot. It's best to regroup near the Resurrection Shrine or other area safe from catapult fire.
Don't kamikaze the flag stand trying to plant your flag if the enemy holds the center. All this will accomplish is you dying in a location where you will be difficult to resurrect and the other team will just replant their flag before your first morale boost.
Refrain from playing with the catapult unless the opportunity arises. If the other team is fighting you in the center, operation of the catapult is quite the waste of time. The catapult is indeed a fun toy and can be powerful against base campers and the like, but should only be used under certain conditions. Screwing around with it while your team is getting crushed in the center will make you unpopular in a hurry.
Always keep an eye on the radar. Some teams will try and go around the outer paths in an attempt to charge the Guild Lord without having to fight through you. Nothing is worse than having the upper hand and controlling the center, only to lose because no one paid attention to their radar or the condition of the Guild Lord.
If your team is suffering from high death penalties, charging the other team is typically unwise. The best chance you have for a comeback is to use the NPCs inside your base as additional fighters and work on defending your Guild Lord. If you successfully repel an attack by the opposing team, everyone will get a 16% morale boost from the 8 kills, and while the enemy waits to be resurrected, your team can plant its flag at the center and attempt to defend it for the Morale Boost. Being on the offensive is not necessarily the best strategy.
I am not going to go into details about specific party builds and character classes to bring to a guild battle. That determination is up to the guild and what team strategy they want to employ. But there are some tactical options to consider, independent of the type of group composition you bring into battle. They are described below.
Victory Through Attrition
The idea behind this approach is to get your group's morale maxed at +10% while causing the enemy to incur death penalties. Your team should concentrate on gaining the center and planting their flag as soon as possible. Once this is accomplished the catapult should be employed, while the rest of the team concentrates on taking out the NPC's around the periphery of the enemy base while repelling every new attack. If successful, your team will eventually be able simply to overwhelm the enemy, due to their high Death Penalty, killing them off after their resurrection and then finishing off the Guild Lord.
If you find yourself the victim of this approach, the best counter is to attempt to cut your losses and defend your Guild Lord, in an attempt to gain morale boosts through kills and an eventual retake of the center and the flag stand. Once the opposing team is maxed at 10% Morale Boost, worrying about the center is a waste of time. They can hold it for the next hour and it won't give them any additional benefit. Make sure that you avoid areas that the catapult can reach; otherwise, it will destroy your party, causing your members to incur greater and greater Death Penalties. If your Death Penalty is too high to attempt a center retake, just concentrate on defending, since this is likely your best chance at winning.
The Sneak Attack
The Guild Lord is tough to kill, but if an entire group concentrates its damage on him he can be taken out rather quickly. The idea behind this strategy is to rush the Guild Lord without having to fight the opposing group. Because of the radar this tactic can be difficult to pull off, but with a well executed plan it can be done. One way this can be accomplished is by attempting the following:
Send two players out your side gate and have them run towards the first intersection. They will be decoys and should not be the main damage dealers, since you will need them for killing the Guild Lord. Also, they should not constitute all your healing ability, since you will need that too. The job for these two is to get the enemy to chase them from the center, far enough away to where they do not notice the main group moving around the opposite side of the map.
The rest of your group gets the Guild Thief and proceeds out the main gate. They are not going towards the center; however, they will be following the outside path towards the enemy's side gate. Once at this gate, the Guild Thief is used to gain entrance and then a mad rush is made at the Guild Lord with the expectation that he can be killed quickly.
This concludes the overview of the arenas. Try out which ones you like best and come up with your own tactics to better control the maps. Good luck!
Although difficult to execute, this method of attack can result in a swift victory for your team if done successfully.
My main purpose in writing this was to expose more players to the finer points of guild warfare. As new content gets added, this guide will become obsolete, but for those who have not experienced any guild combat I wanted to give them an overview of the basics and how this aspect of Guild Wars works. It has already been said that new maps are going to be added to guild combat, with differing objectives. I am assuming that they will mimic the objectives found in the PvP arena. Strategy and tactics on those sorts of missions are for another guide, however. I hope this one has given players enough information so as not to feel overwhelmed when attempting guild combat for the first time.
*** This article was written by delicious_doctor and because it's wonderful guide before your first GvG fight, I decided to post it here. ;)