Tobold's Blog
Monday, September 03, 2012
 
Guild Wars 2 PvP and monthly achievements

Very early on in Guild Wars 2 I discovered that if you'd just play normally, you'd easily be able to fulfill the requirements for the daily achievement: Kill at least 60 mobs of at least 15 different types, gather 20 times, and do 5 events. As the rewards are nice, I started wondering about the monthly achievements listed below it. It didn't make sense to start that one for August, but now that we are in September, I decided to try and go for it.

It turned out that two of the 4 requirements are "easy" for me: Participate in events, and salvage items for crafting. I do that anyway all the time. The other two requirements weren't all that natural for me: 50 kills in WvWvW, and gaining a lot of xp without dying. So I decided to find out how hard that would be, and started doing some WvWvW PvP. Please keep in mind that this is written from the point of view of somebody who isn't a big PvP fan.

Good news first: I got 50 PvP kills in an afternoon, no problem, once I had found out how WvWvW works. At first I was struggling, because I had chosen the wrong zone. WvWvW is not yet balanced, and my server is up against an overcrowded French server. By being far more, the French are overwhelming the two other sides, holding more than half of the objectives, and constantly overrunning us. I thought that under these circumstances the best place to fight would be in the borderlands zone of my server, home territory so to say. Bad guess, the French had two thirds of that zone, and my side couldn't get anything done. The trick to get my PvP kills was to change to the Eternal Battlegrounds zone, which apparently has caps in place to balance populations. There each server held about a third of the map, and control points were changing hands all the time. Spending some hours there netted me all the kills I needed for the month.

Personally I felt that the WvWvW zones were too big. As you don't see where the enemy players are, but can find the players of your side either on your local radar or via /map chat, players are automatically forming large zerg bands to attack. And because the map is so big, the zerg bands seldom meet each other. So while my side is taking a keep on the left, we are losing a keep on the right to the enemy zerg. And if two large groups ever meet, the fact that everybody who is killed respawns so far away in the home base means that the fight is over by the time you get back to it.

While you do get rewards for holding a keep, that rarely happens. Nobody wants to spend time waiting for the enemy to strike, so when the enemy *does* strike there are 20+ attackers against at max 5 defenders. Standing on the walls and trying to shoot down is surprisingly ineffective, you never get any kills like that, and there is very little advantage from shooting out as compared to shooting into a keep. After some time I realized that the best strategy when seeing an enemy zerg approaching the keep I was in was to teleport away. While they were battering the gate for 15 minutes, my side was taking another keep elsewhere. Only the larger fortresses are defensible. During the day, that is. I expect them to chance hands through guild events at 3 am.

In short, Guild Wars 2 hasn't solved the problems that every other MMORPG had with keep warfare. It all is a bit pointless, with battle raging back and forth around the same positions forever and ever. The numerically stronger side wins locally, but can't hold the whole map. When you come back days later, the map pretty much looks as it did when you last went. Other than for my monthly PvP kills, I don't think I'll do that very often.

And the monthly achievement might turn out to be impossible to fulfill due to the "xp without dying" part. I was watching that score, so I am 100% sure that the counter stopped progressing after I had lost connection and had to relog, although I hadn't died. And at least at my level the number of xp I need to gather without dying is huge, several levels worth. One wrong step in Rata Sum (where some parts of the floors have a glass floor you can walk on, and other similar looking parts of the floor just drop you to your death), and you can start that one all over again. One disconnect or having to log off, and the counter apparently resets to zero as well, so you need to do the achievement in a single session. That doesn't appear to be feasible.

Comments:
My experience from DAoC was that what makes it work is guild ownership and alliances. Any guild owning a keep gets notified wherever they are that their keep is under attack. This would precipitate a call to arms and everyone would rush to defence. Not always successful but there was definitely pride in ownership.

Not sure if GW2 has this notification method. Also of course GW2 currently has the issue of queues so a CTA would be stuck queueing. I think whilst the queues exist, at least to their current degree, wvw will remain a free for all pvp trading game largely.
 
On the size of the WvW zones, remember they are also fully-implemented PvE zones with vistas, skill points, gathering nodes and general PvE content. Plenty to do there for people who aren't focused on PvP but not scared of mixing it up if the occasion rises. In that sense they are very much like the old DAOC frontier zones.

On whether or not repeating the same battles to hold pointless objectives is or isn't fun, I refer you to Keen's recent post which makes your point in reverse. One person's tedium is another person's thrill.
 
I actually thought that the hardest two parts of the monthly was going to be the salvage and the xp ones.

Salvaging 500 items or whatever it is, that's quite a bit, probably even if you're crafting.
 
You can salvage both the gear you find and the "salvage items" that aren't useful for anything else. I'd say I get more than 10 items to salvage per hour of adventuring, so if I play 20 hours per week that is already 200 items per week. 500 per month should be easy without even doing any extra effort.

If not, I should hoard the "salvage items" and sell them for lots of money near the end of the month. :)
 
I don't really like the xp requirement. For me, if I am exploring I will sometimes end up in risky situations. If I feel that I have to play safe, I wont' enjoy exploring so much.
 
I totally agree, spinks.
 
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The experience with death achievement has been the bane of my existence. I can't seem to find out where I currently am in my progress and it seems to stop even if I have a good run going.

But with what spinks says, I agree. I really don't mind dying in GW2 because I take more risks and get fun results when I do it, but this achievement looks like I'll have to set aside time where I just do something mundane to be able to achieve it.
 
The 100.000 xp one gets easier once you get to a higher level. At 70+ a level is 150k+ xp. And the easiest way to get the achievement is through crafting.
 
" The trick to get my PvP kills was to change to the Eternal Battlegrounds zone, which apparently has caps in place to balance populations"

Just a heads up - all 4 WvW zones have population caps. On my server Sea of Sorrows they are all regularly full but the queue isn't that long and there is plenty to do meanwhile.
 
You can salvage both the gear you find and the "salvage items" that aren't useful for anything else. I'd say I get more than 10 items to salvage per hour of adventuring, so if I play 20 hours per week that is already 200 items per week. 500 per month should be easy without even doing any extra effort.

Yeah, but compare that to the PvP objective which takes a few hours at most in WvW to complete. There's quite a difference to how easy they are to complete. :)
 
Strategically people seem to be frequently trying to take keeps that are naturally harder to hold on to because they're closer to respawn points and defending keeps when it would be more productive to relocate and take the attackers from behind...
This seems to happen a lot around redlake.

 
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