Sunday, September 18, 2011

The Battle of Kyhlo – Jonathan Sharp on PvP


Earlier this week Jon Peters talked about the core structure of PvP in Guild Wars 2. Today, I’d like to talk about the first map we’ll be revealing, the Battle of Kyhlo—a map you can play at the upcoming PAX and gamescom shows. Let’s break down the map, some general tactics and strategy, and how each class can help their team.

Key Map Locations

Capture points
Both teams will fight to control the 3 capture points:
  • The Windmill in the north
  • The Clocktower in the middle
  • The Mansion in the south
Every two seconds, each team will be awarded one point for every capture point under their control. By keeping control of these areas—and preventing your opponents from taking them—you will increase your score while denying the other team points. The game will end when a team reaches 500 points.
Team bases
The red team will spawn in the west base, and the blue team will spawn in the east base. This is where you will begin the game and—if you aren’t resurrected by an ally—where you will respawn after being killed.
All PvP maps in Guild Wars 2 will feature what we call “secondary mechanics.” For the Battle of Kyhlo, the secondary mechanic is the trebuchet. Each team will have a treb that can be used to bombard enemies anywhere on the map—including the three capture points. The trebuchet attacks will cover a lot of ground and knock enemies back, so learning to use them well can be instrumental in winning a game. Each team’s treb can be destroyed by the opposition, and when this happens, a repair kit for the corresponding trebuchet will spawn.
Repair kits
If your team’s treb is destroyed, you can retrieve the repair kit, carry it back to the trebuchet, and use it to get the weapon working again. You can’t destroy or interact with the other team’s repair kit, but you’ll want to harass any foes carrying a repair kit back to their trebuchet. Weapons and skills are disabled for any player carrying a repair kit, so you’ll also want to protect the person carrying your team’s repair kit.

Importance of the Trebuchet

The power of artillery
The trebuchet has a huge area of damage and it also knocks back. It can be used to interrupt enemies trying to finish off your allies, or resurrect their teammates. The trebuchet can easily turn the tide of a fight where your allies are outnumbered.
Trebuchet control
You want to destroy your enemy’s trebuchet and protect your own. If either is destroyed, a corresponding repair kit will spawn, and they will need to get this bundle in the map, and then bring it back to the destroyed trebuchet. Be sure to escort your repair kit back to the treb if the enemy is stalking your trebuchet man, or be sure to keep them from repairing their own treb.

Map Strategy

Choke points
There are many gates and narrow passages throughout the map. If you have a character with strong area-of-effect skills, try to catch multiple enemies in these choke points. It will increase your effectiveness and ensure you’re getting more bang for your buck.
Line of Sight
Try to hide from enemies by breaking the line of sight. You can use structures to your advantage by hiding behind them, and by staying behind walls when sneaking up on an enemy. This is particularly useful when you’re trying to assault a capture point: Instead of heading directly into the area, approach it stealthily and you may catch your enemy off guard.
Destructible objects
There are many buildings and props that can be blown up. The major props (buildings and massive water pipes) can only be destroyed with trebuchet shots, but smaller props, such as barrels and crates, can be blown up with player skills. Paths that were closed at the beginning of the game may open up through the course of a match, so always be on the lookout for new shortcuts.
Some skills will give you a boon called swiftness, which temporarily increases your base movement speed. Other skills allow you to leap forward, and these can be used to help you move quickly through the map.
“You got to know when to hold ’em, know when to fold ’em, know when to walk away, know when to run.”
—The timeless Kenny Rogers
Be sure that you don’t run into a 1v2 or 1v3 just because the enemy is holding a capture point you want to take. Instead, back off and go to another point, or wait for backup to arrive before advancing. Try to flank your enemies when they have a superior position, and be sure to press the advantage when you have them outnumbered at a certain location.


Now that we’ve covered some general tactics for the map, let’s break down each of the classes and look at how they can use their unique skill sets to best help their team achieve victory.
Warriors are great at assaulting capture points and enduring long battles. They want to build adrenaline during a fight and then use it to explode for great effect. By using a shield, they can prolong their survivability in a fight, and they can also bring many utility skills that help them to remove conditions and absorb damage. Conversely, warriors can focus on offense by choosing to dual wield and bringing utility skills that augment their damage output.
  • Pro tip: You can combine the utility skills Fear Me and Bull’s Charge to fear someone away from you and then charge them from behind, knocking them down!
Guardians excel at helping allies—especially in tight spaces—and holding positions against enemies. Guardians have many defensive skills which allow them to slow down the rate at which they take damage, and others that allow them to deflect or reflect projectiles. While you can roam throughout the map looking for enemies, it’s usually best to choose a position and help your allies at that location as your defensive prowess comes at the cost of mobility.
  • Pro tip: In a heated battle, you can activate your virtues, giving yourself and nearby allies aegis, burning, and regeneration. You can then recharge your virtues by using the utility skill Meditate.
Thieves can dish out a lot of single-target damage, but they don’t like to get caught in huge fights. Instead, they love to be stealthy, sneaking around the map and looking for enemies moving from one location to another. By using stealth skills, the thief is able to harass and skirmish with his foes without having to commit entirely to a fight: he can jump into an enemy team, pick off a key or injured target, and get away without taking damage. But be advised: The thief is not as durable as some of the other classes, so prolonged fights can be risky.
  • Pro tip: You can use the healing skill Withdraw and the utility skill Roll for Initiative to move around the map by quickly turning your camera around and “retreating” in the direction you want to travel. But don’t try this if you easily get motion sickness!
The engineer has a couple of area-of-effect bundles that allow for great damage against multiple enemies. The engineer loves to set up at a capture point with mines and turrets, making the most of these gadgets. With the mine kit and a bit of preparation time, you can set up a strong defense at any control point. When you’re on the offensive, try using the grenade bundle. All of your grenades have an area of effect, so with careful placement, you can deal with multiple enemies at once.
  • Pro tip: Use Smelling Salts to help allies revive faster. You can also use it just before you go down to quickly revive yourself! Self-administered CPR, anyone?
Rangers excel at long-range damage, and are able to skirmish with enemies using their mid-range weapons. Having a pet allows the ranger to excel in 1v1 fights, as the pet can help the ranger rally if they go down. The ranger is also able to control capture points and choke points by putting traps in these key areas, and catching enemies as they hit the traps. Rangers can turn fights to their advantage by luring foes into their traps.
  • Pro tip: You can have multiple buffs on you at once that help you stack damage. Use the utility skills Sharpening Stone and Lightning Reflexes to quickly dish out a lot of damage. But beware: If someone is blocking or reflecting attacks back at you, you’ll need to wait until they are vulnerable again to do this or you will be one sad panda.
The elementalist is very versatile and is able to flow in and out of different attunements in order to adjust to the battlefield. While they are somewhat squishy, they can use many skills to protect themselves and their allies, reflect projectiles, and hinder their opponents’ plans. They are at their best when helping an ally hold an area or assault a capture point, and they are good in 1v1 fights. They are somewhat weak in large battles, however, so be careful when trying to hold a point against multiple foes as an elementalist.
  • Pro tip: You can start the cast for the earth skill Churning Earth and then use the utility skill Lightning Flash to quickly close the distance to your target. If you time it right, it’s a great combo!
The necromancer is able to outlast and defeat foes through attrition if they have time to build up life force. Doing so allows you to use the Death Shroud mechanic to prolong your life in battle. But beware: If you do not have a lot of life force, you will be squishy. Try to bring main-hand weapons and utility skills that help you increase your life force.
  • Pro tip: Use the skill Dark Pact on the main-hand dagger and the utility skill Well of Darkness together, and your opponent will be immobilized inside of a blinding well for 3 seconds. Just make sure you immobilize them inside the well.

Come play at PAX and gamescom!

If you get a chance to attend PAX or gamescom, come and play Guild Wars 2 PvP.  Pew-pew the opposition. Crush those enemies. Hear the lamentation of the pwned. If you see us on the show floor, come and talk to us— we’d love to hear your thoughts about this brand-new map for Guild Wars 2 PvP.
See you there!

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