Monday, July 2, 2012

How to Succeed in a Small Group Without Really Trying

Preceding our playtime in Tyria, the community was highly concerned about the effectiveness of small groups in WvW.  Previous iterations of large scale PvP, particularly in Warhammer and WoW, often amounted into zerg fests. Instead of a dynamically robust system that depended on skill, the battles became nothing more than pre-calculated events.  Size was the only thing that mattered.

In comes Guild Wars 2.  ArenaNet has specifically designed WvW with small groups in mind. Next time you play in WvW, I ask you to stay away from the zerg force.  Think for yourself and try working with 2-5 of your friends.  Some of you may ask, but then what can we do?  The answer, a hell of a lot.

1. First and foremost, remember siege weapons are the great equalizer. The strongest anti-zerg weapon at the moment is the ballista, which can do 6-8k damage per hit. Your group needs to carry blueprints on them at all times. I'd advise ballista, arrow carts, and 1-2 flame rams.
2.  Take down supply caravans. Taking out the dolyaks can be accomplished by a single person, and as the meta game progresses, we might see more teams trying to defend these noble creatures.  However for now, feel free to scan the map, and send that cow to the butcher shop.

3.  Attacking supply camps.  With 3-5 players you should be quite capable of capturing an undefended supply camp extremely quickly.

4.  Defend towers and supply camps. This can be done quite effectively, even when the enemy outnumbers you by a large margin through a variety of mechanisms.

    -If you are going to defend, do it well.  Begin to upgrade your area of interest.  For towers, I'd recommend placing burning oil over the door and placing cannons and mortars on the walls. For supply camps, the most effective way is just to upgrade the number of guards in the surrounding area.
     -While the area is being upgraded, begin to create siege weapons.  Like previously said, start creating ballista, scattered around the rear of the supply camps.  If you can place the weapons on an elevated surface, the bolts will fire farther. Arrow carts can also be used nicely in towers because they can attack out of line of sight.
      -While you are waiting for a force ignorant enough to attack you, begin scouting the area.  Spread out and make sure that you can see any invasion force enough in advance to get back to your position.  Harvesting nearby nodes will be able to grant you resources (or money if sold on the auction house), and experience while you wait.

5.  Assisting larger guilds and forces with distractions.  For example, many times your team's zerg will begin assaulting a keep. The biggest problem with large masses of players is that they create a lot of "noise" moving across the map.  Every time they engage something there's going to an indicator on the map that basically screams their position to the entire map.  Thus, when a larger guild begins to assault a keep, the enemy team will definitely know about it before they even get there. If the enemy has prepared and defended well, they should be able to hold off your team's zerg force for quite a while.  So instead of auto-attacking the door, what can you do?  Gather a small team of 5 players and begin to walk around the keep until you find a relatively isolated door.  This can be any one of the underwater or underground entrances to keeps, or it can simply just be a door on the other side of the keep.  Take out the guards, and begin creating 1-2 flame rams and start battering down the door.  At this point it doesn't matter if your group takes down the door or not.  If you do, you can flank the attacker's on the walls and push them back while the main force breaks through the door.  If not, well you create an adequate distraction that will require significant attention by the defenders.  Either way you help your team.

6.  Another great tip, is that you can gank people at their entrances to WvW, specifically in the Borderlands maps where they are forced in a narrow valley for quite a long distance.  (Note:  Stay a good enough distance away, so that if they run, you can still catch them before they gain the invulnerability buff) An organized group of 5 players can restrict reinforcements for quite a long time, specifically with ballista or arrow carts.  Often players come into WvW or use the Borderlands waypoints in an isolated fashion.  Meaning, they are unequivocally, vulnerable and alone. Even if 3-4 players enter at the same time, they are most likely strangers and do not have the coordination to outmatch your group. While many people frown upon ganking, this is a highly effective way to restrict enemy movement, and may be a meta strategy that develops overtime.

As you can see, just because you are in a small group does not mean you are useless. In fact, in many ways you can do things that larger groups would not be able to get away with.  You do things silently, efficiently, and are gone before they can react.


  1. Hmmm. You play a theif, but you sir a rogue. A cold heartless rogue.

  2. Love it, and so true. The time I spent in wvw was with a 3 man group, and we had a blast taking supply camps and getting mercenaries and picking people off.

    ...and getting stomped by zergs now and then, but that's part of the fun!

    1. It really is quite fun. I love getting zerged, and watching each one of us adopt an "every man for himself" mentality. As a thief, I normally have the best luck, and normally get jokingly chewed out by my friends for leaving them behind. All in good fun, of course.

      I actually was famous for doing that to my friends during our time with WoW. On a server where the Horde population was heavily favored, about 3-5 of us would head over to Stormwind's main bridge and begin to pick fights. It would always start out small, with us crushing, because the enemies were so disorganized. However, I would soon grow cocky, and as the rogue would act as the antagonizer. So I would run into Stormwind's main area, sprint into the Auction house guns-a-blazing, and bring all of that mess back to us. Often, that mess would lead to my friends' immediate downfall, and almost always I would get away unscathed. What can I say, I'm a filthy, cold, heartless rogue. Always will be.

  3. Yes. This is all true. You will always leave furrian and I to die by some giant mob. I sense something similar will come in wvw.