Guild News! Guild Wars 2 Server Battles Are Epic

By Craig Pearson on February 17th, 2012 at 1:55 pm.

I hope those are water balloons.
Everything I hear from Arenanet about Guild Wars 2 just baffles me. The scale of what they’re trying to achieve is so big all I can do is stare confusedly. I’m making a face right now, my eyebrows are trying to pinch the top my nose and my eyes are wide open, because I’ve been reading about their server vs server battlegrounds: two-week long fights between three servers (hundreds of people), on the biggest maps Guild Wars has. There will be siege weapons, alliances, and boss fights, and I’ll in the middle going “huh?”

It’s not even an incremental update on a standard MMO template, as ArenaNet’s Mike Ferguson points out, it’s a completely different take on traditional battlefields.

We dreamed of a game where players could work together to capture objectives on the battlefield, like keeps and towers, claiming them for their guilds, then fortifications before defending them against hordes of attackers. With players from three different servers fighting each other, we knew that we would need a lot of different areas for them to fight over, and we wanted to have plenty of locations for guilds of all sizes to claim as their own. With this in mind, we created a number of different objectives that are designed to be captured and contested by large groups, small groups, or even just a few players.

Each world gets their own home map, the Borderlands, with keeps and smaller towers and objectives to overcome and fortify, and there’s a central battleground called Eternal Battlegrounds with its own massive keep. As keeps are taken, either from epically powered NPCs, human enemies, or a mixture of the two, the points are tallied up and added to the server’s War Score. Ferguson describes the scale of the action.

Whether you’re fighting your way though ancient ruins to assault a keep built atop the rubble, climbing up the side of a mountain to reach a tower on a peak that looms over a village below, or testing your amphibious infiltration skills with an underwater assault on an island castle in the middle of a lake teeming with hostile krait, you’ll agree that these fortresses are some seriously epic structures that guarantee some seriously epic fights.

I hope it will. The blog post below has a huge amount of info on the different siege weapons you can build, trebuchets, catapults, arrow carts, ballistae and golems, and the smaller objectives that’ll chew up your server’s patriotic fighters. The open beta is out in March: shall we all gather in a keep together and sing songs of the motherland?

Via ArenaNet’s blog.

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52 Comments »

  1. Sweedums says:

    While it sounds great, and i really cannot wait for this game, this kind of PvP can fail pretty hard if the people playing become super obsessed with their stats. What comes to mind is LOTRO’s monster play, and how that basically reverted to two massive groups of players, with one hiding in a fort, not daring to go out, and one standing outside the fort, not daring to go in.

    Because there was so little coordination, and so few players who wanted to just charge in… it seemed like a neverending stalemate. Hopefully it will be designed so that players constantly have a reason to be pushing in one direction or another

    EDIT: as it seems to be guild oriented, that might be enough for people to actually work together. if i remember rightly, GW1′s PvP was fiercely competetive

    • McDan says:

      I think that if the attitude of the pvp in the first game is brought across into these large battles then it will be pretty damn good, the comepetitiveness and the way that games could change suddenly with one team winning then the other would be great to have in things like this. Can’t wait for it.

    • Malk_Content says:

      They have designed a reason to leave your forts once you have them. To maintain your keep (keep walls repaired, replenish and upgrade npc guards, buy seige weapons) your team needs a resource called Supply. This resource is generated at smaller locations (made specifically for smaller groups to be able to deal with) that can be captured and recaptured like Villages and Quarries. Players can grab supply from these locations themselves (albeit in limited amounts) or escort transports carrying large amounts of supply to keeps and towers. If you own a keep you’ll need to send players out to maintain supply routes, and if you want to break a keep your going to need to capture this supply for yourself (to make siege weapons.)

      They’ve also got NPC races in the wilds you can befriend to help with a battle (the example they gave was recruiting ogres after helping them with a local harpy infestation) but I’m not sure how important a job this will be.

    • AgamemnonV2 says:

      This tactic in LotRO has nothing to do with stats. Rather it’s the SOP for creeps and freeps. The outnumbered (losing) side will retreat into keeps and hide behind NPCs while trying to pick off the other side that tries to take the keep. However, the other side has no interest in taking the keep; instead, they try and bait the defenders to over-extend so they can kill them. I have seen these sorts of “battles” go on for hours of time. It’s popularly known as “renown/infamy farming”. The attackers have no intention in taking the keep; they just want the opposing side to rally to its defense and get bottle-necked in narrow hallways so the stragglers can get picked off.

      Couple this with how keeps are pretty much worthless in regards to their value and this is what every night is like out in the Moors in LotRO (although mostly at STAB when creeps control everything). Turbine could do a number of things with their current technology to counteract this; spawn waves of NPCs to auto-charge the front gate and grab aggro from a long range and hold it for an equally long range or something. Some sort of in-game mechanic that says, “Okay, you’ve been out on the front lawn for too long. Time to fight or run away.”

    • Sweedums says:

      @AgamemnonV2 – Yep thats been most of my past experience of moster play. It was only ever fun when I could go around with maybe 2 or 3 friends and hunt smaller packs of players, the raid battles around the keeps were so dull. I havn’t played it in a long time tho, not since it went F2P (since i think you need to pay for access to it). But yeah, when i said it was about stats, i meant the whole infamy thing… how it basically became a grind for that, becuase the forts themselves had no actual value to them.

      Anyway, as other people have mentioned, i think its good that they are giving people incentives in this to be moving around, securing new zones, defending held emplacements etc. It sounds like it could be a heck of a lot of fun.

    • Eamo says:

      It sounds very similar to the original design of Alterac Valley in WoW, do things to upgrade your sides defences, boost your NPCs, summon boss monsters who will fight with you etc. The main issue with that was that it was incredibly sensitive to faction balance, the side with the most people tended to win which tended to snowball a little, it made it less interesting for the side with the lower population to even take part making them even less likely to win and so on. That said, on the servers where it worked it was fantastic and those 30 hour or longer battles were things that live in player memories for a long time.

    • liasahdv says:

      Just so I don’t end up looking like I made it up, here’s the post: http://url.ie/e5di

    • JackShandy says:

      Couldn’t that be intentional? I mean, that’s what real sieges were like, after all. A lot of guys sitting outside, a lot of guys starving inside. Maybe not the funnest thing possible, but they’re trying to be true to tolkien and all.

  2. Premium User Badge

    davidgilbert says:

    Sounds interesting but lets hope the things you can build use common items and not stuff that forces you to go off and craft objects, or to get 1000 sharks gizzards etc.

    • Premium User Badge

      Jubaal says:

      “Anyone can build siege weapons in Guild Wars 2. There are no special trade skills required; all you need is a blueprint, some supply, a little help from your friends, and a desire to inflict some serious damage.”

    • quaunaut says:

      They already addressed that. The item you use is called ‘Supply’, and you get it entirely from resource-acquisition places in the WvWvW zones. Each one takes more supply than a single player would have, so you want to always have some on you to help out other folks’ setups like this.

  3. Gnoupi says:

    I’m throwing money at the screen, will it make it release faster?

    • Orija says:

      No, but throwing money at me may.

    • Reapy says:

      I have joined you in chucking my hard earned wages at the screen as well, good sir!

    • soco says:

      My wallet cracked the monitor.

    • Nevard says:

      Am I allowed to pick up the fallen cash and throw it at the screen again or is that considered cheating?

  4. mmalove says:

    The only trouble with massive player based battles, is they historically require a certain threshold of interested players (else there’s not enough to do all the interesting bits), while simultaneously once you achieve THAT number, then everyone wants to do it at once (causing massive server lag/headaches). Its very difficult to hit and maintain that sweet spot without resorting to some form of matchmaking/instanced system, which in turn tend to best function in smaller groups.

    I unfortunately see this going the way of warhammer: amazing but laggy at first, then as interest wanes there will be these giant frameworks for epic battles that no one ever attends.

    • sneetch says:

      Well, on their website they say:

      “At the end of each battle, every team is given a new ranking. Once a battle ends and team rankings are updated, servers are matched up based on their new ranking and a new battle commences. Downtime between these epic battles lasts only a few minutes—just long enough for us to tally the final scores, update the server rankings, and create new matches—so there’s almost always a battle for the Mists going on.”

      That and the fact that the battles last for days sounds pretty good, if your server isn’t doing so well because relatively few people want to play PVP then your server will be matched up with other similarly uninterested/underpopulated servers rather than being stuck in a battlegroup with two vastly superior PVP servers and being a punching bag.

      They also have other, instanced battlegrounds for more instant play. I’m not sure if you can use your main characters in those or if they’re seperate ones.

    • Malk_Content says:

      The five man per team hot joinable areana style pvp (with a server browser no less!) Uses your pve character, but you get pumped up to lvl 80 with everything unlocked (skills/traits) and a choice of max lvl pvp gear for the different weapons and armour etc. That way everyone is on a level playing field, you can always play with your friends (one of the problems I had in WaR was staying in the same level range as my friends for the pvp. Meant I had to have basically two characters, one whom I’m played with on my own and one to play with them.) In the WvWvW games your stats are bumped to 80 (so you are never just a punching bag for higher lvl players) but you still unlock skills and find new armours like in pve.

      Most awesomely both are available immediately after the tutorial (lvl 2) I’m probably gunna make as many classes as character slots allow, plonk them all into arena pvp to see which one offers the options I like the look of best, then go dick around in pve.

    • sneetch says:

      @Malk_Content
      That way everyone is on a level playing field, you can always play with your friends (one of the problems I had in WaR was staying in the same level range as my friends for the pvp. Meant I had to have basically two characters, one whom I’m played with on my own and one to play with them.)

      That’s fantastic, and I know that problem well as in almost every MMO I’ve played I’ve had to do that, in War I had 3 characters one for the group, one for when me and the friend who could play the most were on buthe others weren’t and one for soloing. I played the character that I picked for the group the least and, of course, it turned out to be the most fun.

      Wish they’d turn that game into a F2P game. I will not subscribe to it again but I really liked the scenarios.

  5. Vinraith says:

    Is there any firewall between the PvP battles system described here and the PvE game, or as a PvE player would I be affected/inconvenienced by this?

    • sneetch says:

      From what I can see you will not be inconvenienced by this. The PVE is “safe” from all PVP shenanigans: these battles are server vs server, only players from your server will ever be in the PVE areas and all the players on a server are on the same side/”friendly”. There is also instanced PVP as well but that’s red team vs blue team and is seperate from the PVE world too.

    • quaunaut says:

      You might be /slightly/ affected, by the buffs given out to servers that win especially a lot(2+ wins in a row). However otherwise, not at all- this zone is something you load into from the PvE world, and you can choose to either stay there or go back to the PvE world. Nothing is in it that requires PvE players to engage with.

    • deadly.by.design says:

      GW’s Factions campaign affected players by the territories changing control between Luxons & Kurzicks, but I think it only changed the amount of points you won in PvP. (i.e., more points for a win in deep enemy territory) Getting PvE access to certain areas had more to do with how much you had sucked up to the faction NPCs, IIRC.

    • Dominic White says:

      The Mists (the open-warfare ‘world’) is completely seperate from the rest of the game. From what I’ve read, GW2 is 5 games in one:

      1: Personal story – a branching, singleplayer-style RPG where you have your own personal town instance that changes based on who you help and what missions you complete. You can invite friends to join you as party members, but this is your story, not theirs.

      2: Overworld/dynamic adventuring – Massively co-op. Everyone is on the same side, and quests just happen actively without anyone needing to party up. Events scale to the number of active players involved, and rewards are given based on involvement, too.

      3: The Mists – Hybrid PvE/PvP. Set over four large maps, persistent warfare. There’s NPC armies and factions and bases and boss fights, but players are split into three warring factions, each with a ‘base’ zone. Your level is automatically bumped up to stat-equivalent to Lv80 if you play here, so no ganking newbies. You gain XP and loot from this mode, so can gain levels and equipment even without touching the story stuff.

      Victory in The Mists apparently gives your home server some minor buffs (slightly higher loot drop chances, etc), but it’s nothing to write home about.

      4: Public Arenas – Up to 10 v 10 structured team-games, hot-joinable, so you can jump in or drop out without screwing everyone. It’s just for fun. Everyone in this mode gets a special PvP character with all skills, max stats and default gear loadouts.

      5: Structured Arenas – 5 v 5 matchmaker/party/guild matches. Can’t join once in progress. Serious E-sports stuff, apparently. Same deal with level/gear as public arenas.

    • Vinraith says:

      @Dominic

      Yeah, that sounds like what we’re getting alright. 3-5 are as irrelevant to me as PvP was in the original Guild Wars, 1 sounds like fun, and 2 may kill the whole damn game. I liked the instancing in the original, it let me play with the people I wanted to play with and not be bothered by anyone else.

    • Sassenach says:

      I would say that the nature of the buffs derived from point three are encouraging, in that they modify the scale of successes without improving the chance of success happening. Given the inevitable evolution of a min/max mind set a buff that let you boost the chances of victory, however slight, has the effect of making people inclined to feel they have to have it, and that anything else is a half-arsed attempt jeopardising the whole enterprise. Thus people will expend far more energy on acquiring this advantage then they otherwise would. To take World of Warcraft as an example some encounters are mathematically impossible under certain conditions (e.g. poor character progress). It therefore stands that some encounters could be impossible without any given buff.

      On the other hand increasing the scale of the reward for success isn’t a binary win/lose switch, it is a quantifiable gain that I think people could be much more rational about. In specific relation to Vinraith he wouldn’t feel that something could be impossible without said buff, as it could otherwise be said if it increased the chances of victory. The effort one is willing to spend on an indirectly related activity is therefore far more proportionate under this system, and less conducive to conducting oneself in a manner that makes one ask oneself “why am I doing this”.

  6. Chalky says:

    Are RPS folks are in the upcoming press beta this weekend? I certainly hope so, I’d love to read an “impressions” article on how the game really plays.

  7. db1331 says:

    I can’t wait to see mmore about this game.

  8. jjujubird says:

    This has been my most anticipated game for the last couple years :O
    It seems like 2012 is going to be such a good game year, the best we’ve had in a long time (and incidentally it’s also a really good year for new albums, AND game of thrones s2 comes in april.. ahhhh).

    I really don’t know how I’m going to find the time to consume everything.

  9. deadly.by.design says:

    Guild Wars was the only MMO I liked, partially due to not having subs.

    GW2 may be the only MMO to make me break my “no more MMOs” rule. You know, since there are still no subs….

    • Daryl says:

      Same here. A bunch of friends play SWTOR; I have no interest in it whatsoever though. I keep telling them that Guild Wars 2 will be the game they really want to play. It looks so much better,. No subscription fee is a huge plus well.

    • nrvsNRG says:

      i was playing TOR but quit recently, but i know lots of ppl from my guild (and elsewhere) are just playing TOR until GW2 comes out, then they’ll leave.I cant wait for it, it looks great.

  10. Scatterbrainpaul says:

    Could this be the first mmo I actually get into, I really want it to be

    But I doubt it

  11. Premium User Badge

    MerseyMal says:

    Sounds like the kind of thing that I’ve been missing since I stopped playing Dark Age Of Camelot.

    • Futhark says:

      Funny you say that, because I read the whole article and I have trouble seeing how it will be any different than DaoC’s RvR, other than the fact there’s no Darkness Falls (gated PvE instance only the RvR ‘winner’ can access) involved. That’s not a bad thing though, as RvR was pretty fun back when I played DaoC.

      I read a lot of the GW2 team loves DaoC and this really comes as no surprise after reading about WvW.

  12. Feriluce says:

    Wait what? Open beta in march? Thats the first I’ve heard of that, did I miss something?

    • Milos says:

      I can’t blame Craig for calling it open beta for the sake of brevity but it’s not exactly true. Here’s a quote from Martin Kerstein himself (from a post on GW2 guru):

      ” Ok, to clarify a couple of points:

      We purposely didn’t use the term “Open Beta”, we mentioned Beta Events. To some people Open Beta means unlimited access to the game and everybody on the interwebs can play it. This is not what we will do.

      We will do Beta Weekend Events. Those of you who played Guild Wars might already be familiar with the concept. It means that many of you (like the blogpost says) will get a chance to participate in specific Events, but access won’t be unlimited – there will be some kind of selection criteria and the beta period will usually start on a Friday and end on the following Sunday.

      I hope this helps.”

    • Sassenach says:

      I went through the blog post looking for reference to a point from Milos. I didn’t find said reference. I did however recoil significantly when I read the sub-header ‘It pays to upgrade’ (emphasis my own) prompting visions of terrible, terrible microtransaction features. Fortuanately this is not what the section described at all.

    • Milos says:

      Just so I don’t end up looking like I made it up, here’s the post:

      http://www.guildwars2guru.com/forum/showpost.php?p=1070552&postcount=652
      (and here is the 55 page thread it originated on: http://www.guildwars2guru.com/forum/welcome-year-dragon-t26134.html )

      As for the paying part I don’t follow. Are you speaking of micro transactions in GW2? Because that’s no news they’ve been open about it for a long time, and they introduced them to GW1 as well to test out the ins and outs of how it would work in GW2. In short – it’s only costumes and other cosmetic fluff that doesn’t influence gameplay in any exploitative way.

  13. Lobotomist says:

    “The open beta is out in March: shall we all gather in a keep together and sing songs of the motherland?”

    Wait ! What ?!

    OPEN BETA IN MARCH ???!!!!!

    Please confirm this !

  14. Shooop says:

    This. This looks amazing. It may be the first MMO RPG I ever really sit down and play.

  15. checksum says:

    Hopefully this is handled better than massive pvp battles in Aion. So many people in one place at a time battling turned into a lagfest where you couldn’t see other players. Everyone just casted AoE attacks on the areas where the most shadows were, and hopefully in 25 seconds when the spell actually executes those people were too lagged out to move.

  16. cyrenic says:

    I’ve been looking forward to GW2, but reading about this has put me over the top. Reading through that was like going through my wishlist of “things I want in large scale PvP”.

    Time to see where I should pre order this from.

  17. Dana says:

    Lets just hope that you wont need NASA computer to handle these epic battles.

  18. MythArcana says:

    Guild Wars is still on my hard drive after all these years and has proven to be an institution of quality and perpetual content. All this for $0 per month. I can only imagine how the sequel will top the original over time.

  19. namad says:

    this was an amazing innovation 10years ago when DAOC did it…

    everyone always seems to forget about the early achievers in the mmo age. why is the author of this article so easily impressed?

  20. Suits says:

    Can’t wait, even though this doesn’t particularly interests me the most

  21. Dances to Podcasts says:

    I remember that in GW1 you could jump around freely between servers. Does this mean you can’t in GW2?

  22. vanRoK says:

    Lineage 2 has the best Siege mode,if it’s anything like that im in.