A Sack Of Cats: A Guild Wars 2 War Story, Pt.2

(Part one.)

You are looking at my Guild Wars 2 character, a necromancer from a bloodline of great Defenders of Ascalon, standing proudly before his guild banner. A descendant of great heroes, who once lay forgotten and hopeless in the dirt like a sack of cats – now restored to the glory that is his birthright.

But how did he arrive there? How did he achieve this?

Being a casual guild, we’re not so good at making plans. So our first foray into WvWvW as a guild was a spur of the moment thing. It was a “Hey, you want to jump into thingy?” No strategy, no preparation, just a plunge straight in with both feet.

We travelled to Aurora Glade Borderlands, and I explained a little bit about what I’d learned.

  • Look out for marauding packs of enemy players. They roam around the map like an aggressive hen party. Except it isn’t a kiss they want.
  • Be prepared to spend a lot of silver repairing your armour, or be prepared to be running around in your underwear like someone who just ran into an aggressive hen party.
  • Never underestimate wolves. Don’t let a “chain-howl” happen. You’ll know it when you experience it. It’s not a porn thing.
  • Don’t think you can’t repeatedly die from falling off cliffs like a fucking idiot.
  • If you see a big bunch of friendly players, tag along with them to try to share in some of their glory – none of them will notice that you haven’t managed to land a hit on anything.
  • Grab supplies whenever you can, and run around not knowing what to do with them, until you find something you can interact with that uses up the supply and then you can say “I USED SUPPLIES ON A THING!” and then go and get more supplies.
  • Don’t get bold and think you can do things that you can’t do. Let me explain what I mean. Sometimes, in a big battle, things will be going okay. As a Necro, you might be standing back, laying down marks and curses, and helping the whole gang out. At some point, you WILL be tempted to dash forward and finish someone off with a melee attack. You will feel that urge rising within you. You have to resist that urge. Because when you dash forward into the pack like an idiot, you will die like an idiot.

Okay, so in we went.

There were three of us, and a couple of randoms tagged along with us. I hoped that they didn’t think we knew what we were doing. We came across a tower, and I suggested that we try to take it and hold it, instead of just running around the map like headless chickens. We started our attack on the NPCs who were defending the tower. I was aware, if the others weren’t, that we really had to take the tower fast. There was every chance a roaming pack of enemy players could find us and take us out in a heartbeat. I knew we had to get in that door and start defending the place as ours, and quickly. That gave the whole experience of battering down those guards and doors an extra edge. It was a race against time.

Into the tower we went. A couple more randoms had joined by this time, as we fought our way up the stairs. I peppered the guards with condition damage and flung my Mistfire Wolf and all its cute little ghosty puppies at them. I could feel my heart pumping in my chest.


Now, I know that taking a tower is no big deal. I know that towers are capped and capped and capped again all night long in WvWvW. I know that they’re just one small part of the whole process. But this was our first. Our first possible capture. And as someone who had only ever went to WvWvW to die under bridges and over hills, this was a big moment. It was two in the morning, there were only about seven of us, all rookies, and we stood on the edge of glory.

Now, when you reach the top of the tower, you always have to face off against the Tower Lord. And believe me – when there aren’t many of you storming a tower, the NPC fights can be pretty tricky. It’s no cakewalk. (You’ll all probably tell me that it is.) We had to fight smart to keep everybody on their feet. By “fight smart” I really mean that we had to keep hammering REVIVE. REVIVE. REVIVE. REVIVE. By this point, my fellow guildies were excitedly trying to type messages at me while we fought.





Sure, we should use voice chat. I know, I know. And we will. But like I said – we’re a casual guild, playing casually, and I love all the typos that excitement generates. And to these casual players, seeing that Tower Lord fall was a great moment. A moment that was only surpassed by claiming the tower for our Guild and seeing our banners fly.

Here you can see me looking down on the gates of our tower. Our tower. Our banners. Ours.

Ownership is an important thing in an MMO, I think. In WvWvW it is temporary, a fleeting thing, but still a wonderful feeling. If we can’t have a home, then at least we can take these Towers and Keeps on these battlefields, and hold them for as long as we’re able. I worry that with extended play of WvWvW the magic of capturing these places might fade. I worry that it just starts to feel like capping a flag in some FPS. I hope that I never get good enough at the game that it all becomes as routine as that.

I’d rather stay this rookie who gets lucky sometimes and steals a Tower from under the nose of better players who are busy somewhere else. I’d rather feel my heart pound in my chest and think to myself “I can’t believe we’re getting away with this.”

After we took the tower, we took a lot of screenshots and just enjoyed our little home. We stood up on the walls, surrounded by our own friendly NPC guards, and surveyed the battlefield. We felt really fucking good for a while.

War needs its heroes, sure. But that’s not us. And war needs its dead. That’s usually us, sadly. But it also needs its plucky underdogs who help turn the tide of the battle with an opportunistic victory in the dead of night.

On that night, those underdogs draped a tower with our beautiful flag.


  1. Lemming says:

    I gotta ask: Is it just you calling it a tower or is it game parlance? Because that looks like a fort. It’s barely got two stories!

    • Obc says:

      there are camps, towers, keeps, forts and a castle.

      i have to look up what the place in the pic is called. btw the place the player is standing on is such a BS area. you can put arrowcarts and mortars up there and defend the keep without getting hit easily.

      • Yargh says:

        You mean that the battlements are actually working as designed? Shocking!

  2. Obc says:

    -if you are just 10 people take two siege rams with you.

    -with 10 people the tower lord IS a cake walk ;) (yeah someone had to say it as you already pointed out)

    -there should be no real need to rush. if you are a small group only attack those towers that are far away from the enemy zerg. how do you know where the enemy zerg is? just look at the map and ask in team/map chat

    -if the supply of the tower you just took over is empty, leave it. if there is no way to upgrade then it will be hard to defend it once the enemy arrives. just take over the next tower/supply camp

    -always have someone with a siege ram with you.

    -WvW is a good place to earn silver if you tag along with a zerg or when in a small group only take over the places that are least defended. if you play carefully you should be able to get out of WvW with a lot more money then you came with.

    -learn the art of escape and stalling. with my elementalist i can outrun most of my enemies or stall them so that my friends can espace. if you cant run away then jump off a cliff. fall damage doesnt destroy armour (money saved).

    “I’d rather stay this rookie who gets lucky sometimes and steals a Tower from under the nose of better players who are busy somewhere else. I’d rather feel my heart pound in my chest and think to myself “I can’t believe we’re getting away with this.””

    taking over something big after a hard battle is sooo aweome. like a keep the enemy is using to storage their orb. but! such a thing can take soo damn long that its much more fun to take over many smaller tower/camps. so in that regard “getting away with this” applies to every skill level.

    • f1x says:

      I participated in one those “big battles” and it was awesome,

      cant say exactly were or what, but “the enemies” were sieging one of the big fortresses in the middle of the map, and I was defending along with the rest of the bunch, the guys just keep coming, an insane amount of them, they attacked one of the doors/wall for maybe half an hour then moved to another part for another 30mins and then finally gave up,

      The feeling defending there was quite epic, been a while since I felt that in an MMO, regular skirmishes around the map were pretty nice aswell, taking or defending small forts, my advice is always try to follow a group of people (if you play alone/guildless like me), it gives you more chances and usually people know were they are going (I do not :s)

      • Obc says:

        i am in a very small guild with only former wow player (or back again wow players xD) and whenever i join WvW, i join the TS of the WvW guild of our server (equinox) and tag along with them.

        just the last 30 minutes i was having a blast with them. we took both of the enemies’ borderlands (completly) and most of the eternal battleground (though we lost most of our own borderland). it was awesome.

        its great that there is a “public” TS and people who are guiding you along. though i wouldnt want to be in that guild as everyone has to do boring jobs (scouting) at some point or take day/night shifts…

  3. aliksy says:

    As a note, I don’t think you typically want to take supply out of forts. That supply is needed to upgrade the tower, so if you take it upgrades won’t happen. You want to take supply from the supply camps.

    You’ll notice a lot of shouting in the team chat (which you should probably keep an eye on) about “Don’t take supply from the tower/keep!”.

    • Chalky says:

      Yes, this really needs highlighting – don’t take supply from forts and keeps. They need that supply to upgrade the fort – take supply from supply camps because it spawns there. The only way to get supply to forts and keeps is to escort a dolyak.

      It is so frustrating to spend 5 mins escorting supply to a keep to see it instantly taken by random players to go repair some wall that nobody cares about.

  4. Phantoon says:

    Go get more supplies… but not from a keep, tower, or Stonemist, unless they’re not under attack, have full supplies, and nothing is being upgraded. Unless it’s Stonemist, then never take supplies from there, ever. Much better to take supplies from an enemy camp you just took.

    And I’m pretty sure Wolves can’t chain howl anymore, because if they did, they’d be the best in the game for farming when you’re on a low population server that can’t possibly fight the servers it’s stacked against.

    And Necromancer is actually the most resilient class, it’s just that few people have caught on yet. Arenanet has said that it’s the sleeper class, because it’s probably the most powerful. I think it balances out, because it also lacks many escape tools.

    Here’s a better tip: Try out the jumping puzzle at some point if you’re any good at platformers, or make friends with a Mesmer if you are not. You get a bunch of free badges, two free siege weapons, and some loot. There’s a jumping puzzle in the borderlands that’s easier to do, too.

    Just don’t try to do the puzzle when your side is getting dominated. Your team needs the manpower, and you probably won’t make it anyways.

    • Obc says:

      jumping puzzles are a good idea, but during the matchups on my server they are heavily contested.

  5. McDan says:

    Having got the game yesterday I haven’t tried WvWvW yet, but having tons of fun with normal things. Going to join the humble RPS guild at some point hopefully, and then some casual WvWvW, good times ahead!

  6. Severian says:

    Thanks for these – keep them coming! I’ve put over 70 hours into GW2 (lvl 50 Thief and lvl 15 Guardian), but have barely touched WvWvW. I jumped in once just to see what it was all about and it turns out my server is completely dominating everything, so I just wandered around with our zerg for a while feeling silly. GW2 is a great game – so many things to do, all the time, and most of them solo if you want – but there’s very little explanation for the deeper intricacies of the game (like crafting, or WvW, or dungeon raids, etc.) which seem completely mystifying to MMO newbs like myself.

    • frightlever says:

      You know, I think you can either go research it or, much simpler, you can just pick it up as you go along. And like you said there’s so much to do that people will have different priorities. I maxed armor and weapon making, hitting 80 along the way, then started in to jewelcrafting (dropping armorsmithing temporarily to do so). I’m only slowly moving through the maps though, maxing them out, as my story quest takes me there.

      I played WvW for hours on Sunday to get the 50 kills I needed for the monthly achievement. Started out as a Warrior with a GS and a Rifle, ended up a lot wiser with a sword/warhorn and a longbow. I’ll never be good at WvW but after about four hours I was a lot better at staying alive than I was when I started. So long as you follow team chat you’ll pick up on how to handle supplies etc.

      I haven’t even been inside a dungeon yet.

      • Severian says:

        I joined the Gamers with Jobs guild, and 5 of us did a Dungeon run (my first) last week. AC is a pain in the neck, but I have to say, it was an enjoyable experience. The only trick is that you really do need to set aside some time for it – at least an hour, more likely a couple – and that fights against my need-to-be-flexible-because-of-wife-and-baby routine. I liked being on voice chat with those guys, and limiting dungeons to only 5 players was a wise design decision. Everybody matters and teamwork is vital. It’s just that some of those dungeon bosses nail you with one-hit kills.

        • Hug_dealer says:

          1 hit downs, not kills.

          There are tons of abilities in this game that get allies back on their feet.

          Also those people getting downed in 1 shit typical ignored toughness and vitality totally, attempting to max out the other traits and stats.

          seriously. 50 vit is 500 more hitpoints, which isnt hard to get, which can allow you to survive moments you would otherwise not.

  7. not-the-beez says:

    Had a good night last night with 4 of the guild on blacktide borderlands.
    We’re a useless server late evening/early morning, so our times spent roaming mostly between supply camps, just the 5 of us, trying to be a nuisance and picking off smaller groups we come across.
    And running away. Lots.

  8. yabonn says:

    Those are nice, friendly, tame typos.

    But typos can break your best combos :

    – help231333333

    Typos can kill.

  9. TsunamiWombat says:

    Still haven’t tried pvp. My lvl 25 Asura thief is wandering from start zone to start zone, just doing the start content and getting map completions.

  10. Shooop says:

    I’m not going into anything PvP until I hit 80 mostly because the thought of dealing with anyone with more skills/traits and stat-boosting armor scares me. I’m only just now running into AI enemy thieves and I’m puzzled as to how I should counter their stealth attacks aside from just shooting some black powder and then waiting and hoping they miss.

    I do not see this “strategy” taking me far in PvP. Someone help me.

    • Hug_dealer says:

      that my friend is how GW2 is different.

      Everyone in PvP is lvl 80, and you have all your skills and traits unlocked for PvP. They even have training dummies for you to test stuff on.

      whether lvl 1 or 20, you are equal in PvP. It just getting different gear from what you currently wear, that makes a difference, esp for builds.

      Going into pvp is a good way to test skills you havent purchased yet to see if you like them.

      • Shooop says:

        I knew the game boosted you to 80, but never knew it gave you max trait points to use. How nice.

        But I need to figure out how to fight human enemies somehow. The AI ones can even be troublesome at times which doesn’t bode well for me.

      • Obc says:

        i think this only applies to sPvP. In WvW you dont have all your traits unlocked.

        still its really nice to test out all classes/weapons in Heart of Mists and every traits/skill combination.

    • Obc says:

      You are scaled up to 80 in WvW. And recently on reddit someone pointed out that the upscaling is so weird that a lower level player might have more/better stats than someone who is lvl 80. (though with more skills/traits a lvl 80 player is still kinda better, but cause WvW is about large scale action this rarely matters).

  11. BathroomCitizen says:

    I’d like to join Guild Wars 2, but right now i’m stuck in the dark world of Dark Souls. I can’t get enough of it. Please help me!

  12. harvb says:

    I don’t actually know where the jumping puzzle is in the WvW, but I want to!

    I love WvW but oh my goodness am I bad at it!

  13. Enkinan says:

    Once you get the hang of it, WvWvW is a real blast. I typically run with a full group of guildies running interference and capping camps to supply the zerg that are usually taking larger targets while joining the zerg for the more difficult tower/castle caps.

  14. Animystic says:

    Is this anything like Alterac Valley in WoW back when AV was actually awesome? I’m so tempted to buy this game but I hardly have the time. Maybe over winter break I will.

  15. ghoststalker194 says:

    What a lovely story!