With the first Guild Wars 2 Beta now only hours away, what better way to pass the time while you stare at the login screen than to read some useful tips on the two structured PvP maps that are available this weekend.
Battle of Kyhlo and Forest of Niflhel, to give them their full titles, are conquest game types. The objective on both maps is to capture capture points or kill your opponent to earn ‘score’, with the first team to reach 500 declared the winner. It’s a simple premise but one that is steeped in nuances, through the careful map design and addition of secondary mechanics.
Kyhlo provides each team a single powerful trebuchet, at either end of the map that needs to be player manned. Niflhel in contrast, includes two unique NPC monsters that spawn in the upper northwest and northeast corners. Killing these creatures rewards the team that kills them fifty points and a temporary buff.
Both maps play vastly different with Kyhlo at times a confined scrappy affair due to tight spaces, cramped walkways and object littered streets. Niflhel is much more expansive and lends itself to ranged play, but also encourages immediate encounters right from the spawn point, with one of two spawn point exists facing the opposing team's.
Now that you know the very basics, let’s make a start on some of my favourite Do’s and Don’ts of either map and some of the transferable tactics between the two.
Do Plan Ahead. This includes your choice of weapons, skills, routes around the map and your role. Do you want to focus just on destroying the opponent’s trebuchet? Do you want to just fire your team’s trebuchet? Are you just going to capture points? Are you going to roam, killing off the opponent's players who are just capturing points? Are you taking a mixed role?
All of these require adaptation. If you are just firing the trebuchet, it’s likely you’ll spend a great deal of time being on your own or defending it by yourself, so taking several defensive skills will buy you time if you are attacked by multiple players. If taking capture points you’ll need skills and weapon sets that help you traverse the map quickly. Skills that grant swiftness or passive speed increases such as Signet of the Hunt are great, while the Theif's Shortbow (Infiltrators Arrow) or Ranger Warhorn are two examples of excellent weapons for this role.
Don’t Always Stay Together. You might feel secure in a large group, but organised teams will easily work around you, snapping up capture points as your large group struggles to keep up. Or worse, fire a trebuchet right in the middle of you. All doing the same thing, such as 5 people securing the Clocktower when no opponents are there is much less effective than splitting your team down to attack multiple points. Don’t be afraid to pair up or go solo and break away from the pack.
Do Use The Trebuchet. It takes a little practice but after a few test fires you’ll quickly be raining down death on your opponents. No only does it deal massive damage, but it also knocks opponents down. Its range can reach both the Windmill and the Mansion so you can provide a great deal of support to your team who are fighting at capture points; choosing not to use the trebuchet, when the opposing team may be using theirs, will really make life difficult for you.
Don’t Ignore Their Trebuchet. If your opposing team are using their trebuchet, stopping them quickly and destroying it will seriously delay their ability to deal massive damage to your team. Your team having to take time out to repair their trebuchet will buy you valuable time to secure capture points or kill anyone trying to secure the repair kit. If you have decided you are focusing purely on capturing capture points, it’s a good idea to also task yourself with disrupting your opponent’s use of the trebuchet. If you aren’t confident in fighting someone 1 on 1, ask for help.
Do Destroy It Anyway. Even if your opponent isn’t using their trebuchet, destroy it anyway. This will stop any of the opposing team who decide to suddenly use it, from doing so and will buy you precious time as they go off in search of a repair kit. It might appear a little out of your way but is well worth doing.
Don’t Camp The Clocktower. The Clocktower should be renamed “Please Fire At Me” as it is guaranteed to be the first target for anyone manning the trebuchet. Camping it, although guaranteeing you plenty of combat, will see you barraged constantly that most often than not, will result in your death. Get in, get it captured and get out (preferably through the windows!).
Do Communicate. Talk to your team before the match starts and let them know what you plan on doing and let them know through the course of the match if it changes. Don’t be afraid to call tactics and ask for someone to help you at a control point or attacking your opponent’s trebuchet.
Don’t Always Fight. Knowing when to pick your fights is the sign of a player being aware of the wider picture. Jumping into a fight when you know you will lose will only provide the opposing team with easy points and hinder your team, as you are forced to re-spawn. Turning away from combat and heading in the opposite direction to another control point will stretch the opposing team and provide you with valuable points.
Do Be Wary of choke points. The slope up to the Windmill and stairs up to the Mansion are notorious choke points, especially if you only have melee weapons equipped. Ranged classes can cause huge damage to you on your way up or worse, will immobilise you and your group and rain down area of effect damage. Try to attack these capture points from both sides but be wary when doing so, the Red base over looks the Windmill and the Blue Base overlooks the Mansion, so you might run in to trouble.
Do Use the Clocktower Roof. It is the highest point on the map when stood on the roof and will allow you to gain a birdseye view of your surroundings. Using the roof as a vantage point will let you know instantly who is at what capture point, giving you a clear indication that it is ripe to be taken. It’s also great for relaying to your team where large groups of opposing players are heading.
Don’t Standstill. Even if you decide your build is best suited to defending capture points, arguably you will be doing a disservice to your team by just staying in one place. If you really don’t want to stray too far from one particular control point, try to break the map down. Covering an area, from Clocktower to Windmill or Clocktower to Mansion will be much more effective.
Do Remember Capture Points. This might sound obvious and it’s certainly fun just killing the opposing team, but the easiest way to secure points and quickly is to capture points! It might be less exciting waiting for a capture point to come under your team’s control, rather than hitting someone in the face with a greatsword, but your team will see the benefits.
Do Plan Ahead. I may be repeating myself, but preparation in Niflhel is just as important as in Khylo. This still includes your choice of weapons, skills, routes around the map and your role. Unlike Kyhlo however, Niflhel is much more expansive, with various locations that are wide open; I’d really recommend everyone to take a ranged weapon, even if it is your secondary. Ranged combat may not be your preferred playstyle, but having the ability to deal damage from afar or while closing the gap is really worthwhile.
Don’t Forget About The NPC’s. 50 points for killing them and a team wide buff isn’t something to be ignored and is also a big jump towards your total score. As the Blue team, it is easiest to check for Chieftain Utahein by leaving the westerly exit of the Blue Base, following the path through Henge and north to the Keep. As the Red team, leave through the easterly exit, north through the Mine and on to the Keep. You’ll soon find Svanir. These routes for both teams will allow you to skirt the outside of the map and reduce the chance of encountering opponents, leaving you free to take down the NPC. Beware however; they are tough to kill.
Don’t Camp The Keep. Similarly to the Clocktower, the Keep is a magnet for all players but with four entry points (east and west staircases and rear east and west staircases) players capturing the point are incredibly vulnerable from all sides. It is much more effective to capture the Keep and move on than constantly trying to fight it out. The height advantage however, and the ability to trap approaching players on the open staircases, is a viable defensive tactic, especially if you’ve a trap heavy thief, ranger or mine kit engineer.
Do Be Wary of choke points. There are several in Niflhel that are incredibly dangerous. These are primarily the tiny paths through to Henge and Mine that leadoff from the centre of the map as well as the small openings through to the water ways, at the base of the westerly keep steps and before the river crossing at the easterly side of the keep (see map below). Being caught in either of these locations will leave you incredibly vulnerable, so be careful.
Don’t Get Trapped In Open Play. The main point where players gravitate in Niflhel is the “shared” area between both bases, near the beach. As tempting as it is to jump down from your base to fight the masses (the westerly exit for the Red team and Easterly exit for the Blue team) you’ll be sure to lose if you get trapped into a cycle of spawning, exiting and dying just to take part in some fighting. It is a far better solution to simply leave through the opposite exit towards the capture points than it is to feed the opposition free score.
Do Use Caution. Kyhlo’s capture points tend to put the player at a height advantage over attackers (both the Mansion and Windmill are raised areas) Niflhel however puts the player at a significant height disadvantage. The Henge is surrounded by a raised hill; the Mine sees a wooden gantry surround it and the Keep a rear wall. Unless the coast is clear, it is difficult to decide how to deal with this as you cannot capture any of the three point s on the surrounding raised areas. I found the best tactic is to have a spotter to call out when someone is approaching, quickly killing the attacker, before returning back to the capture point.
Don’t Just Use The Stairs. People rarely use the rear path to the Keep wall which is surprising considering it will put you at a significant height advantage. A small group of players can easily creep up on unsuspecting opposition who are capturing the point, immobilise them all and then rain down AOE attacks. The height advantage will also keep you clear of melee players.
Good luck in both maps this weekend and feel free to let me know of any tactics you discover along the way!