Guild Wars 2 PvP System Details

Guild Wars 2 PvP System Details by KQ

PvP is a competitive game mode occuring between players. In Guild Wars 2, it can be structured or unstructured.

Structured PvP provides an even playing field, where players are temporary given the maximum level (if not attained already) and unlocked all skills and traits. Certain skills and traits have changed functionalities and descriptions, and some are even disabled and can’t be used. Presumably, access to an equipment customization screen is granted.

Unstructured PvP is the exact opposite of structured PvP where players enter with their already developed characters, and their current levels and currently unlocked abilities and equipment, thus providing an imbalanced environment. No skills or traits are changed. WvW is the only unstructured mode.

Some activities, otherwise known as mini-games, resolve around player combat that is different than the rest of the game with very specific rules.TABLE OF CONTENTS

Availability & Access

Structured PvP
Pick-up play

Maps, Control Points, Objectives, Accessibility, Server Participation, Character Progression and Personal Rewards, Global Rewards, Guilds in WvW, Parties

PvP Lore Summary

Availability & Access


  • There are no level restrictions to PvP.
  • Despite having multiple worlds, GW2 has a global database; transferring between servers is available and simpler than in other games.
  • GW2 doesn’t have pure PvP characters. Players have only role-playing (RP) characters who can be taken anywhere and will still have everything unlocked in organized PvP.
  • Creating a new character is as simple as going through the character creation screen, completing the starting zone and switching to PvP mode through portals located in main cities.
  • A feature comparable to GW1’s observer (spectator) mode is available in GW2.
  • A lobby system where people can choose different match-ups is present.
  • There is a strict separation between PvE and PvP. For GW1, the attempt from the beginning was to have skills that functioned the same for both PvE and PvP, later being corrected with balancing updates introducing PvP-only versions to skills. It resulted in some professions being infrequently used in PvE and PvP. For GW2, this issue is being addressed from the start, with differently functioning skills as seen fit.
  • There will be PvP armor which every player has instant access to. Players can earn different looks for their PvP armor afterwards.

Combat Mechanics

  • PvP combat features visually intense fights and skills available to fulfill several functions. Skills are designed such so they can be easily recognized.
  • Ground effects for skills are the following:
    • Allied skills that have no benefits are encircled in a white ring.
    • Allied skills providing positive benefits are encircled in a blue ring.
    • Harmful skills are encircled in a red ring.


  • Downed mode applies equally to both PvE and PvP. In PvP, players have the option to perform a “finishing move” on downed foes to dispatch them more rapidly.
  • Body blocking is not present, and there are no plans of re-introducing it. There are howerver, a variety of systems that make up that lack (such as positioning and projectile hit detection).
  • Dueling as a format is not available in the game, as PvP combat is balanced around groups of players fighting and not one-on-one engagements. Dueling is on the “wish list” of things to add, but is unlikely to be made into the game on release.
  • Underwater combat is planned for PvP but is currently unavailable.
  • Energy potions have drop locations around the map in PvP; each player enters with a set amount of potions in combat.
  • There is less emphasis in GW2 on quick reactions, interrupts and shutdowns. The focus is more on strategic positioning and proactive skill usage. Interrupts are still in the game, but with the lowered emphasis on healing, it is much less important than what it was in GW1.
Structured PvP
  • Structured, or organized PvP has preset rules where everyone is on an equal playing field. Players take their character to PvP and retain their name, race, and profession. There is no power progression unlocking, everyone has access to the same power level, equipment, skills and traits. Any unlocks are purely for cosmetic items and cosmetic achievements.
  • There are a number of shared goals the PvP formats have, and they are scaled to different team sizes. Similar to dynamic events, you may join them in the middle of play. Some of the objectives are: capture the flag or escort a golem.
  • Structured PvP is divided on tournaments and pick-up play.
  • Tournaments allow smaller, prearranged, organized teams, of even sizes, to face off in brackets that determine an eventual winner. Teams are composed of 5 players, resulting in slightly larger maps than 4v4 areas in GW1. The aim for GW2 is to be a true e-sport.
  • Tournaments and automated tournaments – both big and small – will be ran frequently to give ad-hoc teams a fighting chance.
  • Player statistics and rankings are tracked and generated, and players can compare each other.
  • Splitting, where certain teams members divide from the main team, is focused on maps with several objectives where the accent is on constant motion (comparable to League of Legends or Team Fortress 2). Quote: “You’re 5 at point A then you go 3/2 only to go 4/1 the moment after, then you switch to 3/1/1 etc.”
Pick-up play
  • Pick-up play features variable (and larger) team sizes with public games that are hot-joinable. Players can leave or join a game already in progress, and the game modes and types are built in to support this.
  • Choosing a map is done via a server browser, similar to a first-person shooter. Players can filter the search through a variety of settings, such as different maps or available space.
  • Players can form a group or join a game on their own with this system. The group sizes can be adjusted as well.
  • Quote: “Since games are hot-join, we want to add support for micro-communities to have some control over the type of play environment the want, while in turn letting all players seek out the experience they enjoy.”
World versus World versus World
WvW is an unstructured PvP type, taking part in the Mists. Three worlds (servers) are matched up in one massive on-going fight with hundreds of players, where the goals are acquiring resources are capturing territory. The battle lasts up to two weeks, after which the participating worlds are reshuffled. Players may come and go as they please, sometimes generating uneven numbers between the player factions.


  • There are four persistent maps (areas) in WvW. They are available at all times, and don’t have player limits and occur in the same realm. Each server is given their own home starting area, and in between them is a huge, neutral area that is connected with the other three areas. Teams invade their opponents’ home maps only by first going through the center map, as there is no other connection between the starting areas.


  • These four maps will always remain unchanged and unaltered in design, so players don’t have to re-learn new maps.


Unconfirmed Information

Note: The following quote and map are supplied by Ares and are not to be taken as official information.

  • There are three teams; Blue, Red and Green
  • The castle is in the centre of the map. To the north of the castle, but not visible on the released screenshot, is the Red team’s base
  • In order to see the darkened areas on the map, you must explore those areas
  • Each team has access to a waypoint to their home base and to other significant areas of the map when you take control of them. For example the keep and castle should provide a waypoint once captured
  • Supplies are used to make siege weapons. Helping out the NPCs at the Lumber and Mine camps will provide your team with these supplies
  • There are small NPC towns located on the map. Helping them will enable them to aid your team. For example they will attack the enemy keeps, mines etc.

A partial map of the battleground, courtesy of Ares

Control Points

  • Each area has access to vital locations such as castles, mercenary camps, mines, mills and villages. The ones belonging to the central area provide valuable resources for each player controlled camp.


  • Once players travel to the center map, each team begins at their own portal keep.
  • There are NPC guards that defend certain controllable objectives, such as keeps. Their purpose is more defensive than it is offensive, and they slow down the capturing process, allowing enough time for players to defend their controlled object.



  • There are different objectives (conquest points) to keep players involved regardless of whether they prefer going solo or traveling in a group of a hundred. The objectives are various, and resolve either around defending or capturing points of interest, gathering resources (such as rocks) or simply defeating other players. The points of interest are including, but not limited to: supply caravans and trains, mines, siege weapons (e.g.: catapults, ballistas), lumber yards or mills, watch towers, fortresses (keeps).


  • Keeps are massive castles, for which are battles often resolved with siege weapons, breaching walls, and gates, and towers, capturing all these important points for the world in question.
  • The rotation and persistence of the objectives in WvW is similar to the event system where it encourages players to gather their forces and complete the goals at hand.



  • WvW has a more casual environment. It teaches the player core competencies that allow them to get involved in the high-end PvP if they wish, being the “bridge” between PvE and PvP.


  • Side-kicking is automatically applied to players in WvW. It brings everyone on a higher power level in order to sufficiently increase the degree of participation and contribution to the fight that everyone is able to manage.
  • Quote: “It’s intended to equalize things a bit, but it’s not meant to make you equal too. A level 1 who is kicked up to level 80 is not as good as “real” level 80 player. And there’s some progression in side-kicking as well. Level 1 side-kicked up to level 80 is worse than level 20 side-kicked up to level 80, which is worse than level 40 side-kicked up to level 80.”
  • Players are able to transfer between servers during a WvW match-up. As it would not be fair to allow people from other worlds to influence the balance of the battle by constantly moving between servers, there are some short-time restrictions for such players.
  • Despite the large potential for unbalanced numbers between groups, a small group is still legible to defeat a larger group in combat.


Server Participation

  • Every server is permanently engaged in WvW. The total number of servers will naturally have to be dividable by three.


  • The are no means of direct communication between the servers in WvW. If one side dominates, the other two servers can co-operate with an “unspoken agreement”.
  • Servers have a server ranking, which functions similarly to guild rankings. It may mean that the most dominant and frequently winning servers will often play against each others.
  • Server matchup are done between worlds of similar timezones.


Character Progression and Personal Rewards

  • As WvW is unstructured, your character progression plays a significant role. If you choose to do so, you can level your character to the max level solely through WvW. You can unlock abilities, gain skills, increase your power curve and obtain loot items from other players through random drops.


  • Higher level players may dominate lower level players in solo encounters.


Global Rewards

  • WvW can have a real impact on the server. By achieving victories in these battles there are benefits to the winning world, and the bonus will be unlocked to every player on the server, regardless if he participated or not.. These benefits are included, but not limited to: increased energy or health regeneration rate, enhanced loot drop rate or higher experience percentage gain.


  • People will only get bonuses in WvW during the contest, not after. There may be a time period where you are ineligible to receive the bonuses after switching servers.


Guilds in WvW

  • Guilds have a more common purpose and are able to hold keeps for a placement in the world.


  • Members of one’s guilds are very visible in order to keep a track of them, whether they are on the map or are close to the player.



  • There are no formal mechanics for players making a party larger than 5. Players can co-ordinate the actions of multiple parties through the use of shared chat channels or other means of communication.

Examples on participation:
The idea is that it’s this big open-structure PvP battlefield, and depending on your personal play style, you can choose to either be a tank and go up into the front lines and enter direct player-versus-player combat, or you can play more of a support role. Perhaps you want to protect a supply train that’s bringing supplies to ballistas on the castle walls, or perhaps you want to man the ballistas and shoot the ballistas at the enemy. Or maybe you want to man a watchtower way out in the forest so that you can give your team early warning that the enemy is trying to flank around the side.
The idea in this type of PvP is that it’s very unstructured where there are a lot of different goals. For example, there’s a castle that you want to take which is being held by an opposing world, but that takes a lot of players. But if you’re in a smaller group or on your own, there may be a stone mine that is also held by that world and sends caravans of stone to that castle. So whilst you may not be able to take the castle, you could take the stone mine, which will provide you with stone for your catapults, or you could take the caravans so they don’t get the stone and can’t defend the other guys that are attacking them.


  • Activities, or mini-games, are events that take part in the capital cities. They are very specific, each activity having different rules from the rest of the game.


  • Activities can either be solo – where the player competes for a higher score, team-based or a free-for-all. Some of the activities that have most PvP elements are including, but not limited to: bar brawl, snowball fight, keg brawl.
  • Players can participate in activities regardless of their level as activities are played on an equal footing.
  • Some activities are hot-joinable and can be entered while they’re in progress (such as the bar brawl).
  • Activities carry rewards. An example is given of a player knocking someobody out in a bar brawl and acquiring a Tooth (trophi item), which can be exchanged at a collector for various cosmetic items.
  • There are around 30 activities.


Examples on activities:
The bar brawl is, quite literally, all about downing an ale and breaking the empty bottle over someone else’s head. Ales come in several different flavors, each conveying different effects when consumed—for example, Grenth’s Grog goes down easy but comes up rough, allowing the player to belch out a noxious gas cloud. As you might imagine, this burp cloud is unhealthy to anyone foolish enough to get close, as well as unattractive to prospective dates. Be careful when imbibing ale! As characters become increasingly more drunk, their chance to land a critical hit rises… as well as their chance to totally miss with attacks. In the bar brawl, players can choose to throw an ale bottle to stun someone, or use it as a makeshift bludgeoning object. Bottles have a chance to break on impact, but if that happens, the fun isn’t over yet—you can use your broken bottle to shank people!

[…] Kick someone into a table, splintering it into pieces, then send another opponent flying by swatting them with one of the boards from the broken table. Use your surroundings to your advantage! If you see someone else engaged in a fight,why not be the opportunist and chuck a keg at them from behind? There’s no teamwork here; you’re in it for yourself, and just like an actual brawl, you’re encouraged to fight dirty in order to win.

PvP Lore Summary

With the awakening of the Elder Dragon Zhaitan and the rise of the Orrian peninsula, many Tyrian areas were flooded or initially abandoned. One of such areas was the archipelago Battle Isles, located in the Clashing Sea. It served as home and main post of the Zaishen Order, the Isles’ largest guild organization, its protectors and practitioners of war. On the Isles, the human heroes from all three continents trained and tested their forces against each others on multiple battlements.

But due to the flooding which occurred approximately 100 years ago (circa 1219 AE), the Isles were no longer setteable, and the Zaishen Order were thus forced to colonize on mainland Tyria, losing contact with the Canthans – their largest supporters. The Zaishen still hold tournaments and serve to honor and protect the holy places, but now they honor more than the god Balthazar alone, resulting through their acceptance of members within all races in its lines, with all their philosophies and beliefs. They honor the Spirit of Bear, and the Eternal Alchemy’s place in chaos and strife; they revere the Charr heroes and Sylvari dreams of chivarly and courage.

The various affiliated groups and individuals are now bestowing the competition within The Mists, a nether region between many worlds, the building block of reality – a place where there is afterlife and the homes of gods and other powerful entities. The Mists are reachable through portals opened by the arcanist Lord Odran; one of such portals being near Lion’s Arch, the port town of Tyrian free nations, providing a direct link for all challengers seeking to prove their valor through massive world battles.

The influence of Elder Dragons on PvP is uncertain and unrevealed for now.

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