Introduction to Player vs Player (PvP)
PvP (Player versus Player) content within the game sees teams of two, three, or in most cases, five players duke it out in all-out combat. Whether you are focused on dealing huge amounts of burst damage, roaming around to assassinate a key target, keep your team alive, or facing someone one-on-one in a duel to the death, PvP has many ways you can contribute to help your team become victorious and have your names sung throughout the mists.
If you are completely new to PvP, then this guide is for you. We will be talking about the various different game modes, how to make a build, and most importantly, what rewards you will receive as you play.
Within the realm of Player vs Player (PvP), there are three different game modes in which you can participate. Each has its own separate rules and has different ways of reaching victory.
Conquest is the most played game mode, out of all three in PvP game modes due to it being the mode in which tournaments and ranked play are present.
You will be put into a 5v5 arena, and your team’s objective is to reach 500 points before the other team. Your main method of earning points is by controlling any amount of the three core capture zones around the map.
Every second, you gain one point for your team for each zone you control. You will also gain five points if you successfully kill another player. There are also secondary objectives that are unique to each map, but that will be covered in another guide.
If no team reaches 500 points by the end of the 15-minute time limit, the winner is the team with the higher amount of points. In the rare case of the team having the same amount of points at the end of the timer (or reaching 500 at the same time), the game will continue until one team gets ahead.
Stronghold, while the least popular game mode of the three, can still be quite fun on a casual level.
Similar to conquest, Stronghold is a 5v5 game mode in which your objective is to kill the enemy team’s lord (Non-Player Character) NPC. To get to the lord, however, you need to get through two heavily reinforced gates in your team’s lane. The gates are able to be damaged by your skills but they take very little damage from your attacks. However, the gates are weak to the minions you summon.
Throughout the game, resource crates will be placed in the center of the map. If these resources are turned in at your home base, you can summon either an archer or a bomber Skritt minion to deal heavy damage to the enemy’s gates.
In addition, at certain times throughout the match, you can summon mist champions to act as major pushing power and as a distraction so that your minions don’t get focused down.
In the event that a stronghold game goes on for the full 30-minute time limit, the game will go into a six-minute overtime period. When overtime ends, a secondary points system is used to determine who the winner of the match is:
- Lord Kill: 250 points, the team who killed the enemy lord automatically wins
- Destroy a Gate: 50 points
- Summon a Mist Champion: 20 points
- Base Guard Kill: 10 points
- Gate Guard Kill: 5 points
- Player Kill: 5 points
Deathmatch is playable in PvP either when the conquest seasons are in their off period or during special events that are happening within the whole game.
Teams of two or three players, battle against each other with the objective of eliminating the enemy team.
Unlike conquest or stronghold, once you kill a player, they do not respawn and are out for the rest of the round. If all players on a team are defeated, the last team standing wins the round. The first team to win three rounds wins the match.
In the event that both teams are still alive by the end of a time limit, the entire arena will be slowly enclosed by a red ring, which causes heavy damage until death. Additionally, you can no longer regenerate health by any means after the timer ends.
Player vs Player Lobby (Heart of the Mists)
While you can get into matchmaking for a PvP match within other game modes, the best way to experience the PvP scene of the game is to venture to the Heart of the Mists (HotM).
PvP is unlocked once your character reaches level two. The PvP panel can be accessed by clicking on the crossed-swords icon in the top left of your screen. Once the panel is open, travel to the Heart of the Mists by clicking on the large button in the upper left corner of the panel.
There is a lot to experience in the Heart of the Mists, feel free to explore any part of this lobby. Some notable features of the HotM include a jumping puzzle, a free-for-all brawling arena, and training golems. Additionally, you can access the trading post, bank, laurel vendor, and other merchants, some of which are exclusive to PvP.
Preparation for Player vs Player
When you first enter into a PvP match or the HotM, you will notice that your character’s stats are wildly different than what they were in WvW and PvE. This is because everyone in PvP has their stats set to specific base values, your character level is raised to 80 (maximum level), and any gear you crafted or obtained through WvW or PvE has had all of its stats removed.
Note: You must still wear chest, leg, and foot armor, not doing so will lower your base armor. The exception to this rule is that certain classes have different base maximum health values than others:
- Guardian, Thief, and Elementalist: 11,645
- Revenant, Mesmer, Ranger, and Engineer: 15,922
- Warrior and Necromancer: 19,212
In addition, you will see that your experience (XP) bar from WvW and PvE is at level one. This is because your PvP level is different from your WvW and PvE level.
As you play more matches, you will gain PvP XP that will give increasingly better rewards as you level up. PvP ranked matches require you to be level 20. Some PvP vendor purchases require you to be level 100.
In order to increase your stats in PvP, you need to equip yourself with standardized equipment. To do so, open up your equipment tab in your hero panel, then click the two overlapping boxes located to the right of your headpiece slot.
Options for an amulet, a rune, sigils, and weapons will be present. The weapons you have equipped on your character will automatically show up. Here is a brief description of what the purpose of each piece of equipment does in PvP:
- Amulet: This is where most of your important stats come. Note: Not all stat-combos from WvW and PvE are available.
- Runes: Selecting one rune automatically equips your armor with a full set of runes, six in total. Having all six runes provides a bonus-effect further increasing attributes.
- Sigils: Weapons are either two-handed or one-handed, holding two sigils or one sigil respectively. Sigils are either permanent bonuses while you have your weapon out, or are activated whenever a particular condition is met, for example, weapon swapping, critically hitting, etc.
Build Templates and Trait Lines
Unlike WvW and PvE, PvP allows you to skip the hero-point collection process and has every trait line fully unlocked for you. If you have any of the expansions, that expansion’s elite-specializations are also fully unlocked for your class.
Once you have a build for PvP, we recommend dedicating a build template for that specific build, so you do not have to hassle with changing traits every time you play another game mode. The great thing about this system is, that whenever you make a build template in PvP, you will automatically apply that template upon entering the HotM or a match, so you will be ready to go!
Universal Build Ideas
While there are certainly meta-defining PvP builds you can play, sometimes you want to develop a build that works best for you. If you decide to go this route, there are a few things to consider as every “meta” build has one or more of these features.
This type of ability is absolutely necessary for PvP. If you do not break out of the crowd-control (CC) effect (stun, daze, knockback, pull, etc.) then only way to avoid the CC effect is to dodge or block the ability. Note: Some abilities in the game are unable to be blocked or dodged. We recommend each build to have one stun break at a bare minimum, but have two is ideal for some builds. Skills that can break CC are identified by a grey-box in the ability’s description with a broken-chain.
There are quite a few builds in PvP that emphasize stacking conditions (damaging and non-damaging) over time or in a quick-burst. We recommend taking at least one ability that you can activate to cleanse conditions from you, as well as adding some defensive traits that cleanse conditions whenever you meet certain requirements.
Sometimes, you need to get you back into the fight quickly or you need to get to an objective before the other team. Skills such as
Boons amplify a player’s damage and survivability. Generating boons either on yourself or your teammates is essential for a successful build. Every class has the ability to give themselves boons. However, some builds have massive boon generation for their allies, so we recommend choosing boon generation based on what you want to accomplish.
Congratulations! You have participated in your first PvP match! What do you get as a reward and what will you get if you play consistently? As you complete matches, there are three different types of reward systems. Each system will progress after each match whether you win or lose.
Reward tracks are essentially specific reward paths you can choose to obtain themed rewards. If you are familiar with WvW reward tracks, these are exactly like those.
Some of these reward tracks are already unlocked for you, while others require direct purchase or exploration of the PvE environment.
Selecting a reward track is done within the treasure chest tab on the left-side of the PvP panel.
Playing matches and consuming PvP reward track potions will progress the reward tracks. In addition to consuming PvP reward potions, you may also use guild hall PvP enhancements and experience and reward boosters to further your progression overall.
Each track has eight major reward sections, and each major reward is obtained after four minor rewards. Minor rewards include tomes of knowledge, crafting-material bags, shards of glory, etc. Major rewards include weapon and armor boxes, emotes,
Reward tracks are either repeatable or non-repeatable. Reward tracks that are not able to be repeated are generally considered to be the most valuable, with their tier eight rewards including more mystic clovers, emotes, finishers, etc.
Player vs Player Experience Level
As you gain PvP experience levels, you will get a small bag of rewards, level-up rewards provided for every interval of 10 levels will increase your overall rewards. As you gain more and more experience you unlock level specific animal symbols as a reward, such as a shark, bear, or dragon. Additionally, you unlock more and more non-repeatable reward tracks to obtain different finishers and themed rewards.
Once again, you need to be PvP level 20 to participate in ranked matches and PvP level 100 to purchase certain pieces of ascended gear.
Once you are able to compete in ranked matches, you will unlock a new reward system which can be seen in the ranked tab of the PvP panel.
Unlike PvP experience and reward tracks, you can not increase your progression by PvP reward potions or boosters. Every time you complete a ranked match, a checkmark chest will be progressed forward by collecting “pips”.
Win: 10 pips
Loss: 3 pips
Near Loss (400+ overall match points): 4 pips
Top Stat: 1 pip
If you are Platinum Rating, you will get bonus pips for every match you complete. Every time a pip bar is completely filled, you will check off a circle located above the chest. Each circle checked off rewards you with a bit of silver or gold and some shards of glory. Whenever all the circles on a chest have been filled, you will receive a larger amount of gold and a set amount of ascended shards of glory.
The final three chests of ranked progression offer a selection of crafting marks that can be used to purchase ascended weapons or armor from various PvP vendors. The final chest, the Byzantium chest, is not only repeatable but the first completion of it will reward you with a mini llama collectible. If you obtain 3 of the same type of mini llamas over the course of 3 seasons, you will be able to combine them into a higher tier mini llama.
While you can get various types of items from spending shards of glory, the main goal of reward progression in PvP are legendary trinkets and armor.
Legendary items you can get from playing PvP include full sets of light, medium, and heavy armor, a backpiece
The backpiece requires completion of PvP achievements and all items have a crafting component.
- Ascended Armor (Note: Armor pieces are used as precursors to the PvP legendary armor)
- Ascended Weapons
- Ascended Rings, Amulets, and Accessories
- Ascended Salvage Kits
- Specific Non-Repeatable Reward Tracks
- Exclusive Minis
- Mist Capacitors (Allow player to reset selected stats of ascended trinkets obtained from PvP/WvW vendors)
Final Tips and Thoughts
One of the core reasons why most people do not participate in Player vs Player (PvP) is because of a higher presence of negativity. This can occur for multiple reasons, however, we find that the main problem exists when people are told they are not playing the game correctly.
While there is no way to completely remove negativity, you can always do your part by staying positive. Remember that an extremely small percentage of the PvP community can flat out hard carry a PvP game for their team, and everyone has their own weaknesses. Take a loss not as punishment, but as a learning experience to adapt to certain situations. Do not let yourself be discouraged because of a mistake made during a match, especially when players are negative toward you.
If you are new to PvP, stick with classes you are most familiar with and comfortable in playing. Check PvP builds to understand how they were created, there overall goal, and how can you change your favorite build to better fit your style of play.
Once you are comfortable with the combat system, team play, and PvP maps, learning to recognize what works well and what does not will become easier. Play what you are comfortable with and learn to make changes when and where necessary.
And remember that there are many helpful PvP players who can help you if you ever don’t know how to improve or where to go next.