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Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Guild Wars: Killing time

To win in PvP, you have to kill the opposing team. Well, technically, you could have a plan which involves not dying for such a long time that the other team quits. Doesn't seem like fun or a time-efficient way to get wins under your belt so let's not worry about that.

So, killing time. How to do it? At a high level, there's 2 ways.
  1. Spike
  2. Pressure
That's it.

Spike means applying offense without sufficient time for defense to be used. A great example is the new Obsidian Spike team in the Zaichen Challenge - their plan is to simultaneously cast Obsidian Flame on one target at the same time, which kills that target. It means that your offense must be faster than the sum of the defense's lag, reaction time and casting time.

Pressure means overwhelming some area of the defense with greater resources. Here you care about pressure over time as opposed to simultaneous pressure. There are 3 sub-types: damage pressure, hex pressure and condition pressure.

A damage pressure team usually revolves around warriors - IWAY is an example. Damage per second is the key requirement - you have to do damage fast enough to overwhelm defensive healing.

Hex pressure means you're overloading the hex removal of the other team. A small-scale example is the use of cover hexes. Spot hex removal is cheap but if you're just removing a Conjure Phantasm instead of the Migraine it was covering, you're going to be in trouble.

Condition pressure is good - some conditions (e.g. Blind, Daze, Cripple) can be very nasty. While conditions are easier to cause the defense is correspondingly better.

Alright. These may seem like obvious points but not everyone seems to understand them. You may be able to get away with uncovered hexes etc. in CA but in TA and even more so in Tombs or GvG it's not going to work.

So, what if you're the lucky defender? Let's start with spike defense. You have 3 methods:
  1. Active defense. If the opposition's trying to do something like Obsidian Flame spikes then well-timed interrupts will cut the damage down to the point that your monks can heal it up. Mesmers and Rangers are generally the best for this kind of stuff although other classes can do it too.
  2. Passive defense. If the spike is telegraphed ahead of time - e.g. the opposing casters wanding the target before they cast, or always spiking the monk - then a well-timed Reversal of Fortune or Protective Spirit can break the spike. Guardian or Aegis against a Ranger spike can be excellent. For this reason, spikers often have enchantment removal which is applied right before spiking (Rend Enchantments and Shatter Enchantment being popular for this).
  3. Positional defense. A spike team often requires nearly all its people in one place to spike hard enough to kill the target and you can take advantage of this - if you split your team into 2, one half can remove their base defense while the other half is taking a spiking. This tactic forces the spikers into a defensive posture to avoid simply losing.
Now pressure defense. Trickier because of the sub-types: if you have a lot of damage defense but limited condition defense you're going to have real problems facing a condition pressure team. Generally, anti-melee (e.g. Aegis, Ward against Melee) against damage pressure, multiple hex removal (e.g. Contemplation of Purity, Convert Hexes) against hex pressure and multiple condition removal (e.g. Restore Conditions, Martyr) against condition pressure. Hex defense is the weakest of these but it seems tricky to build a really effective offense with hexes.

Standard caveat: take all of this with a pinch of salt because I'm still working the theory out as I go along. I just figured you might want to know what I've learned so far.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nice and concise guide. Would it be alright for me to quote this in my guild's forums? (All credits to the source and a reference link back to the source will be provided, of course).

4/06/2006 10:36:00 AM  
Blogger Clamatius said...

Sure, of course. Which guild, just out of interest?

4/06/2006 11:27:00 AM  

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