The world of Tyria is expansive and beautiful, full of life and dynamic events. But why spend your time there in the upcoming BWE2 when you could instead spend it endlessly bludgeoning your fellow players in two tiny maps and spend the rest of your time milling about a depressingly-named limbo area, obsessing over which armor enhancements you should use?
I of course lovingly talk of Structured Player vs. Player(sPvP) that can be found in GW2. Many of my fellow Necros shied away from the daunting world of PvP, but I am here to guide you and introduce you to the mass slaughter that awaits you! Be bold and take the plunge, because if you don’t, who will? Those dirty Elementalists whose major Elite skill is to turn into the WIND!? I think not.
My glowing description of sPvP in GW2 may have not truly captured how wonderful it is and why you should do it. If you’ve tried PvP in other MMOs like WoW or Rift you may have come across issues such as inequalities between players in terms of gear and level. It is not so in GW2; you enter sPvP with a maxed-out character with standardized gear and equalized stats. Skill and ping are the only deciding factors on who wins at sPvP. The greatest aspect of sPvP is that you can test out any weapon, any set of utilities, any combination of traits and any elite spells right off the bat. This is an amazing way to get a feel for a class that you are unsure of. (Obviously you don’t have that problem since you have joined the Brotherhood of Necromancers.)
Lots of abilities and traits sound great, but it gets difficult to decide if you want to invest in one when you’re out in the world PvE-ing. This is your opportunity to test drive them all before you spend your precious trait points.
The last reason for trying out sPvP is of course the amazing feeling of totally dominating and crushing another living, breathing, and thinking (one would assume) human being. Sure, not standing in the scripted glowing fire is fun and roughly challenging in PvE, but doing it against another player that can think and actively tries to kill you is a true challenge. In sPvP, you will not only never have the same experience twice but you will also hone and sharpen your skills as a player, making you that much better in other aspects in the game.
What you should do first!
Now that I’ve convinced you to take the plunge into sPvP… shut up! You know I’ve totally convinced you. The realization that you don’t know what you should do first might have just dawned on you.
You could just queue up for PvP wherever you stand right now and you will be loaded into a game with the weapon set you have with you and a pre-loaded set of traits and utilities already picked out by the game. I don’t recommend this since you have no control over your traits and all of the new skills and abilities can be overwhelming and while standing around looking at your tooltips, you are likely to die a rather swift and brutal death. Instead, you should head into the Heart of the Mists, the PvP lobby area. Here you can find training Golems to beat on, practice dodging, try out various cannons and trebuchets, experience the wonder of underwater combat to at least some wonderful level, practice taking on PvP world bosses or gain experience fighting an NPC version of every profession.
NOTE: Killing the Elementalist never gets old.
More importantly here is where you modify your utility skills and pick up all the weapons you can use as well as sigils and gear. Now keep in mind you will be stuck with anything left in your bags here so make sure you chuck all your leveling junk into the bank before popping in here and loading yourself down with every imaginable piece of equipment. Once you enter the mists, the PvP vendors that sell this gear are directly to the right on a little platform. And when I say sell I mean they give it to you for free, so go crazy. Try everything, do everything, mix up weapons, traits, and utilities until you find out what works best for you. For those of you who just want to load up and head straight into the blood bath, I’ve assembled a couple of quick builds that will get you started.
Obligatory disclaimer: these are just suggested builds and are by no means the best possible combination of traits and weapons you can use, AND these are based completely off of the previous Beta information and may not translate seamlessly into BWE2. You will have to play around with them for a while and get to a point where you are comfortable using them. Each of these builds focus roughly on what their titles indicate but there is a lot of subtlety in gameplay for the Necromancer, as well as appropriate weapon usage. I could go on and on about each one forever and ever, but we’ll save that for another day.
A quick word on Sigils and Runes, which are the upgrades you can add to weapons and armor respectively. I highly suggest using Sigil of Superior Accuracy for +5% crit or Sigil of Superior Force for +5% damage, which are the easiest and most straightforward sigils for a sPvP noob. For Runes, I suggest Rune of the Wurm simply because it gives bonuses to health which will translate to you surviving longer in battles. Again, this topic is far more complex than I make it and we could break down the benefits of all of these for hours on end.
Time to get started
You’ve practiced your abilities, equipped yourself, and created a custom build to make yourself a lethal specter of Death. Time to get killing and hop in a match. “But Sryii!” you say “PvP maps are so big and confusing! How am I supposed to know what to do?” First off, stop whining and start acting like a specter of Death. Secondly, there are a number of easy tricks you can employ to ease yourself into PvP.
The best thing you can do at the start is to not care about dying. Sounds counter-intuitive, right? It is, but for starting out your job is to get used to the game of sPvP. Go and explore the map with the sole goal of learning the terrain. Stop and look around, don’t get caught up in the blood bath no matter how inviting it might seem. Learn all the corners, hiding places, ramps, destructible objects and things you can jump on. This will be a major tactical advantage for you because you will effectively be fighting on home turf. The best part is the maps aren’t that big, which is good because there are a ton of paths and nooks and crannies to explore. You will die a lot doing this, but it’s okay. You will die a lot when you are actually trying to kill people for real too. Don’t get down on yourself, don’t rage-kill your keyboard, and definitely don’t leave sPvP never to return. This is a time to learn, so when you die, ask yourself this: How could I have done it better, or what should I have done differently?
The next best thing you can do is find a buddy. Guild Wars 2 will always be more fun with people you know, and this is especially true of sPvP. Not only will you have an increase in communication because you’re with a buddy, but you will also have a teammate you can rely on to help get that pesky Mesmer off your tail . . .at least you think that’s where they are. . .hmm. If you don’t have a buddy in-game, try making a buddy in the PvP lobby, or even in a match. Run a few matches and find out which guys are doing the best since you will retain the same players for every match. In the startup time allotted in each match, go up to that guy and try the good old “Me noob, you friend?” While PvP’ers appear to be intimidating and elitist on the outside, they are actually very willing to introduce and help new players to PvP. Why? Because it makes the game infinitely more fun with experienced and skilled players. They WANT you to play AND be good at it. If you want some help, advice, or just have some questions, head over to the GWI Necromancer forums and you will have access to literally 10’s of the most semi-competent Necromancers in the land.
As for Necromancer-specific gameplay, there are a few tips to keep in mind. Never die with a full Life Force bar. It is effectively a second health bar and in an emergency situation should be treated as such. Don’t sit on Life Force. If you have it, burn it! It does you absolutely no good to have it sit there on a bar all pretty-like. For the love of all that is good and pure, use it to kill someone! At the same time, don’t drain the Life Force to zero. It does the most damage when you have more Life Force, so it will take much longer to refill it if you go to zero. Zeroing your Life Force also has the nasty tendency to have it not be there when you NEED it. If you have marks available to use, pre-place them in an area the enemy must walk over or won’t see until they are standing on it if you are defending a point. This will increase the likelihood of a mark activating AND will make your cooldowns shorter so they are ready to be placed again, maximizing their total potential.
There you have it, a quick and dirty guide into Necromancer PvP! This is just the start of your descent into the blood-filled madness of sPvP, because there is so much more to learn! When the BWE2 starts up, head into the Mists and take the plunge into sPvP.
And remember, always kill the Elementalists first, because they deserve it.