The Forest of Niflhel is the second sPvP map released for GW2. It is also the only available map for the Tournament mode in the Beta Weekend Event 2. A lot of competitive teams are now VERY familiar with this map, but also enjoy it quite a bit too. It is very fast paced, with matches lasting around 7 minutes, but it is also very dynamic. There are multiple routes to wining and even a hundred point difference in score can be overcome before endgame. This guide will teach you the basics but also give some insight into the more complex elements of competitive play.
The Forest of Niflhel doesn’t appear to have any lore related to the world of Tyria. It doesn’t even appear to be a location within Tyria at all, which isn’t too much of a problem considering the nature of the Mists. In Norse mythology Niflhel is a realm for people who died an unheroic death.
There are two NPC’s that exist in this zone who are boss-like enemies and both appear to have died unheroic deaths. The first is Svanir, who was turned into a Champion of Jourmag in the form of a Nornbear after seeking out Drakaar, another Champion of Jourmag, who was trapped in a lake. Two Champions of Jourmag heralded the return of the Elder Dragon Jourmag. Corrupted by this power he is then hunted down by his sister Jora. The Son’s of Svanir is a cult, spawned from Svanir, of all male Norn who worship the Elder Dragon Jourmag. While not directly viewed as enemies they do create a lot of problems in the Norn land.
Chieften Utahein was a Jotun leader, but information about him is scarce. In an ArenaNet blog he is quoted as saying “Who do I worship? Ha! Myself!” If anything can be garnered from the past exploits of the Jotun, it can be safely assumed he lead his people poorly, was consumed with his own self worth, and was slaughtered by a rival leader or someone in his own clan. This would easily lead to him being trapped in a land of unheroic dead.
The Forest of Niflhel is a symmetrical sPvP map. It is a Conquest game type, which is essentially a Capture and Hold scenario. Each team earns points by capturing control points and holding on to them which grants 1 point every 2 seconds per point held. Points can also be earned by killing players, granting 5 points per kill, and by killing the Boss-like NPC’s which gives 25 points per kill. The first team to 500 points or in the lead when the timer runs out wins.
There are 3 control points that form a triangular shape on the map. There are multiple access routes to each point and there is a high ground feature for each as well. Each capture point has an icon showing its current status in the top center of the screen. The color indicates who currently controls the point; either red, blue, or grey (indicating a neutral point). If fighting is occurring on the point, regardless of the level of capture, is displayed by crossed swords. If you would like an indepth look at how control points are captured please check out my Battle of Kyhlo Guide.
The Henge is an ancient looking stone henge structure that sits on top of a hill. The actual control point sits in a depression. You can access it by running up a decaying stairway on the southeastern side of the hill and dropping into the pit or a ramp on the northeast side. To leave the area by the southeastern route a small detour must be taken to get around the wall of the pit.
There are two important line of sight features at the Henge. There are several pillars located around the control point that provide Line of Sight, obstructing any direct enemy attacks. These areas do not, however, prevent AoE damage effects which can spread around the pillar reaching the target. There is an elevated grass area behind the henge which can be accessed by a narrow path to the right of the northeastern entrance ramp. This area provides Line of Sight by the pillars and the ledge wall. This will prevent any melee attacks from enemies in the pit. It will sometimes allow the person on top to fire at enemies below while still being obstructed from enemy ranged attacks. This scenario is difficult to reproduce and may not be applicable for every profession.
The Mine is a similar to the Henge in that it sits on top of a hill and has two ramp entrances. However, the control point is not in a depression and has a large exposed area to fight on. In the back of the capture point there is a platform accessible by a small staircase that overlooks the control point. There is also walkway that is directly above southwestern access route and spans about 300 units in length. This walkway is only accessible by a staircase located to the west, outside of the control point’s inner area. A key difference in this area as compared to the Henge, the mirror point, is the woodwork frame supporting the walkway and platform. You can get in between this scaffolding but it does not currently create Line of Sight as seen in this video.
The Keep is stone structure with a control point on top of a large stone platform. This area is accessible from either side by two staircases in the front of the Keep or by two ramps that run behind the keep leading to a staircase that gives access to a small platform overlooking the control point. You can access either staircase from either ramp by a small archway, connecting the two ramps.
Each small platform allows ranged attacks to enemies below and can obstruct all melee attacks and many ranged attacks shot from the ground. Players can sometimes jump and fire ranged attacks allowing them to hit enemies on top of these platforms when they would otherwise be obstructed. AoE attacks can sometimes also reach these platforms from the ground level. Traps and marks do not appear to reach these platforms as consistently but this is based only anecdotal evidence.
On the large platform with the control point there is a gap between the two smaller platforms that creates a very useful Line of Site area. It will give shelter from the small platforms and from enemies coming up the ramp. There is also a large angel statue just south of the control point. This also creates a useful Line of Site area.
Leaving the Keep becomes incredibly important because it is equidistant from the other two control points and the NPC Bosses. You cannot leave via the back ramps if you are no longer standing on one of the two small platforms. Instead, you must take the stairs on either side of the Keep. You can also jump over the low guard rails along the platforms far end and cut your travel time by several seconds.