World versus World is an incredible amount of fun, and is absolutely the most robust, balanced and well-executed world PvP system I’ve experienced in a MMO. It can be a little daunting the first time you step into the Eternal Battlegrounds. With all of those keeps, towers and supply camps just waiting to be pillaged, it’s hard to know where to start. The goal of this article is to help you get your bearings with some basic offensive tips.

Consider these the rules of engagement…

 BE PREPARED. ALWAYS CARRY SUPPLY.

The first thing you need to do regardless of how you plan on spending your time in WvW is grab supply from the nearest depot. Every fortified objective, from Stonemist Castle all the way down to your basic supply camp, will have a little stack of crates and barrels marking their supply stores. You can carry a maximum of 10 supply at a time, and you should have 10 on you whenever you are in WvW.

Supply is the fuel of combat in WvW. Without it, you are extremely limited in your effectiveness. Your general goal should be to protect your supply chain at all times while denying the enemy theirs. Even the mightiest gate can’t hold forever if it’s unable to be repaired. Likewise, your keep assaults will be long and frustrating and mostly end in failure if you don’t bring supply and the siege equipment necessary to make short work of enemy fortifications.

FIGHT SMARTER, NOT HARDER. BRING SIEGE EQUIPMENT.

A common mistake made throughout the beta weekends were groups of players throwing themselves against the doors of a keep, battering away with their weapons and spells. This is probably the most non-productive use of your time in WvW. The damage a force of 20 players does to a door or wall with their normal abilities is almost negligible. So much so, in fact, that a single defender could easily repair the damage in between running back and forth pouring burning oil on your heads or bombarding you with cannon fire from the battlements.

Not all siege equipment is incredibly expensive, but not all of it is practical for a small strike team. You should know which ones are viable for your group size and plan accordingly. 

 

Siege Equipment Range Supply Cost (in silver)
Flame Ram 360 40 6
Arrow Cart 2,500 30 6
Ballista 3,000 30 10
Catapult 4,000 50 12
Trebuchet 10,000 100 24
Siege Golem 225 100 100

 

All prices are current as of the final beta weekend, but are subject to change at launch.

 

For individuals, you should take the personal responsibility to ALWAYS have at least one set of Arrow Cart and Flame Ram prints on you at all times. This will ensure you’re always ready to help assault a fortification or similar objective. Arrow Carts are extremely cheap fire support, and it only takes 3 players carrying enough supply to get them up and firing. This can greatly increase your chances of success in taking and defending a supply camp, a perfect target of opportunity for a small group. The Flame Ram requires 10 more supply, but it’s doubtful you’ll assault anything with a door with less than 4 players. 

Bonus Tip: Those Sentries that were added in the final beta weekend? Arrow carts will make short work of them, just as they will caravan guards. The other thing I’ve noticed is if you damage them first by using a cart, the enemy AI will completely ignore you in order to destroy the cart. You’ll lose a cart, but you’ll gain a substantial lead time of killing them without taking any damage. It may not be needed in every engagement, and it the scripting may change post-launch, but you never know… it may just save your life.

You could also add a Ballista into the mix for small groups. It requires minimal supply, and has shots that pierce. The downside is that is requires a target to fire, and can be dodged. It’s very good against other siege weaponry, making it more of a defensive weapon. We’ll cover defensive strategies another time. For now, let’s stay with assaults.

For mid-sized groups of 7-10 players, you should consider investing in something like a Catapult. At 50 supply, you get into a place where you’ll need at least a party of prepared players in order to field just one. The extended range means you’re safe from most keep defenses, but losing one of these hurts more than losing a ram. Protect your investment.

What? Wait?

What about the Trebuchet? What about Siege Golems?

Overkill, in my opinion. The Trebuchet is an amazing implement of destruction, but unless you’re in an epic battle fought over a major objective, it’s almost too important to lose. An investment of 100 supply equates to:

  • 2 Catapults
  • 3 Arrow Carts (with 10 supply remaining)
  • 1 Catapult, 1 Arrow Cart & 1 Ballista
  • 1 Catapult & 1 Flame Ram (with 10 supply remaining)
  • 2 Arrow Carts & 1 Flame Ram
  • 2 Arrow Carts & 2 Ballista
Granted, a well-placed and defended Trebuchet will crush walls, doors and players alike, but it’s a risk/reward gamble.  If you’re rolling with 50 people and have supply to burn, then go for it. It isn’t just the supply cost you have to consider, it’s the time it takes to replace that supply if something were to happen and the Trebuchet was your only equipment in the field. At that point your assault has effectively failed, and you have to begin all over again, giving your enemies time to reinforce and repair. Even if you’re successful, if you’ve deployed it on a relatively minor point, then you’ve essentially left that 100 supply to rot in the sun after the fight is done. 
 
Golems are fun, but they’re an expensive gimmick. Their advantage is mobility, but they move far too slowly, and are far too valuable to deploy without an armed escort. This ties up more of your personnel, and leaves them slowly plodding along and exposed. They can certainly beat down a door, but for what it costs in supply and coin, it’s like bashing down defenses with a gold-plated ram when a normal ram would do.
 
 

USE YOUR RESOURCES WISELY.

We’ve established that a group of 5 players with enough supply and proper siege equipment will break down a keep door in a fraction of the time that it takes an unprepared group of 20 to do it. However, WvW isn’t always about the number of bodies you have on the field, it’s about who puts those bodies to the best use.

Take that same group of 20 from before. If you break them up into strike teams of 5 each, you could have:

  • Team A – Building, guarding and manning a battering ram at the front gate. Secondary – Take out any gate defenses like burning oil.
  • Team B- Building, guarding and manning a catapult beyond the 1200-unit range of the walls. Fire on the front gate. Secondary – Take out any perimeter defenses like cannons on the battlements.
  • Team C – Supply runners. These players donate their supply first to construction, and once out they run back to the nearest friendly fortification for more. Overlapping group Swiftness boons are a must. Secondary – Float between catapult and ram defense, respond to threats.
  • Team D – Cut off enemy supply caravans en route to your objective. Secondary – Capture adjacent supply camps. Call out enemy reinforcements.
Once the gate is down, the groups reform into one strike team to defeat the Keep Lord.
 
This is a very basic strategy, and it’s only an example, but you get the point. Planning, preparedness and execution wins battles in World versus World.
 
 
We’ll take a look at keep defense in a future article, and how a smaller, disciplined force can fulfill their Spartan dreams and stand against superior numbers.
 
Until then…
 
Play smart.
 
Remain vigilant.
 
 

 Centurion