Guild Wars 2 Sieges – When to Defend and When to Run


One of the biggest issues I see in Guild Wars 2's world vs world system is people not knowing when they should be defending a structure for their team and when they should ditch it. Knowing the vital differences here can easily make the difference between earning more and less points for your team's calculations, but they can also lead to other things (like decreased repair costs). Through this article I am going to be looking at structures and how you can tell, generally speaking, if you really want to try to defend them or not. Please keep in mind while reading this that everything is situational. There may be times where you want to defend even though it is not such a great idea. Even so, we are looking at the general times where you will want to make one decision or the other.

What Are Structures?

When we are referring to structures, we mean anything that can be captured. This means the towers, keeps and castle of course, but it also includes the camps (though these are often not defended too well unless people just happen to be near it when it is being attacked). Essentially we are dealing with everything there is in the world vs world system here.

Sometimes a group may choose to prioritize certain structures above others, and skip some completely. Usually, when this happens it will either be based on proximity (meaning the structures closest to the side's spawn point) or current upgrade status. Generally speaking, if there is anything that has no real importance (read: there has not already been a lot of money dumped in to it), it will be ignored. This, of course, is not always the case though, and even when it is there are sometimes groups of players that will split from the main herd to do things on their own.

Why Defend?

Some players choose to defend areas because it is a great challenge. Some do it because you can get achievements for defending. Some want to help protect the structures that have been upgraded, because they like the benefits or simply do not want to see the gold that was spent on it go to waste. Some do it because they want to help their team get a better score (and possibly move to a better ranking in the next week's world vs world match). And some choose to defend because it is a great way to get in a lot of kills, granting some pretty decent bag drops. Whatever the case is, defending has its benefits to most players, assuming it is handled correctly (and is not just an attempt to not die, but to actually achieve something).

Why Would You Ever Not Defend?

Well, this answer actually has a few reasons attached to it:

  • You are not traveling and taking over other structures (where you would be getting more rewards)
  • If you are overrun, you will die and be sent back to your spawn (which could be across the map) and will take gear damage
  • You can be split from the rest of your group and may or may not be able to join back with them
  • You will not be able to take the structure back over again (which is awesome for those trying to level up or get achievements for taking over a certain number of each structure type)

All of these reasons are run on a case by case basis. You may or may not end up having one of these pertain to you, but almost always there will be at least one that does.

Scenarios and Decisions

To help better illustrate when you should and should not be hanging around to defend, let us look at some scenarios. While your reasons for defending an area may vary, these scenarios are pretty much the definitive “do not defend” or “you may defend if” situations.

Zergs, Zergs and More Zergs

This is probably the most common thing that will be experienced. You are at a structure with some others and you see a massive flood of red names coming towards you. Usually when this happens you will see people do multiple different things:

  • Some will teleport to the nearest spawn area (to keep themselves from dying and taking gear damage as a result)
  • Some will prepare to fight outside or along the inner walls of the structure (depending on where you are)
  • Some will start building up siege

What you really need to do in this situation is decide what the chances are that you are going to be able to successfully defend the structure with however many people you currently have. I am not saying that every time you get rushed you are going to lose; in fact, I have been in many groups where we were highly outnumbered and still came out victorious. But each group is different and you are the only one that knows how you all have been doing against your enemies. If you have been losing small skirmishes pretty consistently, the chances of holding down the fort are pretty slim. If you have been winning your battles, you may be able to take them down. How you feel about your current situation is how you will want to react to what is going on.

What About Upgraded Structures?

This is a tough area, because it really just depends. It is hard to throw down multiple gold at upgrades, only to find that if you do not defend it you are going to lose it (and therefore someone has wasted all the gold, plus all the time the upgrade itself takes to get completed). All too often I have seen players sit around in a situation they simply are not going to win, solely because they do not want to lose those upgrades. After all, players do not always do the upgrading, so when it happens it should not be taken for granted. And if nobody is defending, it was all for absolutely nothing.

This is a mind set that people need to get out of. The simple fact is that if you are defending something and already know that there is absolutely no chance you are going to be able to successfully fend off the enemies, you are just wasting time and more gold. Instead of spending this time defending, you could be out helping take over some more enemy territory and gaining more points for your team. We often see this mentality with smaller groups, where people will do “karma runs” and just go from point to point capturing, depleting the supplies, and then moving on to the next point. The idea is that taking over the structures can grant some benefits, but the smaller groups can not hold them, so it is not even worth trying to.

If you are one of the players that does the upgrades as you run around, it is important to evaluate what is happening out in the field. Just because you were able to take over something does not mean that you will be able to hold it. I would even argue that it is easier to take than it is to hold. If you are throwing gold down on upgrades to structures that nobody is going to be able to protect, it is wasting gold, time and is also slowing down progress in to other areas as people are always going to hang back to try and defend. It is better to avoid this and instead just do upgrades when you stand a fighting chance (or at least feel that you will).

Rolling With Commanders

It is not very often that I will run world vs world content if there is not a tagged commander on. This allows people to easily group together and run around as a group, rather than having to keep relying on the chat system to know where people are and what is going on. As part of this, doing what the commander (and therefore the majority of the other players) is doing is important. If you see him run off somewhere, you should be following him. We consider this as being like his shadow.

The reason I am bringing this up is because far too often the commander will realize there is no way you are going to be able to defend something, and they will move off. When this happens, a large part of the group will follow, leaving only a few others behind (which is those that are not paying attention). Generally speaking, these are not the players you want to be relying on; if they were paying attention they would have run off with the rest of the group. Essentially by staying back with them, you are already losing. The moral of the story is to always stay with your commander, regardless as to whether or not you think their actions are proper. The fact is that most others are going to follow them due to the tag, and it is better to be part of the majority than the minority when it comes to world vs world.

But What About the Out Manned Buff?

If your team is highly outnumbered by the other teams, you will get a buff called Out Manned. This makes it to where you get boosts to stats and do not take any gear damage when you die. Some find this as being the perfect time for taking risks. If you die, you lose nothing. A lot of times this leads to people defending when they should not, or doing other things just to see what happens. At the end of the day, though, there is still something lost: time.

If you spend an hour in a battle you know you can not win, just because you “are not losing anything,” it is important to evaluate the time lost. In that hour, how many structures could you have taken? A lot of them. This means more points, more gold and (usually) more fun. Instead of fighting a losing battle, you can be fighting a winning one. Either way you are not taking gear damage, but you are not earning gold either, so in essence you are still losing money.

There have been times where I will roll around with a small group when we have the Out Manned buff, just to get better at PvP. When you get involved in situations where you are at a severe disadvantage, you do get better at the game. But when this happens, you should be aware as to what you are actually achieving. You are not helping your team at all. You are not capturing things. You are just bettering yourself. And this is important, of course, but far too often people do not realize what they are giving up as a result.


When taking part in Guild Wars 2's world vs world system, there are times where you need to move on from a structure and times to defend them. Understanding this vital difference changes everything. You can earn more, achieve more and help your team earn more points by making the right choice with each situation. The big thing to remember is that there is no shame in running. If you are not going to win anyways, you should probably be doing something that has more benefits. Remember that you are part of a team, not a solo player. As such, your actions will always impact all of the other players on your server as well. If you are doing well, that is transferred to everyone else there. If you are doing bad, you are not contributing as much as you could. As a result, your team could be in a losing battle because you are not contributing. At the end of the day, you need to make your own decisions. But keep in mind that teamwork is key!



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