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Guild Wars 2 Structured PvP Tournaments and Matches

If you love PvP combat and you are playing Guild Wars 2, you essentially have two choices: world vs world or structured PvP. Through this article we are going to be looking at the structured PvP system, as well as how it breaks down in to tournaments and matches. The goal is to help better understand what each of these is good for and what you should expect when getting involved.

Matches

Matches can be created by anyone, and they can consist of up to 20 players (10 per side). When someone creates their own room, they can even choose which maps are in the rotation, as well as how many players can join. This offers up the ability to completely customize the experience based on what the creator wants. And, if they so choose, passwords can even be added to the rooms so that only friends or guild members are able to join. This makes them an awesome place for practicing PvP skills.

The rewards earned for winning a match are just boosts in Glory and Rank Points. Past that, there is nothing added to the win.

When it comes to keeping the games fair, people can swap teams any time their own side outnumbers the enemy one. Along with this, the matches have an automatic balancing mechanism that ensures that if one team outnumbers the other by two or more players, it will send someone from the higher population side to the lower population one. This cuts down on the number of times you will deal with situations where it is just not fair between the two sides. While it does nothing to help resolve the problem of people being at different skill levels, it does help with the population end which is arguably more important when it comes to games with larger numbers of players. This actually goes a bit deeper as well, in to something many probably do not realize… when you are swapped from one team to another, whether it is voluntarily or involuntarily (you can choose “I volunteer!” when it is time to switch if you want), you get credit for winning the match regardless as to which side actually wins it. This credit goes towards both bonuses to your rewards and achievements (such as the daily). People often get annoyed when they are forced to switch after helping get their team to the winning score, but with this in mind it is really not so bad.

Choosing maps is also pretty easy with the matches. When you go to the match browser, you are given all the information you could possibly want to know, which includes the current map. So if you want to join in on a game that is already started and you want to play on a certain map, you can simply look for that map's icon on the listing and hop on in!

Spectating is also available for regular matches, where you can watch what is going on without directly getting involved. This lets you see what the map is like and explore a bit more in to it before you play it, letting you jump in with at least some knowledge. It is, of course, still better to jump in to learn as you will learn a lot better by doing than by simply watching. Either way, this is still an option that is open.

All in all, matches can be considered as the open version of structured PvP, where you can control what happens, how it happens and when it happens. The freedom within lets you learn the game, practice with and against others, and work on knocking out achievements and such in a pretty casual atmosphere.

Tournaments

Tournaments used to be a paid system, but now they are free. They also involve only one match instead of multiple, whereas they used to have eight teams. This makes getting in to the tournaments much faster than it used to be, and it also speeds up the process of taking your first place wins and getting the rewards.

Tournaments, while they are free, can be a somewhat competitive area. It is a tournament, after all, and when it comes down to it the value has no real impact on how people view it. Most think that only professional players (or at least those with a lot of experience already) can take part. In all actuality, though, you can jump in on your first character as soon as you leave the introduction area. In other words, you can get involved with almost zero experience with the game, much less your character. I think that the idea of it being just for the elite is something we need to break people out of. It will be tough, because the name is “tournament,” but I hope that over time it will happen.

Now, when we are comparing tournaments to the regular matches, there are some differences. They are as follows:

  • With tournaments, you play on a single match, and it is random. You never know what map you are going to be on, so you can not prepare ahead of time (unless you just happen to be great at all of them already, which helps stress the fact that playing on the normal matches first is best; it allows you to better understand how it all fits together)
  • There is about a minute and a half or so prior to the match starting for you and your team to work out the strategy you want to use. The amount of time varies considerably, because until someone decides that they are ready to enter the match they will not be pulled in. The timer will continue, though, and people that never enter ahead of time will not even be pulled in until it is time for the match to actually start. This causes quite a few annoyances with people since you can not control how other players respond, but yet you are forced to play with them regardless
  • Winning teams get bonus reward chests that give items and extra Glory and such. Compared to the regular matches, this is a massive benefit and is the reason why once you are fully prepared for tournaments, I highly suggest using them instead of the normal matches when you are knocking out dailies or just wanting to take part in PvP
  • All games are 5 vs 5. There are no games with more players, although there are some with fewer. All games are supposed to be 5 vs 5, but if a player does not respond or logs off they will not be pulled in and that team will be short. I have seen situations where it ends up being 2 vs 5 or 3 vs 5 from this, and unlike the normal matches there is no balance system (and you can not volunteer to switch either). This is probably the most annoying aspect of tournaments, and it is something that you can not control unless you just want to play in pre made groups instead of picking up random players or joining solo

Other than with the changes above, everything remains the same. Essentially the tournaments are designed as a way to give greater rewards, and are technically designed for players that are a bit more skilled than the general masses (or that at least know what is happening and are not still at the point where they are joining randomly and hoping to win a match here and there). Sometimes you will still run across the players that feel tournaments are just throw away games, though, and refuse to even try.

Picking Your Battle

I think that a big thing that determines which method you want to go with when it comes to structured PvP is dependent upon what you are going for. Since there are multiple reasons to go about PvPing, breaking it down makes it a little bit easier to make the decision. To do so, use the following guidelines:

  • If you are going for Glory and Rank Points, stick with tournaments (because the bonuses when you win are massive)
  • If you are playing for fun, do either (I would argue that normal matches would fit better here, though, since you are able to choose your maps and things like how many players can join)
  • If you are playing for competition, go with tournaments
  • If you are playing to fight a lot of other people, go with normal matches
  • If you are knocking out dailies or monthlies, go with normal matches

You can make your own choices here, of course, but this is the most efficient path I have found depending on what I feel like going for at the time. Since I am in the process of ranking up my character right now (I consider the Glory to just be a side benefit of that), I spend the majority of my time in the tournaments instead of regular games. When I get tired of doing PvP, if I still need anything for my daily quest I will then hop over in to the regular games to get those dealt with as well since it is faster and I can choose matches that better suit whatever it is I still need. This makes the entire process completely painless and makes it much easier to continue going day to day knocking out the achievements.

Understanding the Mentality

Another thing you need to understand when getting in to these different structured PvP battles is the mentality of the players within them. The normal matches are considered as the newbie area, and tournaments are often seen as being for the more skilled players. This is not always true, though. We get a lot of experienced players in the normal matches and newbies in the tournaments too. While I have the suggestion I gave earlier (which is to join tournaments once you have a more thorough understanding of how the PvP works, how your character works, and how things fit together in general), we have to accept that this will not always happen. And, of course, sometimes even the more experienced players will make mistakes that can cause some problems. We are all humans!

I would argue that tournaments more often follow the mentality of elitism. Far too many players join them hoping to win every match, and they love to put people down for not winning (even when sometimes it is not even their fault). Any time you get involved, you are subjecting yourself to possible ridicule, and it is just something you have to get over. One out of every few matches I have to just ignore someone that is talking because they put everyone down too much, but I just do not let it bother me and I continue on. As long as you are doing the best you can, nobody can ask for more!

Regular games are much more open and accepting. If you are trying to figure out how a match works, you can usually get some assistance by just asking in chat. Sometimes it is people on your own team that will help you understand something, and sometimes it is someone from the other team. I can not even count the number of times I have had to ask for clarification on something because I flat out did not understand how it worked. And as long as I was asking in the normal matches, I have had little to no problems getting responses and learning quite a bit along the process. Again, you may run in to some bad seeds, but for the most part people are more laid back (which is possibly because they can just jump from match to match until they find one that fits their desires).

Conclusion

Picking your play style in structured PvP within Guild Wars 2 can be rough. There are two different methods of playing that are both free, but they have different goals in mind and cater to different mentalities. While you can go between the two as much as you want, I have found along my journey that picking the right tool for the job helps a lot. You can save time and make yourself feel a lot better and gain more confidence in your play style by following the guidelines above. Not to mention you help cut down on the number of other people you are affecting with your decisions, when it comes to making the wrong ones.

Above all, keep in mind that even though it is structured PvP, it is still a game. Never let it bother you to the point where it causes extreme anger, frustration or depression. If you start to get to this point, regardless of whether you are doing normal matches or tournaments, take a break and try to return to it later. The more relaxed and happy you are while you are playing, the better you are going to do in both match types!

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