Flameseeker Chronicles: Surviving the Guild Wars 2 WvW invasion


I’ve been asked several times for my opinion on how best to handle the influx of non-WvW Guild Wars 2 players to the game mode in the wake of the reward system update. As you’ll all know, I am not a committed WvW player and tend to play the mode only when I have a specific need to or when I’m helping out a friend, but nevertheless, I have compiled some helpful advice for those who wish to start skirmishing now. Make no mistake about it: WvW can be as entertaining as it is intimidating when you get into the groove, though to get the best out of the game mode you’ll need to pick up on WvW etiquette fairly quickly.

In this edition of Flameseeker Chronicles, I’ll help you navigate the rapid-fire world of WvW, giving you advice on keeping commanders happy, getting the best out of your efforts, chatting strategically, and setting your toon up for WvW success.

How do I best filter into a group?

First things being first, you’ll need to find some people to play with if you’re to survive in WvW for any length of time. The commander tag is the beginning point of finding out where your server-mates are and what they’re doing, of course, but many commanders won’t be happy for you to simply trail along behind the crowd wordlessly while you try not to die and hope for the best. Every commander who is anyone knows that newbies will be everywhere right now, so this is the perfect time to get to know the game mode better by asking the questions that usually would elicit a “hush n00b” response at less open times. Asking questions about what communication channels are being used, what the commander’s plan is, or anything else that pops into your head is key to getting to grips with the content, but keep your wording brief and frequency low, and don’t expect long written responses in reply while playing such high-octane content. Make your intent to join in known and someone will quickly get you up to speed, but expect to think on your feet and do get familiar with the maps before joining where you can.

Bear in mind that some WvW guilds do not allow non-guildies to join their squad and prefer to blast through on their own: Of course, they cannot physically stop you from following their group, but they won’t take too kindly to this and will seldom offer you any insight into what their aims are or any sort of help should you flounder. Personally, I feel that such guilds are wasting an amazing recruitment opportunity that doesn’t come along often in such a contentious content type, but persisting could slow down your progress significantly so you’re best finding another commander to tag along with. Whatever group you end up running with, remember your manners, don’t use the tactiviators unless told to do so, stick to your commander like glue unless tasked with an alternate mission, and use supplies sensibly to aid your team efficiently.

To comms or not to comms?

One of the more hotly debated topics you’ll come across when looking for WvW newbie advice is whether or not joining voice chat is required to be a successful, productive squad member. For me, this greatly depends on the quality of written communication displayed by the squad in question, so pay attention to the chat pane and use that as your cue if you’re unsure. While some commanders will insist upon everyone in the squad being on TeamSpeak or Discord with them, even if they have no mic access, some others will type shorthand instructions into chat to allow for maximum information uptake.

My take on the matter is that all players should follow the commander’s directions where it is reasonable for them to do so, and that includes joining voice chat channels where directed. If you have a disability or health issue that prevents this, send the commander a short message to let them know: A good commander can account for the odd person not being able to listen to them. Try to fit in your WvW time to a time slot in your day when listening will not pose a problem to those around you; the time of day or busy nature of your home aren’t great reasons to not play by the rules. I know that sounds cruddy, but with fast-paced group content, you do need to meet your group in the middle at some point.

If you’re a commander and are seeking to increase your efficiency during the upsurge of newbies, I’d urge you to employ the latter approach: Not only will your group become more attractive to actively join, but you’ll also have more success in getting key information to stick with new players. If you get overwhelmed by typing during the action, you could try having a text file with common command phrases open on a second monitor for quick copy/paste work, or you could bring along a friend who can type shorthand commands while you convey the same information by voice.

What does one wear to war?

Imagine someone joining your Tier 4 fractals run without enough agony resistance or someone turning up to raid with incorrect gear equipped: All the will and skill in the world would not make these players solid contributors to the content. The same is true for WvW, so don’t rock up in your raiding best if you wish to have the necessary survivability for WvW. You should assume your usual gear is not adequate if you’re a strict PvE player, so consult a build guide and get kitted out as soon as you can.

Remember that ill-suited gear of high quality is not better than well-suited gear of moderate quality: Gearing up in Solider’s is a good starting point if you have no wish to look at class recommendations. Likewise, you’ll want to hit up metabattle.com and click on the WvW button to see what builds would serve you best, or if you hate looking at these resources, prioritise your tankiest skills, ask a fellow WvWer for rune and consumable advice, and watch some WvW build videos instead. Making a small effort early on will ultimately save you time in the long run: Your corpse isn’t pipping and you’ll find yourself rage-quitting far more frequently if the enemy is simply bulldozing through you.

How do WvWers use chat channels?

Learning the difference between team and map chat and how each is used by WvW groups will save your communication efforts from becoming white noise, which will, in turn, help you integrate into the WvW community. Major calls will be seen in Team chat since this method of communication will span across all maps for your team, whereas Map chat is used for more localised communication on your map and is where you’ll usually find any written directions given by your commander or squad. Don’t ask map- or squad-specific questions in Team chat so that white noise in the more important channel is reduced and no one misses those big calls.

Likewise, knowing common abbreviations used by the WvW commander is exceptionally useful when improving your reaction to callouts and digesting shorthand information given in the middle of the fray. Know your server’s preferred abbreviations for squad sizes (or if your server uses approximate numbers rather than terms such as zerg or roamer), keeps, camps, and towers. If you’re at all in doubt, cardinal direction labels alongside approximate numbers are the best way to go since they are generally intelligible to the uninitiated and are easily typed. You won’t have time to ask every time shorthand is used and could be expected to react very quickly to a call, so this preparatory work will pay off in saved time and more efficient play.

Over to you!

You need to learn the rules first in order to break them, folks, so while I’ve given you an idea of how best to start in WvW, if you decide to stick around for longer than it takes you to earn those sweet rewards, feel free to revisit your playstyle once you’re more comfortable. Many people have fun going off-route, taking small tactical teams with them to cap locations and support the main zerg, for instance. The game mode is player led and is ultimately only as fun as you make it, after all, so do what suits you provided it doesn’t impact on everyone else’s fun.

I’d love more input from the WvW enthusiasts among you since this isn’t my area of expertise: How would you like new WvW players to approach the content? If you’re a newbie, how do you think WvW experts could help accommodate you better? Let me know your thoughts in the comments section.

Tina Lauro has been playing Guild Wars 2 since it launched and now pens the long-running Flameseeker Chronicles column, which runs every other Wednesday and covers everything from GW2 guides and news to opinion pieces and dev diary breakdowns. If there’s a GW2 topic you’d love to see covered, drop a comment Tina’s way or mail her at tina@massivelyop.com.

No posts to display

newest oldest most liked
Subscribe to:
Mikka Hansen

rallybots assemble!

Loyal Patron

Every time I see that arenanet is redoing the WvW to “fix” it’s issues I get really excited that maybe, just maybe, they might have finally realized what the real big problems with the game mode really are.

Every time I get my hopes up, they end up dashed on the rocks… I’m fairly sure that AN really doesn’t have a clue why many players like myself are enjoying ESO, DAOC, and soon to be CU’s 3 faction pvp, but not theirs.

I’ve submitted so much feedback on this issue, it’s pretty much a dead horse. But then I see news blurps like this that they are “fixing” WvW, and I’m like “Maybe they listened!!”


” Personally, I feel that such guilds are wasting an amazing recruitment opportunity that doesn’t come along often in such a contentious content type, but persisting could slow down your progress significantly so you’re best finding another commander to tag along with. ”

Depends on the guild. Some guilds that do more difficult engagements and have group synergy based team builds cannot really help a new player along. There’s just too large a gap between where a new player is and where a longtime vet is who is doing coordinated stuff.

My guild has been playing for years. Some of us have been playing together for years. Fitting in a fresh new player just doesn’t work.

That doesn’t mean I am against helping new players, because we’ll offer advice. It’s that its best for the new player to follow a guild more suited for where they are as a player. Think of it as trying to join a PVE raiding guild doing speedruns when you’ve never done any of the Raids before and don’t know the gear.

So new players should look for groups that run big and are more middle of the road. The adjustment will be far less jarring for the player.

In addition to this,, I’ll offer some advice on where to spend your WXP points:

The first thing that I’d unlock is Supply Mastery. Not the line that increased the amount of supply you can carry, but the line that speeds up your supply taking and rewards you with supply back sometimes. Next in upgrade would the WvW provisioner for it becomes quite useful. Third unlock would be Flame Ram Mastery, followed by Catapault mastery. After that, the supply increase line is where I would start. It takes a lot of ranks to finish off, so that’s why I don’t start with it first. You won’t feel rewarded for your rank ups if you begin with that line. Get some of the essential trait buffs and then grind to increase your supply capacity.


The most important rule in WvW: never touch a Tactivator lever unless a Commander tells you to!

If siege is being thrown down, rush to build it as quick as possible but don’t use it until you’ve got some experience with WvW and ranked up a few of your siege skills.

There are three main ways to play WvW: joining the big zerg, roaming around solo or duo capturing sentries and camps (works best if you’re either good at PvP or don’t mind dying and running a lot), or forming a havoc group of about 5 people to cap camps and try to ninja-cap towers. Different classes and builds work well for each of the three – if you play a ranger or thief, for example, then you’re probably best off going for roaming or havoc because you’ll likely be less effective (or outright unwelcome) in most zergs.

One useful thing is getting to know the colour code your server uses for Commander tags – this can vary a bit between NA/EU and from server to server. Generally a blue tag means an open squad anyone can join, while other colours might denote an invite-only squad, a closed squad only for members of a particular guild, a havoc group, or a scout/defender.


Learn the meta for your tier. There were predominately two major metas: GWEN and Pirate Ship. There may be a new one I haven’t played in a while so you’d have to check. These dramatically shift how you play and what guide you need to use as well as what’s expected for you on your class depending on what group you’re put into. Generally speaking this is one of the better reasons to join voice comms because usually there’s helpful links to builds for what works for your server and what tier it’s at.

This matters a lot because metas are very different. For example the “GWEN” meta (not referencing the Guild Wars staple heroine but rather Guardian, Warrior, Elementalist, Necro) was characterized by two forces pushing into each other, blasting each other with AOEs and cleaves as you passed through each other, then rallying together again to do another push until one side or another died. This requires coordinated stability boosts that you will hear commanders call for (Stab 1 go, Stab 2 go, etc) to make it through the enemy’s CC.

Conversely “Pirate Ship” meta consisted mostly of two blobs of forces just blasting AOEs and CCs at each other from range to strip stability and punish anyone who charges at you leaving the two blobs just kinda “broadsiding” each other looking for downs or until one side overwhelmed the other with numbers.

So you can see the differences between your tier’s meta for pvp can matter immensely. On higher tiers GWEN was very popular where lower tiers pirate ship tends to be more favored. If you build for pirate ship (usually very glassy like PvE) you will get destroyed in seconds in a GWEN meta style match up.

Also learn what you’re being placed into a group for. As an example I talked about Stability above which is traditionally a Guardian’s role. If you’re in a group as 2 Guardians, Warrior, and 2 Necros chances are you’re expected to provide stability there during key points as a Guardian. Another example is you may end up as Revenant in an all Necro party they’re expecting you to be a Herald who pulses perma swiftness and crit to your party to boost the Necro’s well damage and keep them mobile.


This is the best Guild Wars 2 World vs. World article to ever come out of Massively.

WvW newbies should go in with the mindset of enjoying the game mode. Forget reward tracks and loot. You will quickly realize that it’s a not weeks but months before you will see those exclusive items that can be earned. Learn how to support the zerg or how to be an effective small group or solo roamer with your class and build. People in WvW are happy to answer questions.

The game mode is conquest and it’s 100% PvP based objectives. It’s a lot of fun getting to know the dysfunctional loonies on VOIP because while they are just as crazy and special as the PvE players, they tend to be more friendly and entertaining in a public comms setting.

WvW is fun but not really effective for the introvert. It’s a team based game mode and the mechanics heavily reflect that.

New & Returning Players Advice from a Commander in Tier 1:


I got some nice 20 slot bags for relatively cheap in WvW. Other than my Gift of Battle, I’m happy. Not even sure what exclusive items there are in Wvw.

Now for all the other stuff to get a legendary.


Load up on supplies when you can.
Jump in and build trebuchets and battering rams when they are thrown down.
Always target the commanders target.
Stay with the group and don’t chase squirrels.

So far I have not had anyone complain at me for not doing the right thing. Whatever that is.
I do try though as opposed to the folks who sit at the portals and slurp points.

Bryan Turner

Yawn, let me know when the PVE content comes.


The HoT events in say the verdant jungle are keeping me interested at the moment. Definitely a more challenging environment that any of the original content.

Bryan Turner

I’ve been dabbling in ESO, and watching Shoddy Casts lore videos. Not digging what happened to Power builds in GW2s last balance patch.