Fight or Kite: Guild Wars 2’s best PvP mode isn’t what you think it is – it’s minigames


One could certainly argue that Guild Wars 2’s primary focus is that of a PvE, story driven game. Hell, I’d make that argument. Yet, Guild Wars 2’s combat systems are so good that PvP should absolutely not be dismissed. I’ve discussed its WvW before, but I’ve yet to touch on the structured PvP, or arena-style PvP mode, that is also available in game.

I can wax indignant about Guild Wars 2’s PvP all day, but today is not the day. Today, we discuss the truly thoughtful, unique, and fun modes of Guild Wars 2 PvP: the minigames!

Now ArenaNet, you might be able to fool everyone else by calling these “activities,” but I see right through you. These are PvP games!

FIght for your right to... fight more, mostly.

Guild Wars 2 has dozens of PvP games

It isn’t completely evident on the surface, but Guild Wars 2 actually has a boat load of PvP games. The problem is that they are all basically seasonal, unsupported, or completely pointless after you’ve checked off the achievement for them.

Regardless, these games are fun, and if ArenaNet could find the right way to package them up or boost their visibility, I think more PvP players would be all in. Here’s a list of some of the more impressive games.

  • Sanctum Sprint – race with power-ups to knock around your opponents
  • Southsun Survival – battle royale
  • Snowball Mayhem’s – capture the flag
  • Aspect Arena – capture multiple flags
  • Dragon Ball Arena – team deathmatch where you collect skills
  • Keg Brawl – football or rugby… or futbol. Look I play video games, OK?
  • Crab Toss – keep away (as in, the game you play as a kid to keep a toy/anything away from your little brother/sister)
  • Races, races, and more races!

I want to dive into some depth on a few of these due to their uniqueness. Very little of this caliber exists in any other MMO.

Before there was Fortnite, there was Southsun Survival

It was the summer of 2013. The Hunger Games trilogy was taking the world by storm. Everyone who was anyone wanted a piece of that sweet mockingjay action. The team at ArenaNet was no exception. Yes, that’s right, at this time in the dawning of the age of modern MMOs, when players were still focusing only on realm vs. realm or arena-style PvP modes, Guild Wars 2 released Southsun Survival.

And it was a breath of fresh air. It borrows heavily from the Hunger Games battle royale scene. Players start in a circle around a fire. Dozens of weapons are scattered near the fire. As soon as the timer begins, players dive in, grab a weapon, and begin to mercilessly slaughter one another. A cool aspect of the game is that once you are dead, you get to respawn on a team with other losers and try to take out the remaining survivalists. It’s a fun way to get some revenge on whichever player knocked you out.

Not only was it a derivative of the movie franchise, but a miniature survival game like this also led to the end of a beta weekend. The game is actually extremely fun, and I’ll play a few rounds of it anytime it shows up as a daily and there are more than a handful of other players to fight.

We need some new maps to play in. Some sort of new obstacles or monsters to battle with would be great too. If we can just get a little bit more support, players would really enjoy it.

Who needs Mario Cart when you’ve got Sanctum Sprint?

In Sanctum Spirit, players line up and sprint to the finish line. The trick is we have unique jumping and speed powers in addition to little bombs and other tools to knock down our opponents while we run.

The problem here again is that we have only the one course. It does offer a couple of different paths to take, but after a few runs, you will have the whole thing down pat. If we could get some new courses, that’d be fantastic. Not to mention, we have mounts now too. Give us some maps that take advantage of mounts while also allowing us to battle with friends!

Snowball Mayhem’s classic combat roles make it the stand-out brawling mode

Snowball Mayhem is much more classic MMO PvP: your team versus my team. There’s a present in the middle of the arena, and you have to get it back to your base for points. The first team to get 500 points wins.

The available classes in this mode are what make it really shine to me. As much as I loathe the holy trinity (another time, people!), it is extremely fun to have a mode that uses something akin to that classic format in Guild Wars 2. We have the supporter, the tank, and the DPS. That’s it. Choose a role and let the mayhem begin. It’s simple and straightforward – two facets of PvP that the main team should keep in mind.

An honorable mention to the mount races

Since the release of Path of Fire, the game has seen loads, and loads, and loads of races. It’s close to the point of overkill really. However, a lot of these races are really good. The designers clearly put a significant amount of effort and time into ensuring that the races are not only smooth but fun too.

When the big chunk of races was first released, we saw a nice set of achievements with a good reward – and even a nice marketing campaign too (remember when ArenaNet gave away a car?!). All of this is great. We just want to keep that push going. Keep iterating and improving. Each race has a little daily and all-time leaderboard, tech used since Heart of Thorns’ adventures. ArenaNet could push it further.

Players are regularly complaining that there aren’t enough or any) in-game mount skins to acquire outside of the base skins. Let’s get some good racing skin rewards! Let’s encourage players to want to race and win. Make seasons, make the leaderboards reset, and make these minigames a central feature of the game instead of overlooked side content.

So, drivers, with your road rage building up and banana peels in hand: What would you like to see from all the various Guild Wars 2 PvP games? Would you be interested in an expansion of the current games to make them more competitive and worth investing time into? Are there any other honorable mentions that you think deserve the limelight over and above those discussed here?

Every other week, Massively OP’s Sam Kash delivers Fight or Kite, our trip through the state of PvP across the MMORPG industry. Whether he’s sitting in a queue or rolling with the zerg, Sam’s all about the adrenaline rush of a good battle. Because when you boil it down, the whole reason we PvP (other than to pwn noobs) is to have fun fighting a new and unpredictable enemy!
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