A Competitive Failure’s Guild Wars 2 PvP Experience(1)

I am one of those people who is hilariously bad at PvP but for some reason keeps on playing with the hope that they will eventually get better. After much desk pounding and foul language that embarrasses even the most aggressive PvPer, I do get a little better, but it only happens after I scare away all of my teammates.

Now, I love Guild Wars 2. For this second beta event weekend, I spent most of my time participating in rage-inducing structured PvP. I did a little World vs World vs. World, which is sort of like Wintergrasp except 50 times bigger and has three servers fighting each other. That’s not really PvP in the truest sense, because you spend most of your time tearing down walls, but it’s like entry level PvP that doesn’t have high stakes and it’s fun even if you’re losing (unless you’re getting dominated, though once servers get ranked that should be rare).

However, most of my time was spent in competitive PvP. I love this PvP system because you start at max level with all of your skills unlocked. Everyone has the same gear, though you can greatly customize it with the stats you choose. So basically, if you lose in 1v1 it’s your own damn fault (barring certain professions being overpowered of course).

And, as was expected, I yelled and thrashed so much that my boyfriend decided to take a break and play Diablo 3. You know, that game that’s always available instead of the game that lets you play on weekends once in a blue moon. But I digress.


When you first enter the Mists (the PvP queueing area), you start out with your character leveled up to 80, wearing different clothes, wielding a weapon, and with all your skills unlocked. You can jump right in after you pick the skills on the right side of your hotbar and allocate your traits, though most people will probably want to purchase their weapon of choice first.

There are so many things to customize here that it can get overwhelming. I’d recommend playing with the default customization first, just so you know what you’d like to change. Here are the things you can customize:

Weapon(s) – Each weapon defines your 1 to 5 skills. Most classes (except elementalists and engineers) can pick two weapon sets to swap between in combat.
Traits – These are your passive statistics and bonuses. On first look, these are pretty unexciting, though they get plenty exciting after some experimentation.
Heal / Utility / Elite skills
Weapon Sigils – These are enchants for your weapon that provide cool bonuses. If you choose to use something other than the default weapon, don’t forget to use these on your new weapons.
Armor Runes – These are set bonuses for your armor. There are dozens to choose from, and they play a significant part in your character’s passive stats.
Amulet & Gem – In GW2 PvP, your armor and weapons have no base stats. Instead, you get most of that from your amulet (and some from your runes). You can further customize your amulet by gemming it.

All of these customization pieces can be purchased (for free, at the moment) from vendors in the mists or reset in your character pane.

Leveling Up

You don’t gain levels while participating in structured PvP, but you do gain points similar to experience. With enough of those points your rank is increased and you get a little care package. The rank system is still sort of confusing, but everyone loves little progress bars at the bottom of their screens.

In the care package, you get a handful of randomly selected PvP loot. It has the same stats as your default gear, but it has a different model so you can pick clothes that look more awesome. Presumably it gets even more awesome looking at higher ranks, but I didn’t get there so I can’t say for sure. You have a chance of getting any type of item to drop, so if you’re unlucky like me you’ll get mostly items your profession can’t equip. You can also buy more care packages with an honor-like currency you also get from PvPing.

I almost got to rank 5, except it’s not really rank 5 because I could only buy gear from the rank 1 vendor and rank 5 was the highest vendor. My rank subtitle was “Rabbit”, so I don’t think I was the highest rank. I also lost most of my games so I’m not exactly better than “Rabbit”.