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Guild of the Week: The Pirates of BBQ Bay (BBQ)

The days of pillaging and marauding in Guild Wars began for the Pirates of BBQ Bay during the Beta Weekend Events when the guild was formed by a group of longtime friends. With each successive BWE, they brought new crew members aboard, resulting in the guild as it is today. Comprised of mostly older and highly competitive players, the Pirates have their eyes set on conquest—but they never forget to have a little fun along the way.

The guild’s name is a good reflection of their sense of humor, and was chosen by popular vote of their members. The name was, in their own words, “the obvious choice once we had narrowed our options down to those combining one of the four great archetypes, an indisputably delicious food item, and a body of water.” This lightheartedness carries over into the guild’s battles, where members often inflict any number of bad pirate jokes on opposing teams before the battle begins.

The Pirates are also well known within the Guild Wars community for the numerous videos that they have released. These videos have featured everything from ludicrous gimmick builds in action to highly competitive GvG matches intended to help teach others by example. As a guild heavily focused on PvP, the Pirates are interested not only in winning, but in improving the overall level of competition.


Strategy: Evolution of a Build

To help other guilds in developing adaptable builds, the Pirates have laid out the progression of one of their successful builds:

The first iteration of the build contained three Warrior/Mesmers using Energy Drain, Energy Tap, and Ether Lord. The build also contained three Monks and two slots that were left free: one usually occupied by a Necromancer with Tainted Flesh and Putrid Explosion, the other a Ranger with Quickening Zephyr. The central idea of the build was to keep any opposing team’s Monks at a minimum amount of Energy, while maximizing the Pirates’ damage output.

After suffering a few losses due to Aegis, the Pirates replaced two of the three Warriors in the build with two Mesmers carrying Mind Wrack. This worked effectively in conjunction with the Energy-draining theme of the build. They replaced the third Warrior with a high-damage-output Ranger/Warrior using a hammer—a build the Pirates lovingly refer to as the "Thumper Bunny." The purpose of these changes was largely to decrease the reliance on a single form of damage while attempting to increase the overall damage output of the build.

As the Pirates made their way up the ladder, they began to encounter fiercer competition, and adapted their build accordingly. The QZ Ranger was replaced with the "Trappah," a Ranger who focused on maintaining Quickening Zephyr and Nature’s Renewal, while laying down traps with the aid of the Oath Shot skill. In addition, the Pirates chose to phase out one of their Mesmers due to its damage output, replacing it with an Elementalist/Mesmer dubbed "The Kitchen Sink." The Kitchen Sink came equipped with Obsidian Flame for "spike" damage, Wards to assist the team’s Monks, Iron Mist to snare the enemy team, and Energy drains to keep pressure on enemy Monks. With the addition of Nature’s Renewal to this build, the Pirates chose to keelhaul their Necromancer due to its reliance on the skill Tainted Flesh, as it is an Enchantment that would be stripped by Nature’s Renewal.

At this point, the Pirates found themselves ranked near 50 on the ladder, and had come to the conclusion that there their were two methods to winning in GvG: controlling the flag stand and defeating foes through a battle of attrition, or striking a single blow that obliterated an enemy team and their Guild Lord shortly thereafter. Since the Pirates' build was centered on Energy denial, a fast victory was out of the question, leaving them to focus on control of the flag stand. However, this presented an issue with their build’s current design; with their Thumpers running back and forth to grab the flags, the overall damage output of the build was greatly lowered. The Thumpers themselves could also be taken out easily by opposing team’s Mesmer flag-runners. As a result, the final changes to the overall structure of the build were to swap out the last Mesmer for a Putrid Explosion-based Necromancer, and to add a character designed specifically to run flags.

By starting with a solid concept and direction for a build and refining it through their experiences, and combining it with their drive to always do well, the Pirates were able to make their way to the upper echelon of the GvG ladder.


Strategy: PvP Tips

When playing in competitive matches, the Pirates recommend having someone to record the match. Even if a team chooses not to distribute the video to anyone outside of its members, the replays can be invaluable learning tools. Playbacks provide the opportunity to analyze the effectiveness of a build, the strategies used, and the performance of the players involved. By identifying the weaknesses of a build or plan of attack, players can learn which changes they need to make in order to be more successful.

Another piece of advice from the Pirates is that an effective build utilizes not only communication, but also relies on an understanding of every role involved. By taking the time to play as a character in a setup other than your own, you can gain a more intimate knowledge of what that character can or can not do, thus affording a better understanding of what is reasonable to ask of teammates.


Member Profiles:

Meet some of the members of the Pirates of BBQ Bay:

Handle: Eve
Location: Arkansas, USA
Gaming Background: A self-confessed gaming "noob."
Preferred character: Typically, I play a Healing or Protection Monk in GvG. My favorite Monk builds are those that combine offensive awareness and good positional play with the reaction times and predictive ability required for any Monk. I generally prefer team strategies based on controlling the map, maintaining solid defenses, and coordinating damage.

Handle: Gnostic/Disco
Location: Los Angeles, USA
Gaming Background: RTS and RPGs
Preferred Character: As I am a control freak and enjoy playing micro-intensive characters, the Monk is by far the most interesting character for me to play. I prefer the finesse of the Protection Monk, but rapid-fire heal Monks with abilities like Channeling can be fun, too.

Handle: Five by Five
Broad Location: Colorado, USA
Gaming Background: Competitive RPGs
Preferred Character: For the most part I play the Trappah. My play style is similar to the builds we like to play: one of control, often at the cost of offensive output. I prefer a character that requires good positional play over one that stands and punches buttons.

Handle: Ubiquitous
Broad Location: Arkansas, USA
Gaming Background: FPS and RPGs
Preferred Character: I generally play one of the two healers in GvG, although I also enjoy playing an offensive or support target-caller.

Handle: Danky
Broad Location: Colorado, USA
Gaming Background: FPS and RPGs.
Preferred Character: I typically play offense-oriented melee characters and am responsible for calling targets. I like to play hammer-wielding Ranger/Warriors, as they require a bit of finesse and control.

Handle: Burnt Toast
Broad Location: Ontario, Canada
Gaming Background: RTS, RPGs, and FPS
Preferred Character: I mostly just play the Sink. Other than that, I play whatever Eve tells me to play. I like playing Elementalists because they are so versatile, and they combine well with other classes.

Handle: Viash
Broad Location: Alberta, Canada
Gaming Background: Diverse.
Preferred Character: I play whatever Eve tells me to play—usually a Warrior or the flag-runner, but I'll play anything but a Monk.

Handle: Cliched Moniker
Broad Location: Texas, USA
Gaming Background: RTS, RPGs and FPS
Preferred Character: I enjoy playing disruption-based characters. Damage isn't as important to me as denying my enemy's ability to use their character effectively. I love the amount of micromanagement and finesse required to properly play a disruption character, and think that tying down your opponent’s important characters is the key to success.

Handle: Shipwrecked Sally
Broad Location: Maryland, USA
Gaming Background: RTS and RPGs
Preferred character: Everything, including yes, the Kitchen Sink. My preferred character is a Mesmer/Monk, who shuts down a single target while providing party-wide protection and healing. Sometimes it is quite satisfying after a hard day at work to roll up a Hammer Warrior and just hit things, however.

Handle: Blue Satellite
Location: Chipping Ongar, England
Gaming Background: Diverse
Primary Character: Something easy. It's usually 2 a.m. when I’m playing GvG, so they try to give me classes I can't mess up :)