State of the Game—October 30, 2006
One on One with Team Quitter [QQ]
By Christian Brellisford
Special note: Each State of the Game article presents the opinions and insights of one game observer. These observations are personal in nature and do not reflect the opinions of ArenaNet. While ArenaNet does review each State of the Game article to assure that it offers content that is respectful of all players, we intend to allow our reporters the freedom to inject some personal opinion into descriptions of the current atmosphere of competitive play in Guild Wars, and to express views based on their experience and observation.
The Autumn Season is finished and last week the Idiot Savants [iQ] were crowned as the number one guild; however, it wasn't an easy road for iQ. They had to defeat the #1 seeded guild Team Quitter [QQ].
QQ first formed under the name One Hit Quitters a few seasons ago from an amalgamation of a few disbanded guilds. Once they developed a stable team and strategies they renamed their guild Team Quitter for the Autumn Season. Their intentions were to represent their territory (America) at the highest level of Guild Wars competition.
I had a chance to speak with Tommy Equals Ftw, Custodian, and Deamon from Team Quitter to talk about their guild. I found out how they got started, what it takes to make a top guild, and their recent matches against iQ in the Autumn Season Finals.
Building a winning team
Q: How did you guys initially form and how many players are in your guild?
A: Team Quitter is composed of nine members from varied backgrounds: we have three members from I Guild I [iGi], three from We Pwn Char [Char], one from Clan Kgyu [KGYU], one from Fallen Angels [fA], and we have one member who is currently involved purely with Heroes Ascent. We all knew each other from constantly competing against one another in regular GvG ladder matches. When all of our guilds disbanded at relatively similar times (though some have since reformed) it was easy to join together as friends with identical goals. Thus, the guild One Hitter Quitters [QQ] was born. After finishing third place in the first of several "fun seasons" One Hitter Quitters changed our name to Team Quitter, knowing we had formed a solid, highly competitive GvG team.
Q: What does it take to climb the Guild Wars Ladder? How often do you guys play?
A: For a team to climb the ladder, they need to constantly learn from their mistakes and know what was done right to beat them. A stubborn team will never improve, and the only way to become better or more knowledgeable is to constantly play and gain experience. A consistent roster helps too. Being able to predict your teammates' actions in situations and rely on them is something we do often.
We normally play GvG from three to five nights per week for about three to five hours at a time. As for playing as a guild, we are constantly doing things with one another, whether it's "guesting" with someone else, playing in the Arenas, Heroes' Ascent, or Alliance Battles, or helping someone through PvE. On any given night, there will be at least five or more members in Vent doing something together when we're not GvGing.
Q: You played a few different builds in the Autumn Tournament, how many team builds have you guys developed?
A: In the season leading up to this tournament we made the effort to have experience with many different build styles. We felt it was important to be versatile, as teams with only a few builds and strategies are easily countered. In the first two seasons that we played together, we played two builds that were meant for getting fast rating points, and as the Autumn Tournament was announced, we shifted our build-making focus to tournament-style play.
We entered the tournament with a series of different builds and, based on our opponent and the map choice, we chose which one of those builds to run. Of course, we always have the ability to change a few skills here and there to hopefully gain an advantage over our opponent. We currently have five builds that we feel confident using in a tournament or ladder environment.
The Autumn Tournament
Team Quitter finished as number one for regular season play, winning 114 games. They were the number one seed in the Autumn Tournament which culminated in two hard-played games versus iQ where they eventually lost 2-0. Tommy and Daemon talked about the two matches and what they could have done better.
Q: What do you think of iQ? Did you make any specific build changes to face them?
A: iQ is probably the scariest team to play in a tournament setting. Most other guilds create their builds from some kind of template, and that can lead to predictability and familiarity with the situations that arise. iQ, however, tends to run far more experimental builds that can revolve around a single purpose or instant in the game. If unprepared, even for a quarter of a second, it can cost your team the game.
When we found out we were to play iQ in the final round, we went in with our most practiced build. We switched in Unnatural Signet because we knew they would have Spirits of some kind, and we also switched in Ice Prison to take advantage of the layout of the Nomad's Isle. Though expected, we had no idea of the magnitude of their incredibly strong strategy at the Victory or Death mark.
Q: It seemed you were ahead in game #1 with iQ until Victory or Death. What happened at that point?
A: iQ had an incredible amount of shutdown and very little damage, so scoring kills at the flag stand early in the game were rather difficult. We did manage to drop the Monks and Ritualist several times, but major pushes proved to be ineffective, as there would be no chain deaths, but simply solitary ones. We were also able to secure a morale boost, but unfortunately not able to wipe their team and get into their base to kill some of their NPCs. We knew that our strategy was going to have to be to overwhelm and wipe them before the twenty-minute mark because theirs was going to be to stall the game and play defense until Victory or Death for an assured victory.
The kills that we had scored on iQ's Monks and Ritualist early in the game, however, were not enough to defeat them once VoD struck. The only option at that point was to take the battle to their base. We fought at their gate with some success, dropping several of their players while taking minimal damage ourselves, but then their Knights and Bodyguard came to interfere. As we fought in their base, they had enough NPC support to finally take us down and we couldn't avoid them no matter where we went. The NPC advantage turned out to be too much.
Q: Knowing iQ was likely going to bring Glyph of Sacrifice/Meteor Shower again, what were you guys thinking about changing in your strategy and how you would combat their VoD plans?
A: We have a certain style of dynamic play that we don't want to compromise. In the first game we attempted smash-mouth tactics to moderate success, but simply did not have enough to get through their defenses in the time allotted; going into the second game, we saw two possibilities as far as a change in strategy. The first was to directly counter their Meteor Shower by implementing counters of otherwise useless skills and playing an even more defensive build. And the second was to run a split build with the idea that we could reduce the advantage they would have on us at Victory or Death, even if we allowed the Meteor Shower combination to go through. Unfortunately, their build's defensive nature allowed a formidable defensive counter-split to handle our assassins and the NPC advantage that we had at VoD was not enough to equalize the numbers.
The future shows no bounds for Team Quitter. With their number one spot on the ladder and number two finish in the Tournament, QQ plans on playing together for a long time. They have high hopes of playing in and winning future official tournaments. All of their members are looking forward to Guild Wars Nightfall and are welcoming the shift in the metagame that it will likely bring. iQ might have beaten them this time, but these guys are resilient, and Team Quitter won't be quitting any time soon.
Lastly QQ has some advice for small guilds trying to stay competitive. Stay organized. They recommend schedules, outside and/or forum communication, voice chat, regular times for playing, and determining the best possible roles each player has on a team. Team Quitter relies on voice-chat to help them stay coordinated in game, but all of them agree that outside coordination is the key to their success. They also say not to get discouraged by losses and to treat all games as learning experiences. Nobody starts as an expert; there is no substitute for experience.
Thanks to Tommy, Daemon and Custodian for their time to answer these questions and show the public a glimpse of what it's like to be in a top guild!
Christian Brellisford is a college student currently studying video game design in Toronto, Ontario, Canada in hopes of pursuing a career in the field. A gamer since an early age, Christian has been involved with Guild Wars since the E3 for Everyone Event in 2004, and currently leads the Spirits of War guild. You can find him in game under the name Saidin Writer.