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PvP Primer: Finding a Group


The preceding Primer articles have focused on activities you can do by yourself to improve your PvP ability. At some point, however, you may reach a point where you've exhausted solo options and wish to begin playing with other people. Note that should you choose not to make the leap toward playing with other people, you can still continue to PvP by yourself and compete in our 1v1 Hero Battle championship series.

In the PvP areas we have yet to cover, including Team Arenas, Alliance Battles, Heroes' Ascent, and Guild vs. Guild (GvG), you cannot enter the battle alone; you must find a group. While you may certainly find groups without being a member of a guild, joining a guild usually gives you the best chance of meeting and forming teams with other players. Before you start looking for a team or guild to join, we have a number of suggestions and practical guidelines that should ease your transition into the social environment of competitive Guild Wars.


Guilds

Guilds exist as the primary driving force behind much of PvP; after all, we did name the game Guild Wars. In fact, to participate in the highest form of competition, automated GvG tournaments, you must have 30 days of continuous membership in a guild. Guilds serve as a focal point for organization, have their own in-game chat and announcements, and can join alliances. But how do you find the guild that's right for you? Guild Wars has tons of guilds, ranging in size from single person rosters to alliances composed of hundreds of people, so it can seem daunting at first.

Finding a Guild
When looking for a guild, prepare yourself for the possibility of encountering some of the following requirements:

  • Age restriction
  • Microphone and willingness to use it
  • Voice chat software (usually Teamspeak or Ventrilo)
  • In-game titles (Hero and Gladiator are common)
  • Some amount of experience with the game
  • Specific PvP format only (for example, a guild might only play Team Arenas)
  • Roleplaying-only (not a PvP guild)
  • Language
  • Minimum activity level (period of time between logins)
  • Agreement with stated philosophy and goals

These types of limitations on membership vary between guilds, and they serve to unite members and reduce conflict. Of course some guilds have no restrictions at all, but just about every serious competitive guild attempts to screen its members. This doesn't mean you won't find a guild to join. Guilds frequently undergo minor turnover and restructuring, as some people wander between rosters or form guilds of their own. The sheer number of guilds in existence favors anyone looking for a guild, because at any given time at least some of the existing guilds seek to replenish their ranks.

Most importantly, decide what you want out of the guild. Do you want to join a guild with members over a certain age? Are you looking to play the roleplaying aspects of the game as well as PvP? Admire the guild's philosophy? Just smitten with its awesome cape? It's up to you. However, if you have limited PvP or GvG experience, you should probably search for a guild that accepts and even trains new players.

Fansites
We have a comprehensive list of official fan sites you can browse through on our website. These websites are not merely self-proclaimed fansites; they must go through our approval process and continuing review to stay on the list. While they have extensive information about many aspects of Guild Wars, they also have forums where guilds go to recruit members. Look at these fansites for guilds that are actively recruiting. Many guilds put links to their own websites in their recruitment message, so you can go read up on a particular guild.

Guild of the Week
Our Guild of the Week article features a player-nominated guild every week. These articles describe the guilds in general, their philosophies, members, and recruiting policies. Often when looking for a new guild, the Guild of the Week contains a wealth of detailed information.

In-Game Recruiting
Travel to highly populated PvP areas such as the Great Temple of Balthazar, Heroes' Ascent, and Team Arenas, and you may see recruiters from different guilds posting recruitment messages into All Chat. These messages contain preliminary information, and you can whisper the recruiter to see if the guild has a website you can check out, or you can try using a search engine on the Web to find the guild's website.

If you watch matches in Observer Mode and follow a particular guild, try searching for that guild on the Web. You may find the guild's website and discover that it's recruiting. Sometimes in areas such as Random Arenas you may get grouped with someone from a guild looking for more members, and if you make a favorable impression, the recruiter might ask you to join.


External Resources

Organized PvP guilds usually rely on external resources that you should learn how to use. These include websites, forums, and voice chat software. Some Guild Wars guilds belong to larger gaming organizations that have members spanning many games. Joining one of these guilds can put you in touch with a wide network of gamers, many of them potential Guild Wars players.

Voice Chat Software
Communicating verbally far surpasses typing for in-game, tactical purposes. Actual conversation also tends to build a sense of community and bonds players together more than reading text on a screen does. As such, Teamspeak and Ventrilo have emerged as popular free software for voice communication. You can download the needed software, free of charge, from the respective websites. On these sites you can find FAQs and instructions for using the software. Note that if you intend to run your own guild and want voice chat, you'll need to rent or host a server; these are not free.

Microphone and Headset
To speak with other players through voice chat software, you'll obviously need a microphone. Many players prefer to use a headset because they can hear others better with headphones than with speakers. Also, headsets have the advantage of not disturbing others in the household and not transmitting the sound from your speakers into the microphone, resulting in annoying echoes and distracting feedback. Headsets don't cost a lot, and you can often find good deals through online stores or special sales at local merchants.

Forums
Forums or message boards, common on the Web for a wide range of subjects, give guilds a centralized and efficient way to organize events, discuss builds, get to know each other, and write about their game experiences. If you've never registered on a forum before, it's a fairly straightforward procedure. To register, you need only a valid email address (many players open a free email account with a provider such as Yahoo® to use for their forum registrations). Most forum systems use this email address as a way for you to confirm your registration or change your password. Once registered on the forum, you'll probably need to gain access to the private guild areas. Speak to a guild officer or leader to arrange such access.


Finding Groups Outside of a Guild

Sometimes you may find occasion to look for groups independent of a guild, especially if you're still looking to join a guild. Luckily, Guild Wars has game mechanics in place to support this type of party formation. Over time, games have developed their own lingo that people use to quickly communicate their desires for forming a group. Here's a few of the common ones that might assist you:

  • GLF: Group Looking For (a party needs a member of a certain type, example: GLF Monk)
  • LFG: Looking For Group (a single player needs a group, example: Axe Warrior LFG)

Group leaders might use All Chat or the Party Search panel (or both) to collect players. To use the Party Search panel, travel to the PvP outpost of the area where you wish to play. Click the "Search" button in the Party panel or press "P" in the outpost and you'll see a list of all people looking for groups, and all groups looking for people. Use this interface to find yourself a group or to start your own.

Once you're in a group, the other members might want to verify your build. Ctrl-click any of the skills on your Skill Bar within the Skills and Attributes panel, and you'll announce all currently equipped skills in team chat. Such a procedure helps the entire team quickly check each other and make sure that everyone meshes for optimal synergy.

No matter how you wish to continue your PvP experience, Guild Wars offers many different options to suit different play styles. The game offers high-level, fiercely competitive GvG, low-key and less competitive areas such as Fort Aspenwood in Factions, and the ultimate one-on-one challenge in Nightfall with Hero Battles. Regardless of which route you take (or even if you prefer to play all forms of PvP!), we strongly recommend finding a guild to join. Done right, it will place you with other like-minded people and enhance your overall enjoyment of the game. Good luck, and above all, have fun!