State of the Game—July 10, 2006
Guild Wars Factions Open Event Player Tips
By Jonathan Sharp
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 GWFOE (Guild Wars Factions Open Event) will decide the 6th and final spot for the next round of the Guild Wars Factions Championship. Below you'll find a few hints to help make your GWFOE weekend more enjoyable.
1. Know the rules.
As in any competition, it's imperative that you're familiar with the rules. Make sure you understand them fully before the event begins, and abide by them at all times while you're playing—don't let a technicality spoil your chance to go to Germany.
2. Come prepared! Know the gamer food groups.
If you decide to compete, you'll be playing a lot of games. Consider keeping some of your favorite caffeinated beverages on-hand in case you become fatigued and need a little jolt. You can't subsist on caffeine alone, so make sure you have some snacks such as chips or crackers nearby, and prepare quick meals that are easy to eat in front of the computer, such as sandwiches, pizzas, or microwavable meals. While not quite as important as vegetables or dairy, sugar might run a close third. When you're playing video games for three straight days, however, you'll want to watch how much you intake; you don't want to have a sugar crash midway through a GvG match!
3. Have a few builds ready and project the metagame.
I spoke with Disco Bunny about the upcoming GWFOE and asked him if he had any thoughts on what types of builds players would encounter during the weekend. He said, "Remember that since the only thing that matters at the end of the weekend is rating, many guilds will run suicide builds that win or lose quickly. Expect to see one-dimensional builds, and be prepared to alter yours very quickly depending on how the metagame changes over the course of the weekend."
Most teams will likely be running spike and high-pressure builds. Both of these builds attempt to procure a lot of kills or put out a lot of pressure quickly. They're offensive in nature and try to force an opponent's retreat through sheer damage. Make sure that you have a plan to deal with both of these builds.
I would advise against running a build that focuses on attrition (a Hex build is a good example of this). It is possible for a Hex build to attain victory, but they need a large amount of time to overwhelm a team. Using this build style will increase the average duration of your games, which will result in fewer games and fewer overall points.
4. Study the metagame, which can change during the three days, and be ready to adapt.
If you get a break between games, check out some games in Observer mode. Which builds do you see the most? Which seem to be working? Which are not? Even though it's only a three-day period, there will be small changes in the metagame, so be ready to adjust accordingly. If pressure builds are dominating, find a way to slow them down. If things aren't working, change your build and tactics as many times as it takes for you to feel comfortable with the "current" style metagame.
5. Take breaks—don't let fatigue defeat you.
In order to do well over the weekend, you'll need to play and win a lot of games. If you start to notice that you're not playing your top game, take a break. Coordinate within your guild so that you have aligned schedules, and try to make sure that everyone sleeps at roughly the same time. Remember that any loss can hurt your chances, and you don't want a loss incurred because you're making poor decisions due to fatigue.
6. Don't let failure get you down.
It's just a fact: you will lose games and you will lose points. Keep in mind that everyone else is experiencing the same thing. Try to keep your head about you, and keep pushing forward. Make sure that you accept losses and work to correct them. Don't let disappointment or frustration distract you. When I asked Hutto Carrionfields of Treacherous Empire [Te], for a bit of advice, he echoed these sentiments, saying: "Don't let losses get you down. Keep trying to get as many points as possible."
7. Keep an eye on your goal—you want as many points as possible.
In addition to playing each match, you'll also be playing for overall position on the ladder. You must be keenly aware of both and how they impact each other. If you don't have much time left but still need a lot of points, make sure you're running a build that can win you those points. In some games, it will quickly become clear that you will probably lose; if this is the case, politely concede victory and get into another game. At the end of the weekend, the winner is the guild with the most points.
8. Remember, it's just a game.
On a lighter note, I also spoke with [Te] veteran Te Kuntz about the weekend. When I asked him about his thoughts, he simply said, "Ya, run Flareway, and drink beer!"
"Flareway?" I asked.
"Ya," he replied, "It's a freaking lazerbeam of fire!" An Open Weekend Event can be fun, but also tiring and frustrating. No matter how frustrated or upset you get, keep things in perspective and try to enjoy yourself. In the end, it's still just a game.
To all of you about to enter the fray, I salute you!
Jonathan Sharp has been playing competitive online strategy games since Warcraft 2 and StarCraft. In Guild Wars, he has been a member of two top-5 ladder teams: Club G and Negative Zero. He recently worked as a multiplayer game designer for Stainless Steel Studios in Boston and has a B.A. in Philosophy. Currently, he's pursuing two of his passions: game design and writing. Find him in-game as Chaplan Observant.