Player versus Player

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Disambig icon.png This article is about the gameplay type. For the effect given in pvp outposts, see PvP (effect).

Player versus player (PvP) is a style of gameplay that pits players against each other in a competition. The objective in PvP is to defeat the opposing team(s), which can be accomplished by one of several different means, depending on the format. This could be capturing control points, defeating the opponent's Guild Lord, scoring a higher kill count or just regular deathmatch. As balance is a concern in PvP, many skills are weaker in competitive play than in PvE (e.g. Energy Drain (PvP) is inferior to Energy Drain).

PvP-only characters

In addition to using roleplaying (PvE) characters, players can also create a PvP-only character, which have unlimited access to options that have been unlocked on that account: runes, weapon modifications, skills, and insignias. Options can be unlocked by finding them in PvE, by spending Balthazar faction, or by spending real money. Many guilds that focus on PvP play require a PvP-only character for membership because of the flexibility in changing configurations that they provide; a strong PvP player is expected to be able to play multiple professions and multiple builds well.

Arenas and formats

The PvP arenas are:

Strategy and tactics

PvP tactics and strategy differ between the formats, but in general, PvP differs from PvE in the following ways:

  • There are no tanks — everyone in the party can expect to take damage.
    • Characters with high intrinsic durability (Warriors) should generally not waste skill slots on self-survival skills
    • Softer characters need some combination of good kiting skills and defensive equipment/skills.
  • Mobility and positioning are far more important than in PvE.
  • Most teams will have healing, and any offensive strategy must have a way to overcome it. Disabling skills, knock downs, interrupts, and skills that prevent or delay opponents from acting are stronger in PvP.
    • Bull's Strike and Diversion are useless for mainstream PvE, but very strong in many PvP formats.
    • A typical Guild versus Guild team may only feature two characters of eight who are primarily damage-dealers, with the rest as support.
    • Long cast-time skills (e.g. Meteor Shower) are very weak, since they will almost certainly be disrupted.
  • Characters must be able to fight continuously for several minutes without running out of energy, since you cannot "rest between fights"; energy-managing skills are essential.
  • Spike damage is important, so that players can deliver focused damage to a single target to overwhelm any healing on that foe.
  • Melee characters should carry speed boosts to catch targets, otherwise kiting can negate damage.
  • High maximum health is critical. Superior runes are almost never used, and even the use of major runes is considered a bold choice.

Special tactics

These tactics are specific to a subset of PvP:

  • Voice communication is essential to succeed in organized play.
  • In formats without auto-resurrection, all characters (other than dedicated healers) should carry a quick-activation resurrection skill.

Low-level PvP

In addition, there are low-level PvP arenas only accessible to roleplaying characters.

Arena battles

Arena battles put two teams of four players against each other. The winning objectives vary, depending on the map. Losing players are sent back to the lobby area, while the winning team awaits the next opposing team for the next match.

There are two kind of arenas, Random Arena and Codex Arena. In Random Arenas, players are randomly put together into teams. In the Codex Arena, parties are formed but they have only a limited number of skills that change every day.


  • Arena battles are fast paced. Fights usually end in less than three minutes.
  • Random Arenas are often used by many players as a "quick fix" of PvP. Other than a few points of Faction there is nothing at stake and there are no lengthy party forming periods, which can take a huge amount of time in Tournament Battles and GvG. For these reasons, Random Arenas are also a good way to try out PvP for new players.
  • Leaving the party after the battle or mission has started is generally considered rude, and will often make players angry. In Random Arena battles, missing party members get replaced by a new player between battles. So if you need to leave, do so after your party has won the battle, but before the timer for the next map starts.

Tournament battles

The Global Tournament is only accessible through Heroes' Ascent. Teams consist of eight players, with no more than two henchmen. The tournament consists of several consecutive maps. The losers drop out, the winners advance to the next round. Different map types are used, many of them consisting of more than two teams. However, only one team advances to the next round. The highest amount of teams that can play used to be 6, however the amount of teams in one battle is now limited to 4. The amount of teams is also determined by the map the player is on. (For example, some maps can support two teams, while others can support up to 5 or 6 teams but only have a maximum of 4 teams playing against each other at once.)

For more information, see Heroes' Ascent.

Guild vs Guild Battles

Guild Battles are the highest form of PvP in Guild Wars. Elaborate builds and strategies are used during guild matches. They are the only source of guild rating, which determines the guilds rank on the guild ladder. For more detail, see the article: Guild versus Guild.

Automated tournaments

Three times a day, automated tournaments take place for Guild versus Guild. After paying a small entry fee, guilds compete in several round robin matches. Winning matches gives players Tournament Reward Points (used to unlock new skins for items and weapons in PvP) and the top guilds in each tournament receive qualifier points needed to enter a monthly tournament.

Conduct and etiquette

  • Where there is no automatic resurrection, make every effort to carry a Resurrection Signet in your build, as it can turn the tide of battle. Many teams win simply due to having a Resurrection Signet when the other team does not (especially in the Random Arenas). Monks, Ritualists and Paragons can carry other resurrect skills, or none at all, as they may not have time to resurrect.
  • Running away from your enemies for the sole purpose of prolonging a match is considered rude. Most people who do this use Ranger builds because of their defensive stances or Assassin Shadow Step abilities, however it is possible for any class to run. However, basic kiting and such is good tactics/playing so long as you are not simply running away.
  • Making a team of only Healing Monks with the purpose of irritating the enemy by holding a long match is extremely annoying.
  • Dishonorable Combatant System is used to punish players who leaving a PvP match prematurely, for leeching experience or faction, or for falsely reporting team members for leeching.


Gw2logo.png The Guild Wars 2 Wiki also has an article on Player versus Player.
  • Players that are logged in when a game update is released cannot enter matches and new matches will not be created until the update is downloaded, which causes consecutive win streaks to end.