Player versus Player
Although you are currently playing a character intended for cooperative play (or a storyline character), you may still compete in PvP with this character if you wish. Here in the monastery you can speak to the arena gate guard to gain entrance to the practice PvP arena for trainees in the monastery. Once you leave the monastery and continue in your adventures, there is a separate location where all PvP takes place. You can travel to the PvP competition zone by clicking on the small boat icon on your map. If you wish to create a PvP-only character, you may do so by returning to the main login screen and selecting the "PvP-Only Character" option. Doing so will create a character that can load directly into the various PvP competition zones. The one exception is Guild Battles, which require that you join a guild before being able to take part.
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, the PvP effect causes many skills to be weaker in competitive play than in PvE.
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, upgrade components, 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.
Level 20 PvP formats
|Two randomly-selected teams of four compete in a deathmatch
The Jade Quarry
|Two random teams compete in a mini-mission
|Six organized teams of four, allied three-three against each other and randomly matched up compete for capture points
|Two organized teams of four compete using only a limited pool of Codex skills
|Two organized teams of eight compete in a variety of trials, ending in The Hall of Heroes.
|Guild versus Guild
|Two organized teams of eight attempt to kill each other's Guild Lord
Low-level PvP arenas (PvE characters)
In addition, there are PvP arenas only accessible to roleplaying characters. Only characters that have not reached a specific level yet can take part to these arenas and elite skills are banned. The format is otherwise the same as Random Arena or Codex Arena, i.e. two randomly-selected teams of four among the players in the outpost compete in a deathmatch.
- Ascalon Arena in Ascalon City — level 10 and below.
- Shiverpeak Arena in Yak's Bend — level 15 and below.
- Shing Jea Arena from Shing Jea Monastery — level 10 and below.
- Sunspear Arena from Kamadan — Level 10 and below.
Strategy and tactics
PvP tactics and strategy differ between the formats, but in general, PvP differs from PvE in the following ways:
- Everyone in the party should 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.
- Melee characters should carry speed boosts to catch targets, otherwise kiting can negate damage.
- 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.
- Skills with a long activation time (e.g. Binding rituals and Meteor Shower) 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.
- High maximum health is critical. Superior runes are almost never used, and even the use of major runes is considered a bold choice.
The following 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.
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 Balthazar 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.
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 number of teams that can play used to be 6, however the number of teams in one battle is now limited to 3. The number of teams is also determined by the map the player is on.
Guild versus Guild
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.
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.
Only during special events
- Anniversary Celebration, Canthan New Year, and Dragon Festival
- Wintersday and Wintersday in July
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 profession to run. However, basic kiting and such is good tactics/playing so long as you are not simply running away.
- Dishonorable Combatant System is used to punish players who leave a PvP match prematurely, for leeching experience or faction, or for falsely reporting team members for leeching.
- 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.