WvW Overflow Map and Season 1 Tactics

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With the highly anticipated introductory World Vs World season kicking up later today, I’ve got a couple of fun things that I’m really excited to share with you all. The first, and probably most interesting in terms of news, is the announcement of an overflow map for the format. We were briefed on some details of this map earlier this week, which is what the the first half of this article will go over. After all that has been explained and digested, I’ve prepared a guide for most of the achievements necessary to complete the season meta-achievement. This will cover a wide variety of topics, from rolling with the zerg to defending a tower against an angry lot of invaders, and will ideally leave you better prepared for these battles that “actually matter”.

New Overflow Map – Edge of the Mists
Most of you who participate on high tiered World Vs World servers are familiar with waiting in a queue before actually getting to play, especially on reset day and usually throughout most of the weekend. This is particularly bothersome for anyone who only wishes to participate in this specific game format. Now, ArenaNet has decided on a workaround for this by adding a brand new map to World Vs World, Edge of the Mists. Though the live launch of this map is expected to hit sometime in early 2014, a large, NDA-free beta test will be conducted starting sometime next month. The invitation process will be detailed in a future news post, but we’ve been told they’re looking to specifically invite guilds to participate and gather feedback on the new map. Although the map is in an early stage in development right now, we do have a few details on how it will work compared to traditional borderland maps and Eternal Battlegrounds.

Remember, while this is the basic gist of the map, the developers do intend to change things quite a bit during the open beta coming up. Something you hear today may not necessarily be true a month from now.

The entire map is described as a collection of floating islands above the Eternal Battlegrounds, with each section unique in its terrain and environment, going from snow to a eerie pipe-scattered desert and beyond. Size is compared to a slightly smaller Eternal Battlegrounds and Borderlands, but with tighter fight areas. The biggest thing to remember is that while points earned in this map do not contribute to the overall score of the match, there will be rewards given that will be usable once the queue ends and it’s your turn to show up to the real fight (such as world experience points, among other currently unannounced goodies). Despite this being a bit of an in-between for the regular game world and competitive WvW, it was noted that there will also be a big push to advance the diversity of the objectives as well, eventually having new mechanics spill over into the competitive scene if the devs and community find them in working order.

Success in Season 1
In order to complete the first season’s meta achievement and unlock the rewards associated with it, 15 out of 19 sub-achievements must be completed. Unlike the achievements that have been in the game since launch, these are designed to be completed within a much shorter period of time. To put it in perspective, the original “Going Camping” achievement requires the successful capture of 100,000 supply camps, while this season’s only asks for a meager 100 over the course of a couple months. Any world invader who pops in for even an hour a day should have no problem completing any of these, and those who dedicate the majority of their play time may very well finish it off in a week or two. Many of these can also be knocked out at two or three at a time, depending on the play style used. Below you’ll find a few of these examples, and the tactics you can use to not only prove your participation through the meta achievement, but help propel your world to the top of its tier.

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The Zergling
Camp Crusher, Sentry Capturer Extraordinaire, Castles in the Air, The Keep is the Thing, Supplies Served, No Tower Too High
You’ll typically have at least one commander on the map who is in control of a solid 30-40 bodies at once, and although you’re one among many, you can still have a big impact on the battle. This method is popular because it typically is very effective against the enemy in off-peak hours. Supply camps are more often than not completely steamrolled by a zerg (unless it’s been captured by the enemy in the last five minutes), as you’ll very rarely ever run into a camp with an active group of defenders. Towers are easiest to take when the door upgrade has not yet been completed, and especially if there are no active defenders inside. If your enemy is persistent enough and aware of your position, odds are your zerg with be met with reinforcements who may or may not make it safely inside the tower. Depending on how far along the door is from breaking, the capture attempt may still possible.

Keeps are another story and the least flipped structure in the format. Save for a surprise attack by an underwater entrance, you’ll almost always know whether or not your keep is under attack. The waypoint is used far too frequently to go unnoticed when contested, especially in Eternal Battlegrounds. The best way to capture a keep is to first take the two towers on the side closest to your world’s home base. If one zerg is able to keep the pressure up long enough for the third server to capture the other two towers on the other side, that keep has a far higher chance to remain under siege for quite some time.

Stonemist Castle, on the other hand, is capped quite often during a balanced match-up. This is because, unlike keeps, it’s in the dead-center of the map and everyone wants a piece of that glorious +35 point action. Most of the time the outer walls will either be taking damage from trebuchets in Wildcreek Run, Durios Gulch, Anzalias Pass, or the north keep’s outer walls, so it’s easy for a zerg to sneak in and quickly take out the inner door without anyone else noticing before the lord is dead. Of course, if there are players inside keeping tabs on the castle, it’s likely the enemy zerg has been notified and its en route to deny your capture attempt.

Tower Defense
Demolition Expert, Seasonal Mists Defense Restorer
Unlike the zergling scenario in every way, regular tower defense can easily be done by just a few people. First and foremost, your job as a defender is to stay close enough to a tower to notify your commander of an incoming zerg. A great way to preempt this is to set up siege and escort yaks for upgrade supply. Setting up arrow carts is a huge help, but make sure to place them in places that won’t get targeted by AoE fire from the ground. At the very least you want to be able to fire somewhere near the door to put pressure on anyone who jumps on a flame ram. The further back your are the safer your siege is, but take catapult range into consideration in case the enemy falls back to plan B. Ballista is least effective in this situation, as it’s limited in it’s firing arc and will typically send shots into your walls rather than into the enemy. Arrow cart mastery will help tremendously, as it both increases radius of fire as well as the amount of distance you can reach.

Your tower upgrades are also extremely critical to any tower’s survival. The most important being the structural, which can easily make the difference between a successful or failed defense. Taking the time to escort yaks will see the upgrades get completed much faster than if they were left to fend for themselves that is, if you don’t have some silly goose using tower supply when there’s a perfectly full supply camp 30 seconds to the east. Though tower supply isn’t always off-limits. Eventually the enemy zerg will come pouring over the hills and up to your front gate, destroying oil and cannons before eliminating siege along the front wall. If you find yourself in this situation, you should immediately let your commander know so they can make their way over while you buy them some time through repairs and siege attacks. Occasionally you may drive them all off by yourself, but should you find yourself facing superior flame rams with full structural vulnerability, focus those arrow carts on the door and hope your commander has some swiftness buff activated.

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Supply Sniper
Camp Crusher, Sentry Capturer Extraordinaire, Supplies Served, Guard Slayer, Mists Merc Camp Vanquisher
If being cooped up in a dusty old tower all day isn’t your thing, grab a few guildies and start hitting supply camps. Do your best to stay off the main path where you might get spotted by some scouts (or a zerg) who might give away your position. Once you make sure the veteran supervisor is able to be killed, head in and deal out some quick damage. You’ll occasionally run into some NPC reinforcements or some spawning dolyaks during the fight, the former being a greater problem than the latter. Mercenary groups include several veterans, which can overpower your small group when coupled with the camp’s original defenses if you aren’t careful. If possible, help out the ogres, hylek, or dredge to send a friendly NPC group to the nearest camp to help move things along faster. Upon successful capture of the camp, drain whatever supplies you can and quickly move on to the next. Try not to go in a circle if you can help it. A predictable quaggan is a dead quaggan.

Aside from the achievements listed in these examples, there are a couple that you will complete anywhere you are. Big Spender is probably the most straightforward to achieve, as Badges of Honor can be looted from any enemy on the battlefield, excluding ambient creatures like Skale and Mosquitoes.  World Ranker is also something that will always be going up, though the amount of time will no doubt vary depending on your preferred play style, and be sure to make use those Birthday Boosters to double all world experience gained. Yes, that means a successful capture of Stonemist Castle will award 2,000 points instead of the usual 1,000, and kills can be worth up to 120 each. The outnumbered buff and the gem store booster also stack with the birthday booster to allow for a max of +188% WXP gain. Though if you wish to use the booster from the gem store, be sure to wait until just before a big capture point to activate it, or when you know your world is doing particularly well at the moment. A +50% boost isn’t worth much if all you do is capture a couple of supply camps. Also be sure to take full advantage of siege weapons to ensure there are no survivors. Death is everywhere, and before you know it you’ll have your Invasion Defender achievement in no time.

Of course, who could forget the beloved jumping puzzles? For those of you who would rather complete the area without the help of a mesmer, take a look at some of these video guides from the community. There are only four jumping puzzle achievements out of 19, so you can easily skirt by and nab the meta without even touching them.

Eventually you should find a comfortable play style for yourself, whether it’s one above or something you’ve adapted yourself. As long as it works for you and your server, there’s plenty of room to breath in World Vs World. Don’t forget that although you’re a single player, you can still make a tremendous difference on the battlefield. No matter how small the task, just about every little action counts!