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Guild Wars 2: More Thoughts On Stronghold

Hey guys! No new Guild Wars 2 news this week other than the stability/First person camera patch being delayed. There may be some new info coming out of Rezzed though, I believe some WvW news was to be released. In any case, I did have more thoughts on Stronghold after watching an Exhibition match at PAX East and I articulated those thoughts in addition to some of my previous thoughts in a video.

I hope you enjoy it!

Guild Wars 2 Heart of Thorns: Initial Thoughts On Stronghold

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By watching Guild Wars 2 Stronghold videos released on March 3rd by GW2 community members Aurora Peachy, Blu, Bog Otter, and Jebro, I’ve came up with a small summary of what I think of the mode, how the Revenant fairs in Stronghold (and in general sPvP) and strategies players used.

How The Revenent In Stronghold Fairs

So from what I’ve seen of the Revenant, it seems pretty powerful. Shinryuku, a popular GW2 streamer, played the most convincing Revenant in a Stronghold match and had some pretty good success with handling conditions as well as taunting targets in order to help NPCs get to their objectives. Revenants also have some great AoE coverage for areas of contention like the supply area or a lord room. I can’t really say that Revenants are balanced at the moment because it IS a demo after all, there’s much more work to be done on the class. I will say that they’re not underpowered and pretty tanky. For dealing with the Revenant taunts you just need to use a stun break. For the Revenant AoE you have to position accordingly; granted this may be hard at times but plently of classes have AoE that will be difficult to evade in small spaces. Overall, I think the Revenant is in a pretty good place for PvP right now.

Analysis Of Stronghold Videos

Jebro had a great video, detailing some of the basics of the map including where supply are, NPC spawns and so on. What was interesting is that Jebro noted that the gates could only be damaged by Doorbreakers. So it’s very essential that players get Doorbreakers through for gate damage. Also, guards really do one shot Doorbreakers but can be distracted by enemy players. Also, Doorbreakers take time for a player or a non-guard NPC to take out. So guards are pretty important to guard against enemies (ironic no?), pretty much like you would fight with guards in WvW if a havoc group showed up.

Blu took tactical commentary with his video discussing how teams started and what enemies were doing and his thought process on reacting. At first, it seems everyone rushes to the supply camps after spending their initial supply. Then a fight breaks out. After the initial fight, it seems a push-push as Blu put it, is made where teams are defending or attacking all the while some players are running supply. I’ll talk more about this later but I saw Doorbreakers easily walking by when guards have agro so think it’s too easy for Doorbreakers to get by.

With Aurora’s and Bog’s videos it shows the strategic routes they took in their games. Do note that they mostly play PvE so it was really cool to see them do well. Aurora ran supply a lot but she would always try to be out of vision when channeling supply during fights nearby. This may seem small but it results in a ton of Archers and Doorbreakers coming through which made Bog’s task way easier. Bog took a great approach to his first match and I was surprised no one tried to stop him. He solo ran right to the enemy gate after everyone used their initial supply on Doorbreakers and Archers. Then he proceeded to take out the guards or at least get agro while the Archers helped out and the Doorbreakers did their thing. Bog got all the way to the 2nd gate until Jesse Cox came to stop him. This was a great tactic for the first game. If everyone rushes to supply and starts fighting, no one will be paying attention to the mini map to see your gates and guards getting pummeled. However, the same trick didn’t work as well twice but Bog still got a gate and three guards down before Blu started to stop him. So it seems that rushing the gate with a few Doorbreakers and Archers with one person works pretty well, we’ll have to see in future iterations.

Tactics and Other Aspects

What I thought would be interesting would be the use of the trebuchet but no one seemed to use it in any of the videos. It makes me wonder if a majority of players will want to use the trebuchet to their advantage or will it be justa decoration for most Stronghold matches. I think around 1/3 of my matches on the Battle of Khylo map is when at least one person uses the trebuchet. I really think a majority of players don’t like using trebs too much but rather get into the fray. Still, I’d like to see how useful the trebuchet is versus a horde of Doorbreakers for example.

Seeing the tactics used in matches I think the 1-4 split was pretty effective. One would go for enemy gate and 4 would go for supply like in Bog Otter’s matches. A person from the 4-man supply would peel off to guard their gate (or use the trebuchet if necessary). Then the 3 man team would slowly dissolve into one or two people running supply and helping out as needed while a person roams in between both lanes.

Stealth will be a huge mechanic, for ninja supply runs and to get doorbreakers to gates unnoticed. I’m 100% sure you can’t channel hero or supply while stealth but there are so many uses for it that I can definetly see different specs for Mesmers and Thieves.

What I’d Like To See

For Doorbreakers, I’d like for them to not get so easily past guards. You can see in Blu’s and Bog’s video that Doorbreakers easily slipped by guards that have agro. I feel at the very least that Doorbreakers within a certain range of a guard will cause that guard to agro onto the Doorbreaker, even if engaged in combat against a player.

For the Hero spawn, I think it’d be great if there was a voice indication that a Hero is spawning like on Forest of Niflhel when Svanir or Chieftain appears instead of “It can’t be far to that Mists Essence”. It’s not intuitive what that means. The voice in this case would say something along the lines of “A Hero from the Mists will be ready to fight soon” and then the 30 second count down begins.

In Conclusion…

That’s all I have to say on Stronghold for now. It looks like a fun mode that PvP, PvE and WvW players can all enjoy. I personally can’t wait to get my hands on it! Here is Jebro’s Stronghold game guide for those who want a look:

sPvP Stronghold Mode & How It Works In Guild Wars 2

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Alright so yesterday, PvP Team Lead John Corpening and Competive Designer Hugh Norfolk made a Guild Wars 2 post about the new PvP Stronghold mode and the mechanics it contains in the first ever GW2 Stronghold map: the Battle of Champion’s Dusk. Let’s describe these mechanics real quick then go into my initial thoughts.

Supply And NPCs

So each player can carry a max of 2 supply which is obtain by supply posts (probably similar to WvW but without any NPCs guarding it). Supply is dropped on death and anyone can pick it up if found. Supply is used to hire two types of attackers: Doorbreakers, skritt NPCs who excel at and only focus on taking down gates, and archers, NPCs who excel at taking down other NPCs but attack others as well. Other NPCs are Guards which are located at a team’s gate and around the Lord which you need to down in order to win a match. Guards can one shot Doorbreakers. However, once a guard is down it stays down, Guards do not revive at a later time. There’s also a Hero NPC which a team can get by channeling the Hero point when it appears. The Hero NPC focuses on the very next objective. Hero has a super ultimate used when facing the lord but take time to channel and can be interrupted.

Trebuchet And Map Layout

There are also a trebuchet for each team to bombard objectives with. These trebuchet, much like in Battle of Kyhlo can be destroyed but instantly repairs by using supply otherwise you have to wait a few minutes for it to self repair.

The map is two lanes, one end of a lane is attack, the other end defends and vice versa for the other lane. The defense side has a gate and past that an inner sanctum where the Lord resides. There are many roles players can fill such as attackers, supply runners, NPC escort support, trebuchet shooter, gate defender, roamer etc.

My Initial Thoughts

So off the bat I have to say there are a lot of focus on channeling: for supply there’s a 2 second channel, to summon NPCs with supply you need to channel, for hero NPC you need to channel. So at least one interrupt per player will probably be vital for this PvP mode.

Depending on how strong guards are, assaulting those will be a priority in order to get Doorbreakers through. My initial thought is to use supply on Archers and do an initial assault to take out the guards guarding the gate, then summon 2 or 3 Doorbreakers and escort them to the gate to take it down, then switch back to Archers for an assault on the Lord. Defending I would have at least one person nearby in case someone tries to assault the gate in order to call for backup and trebuchet support.

Trebuchet I think should prioritize supply camp and enemy attackers, especially if it’s Doorbreakers. Next would be attacking the gate and defending the gate with the trebuchet. When the Hero point is about to pop up, all trebuchet focus should be on that.

For player roles, I wonder if there will actually be diversity in builds for once. If it’s 5v5, I currently can’t see why current PvP meta builds wouldn’t work. you could ahve a bunker for gate and trebuchet to hold out till help arrives. You could have a duelist on trebuchet. You’d have professions with high mobility roaming the map and you’d have berzerks assaulting gate. At least that’s the way I can see it right now.

I feel like this will be a fun mode, it’s like a mini WvW map but the focus is purely on assaulting and defending a keep. It has a variation of gameplay to it which I feel needs more than 5 people to get the most out of it but we’ll have to see when it comes out. We’ll get a first glance today of Stronghold on Ready Up!