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Guild of the Week: Amazon Basin (AB)

Founded in August 2000 as a guild for Diablo II, The Amazon Basin (often referred to by members as the Basin) accepted only members who played the Amazon class. One of their main goals was to build a friendly, caring community with cheat-free members who worked cooperatively with others. Five years later, the Amazon Basin now has over 10,000 members and has successfully migrated into several other games, all while maintaining their original vision.

Although the Amazon Basin of Guild Wars takes part in PvP combat, Basin members seem to gain more enjoyment from helping others. Thus, its members have written numerous helpful guides and can often be found conducting tours of the key landmarks in Tyria.

You might wonder why members of the Basin are playing Guild Wars. After all, a large portion of the game focuses on player-versus-player combat. The reason can, perhaps, best be summed up in this statement made by member Koalachan:

“Before Guild Wars came along, I would have said I was a purebred PvE player. In the interest of testing, I, with many others in the Basin, made a concerted effort to take part in PvP. What I found was not the moronic ganking I anticipated. Instead, we took our Team concept to the PvP playing field and were quick to realize that PvP and Cooperative are not two mutually exclusive terms. That experience has altered my entire perception of PvP, which I now also take back to other games.”


PvE Strategy

When planning a mission, Basin members check for essential skills—healing and resurrection. Team balance is important, so they try to take along a variety of character types—healers, melee, and ranged—using henchmen to fill in any gaps. If the group fails a mission, members then discuss the reasons why they failed and how they might improve the next time. Often they find that the key to success is as simple as switching a single skill, such as equipping a Warrior with Sprint so he can block choke points in the map.

Basin members recognize the fact that monsters in Guild Wars are, one-on-one, quite capable of killing a player. Thus, their groups try to engage monster mobs only after luring them away from any potential support. Another key strategy includes recognizing the enemy monster that poses the greatest risk and killing or neutralizing it first. Sometimes this is an enemy healer, sometimes it is the main damage dealer. Taking the time to study each group of monsters before attacking can often make the difference between success and failure.

Basin groups do not hesitate to sacrifice a player if that death means success for the group as a whole. The high level of camaraderie present in the Basin usually results in multiple volunteers willing to sacrifice themselves. This willingness to take one for the team often leads to a "back-from-the-brink" mission victory: Most of the team is lying dead on the ground, while one or two survivors sacrifice themselves to make sure the Monk can escape. The Monk then returns to resurrect the team after the monsters have wandered away.


PvE Quick Tips

For PvE play, the Basin offers the tips and strategies below:

  • Remember that your character is solid. If a monster is charging at your Monk, a Warrior can run into its path and block it.
     
  • Stay together as a group. One absent player can mean the difference between success and failure.
     
  • Use the mini-map. Drawing on the radar map provides great assistance when explaining strategy.
     
  • Sometimes you don’t have to kill a foe to remove it from a fight. A Mesmer can shut down an enemy caster temporarily, or a Monk can prevent an enemy Warrior or Ranger from attacking.
     

PvP Strategy

The Amazon Basin has been refining a team build with which they have experienced some success. The build is largely defensive in nature, and it emphasizes good teamwork, coordination, and mutual security. Each character is relatively self-sufficient in terms of Energy management, reducing the need for complex advance thinking during combat.

Used mainly as a tool to assist players transitioning from PvE play to PvP, the Basin has created a solid build able to hold its own against teams that lack coordination, but it lacks the strength and firepower to defeat well-trained teams utilizing disruptive skills and tactics.

The build uses the following characters:

  1. Warrior/Monk—Melee Tank
    Attributes: Strength 12, Axe Mastery 12, Healing Prayers 10.
    Skills: Battle Rage (Elite), Penetrating Blow*, Disrupting Chop*, Executioner’s Strike, Mending, Live Vicariously, Purge Signet, Restore Life.
    *Penetrating Blow and Disrupting Chop may be replaced with Dismember and Axe Rake.
     
  2. Warrior/Necromancer—Melee Tank
    Attributes: Strength 11, Swordsmanship 12, Tactics 10, Curses 7.
    Skills: Sprint, Enfeeble, Plague Touch, Gash, Sever Artery, Power Attack*, Flurry, “Victory is Mine!” (Elite).
    *Power Attack may be replaced with Savage Slash.
     
  3. Ranger/Monk—Ranged Damage
    Attributes: Expertise 9, Beast Mastery 7, Marksmanship 12, Smiting Prayers 11.
    Skills: Judge’s Insight, Scourge Healing, Resurrect, Antidote Signet*, Pin Down, Penetrating Shot, Barrage (Elite), Tiger’s Fury.
    *Antidote Signet may be replaced with Purge Signet.
     
  4. Ranger/Mesmer—Caster Killer
    Attributes: Expertise 10, Marksmanship 10, Wilderness Survival 10, Illusion Magic 10.
    Skills: Marksman’s Wager, Conjure Phantasm, Troll Unguent, Arcane Conundrum, Pin Down, Concussion Shot, Called Shot*, Serpent’s Quickness.
    *Called Shot may be replaced with Point Blank Shot.

    Mesmer/Ranger - Caster Killer (Alternate to 4. above)
    Attributes - Fast Casting 8, Illusion Magic 10, Inspiration Magic 9, Marksmanship 11, Wilderness Survival 6. Skills - Arcane Conundrum, Ether Feast, Energy Tap, Conjure Phantasm, Serpent's Quickness, Savage Shot, Distracting Shot, Poison Arrow* (Elite). * Poison Arrow may be replaced with Barrage (Elite).

  5. Elementalist/Necromancer—Counter-Attacker
    Attributes: Energy Storage 11, Air Magic 13, Curses 10.
    Skills: Aura of Restoration, Air Attunement, Blinding Flash, Enervating Charge, Lightning Strike, Price of Failure, Lingering Curse* (Elite), Glyph of Lesser Energy*.
    *Lingering Curse and Glyph of Lesser Energy may be replaced with Wither (Elite) and Faintheartedness.
     
  6. Monk/Elementalist—Primary Healers**
    Attributes: Divine Favor 13, Healing Prayers 11, Protection Prayers 11.
    Skills: Peace and Harmony* (Elite), Remove Hex, Mend Ailment, Healing Breeze, Reversal of Fortune, Signet of Devotion, Orison of Healing, Glyph of Concentration*.
    *Peace and Harmony may be replaced with Amity, and Glyph of Concentration with Purge Conditions.
    **The Amazon Basin suggests having at least two Monk/Elementalists.

     
  7. Monk/Mesmer—Protection Monk
    Attributes: Divine Favor 13, Protection Prayers 11, Inspiration Magic 10.
    Skills: Signet of Midnight* (Elite), Blessed Signet, Mantra of Inscriptions, Vital Blessing, Life Bond, Purge Signet, Signet of Devotion, Reversal of Fortune.
    *Signet of Midnight may be replaced with Keystone Signet.
     

As a defensive build, it is not surprising that five of the eight characters include the Monk profession. The Protection Monk is tasked with keeping the two Healing Monks alive through the use of damage reduction enchantments. This Monk also relies on a zero-Energy Signet strategy that renders enemy Energy drain attacks against it less potent. The two Healing Monks utilize a variety of direct healing and Hex/Condition removal spells to keep the damage dealers alive. The secondary Monks carry the resurrection skills, since a primary Warrior or Ranger has a much higher chance of surviving through the lengthy cast time than a primary Monk.

Offensively, the build centers on the Warriors, the Rangers, and the Elementalists. The Warrior/Monk sacrifices Energy regeneration for greater staying power with Mending and Live Vicariously, and Battle Rage ensures that Adrenaline skills charge quickly. The Warrior/Necromancer softens the target with curses before utilizing damaging sword attacks that impose Conditions on the enemy, and the Ranger/Mesmer has the task of killing or disrupting enemy casters.

In PvP matches with offensive goals, Basin teams will normally seek to achieve a secure defensive position before pushing toward the goal. The team might switch to a more offensive strategy if they can achieve a death penalty or morale advantage. Additionally, when playing PvP, Amazon Basin members routinely utilize TeamSpeak voice chat to aid in coordination and team work. Voice chat systems remove the need to type (and read) lengthy strategy updates, and verbal confirmation of the assigned target can be a boon. Monks can request assistance and be assured that the request will be heard, and targeting priorities can be switched if necessary.


PvP Quick Tips

  • A character using high Energy skills with no Energy management (such as Energy Steal) will rapidly become less effective in a longer fight.
     
  • A character using skills with long recharge timers can find itself with nothing to do at critical times.
     
  • Disrupting enemy Energy supplies or skill recharge is often more effective than being able to deal out large amounts of damage.
     

Member Profiles
Meet some of the members of the Amazon Basin.

Handle: RogueMage
Location: California
Gaming Background: Mostly RPGs
Preferred Character: I'm really fond of hybrid characters, so I find the dual-profession system of Guild Wars very appealing. My first attempt at a competitive GW character was a Mesmer with a bow, and I've made team builds with a Smiting Ranger and a zero-Energy Protection Monk. In the Alpha Test, I've focused more on GvG team build strategy than on individual characters.

Handle: Jugalator
Location: Sweden
Gaming Background: Mostly RPGs
Preferred Character: My favorite character is my current Warrior/Mesmer. Unlike most Mesmers, this is one brutal melee machine! By using the Mesmer's Illusionary Weaponry skill, I sacrifice his physical sword damage for illusionary damage to pierce my enemies' damage-reducing armor like butter! Since he's a Warrior, I also make heavy use of Warrior skills that increase his attack speed, like Flurry and Berserker Stance. This ensures that I will inflict not only a lot of damage, but quickly too!

Handle: CTO
Location: Texas
Gaming Background: FPS and RPG
Preferred Character: It all depends on my mood for that day, or the needs of my party. But personally, (now don't you dare mention this to anyone, especially any of my "gals") I'd have to say, that I like "Short N Sassy" (my Ranger/Elementalist) the best. I've had a lot of fun playing different variants of her, while keeping her primary profession a Ranger.

Handle: Bunnz
Location: Australia
Gaming Background: FPS and RPG
Preferred Character: I play a lot of casters. Spells are my forte, and the interplay between the various spells. I'm not much for the in-your-face antics of the Warrior or the pin-cushion approach of Rangers. Give me access to wild magical powers, and I'm a happy man. I'm particularly impressed with the Mesmer at the moment, and her ability to dictate the battle and control and limit the actions of the opposition.

Handle: Ceolstan
Location: Indiana
Gaming Background: Mostly RPGs
Preferred Character: I really enjoy the Monk profession in Guild Wars, but in my role as a tester, I found myself unable to play any specific character for too long. For the most part, I've been asked to develop PvP characters in order to help ArenaNet achieve their desire for excellent balance. I consider this a real challenge, as it forces me out of my own comfort zone and has allowed me to grow and perfect my skills as a player. More importantly, I’ve developed an even greater appreciation for the depth that Guild Wars allows in its characters.

Handle: Texson
Location: Texas
Gaming Background: Offline gaming
Preferred Character: I believe that the game is meant to be played, so I enjoy running all the characters. If I had to choose, however, I'd go for the characters that really force one to be at one's best. For example, a caster-interrupter Mesmer is a challenge to play.

Handle: Jayling
Location: Ohio
Gaming Background: PvE gaming
Preferred Character: A Ranger gal through and through! It would shock the Basin to see Jayling strutting around in anything other than Ranger/Amazon gear, and I'd probably end up in therapy with an identity crisis! I love the way Guild Wars is set up; now I won't get stale while playing a pure Ranger anymore. Having five secondary Professions to choose from and more skills than imaginable, I'm really excited with the broad range my gals will have in the future.

Handle: Koalachan
Location: Belgium
Gaming Background: PvE gaming
Preferred Character: Throughout my gaming history, I've felt a definite pull toward the darker side, so it comes as no surprise that my first characters were Necromancers. But it’s the different flavors that make for a good meal altogether; at times I enjoy casters, other times I savor melee. Guild Wars is rather special in that you can combine two professions, which means you can start off with a weighty character from the get-go. With different weapons and the ability to re-allot your Attribute points, you can even change your current character from a caster to a fighter in between missions once you have accumulated enough skills to make it viable.