Guild of the Week: Spirits of War (SoW)
Spirits of War (SoW) is a smallish guild made up of 40 members, and was founded in May 2004 specifically for Guild Wars. Initially brought together by a shared enthusiasm for the game, SoW's members have become a tightly knit group of friends, many of whom have discovered a new gaming experience with the Player-vs-Player (PvP) combat that Guild Wars offers. Some SoW members prefer cooperative play, while others prefer PvP, so the guild seeks to foster fun game play regardless of preferences.
SoW is continuing to grow as a guild, mainly inducting new members who are family or friends of existing members. This helps maintain the closeness of the community they have developed, a closeness that they say is a strong aid in PvP combat, where good teamwork is essential. Recently ranked 13th on the Guild-vs-Guild ladder, SoW plans to remain competitive but aims to keep their PvP gaming as fun as possible.
Strategy: Cooperative Play
SoW members regularly form groups to play through the game's missions, to assist a guild member with getting past a particularly difficult mission, or to raid high-level missions in search of good equipment. Regardless of why they form guild groups for cooperative play, SoW members place having fun as their primary goal and see any rewards, such as rare item drops, as a bonus.
When planning cooperative missions, SoW attempts to put together a balanced group of healers, damage dealers, and debuffers (such as a Mesmer or Necromancer). In the event of a mission failure, the group discusses the skills they had available and possible replacements that might aid their next attempt.
If forced to flee from combat, SoW members attempt to break up their pursuers by splitting into smaller groups. This simple strategy allows them to ensure that a character with the ability to resurrect survives and can return to restore their fallen comrades to life once the monsters have lost interest.
Cooperative Play Quick Tips
For cooperative play, SoW offers the tips and strategies below:
- Cooperative play is about having fun. Try running missions with interesting builds rather than building the "strongest" possible group. Often the fun builds can be just as successful.
- Healers should try to keep their allies' Health as high as possible. Do not wait until an ally is at low Health to provide healing, as you might not be able to react quickly enough to a sudden flurry of attacks.
- Working together as a team is very important. The monsters in Guild Wars can rapidly make you pay for underestimating them.
- Include a resurrection skill on as many characters as possible, just in case.
- Keep your eyes open for zone portals in Explorable Areas. Only one character needs to make it through a portal, and all dead members of the team will be raised upon entering the new zone.
Strategy: PvP Play
During PvP combat, the guild relies heavily on TeamSpeak voice chat. The voice chat streamlines the formulation of strategies and provides an easy method for ensuring that all players are aware of the current state of the battle. SoW places a high degree of value on coordinated teamwork, with all members being kept aware of the current goals and expected to work toward that goal as their role in the team requires.
Until recently, SoW members preferred to play in the Tomb of Primeval Kings tournament, enjoying the less-serious game play and the variety of maps available. That was until SoW member Freyas developed a build designed to ambush unsuspecting enemy guilds and win GvG battles within two minutes. The core strategy behind the build was to send five members down an obvious approach path as a decoy, while the remaining three members took a side path. This smaller team acted as an "assassin" squad, entering the enemy guild hall through the side door and attacking the enemy Guild Lord.
The assassin team used Grenth's Balance to quickly reduce the Guild Lord's Health, then Meteor Shower was cast rapidly with Glyph of Sacrifice, followed by a series of attacks. Two of the assassins brought along "Shields Up!" and took turns activating the skill whenever it expired, providing damage reduction from enemy NPC Archers. Healing Seed was used to keep the assassin team healthy long enough to do their job.
The decoy team provided support from a distance, using Muddy Terrain and Deep Freeze to slow the enemy, thereby buying the assassins more time. Order of the Vampire and Order of Pain were used to enhance the assassin team's damage output.
While this build was very effective as a surprise attack on a guild that had not previously witnessed the tactic, repeat battles usually resulted in SoW being defeated. Enemy guilds were able to either defeat the two elements of SoW's build individually, or prevent the assassin team from reaching their Guild Lord while building up a death penalty on SoW's team. Nevertheless, SoW members gained a lot of satisfaction playing the build.
PvP Quick Tips
When participating in PvP battles, SoW offers the tips and strategies below:
- Use the random Arenas to test individual character builds.
- Target enemy Monks first, but be prepared to switch to situational high-priority targets or targets of opportunity.
- When playing competitively, it is best to play a build with which you are comfortable. Know your skills, when to use them, and how they can help your allies.
- When playing a healing Monk, direct healing is good for topping up Health, while enchantments such as Healing Seed or Healing Hands work well as counters to "focus fire." Save any skills with long recharge times for when you are certain the enemy is making a concerted effort to kill a particular ally.
- A Monk who specializes in Protection Prayers pairs well with a Monk who specializes in Healing Prayers. The Protection Monk reduces the damage that allies receive, thus allowing the Healing Monk to use cheaper healing skills even though those skills heal for less.
- Teamwork, tactics, knowledge and use of terrain, and knowledge and anticipation of enemy playing styles are all important aspects of combat, and none should be neglected.
Meet some of the members of Spirits of War.
Location: Ontario, Canada
Gaming Background: Console RPGs, PvP in Guild Wars
Preferred Character: Warrior/Necromancer. I've always enjoyed Warrior-type characters and playing on the front lines. I play Necromancer as a secondary profession because a lot of the Necro's skills complement the offensive abilities of a Warrior. I'm known as "the priest killer" in my guild, as my character can take down a priest in the Tombs in seconds.
Handle: Retro Retardo
Gaming Background: Most game types
Preferred Character: Mesmer/Warrior. I use Fragility to stack damage onto axe attacks. If we don't have a heavy Condition build, I stay on target and look for low-health stragglers I can take down quickly using Fragility and a Condition attack chain.
Gaming Background: RPGs and FPS, with a focus on PvE
Preferred Character: Hammer Warriors. I enjoy the big "two-hander" look and the knock-down action. I play Monk or Elementalist as a secondary profession for survivability or damage boost. I really enjoy the "knockdown-aftershock" combination.
Gaming Background: RPG, FPS, and sports
Preferred Character: I like to play a healer mostly, and my favorite combination is the Monk/Necromancer. I love using Wells, "healing" Energy as well as Health, and of course, I like to try to counter the opposing team's anti-casters.
Gaming Background: RPGs, competitive FPS
Preferred Character: I generally prefer a front-line character, with a fondness for Necromancer/Warrior or Warrior/x with a focus on anti-front line, and I am quite fond of the Wither, Malaise, Faintheartedness, and Desecrate enchantments. Lately I have been working on becoming a better healer, which is quite a challenge for a front-line-minded player like myself.
Location: Quebec, Canada
Gaming Background: RPGs, focusing on PvE
Preferred Character: Elementalist. I've always preferred characters that do their thing from the backline, and the great versatility that each of the Elementalist's attributes provides allows me to explore many different facets of the game whenever I feel like something different, without having to change characters.
Location: Oregon, USA
Gaming Background: RPGs and FPS
Preferred Character: I like to play mostly caster and rangers. I don't especially like being in the front lines. A person could get hurt that way!
Handle: B D Gladiator
Location: Quebec, Canada
Gaming Background: RPGs, PvP focus
Preferred Character: My preferred character is my Warrior/Monk caster killer. I use Berserker Stance to build up my adrenaline quickly. Then, when a caster is casting a spell, I use Skull Crack and just start smacking away. If I need the extra damage or I don't have enough adrenaline, I use Savage Slash to interrupt a big spell.
Handle: nebosuke or thanatos
Gaming Background: RPGs, PvE focus
Preferred Character: Elementalist. I like fire for damage or earth for defense, and I love Ether Renewal. I also play a lot of characters that fulfill unexpected roles, such as Ranger/Monk healers and Elementalist/Monk smiters.
Location: Ontario, Canada
Gaming Background: Console RPGs and FPS on PC
Preferred Character: Initially, I played a lot of Warrior/Monk, but lately, I've been playing the Mesmer more. With Warriors, I usually rush at whichever target is being called and get right in its face, using Hamstring to prevent it from running too far. If I'm playing a Mesmer, I stay toward the back and cast hexes on a foe that is about to die.