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Guild of the Week: Xen of Onslaught (XoO)

Among the larger guilds in Guild Wars stands Xen of Onslaught (XoO), a community with three years of experience across a wide variety of online games. Active within the Guild Wars fan forums, XoO's outlook on competitive gaming distinguishes them from other guilds. Their aim: to be the best possible gaming group, while remaining free of elitism.

Being a mostly competitive guild, XoO's large member base presented something of a quandary. While many guilds choose to remain small so that only specific team(s) will represent them on the field of battle, XoO preferred to get all of its members involved. With this in mind, the guild's goals were defined—not to be the #1 guild on the ladder, but rather, to be the guild with the highest number of wins while maintaining a respectable ranking.

To achieve these ends, XoO needed a way for its members to jump into matches and to be able to play characters to which they were accustomed. This need gave rise to what XoO members refer to as the "Grab 8 and Go" method of arranging teams. Using this method, a squad leader within the guild offers to host a GvG match, and the first seven people to join the team at the Guild Hall become the other participants. Depending on the composition of the assembled group—and how daring the squad leader feels—the team may enter the match with any setup.

Their typical arrangement, however, includes four characters in an offensive role, one character designed for flag-running, two Healing Monks, and one Protection Monk. When the group is assembled, the team's squad leader may ask a few questions, such as who is carrying Enchantment-removal skills, or what an Elementalist's primary discipline is. After this brief questioning, some character's skills may be changed around to better compliment the group, or certain offensive characters may be assigned to follow either the group's main targets or off targets.

In addition to these on-the-fly arrangements, XoO has recently begun using a "Guild Build of the Month" for two days out of each week. The first of these builds was designed to help new Guild Wars players to acclimate themselves to the oftentimes tempestuous waters that are guild battles. The build uses slightly modified versions of four of the PvP templates already available in the game—the Warrior's Bane, the Pyromancer, the Abominable Snowman, and the Protection Healer—to make them more accessible to new players. Custom characters make up the build's four remaining slots and are designed to be used by the more experienced guild members participating in the match. These characters include a Necromancer/Mesmer using Tainted Flesh, a Ranger/Mesmer designed for speed and survival (whom they've dubbed the "Florida Flag-runner") and two Energy Drain healers.

By making these builds easily accessible, not only can new players join more easily, but they also have the potential to play builds or roles that are new to them. XoO hopes that its players' horizons will be broadened through the use of this build, while also deepening their interest in Guild Wars.


A Memorable Battle

One of XoO's more memorable battles took place during a GvG match, while using a "Grab 8 and Go" setup. The characters that arrived for the battle included three Warrior/Rangers, a Mesmer/Necromancer, a Warrior/Elementalist, a Necromancer/Elementalist, a Ranger/Mesmer, and a Monk/Necromancer who focused on Smiting, as opposed to Healing or Protection Prayers.

With this mélange of characters, most of the team's members began discussing who would switch out to play a Monk. It was then that XoO's guild leader stepped forth and proposed an alternate plan: The first two Warriors and the Mesmer primary would form the first team, the second two Warriors and the Necromancer would form the second team, and lastly, the Monk and Ranger would work together as flag-runners. These three groups would then act independently in an attempt to force the enemy to divert their attention around the map.

Despite some initial hesitation over their Monk-less strategy, XoO entered the match and found themselves on the Warrior's Isle. When the battle began, XoO's three squads split up, with the flag-runners heading up the middle, one squad sneaking out of the back gate, and the last squad heading around to the opponent's side gate. The plan was to have the third squad drive the enemy back into their Guild Hall, while the second circled back around to take out their NPCs. The first part of the plan was successful—XoO captured the Flag Stand and managed to relieve the other team of their Footmen and an Archer.

The squad that had attacked the enemy's base retreated at this point, and made an attempt to grab their catapult's Repair Kit on the way back. Although they had brought it to the halfway point of the map, they were soon overwhelmed by the regrouped opposing team and had to leave the Kit behind. At this point, XoO decided to shift their strategy around. On their second attack, they sent only one Warrior to attack the enemy's base. Anticipating an attack from the same three as last time, the opposing team also sent three back to their base. This turned out to be a critical mistake on their part, as the five remaining members of their team were met by XoO's seven.

The match continued in this way, with XoO gaining the Morale Bonus and pushing their foes to maximum Death Penalty. As the battle finally drew to a close, XoO found themselves the victors, showing that it is not always the planning or the build that wins the battle, but often the skill of the players involved.


Member Profiles:

Get to know some of the members of Xen of Onslaught.

Handle: Moskel
Broad Location: Texas, USA
Gaming Background: PvP-based RPG/FPS/RTS
Preferred Character: It changes based on my mood, but is most often a Warrior or Monk. Sometimes I just prefer the solitude of running flags, in which case you'll see me playing a Ranger or Elementalist.

Handle: Miss Aphex Twin
Broad Location: London, UK
Gaming Background: Various
Preferred character: Usually I play a Monk—Healing or Protection—whichever is needed at the time. Trying to keep the team alive at 5am is a nice challenge!

Handle: Clara Nainara
Broad Location: Minnesota, USA
Gaming Background: RTS, RPG, FPS
Preferred Character: I enjoy playing a Smiting pet Ranger. My favorite tactic to employ with this build is to send my faithful Moa Bird into the midst of the fray and then use various AoE skills to delight the enemy.

Handle: I Killgore I
Broad Location: New York, USA
Gaming Background: I grew up playing videogames. When I came into Guild Wars I started in PvE like most players, but when I found Xen of Onslaught I only PvP'ed.
Preferred Character: I can play any character, but usually people love me on Necromancers. The trick to playing a Necromancer, especially in Tombs or GvG, is to know about the enemy Necromancers.

Handle: Mibu Kyu
Broad Location: Ontario, Canada
Gaming Background: PvP, RPG
Preferred Character: Playing all six classes keeps the game refreshing and entertaining. I really have no favorites, but I often find myself playing a Monk.

Handle: Swiftys Chick
Broad Location: Florida, USA
Gaming Background: Guild Wars is my first attempt at a PvP game and I love it, mostly I played just about every PvE MMORPG ever put out.
Preferred character: I am a big fan of a Ranger/Mesmer flag-runner build that I modified from a popular version. I enjoy playing it because there is some joy in running through opposing teams' defenses to capture a flag, or a 1 on 1 showdown at the flag stand that can turn the tide of a GvG battle. I also love sneaking around the front of a base and sieging an attacking team inside our base.

Handle: Yarinn Darkender
Broad Location: California, USA
Gaming Background: PvP, RPGs, MMORPGs
Preferred Character: I enjoy playing a pet Smiting Ranger or Healing Monk. Signet of Judgement with Holy Strike is my preferred skill combo.

Handle: Grene Jello
Broad Location: Edmonton, Canada
Gaming Background: PvP, RPGs, MMORPGs
Preferred Character: I find the most challenging and rewarding profession to play is a Monk/Mesmer Healing/Protection/De-buff Monk Hybrid. This particular build is rare and must be skillfully incorporated into a team build as to avoid overlapping of skills and tactics with the other Monks. I enjoy the fact that as a Monk, I am the largest bull's eye on the field. When the healing triad is working well, it's a real hoot to let that pesky Warrior bounce his weapons off you while his mates are falling, until he's the only one left...seeing the fear set in as he realizes that he, too, will soon be pushing up the daisies.


Guild Nominations Accepted

Do you have a guild you would like to nominate for a Guild of the Week article? Perhaps a guild you've met on the field of battle that has impressed you with their sportsmanship and skill. Maybe you would like to learn more about a specific guild on the ladder. Or perhaps you would like us to feature your own guild because you feel you and your teammates can offer valuable insight into Guild Wars or interesting information about guilds or strategies in general. Please see this page for information on the Guild of the Week nomination process. And thanks for your help in providing excellent coverage of Guild Wars guilds!