Guild Interview—January 15, 2008
Meet Rebel Rising [rawr]
Special note: Each Guild Interview presents the opinions and insights of one game observer. These observations are personal in nature and do not reflect the opinions of ArenaNet. While ArenaNet does review each Guild Interview article to assure that it offers content that is respectful of all players, we intend to allow our reporters the freedom to inject some personal opinion into descriptions of the current atmosphere of competitive play in Guild Wars, and to express views based on their experience and observation.
Rebel Rising [rawr] became the first guild to win three monthly Automatic Tournaments (ATs) in the Guild Wars $100,000 Tournament Series, taking their third monthly AT in December, after winning back-to-back in August and September. Shortly after their latest victory, members of [rawr] sat down to talk about their guild. Present at the interview were: Awowa, Polly, Torsen, Hexen, Scotty, Three Pounds, and Snuff. Lego later contacted me to add some additional insights.
Awowa and Three Pounds were originally in Treacherous Empire [Te], but left after considerable drama surrounding [Te]'s last tournament appearance. What they sought to accomplish with [rawr] was to create a guild where people would look at their own mistakes and work hard to improve. Along the way, they picked up Polly from Illicit Awakening [iA], and then advertised for players. Interested players completed an application, and the information was fed into a database for easier analysis. However, the criterion Awowa and Three Pounds used to select players was based more on gut feeling than player experience. They wanted players who were knowledgeable and had sufficient skill level, but they were mostly looking for players who were not arrogant and wanted to improve. They went through all of the applications, personally talking to applicants and checking their references.
A lot of players came and went in the first few months, and the road was rough. From day one, Awowa and Three Pounds told players that the guild would probably play horribly at the start, but after some time it would definitely improve. In fact, it took several months for the guild to reach the top 500 on the GvG ladder. In order to improve, players remained consistently active in GvGs and the guild's forums, and played in RA, TA, and even PvE to learn how various Skills interacted. Players also actively played as guests with other guilds.
Builds and Strategy
The guild had no set strategies, but through trial and error slowly figured out what worked when and against whom. They lost a lot of matches as they learned. This explains why other guilds often beat [rawr], and perhaps why some guilds still believe they can beat [rawr]. The line sometimes blurred between strategies that worked and those that did not, so the guild often lost to teams that had placed in the top 200. Eventually things settled down, and Polly emerged as the one in charge of "making sure things happen".
Polly played every single game and called for players to execute the same strategies that had previously worked for the guild. This worked well because many people were calling movement and sorting out strategies rather than focusing on their own play. Once the overall strategies were developed, the team planned to work more on individual skill improvement.
When [rawr] first started, there was a lot of build making. This did not work well, so for a while they concentrated on one build, a Hex-Pressure build. Later, they shifted to a standard balanced build. They soon realized, however, that they hardly used the Ranger. They replaced the Ranger with a Paragon and had considerable success. For the next few months, they stayed with this build exclusively. It brought them back-to-back wins in the August and September monthly ATs.
The guild rarely changes more than a couple Skills in their final build. However, the better the opponent, the more likely they are to change, and they often choose different Skills based on their opponent’s build. If a guild consistently beats them, [rawr] might choose not to adjust to that guild in the daily ATs so they have a better chance of surprising them with a customized build during the monthly AT. For example, Delta Formation [DF] is better at movement and strategy, so [rawr] might save a new strategy designed specifically to counter them to use in the monthly AT.
The members of [rawr] feel they need to be realistic about their ability to beat top guilds such as [dR] and [DF]. Instead of attempting to win each and every daily AT match, they might stalemate the meta between the guilds and not constantly adjust, instead developing new counters for those guilds as discussed above and saving them for the monthly AT. Against these better teams they might even attempt something extreme because [rawr] believes it is less effective for them to constantly make small adjustments in game.
The guild has weaknesses as well. Good creative splits, like those of Dark Alley [dR], often trip [rawr] up because splits often directly counter their tested strategies, especially on large maps. Their Monks cannot sustain themselves alone. In addition, being in the North American region has advantages for them. Euros don’t get to know them or take them seriously. Because of this, Euro teams sometimes get overconfident and don’t spend enough time trying to create winning strategies for their battles against [rawr].
Members of [rawr] readily admit that they got lucky during one of their monthly AT wins. They say "Err Jesus loves [rawr]," referring to an opposing player who disconnected. They note, however, that winners of monthly ATs are guilds who played a lot during the month. Playing a lot gives a guild the chance to learn its opponents’ strategies and builds. Before their first win, [rawr] played for three hours every day. They had not played as much before more recent tournaments, so hadn’t expected to do well. In particular, they feel they lost to Assassin Split in the November AT because they had no idea how to respond when a top guild ran it.
Due to the quality of the teams in the monthly ATs, most matches go all the way to VoD. Because of this, [rawr] feels it is essential to know how other builds do at VoD and how their own build compares. Due to their own build's advantages, [rawr] stalemates around half of the single elimination matches they play in the monthly ATs. Basically if they know they have an advantage at VoD, they will play a split designed to stall the match until VoD.
As mentioned in the December 11, 2007 State of the Game, [rawr] recently sponsored the 2008 RAWR Cup Title Series. They wanted to reach out to the community and were happy for the opportunity this tournament provided. One of their main goals was to include lower level players in the tournament. As a result, the RAWR Cup was a big hit, and [rawr] received considerable positive feedback, even from players unable to participate in the tournament. They intend to continue the series in March, and want to expand to all levels of the community. This opportunity for [rawr] came about while Scotty guested with a guild and the idea came up in conversation. If another guild wants to be involved, [rawr] says that Guild Café might be interested in helping them coordinate things. They feel very fortunate that ArenaNet set up the AT system to handle the RAWR Cup. Originally, the guild was going to run it much like the Celestial Tournament, but discussions with Mike Gills and Izzy resulted in their using the better AT system.
Friends and rivals
[rawr] considers Virtual Dragons [vD] to be good friends, and the two guilds often throw advice back and forth. Members of [rawr] think that [vD] is a cool bunch of guys. Polly knows most of the people in [vD] and, since they have run similar builds, Polly has invited them to guest in the past.
Delta Formation [DF] is their biggest rival, for reasons similar to those mentioned by [DF] in their own interview. The two guilds, [rawr] and [DF], play different build styles, and [DF] doesn't seem to like to play for VoD.
[rawr] had several bits of advice for upcoming PvP players:
- Don't quit, disband, or reform. Instead just replace departed players with new blood.
- Try new things once in a while, but only change one thing at a time, don't change all of it. Focus on the things that work.
- Imitate a good team. Teams should observe a top team and copy Skill usage patterns of top players. Don’t reinvent the wheel. Use the right Skill, the right amount.
In general, [rawr] wants to keep playing ATs until GW2. Their goal is to keep active so they start out strong in GW2.
Billiard is a moderator at GuildWarsGuru.com and TeamQuitter.com. Billiard can be reached in-game as Billiard The Bold, or by private message at either website.