What do you do when your map is completely controlled by the enemy and you have no hope of taking and holding an objective?
You call in the Tarnished Coast Navy SEALS. The plan below shows something I did today with a group of five players in the Sorrow's Furnace Borderlands. We could not capture a single supply camp because we had too few players and Anvil Rock was not putting up much of a fight. Sorrow's Furnace was owning us both.
So I put out a call in chat to form a Navy SEAL team that would do hit and run with amphibious assaults. IT WAS A BLAST!
We traveled using the waterways to suddenly emerge out of nowhere to destroy dolyaks, sentries, and unsuspecting enemy players. We would run back underwater and take the quaggan camps while we watched for approaching caravans on the map.
After about an hour of these attacks, every caravan was guarded by enemy players, but that also pulled them away from the southern objectives to allow our server and Anvil Rock to start retaking objectives in front of their spawn points.
We were getting a ton of XP and we had to go back to the spawn point because our bags were so full of stuff we looted off dead players and NPCs! The best part was that we didn't feel so helpless because we were outnumbered. We felt like badass Navy SEALs and we were being proactive where we had no chance of winning a direct fight with their huge zerg.
So next time, when the odds are bad and the map is dangerous for normal forces, form your own Navy SEAL squad and start making a comeback.! HOO-RAH!
How to defeat your enemy when your forces are smaller in number:
If we wish to fight, the enemy can be forced to an engagement even though he be sheltered behind a high rampart and a deep ditch. All we need do is attack some other place that he will be obliged to relieve. - Sun Tzu
You won’t always have a huge team with you to take on Stonemist or a larger team. The plan below allows you to take on the score leader on your own terms with a small team and win. Why? Because you are not attacking Stonemist, you are attacking everything else and forcing the enemy into fighting on the ground of your choosing.
Before any attack on our enemies, we must always secure our homeland supply camps.
We do this because supply must continue to flow into our towers and keeps, upgrades must continue, and any offensive will fail without supply to build siege weapons. We can also use mercenaries to supplement our supply camp defenses. Once you have secured supply and started upgrading supply camps you can go on the offensive!
Focus on one enemy at a time – the one with the higher score.
This has been a tough lesson from the betas. We should only attack the enemy who has the largest lead overall (“enemy score leader”), and typically, that is the team that owns Stonemist Castle. We do this to avoid counter-attacks by both enemies at the same time which throw us into confusion. If our second enemy is attacking the first enemy, we should not interrupt them or distract them from their attack.
So if GREEN team has more points than RED (as I assume on the map below), we attack only GREEN team objectives. Hopefully RED is attacking GREEN as well on some other objective, but we don't want to invite a RED counter-attack by attacking RED at the same time that we attack GREEN. Notice how the battle plan below completely avoids the other enemy's objectives.
Take an enemy supply camp - build ballistae and arrow carts apart from each other to avoid AOE but within range of each other so that all weapons can cover each other.
You should also upgrade the camp. Build up the camp’s defenses because you are baiting the enemy to come after you at the camp where you have guards and siege weapons to defend it. You are making the fight on your terms.
The key to this plan - we do not attack from directly outside of the keep or tower doors, we attack from the well-defended supply camp with trebuchets to stay out of range of their defenders.
If they want to stop the attack, they will have to come get us. Now they have a problem because we’ve built ballistae and arrow carts that shred them when they attempt to stop the siege. We attack two towers at once to cause confusion and have them waste supply. We have time on our side because we’re sitting on top of unlimited supply from the camp that is very well defended.
We defeat Stonemist by baiting the defenders into relieving their other objectives. When they come to defend their other objectives, we are ready with siege weapons, and they fall into our trap. The plan below details how we set the trap at their own supply camp by taking it and building siege weapons to defend it. We do not immediately run to the next tower to lay siege, instead we focus on building up the defenses of the supply camp by building ballistae and arrow carts within range of each other so that we can create strong fields of fire. We then use trebuchets to attack from the camp itself so that we have unlimited supply and we can attack two towers at once with ease. After the towers go down, on to the keep!
Let the other two enemies fight it out while you take everything else with your smaller group.
1. If Stonemist does not change hands, then RED did a great job of distracting the enemy while you took many of GREEN’s objectives.
2. If Stonemist does change hands, then you have crushed GREEN’s lead and now you focus on taking a weakened Stonemist from RED
THE TOP FIVE “IN-GAME” FACTORS TO WIN WvW MATCHES
By Glaucon of the Alliance War Council (AWC) plus the collected wisdom of the web – Enjoy!
NUMBER ONE: GUIDING THE WvW ZERGS
“Pro guild” alliances might have superior skill, but they comprise only a small fraction of their home server’s population. Most players on the WvW battlefield will be part of the uncoordinated mass “zergs” moving from tower to tower - without the proper strategic planning to prevent enemy back-capping. Servers that exercise good leadership in coordinating the zerging masses will have the upper hand. Well-known leaders on the field should also give credit to the entire team in chat so that the server does not come to believe that this leader is indispensable to winning a match. Organized squads should focus on objectives ignored by the zerg – supply caravans, holding keeps and camps.
NUMBER TWO: SIEGE PLACEMENT TACTICS
Every objective on the map has ideal points for placing offensive and defensive siege weapons. Offensive placement involves trebuchets firing from behind hills where defenders cannot spot them, or from plateaus where the enemy cannot reach you easily when they sally forth from the keep. Another offensive tactic is to attack with trebuchets from a defensive position at a supply camp in enemy territory. This strategy allows you to have continuous supply from the enemy’s own camps and to defend the camp at the same time. Defenders should be careful when using supply to repair gates or walls during an attack. Instead, supply should generally be used to build defensive siege weapons. Remember that walls are only made to buy you time; siege weapons are made to repel the attackers. Ballistae are extremely powerful against both players and siege weapons because the bolt passes through several players causing full damage to each player. If you know you can’t destroy the enemy’s siege weapons, you can try to create a death trap on the other side of the gate with ballistae, thief/ranger/engineer traps, AOE, and lines of warding to hold them back. Who knows? With luck, you can wipe the zerg at the choke point. Just Google “WvW Keep Defense - Remember the Alamo”.
NUMBER THREE: THE
There are two cardinal rules of supply: 1) You must retake and secure your own server’s supply camps before going on the offensive because you need a continuous flow of supply for siege warfare, and you need to fill the supply depots of your towers and keeps; and 2) you must not take supply from keeps and towers unless they are under attack. Upgrading your objectives can take many hours, but it will take much longer if everyone keeps taking supply because they don’t want to run to a supply camp. When conducting a siege, have runners go back and forth to your supply camps and tell everyone to keep their hands off the supply in your towers and keeps so that you can continue to upgrade defenses. Also, make it a point to always carry supply on you. Supply that you carry persists through player death!
NUMBER FOUR: UPGRADE EARLY AND OFTEN
Supply camps will take about 40 mins to fully upgrade, and towers will take about 2-3hrs to fully upgrade. Upgrading the keep defenses can take many hours of dolyak deliveries (8hrs+) but upgrading is worth the cost. (Be prepared to spend the entire day at your PC to fully upgrade Stonemist!) Upgraded defenses will slow attackers down and cost them more supply to attack so that the enemy can accomplish less before they have to log off for the day. Upgrades also buy time to be rescued by friendly forces. Focus on upgrading keeps early in the match.
NUMBER FIVE: ADVANCED SQUAD TACTICS
Pro guilds shine here because of extreme organization – for example: Bait and switch – One team causes a distraction on the other side of the map and stays just out of reach causing the enemy to give chase because of the “tunnel vision” effect – “I must catch that player!” The other team is quietly setting up trebuchets and surrounding them with ballistae on the other side of the map. Hasty Revival – Players who fall while attacking the enemy’s keep are revived by a special team that activates a haste boon to revive players almost instantly while under enemy fire. Stealth Attack on Siege Weapons – Defenders cast stealth on a small team that runs through enemy lines to appear next to their siege weapon to burst it down. Multiple Breaches – If your team is attacking a keep with many enemy defenders inside, you should breach enemy walls in at least two locations before entering in order to prevent defenders from AOE attacking a single breach location to devastate the invading force. If you know there few defenders inside, then one breach is fine. I know it’s hard to resist rushing in, just don’t be that zerg that gets wiped out at the choke point. See factor number two above.
THE TOP FIVE FACTORS TO WIN THE WvW “META-GAME”
“Meta-game” – Using knowledge or activities outside of the game’s rule set to influence the direction of the game
NUMBER ONE: SERVER ALLIANCES
Guilds have begun forming alliances to coordinate their efforts over the course of the two-week matches. These alliances share defensive strategy, attempt to recruit more guilds to the server, and coordinate large-scale attacks. The alliances that can coordinate the actions of their member guilds most efficiently will have an easier time achieving victory for their server. Notable alliances include the Ascension Alliance, the Titan Alliance, the FUBAR Alliance and of course – our very own Alliance War Council, The WvW Alliance, and The Tyrian War Council!
NUMBER TWO: OFF-PEAK DOMINATION
It’s always peak time somewhere. You might be the best North American guild ever, but your WvW map is going to be painted another color if your server has too few players on during the non-peak times. When North Americans log off, they have to contend with the Oceanic players starting their peak time followed by the European onslaught - and vice versa. That’s why a strong server has substantial numbers of players in several time zones to get consistent WvW participation all day long.
NUMBER THREE: EDUCATING PLAYER POPULATIONS
Educating a larger portion of player populations on the best strategy and tactics is critical to fielding a powerful fighting force. Servers that help their players learn WvW will enjoy the benefits of greater cooperation, efficiency, and coordination - every knowledgeable player has the potential to exercise leadership when the situation calls. A recent GW2 podcast gave some excellent advice that every player should know: all players should have these three skills on their toolbar - 1) BURST DAMAGE SKILL – to quickly down a player with low health, 2) MOBILITY SKILL- speed buffs, blink, or any skill that helps you get out of a bad situation, and 3) CROWD CONTROL SKILL – stuns, knockbacks and anything to momentarily stop players from getting away or knocking them off of a siege weapon that is blasting your pals. Always stop to revive downed friendly players and try to revive with other people to speed it up. If there's a downed enemy nearby, finish the enemy first as your downed friend targets the downed enemy so that your friend can rally instantly after you take out the enemy. So that's another tip, when you're down, it helps to target the other downed player because you are more likely to get a rally off of their death.
NUMBER FOUR: INTER-SERVER DIPLOMACY
Politics are an inescapable factor in any environment with more than two people, and you’ll find them in WvW as well. There are two points here: First, be respectful to other servers in-game and in the forums. Even a server running a distant third place can be a “Kingmaker” in a match by choosing to focus on one server or another. In a close match, servers with a good relationship might back off each other and focus their efforts on the nasty jerk server. Second, other servers might strike secret bargains. One leader of a major alliance is on record saying that such a tactic is not out of the question. We’ll have to wait until release to determine if these deals actually get made.
NUMBER FIVE: CREATING SERVER ENTHUSIASM
A high server population does you no good if your server brothers and sisters are sitting on the sidelines. A server needs to make WvW exciting, even after the initial excitement has worn off. This factor involves creating special events and narrating the action to create a fun and compelling narrative for others to play along – and you better believe that a server of RPers would be able to create a compelling narrative! Creative ideas to engage us all in the fight will boost our strength and morale versus other servers whose enthusiasm has waned.