Getting Started in PvP: Ready, Fight!

Welcome back to another installment of How to Get Started in PvP. In this article I’m going to be going over the different types of matches you’ll come across in structured PvP play and a little bit of terminology you might hear from your fellow fighters. After this, you should be able to jump into PvP without feeling like a total noob.

To get into a PvP match once you’re in the PvP Lobby, click the crossed swords at the top of your screen. You’ll be presented with a panel displaying your personal game stats (types of games played, how many games played with each profession, etc). At the very top you’ll see three big buttons: Practice, Unranked, and Ranked. These are the three different types of matches you can queue up for!



Practice matches are ongoing matches that you can join into quickly for a little bit of fast action. You’ll immediately be put into an open arena. This mode can be good to give you just a taste of fighting against other players without the burden of doing well since Practice matches are always in a state of flux, players wise. This can be a good mode to just get your feet wet, get used to using a different class, or test out a new build. The downside to Practice matches is that they can be incredibly lopsided. You might join into a Practice match only to find that you’re on a team of two against a team of three or four. There’s also no match-making algorithm used, so you could end up against some very high level players who have just jumped into Practice for their Dailies.

I’d recommend doing a Practice match or two, just to give you a feel for how to move around in the PvP maps and what it’s like going up against other players.


This is pretty much the ‘default’ mode for doing structured PvP. You’ll be put into a queue and matched against players who should roughly have the same skill level as you. They determine this using a “matchmaking rating” system, or MMR. If you’re really keen to read more about it, you can find the wiki page here. You have a much better chance of having a fair fight in Unranked and much more likely to have an organized team, since your whole team comes in together at the same time (unlike Practice, where people come and go as they wish).

This is the mode that you’ll spend most of your time in.


Ranked is a lot like Unranked – you queue up and get matched with teammates and enemies of roughly the same skill level as you using the MMR. However the key difference with Ranked is it’s tied to the Leaderboards. These track your wins and scores to see how you compare to other players competing in the Ranked matches. Occasionally ArenaNet hosts tournament seasons where the people at the end of a given block of time with the highest scores on the Leaderboards get a prize. Because of this, Ranked is the most competitive type of game mode for PvP. People expect you to know your stuff in ranked, so I don’t recommend queueing for Ranked matches until you have a better grasp of PvP and your profession.


Map courtesy of GW2Guru

Map courtesy of GW2Guru

Once you’ve waited in your queue and entered your match, you’ll have a bit of time to talk to your teammates and explore the map. I definitely recommend you take the time to explore the map a bit before the match starts if you’ve never been on that map before! Each map is slightly different, but nearly all of them are the same type: Conquest. In Conquest maps, you capture defense points to earn points for your team. The first team to 500 points in 15 minutes wins. The only map that (currently) doesn’t follow this method is called Courtyard – it’s a ‘team deathmatch’ map, which means just kill everyone on the other team as much as you can. Once Heart of Thorns releases, there will also be the Stronghold style of map, which you can read about here.

Every Conquest map has 3 defense points you can capture. You capture them by standing on them until the bar on the right side of your screen fills up. Sounds easy, right? It is… until the enemy team comes to fight you for it! Each defense point has a unique name in every map. For example in the ‘Legacy of the Foefire’ Conquest map, the points are called Waterfall, Graveyard and Quarry. Learning the names of the points at the start of the match can help you communicate with your team easier, so definitely hover over the points on your minimap when you start a match.

For simplicity’s sake though, many just refer to the points based on their location relative to your starting base: Home, Mid, and Far. Home is the defense point closest to your base. Usually when starting a match, you only want one or maybe two people to go and capture Home. Everyone else tends to go to Mid, the point that’s in the middle of the map. Mid is generally the most fought-over point on the map, just because of the location. Finally there is Far, which is the point closest to your enemy’s base. Sometimes if you’re feeling sneaky you can send over a person or two right at the start to Far to catch the other team off-guard and steal the point from them.

On top of the defense points, each Conquest map also has some kind of gimmick that will give you buffs or extra points. Learning these gimmicks can help give you the edge in each map.

  • Battle of Khylo – Each team has a trebuchet that one person can use to deal a lot of damage around the map. The trebuchets can be destroyed though and repair kits show up around the map after a bit of time.
  • Forest of Niflhel – On either side of Mid is an NPC that spawns occasionally. Killing these NPCs will give your team a buff and some extra points.
  • Legacy of the Foefire – Each team has a base area with a group of NPCs including a Lord. Breaking into the enemy team’s base and killing the Lord gives your team 150 points!
  • Skyhammer – Near Mid is an asura portal that takes you to the Skyhammer. Claim it for your team and use the powerful laser on your enemies.
  • Spirit Watch – In the middle of the map, an Orb of Ascension will appear. Grab the orb and take it to a defense point to get a bunch of points for your team.
  • Temple of the Silent Storm – At various points in the match, buffs that you can commune with will show up across the map. The most powerful one – Tranquility – shows up on the bottom level and converts all defense points to your team.

All of this should give you a better idea of what’s going on in PvP matches. Certainly there is a whole ton more information and strategy involved, however as a starting point this should give you the knowledge and confidence to get out there and start fighting!

As always, if you have any other questions or specific points you’d like discussed further, just leave a comment letting me know!

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