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Team strategy is a plan of how a team intends to win a battle. Team Strategies are more pertinent in PvP play when the enemy's behavior is not scripted. Because human players can surprise you with how they play (and can also panic and lose concentration if properly surprised), designing a solid team strategy is crucial for success in PvP, especially in the more competitive settings like Tournament and GvG battles. There is still a need for team strategy in the PvE game and many of the elements discussed below apply to PvE as well.
There are many elements to building solid team strategy in Guild Wars, these are some of the basic ones:
This is the most fundamental concept in team strategy. The team must work together. A player who does not listen to strategies is as big a threat to his/her teammates as the enemy. A common reason players do this is that they either do not care (too young to understand or simply too self-absorbed), or they believe in other plans. If a player believes in other strategies, he/she should discuss that with the team, instead of planning on breaking with the team plan.
Here are some basic team work principles:
In most cases it is useful when the team agrees on a target calling strategy. A calling strategy defines who will attack what (and when, e.g. the team will first take out monks, then mesmers, then necromancers... etc). This makes it easier for the team to act coherently even if calls are not made in a timely fashion.
The simplest way to achieve this is selecting a primary caller. All party members should follow his/her calls except those exempt from this (like a battery necromancer busy with generating energy, or off target attackers).
The team should also decide... If the primary caller falls, does he/she keep calling or will there be a secondary caller.
On simple team builds that have a pair of monks as healers, they should make every effort to coordinate their healing. If both cast the same healing/protection spell on the same target, then that is a wasted spell.
Some coordination techniques include:
- One monk takes the top four in the Party List and the other takes the bottom four.
- They split professions among them (one warrior and elementalist handled by each monk).
- They constantly call their healing.
- Designate one monk to function in the role of bonder.
Inexperienced spell-casters sometimes flee when attacked by enemy warriors. Running spell-casters take more damage from warrior attacks and are useless to their teammates because they cannot cast spells while running for their lives!
A team should plan for protecting their back-end members. Will they use Protection Prayers, wards or some other tactic? Do their warriors up front ever come back to help out or do they just go for called targets and ignore all? It should be made clear, whether the monks feel confident enough to allow casters to tank attacks, or if they should try to kite them.
Plan on resurrecting teammates. An understanding of the type of challenge facing the team and the dynamics of the game is necessary. Here are some useful tips:
- Resurrect healers first.
- Call your resurrects: This will save the aggravation of having multiple people attempting to resurrect the same fallen comrade.
- Always carry a Resurrection Signet in PvP. There are few exceptions, largely including Monks who instead carry a different resurrection skill effective in PvP, or often don't carry one at all.
- Rebirth is terrible for PvP battles, as both resurrected teammate and healer are useless for some time after.
- Rebirth is extremely valuable for PvE sections, particularly during missions and other areas where the task must be started from scratch if the party wipes.
- You will usually need to resurrect during combat in PvP, since humans won't allow you to run away and regroup.
- In PvE, characters should not be resurrected in combat if they will be killed almost right away, if the resurrecting character's skills are important for the team, or if the team can handle the enemies without the dead person. Characters should be resurrected if they are important for the party, such as monks or tanks, if the rest of the party can survive without the resurrecter for a time, or if the party is not able to win without the dead character's skills.
- Monks in general should not resurrect in PvE unless other characters can heal or defend themselves while the monk is resurrecting.
- In PvP, non-healers should resurrect first. If healers stop healing to raise the dead, this will often result in someone else dying.
The Team Build
There are as many team builds as there are hairs on a Yak's back, but there is no such thing as a perfect team build. Every build, no matter how dominant, will be taken down. Once people figure out how the build works they will be able to attack its weaknesses, and all builds have a weakness. (If a build really is invincible, then ArenaNet will modify the game to make it no longer so.)
Some famous team builds, that have since been nerfed include:
- EoE Bomb
- Minion Factory
The Individual Builds
Even though much of a single member's build will be based on the team's build and what they expect from that member in his/her role, there is still room for creativity within a single character's build. For example, a hammer warrior thinking about equipping a knockdown skill has much to think about. Assuming their elite skill is not used by the team build... Do they equip Devastating Hammer or Backbreaker or Earth Shaker? Each has much to offer.
Do Your Homework
Understand the game and the skills used in the game. A charging team that does not notice a spirit of Frozen Soil will be shocked to find out they cannot resurrect their fallen! A warrior who does not notice Empathy on himself will kill himself! And a group of casters with Spiteful Spirit on a couple of them could self-destruct. So, learn about these tricks and how they affect the game.