Intermediate Guide to sPvP

Sunday, February 28, 2016 12:10 PM

Intermediate Guide to sPvP
Intermediate Guide to sPvP

Now that you've cut your teeth on the basics of sPvP, maybe now you want to get a little more competitive with the start of Ranked PvP League Season Two (running from February 23rd through April 18th). There are a handful of things you can do that can help you become a (somewhat) better sPvPer. I won't be covering tactics for each individual map; each sPvP map has different mechanics and are better discussed separately from one another.

Organization

One of the first things you can do to help yourself become better at sPvP is to find and join a guild dedicated to sPvP. A (good) sPvP-centric guild is likely to have members that are willing to mentor others, and might have a custom practice arena (or Guild Arena, available with the Heart of Thorns expansion and Guild Upgrades) to practice fighting in. An additional perk of being in an sPvP-centric guild is the ability to create or join designated premade, organized five-person teams. Being in an sPvP-centric guild allows for you to choose from a potentially large pool of like-minded players to form organized, competitive teams with.

Organized teams (premade groups) whose members communicate well with one another are much more likely to win matches compared to playing alone (solo queueing and getting stuck in randomized pick-up groups (PUGs) where nobody knows each other). Though the matchmaking issue of organized groups being pitted against PUGs was allegedly addressed and fixed for this season of Ranked PvP League, I would still recommend trying to find others (be it friends or through being a member of an sPvP guild) to create an organized group to sPvP with. Being in an organized team/group allows for fellow team members to learn each other's preferred sPvP classes, builds, and playstyles, which then can be considered when putting together general team strategies and specific map strategies. Additionally, in an organized team (with access to a custom or Guild arena), you can figure out what roles each player fulfills (ex: who will be a standalone bunker to hold out and defend an objective), which can help manipulate the course of a match in your favor. Many organized groups, especially from large sPvP guilds, also have and use third-party voice chat clients (ex: TeamSpeak and Mumble) to coordinate with one another, making it easier to change strategies on the fly, without having to rely on typing things out in the chat panel in the middle of a fight.

Compass (Mini-map) Functions

In the heat of battle, it can be challenging to type out full sentences of what exactly to do for your fellow teammates (in the team channel: /team or /t, of course). Even typing out shortened words or abbreviations, like mid for 'middle' can take precious seconds and can mean the difference between life and death in a fight. Using the 'compass' (mini-map) is much quicker and easier to do, especially when you want to direct your teammates to certain objectives, especially to those that you're nowhere near. The 'compass' is the mini-map, by default found on the bottom right of the screen.

The most basic function or 'command' is to Shift+Left Click wherever you want your teammates to go on the mini-map. This is referred to as 'pinging' the map. This shows up as a red target-like icon that pulses several times after the location is clicked. A slightly more complex action you can use on the mini-map is Shift+Click and Drag, which draws white lines across the mini-map following the direction(s) you move your cursor in. Shift+Click and dragging is particularly useful for sketching the general path for the entire team to take, or directing individual teammates towards certain objectives (for example, drawing a line from the team's bunker character's icon to the home point to direct them to go defend there instead of fighting alongside everyone at mid). Besides being easier than typing things out in the chat box, these two mini-map functions are integral to communicating with your team members, especially if you have the chat panel turned off on purpose (to avoid those inevitable trash-talkers you get on your team every so often, if you solo queue instead of playing with an organized group).

Calling Targets

Finally, you can call targets to focus your team's attention on a specific player. To call a target, you Ctrl+Left Click the player you want your fellow teammates to focus their attention on. This will show a big, red target icon above the player's head, and will show up in the chat panel as 'You have called target on [player's name]'. In your teammate's chat panels, it will show as '[Your character name] has targeted [player's name], press T to assist'. To lock onto a target someone has called out, by default, you press your T key; this will lock your attacks onto whatever was targeted. Additionally, when you call a target, their location will be shown on the mini-map (it shows up as a pulsing red target, as if you had pinged that location on the mini-map).

Calling targets is useful in a busy fight, where if one of the enemy players goes into downed state, you can call target on them so you and your team can attack and/or stomp the targeted player before their teammates can revive them. It can also be used to pick out the enemy player with the least amount of health left, or to pick out a particularly tough enemy player to focus on to kill. Conversely, you can target your own team members when they're downed, so you or your other teammates can rush in and hopefully revive them from downed state before they get stomped. Calling targets can also be useful in fights involving NPCs; for example, on the Legacy of the Foefire map, you can call target on the enemy Lord so that your team can easily press T and focus their attacks on killing that lone NPC and ignore the other additional hostile NPCs that might still be alive.

Sportsmanship

It might seem insignificant, even irrelevant, but exhibiting good sportsmanlike behavior is a good way to show that you're a player worth having around and worth teaming up with. It's not so much a reflection of your skill in actually fighting or forming (and sticking to) team strategy, but more as a reflection of your value as someone who doesn't drive everyone up the wall. Sometimes, it's frustrating to lose a match (or worse, get stuck in a long losing streak), but for everyone's sake, please don't take it out (excessively) in the chat panel. It's okay to vent a bit about losing, but don't attack others over it. Don't be that trash-talking sore loser nobody wants to be teamed up with. Besides, if you take your venting or ranting too far, you'll probably get yourself reported for verbal abuse and/or blocked.

Negativity aside, it is customary (though not mandatory) to type into the map chat 'GG' (short for 'Good game') after a match is over, regardless of whether your team won or lost. It's in bad taste to use the emotes /cheer, /laugh, or /dance if your team won (doubly so if it was a lopsided, blowout match), so avoid doing that, even if it is tempting at times. Personally, if my character isn't in downed state or dead at the end of a match, I like to use the /salute emote as a friendly end-of-match gesture to the other team; I've also seen the /bow emote used to express good sportsmanship. Maybe it's just me, but I'd rather have a mediocre to semi-decent, well-mannered player who can take losses in stride on my team than a very skilled player with an extremely foul attitude that'll throw a hissy-fit every time the team loses (or if something doesn't go their way).



Hopefully, these few tips will help you become a little bit more competitive, and if nothing else, help show that you're a good potential candidate for an organized PvP-centric group, team, or guild. Have fun, and best of luck to you if you choose to compete in this Ranked PvP League season.

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