While in PvE human players fight cooperatively together against computer-controlled foes, they can also compete in the PvP arenas, as long as they have access to the area where the arena is hosted. PvP is a competitive game mode where human players can only fight against other human players. Only in PvP can Balthazar Faction, fame, rank and guild rating be gained.
There are six different PvP modes:
- Random Arenas (4v4 - Random Teams)
- Codex arena (4v4 - Formed groups, limited pool of skills)
- Competitive Missions (8v8 - Random Teams)
- Guild vs Guild (8v8)
- Heroes' Ascent (8v8)
- Alliance Battles (12v12 - three Teams of four)
Each PvE character can take part in PvP matches, providing the player's character has already reached the PvE location where the battle takes place. Players can also create PvP Characters. These Characters are level 20 with customized, maximum damage and protection weapons and armor. They can take part in all PvP matches (except low level arenas), even if no PvE character on that account has reached that location. PvP characters cannot enter explorable areas (besides the Isle of the Nameless) or cities. PvP Characters can unlock items with Balthazar Faction, including: skills, runes, Heroes (Provided you have Nightfall or Eye of the North), and item upgrades.
For more info, see: PvP character
Arena battles put two teams of four players against each other. The winning objectives vary, depending on the map. Losing players are sent back to the lobby area, while the winning team awaits the next opposing team for the next match.
There are two kind of arenas, Random Arena and Codex Arena. In Random Arenas, players are randomly put together into teams. In the Codex Arena, parties are formed but they have only a limited number of skills that change every day.
- Arena battles are fast paced. Fights usually end in less than three minutes.
- Random Arenas are often used by many players as a "quick fix" of PvP. Other than a few points of Balthazar Faction there is nothing at stake and there are no lengthy party forming periods, which can take a huge amount of time in Tournament Battles and GvG. For these reasons, Random Arenas are also a good way to try out PvP for new players.
- Leaving the party after the battle or mission has started is generally considered rude, and will often make players angry. In Random Arena battles, missing party members get replaced by a new player between battles. So if you need to leave, do so after your party has won the battle, but before the timer for the next map starts.
The Global Tournament is only accessible through Heroes' Ascent. Teams consist of eight players, with no more than two henchmen. The tournament consists of several consecutive maps. The losers drop out, the winners advance to the next round. Different map types are used, many of them consisting of more than two teams. However, only one team advances to the next round. The highest amount of teams that can play used to be 6, however the amount of teams in one battle is now limited to 4. The amount of teams is also determined by the map the player is on. (For example, some maps can support two teams, while others can support up to 5 or 6 teams but only have a maximum of 4 teams playing against each other at once.)
For more information, see Heroes' Ascent.
Guild vs Guild Battles
Guild Battles are the highest form of PvP in Guild Wars. Elaborate builds and strategies are used during guild matches. They are the only source of guild rating, which determines the guilds rank on the guild ladder. For more detail, see the article: Guild vs Guild.
Automated tournaments are thrice daily and monthly tournaments for GvG and Hero Battle tournaments.
Conduct & Etiquette
- Make every effort to carry a Resurrection Signet in your build, as it can turn the tide of battle. Many teams win simply due to having a Resurrection signet when the other team does not (especially in the Random Arenas). Monks, Ritualists and Paragons can carry other resurrect skills, or none at all, as they may not have time to resurrect.
- It is generally considered polite for players to say "good game" or "GG" after a match (although sometimes it is used as sarcasm). It is also considered polite to say "gl and hf" ("good luck and have fun") or some variation thereof at the beginning of a match.
- Leaving a game mid-match is considered especially rude, and some of your former teammates may PM you about it. Leaving at the beginning of a match is also considered quite rude and is seen often in Random Arenas, though has been reduced in effectiveness with the dishonour update.
- Killing yourself intentionally is extremely unsporting, and generally irks players on both sides. This is most often done by a griefer using Necromancer skills.
- Running away from your enemies for the sole purpose of prolonging a match is considered rude. Most people who do this use Ranger builds because of their defensive stances or Assassin Shadow Step abilities, however it is possible for any class to run. However, basic kiting and such is good tactics/playing so long as you are not simply running away.
- Making a team of only Healing Monks with the purpose of irritating the enemy by holding a long match is extremely annoying.
- Complaints about your team or your enemies' tactics, while possibly true, are rather unsporting and generally viewed as childish.
- PMing defeated opponents to "own" or "serve" them is uncalled for. Everyone tries their best and winning simply means you performed well. It does not mean that your opponents were bad. Conduct yourself with sportsmanship and good manners.
- PMing your opponents to complain and comment about their tactics after the match can be reported to ArenaNet for unsportsmanlike conduct and is very rude.
- "Ranking" your opponents by showing your /rank or /zrank may be considered disrespectful, although the Zaishen Emote itself was made to sort of "finish off" opponents.
- The background color of your guild's cape changes to match the color of the team you are on. The "detail" color will be a darker version of your team color. The emblem will remain the same.
- In two team PvP matches, the colors are red and blue. For three teams, yellow is added. For four teams, add cyan. Other colors are purple and green.
- If you have no cape a plain cape of the color of your team will appear instead.
- It is impossible to hide your cape in PvP unlike PvE.
- While in a PvP outpost, you will be under the effects of PvP (effect).