Guild Wars 2 features an elaborate player-versus-player implementation right out of the gate, ensuring that you can start playing large-scale PVP matches at level one, if you so desire. What's more, you might even be able to actually contribute to a fight, since the level-scaling that's featured in GW2's PVE zones is also put into play in its PVP game, meaning that anyone who wishes to engage in PVP matches will automatically be boosted up to level 80, and given a bunch of high-level equipment, to boot. All these benefits vanish when you leave the PVP game, but it does at least make for an even playing field.
Before you hop into PVP, open up your hero window with the H key, find the PVP tab at the bottom of it, and select "Enter The Heart Of The Mists." The Heart of the Mists is a kind of training ground for PVP, and the instructors there will help guide you into some of the basics of competing against other players. You'll also be able to check out your new gear and skills that have become available to you, without having to worry about being mercilessly slaughtered by opposing players, as there aren't any in the Heart.
Get in the circle to help your team pull off the victory!
Complete the initial tutorials, then wander around the Heart a bit to get a feel for the basics of PVP combat. There are two main types of PVP: small-scale instanced games featuring 16 players competing to score points, and World versus World versus World games, massive contests that pit hundreds of players from different worlds against each other for the right to call their server the best.
In the smaller games (accessible by talking to the PVP Browser NPC in the Mists), you will have all profession skills available to you, no matter what level you're actually at. You'll automatically be grouped together with players to form a team, and are then sent out into a small map to fight against the opposing forces. There's a lot of combat, to be sure, but it's not all about killing: instead, your primary goal will be to conquer and defend groups of control points scattered across the map. All you have to do to control these points is stand inside them for a few moments until you steal them from the other team's control, although of course the other team might want to exchange some words with you on the matter. Fight them off, stand your ground, take the control point, and you'll eventually win.
There are a few different maps to explore, and the rounds themselves are generally quick. You respawn after dying and can get right back into the action without much hassle, so PVP is a great option if you want to play a lot of games and get a lot of kills relatively quickly.
Tournaments are a bit larger than PVP, featuring eight teams of five players apiece duking it out on a battlefield to see who the last man (or men) standing will be. There are three rounds total. You can participate in free tournaments, if you like, or you can pay for the right to enter into real-money tournaments. (Buy your tickets at the
World Versus World
WvW has your server matching up against two other nearby servers in a smash-up game featuring hundreds of players, NPCs, siege weaponry, caravans, and a whole lot of other intricacies. It's a lot to explain, so you might want to just go ahead and dive in and start looking for a fight! You can do so from anywhere in the game by hitting the B button and selecting the option at the top of the window that appears.
There are usually a few different WvW options to choose from, with three being named after the servers in the cluster, and one being called the Eternal Battlegrounds. The option that shares a name with your server will feature your team in possession of a mighty stronghold and attempting to hold back the other two teams from overtaking your base. The other two will have your team take on the role of the attackers, and Eternal Battlegrounds is a evenly-matched map with all three servers going at it without any advantages.
Battles in World vs. World can get a bit out of hand.
Your own server's map is probably a good option for you to explore WvW in first, especially if your world is adept at holding their bases. When you enter a game, you'll notice that the world is...pretty much the same as a normal PVE map, in that there are merchants, monsters, materials to gather, NPCs, and even vistas and skill point challenges scattered around. If you wish, you can simply explore near your team's base for a bit, killing monsters and doing whatever events pop up. (We noticed that our loot was significantly better when killing centaurs in WvW than it was when engaging enemies on PVE maps, but your mileage may vary here, or it may have been a bug.) You should monitor your team's chat channel to get a feeling for what's going on, and check out your map, as well; large engagements are marked on your map with a crossed-swords icon.
There are a number of keeps and bases scattered across the map, so when you're ready to join the fray, try to find a large group of friendly players and join them on their travels. There are a lot of places to defend and attack in WvW, with the largest caveat being the destructible walls and siege weapons. You will be able to freely travel through the gates that litter your team's landscape, but to pass through enemy chokeholds, you'll need to destroy their gates by attacking them. Thus, many battles will involve one mass of players attacking a wall or gate, while the other team both attempts to kill them and repair the structures at the same time. You can repair structures and construct new siege machinery with "supply," a finite resource that you can find in most of your bases. (It's indicated with a small red barrel.) Try to pick up supply whenever you can, as it'll be useful when you're out in the field and there are only so many places you can get it.
There's plenty more intricacies to World v World, so go ahead and explore a bit! There are caravans to guard, enemies to defeat, and, of course, plenty of opposing players to send back to whence they came.
For more Guild Wars 2 help, go to our walkthrough and guides section!