A hands on preview of the new Guild Wars 2 SPvP map
For the PvP inclined, the arrival of the new Spirit Watch map is much anticipated.
I was one of valiant vanguard of nutcases thrown into the mix to see just what the new map is all about. Is Spirit Watch a worthy addition to SPvP?
Structured on a variety of tiers with three capture points sitting separately at the top, many players will rush headlong into the fray at the bottom of the valley near the spawn point for both teams.
Such reckless endeavor could prove fatal, however, as Spirit Watch is a map that requires more brains than bluster. It is very easy to get bogged down in a stalemate around the Ascended Orb when it could be smarter to capture the spawn points and grind those 500 points out.
Taking the orb to a node already owned by your side gains 30 points, taking it to a neutral spot earns 15 points while running it to an enemy capture earns 15 points and automatically turns it neutral.
The tactical components of the map add a nice element of variety depending on the approach of the opposition. Do you keep the opposition ensnared in a central fight while you send off team mates to capture the nodes? Do you form a crew with a designated orb runner with a squad of protectors and run the orb?
Spirit Watch’s layout gives a chance for different professions to shine in different ways. On my guardian, naturally, I found I excelled at protecting the orb runner and running interference on the opposition. Greatsword is a great weapon in a pinch when you need to keep marauding opponents off the runner. A quick Binding Blade dragged them back down a flight of stairs to break line of sight and your friendly orb runner has time to make a swift exit.
Switch to staff and Symbol of Swiftness gives nice support to get your allies up to any orb carriers who have gone rogue. The variety of walkways and stairs are prime opportunities to lay down Line of Warding. The frustration for a gang of pursuers as your orb carrier goes dashing toward the point while they all go rebounding off your blue shiny wall is both utterly palpable and entirely satisfying.
Those who prefer to use ranged weapons also have their chances to shine. Rangers can really do a lot of damage by picking good vantage points near the action and raining down death from above. Good map awareness is key to avoid the dangers of the crowd and to be most effective depending on the situation and the role you are taking.
In just a couple of hours or so of playtime with the developers and other journalists, I had a real blast in Sprit Watch. Already I think it is my favorite of the current SPvP maps due to the capture-the-flag style gameplay, making it a very different experience to those encounters already on offer.
Check out the video of one of the games (the voices you can hear are devs answering questions) above, though kindly forgive my frankly appalling showing.