PVP Basic Tactics For All!
There are a ton of guides out there for how to build different classes for PVP. What I’ve always wanted to see was an article explaining “how to play pvp as a team”. I think the lack of clear understanding in this area is a prime frustration for many players new and old. A good article would help us all I think and if you can write one better please do it… quickly.
I’m not the best PVP player in Neverwinter or anything close. I’ve been playing PVP in Neverwinter since gen 1 though and I’ve been on the winning and losing side of piles of battles. I simply want to set down what, to me, are the basic tenets and practices that will make a team more successful in PVP. These are concepts and principles that experienced players just know and do when we come together. Teams that play together a lot and have specialized members can do much, much more but this isn’t a guide for those (they don’t need it).
Lots of players simply won’t play PVP. They say it’s broken or have many other reasons why they don’t like it. The majority of them just don’t like it because they don’t win most of the time. The biggest reason people don’t win is a lack of teamwork plain and simple. The 2nd reason is not thinking tactically and understanding a few subtleties that make all the difference.
Trying to learn to be a team in the midst of a pvp match is painful. Trying to teach or lead is akin to herding cats. If everyone understands a few basic concepts pvp can be much more enjoyable for all.
I’m not at all saying these are the only tactics to follow I’m simply saying if a team follows these tactics they will win more than they lose against an equivalent opponent. I would wager that any random team of 5 pugged together who read and followed this article would win the majority of their matches quite handily because of the way most pug teams play right now.
PVP is a “team” game. It is in many ways a numbers game. If you have more in the same place as the other team you will usually win that battle and take a huge step toward winning the entire match.
This may seem trivial but it is not at all. It is huge! If you stick 5 together at the start and attack the other team (in waves getting back together if needed) you will begin to separate them. They will be split by their re-spawn times and if any lose their nerve they will split further. You can also decimate their moral which will cause further fracture in their teamwork. When you separate the other team your advantage grows. The 1st team to blink will lose the advantage.
NOTE: I often see teams that have 3-5 go to home initially and the others just go for 2 or run to cap etc. In this scenario you have lost before you even begin unless you are a very powerful team compared to your opposition. ALWAYS send at least 4 to pole 2 at the start and the 5th team member should get his butt down there ASAP if he is needed!
If your team splits to handle a problem like capping then try to stay together in groups of 2-3 as much as possible unless you are built to survive alone and even then think about whomever you may be leaving alone while you play “maverick”.
This is PVP! If you’re doing it right you are going to die. Get used to it. The trick is to go out with as big of a bang as possible. Have fun with it. Scream and blast your way into Valhalla! I’ve personally won many times when I shouldn’t have just by going a little nuts with it. When this happens you can’t help but smile and feel pretty good about it.
Never quit as long as your team is fighting. I’ve been on teams that came back 500 points just because we started to gel and the other team got overconfident.
The Timid and the Careful
Many novice and even experienced ranged and otherwise squishy toons will hold back from the melee too far. They won’t close where they can use all their weapons and they are afraid to come up and properly support from a short to medium range.
No matter what your toon is learn to fight in close quarters. Too often when you are not up close supporting properly your side will lose and no matter how much you retreat you will end up with your back against the wall and just as dead as if you had been up there helping in the 1st place.
Trying to stay alive while your team dies doesn’t work out unless you are a stealthy rogue. Get up there and help your team win. That’s how you stay alive more often. I’ve had my butt kicked by every class up close and personal and I know they can all play in the mix if you have the nerve to learn.
Pay Attention ALWAYS!
If you split as a team pay attention to whether the other team is quickly taking points back and holding them. Get back together when this happens. Always start with a full 4 or 5 and when things begin to go wrong fall back to that tactic.
You need serious situational awareness in PVP. If you have a moment you should be scanning up and around and checking as many things as you can to avert the loss of tactical advantage. Be aware when you kill an enemy where they start from and will likely go (if u killed them likely right back to you). Watch for patterns in how they attack and try to head them off in force. Just pay attention and think OK!
A simple tip. Watch how fast the counter turns when the enemy is taking a position. The faster it is going the more of them are there taking it. Use this to keep from running headlong into superior numbers.
Capping is a great tactic and the most misused, team-damaging behavior I see on a consistent basis!
Capping is the tactic of running around and taking the enemy’s points while they are busily fighting somewhere else. It has the obvious benefits of getting points and potentially dividing the enemy as they come to take their position back. When done properly capping can provide a very powerful advantage.
First off capping should not be the 1st thing one member of the team begins by doing (of course there are exceptions but we are talking about basic PUG PVP). A team should work together to gain a fighting advantage initially. A properly skilled member can then determine they want to try to cap because the fights are close and capping would yield a proper difference in the battle conditions (which includes score of course).
Capping should almost always be done by a character that can quickly move around the map. That character should be able to take the position despite 1 vs 1 opposition and in the best circumstance “sit” on the position often distracting 1 or more of the enemy from the main fighting. A toon who can do this can completely impact the outcome of an entire match in a very short amount of time.
A good capper can hover around that position after they take it and kill the 1st person who comes to take it back and then sometimes kill them or others several more times before slinking away when the odds get too steep. I’ve personally killed people 3 or 4 times holding a position because they come right back for it from re-spawn thinking I’m gone or that “they will show me”.
Other capper’s can be so fast and stealthy they take a position and quickly can go take another position back the enemy may be capping… effectively nullifying the enemies ability to cap your team.
Those who “wanna be” cappers because it gives them points or saves them having to be in melee or because they aren’t thinking the team dynamic through are the one’s who I most often see and are the reason for their team losing more often than not.
These are the guys who jump on their horse and run the absolute longest way around the battle field to land on the enemy’s home position.
First they’re too slow. A proper toon for capping will run right through the middle of the battlefield and have the point 1/2 taken by the time the “round trip” capper gets there.
Second it’s usually the one’s who don’t like battle who are attempting this and so they get a little opposition and they die or run away 1/2 way through (but they often don’t get away so they just start over with the same non-sense).
Third they are damaging their team’s strength at the pivotal time (start of the match) and often aren’t able to gain any advantage for their mis-guided efforts.
Capping is awesome when done right and completely destructive to the team when done incorrectly. There are FAR too many people out there who saw it done once and have been attempting it poorly ever since and they are completely convinced they have the right of the thing… and they are completely confused!
It Only Takes 2
In PVP the team that holds two of the positions for the most time will always win period. Make sure you hold your home and position 2 and hold them solidly before you try for a third.
If you hold your home and pound the other team at position 2 until they are fragmented you will win. Too often a team will take home and 2 then split with some running straight for the opposition’s home. If you do this you are just making your job harder doing a lot more running around and potentially getting split and losing the advantage.
Just hold position 2 until they stop coming for it then see what they are doing and stop them. Usually they are trying to run around the long way at this point but are fractured or they are losing moral and only some will be fighting and you can move forward once you see what they’re up to.
I understand that taking more positions by winning and losing them gains more points but winning the match comes first and there will be plenty of points to be had don’t worry.
If your teammates go for 3 in this situation either all of you go or make sure you think you can hold down the fort until they get back. Watch and sometimes the enemy will flock to stop their home from being taken and then if you beat them there because you all went (or they come in fragmented) you have your foot on their neck!
It’s not that going for 3 is bad… but holding 2 is safer so for the purposes of this writing I’m saying “hold home and 2″ until you have the advantage clearly in hand.
ALWAYS fight on the plate!
This may be my last rule but it is by no means the least. When you stop to fight is critical. Unless you are handily leading the other team try to always fight together on or very, very near the plate you are trying to take.
Don’t stand back from a distance and try to range attack your enemy off the position you want. EVERYONE move up to that position and dodge, teleport, blast, stab, bomb and otherwise drop them dead on top of it! When 1 or 2 people go up to do this its often a sacrifice but if the rest follow, you may even have to “wave” hit it a few times, you can take it and more importantly you can be contesting for the points while you’re at it.
Sometimes it makes sense to retreat away and you will fight off the plate for a bit but get back in there as soon as you can.
Don’t follow a wounded enemy or let them trick you into fighting between the plates when they own them. That is just digging a hole for your own grave. Stay focused on the positions and the points until you break your enemy. That is how you win.
Ok that’s pretty much enough. If every new pvp player would at least read and consider the “why’s” and “in’s-and-outs” of what I’m posting here pvp would be a much less frustrating experience for both the old and the new.
Many of us who’ve played a long time get really frustrated because we can see a match is lost within 60 seconds and there’s no way to teach or have the credibility to lead in this situation.
Many who are new get frustrated because everyone is playing some different variation of their own tactics and all they do is get stomped on by teams that work together using these tactics and variations on these tactics.
Good luck and thanks for reading no matter what you think in the end.