PvP rank farming, Explained!
Okay, so why would you first of all want PvP rank in Guild Wars 2, especially if you are not into playing PvP. Well, there are several good reasons, but the most important is -loot-, what else!
I will be explaining the basics of rank farming here and how to go about it, so you can get some of that sweet loot, even for those that have never gone into a PvP room before.
Sweet, Sweet Loot
There are some unique items, and just generally pretty good loot that you would usually only get for doing dungeons, as well as dungeon currency to buy more. This is useful if you are generally either not playing dungeons, or are playing the game at times of the day that make finding dungeon groups difficult. Many players doing rank farms for instance are looking to gather the Lost City of Arah gear, because apparently it is pretty difficult to get groups for that dungeon these days.
If you open the PvP tab on your menu bar (top left of the screen) and click the rewards tab on it, you can see the various reward tracks you can work on (click the image to the right here for details). Each reward track is split into sections, shown here, and each section also has mini-loot bags within it, so you still get loot pretty much each turn while working your way up the reward track to the big end item.
But why would you want to do a PvP rank farm? Surely it is just as rewarding to just go into a normal pvp game and just try and kill people? Well.. yes and no. It isn’t going to be as mentally rewarding.. farms are dull, but they are also designed to give all participating players the best possible chance of getting the maximum amount of rank points you can gain in a game. There is actually, in general, no PvP actually going on in rank farm arenas, and that is great for someone like me who despises PvP with a vengeance.
Finding yourself a PvP rank farming room
Okay, so the first thing you need to do is find yourself a PvP rank room.
These rooms are player-made rooms, and will generally have [rank farm] or something like that in the title. Here you can see I have saved ones that I like on my favourites list, but they can be found in the standard listings, usually near the top since many people use them.
When they say things like -no pets- it is because sometimes accidents do happen, and necromancer pets in particular cannot be recalled, and just keep attacking. Bad manners and all that. I will get to the capping/decapping description in a moment.
In the farming room – the basics
So you get into the room, and you will find there are two teams, Red and Blue. Farming maps tend (but not always) to use the Battle of Kyhlo map. There are three points of contest (The windmill at the north side, the clock tower in the middle, and the mansion at the bottom). Points are given for when you neutralize and take over these points of contest by standing within the boundary of that point until the point gets turned your team’s colour.
If it is a red-capping farm map, players on the red team will cap the north and south points, then everyone (generally) moves to the clock tower and the real farming begins.
There are several ways you will be trying to collect points:
- Capping and uncapping the clock tower
- Making sure you are, at some point, in the winning team
- Defeating the enemy’s trebuchet (+5 rank points over the cap at the end)
- Repairing your team’s trebuchet (+5 rank points over the cap at the end)
- Clicking the volunteer button at least once (+25 rank points over the cap at the end)
In truth, you actually do not need to collect more than 10 points in the red team (neutralizing a point doesn’t seem to count, only a full cap or others). Your total rank point score is not dependent on your score in the score board in the room, but on how long you were playing for when the game finishes. The longer in the room, the higher your score towards the cap of 500.
However be wary of going afk, since you can get kicked pretty fast, plus it’s boring. For this reason most people spend the time capping the clock tower, or perhaps because they don’t understand that it is the time in game, not the points in game that give the end rank point score.
Capping the Clock Tower
The main activity when in a rank farming match is capping the Clock Tower. Both teams face off on either side of the contested point and take turns at turning it fully onto their team’s colour, then stepping back off it so the other team can neutralize it and then turn it to their colour before stepping off. Each time you neutralize the point you gain 10 points, and each time you cap the point to your team’s colour you also get 10 points. It only takes a few seconds to do this for each side, so those points add up fast. Points mean prizes from your reward track.
Note that there is, in general, absolutely no fighting from either team. This tends only to happen either when someone mistakenly hits an attack button, when there is a troll in the room, or at the very end of the match when the score hits around 495 or so (the game finishes at 500) since players downed when the map changes automatically gives you a kill. Players that do fight outside this time will in general get reported by other players in the room to the room’s moderator by mail, since it disrupts the reason for the room’s purpose.
Making sure you are on the winning team
The name of the farming room will always have details of the winning team in the subject line. All the ones I use stick to having the red team winning (I will use red as the winning team in this article for simplicity), but there are ones that use blue.
There are several reasons why you want to know beforehand what the winning team is:
- You don’t want to waste time. Having both teams fight for supremacy doesn’t get you more points because of the rank point cap, therefore making sure that one team caps the two other contested points and they stay red means the game ends more swiftly and you can get the maximum number of points swiftly.
- You will want to know what team to aim for when in the game. The winning team gets more rank points for playing than the losing team.
Of course, everyone is going to aim to be on the Red team, but if you don’t get in as red right at the start, don’t stress! Even if you start off on the blue team, you can still switch sides during the game if you play your cards right and get the victor’s extra rank points.
Switching sides and Volunteering
If you are on the blue team, you will want to be trying to get onto the red team even after the match has started, because the red team is the winning team and will get the most points. Because of this, the red team will always be the team with the higher numbers. Do not fret though, because you CAN get onto the red team, you just need to know how.
The matches have a system that will auto-balance the player numbers if one team has two or more players more than the opposing team. We can use this to our advantage, allowing the blue team to get into the red team, and allowing the red team to get extra points by using the volunteer button to switch sides during the match.
Red Team: Volunteer button
The volunteer button pops up on the screen of the team with the higher player numbers. You can see on the screenshot below that it appears on the middle left of the screen for a limited time. I have already clicked the button here. Volunteering will get you an extra 25 rank points per match.
Red team should always volunteer so long as they have gained points in that team. This will allow them to be switched to blue team and still get the red team win-award, while allowing people on the blue team to go into the red team to get their win-award as well.
Blue team: switching sides
If you end up on the blue team you can usually manage to get into the red team on a good rank-farm match. To do this you open up the score board by clicking the scores at the middle-top of the screen. You can see the board open on the screenshot above.
Red team will get the volunteer notice when there are two more red team members than blue, as you can see on the screenshot above. The call for volunteers takes around 30 seconds I think to complete, and then a red will be chosen to get shifted teams.
Note: The volunteer system only works up until Red team get to 400 points. Do not spectate after this hoping to get into red, as you generally will not be able to. Switch early to avoid disappointment.
Blue team members can take advantage of this by clicking the button on the top right hand corner of the score pop-up labelled ‘spectate’. This will take them out of active play, and they can use the buttons beside the spectate one to attempt to get into the red team.
Note: You cannot spectate if you are in combat. To get out of combat, run out of the area until you are no longer in combat.
This does tend to be a click-fest, and if there are new players coming in, or there are other players also trying to get into red from spectating, then it is a gamble who gets in and who continues to wait. There are some tricks I picked up to help everyone get the team they want that I will go into in a minute, but that is basically how it works. Everyone on a rank farm map, as long as it is working smoothly, should get the win-reward.
Tips on getting onto the red team
I have found that many players will wait and spectate for ages trying to get into red, while blues need more players. This actually makes the room far slower to get working properly, because players trying to spectate to get onto red from in the match end up spectating for ages when others beat them to the click. This is counter productive, and will usually mean that more people do not get the red-reward, and get less of the rank rewards because they were not participating as long.
So, how to work the system a little better?
If you are entering a match, and it looks like you wont get into red immediately, go into blue. Run to the clock tower and start gathering those points by capping and uncapping with the others. However, keep the score board open to one side and keep watch on the number of players.
- If there is one less Blue player than red, go and spectate (making it two less Blue players, like the score board shown in the screenshot) and trigger the volunteering event for Red. You may have to wait up to 30 seconds for this to finish but then one of the red team will be added to Blue, making it even numbers on both teams, and you can then freely join red team.
- If there are two or more Blue less than Red, stay where you are. This will not get you into Red quicker, because it will generally always end up with the volunteering going through and ending up with the Red team only one player ahead, meaning that you are stuck in spectating and no closer to getting into Red.
- If you are spectating at the start of the match, and there is one Red more than Blue in the game and there is at least one other spectator still sitting there, join the Blue team. This will immediately allow someone to join Red, putting the game position back to the first point I listed above, at which point you can go spectate again and get into the red team when the volunteer event triggers. This also means that there are less spectators vying for the chance to enter the red team.
A good rank farm will do these steps as standard, but there will be some who don’t understand how the spectating thing works and just stand in red without volunteering, or camp in the spectate until they can get in. Paying attention to team numbers and when to enter spectate mode will help combat these blips in the farming machine.
Dealing with Rank-Farm Trolls
Unfortunately when people come up with a system like this, there are going to be players that disagree. It is understandable since the farming system I have described here bypasses PvP entirely. Some see it as cheating (which it technically is not, although it isn’t exactly working on the intended pvp format), while others just really love messing with other players, especially in a PvP environment.
Some of the behaviours you are likely to see once in a while can include:
- Players manning the trebuchets and bombing the clock tower, constantly knocking people back off it, or downing them
- Players coming in and mouthing off in chat
- Players coming in and hunting down players trying to take part in a peaceful rank farm and killing them, over and over.
If a player is being particularly bad, many of these farming rooms will have the owner listed on the room name. This will allow you to mail them the name of the offending troll, and the owner can then block that user from entering in future.
If the player is being verbally abusive or behaving in other ways that go against the terms and conditions of the game, report them to ArenaNet via clicking their name in chat and selecting ‘report player’.
The rank farming rooms are a place where players are working together, and there tends to be a level of friendliness and helpfulness there that I have found particularly heartening. Try to always be polite or at least civil to others as it helps to keep the flow of rank points at its peak.
If you do happen to come across a troll attacking people at the clock tower, they are generally considered fair game and people will gang up on them and kill them before going back to the farm. Avoid aoe though since that will target other players as well.
Daily Achievements: More Sweet Loot!
There are four daily achievements relating to PvP each day, and each of these completed will give you a chest of loot as well as a hefty reward track boost.
Some of these achievements could be:
- player kills, (do this at the end of the match, not during it),
- PvP defender (kill a player while beside a capture point of your team colour)
- Win with a specific class of character
- Gain a specific amount of rank points
- Gain a rank point reward on your reward track
Always check your Daily PvP achievements through:
Hero Panel > Achievements Tab > Daily Achievements
Keep a watch on the Daily Achievements. If ‘player kills’ is on the list for the daily, you are liable to find far more players killing each other in rank farm rooms than on other days. A good rank farm though will leave these until the very end of the match (at around 495 points) so it doesn’t disrupt the farm.
Likewise if ‘PvP Defender’ is a daily achievement, put a shout-out in Map chat for players to meet you at one of the other contested points (not the clock tower so it doesn’t disrupt people) to do the daily. Many players will willingly help you out. Remember to ask, rather than just taking it over and waiting for a Red player to come and fight you as some people get annoyed.
Please note that you should not be using Finishers in a PvP rank farm. If you help get people to a downed state at the very end of the match, and the map does its refresh things, you should get your kill count for the daily. The only time you should be using a Finisher is when dealing with a troll by common consent.
So there we have it. A rather beautifully engineered solution to getting PvP loot for doing no PvP and very little brain power required. I love it!
Remember, keep watch on the player team numbers, keep your weapons sheathed and be polite. Happy Farming to you all!