Armies of a hundred players will get the chance to fight for their server in Guild Wars 2's massive three-way PvP battles. Each army will fight for control of The Mists, an enormous zone packed full of vast NPC controlled fortresses that you'll have to take and hold using trebuchets, catapults and siege golems.
It's going to be massive. Literally massive. "We use as much space as we possibly can in order to accommodate over a hundred people from each server fighting on every map," explains Mike Ferguson in the latest Guild Wars 2 developer diary entry. "These are the largest maps we can make in Guild Wars 2."
Taking the castles of The Mists will earn your army supply that can be used upgrade your defences, or you can spend it on war machines that can be used to attack enemy walls. Smaller groups can take minor townships and camp sites to earn more resources, and you can even persuade groups of NPC to join your cause by completing impromptu quests for them in the field.
Ferguson gives an example of how this will work. "You might help a group of ogres protect their camp against constant harpy assaults. In return, your new ogre allies will go rampaging toward the nearest enemy objective or send out patrols to help you hold on to your territory. These factions won't fight for you indefinitely, but they can help turn the tide of battle."
You can jump into The Mists at any level. Your character will be boosted to level 80, but when you kill other players they'll drop loot appropriate to your PvE build. "Any gear that is dropped for you will be level appropriate," says Ferguson. "The player that was killed doesn't lose any of their own equipment—that would suck—so you'll never need to worry about losing your favorite rare weapon if you are defeated." You'll also earn experience that'll help you level outside of PvP.
The really neat part is that we'll be able to take specific forts in The Mists for our guilds. Each guild can only hold one keep at a time, but the keep can be upgraded to give bonuses to team members within a certain area. So, the PC Gamer guild could take a castle, rename it PC Gamer towers and choose a buff to apply to nearby server members, helping out the team. "These bonuses can increase stats, give allies more health, or even increase the maximum amount of supply that players can take from the supply depot at that location," says Ferguson. "If you want to help your realm build siege weapons faster, that supply increase will be a must."
It sounds exciting, but extremely ambitious. Ferguson says that ArenaNet "didn't want to build anything less than the best large-scale PvP combat ever." Have they succeeded? We'll have to wait and see. Guild Wars 2 should be out later this year .