Guild of the Week2005/10/11 – Black Rose Gaming [BR]
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This article was initially published on the official website of Guild Wars.

Guild of the Week: Black Rose Gaming (BR)

Formed back in 1999, Black Rose Gaming has become what some might refer to as an institution in online games. Since their inception, the guild has played or served as testers in every major MMORPG, as well as an abundance of FPS and RTS games. As an international guild, Black Rose is home to a host of gamers as diverse as the countries they hail from.

Although the guild's membership draws on a disparate base, they are bound together by the philosophies they adhere to. First and foremost among them is to have fun—a guideline not only for how members play the game, but for how they interact with their opponents. Believing that the game should be enjoyable for everyone who participates, BR often refrains from using builds that they feel are not fun to play, or play against. They believe that, while a strategy may dominate the competition, ruining the enjoyment of their adversaries reduces the number of worthy opponents in the long run. To this end, BR has worked hard to maintain a reputation for good sportsmanship and clean play.

Black Rose Gaming has maintained an active presence within the Guild Wars fan community, where its members have shared their experience and advice with new guilds. BR believes it is better to help others improve their game rather than to hoard knowledge and stifle the competition. In keeping with this tenet, BR has shared with us some of the tactics and builds they have used to rise through the ranks of the Guild Wars ladder.

Strategy: Target-Calling Tactics

The first calling tactic is referred to as "quick switching." Quick switching involves the group’s target caller singling out an opponent—typically a Monk—and watching the response of the opponent’s other healers. If Protection spells are placed on the selected target, the caller quickly switches to a new, unprotected target. The team might repeat this process one to three times before they settle on a "real" target. By quickly cycling through targets, their intention is to leave the opposing team with their strongest Protection spells still recharging, making the final called target more susceptible.

The second tactic is referred to as "separate targeting/come together." In this tactic, two to four groups of damage-dealing characters, such as two Warrior and Elementalist pairs or four Warriors, each focus on separate targets. If the damage dealers are having difficulty felling their targets, or if the Warriors have gained full Adrenaline, they can all converge on a single target and unload their damage as quickly as possible.

Strategy: Top 20 Build

  • Hammer Warrior—Devastating Hammer, Mighty Blow, Heavy Blow, Distracting Blow, Tiger’s Fury, Fertile Season, Sprint, Resurrection Signet
  • Axe Warrior (x2)—Disrupting Chop, Eviscerate, Executioner’s Strike, Axe Rake, Penetrating Blow, Tiger’s Fury, Sprint, Resurrection Signet
  • Domination Mesmer—Energy Drain, Backfire, Diversion, Shame, Rigor Mortis, Weaken Armor, Rend Enchantments, Resurrection Signet
  • Flag-Running Warrior/Monk—Healing Breeze, Sprint, Charge, Hamstring, Pacifism, Mend Ailment, Smite Hex, Resurrection Signet
  • "Funk Monk"—Heal Other, Protective Spirit, Convert Hexes, Healing Seed, Glyph of Lesser Energy, Heal Party, Glyph of Energy, Aegis
  • Standard Healing Monk (x2)

BR's "Top 20" build, so called because it brought the guild into the top twenty position for the first time, specializes in the use of the “separate targeting/come together” technique. The three Warriors act independently at first, gaining Adrenaline from separate targets. When the group is almost ready to launch their attack, the Mesmer prepares the target with the Rigor Mortis and Weaken Armor Hexes, followed by Rend Enchantments. The target is then called while Rend Enchantments is being cast, allowing the Warriors time to reach the target. Upon engaging, the Warriors simultaneously unload their spike damage on the foe. If the group is not currently focusing an attack, the Mesmer is instead tasked with interfering with the opposing team’s Monks.

Although this build was predominantly used in guild-versus-guild combat, when running this build in Tombs, the Flag Runner is substituted for an additional Axe Warrior, and the Mesmer is replaced with a Necromancer using Mark of Pain and Spiteful Spirit.

Strategy: Top 10 Build

  • Ranger/Mesmer (x2)—Quick Shot, Dual Shot, Distracting Shot, Tiger's Fury, Ignite Arrows, Favorable Winds, Drain Enchantment, Resurrection Signet
  • Ranger/Mesmer (x2)—Quick Shot, Debilitating Shot, Tiger's Fury, Ignite Arrows, Winnowing, Drain Enchantment, Resurrection Signet
  • Flag Running Ranger/Mesmer—Hunter's Shot, Troll Unguent, Storm Chaser, Crippling Shot, Distracting Shot, Kindle Arrows, Barbed Trap, Resurrection Signet
  • "Funk Monk"—Heal Other, Protective Spirit, Convert Hexes, Healing Seed, Glyph of Lesser Energy, Heal Party, Glyph of Energy, Aegis
  • Standard Healing Monk (x2)

Although BR has enjoyed some success with their "Top 10" build recently, the creation of the build itself was something of a happy accident. While designing new builds in the wake of the PvP Extreme Weekend, BR had put together a build that required two Rangers using Quick Shot. Excited at the prospect of playing a different character type than usual, four players ended up arriving at the Guild Hall with Quick Shot Rangers. BR decided to run the build as a joke, but soon realized its potential after winning several battles with it, and it has since been fine-tuned to its current form.

This build makes use of the "quick switching" tactic. First, the Rangers coordinate with each other to maintain their Spirits without overlapping one another. When their Spirits are ready, the Rangers use the Ignite Arrows Preparation, and switch to +5 Vampiric Shortbows, their secondary weapons. At this point, targets are called in rapid succession. The target caller watches the targets to see which Enchantments the enemy Monks are using, and once the spells with long recast times have been used, the target caller quickly switches to the “real” target. The target is then drained of any Enchantments and quickly spiked with Dual Shot and Quick Shot, with the assistance of Tiger’s Fury.

Member Profiles

Get to know some of the members of Black Rose Gaming:

  • Handle: Kai Wren Black Rose
    Broad Location: California, USA
    Gaming Background: FPS and MMOs
    Preferred Character: I can play pretty much anything; I usually play a Monk or call targets though.
  • Handle: Odysseus Syn
    Broad Location: New York, USA
    Gaming Background: FPS and RPGs
    Preferred Character: I prefer playing a damage-dealing Warrior. I also enjoy playing a disruption Ranger and watching my opponent's last 2 to 3 skills get shut down because of my arrows.
  • Handle: Ninjai Gaiden
    Broad Location: Hawaii, USA
    Gaming Background: PVP, RPGs and FPS
    Preferred Character: A target-calling Warrior. While I don't call as much as I use to in Tombs (to let others experience it, and let me experience other roles than just a Warrior!), I still call in GvG.
  • Handle: Mending
    Broad Location: Hong Kong SAR, China
    Gaming Background: FPSs, MMORPGs, and RPGs
    Preferred Character: Although I joined BR as a Monk, I often play Warrior target-callers or Mesmers now. I also play Rangers, Necromancers, Elementalists, or whatever else when needed.
  • Handle: Shobu
    Broad Location: Germany
    Gaming Background: FPS
    Preferred Character: I don't have a preferred character. Most of the time in Tombs I play a Healing Monk, and in GvG, a Ranger flag-runner.
  • Handle: Bella
    Broad Location: Nevada, USA
    Gaming Background: Guild Wars is the first and only game I have played. I became addicted instantly.
    Preferred Character: I enjoy playing a Death Necromancer/Illusion Mesmer, Hexing targets and beating other teams to the corpses. The other character I like to play is the Elementalist/Monk.
  • Handle: U4EA/Florence
    Broad Location: Sydney, Australia
    Gaming Background: FPS
    Preferred Character: I’ve got a bit of a jack-of-all-trades thing going, though I'd like to believe I've mastered at least the Healing Monk.
  • Handle: Salkon Leet
    Broad Location: Oregon/Indiana, USA
    Gaming Background: RPG, PVP
    Preferred Character: I love playing a Ranger or a Necromancer. Timing interrupts on the Ranger can be difficult sometimes, and I think I've got that down fairly well. I'm also really good at getting rid of those corpses pretty fast, especially in Tombs with the Necromancer.
  • Handle: Bayarea Soulja
    Broad Location: California, USA
    Gaming Background: FPS, RTS, and RPGs
    Preferred Character: Primary Monk/Elementalist and Monk/Mesmer. If I’m not playing a Monk, which is a very rare thing, I’ll play with my Warrior/Ranger or old school Elementalist/Mesmer in the Team or Competition arenas.
  • Handle: Twisted Sista
    Broad Location: Canada
    Gaming Background: FPS and RPGs
    Preferred Character: Healing Monk. It’s a lot of pressure to do your job right, and people notice if you're good or not. I enjoy playing a Monk with BR the most since we have great communication and you always know exactly what the other Monks are doing.
  • Handle: Bombgirl
    Broad Location: California, USA
    Gaming Background: FPS and RPGs
    Preferred Character: I play everything and enjoy playing the newest or most recently created character of any build. I also enjoy coming up with strategies/builds to beat whatever the latest "flavor of the month" may be.