[WvW] Structural remarks: the garrison
Welcome to edition 3 of this series, where we'll be looking at a nice place in the middle of the map... the garrison. I could just post the pic below, and be done with it (it should be good for a thousand words, they say ;) ) but there is a lot more to tell about it.
First off: the garri (as it is often called) is a keep, which means that it has 2 layers of defense, and can sport a waypoint, if it's upgraded far enough. This waypoint explains its importance, since it allows you to start right in the middle of the action instead of somewhere in the north at the citadel. Secondly, it is the end point of 4 dolyak routes, which means that as long as Bessie can walk freely, it will be well-supplied, and easily upgraded. Because of this importance, a shout that the garri is under attack, is about the fastest way to cause alarm on a map. Loosing a garrison is a major problem if you intent to defend the rest of the map, so generally, all available troops will storm there as soon as a major attack is spotted. One does not simply rock into garri, and even if you're in, a huge fight will break out in the lordsroom more often than not. Groups looking for a fight (hello TUP :D) will thus poke a bit at this hornets nest, and wait for the red dots to fly out.
The ways of entrance vary a bit, I'll try to treat them here.
First off: the watergate. The entrance may be a bit hidden, but it's pointed directly to the enemy starting points, so if you're in a hurry, this is the way to go. You want to be quick as well, since this is also the easiest place to defend, with arrow carts raining death from above, with impunity. Most attacks fail here as soon as they are spotted, as long as those arrow carts (marked with a green A in the map) are in place. The topmost cannon can also reach the place before the gates, adding even more damage. The general pattern of attack involves a large blob, golems and/or rams. The second door (the inner watergate) is bugged, meaning that it will behave like a common door, but may still offer enough resistance for defense to mount. Arrow carts can and will be placed on the planking above, the oil and cannons are both dangerous (hey, it's a tight spot, and dropping down there will hurt), so generally an attacking group takes a minute or 2 to get through.
Secondly, the other south gates. These are also well-defended, but generally less guarded than the watergate, so they're worth a try if you really want to get in. The southwest gate is a murder hole, where once more arrow carts or ballistae from the bridge above it can make it very uncomfortable for those below, but once you're in, you do have an open way to the northern gates. The southeast gate is quite relaxed to break through, but the venom is in the stairs behind it. This is a nice and open space, going uphill, and as you may have found, charging uphill is quite suicidal, not only in real life, but also in GW2. Camera angles are annoying, you loose view, and once dead... you can only play dead. Oh, did I mention the arrow carts that are also spread liberally on this place?
The northern outer gates require a huge detour, which increases the chances you're spotted, and open you to charges from both sides (spawn's above you, don't forget!). Most parties who want to test the waters first will capture one of the towers, and place trebuchets in them. If you put them on the stairs (cragtop) or on the supply depot (woodhaven) you can just reach the outer walls of the garrison (marked in yellow), and demolish them at your leisure. Safe, simple, smart. Going for the gates is only interesting if you're in a hurry, and have a really good blob to back you up. But then again... take the south gates in that case ;)
The inner gates are your regular gates, dotted with defense, and by the time you reach them, you will be swarmed by the incoming defenders (or be one of those defenders, called to the place). Arrow carts can be placed at the stairs of the west inner gate, and fire through the gap above the door, allowing you to defend just that extra bit ;) (this trick works on some other gates as well, Hills north outer springs to mind) There's also the ring above the lordsroom, and the roof (since it's open, there can be arrow carts there as well) for last defense...
So... if you want a lazy job, go scouting in garri, and you're doing something very useful :) (on a busy night, it will get attacked about 20 times) Upgrades there (got money? It's expensive!) follow the common pattern for frontline stuff: cannons first, mortars are less useful, but needed for the waypoint. Walls are second, and personnel is only used to increase the supply limit so you can easily afford the next upgrade. Try to keep some supply in store, since you will have things to repair. Oh and be vocal about anything that might threaten you... The commander will thank you for it.
*Freeze checks out, refreshing all the siege a last time*