This is a work in progress, and is not complete. There is a slightly shorter, bullet-point, tl;dr-style version, as well.
If you would like information about PVE in Cyrodiil, please see this page.
Besides being super fun, Cyrodiil offers a lot of rewards, including massive, fast PVE XP in some areas to level up quickly. Mostly, though, Cyrodiil is of course about PVP – Player versus Player. In many scenarios, it is loosely-controlled chaos, but ridiculous fun.
When playing PVP in Cyrodiil, things are Different from PVE Tamriel in many ways, and there are quite a few things helpful to know before leaping in and in your early days. There’s a lot of information here, but we’ve tried to organize it well, have put the most important stuff up toward the top, and have added a Table of Contents for quick browsing.
If your eyes roll back into your head, you can learn everything we’ve written here as you go, of course, without reading a word.
The most important things below are in bold.
- 1 Getting Started
- 2 Game User Interface
- 3 Plugins/Addons
- 4 Groups
- 5 Rewards
- 6 Visibility
- 7 Travel
- 8 Communication
- 9 Mission Boards
- 10 Assets/Strongholds in General
- 11 Assets – Keeps, and how to Defend and Capture them
- 12 Assets – Resources
- 13 Assets – Temples
- 14 Assets – Scrolls
- 15 Assets – Gates
- 16 Assets – Outposts
- 17 Bottlenecks
- 18 Siege Engines
- 19 Battles
- 20 PVP – Killing, and Not Being Killed
- 21 Map Tactics – What to Capture, When, and Why
- 22 Emperor
- 23 Imperial City
- 24 Miscellanea
- Which class is best for PVP? Yes. All of them! Each class serves an important role, and even low-level players have something to contribute. Battles and captures are all about working together as a team. Deltia’s Gaming has some good fitment and strategy guides
- Scaling – All players’ attributes are scaled up to level VR15 when they enter Cyrodiil, which makes it slightly more balanced. Higher-level characters will of course have more skills and so forth, but lower-level characters aren’t completely screwed. Accounts having veteran-ranked (VR) characters may also make use of Champion Points, which, in abundance, can make characters at any level very difficult to kill (we hate this system.) Rumor has it Champion Points will not be allowed in non-vet PVP campaigns in the Thieves Guild update coming soon.
- Outside of the Imperial City, there are really no severe consequences for death in PVP. No one can take your stuff, your armor takes almost no damage from player battles, and if you died to an NPC, you can ressurect yourself with soul gems per normal (though since you’re VR now, you’ll need a Grand gem to do so.) The Imperial City area has one type of item which is lost upon death (Tel Var Stones, explained later.)
- Slot sets – Once you hit level 15, you’ll be able to swap weapons and skill slots with the push of a button. I typically run my primary set as damage, and the second for travel/support/heals. Other people use one set for melee and the other for ranged attacks. You may want to remap your set swap key, as it’s really easy to hit the ` in the frenzy of a battle, and suddenly you’re casting Rapid Maneuvers instead of your primary damage attack. Fun!
- Healing – While there are typically healers in each group, it’s also extremely handy and important to have a self-healing option easily available in one of your slot sets. There have been times when we’ve had embarrassing wipes (everyone in the group dying) to smaller numbers of hostiles (or even NPC’s!) because we did not have enough healing to overcome the DPS (Damage per Second.) Too, healers in groups are often taken out first, leaving players on their own.
- Much related to the skill notes above – if you plan to have this character spend most or a lot of time in Cyro, think about what skills will best support the team, as well as yourself. Always feel free to ask questions about which skills in a given line are best for you and for others.
- TeamSpeak (or other voice comms) – It is difficult to type and fight at the same time, so we strongly encourage utilizing voice communication. For most of our battle groups, it is required. Our guild has a TeamSpeak server, and the information for that server will be provided to all guild and group members. Administrative privileges are given out at the guild officers’ discretion, and PVP channels are password-protected and/or require drag-down from a moderator.
- Hackers, scripters, and doers of otherwise terms-of-service-breaking (and generally shitty) actions will be banned from ZZ groups and The Disenfranchised at large.
Getting into the right place
- The Cyrodiil Map (in a particularly striking shade of Ebonheart Red)
- Entering Cyrodiil – It is not possible to wayshrine into Cyro. To enter a campaign, hit “L” to bring up the Alliance War window. Select your “home” campaign (we recommend Blackwater Blades to start, as explained below,) and then right-click that campaign to select “Enter.” After a short moment, you’ll receive an invitation to travel to Cyrodiil. If this is your first time, you’ll be offered the chance to undergo training or to skip it entirely. You’ll enter Cyrodiil at the northern or southern bases, which are completely inaccessible to hostile players. You are only safe in these two areas – there could be enemy players pretty much anywhere else at all, even inside friendly Keeps and outposts if they’re stealthy and clever enough.
- Non-veteran campaign – It’s best to start in Blackwater Blade, the non-veteran campaign. Everyone is scaled up to VR15 or higher, and people don’t tend to get irritated with anyone for asking basic questions in zone chat. Voice and zone comms are typically remarkably civil, compared to other games such as EVE and CS:GO. While there are always going to be some assholes and trolls, BWB seems to be the most fun and interesting campaign – the Veteran campaigns are unfriendly to lower-level toons, are less strategic, and are more trolly.
First things to do:
- Training – We highly recommend players do the training exercises on the siege range to learn how to set up and repair siege engines. This is good info for later on, and you’ll get 2 skill points. It will teach you the basics on which type of weapons do what, and how to repair them.
- Fast movement – We strongly recommend using one of those skill points to purchase Rapid Maneuvers. You’ll be covering a lot of distance without fast travel in Cyrodiil, and Rapids help cover it far more quickly. It’s incredibly useful for moving around in non-PVP areas within Tamriel, too, and it also applies to nearby allies, so you can share the stamina costs. It’s basically free if you’re on a horse, and also works in stealth.
- Siege bubble – In addition to picking up Rapids, we also encourage picking up Siege Bubble from the Alliance War – Support skill line. This will allow you to protect your own siege engines, or others’ engines, and is very important and appreciated.
- Passive skills – These are vitally important in all skill lines; don’t be afraid to spend skill points on them, particularly for healers.
Game User Interface
- Turning on PC and NPC health bars full-time for friend and foe makes it much easier to see at a glance whether you need to worry about someone, regardless of their health. (Healers may prefer to only have injured friends showing up.)
- Pets are disabled in Cyrodiil, and will return to the player upon exiting the campaign.
- Load screen of death – There are times when the node or your connection will get wonky, and you may get stuck on an eternal load screen, either randomly or when changing sessions (such as when using fast travel, or respawning.) Sometimes, quitting the game and relogging will fix this, sometimes it will not.
- Chat screens
- Zone chat is a very important method of sending and receiving information about what’s going on. However, it can also be very noisy, and if you have private or guild chats going on, they can get lost in the noise easily.
- I have an “Essential” chat tab, which only displays guild, group, whisper, say, and yell communications that I can quickly and easily switch to.
There are some really wonderful plugins to enhance the PVP experience out there, and these are our favorites. None are mandatory, but they’re really useful. Installing addons for ESO is exceptionally easy, and doesn’t even require an addon manager, such as Nexus. The more plugins/addons we run, however, the more our systems are taxed. Some addons are especially memory-hungry, which can result in an annoying, non-fatal memory allocation error. This is easily fixed, however, on most systems with modern amounts of RAM. Read more here.
- General Installation
- Download the plugin
- Extract the .zip file
- Move the folder into My Documents\Elder Scrolls Online\live\Addons for Windows or Documents/Elder Scrolls Online/live/Addons for OSX.
- Launch ESO
- Check the Addons section of the main in-game menu and make sure the “Allow out of date addons” box is selected.
- You may change some addons’ settings under the Settings – Addons menu.
- Perhaps the most important plugin/addon for PVP.
- While it does display a lot of information that some players might find distracting, that information is really, really useful, including:
- Incoming damage and heals
- Outgoing damage
- Active buffs/debuffs for player and target
- Combat log
- Scrolling combat text
- Aggregated damage statistics
- Advanced hotbar
- Kill Counter
- A really useful addon for those curious about their combat statistics, which tracks and displays:
- Kill/death streaks
- Capture streaks
- Kill to Death ratio
- Customizable sounds
- When a Keep or resource is taken on the map
- Full statistics pop-up on click which shows:
- Stats overview
- List of players you’ve killed, with Alliance, class, et cetera
- List of players who have killed you
- Killing Blows summary
- Many / commands to enhance it
- A really useful addon for those curious about their combat statistics, which tracks and displays:
- This addon is intended to give a quick overview of the current objective battles in Cyrodiil without going to map.
- It shows the current scoring and info on keep battles.
- The intent is to show the most common and most relevant information quickly
- MiniMap by Fyrakin
- Using minimaps addons may cause FPS (frames per second) performance issues.
- Allows an at-a-glance look at a small portion of the map
- Wykkyd’s Outfitter
- Allows you to create gear sets and action bar sets from within your Inventory and Skills screens, and load them easily.
- Swap gear and/or abilities with a click
- AP Logger
- Tracks and displays how much AP is generated and spent over the course of a session
- Notifies of “Big Ticks” when a lot of AP is earned
- A tool only designed for group leaders
- Set a string for the addon to listen for in zone chat
- When a player types that string, they are automatically invited to the group
- Saves much time and hassle keeping track of who wants in and getting them there
- Being in a group has huge benefits, especially for lower-level toons, including seeing where people are on the map, sharing missions, sharing Alliance Points (more on those later,) sharing experience, and other rewards. If your toon is capable of taking on other players alone, you will likely get more Alliance Points solo, but grouping up is still very useful in most cases. It is nearly impossible, for example, to capture a Keep alone. Some resources (farms, lumber mills, and mines) can be taken alone by really tanky characters.
- To find a group, watch Zone chat and see what they want people to type to be invited. The Disenfranchised uses ZZ, some people use a simple X, et cetera.
- If you don’t see any groups being advertised, type LFG (Looking for Group) in Zone and someone will grab you if one or more is up and around. You may need to type a few times before someone sees it if they’re in the heat of battle.
- The group leader is usually called the Crown (due to the leader symbol.) It’s the same as an FC in EVE – follow their directions for great success, and unless Crown says otherwise, stay close to that person. It is critically important to follow directions in the heat of battle – even if you disagree with them, and even if it means you’ll die. The Crown has a plan, and that plan likely hinges upon everyone following orders to a T: Even one person straying from it can cause a total wipe. If you disagree with the Crown, please ask questions respectfully and after the chaos has completed. For decisions made outside of battles (which Keep or resource to capture, for example,) you are welcome to ask questions at any time, and please do so as diplomatically as possible.
- If you are not Crown, DO NOT give orders to the group unless given permission to do so.
- Crown can set rally points for the group to meet on – it’ll be a pulsing set of red rings on the map/compass. There may be an exploit present which allows hostiles to see the rally point, so it is not always used.
- Not being a jerk in Zone chat – We try to be good ambassadors for our Guild, and for PVP in general. If new players come in and experience belittling and insults in Zone, they are less likely to want to play with us. Thus, try to be kind and compassionate whenever possible; we catch more flies with honey, et cetera. ZZ gets trolled, and *hard*, because we are very active and very noticed. Please ignore Zone trolls/hate.
- Groups are usually for PVP, but there are sometimes PVE groups, because PVE areas are accessible to all factions, and you can get ganked if you’re not careful.
- Stay with the group! Stragglers are picked off easily by gankers, and it’s also much easier to heal the group when everyone is nearby. When moving in stealth, a tightly-clustered group is less likely to be revealed by hidden hostiles.
- Unless the crown says otherwise, don’t chase players far away from the group – they could be kiting you into an ambush, or to NPC’s to help them kill you.
- Alliance Points (AP) are an important currency in Cyrodiil which lets you buy PVP things without spending gold. Some equipment is only available through AP, but much can also be purchased with gold.
- You’ll get AP for damaging/killing players, healing players, repairing assets, capturing assets, resurrecting players, completing PVP missions, and other stuff.
- Some activities, like capturing resources, Keeps, or Outposts, have a slightly delayed allocation of AP. You’ll hear phrases like “Wait for the D-tick” (Defense Tick,) or just “wait for the tick,” or “wait to get paid;” this just means staying near the resource/Keep/Outpost until the server hands out Alliance Points for the activity recently finished.
- It’s a good idea to utilize an AP tracker, like AP Logger (link in the Addons section,) to ensure you’ve been “paid” for your efforts, and to see how effective you’ve been at earning points during that session. It will subtract purchases from your session total.
- You can use AP to buy most stuff in Cyro – siege equipment, special foods and potions that are really powerful, repair kits, special armor and weapons, all kinds of things. The more you engage in PVP, the more AP you’ll get.
- AP is also used to determine who becomes Emperor when an Alliance meets the qualifications for crowning an Emperor (explained below.) The person in EP who has earned the most AP in the campaign will become Emperor. It doesn’t matter if you spend the AP – it only goes on how much you’ve earned for the duration – spend away!
“Rewards for the Worthy”
- When you capture a Keep, Outpost, or Scroll, you’ll get an email from the Warlord with an attached piece of gear. It’s usually green or better, and is typically pretty kick-ass.
- These can be Set items, and even Legendary Set items – nice!
- When a given campaign ends (every 5 days,) you’ll get goodies based essentially upon how much effort you put into PVP during that campaign. This is often Set or purple gear, regardless of whether we won the campaign itself. When we won our campaign on 12/15, I got a purple set cuirass, plus two other nice items.
- Better rewards are giving out if we win the campaign.
- Even if you didn’t participate much in a given campaign, you’ll still get something, either repair kits, or some gold.
Free Stuff Errywhere
- Pretty much anything lying around Cyro is free for the taking – in bases, houses, delves, everywhere. Don’t be shy about stocking up – it will respawn quickly. While we don’t need random weapons or armor put in to the Guild Bank, materials are always welcome, and all members may deposit.
- You can get your crafters leveled up by deconstructing all the free armor/weapons lying around base areas, though the free stuff provides less inspiration and material yielded per item.
- You can get some nice food/potions this way, too.
- Sneaking – As opposed to PVE areas, sneaking in Cyro actually makes you invisible to any players not in your Alliance: It’s absolutely vital for survival. Using passives or gear that reduces stamina consumption while stealthed, or increase speed of sneaking are very useful in Cyro.
- When you near an enemy player, whether that player is stealthed or visible, your stealth indicator eye will start to open. When you see a half-open eye, and no one around, be on the lookout – there’s a cloaked dude very close to you.
- You will become visible when an enemy comes within about 5-8 meters of you, or whenever you take any damage, even if it’s AOE (Area of Effect.) A common tactic to reveal stealthed players is to AOE-bomb areas where they are suspected to be.
- Even when running PVE missions, I recommend sneaking as much as possible. These areas are open to every Alliance, and I run into hostile players a few times per PVE outing. Staying in stealth can save your ass and sometimes lets you get the drop on hostile players if you feel like you can take them. Once you see people blithely running around in a PVE area without bothering to stealth, you’ll see what I mean.
- Mounted players are a lot easier to see quickly. I almost never use my horse in PVE mission turn-in areas. When you see someone riding around near turn-ins, you’ll see why.
- Not every non-EP player in EP areas is out to kill you – some are just there to level up, too. Last night, for example, I ran into a Level 12 DC Templar in Bruma, and began attacking him. He simply stood there, healing, and did not engage me. He even proceeded to talk to an NPC to turn in a mission, which is what made me stop attacking. We stood there for a moment, regarding each other, saluted, and ran around Bruma minding our own business (even occasionally helping each other with a rough NPC.) That, however, is rare – be safe rather than sorry.
- There is very little in the way of fast travel in Cyro. If you die at the hands of another player anywhere, you’ll either have to resurrect back at an alliance-owned Keep or base, or have someone res you with a soul gem where you fall. You can’t res yourself with gems in PVP areas or fights. However, do carry around a bunch of filled grand soul gems if you can (available for purchase with gold or Alliance Points from merchants to resurrect other players in battle (or yourself in PVE areas.)
- There are two fast-travel-type stations in Cyro – the usual Wayshrine, which is how you get out of Cyro and back into PVE-land (and which is also where you’ll respawn when killed by NPC’s in non-PVP areas,) and the Transit Shrines. Transit is for traveling between uncontested, alliance-owned, major assets within Cyro. We are only able to fast-travel to assets with red links connecting them, and that’s why taking strategic assets is very important to conquering the map. When the enemy is cut off from fast-traveling to a given location, capturing it is that much easier.You may only transit to assets with a green outline on the travel map (as shown here.)
- We can transit/port to assets we own that are a.) uncontested/unflagged (meaning the outer wall and inner walls are at greater than 50% strength, at which point it becomes marked on the map as “flagged,” (indicated by a yellow starburst background) and is no longer accessible via transit,) b.) linked to another of our assets. You’ll see the links on the map. Essentially, we have to own adjacent assets (and at least two resources at Keeps) in order to port to them. Keeps to which you are able to transit will be green on the map.
- Share the Rapid Maneuver love – Rapids take a bunch of stamina, which isn’t a big deal if you’re on a horse. However, it’s good form to share the speed boost with nearby people. If you pass someone on a horse or on foot, give them a Rapid to help them out. They may not have the skill or could be low on stamina.
- Rule number one: Don’t be a dick. Seriously! The Disenfranchised are on a crusade to de-prick zone chat, and it’s a losing battle as it is. Please try to maintain a decent level of civility and non-trolling.
- Zone chat is where a lot of important Alliance information is exchanged across the whole of Cyrodiil.
- There are assuredly hostile spies on zone chat, who are lurking on an EP toon to gather intel for their other DC or AD toons. It happens, meh. Don’t get too worked up about it, but also – if you have a super secret plan or mission, it’s wise to leave it out of zone.
- Just because someone says something in zone doesn’t mean it’s necessarily true. Pick and choose the people you listen to and follow.
- As of this writing, “say” and “yell” are not heard by hostiles, even if they’re right next to you.
- The only way to communicate in-game cross-factionally is to directly speak to the person via Mail or Tell.
Voice Comms (TeamSpeak preferred)
- By far the easiest, fastest way to communicate.
- The Disenfranchised use TeamSpeak exclusively, but there are other programs such as Vent and Mumble which are also free.
- Everyone being in voice comms is crucially important – we have had whole operations blown because someone not on comms didn’t know what they were supposed to do.
- Even if you do not have a microphone or otherwise cannot speak for some reason, please log in and listen.
- Download here: http://teamspeak.com/downloads
- This is a decent client setup guide, though of course their rules don’t apply to our server: https://boss.vvc.edu/tonningp/ts3tutorial/
- When setting up your mic, please use push-to-talk or at least set up your voice activation not to pick up your breathing or every little environmental sound. Having someone constantly hot-mic’ing is very bothersome. Push-to-talk is nice because if you sneeze, cough, or have a dog bark, you won’t be deafening your friends.
- TeamSpeak Etiquette
- Our TS server is intended to be a fun, friendly place. Assholes will be kicked and banned on repeat offenses.
- How will I know if I’m an asshole?
- Racist, sexist, or homophobic remarks or jokes
- Someone asks you to stop being an asshole or to generally tone it down
- How will I know if I’m an asshole?
- Adult language is used; however, if harsh language truly offends you, please let us know and we will try to adjust.
- Be mindful of how much airtime you’re taking up. We absolutely do want to hear your interesting stories and jokes, but we may not necessarily want to hear your every experience as you traverse the map or fight someone. Let others speak. You do not need to narrate everything you do and see.
- Our TS server is intended to be a fun, friendly place. Assholes will be kicked and banned on repeat offenses.
- Battle Comms & Voice Comms in General
- During battle, you may hear “battle comms,” “comms,” or “clear comms,” all of which mean the same thing – STOP TALKING IMMEDIATELY.
- In a battle or other important moment, please do not speak if the Crown is speaking or may need to speak. We need to know what that person wants us to do, and we don’t want to have to try to decipher it through tales of your exploits.
- With a large number of people in the same TS channel, things can quickly become chaotic and disorganized. Please be mindful. We’re here to have fun, and the social aspect is what drives a lot of people, but we also need to have a bit of discipline and organization present to accomplish our goals.
- Announcing Intel
- If you have something to report, please do so succinctly, with useful information:
- Enemy spotted if you are not with Crown: Give faction, number, specific location, and direction of travel.
- Bad Example: “I see a lot of people by me.” (“A lot” means different things to different people, and where are you?)
- Good Example: “Around 12-15 AD southwest of Sej, mounted, moving North.”
- Enemy spotted when you are with Crown: Compass direction from Crown, faction, number, direction of travel if appropriate, and specific location.
- Bad Example: “There’s a bunch behind that tree!” (“That tree?” Really? This happens more often than you might think. Like, in zone chat.)
- Good Example: “3 DC due North of Crown, cloaked behind the birch stump by the rock.”
- If you’re Crown, you can use “on me” as a specific location, as you’re highly visible to the group.
- If everyone is pretty much facing the same direction (as when on siege engines, or traveling as a group,) it is ok to use “left/right flank” as a direction.
- Enemy spotted if you are not with Crown: Give faction, number, specific location, and direction of travel.
- If you have something to report, please do so succinctly, with useful information:
- If the group is taking a break, traveling a long distance, or repairing without risk of invasion, that’s really the only time there should be much chit-chat.
- If Crown speaks, or if someone has intel, please stop speaking immediately.
- If you have questions not relevant to the action at hand, please hold onto them until a downtime moment, or type it into Guild chat.
At the Northern EP base, there are several mission boards present, which offer repeatable daily missions. Simply complete the tasks and come back to the board to turn them in.
- Scouting Missions – By far, the easiest war-related missions are the scouting missions. You just ride to the designated spot, stealth, get close enough, and then hit E to write up a report. Then ride back, or let the NPC’s kill you for a faster way home. These grant gold and AP, and as soon as you finish one, you’ll be given another. You can do as many of these daily as there are assets owned by hostiles.
- Kill Enemy ________ Missions – One of the boards offers daily bloodbath missions – Kill 20 of a certain class of enemy player, or just kill 20 enemy players of any class. If you are in a group, you will receive credit for any qualifying kill made by a member of your group. Return to the mission board to collect the bounty. There is one mission per class per day, plus the bonus unclassed mission.
- Capture Missions – It is an affront to our pride when other alliances own key assets. Thus, EP officials offer daily capture missions for Keeps and resources. Typically, one needs to be in a group to achieve the objective, though tanky solo players can sometimes take resources.
- Scroll Missions – If having key assets owned by hostile alliances is offensive, imagine how much we hate it when they have our home Scrolls. At the northern base, to the west of the bounty boards, is a general who will give missions to capture Scrolls (ours and those belonging to other Alliances – for it is our holiest objective to always own all the Scrolls.)
Assets/Strongholds in General
Keeps are the rook-looking things, temples are larger Jefferson Memorial-shaped things with round tops, outposts are smaller icons which look sort of like the Jefferson Memorial with a crown on top. The colored lines between assets represents available fast-travel links, and are color-matched to the Alliance which can use them.
All assets, friendly and hostile, are guarded by pretty powerful NPC’s at all times. Outer Keep NPC’s are more difficult than inner Keeps’. The NPC’s will aggro any hostiles they see, and they’re pretty good at detecting unstealthed hostiles at a good range. Stealth works “ok” with NPC’s, but they can detect stealthed players at a fair range, and their reaction time when they do see you is unholy. The mages will collectively own most typical single players quickly, while the guards are pretty manageable for characters level 15 or higher, especially if you only have one guard on you at a time.
When an asset is flipped to another faction, most of the NPC’s will immediately become friendly, though those engaged in battle may take a moment longer.
Assets – Keeps, and how to Defend and Capture them
- The basic unit asset is the Keep/castle. It has two walls (outer and inner) that have to be broken through in order to capture it. Uncontested (non-flagged) Keeps we own are our resurrection points. There are six Keeps in each Alliance which are considered “Home Keeps,” and are important to each Alliance due to their location. These can be capture by hostile Alliances. The only assets which cannot be captured are the northern and southern bases.
- Once the inner and outer walls are destroyed, players come in and attempt to capture the two flags inside the Keep in order to turn over ownership of the Keep to their alliance. Flags are captured by having people stand near them, and they can be taken even if there are hostiles fighting. The flag takes a few moments to convert, though the more people who are on the flag, the faster it will convert. If two Alliances are on the same flag, the Alliance with more players will eventually flip it.
- There is a Quartermaster in every Keep, and at each resource. It’ll be an NPC holding a piece of paper, usually in a back corner or near the Transitus Shrine. That’s where you can buy siege stuff for gold or Alliance Points, as well as food, potions, repair kits, et cetera. The Quartermaster will often be killed immediately when the enemy breaks through the inner wall, and will not reappear until the outer wall is repaired post-siege.
When defending a Keep, there are many tactics to consider, all based upon how many hostiles are attacking, what method they are using, and where they are located. If only one or two hostiles are present, it’s typically only a matter of killing them and destroying their siege engines. If there is a large or otherwise overwhelming number of hostiles present, however, we go into full-blown defense mode.
- Outer walls
- Typically, when a siege begins on the outer wall of a Keep, we will set up counter-siege engines (fire, meatbags, oil, Cold Harbor, thunderbolt, all discussed below,) to take out enemies and their engines at range.
- Hostiles will either choose a damaged wall, a wall with many windows (the more windows, the weaker the wall,) or a wall with strategic placement advantages.
- If the wall is at 95% or above, you may repair it even while the siege is occurring. Below 95%, it will not be repairable until the siege stops for a certain amount of time.
- While the Keep remains unflagged (meaning walls are at greater than 40% strength,) some players may choose to go out and actively engage the hostiles because they can simply resurrect directly at the Keep and go back out again.Nightblades, especially, are useful for taking out siege engines and their operators by stealthing up and killing the players and destroying their engines.
- After the Keep is flagged, however, it is no longer possible to respawn there, and it is unwise to die, as it will involve a possibly long horse ride back.
- When the outer wall is about to come down, most players will move inside the Keep, and continue setting up counter-siege.
- Just because the outer wall goes down does not mean the battle is lost. Indeed, the inner walls can come down, and a huge fight may ensue, and still be winnable – never give up! Keep fighting.
- Dragon Knights and Nightblades may be able to jump up on the walls, or even pounce on players going through the Postern Doors – watch out for them.
- Use NPC’s to your advantage. If you can kite the hostiles to our guards to help you fight them, absolutely do.
- Front gate
- The fastest way into an asset is through its front gate, especially with a Battering Ram.
- Additionally, the front gate area also has the most NPC guards, inside and out.
- Focusing defensive attacks on the Battering Ram is easier than more widely-spread engines, and is thus a bit easier to defend against.
- Front gate attacks typically only occur on an empty Keep or Outpost for this reason.
- Inner walls
- How to best defend the inner Keep walls or door depends upon the Keep, as there are different shapes and configurations.
- Typically, the enemy will again attack the softest wall they can find.
- If they are near the walls, we put up oil pots to dump down on them for great success. We also use ranged weapons and siege engines to repel them.
- With a well-organized group, a Keep can be held for quite a long time at the inner walls.
- As the inner wall grows closer and closer to coming down, we position oils over the point of breach (if possible,) put ballistae at the tops of the stairs and across from the entry point to shoot directly into the breach, get our Ultimates, power attacks, and heals ready, eat whatever food most enhances our abilities, and brace for the coming battle.
- Hostiles inside outer walls –
- Front door
- Blasting through the front door is the fastest way inside a Keep or Outpost, especially with a Battering Ram.
- There are more NPC guards on the porch and at the front of the Keep or Outpost, which makes coming in that way a bit tougher, but not excessively so.
- Most, if not all, Keeps have a latticed area immediately over their front doors, which allow for Oil Pots to be poured directly upon hostile Battering Rams and its operators.
- Siege bubbles will protect them from some, but not all, of the oil damage; use as many Oils as will fit next to the lattice and rain it down upon them!
- Hostiles inside inner walls (Last Stand)
- First and foremost – Don’t give up! Stay tight, stay focused, and listen to directions. Use logic and common sense when selecting your attacks and movement. I have seen so many instances of an attack being repelled at the last minute by an amazing performance – all is not lost when the enemy is inside the Keep itself. The fight isn’t over until the last man is down.
- Many times, hostiles will use the same tactics we do for taking a Keep ourselves – come in and immediately go upstairs, rather than rush the flag. It’s a very good idea to be upstairs when the inner wall is breached, as it is a more defensible position, and allows us to continue pouring oils and so forth. However, if a massive group comes upstairs, it is wiser to quickly move downstairs via the opposite stairs and set up a defense there.
- During Last Stand battles, healers need to be very busy casting everything they have to keep people alive, and it becomes a matter of who can overpower whom – who is best-organized, has the most DPS or heals, and so on.
- Using AOE and siege engines on the flags is often very effective.
- Buy masonry repair kits to fix Keep walls, wooden repair kits to repair doors, and siege repair kits to repair (oddly enough) siege engines.
- Place the repair kits in a quickslot post-battle, and then hit Q while standing near the thing you want to repair.
- You’ll get AP for each repair you do, and the kit is consumed, one per repair. You will not make nearly enough AP per repair as it costs to buy the repair kit, but it’s still significant.
- You can’t repair if someone is standing in your way. Keep moving around the wall until you’re able to see the repair animation (squatting down for a moment and fiddling with your hands.)
- Typically, we repair the outer wall(s) first, so the enemy has to break through them again. The Crown may call for the inner to be repaired first under some circumstances, so pay attention to commands.
- If the Quartermaster was killed during the battle, s/he will only respawn when the outer wall is rep’d, so it’s good to carry repair kits around at all times.
- Performing repairs is not the most exciting portion of the game; however, it is of vital import to maintaining control of assets, and is always appreciated by everyone. If you have the means to buy repair kits, please do; don’t be That Person.
- Outer walls –
- Inner walls –
- Front door –
- Please see the “Repair” section under Keep Defense
Assets – Resources
- Each Keep has three resources: Farm, Lumber mill, Mine. Those are important for several reasons: Lumber mills make the doors stronger and repair slowly over time; Farms make the NPC guards tougher and stronger; Mines make the walls stronger, and repair them slowly over time. Resources can be upgraded; if you click on a resource while looking at the map, it will show you the level of the resource and what benefits each level confers. Resources can be claimed by Guilds, though they flip back and forth so often, it usually won’t stay held for long.
- If a given Keep has two or more resources owned by a hostile faction, it is not possible to port out from that Keep. If all three of the Keep’s resources are owned by a hostile Alliance, it is not possible to port into the Keep (though you may still resurrect there when you die.)
- Some group leaders (Crowns) prefer to take the resources prior to the Keep itself, in order to prevent the Keep from auto-regenerating, to remove some of the benefits over time, and to prevent defenders from porting directly into that Keep. Others (The Disenfranchised included!) would rather capture the Keep first to keep an element of surprise, and then take the resources afterward. ZZ Groups will almost never take a resource before taking a Keep.
- Resources are taken by stacking the group on the flag until it changes over. Small groups of players can capture resources fairly easily if someone has a lot of DPS, and someone has heals. Reflect skills are especially useful for this, as the mages cast a ton of spells. DODGE-ROLL to avoid the NPC’s ranged attacks easily. The safest way to capture a resource is to go behind the tower, and find which side is farthest away from the flag and its NPC’s. Then, aggro the guard at the tower (he will probably bring his healer,) and drag them behind the tower to kill them, hopefully without aggroing the flag NPC’s. Next, sneak around the side and take out the mage on the tower balcony. Lastly, aggro and kill the flag NPC’s – Ultimates like Nova and Silence are really helpful for this, as are healing skills and area of effect attacks. We call this method of taking a resource “by the numbers,” as opposed to straight up “rushing the flag.”
- A common AP-farming tactic is to capture a resource and then have the group hide in the resource’s tower. This is a highly-defensible position, protected by a lot of NPC’s with a very small exposure footprint. The best way to break a tower camp is to leave the NPC’s alone, and tear down the tower with siege engines. This forces the occupying PC’s to abandon the tower and fight on fair ground.
Assets – Temples
- Temples house the Elder Scrolls, which is what this whole mess is about – fighting for ownership of them. I haven’t delved too much into the details here, but each faction has “home” Keeps, Temples, and Scrolls, and there are benefits for having all of yours, or some enemy Scrolls in your possession.
- There are guidelines as to which scrolls should be located in what asset, though I have no idea and honestly just let the crown decide what we’re doing there until I get a better handle on strategy.
- Temples are only accessible to the enemy when their associated Gate is open. The Gate is only open when its adjacent Keep has been captured by another Alliance (as discussed below.)
Assets – Scrolls
Get them, steal them, defend them is the basic gist of it. Our home Scrolls must be placed within the correct Temple, but we can place enemy Scrolls wherever we like (provided there isn’t already a scroll there.) The general idea is to place AD Scrolls as far away from their territory as possible, and the same is true for DC Scrolls.
Scrolls confer benefits to the Alliance which possesses them.
Assets – Gates
* Each alliance has two owned gates, which are impassable to hostiles, provided the Keep closest to it is owned by the alliance which owns the gate (Gates cannot change ownership, they are static.)
* If an opposing faction gets control of the adjacent Keeps, the gate opens, and an announcement appears on everyone’s screen. This is a really big deal, because it means any alliance can go through the gate and try to grab up a scroll and the Skyshards behind the Gate. When this happens, it’s all hands on deck to protect the scroll (usually by having AOE damage on it at all times to reveal stealthed people, and by having someone sit literally on top of it.)
* Each alliance has a few skyshards behind its gates. The only chance to get them is when those gates are open.
* Gates can only be closed when its adjacent Keep is retaken.
* If you’re behind an enemy Gate when it closes, you can still get out using the stairs to jump off the other side.
Assets – Outposts
Cyro has geography prohibiting accessing some areas without passing through bottlenecks. It’s maddening sometime, if you didn’t pay attention to topography when setting your course, and then after a 10-minute ride, you run into an impassable mountain range and have to go find the nearest gate or bridge, which may be a few minutes away.
These bottlenecks are:
- I don’t actually know what these are called, but they are gates which are not owned by any faction; they are simply there to force players through a bottleneck to reach another area. The one near Chalman Keep is usually referred to as The Millennium (“Mile”) Gate.
- Most of the time, they are not camped; however, it’s still a very good idea to sneak on approach and exit if your nearest resurrection point is a long-assed ride away.
- You’ll know these gates because they have Imperial flags posted.
- You can get through them either on the ground by going in the middle and around to the side a bit, or by going up the stairs and over the top.
- During battles at nearby assets, these are often camped.
- I personally find battles at these gates really fun, at least on the defense side. The small access point makes it very easy to defend against small numbers of hostiles, and it’s easy to set up a Meatbag Catapult on one side, and a Fire Ballista on the other for larger groups. We can also place oils on either of the two upper levels for additional damage and defense.
* The main bodies of water are full of FUCKING OMFG SLAUGHTERFISH, which you cannot outswim or outlast.
* This is to force you to use bridges, which are much like the Imperial Gates – they’re not usually camped unless there’s activity nearby, but there’s always the potential for bored gankers looking for victims. Stealth across when possible.
To use siege engines, buy them from a siege merchant at a base, Keep, or resource, then place them into a Quickslot. Select the item with Q to see a red or yellow placement area on the ground. A red circle with an X through it means you may not place the engine there, and it will typically say why – “Too close to other siege engines,” “terrain not flat enough for placement,” and so on.
- Each type and sub-type of siege engine does different amounts and types of damages based on its target (described below.)
- You’ll be able to see whether you’re about to be hit by an engine because a growing red ring will appear on the area the engine is firing at. You have a limited amount of time to jump or roll-dodge out of that area before getting hit.
- Damage caused by siege engines is additive – multiple volleys from one or more engines is deadly.
- Siege bubbles – These are skills which protect anything under them from taking the full damage of the attack. They do not protect against player attacks – only engines – and they do not block all damage. Still, they are very important.
- When using your siege engine in an area where there is any enemy present, fire and either move away from it, or step off the engine to repair it. Nightblades love to hit unaware siegers, and if you’re already off the engine when they strike, it’s easier to strike back.
- Siege engines will lose HP over time, even if unused, and will eventually fall apart if not repaired. They lose HP with each barrage fired, and simply over time. They can also be set on fire by the enemy, and while this looks very scary, it takes a few moments for them to be completely destroyed. Simply hit “E” to put out the flames, and then repair if needed.
- There’s a debate to be had as to whether it is more economical to repair siege engines, or to simply let them die of natural causes over time. Personally, I try to keep them repaired as much as possible, because it sucks to run out of siege in the middle of an operation. Siege repair is super cheap, too – 90g buys something like 20k hit points.
- Trebuchets – Trebs are slow-firing, high-damage siege engines which hurl objects far away, and can hit targets high off the ground. They have the longest range, and the highest firing trajectory, though they are not able to hit targets at close range at all. They are slow to move side to side, as well.
- Stone – Always try to have one of these in your inventory. They hit the hardest against walls, though do damage players if hit directly.
- Firepot – Primarily anti-personnel, as it will do area of effect (AOE) and damage over time (DOT.) It is also good for taking out other siege engines, and does damage structures (just not as much as the Stone trebs.)
- Iceball – Deals damage to players (less to structures,) and also ensnares multiple players in ice.
- Cold Fire/Stone – These are obtained by running Dolmens (the dark anchors) in Cyrodiil. They do a lot of damage to players and to structures, and are highly prized – keep them in good repair! Cold Fire does more damage to players and siege engines, Cold Stone to structures.
- Ballistae – Ballistae (singular, “Ballista,”) are faster-firing, less damage-inducing, siege engines. They can hit targets up close and at decent range, but are not able to hit targets at a much higher elevation than the engine itself.
- Standard (bolts) – Deals high damage to structures, siege engines, and players, though it does not do area damage. Mostly used on doors and walls. Pact Ballistae do half the damage of Stone trebs, but fire twice as fast, so it evens out. Some players prefer to use Ballistae simply because of the shorter reset time.
- Fire – Primarily used against players, as it is absolutely deadly to them on a direct hit, and does good area and over time damage. It does work on doors and walls, as well, but will not damage as much as the Standard. Fire Ballistae in conjunction with a Meatbag Catapult is a fantastically powerful combination – definitely something you want for things like Mile Gate defense.
- Lightning – Primarily used against players, as it deals shock AOE damage, and well as DOT. Does damage structures, also.
- Catapults – Mainly for anti-personnel purposes, these are fast-firing engines with a large damage radius.
- Meatbag – Hits players with disease damage, and also a DOT debuff.
- Oil – Deals fire damage, both AOE and DOT.
- Scatter-shot – Uses many smaller stones for AOE damage, but this is not something we use widely.
- Oil Pots – Used for massive AOE/DOT on players and siege engines, but they only have a very short range. We place these over doors and at other locations the enemy is standing under, and then dump it on them. Large area of effect, as well as brutal damage over time.
- Battering Rams – Rams are six-person, automatically-firing engines designed to punch through wooden doors. Once deployed, the engine uses the people standing near it as its resources, and begins punching at the door every few seconds. The more people on the Ram, the harder it hits. When we utilize Rams, we will typically deploy one Ballista on each side of the door, and then put the Ram down. The Ballistae operators stand between the Ram and their Ballistae, allowing them to be considered “on the Ram,” while still being able to use and repair their Ballistae.
- It is wise to focus fire with siege engines to overcome the enemy’s ability to heal their players and engines through a more scattered attack.
- Siege engines are slow to align to a new target – Focus on stationary targets, or lead well ahead of moving targets.
- Using complementary engines is super effective. For example, having a Meatbag Catapult hit an enemy, followed immediately by a fire siege attack is going to be absolutely devastating and lingering.
- An effective siege attack may cause the players to huddle up around healers to increase their odds for survival. This makes it easier to take them out with siege engines, as they’re all clustered together perfectly, but clustering around healers is also a vital survival strategy for us. Watch for red circles!
- Trebuchets’ high arc makes them ideal for shooting over walls directly in front of them. This placement can make them difficult to hit from atop the wall in some areas, and also allows them to hit the inner Keep walls before the outer wall is breached.
- 50/50 – Some Crowns will want his or her group to utilize this Keep capture strategy. Essentially, this can mean one of two things, both which let the group get the Keep far more vulnerable before it gets flagged for attention:
- The whole group takes the outer wall down to 51% and then those able to hit the inner wall will take it down to 51% before proceeding with the remaining outer wall;
- Part of the group hits the outer wall, and part hits the inner wall at the same time.
- This method is a slightly sneakier way to taking a Keep, as more damage can be done before the Keep flags.
Bugs & Glitches
- Can’t use engine – This happens from time to time, and is one of the most maddening bugs of all, because the engine will simply rot away. This is especially infuriating if the engine is brand new, and undamaged. Sometimes, other players can use the engine, so ask around. They won’t be able to pick it up, but at least it’ll get some use before it dies.
- Siege view mode glitched – If there are walls, trees, or other obstacles behind or near someone on a siege engine, the view becomes limited at best. Very frustrating when trying to precisely place a hit, and there isn’t anywhere else you can put your engine down.
- Not causing damage – If you’re firing away at a wall or other target, but never get any damage readout, try packing it up and setting it up again, or try hitting another target.
- Like most MMO’s, PC’s are so much wilier and harder to kill than NPC’s. You’re probably going to get your ass handed to you. More than once. Probably more than a lot. It’s ok – everyone’s been there, and many of us, um, still are.
- Before going into battle, make sure you consume a food or beverage boost that’s best-suited for your role, whether it’s Magicka regeneration, increasing maximum Health, or adding damage – there’s no reason not to have every advantage.
- When first coming into PVP, it’s a good idea to try to have a bunch of healer skills (restoration staff, hopefully,) as it’s much easier to hang back and support the people who know what they’re doing. Healers are always appreciated and much needed, and healing does grant realllllly good AP. (Related anecdote: I sucked at getting AP until I switched to a healer role. I’m just not good enough at getting the final killing blow (which grants more AP than other damage.) If you’re AP-starved, try healing for awhile.)
- Buy siege and counter-siege weapons to help assault assets and kill players.
- Try to carry at least one Stone Trebuchet, and as many Masonry Repair Kits as you can reasonably afford. This will make you very very appreciated by the whole group, and is a way to contribute when you’re learning. You also get AP back when you repair assets. Don’t be That Player who never repairs – it’s a tooly thing to do.
- The other thing I really recommend is a Fire Ballista for anti-personnel. When combined with a Meatbag Catapult, these are even deadlier. This is discussed in detail in the Siege Engines section.
- You’ll likely want at least one snare slotted – hostiles will break out of it quickly, but it can grant a few important seconds for you or an ally.
- AOE – You want area of effect damage slotted. It serves a few purposes – damaging multiple players is hugely useful in groups of course, but also it can reveal stealthed enemies. If they take damage of any kind, they’ll be visible. The bigger the area of effect, and the farther away you can cast it, the better.
- Counter-siege – When in battle, watch for red circles opening up on the ground; these are where a counter-siege strike is about to hit, and those bastards hurt. Stay out of them.
PVP – Killing, and Not Being Killed
- Stay calm – Don’t let rage, humiliation, pride, or bloodlust rule your actions;
- Keep your brain engaged;
- Know when to fight, when to flee, when to avoid altogether;
- Don’t freeze up when you’re ganked – the fight isn’t over until you’re dead, and everyone around you is dead;
- If you are in a group, DO NOT ENGAGE unless Crown tells you to engage.
- Your mount’s stamina is much like its health bar in some respects.
- When you are attacked by a PC or NPC, your mount will continue to carry you until it runs out of stamina.
- When its stamina runs out, you’ll be forcibly dismounted and stunned and this sucks.
- Most of us find speed to be the most valuable mount attribute, given how much riding around there is in Cyrodiil.
- A fast mount can make all the difference when trying to reach a place ahead of enemies, or even when trying to outrun an attack (or your own impatience.)
- Carrying Capacity
- Buff this absolutely last.
- As tempting as extra inventory space is, Stamina and Speed are far more important to survival and success.
- Mounted players are much easier to see at a distance.
- It is not possible to stealth on a mount.
Armor – Having the best armor you can muster is important, with Set armor being the gold standard. We have several crafters in The Disenfranchised who will be happy to help you obtain high-quality gear, usually for less than you would pay on the market.
Breaking crowd control (cc) effects –
Breaking out of the black bubble –
Moving out of AOE –
Stealth – As previously mentioned, stealthiness is very important in PVP. Not only can being decloaked at an inopportune moment get you killed, it can blow an entire covert operation, leading to significant map losses. As you move in stealth, remember the following:
- Stamina – Stealthing uses your Stamina pool. When you run out, you will unceremoniously stand up, regardless of what you’re doing or where you are. This can be… inconvenient. If you are running low on Stamina, simply stop and regenerate a bit.
- Proximity – Players and NPC’s can decloak you within a given range. Hostile NPC’s tend to have a larger range than most players.
- Potions and Magelight – There are some tools to make it easier to spot cloaked enemies, including the morph of Magelight and at least one potion. Don’t rely upon the range you usually may have to work every time.
- Sorcerer pets do not stealth! They will reveal your location every time.
- A “zerg” is a large, loosely organized group of PVP players, generally running amok without much strategy, with a herd mentality.
- Zergs can be a lot of fun to run with if your only objective is to cause mayhem.
- Zergs can be frustrating if you want the group to think logically or tactically.
- The Disenfranchised only rares joins up with zergs unless there’s literally nothing else to do.
Map Tactics – What to Capture, When, and Why
The alliance who has the reigning Emperor gets ridiculous bonuses in battle. More here.
Basically, the person who becomes Emperor doesn’t log off until deposed, ideally. The Alliance which takes all the Keeps in a ring around Imperial City gets to crown an Emperor, and that Emperor will be the highest-scoring (AP-wise) player in that alliance. The Emperor is deposed when his alliance no longer holds a single Keep in the ring around the center lake.
In the unlikely event the Emperor abdicates the throne (meaning abandons it,) that Alliance must lose all six inner Keeps and then retake them in order to crown their next in line. Thus, it’s kind of a crap thing for an Emperor to do to his Alliance.
I just started fiddling with this recently. It is HARD. The mobs in the sewers and in the city itself are ridiculously powerful, and I couldn’t even kill one Daedra by myself at level 25 (in large part due to being a Vampire, and thus highly susceptible to fire.) To get the shards, I had to stealth through everything and hope for the best, and die a few times.
- If you die in the sewers, you’ll res in the EP base in the sewers.
- If you die in the City above-ground, you’ll res at the EP base above the City.
- The whole city and sewer system (apart from EP base itself) is open to everyone in every alliance. Stay on your toes.
- There are PVE missions here, as well as PVP ones.
- There is another kind of currency here, Tel Var Stones. Stones are the only thing you can lose when someone kills you – if a player kills you, you lose all your Stones to them. If an NPC kills you, you lose some of them. It’s best to bank them as soon as you get them, because you can buy some awesome shit with them. However, if you carry them on your person, they also give you bonuses.
- The easiest way to get them alone at low levels is to open the purple glowing/singing chests.
- Champion Points – Accounts with one or more Veteran-ranked characters gain access to Champion Points (CP.) Currently, Champion Points apply to all characters under that account, including non-Vet toons. This can make for extremely over-powered toons at any level. This is incredibly frustrating, as it can sometimes take 10 people to bring down one level 20 Nightblade with a bunch of CP.
- When you gain a Rank in the PVP army, you also gain a skill point. You can then select your new rank from the drop-down menu in your Character sheet.
- You may only play in one Alliance per PVP campaign. This means you can have multiple characters in Blackwater Blades (BWB) for Ebonheart Pact, but you cannot have any character under your account play in BWB for another Alliance. You can, however, play in a different PVP campaign for a different Alliance.
- “PUG’s” – You’ll hear this term a lot. It typically represents unorganized groups of random players who generally cause more chaos than good. They can really ruin your day. We had a PUG with us last night who refused to stealth and would not leave our group no matter where we moved, and thusly revealed our location.
- Reportedly, around 2000 players total can be in Cyrodiil at any given time, and each Alliance is allowed a certain percentage of that total. Zenimax doesn’t like to give specific numbers about allowances, and we cannot tell the exact number present for any Alliance. What we can tell is an approximation: On the campaign page, there are four levels of population indicators: One bar, two bars, three bars, and Locked. Alliances with a significantly larger population obviously enjoy a hefty advantage.
- Sorcerors’ summoned pets will not stealth – they will give away a stealhed Sorc every time.
- More to come.