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Hey guys Kirk here, and welcome to MMO Attack's first impressions of The Elder Scrolls Online PvP. PvP is, hopefully, just how you expect it, a wild crazy slaughterfest with blood, murder and trebuchets all over the place.
There is a lot to take in on your first trip into Cyradil. You'll be going through the menus, figuring out what your faction owns, where the nearest keep battle is, where you should fast travel to get there and help out, where your guild is, if you don't have a guild, where you can find players to team up with etc. Once you figure that out, it's a breeze! No, not really. OK, so what is this alliance war? The whole point of PvP is to capture enemy keeps, which earns you more alliance points, which allows you to capture more keeps to control imperial city. You earn Alliance points by doing pretty much anything in the PvP zone, from doing quests to controlling keeps, to capturing elder scrolls to using and buying siege weapons and more. Trebuchets, ballastic catapults, hurling meat and flaming oil, and battering rams to break down the walls of the fortresses, that's what you want. That's your bread and butter.
OK, so how does capturing keeps work? You and your team will scope out a keep that you want to capture. You'll first look for smaller resource points on the outskirts of each keep, the lumber-mill, which makes the doors of the keep stronger, the farms, make the keeps guards stronger, and the mine's which makes the walls stronger. So your best bet is to capture the small resource points around a keep before you make your attempt at zerging inside, because capturing those resources gives your alliance a much better chance at breaking in. The resource points do have their own set of guards, which are AI controlled, they themselves are not so difficult to defeat, so if you are the owner of a keep, don't think those dudes are going to be hold your resources for very long, if the enemy is coming, you better go defend those points, or watch them fall easily.
So now comes the good shit. The tackling of the keep. When you're alliance is ready to attack, you'll want to set up your trebuchetes and catapults and place them outside the keep walls, conversely if you are in the keep, you're going to be placing these right on top of the walls and trying to knock out the enemies from below. The first goal from the attacking party is to take out the outer walls and knock down the main door. Most, if not all of the damage, is done using the siege weapons, your hand weapons do next to nothing, however, once you get inside the first and second walls, you'll definitely be doing hand to hand combat with other players, as well as NPCs that are build around the keeps to help you fight.
The siege battles can be complete chaos. If you're attacking, you're trying to break down walls and gates, if you're defending you may try to sneak outside and destroy the siege weapons, but at the same time, the enemy team will be trying to take you down, before you get to the siege weapons. It's important, no matter which side you are on, to be spending your alliances points, more-so for the attacking team, because if you run out of siege equipment, you've got a long way to go to get more, but if you're inside, there are NPCs where you can buy them fairly easily.
Being on a siege weapon is fairly easy, aim where you want to shoot, look for the arrow that points out where you'll be bombing and let it fly. Catapults are great for taking down walls and doors, trebuches are good for knocking out other siege weaponry, as well as taking down walls and doors, while the battering ram is essential for placing right at the walls to get them down quicker. I'm not sure the exact time to takes to take down a door, but from I witnessed it takes around 5 minutes for a battering ram, with some help, to get a door down.
Dying. Dying is a huge part of a siege warfare. The map is huge, so dying can be a huge disadvantage for you. If you're attacking the keep, you may be spawned at the nearest location that you control, but you'll still have to run a shit ton to get there, and also when your keep is being attacked, your faction cannot spawn at that particular keep, so you'll have to run a shit-ton from your nearest owned keep to start defending as well. Of course, your teammates can help revive you, another great reason to be part of a party or a guild, or some sort of group that you can rely on, as they will know where you died, or you can yell at them in chat to find your lifeless soul. Soul gems are the key to getting rezzed, so your team will need to have a bunch of soul gems on them, otherwise plan on long runs, or lost keeps.
Side note here, PvP is for groups, I mean, you don't need to be in a huge zerg group with hundreds to take a keep, but you'll want to be part of something of significant size, with some sort of leadership. During my time in Cyradil I was lucky enough to join up with a group that was using a VOIP, so that we could arrange our fights, and keep track of everything going on. A well orchestrated group is much more effecting then a bunch of random dudes running around throwing meat at walls.
If you're on the attacking team, and you make it through the second set of walls, you are probably ready to take on the inner keep, which is the last stronghold for the opposing alliance. Be ready for when the final door comes down, for the last ditch effort of everyone in a bloody hell mess. If you make it through all that, you can now peacefully, hopefully, capture the final point in the keep and claim it for your alliances own. And boom, you're done. Time to move on to the next one.
It's important to point out that while you are doing all the PvP stuff, capturing keeps, taking resources, there are still quests, and special items and crafting that can be done on Cyradil. So there's plenty of PvE stuff still going on in the game, you can spend your time doing those side-quests, if you will, or join up with a party and take keeps, which is probably why you'll jump into Cyradil in the first place.
All in all, PVP in Elder Scrolls Online is a shit ton of fun. There's a non-stop battle going on and there's always something for you to partake in. I'm running out of breathe, but don't take my word for it, jump into Cyradil today and start taking down some keeps of your own. If this part of ESO doesn't get your heart pumping, then there's something wrong with you!