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PVP in ESO – Controlling Cyrodiil

March 26th, 2013 Posted by News Archive 12 comments

Cyrodiil, the cosmopolitan heartland of the Empire is in disarray. The inter regnum has thrown the once powerful province into a state of all out war as the three factions vie for their chance to shape the course of Tamriel forever. At the heart of this province is the Imperial City and the White-Gold Tower built by the Elves long before. The way in which you attack this province will shape how your faction fares in securing the throne for their own!

While the ESOTR crew was at PAX East this past weekend, they were able to catch up with Brian Wheeler, ESO’s lead PVP Desginer, and asked some questions regarding PVP in the Elder Scrolls Online.

Elder Scrolls Online Introduction Sieging 600x331 PVP in ESO   Controlling Cyrodiil

Controlling Cyrodiil

It has been known since the initial reports started to come out last May that Cyrodiil, the province showcased in The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion will be the PVP zone in the online game. The team asked some questions regarding the actual strategy involved with taking Cyrodiil. In most MMOs, PVP is about controlling the map for your faction, as well as battling live opponents in the field. ESO will be no different. According to Brian, Cyrodiil will be sectioned off with each faction controlling a slice of the province. Within each section will be a number of “home fortresses” for your faction to hold. All the fortresses are linked via a transit line, though there is no set order in which you need to hit first. You can attack any fortress at any time, or disrupt resources along the transit line to the other keeps. He didn’t really expound upon what this does to the effected keeps, but more information will start to trickle out as the game develops.

There will be advantages to controlling linked fortresses, such as chaining keeps from your territory to keeps in enemy territory, effectively unlocking a “teleport” to those keeps. Otherwise, you can attack any keep at any time. You are not forced to attack the keeps in a line throughout the province. Eventually the goal is to crown your faction as the rulers of Cyrodiil, thus making one of your players Emperor. While Brian would not elaborate on how this happens or how long your player is emperor, or how to dethrone the emperor, he did mention it is up to the alliance around him to keep that player as emperor. More information regarding this mechanic will be reported here once it’s available.

tesopoint PVP in ESO   Controlling Cyrodiil

Bottle-necking Your Opponent

As stated before, the land of Cyrodiil is split up into individual home areas, though the province is still just one zone. These areas are separated by bottle-necks such as bridges. Bottle-necking your opponent is a great tactic in most MMOs PVPs. One of the ways this really works is if there is player collision in a game. Lou uses the example of a doorway to a keep being guarded by heavily armored tank players with ranged DPS behind them, essentially picking off their opponents as they try to get past the guards in the doorway. Brian confirmed there will be no player collision in the game, but that doesn’t mean battle lines are not getting drawn. According to Brian, beta testers who have experienced the PVP have resorted to using ground target abilities, as well as siege weaponry to break enemy lines and get behind their foes to their goal. So even though there is no collision, tactics and real life strategies are still organically being employed while fighting in Cyrodiil.

Maintaining a Proper Balance

Let’s face it, if you’ve played any MMOs you know that the overall balance between PVP and PVE is a source of great contention. Inevitably down the road there is a “nerf” update coming, aimed at creating a balance between the two play styles. One side always gets the raw end of the deal however, which usually causes one group of fans to complain. This question was brought up by Dave “Dienforce” Adams, and the answer by Brian didn’t dissappoint.

We do PVE testing and PVP testing weekly. Um, there are things that we find in PVE that we don’t find in PVP and vice versa, and Nick’s gang goes through and balances all that stuff out accordingly. We don’t want you to have an ability that kicks ass in PVP and doesn’t do crap in PVE. Everything can be used everywhere.

From the start, the developers over at Zenimax Online Studios seemed determined to make the game we will end up playing feel less like a MMO and more like the traditional Elder Scrolls game. Limiting updates that nerf abilities is one way to keep your player-base happy. As the date for the game’s launch approaches (whenever that is), and BETA data from players come piling in over the next few months, hopefully the mantra set here that “everything can be used everywhere” will never be compromised. The proper balance between PVE and PVP is critical to game success. If you start to make one seem more important than the other, you risk infuriating a portion of your player base. We can assume that in the coming months skills will be tweaked and played with, and even after launch, with a game of this magnitude things are bound to change. One thing seems clear: the amount of player feedback will directly influence the direction the Devs go post-launch.

elder scrolls online pvp battle 600x334 PVP in ESO   Controlling Cyrodiil

Rankings, Arena, and Other Such Things

One final note topic of note is the inclusion of a Ranking and Title system in PVP. Some examples were given as possible Ranks in the game such as “General, Grand Warlord, and the lowly Volunteer.” As you rise through the ranks you will also unlock titles for your characters. One thing that is interesting is the exclusion of Faction Specific Rank names. Instead of having different names for the ranks in the three factions, all of the ranks will be uniform. This is done for two reasons. First, this type of system is more convenient for the players to understand. Less time is taken trying to memorize different faction titles and ranks and how they correspond to your faction’s heirarchy. Also, according to Brian’s conversations with Lawrence the “Lore-Guy,” a uniform system fits more cohesively with the Lore of Tamiriel. So a player who has the rank of Grand Warlord in the Aldmeri Dominion will be known by that same title in the Ebonheart Pact and so on.

Also released was the news regarding PVP skills. While no specifics were given as to what the skills would be, as they are still in development at this time, it was released that there will be a full PVP skill line. How these skills will be used, and whether they are PVP only skills, or if they overlap with PVE remains to be seen.

Finally, the question was asked whether there will be an Arena style system in PVP. Seeing as how the PVP area is set in Cyrodiil, which houses it’s own massive arena, naturally this is something we’d expect to see in the game. However, that is not the case. At this time there are no plans to include an Arena style battle system in the game, but that doesn’t mean the devs will not be receptive to adding one if that’s what the player feedback tells the team:

The good thing about being a MMO is that if players want it, we can add it in later on. So if we do add an Arena system, that would be something purely by demand, because we want everybody to investing in Cyrodiil following the launch of the game.

Another example of the developers being open to feedback to create content for their game. As the game develops, don’t be surprised if we start to see content added to the game that the fans have been pining for. This studio seems to be highly receptive and open to all sorts of feedback, and is willing to act on it!

Overall Thoughts from a MMO Vet

Overall, I think that the PVP system in ESO is coming along nicely. Everything we’ve heard and seen seems to work smoothly, and that which doesn’t the Devs are highly motivated to fix it before the game launches. I cannot tell you how excited I am to finally get my hands on a character and march into Cyrodiil, disrupting as many enemy fortress chains as I can. I want to get my hands on a catapult and send my opponents into Oblivion. Hopefully more information comes out soon regarding the PVP skill line as well as any information they can give us once your faction seizes the Imperial City for themselves. You can be sure that when that news breaks, you will be reading it here first!

Make sure you check out our special PAX East episode of ESOTR, which features this interview in it’s entirety, as well as interviews with Nick Konkle and Paul Sage! We’d also like to hear your thoughts below! Let us know if this news is good, or whether you’d like to see something different done, and why!

Namárië

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12 comments

Avatar of shankshank says:

Reading this actually makes me interested in PvP.

We did it you guys. We’re totally heroes.

Andy says:

About becoming Emperor , on the official ESO website under the alliances at war link it says this , copy/pasted –

In The Elder Scrolls Online, the highest-ranking player of an alliance is crowned Emperor when their alliance takes control of the Imperial City. You aren’t just fighting for your alliance; you’re fighting for the opportunity to be crowned Emperor, yourself.

Emperors gain special abilities that increase their prowess on the battlefield. They are true leaders of their alliance, and a force to be reckoned with.

An Emperor’s hold on power can be tenuous. Can your alliance protect all of the strongholds necessary to maintain your dominance? How long will your reign as Emperor last before an ambitious foe cuts you down?

So I’m guessing that the player on the winning faction with most pvp points gets the job , unless it’s changed as the game is being developed.

leopold says:

I’ve never played PvP in an MMO before. I only started playing MMOs and RPGs less than a year ago (coincidentally, only afer I turned 18 and finished school, thus freeing me from having to do what my parents and teachers tell me…), and, truth be told, have been rather intimidated by the prospect of playing against another human. However, the moment I heard that PvP in ESO would be massively multi-player (as the term MMO would suggest) I got interested: this is something I could really try out… not going in alone, using tactics that resemble real life (something that has always interested me greatly is medieval warfare). This article has definitely helped to strengthen my resolve. If I enjoy it I might even end up concentrating on that play style :)

Sym says:

If you want to get an idea of what the pvp in ESO will be like before it launches, Guild Wars 2 World VS world would be the closest. The personal combat won’t be the same but the large scale fights and tactics will be similar. You don’t have to be a master PvP player and have a ton of experience to be effective in this type of gameplay, you can fire Seige weapons, scout, or run with a larger group. Once you get more comfortable with your class and get a better feel for what PvP is all about you can get more aggressive and start running with smaller groups or looking to get 1v1 kills, this type of PvP is much more forgiving than an Arena or structured, small team type PvP, it’s more about strategy, co-ordination of everyone on the map and having good leadership. It’s kinda like a massive interactive game of Risk.

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Nate says:

I like the Idea of a pvp zone, however i don’t like how the WvWvW was set up in GW2. I am interesting to see the advantages of cutting off a keep. I have played many MMO’s and lately I’ve been getting into Planetside 2, which is purely based off of three faction large scale pvp zones. Cutting off someones territories has a real affect from restricting vehicles to making it easier for the attackers to cap the base. When i ran around with a small group in GW2 i didn’t feel like we were making a difference as much as we were just a small inconvenience.

An fascinating discussion is worth comment. I feel which you should write far more on this topic, it may well not be a taboo subject but normally many people aren’t enough to speak on such topics. To the next. Cheers

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wtw says:

I don’t like the bottlenecks, it’s just another way of further restricting PvP in a game that is already restricted in this regard. Oh you want PvP? Sure, just head to Cyrodiil… and then go specifically to point 1, 2, or 3. Where is the fun/challenge in that?

TiredOfLamePVP says:

Open World PVP… Is the answer. Anytime, almost anywhere (save within certain faction cities), anyone, any level. People need to grow a pair and learn what real PVP is and means. It means being spawn camped by a higher lvl character. It means using those verbal communication skills to A:) convince said ganker from killing you over and over again. (I sure hope you’ve trained up your language skills, cause the ganker might only speak Ogre) B:) Using those same communication skills to ask, beg, plead, with other higher lvl characters to come and help you destroy the above mentioned Ganking Ogre.

Quit being a bunch of Sally’s

OldHess says:

PvP in Cyrodiil has become a political game that spreads over all zones/campaigns. Ad has a ‘secret plan” that has many members that include EP and DC players who converse as to what is going on in their areas and have large raid parties to go to certain areas to re-establish control. I have witnessed this to many times now and some players openly admit that their are communications between rivals to offer “peace” to players soi that Ad can rule without stopping play for the DC and EP. To say ESO doesn’t know this is false and I offer the now rule that transferring back and forth in zones is limited to where it wasn’t before.
The problem of the “Vamps” isn’t the real issue here.. it’s all bout who communicates with Ad to play ‘Let’s make a deal”.. PvP has gone the way of the world in general.. not fun.. now we have empty areas of play that is watched by a few to gather forces when they deem it necessary.

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