The Elder Scrolls Online released a new post on their site detailing how they went about creating one of the major points in the PVP-filled Cyrodiil: The Keep.
PVP in Cyrodiil will comprise of capturing keeps for your alliance, as well as any resources around them. These keeps will litter the landscape of the Imperial Province and provide points of defense as your alliance makes its bid for Emperor. A lot of thought and planning went into the creation of these integral parts of the landscape, and the team had to balance the aesthetic qualities with the practical and technological limitations:
We couldn’t jump right into building out keeps and creating art straight away. Though we had plans for how we wanted them to function, we needed to ensure we could meet the technical requirements for those ideas. Our designers worked with engineers to build a framework that could support the design goals—features like destructible keep walls, siege weapons, and large numbers of player characters on-screen had to be considered from both a technology and design standpoint.
The team experimented with some different layouts before deciding on the single level inner keep we will see in Cyrodiil ourselves, though don’t let the fact that the keep is only one floor make you worried. There will be plenty of ways defenders can gain height advantages and rain arrows and spells down on attackers.
The approach on how they wanted the PVP battle to be fought played heavily in the design of the keep as well:
We also had to decide how attackers would claim a keep. We considered having a powerful NPC that invaders would need to defeat, but found that this took focus away from fighting enemy players—the assailants would group up and rush to the NPC, sometimes forgoing combat with other players in a mad dash to kill the keep’s lord and gain control. A few iterations later, we came to our current system, where the attackers need to bust into the keep and occupy two flagged locations for a period of time to gain control of it, all the while facing down the defenders trying to drive them out.
Planning your assault will be important, especially for organized teams. You can bust down the front gate or blast through the outer walls, and then even the inner keep’s walls can be destroyed, but you’ll have to consider the amount of damage your alliance does to the structure. If you want, you can blow up all the walls and every door, leaving the defenders exposed, but be warned: when you claim the keep, that damage won’t be instantly repaired. It takes resources to undo the destruction, and it can be costly to completely rebuild. We expect this economic impact will add another dimension to your alliance’s battle plans—you’re probably already realizing some of the implications!