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My thoughts on Cyrodiil performance and gameplay

I'll give you the obligatory warning first: "This is a long post, so make some time for reading it".

Since over a year ago Cyrodiil has had immense problems with performance and ZOS has tried a few things here and there to solve them, but never had any success. It has been proven times and again that having many players in one spot spamming AOE skills is causing the problems, but what is causing players to do this?
In my opinion, alliance points (AP) are to blame for this behavior. ZOS can throw out skill changes and siege buffs as long and often as they want, but if they don't do anything about AP, they will never make "ball groups" and "zergs" go away. The problem that I see with AP, is that they encourage a fundamentally different gameplay than the campaign scoring - which AvA should actually be about.


Most players go more for AP than for their factions campaign points as there is almost no reason to care for them.
  • AP are needed to get a high leader board position and with that a better reward at the end of the campaign
  • AP are needed to buy certain things at vendors in Cyrodiil
  • AP are needed to gain ranks which give skill points and achievements
  • AP are needed to become Emperor
  • Campaign points decide the winning alliance which increases the amount of gold rewarded at the end of the campaign

This makes it hard for a faction to play together, because most players only care about their own AP gain instead of the success of the whole alliance.
It also does not help that killing other players is the main source for AP in the current game. This is why players band together and try to farm other players as hard as they do. In order to rectify this issue I propose the following change:

Remove direct AP rewards completely.

Especially AP for kills and AP for defending ("deftick") or capturing an objective are a problem. In AvA kills should be a means to an end - not the main attraction.
Whenever there is going to be a big defensive tick, you can watch as all players who know what will happen stay at the objective instead of attacking or doing something useful for their alliance.

Instead closely tie AP to the campaign points.

Each player should get an amount of AP at the end of a scoring period based on their alliances performance and their individual performance.

The AP reward is a base amount of AP plus bonus AP multiplied by the percentage of campaign score) scaled by the time spent playing during that scoring period and a population modifier. The base AP give players something to buy siege equipment with, even when their alliance is loosing. Bonus AP are awarded for doing certain things that help the war effort and are described below. They are scaled by the amount of campaign score that is obtained compared to the theoretical maximum by having control over all objectives. Low population bonus and underdog bonus also count towards it and can give a boost to alliances that are falling behind, making it much more interesting for players to play on underpopulated campaigns. The scaling by amount of time is to also reward players that leave before the scoring time and to prevent players from gaining AP when they are idle. Last but not least the population modifier is to give some control over how many AP are awarded on low population campaigns and to prevent players from gaining too many AP just by staying online during the night.

The bonus AP consist of a base bonus plus the sum of all AP in the bonus categories - where each category is capped at a certain amount to prevent farming - multiplied by a modifier that depends on how many medals a player has. Medals are awarded for having the most AP in a certain category. The AP limit for the bonus AP does not apply for this check. Some ideas for categories for these medals and boni are:
  • Players killed. Counts how many players received a death blow. Medal is awarded for most players killed. Could be awarded separately for Cyrodiil and IC.
  • Walls repaired. Counts the number of walls that have been repaired. Medal is awarded for most repairs.
  • Healing done. Counts the amount of HP healed. Medal for most HP healed. (Cyrodiil/IC)
  • Siege damage against walls. Counts how much damage to walls has been done. Medal for most siege damage.
  • Regular damage. Counts the overall damage caused by basic attacks and skills (no siege damage). Medal for most damage. (Cyrodiil/IC)
  • Objectives flipped. Counts how often a player has been standing at a flag when the objective flipped. Medal for most captures.
  • NPCs killed. Counts how many NPCs at a keep or resource a player killed, while it was flagged as sieged. Medal for most NPC kills.
  • Players resurrected. Counts how many soul gems a player expended to resurrect others. Medal for most resurrections.
  • AvA quests done. Counts how many AvA quest objectives a player obtained. Medal for most AvA quests done.
  • Distance covered with a scroll. Counts how long a player ran near an Elder Scroll. Medal for most "scroll time"*.
  • Tel Var stones gained from players. Counts amount of stones gained by killing players. Medal for most stones stolen.
  • IC Arena kills. Counts how many players have been killed in the IC arena. Medal for arena champion.
*This is a bit more complicated as the others as it should
  1. reward everyone running with the scroll (not only the carrier) and
  2. make running extra miles useless.
The easiest way I can think of is to count the time a player stayed with the scroll and how long the scroll was carried to the target location to obtain a "percentage covered" and then calculate the shortest distance between the point where the scroll was taken and where it was placed and scale it to that percentage. That way it is independent of the actual covered distance and who carried the scroll while still giving the scroll carrier an advantage because he automatically covers 100% of the way.

These medals are also publicly visible on the score board and the player with the most medals will become the emperor once all emperor keeps are captured. A player can receive medals in different categories and multiple players can gain the same medal for having the same AP score in a category. The AP bonus modifier for getting a medal is valid during the next scoring period where the player is online and playing. Emperors are exempt from getting metals as it is way too easy for them to gain them, instead they have a special emperor bonus which is equivalent to a number of medals and permanently active during their reign. In order for the medals to be awarded, there should be at least a certain numbers of players online to prevent farming these on empty campaigns.

The AvA quests should also be stripped of their AP reward and give a gold reward instead. They should also be modified to give better goals that are actually useful to the alliance. The system should be aware where the current focus of the war is and hand out quests based on that information. If the situation changes, the quests need to fail and players should go get a new quest.

Keep quests are either attack a keep or defend a keep depending on the situation. If multiple keeps are under attack, they should be handed out based on certain criteria:
  • your current group (location of most players and which quest other members already have)
  • biggest impact on the campaign scoring, alliance buffs and fast travel network
When no keeps are under attack, they instead turn into attack quests that focus the effort of the pact on one location. The quest fails if the keep is lost, or the attack fails after having it under siege and all battles are over (same timing as the defticks have right now).

Scouting quests should be turned into real scouting. They allow players to report enemy movements and show them on the map for the whole alliance to see.
The player gets offered to use the scout report action like in the current quest as soon as he tab targets an enemy player or siege, which makes him go out of stealth and write the report. It should also be possible to write reports near an enemy keep or inside an owned keep, which will show the state of all walls in that location to the alliance. Other players can kill the scout in that time, otherwise the whole alliance sees a map marker that indicates how many players/sieges have been spotted in that location.

Kill quests in their current form are useless and should be changed in order to be more useful and dynamic. Instead of requiring killing players anywhere they should be specific to a certain location and time. For example when a keep is under attack, the kill quest requires players to kill enemies that are in a certain distance to the keep (not too close and not too far).

Resource quests should be also changed to make players systematically attack important resources near the battlefield. For example when a keep is cut off, the quests directs players to recapture that resource, or when an enemy keep is to be attacked by the alliance, the resource quests lead players to the resources of said keep.

Scroll quests should also be updated so that the warlords don't hand out scroll quests randomly and the scroll quest should also be offered as a world event (like with the quests at trials) to make it easier for players running with the scroll to get them.
  • When a scroll is picked up by a different alliance, they should offer a quest to intercept it.
  • When a gate is opened by the own alliance, the appropriate scroll quest for that gate should be handed out.
  • When a scroll is stolen, the quest to get it back should be permanently be available until it is secured again.
It should also be allowed to have more than one scroll quest at a time and the scroll quest should fail when the objective is not met.

Some improvements that I think this will bring are:
  • It becomes more important to think about "how can I increase the campaign score" instead of just killing the player in front of me
  • The emperor is not exclusively decided by who has the better equipment and more time at hand, but instead by who does more for the alliance
  • Emperors that have obtained the throne are out of the race for the duration of their reign, which gives other players the chance to catch up
  • Quests will guide random and inexperienced players to where they need to be when there is no leader available to control them
  • Different play styles that do not involve playing against players become viable (e.g. scouting) which allows for more variety
  • Players do not have a reason to pile up in the same spot anymore, because everyone will get AP based on a team effort
  • Individual performance is still rewarded through medals

Dangers that need to be considered when balancing this system are:
  • The AP rewards need to be balanced in a way that does not favor PvD gameplay where player do not play against other player but NPCs instead, or just keep damaging and repairing keeps etc.
  • The individual boni should outweight the base boni to encourage players to continue giving their best
  • The maximum AP should not be higher than what can be obtained in the current system.
  • AvA quest gold rewards should be small enough to prevent farming (especially scout quests).

There are probably a lot of other points that I am missing but it should outline what needs to be considered.

TL;DR: Don't reward players for killing each other as fast as possible, instead reward them for playing the AvA game. - My Addons - The Vault (Early updates and experimental projects) - My patreon - My blog
  • Lava_Croft
    Why is this thread full of interesting and important ideas ignored so hard? :neutral:
  • Mojomonkeyman
    double post
    Edited by Mojomonkeyman on December 8, 2015 5:20AM
    Koma Grey, Chocolate Thunder, Little Mojo, Dagoth Mojo & Mojomancy
  • sirinsidiator
    I don`t know, I appreciate the effort but have played AvA games before that had more emphasis on points than kills and that always lead to people just flipping stuff not actually fighting.

    Completely opposed to the ideas proposed. In my opinion the emphasis on kills is the one thing eso does right. GW2 goes heavily into the direction proposed by sirin. It lead to people avoiding fights and running circles around each other.

    There should be nothing more important in PvP than the fighting part, since the rest is PvE in a PvP zone.

    I haven't played other MMOs before ESO, so I can't say how they are doing it, but I don't think that this will happen if the proposed system is balanced right. The fighting part can still stay as important as now, but there should also be rewards for doing other important tasks besides fighting that are not properly handled in the current system.

    For example you could give the categories the following rewards:
    Category					Limit		AP		Sum
    Players killed 					60		100		6000
    Regular damage 					100000		0,01		1000
    Healing done			 		100000		0,01		1000
    Players resurrected 				15		50		750
    Siege damage against walls 			100000		0,005		500
    NPCs killed 					50		10		500
    Objectives flipped 				6		85		510
    Walls repaired 					100000		0,005		500
    AvA quests done 				10		100		1000
    Distance covered with a scroll (%)		100		20		2000
    Tel Var stones gained from players 		1000		0,5		500
    IC Arena kills 					10		100		1000

    The Base AP and Base Bonus AP could be 2500 and 7000 respectively and to keep it simple, we assume that the time and population modifiers are at 100% each.

    The scoring period is one hour, so a player that wants to gain the maximum AP needs to keep a healthy balance between all categories. To make it easier the rewards for a category could be nonlinear, so that the first 30% give 70% of all points in that category.

    A player that fills only the kill and damage categories to the limit and gains a few AP in the other categories will gain around 7500 AP when the alliance only has one third of the map objectives and around 17k AP when the map is painted in one color.
    He will also have a chance to get a medal which vastly increases his AP bonus in the next scoring period.

    Another player who manage to get 30% in every category still gets around the same AP, but probably won't see a medal - unless there are no competitors for some of the categories.

    Yet another player that just concentrates on scouting and repairing keeps will still gain between 5k and 11k AP depending on the overall performance of the alliance and also have a chance to get a medal for extra AP.

    Just flipping keeps while avoiding fights with other players will give you nowhere near the maximum AP. It should also be pretty clear that holding a high number of keeps is better than just flipping a lot of keeps, but at the same time the population modifier reduces the rewards if one alliance keeps suppressing another one and makes the players leave.

    The dependence on the campaign score also gives a good incentive to go to campaigns that have a low population bonus or underdog bonus, because you can potentially gain a lot of extra AP there if you manage to take some keeps in the time before the bonus disappears, which should also help spreading the population out and keep the balance on a map. - My Addons - The Vault (Early updates and experimental projects) - My patreon - My blog
  • Bashev
    Very good post.
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  • ScooberSteve
    Killing is what makes pvp pvp. If your not awarded ap for killing why kill? For an objective? That sounds more like pve. Only people who cant get kills have a problem with scoring system. If you want to fix something fix the population imbalances which I believe would fix zerging
  • sirinsidiator
    Killing is what makes pvp pvp. If your not awarded ap for killing why kill? For an objective? That sounds more like pve. Only people who cant get kills have a problem with scoring system. If you want to fix something fix the population imbalances which I believe would fix zerging

    This seems to be a common misconception. Cyrodiil is not pure PvP. It is nowhere called PvP (always alliance war or AvA) and if it where simple PvP you would not need a gigantic map with a number of objectives to capture.
    Sieging and taking keeps, scouting, repairing walls, taking scrolls as well as fighting against players are all part of it, so they all should be rewarded with AP. But the current system overwhelmingly favors kills, which in turn encourages zerging, kill farming and deftick leeching.

    What you also seem to miss is, that my proposed system still rewards a player for defeating other players, but limits it in a way that discourages farming kills beyond a certain point. In my example above the limit of 60 kills is extremely high and I bet not many players will ever be able to get 60 killing blows in 60 minutes.

    Let me also ask you a counter question. What is the motivation to capture a keep in the current system?
    As I see it, there is basically no reason for it, because there are no rewards for individual players. The only reason to go to a keep is to produce fights which in turn generate AP. That's also the reason why a lot of players on Azura EU do nothing more than running to the bridge between Alessia and BRK. It's always borderline impossible to motivate them to take Chalman for example. My proposal tries to fix this by making AP gain dependent on taking and holding keeps in addition to fighting players. - My Addons - The Vault (Early updates and experimental projects) - My patreon - My blog
  • Mojomonkeyman
    Hey Sirin,

    I didnt do your post enough justice with my short reply. Your proposal is honestly one of the best ones I read on these forums. Well structured, clear message, detailed info.

    Unfortunately, in my experience wvw or ava always boils down to the lowest denominator. Means the masses will always take the most easy route to achieve their goals. Thats not true for the hardcore % but for the masses it certainly is.

    Those people don`t care if they earn slightly less ap PvDing, they will do it because its easy. Those PvD events (in GW2 Karmatrains) were the most popular choice of "PvP" for the masses, because they didnt have to bother with fighting, can run in their big family group and talk shopping, family life and other stuff on TS while doing it. PvP on the other hand is stressful.

    If you take just a little incentive away from PvP (fighting), I`m afraid the psychological effect on that kind of players will open the gates for the "Karmatrain" Symptom. Did you know, there is a DC raid of 30 man (all Alliance Rank 25-40) doing nothing but PvDing day in day out on spellbreaker, no matter if theres opposition or not (mostly not)?

    Those kind of players will embrace your ideas, because they will earn more ap doing PvD then now. That`s all that counts. They don`t care about the fighting part, unless they are forced to. They care about farming ranks and currency, the less fighting the better.

    The more incentives you give for PvE point accumulation, the more PvD will happen. For me this is not counterable by even very well thought out & subtle scaling of rewards, since they won`t care if they earn less, as long as it is easy.

    I am very sorry, but I do stand to my point that taking any emphasis away from fighting will lead to what I experienced in other games. It`s a psychological issue with people that are not in PvP for PvP, which is often the case in open world PvP scenarios. They are in it, because they got bored from PvE, because their guild runs events or whatever.

    There`s a lot of "PvPers" in ESO who would never come to Cyro, if it wasnt because of their guild. Now, those guys actively participate in PvP, because theres no other way to earn decent AP.

    Anyhow, thanks for your post, I was enjoying your detailed analysis and proposal a lot. I just don`t think it will work out the way you think it will.

    Best regards,

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  • Rust_in_Peace
    I don't want to see the dynamic of the game turn into PvDoor where all people care about is winning the campaign.

    I played GW2 and I've seen what happens when all people do is run around capping keeps and trying to avoid direct open field fights at all costs.
  • frozywozy
    @sirinsidiator - This is probably the best post I have read on these forums. Well done!

    Sadly and as people pointed out already in replies, most people playing video games don't care much for objectives. All they want when they come back from school / work is to kill stuff and they could care less about forcing their brain just a little bit to complete tasks for their faction.

    I'm the opposite though. I like killing people but after doing it over and over, it gets boring super fast for me. I need a plan behind the killing otherwise it is totally pointless. Also, I have never understood why we crown emperors who in reality have done much less than other players for their faction as a whole most of the time.

    I really wish that Zenimax would listen to your ideas, again, but I doubt this will happen anytime soon. This is the reason why CoD and CSGO are more popular than BF. Arcade fps don't require as much thinking as Battlefield does. Again, I prefer much more Battlefield. Also the reason why LoL is more popular than Dota2. LoL is much more casual and alot easier to learn. Dota2 has a ton of complex concepts that people just don't care for.

    All most people care for is to respawn and kill as fast as possible. Rince and repeat. Sad truth.
    Edited by frozywozy on December 8, 2015 11:03PM
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    • Fix Volendrung (spawn location - weapon white on the map causing the wielder to keep it forever - usable with emperorship)
    • Remove / Change CPs System, remove current CP/noCP campaigns and introduce one 30days with lock, one with no locks
    • Fix crashes when approaching a keep under attack because of bad / wrong rendering prioritization system
    • Change emperorship to value faction score points and not alliance points - see this and this
    • Fix long loading screens (mostly caused by players joining group out of rendering range)
    • Add 2 more quickslots to the wheel or add a different wheel for sieges weaponry only
    • Fix Balista Bolts not dealing damage on walls or doors if deployed at a certain place
    • Release bigger battlegrounds with 8 to 16 players per team and only two teams
    • Fix the permanent block animation - see examples : link1 link2 link3 link4 link5
    • Gives players 10 minutes to get back into Cyrodiil after relogging / crashing
    • Add a function to ignore the Claiming system of useless rewards
    • Improve the Mailing System / Rewards of the Worthy stacking
    • Assign specific group sizes to specific campaigns (24-16-8)
    • Make forward camps impossible to place near objectives
    • Make snares only available from ground effects abilities
    • Change emperorship to last minimum 24hours
    • Fix body sliding after cc breaking too quickly
    • Remove Block Casting through Battle Spirit
    • Fix the speed drop while jumping - see video
    • Fix loading screens when keeps upgrade
    • Fix Rams going crazy (spinning around)
    • Bring back dynamic ulti regeneration
    • Fix speed bug (abilities locked)
    • Introduce dynamic population
    • Lower population cap by 20%
    • Add Snare Immunity potions
    • Bring resurrection sickness
    • Fix character desync
    • Fix cc breaking bug
    • Fix gap closer bug
    • Fix health desync
    • Fix combat bug
    • Fix streak bug
    • Fix server lag
  • sirinsidiator
    Hey Sirin,


    Best regards,


    Thanks for your great response!
    I see that I indeed missed something in my thoughts as I didn't know about the AvA in other games and also didn't hear of those PvD groups before. :)

    While it is true that they gain more AP than before, I also think that with the changes to the scouting quest and the coupling of AP gain to keep possession it should become harder for them to find a keep that is not well protected. I believe players will defend those keeps harder than ever, because they directly influence their AP gain unlike before.

    But you can never be sure what will really happen unless it is implemented on live and tested by real players.

    I think ZOS should put some effort into making it possible to have campaigns with completely different gameplay so they can try things without accidentally breaking every campaign, but that is probably utopian. :smiley:

    Turtl3Lov3 wrote: »


    I laughed harder at that than I should. :smiley:
    I don't want to see the dynamic of the game turn into PvDoor where all people care about is winning the campaign.

    I played GW2 and I've seen what happens when all people do is run around capping keeps and trying to avoid direct open field fights at all costs.

    Neither do I. I haven't played GW2 so I don't know what it is like, but PvD is something I have happened to experience a few times in Cyrodiil and it is indeed boring.
    I also don't want to see campaigns being painted in one color which is why I included the population modifier. Once an alliance is dominating and makes other players leave, it would negatively impact their own AP gain, so it is not in their own best interest to capture the whole map, but instead they need to keep a healthy balance. I also believe this would produce a feedback loop, which makes their own players leave for different campaigns and give the other alliances a chance to make a comeback without being farmed for AP. But again I don't know if it would turn out like this, or something completely different and unexpected would happen.

    I'd also like to say that this is a change that should not be implemented all at once and probably is best held onto until after alternative pvp modes (justice pvp, arena pvp) become available.
    A good start would be to change how the pvp quests work and make them smarter. That alone should help to direct the "randoms" into doing something that benefits the alliance as a whole and shouldn't draw away from the current fighting experience. I think this is the simplest method ZOS could use to prevent the population from gravitating towards the biggest fight on the map. - My Addons - The Vault (Early updates and experimental projects) - My patreon - My blog
  • Terrato37
    Most of the other replies say pretty much it. Only other thing I can think of is possibly smaller maps, smaller campaign cap, combo of both?

    Do the amount of people and everything going on in the sewers have an effect on cyrodiil, server wise?
  • sirinsidiator
    Terrato37 wrote: »
    Most of the other replies say pretty much it. Only other thing I can think of is possibly smaller maps, smaller campaign cap, combo of both?

    Do the amount of people and everything going on in the sewers have an effect on cyrodiil, server wise?

    I think a smaller map won't be possible as the zone has already been finished and changing it would require a lot of work.
    Smaller campaign cap has been tried in the past, but I don't think it helped as much as expected and I believe that IC and Cyrodiil are separate server instances, but not a lot of people seem to go there anymore.

    Anyways, it seems all that everyone is focused on is changing skills, but without changing the behavior of players I don't think it will help much. My hope is ZOS reads this thread and gets some different ideas in addition to what is discussed in those other threads. - My Addons - The Vault (Early updates and experimental projects) - My patreon - My blog
  • RDMyers65b14_ESO
    I agree so much with this post. There is nothing more annoying than watching the scrolls run away because someone is stacking zergs in the last emp keep. There is too much focus on the individual ap and not enough on the campaign points.
  • Sallington
    People would care a little more about the outcome of a campaign if the rewards weren't absolute trash.
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  • KenaPKK
    This needs to be seen again. I'm more in support in increasing end of campaign victory rewards as an incentive for people to gain campaign points instead of fully merging the systems, but the premise is spot on.
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