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Joy's 2018 Advice for Midyear Mayhem Event

PvP is fun and the people who play it are just like yourself, we are out there to have a good time. You can easily contribute to your alliance’s cause, get all the achievements, and see that Cyrodiil is not this scary place full of people who worship Molag Bal! This biggest “barriers” are (mis)perception and inexperience, not skill level or enthusiasm.

If you are good at ESO, even as a full time “PvEer,” you absolutely have the potential to be a good at PvP. A quick anecdote. One of my best ESO friends was strictly a PvE endgame player and a very good one. One day she asked me to do a “secret” PvP mission for her, which amounted to her killing me while standing on a resource so she could get enough AP to get vigor; she was that unsettled that her PvE skills would not translate into PvP. I declined – as I hope all people would – and told her what I am telling you right now: given skill and enthusiasm a good “PvEer” can quickly become a force in PvP. So she did what I advised and went out an earned the AP. Here we are, a year later, and she’s very competent and now I am actually having to turn down some Battleground invitations because she asks so much. Point: do not be intimated by Cyrodiil (or the people there … we don’t bite!)

CP or No CP?
It’s going to depend. There are pros and cons to both and which is “better” or more suitable is going to be entirely based on the eye of the beholder. In no CP, you have less margin for error because blocking, CC breaking, dodging, and your skills are relatively more expensive and things like siege and proc sets are going to hit you harder. It requires a specific build and if you are used to say running Maelstrom arena or doing a Trial with your 500+ CPs or so the difference can be quite jarring. In CP, it is possible to have more diverse builds so, easier for you, but also easier for your opponents. I would recommend if you do not have very many CPs, you do no CP because that is what you are already accustomed to. If you have a fair amount of CPs (by no means do you need to be maxed), check out the CP. Actually everybody should try both since what’s better is subjective.

If you’re just here to try it out and get some AP, I would recommend going to a full server as there is almost always something going to and there’s a lot less time waiting around. PC NA Vivec is the most popular campaign. If you do not play on prime time, that’s your best bet for fights and to start working on those achievements! If you do play prime time and just want fights with shorter or no ques, Shor for CP, Sotha Sil for no CP.

Note: I’d say ZoS’ ques go down by one roughly every 30-40 seconds or so, so a que of 60 takes about 35-40 minutes.

Note 2: You can get into any campaign even if you aren’t homed or guested and the AP you get, the kills, the resource captures, etc., all will count. Don’t feel compelled to play in a campaign you do not find enjoyable simply because you are “locked” in because you aren’t. If you group with a friend or guildmate, you can get into any campaign (you used to be able just to teleport to that player if they were on the same alliance, I don’t know if this is still the case).

I have my CPs and want to use them. Do I need to change them for PvP?
Yes and no. Most important thing: these have diminishing returns, which means the more you invest into a star, the less benefit you derive from it. So it’s doesn’t pay to just max out on a few things and probably a good idea to spread them out. So if all you did before was purely PvE, I’d readjust them. Once you do adjust your CPs, you will not have to keep changing them every time you enter or leave Cyrodiil. There is not *that* much benefit for doing so. I PvP and PvE and do not change my points and do just fine. If you are super mix-maxer, a perfectionist, or are competing for the world’s #1 trial score, then maybe you might feel compelled to change, but the diminishing returns system Zos implemented makes any such change have a minimal and almost imperceptible benefit.

As for what PvP stars you need:
  • From the “red” trees, you should already have: Expert Defender, Hardy, Thick-Skinned, Elemental Defender, and Ironclad. You need some in Resilient. If you are a sorcerer, then Bastion is a good idea. Quick Recovery is nice but scales terribly so I wouldn’t put too many here.
  • From the Blue trees, you probably don’t need to change at all because damage is damage. So Thumaturge and Master at Arms for everyone. Precise, Piercing, and Mighty for “stamina” characters and Spell Erosion, Elfborn, and Elemental Expert for “magicka.” Blessed is like quick Recovery, the benefits are nice but scales terribly.
  • The Green Trees are probably what you need to change most. Arcanist / Mooncalf you already have these, but I bet too much. Diminishing returns are a real thing. I invest 49. You need Shadow Ward (everyone must block), Tumbling (everyone has to dodge roll), Warlord is absolutely essential. I also like Sprint (you will do this a lot). I personally put some into Bashing Focus - YES! - ZoS intended bash to be an important counter in PvE (Do Hel Ra and go upstairs, laugh at the Twins fight in Maw, etc.). Siphon sounds good, but is too inefficient for my blood.

The biggest difference between my CP setup and my PvE Trial friends is that they have marginally better resource and damage percentages, but I can dodge, block, break free, bash, sprint, and do other things noticeably more efficiently than they can. Their DPS parses are potentially a little better than mine, but I do not die because I ran out of stamina and I don’t wipe the raid because people are incapable of bashing the channeled attacks in the Twins fight in Maw. So I do not switch out my CPs between PvP and PvE.

What gear should I wear?
You do need different gear. Probably. I mean you could bring your DPS gear and light some opponents up who aren’t very experienced, but you will run out of resources quickly and explode when attacked by players who know what they are doing.

The biggest difference with PvP is that you probably will need almost double the amount of resource recovery/reduction than in PvE. You can’t just heavy attack people in PvP the way you do for a Target Dummy rotation. As a magicka build, my comfort zone is about 1800 regen and that’s using the Channeled Focus skill in a CP campaign.

The way ZOS armor works now is you can get two full five-piece bonuses and a monster set. So, a total of three full sets. I personally like:
  1. One set for defensive purposes
  2. One set for offensive purposes
  3. One utility set, perhaps for resource-sustain

On magicka templar might go for Wizard Riposte (defensive), Valkyn SKoria (offensive), Shacklebreaker (versatile/sustain).
On my stamina Warden, I like Bone Pirate (sustain), Bloodspawn (defense), Offensive set of choice (Hunding’s, Automaton, I personally use Agility Jewelry, and Asylum Greatsword / Arena Daggers)

I generally recommend at least 5 pieces of Impentrable gear. I like 2 well-fitted (if I plan on dodge rolling) or 2 sturdy (if I plan on blocking).

As a magicka player, the key is to have the right amount of magicka regen and a high enough stamina pool to block, CC break, and dodge. Witchmother’s brew is great for solving the magicka regen issue, but having a stamina pool of 11K *will get you killed* unless you are in the middle of a zerg. You want at least 14K stamina – and that’s barely cutting it.
  • Shacklebreaker is good to combine with Witchmother’s because it gives a nice 2K stamina bonus
  • Purple Food gives stamina, use the Atronach Mundas for magicka sustain
  • The Lich set is popular set players use because it gives a lot of magicka recovery
I’m gonna tell you right now, you’ll probably need to buy some rings. Buy *BLUE* unless you are rolling in money. Blue, even for BIS slots is cheap, cheap, and do NOT upgrade and waste valuable jewelry mats. Blue is like 90%+ just as good as purple. The only thing I’d upgrade is the weapon: that’s all that needs to be gold.

I’m a healer. Any advice?
Yes. Play a hybrid DPS-Healer. I started out PvP as a “healer” and got a little frustrated when I was attacked by other players and realized I could not defend myself very well. So I started adding DPS skills, then eventually made one bar for DPS, and then eventually a solo build that just sort of occasionally heals other people. A hybrid approach will give you more flexibility, and IMHO, is more fun.

Reflective Light, Purifying Light, Haunting Curse, Deep Fissure, Growing Swarm (this morph!), (procced) Crystal Fragments are all highly effective and efficient and potentially lethal skills “healers” can toss out from range as part of a rotation and without too much sweat get the 50 killing blows you need for one of the achievements. There is zero reason not to use what are some of the absolute best skills in the game, regardless of your “role”. I mean Purifying Light heals, use it! And this isn’t even considering the big two: Jesus Beam and Mage’s Fury.

I’m a tank. Any advice?
Unfortunately, I can’t speak from experience so I’m not the best person to offer guidance. I’d like to say just be a hybrid-DPS, but that’s not as easy as a healer since you are likely going to place yourself in danger and need to devote more gear and resources just for survival. That being said, there’s no reason a sword and shield defensive player can’t add some offense and do stuff other than holding down block. You aren’t going to tank a zerg, but when the enemy weakens or some holes in the line open up, get in there, reverb bash, heroic slash (great skill), throw in some DoTs, and put pressure on opponents you sense are weak. Kills aren’t going to come easy, granted, but you will get some. Tis a thankless job you got and you’re going to die more than ranged players, but a well-played “tank” that actually disrupts and damages enemies has got to be satisfying. You know what you are doing is hard and people are too timid to try it. You and tell by the way players just panic trying to get away from you that you are an intimidating presence whose difference in a fight can’t be measured by ESO statistics or an add-on.

I play magicka, can you offer some tips for survival?
  • Your stamina pool is your life. Especially in no-CP. Don’t just hold down block. Every class *ehem, EXCEPT Templars* has some sort of non-block defense mechanism, escape, or a “cc” (crowd control) that goes through block and dodge that can give you a reprieve to stop blocking.
  • I’m impatient as the next person getting from point A to point B, but sprinting consumes stamina and you don’t have a lot of it.
  • It’s probably a good idea to always have your shield up before you take damage as opposed to after.
  • If your health is below 60%, you are in danger of being killed outright, all it takes is one cc effect plus an ultimate.
  • Slot generic stamina potions on your consumable wheel (you don’t need to waste expensive “tri-stat” potions when not needed). Be ready and willing to switch from your magicka potions to the green juice because you will die quickly and horribly in you run out of stamina.
  • Your best DPS skills – ground based DoTs – do not translate well into PvP because I will either move out of them or out-heal them. I might slot one but that’s it.
  • Please don’t stand out in the open and heavy lightning attack another player in a competitive situation. It’s good Vs. PvE mobs but that’s just about it. If you need resources, that’s one thing, but as a low sustain DPS attack, it’s utterly ineffective and will entice aggressive opponents to attack “easy” prey.
  • Sword and shield is a “stam” weapon set, but is very effective on templars “back bar” (press block and cast Extended Ritual and Breath of Life if in trouble) and Dragonknight “front bar” (press block instead of “weaving” light attacks if under pressure. Templar “healers” might consider sword and shield “front bar” for their class based heals to go with restoration “back bar”.
  • Dual swords are pretty much obsolete or at the least “advanced tactics.” Staffs were buffed (as were light attacks), count as two armor pieces, and you don’t gain ultimate unless you light attack
  • Attacks that deal damage and heal you at the same time are very efficient.
  • What’s going to get you killed the most is lack of mobility. If you are a PvE vampire slot Mist Form (it’s not meant to be spammed, just use it once to get out of trouble and find Line of sight). If you aren’t a PvE vampire, it’s not necessary to become one. If you are getting chased down, mist form wouldn’t have saved you, trust me. Just be cognizant about willfully entering dangerous zones and be mindful of the possibility of retreat so you can do so before it’s too late. Nightblade and Sorcerers have options here, but they are by no means foolproof (and nor should they be). Sometimes you’re just going to get overwhelmed. I mean you can try and struggle to escape with your pitiful stamina pool, but I generally find it more satisfying to be aggressive and try to take one person down with me.
  • You need to put the survival skills you haven’t used in PvE content for years on your bar.
  • DK: Deep Breath (actually a potent and efficient PvE skill, no idea why people don’t use it), Fragmented Shield, Reflective Plate are all good. Burning Embers an already DoTed target gives you a nice heal.
  • Templar: Extended Ritual (trust me, you’ll want this morph), Honor the Dead (same, I even PvE heal with it), Channeled Focus. You ought to Purifying Light any target you fight: it’s your only Decent HoT. I recommend experimenting with Eclipse: It’s either really good or really bad. Maybe you’ll get lucky. Cast it on enemies who do NOT have CC immunity.
  • Sorcerer: Put away the double destruction staff setup: if you try and Dark Deal heal yourself, you’re going to get yourself killed unless you are very experienced. Slot restoration staff and use Healing Ward
  • Warden: Leeching Vines, Shimmering Shield, and Nature’s Grasp are all quite good (Nature’s Graps is not just amusing: it’s a strong HoT and makes you potentially more mobile than a sorcerer.
  • Note: the more friends you have around you, the less you need these skills. I would recommend having them anyway because you can quickly find yourself alone and you at least want options and to put up a competitive fight in a 1v1 situtiation.

I play stamina, how about some tips for me?
  • OK, but I only dabble so a lot of this is from the perspective of an opponent
  • You can survive without a magicka pool, but that limited pool can give powerful buffs. Don’t load up your bar with buffs you can’t maintain.
  • Like PvE, back bar bow is quite good. Unlike PvE, Endless Hail isn’t. If you bow, always have poison injection (this morph!) on your target and reapply immediately when it expires. Bombard, a skill you probably never use in PvE, is actually half decent in PvP.
  • Are you a NB? You cloak to reposition, rather than escape. Also Incapacitating Strike is money. A stam NB should have respectable magicka regen: Fear, Shade, and Cloak are all very good.
  • Are you a sorcerer? Surge gives you ridiculous healing, play aggressively.
  • Are you a DK? Use Leap attack aggressively against opponents under 50% health.
  • Are you a Templar? Jabs is a good spammable but you need to compliment that with DoTs. One bar should be Duel Wield: Blood Craze is very strong on a stamina Templar. Use Dawnbreaker (preferably Smiting) as your ultimate.
  • Dubious camlorn throne is attractive since magicka is a luxury as opposed to necessity.
  • If your health is below 60%, you are in danger of getting killed outright. Dodge away from your opponent and vigor/rally (preferably with amps like igneous shield or cloak). You are faster and nimbler than your magicka opponents (I like a “speed” component in the potions I use when playing stamina).
  • You are best played cravenly. If you smell blood, pounce because you have the mobility and burst damage to secure a quick kill. If you fail an attack, use your mobility to withdraw and wait for another opening.
  • If are just looking to get AP and kills and don’t have an aversion to dying, a primary “bow” build can be very effective in massive battles. Understand the less room there is to hide among allies, this spec is vulnerable to aggressive players.
  • Although stamina players are not associated with healing, you must heal yourself to sustain Vs. competent opponents. Rally makes the Two-hander a natural. You might not have vigor – it does not take that long to get and as soon as you do immediately slot it.
  • If you dual wield, consider using the quick cloak skill: 25% less damage against much of the stuff that will kill you: undodgable AoE damage. Blood Craze is a very good skill as is steel tornado.
  • You can absolutely use the sword and shield line and kill other players. Reverberating bash is a strong skill, Heroic slash is expensive but good (don’t spam this, use it on cooldown), Pierce Armor is cheap and increases your DPS.

OK, I’m in Cyrodiil, what should I do?
Two options here. You can join a “pug” group (they will advertise in Zone, respond to them rather than type “lfg”. It is best to have TeamSpeak, usual requirements are too listen, you don’t have to talk). If you are new (and even if you aren’t), stay on Crown (I recommend the Extermintus add-on if available). This approach does guarantee the safety of numbers and the people you meet can offer valuable advice and may become one of your best ESO friends.

Or you can “zerg surf.” What this means is you follow a gaggle of friendlies from place to place – you will see crossed swords on the map and usually people tend to drift toward the nearest enemy objective. I found this option to be more appealing when I first started out, but that’s just me because I tend to be independent and liked the option to go and do what I thought would be the most fun.

Try both, see what works for you.

Either way, you are just looking to get in some large scale fights where you can get your feet wet in the PvP experience without some 5 Star Grand Overlord in your face who is going to paste you in about 2 seconds. Getting a sense of what works, what doesn’t, the ebb and flow of PvP combat, that sort of thing.

Should I buy/use siege?
You probably will get a lot of advice to do so because they are very effective against players and a fire ballista bolt loosed from a recruit does the same damage as one from a Grand Overlord. I would, however, advise caution and in no way rely on siege. It is going to be expensive for someone just starting out and I can tell you right now, you are going to get yourself killed if you do it wrong.

If you join a “pug” group it will be expected you use a PLAIN OLD ballista (they will be labeled “Pact”, “Dominion” or “Covenant”) to siege down enemy keeps, so buy some if you are going this route. Place it down as close to your allies as you can, aim for the WALL – not the postern door or house (exception: the very front “gate” door does take damage), and GET OFF after you fire. You get off to heal/shield yourself (you likely will be hit by enemy counter siege and to make yourself a less appealing target for “gankers”). Get back on and fire once the ballista has reloaded.
If you go the lone route, I might buy 1 or 2 to use just to help if that’s needed.

If you want to attack players with siege, then you should buy Scattershot or Meatbag Catapults. These are devastating against vs. players, but they require specific situations to be effective so here’s the catch, it’s not as easy as it looks.
  • If you try to use siege in an open field battle, it only works in a stalemate situation. If your alliance is winning, the enemy will be pushed out of range. If your alliance is losing, then enemy players will kill you and then burn your siege.
  • If you are alone in an open field battle, you are a prime target for gankers.
  • So best for keep defense. Place it on the ramparts and target enemy siege with a lot of players around. See the damage numbers and you’re going to get kills (you’ll quickly realize why if you are the target of siege). Get excited! Then enemy fire trebuchets counter-fire and you’re now taking a 6-8K fire DoT, in addition to the meatbag ground DoT that will kill you if you don’t move out of it. Siege can work and you can get good AP from it, just expect the counter-fire and be prepared to get off, heal yourself, and buy more.

So buy a few, but don’t go crazy until you get some experience.
Please don’t waste your AP on Alliance war Forward Camps. More experienced players will have that covered.

I’m defending a castle, what should I do?
If you are a healer, please keep the people on siege alive. If you want to put down your own siege, mind what I just wrote above. If you have a ranged attack, go ahead and pew-pew from the ramparts, just know that if you are targeted by the enemy and fall under 60% health, you are in danger of dying. Note: Do NOT stand or stay in enemy siege fire!

Once the attackers break down the wall or front door, it is very risky to remain on the castle walls. If they succeed in overwhelming the breech and enter the courtyard, you are in danger of being cut off with no escape, getting killed, and not being able to participate in the fight since the only way back is to travel through all those enemies and into the inner keep. If I were new, once the wall got down to like 10%, I would pack up my siege and at least retreat toward to the courtyard by the inner door. You can always fight with your allies there if the defenders are strong enough or continue retreat to the inner if not. There is no reason an inexperienced player should be exposed on the outer walls once the enemy breaks in.

Defending the Inner Keep is what I find the most fun in the game. Just know space is rather tight so please allow experienced players to set up their siege first. Even if you are a “tank” stay away from an exposed breech as it’s going to get hit with massive siege. Also the top floor will be covered in catapult siege and (too) quickly kills even experienced players. Wait until the attackers come in – they will eventually – and then tank/disrupt the ones who do.

I’m attacking a castle, what should I do?
I think it’s best to help defend against enemy skirmishers who try to attack the siege line. If there is no enemy threat, sure, try to pew pew the defenders on the walls, just know if you are below 60% health and get CC’d, you might die so be cautious. FOR THE LOVE OF THE EIGHT DIVINES, DO NOT STAND UNDER ENEMY OIL. I don’t care if some 5 star Grand Overlord set up a ram, do *not* be a moron and get on it if oil is coming down.

Once your side has broken into the enemy courtyard, much the same: defend against skirmishers and pew-pew or heal heal.

When the Inner in brought down, the breech is a lethal place if there is a strong defensive force inside (sometimes there isn’t and you can simply walk inside). If you are indecisive and linger there, you will be killed horribly and quickly. Either you go all the way inside and attack (with many allies) or you don’t. Before you do anything, apply a shield or cast vigor.

I can damage players but have a hard time killing them. How can they take so much damage?
Because they are experienced, knowledgeable of the mechanics, know when to play defensively, and you are most likely using inefficient DPS.

I can tell you right now a PvE rotation, even if efficient, struggles against experienced PvPers because predictable, constant damage is not that difficult to mitigate/heal though/avoid. Even if it’s high, experienced players will simply move and not subject themselves to that sort of punishment. An experienced player who drops under 50% health will “turtle” and go into a defensive focus that makes them, even as non “tanks”, difficult to kill. This is the biggest difference I notice between players who are experienced and those who aren’t. Inexperienced players default to attack rather than self-preservation.

When I first started playing, this is what stood out the most: I was amazed at how these players could survive so much incoming damage and I desperately wanted to know their “secret.” Now the roles are reversed. It’s not a secret. I wear impen gear. I value my stamina pool and use it efficiently. I use expensive potions (CP160 with 3 properties). I know my class’s strengths and weaknesses inside out. I almost always devote one armor set bonus for pure defensive purposes. I am mindful or my environment and where the enemy might be. Most of all I developed a 6th sense of danger: when I am attacked, whether by a “ganker” or a destro bomb-group, I react instinctively and correctly.

The most reliable way to kill players in not with sustained DPS, rather with unexpected burst damage that they cannot react to. A common means of doing this is to have a DoT active, CC them before they sense danger, and the hit them with your ultimate in combination with a high damaging burst. If they are still alive once the CC break, use an execute if you got it.

In short, just spamming skills will not secure kills Vs. good opponents. Players who know what they are doing are going to either be very elusive or seemingly “tank” a lot of damage when they feel threatened. It’s (a necessary) part of the game. Play intelligently and use good tactics to burst through, or better yet, avoid entirely, their strongest defenses.

Wait, you’re getting pretty specific. Can you just give a novice some useful general pointers so they can have some fun without dying so much?
  • Sure.
  • Are you a “magplar”? Use these skills liberally Purifying Light, Reflective Light, Puncturing Sweeps. Always have Extended Ritual and Channeled Focus active. Use Structured entropy for the “major sorcery” buff. Honor the Dead is great, but spamming it is expensive, mind your resources. Don’t list to people why say spam Jesus Beam. It’s waste of magicka using it and hoping to get a kill from it. I Reflective Light anything before Jesus Beaming it, and only use the beam for target under 30% or under pressure from multiple players.
  • Are you a magicka Sorcerer? Be selective with your targets, you have the best burst damage in the game and it’s inefficient to spread it out. Haunting Curse every 4th spell; it’s that good. Only use Crystal frag when it procs, you *really* want to hit an unaware opponent. Don’t listen to people who say spam Endless Fury mindlessly. Use it tactically against weakened opponents or those under pressure. Shield is always active if you even feel the possibility of being attacked. Mines are very good deterrents but mind the cost. If you want to streak to avoid sticky situations, don’t just turn around and streak away. Because if they have a “gap closer,” they will catch up. Streak through your opponent, that either stuns them or forces them to turn their camera to find you, and then streak toward the direction you want to go.
  • Are you a mDK? This class plays quite well as a medium ranged build with an Inferno Staff + Chains (the “pull to target version”) or you can go the traditional sword and shield “tank” version. Fossilize is an *very* good spell: it stuns your opponent no matter what they are doing, just watch your UI because you cant cast it Vs. a target that has CC immunity. Burning Embers and Whip are strong skills, either get into close range or pull toward your opponents to use them. Standard of Might is pretty much pure PvE. Dragon Leap is a fantastic PvP ultimate. Try to use the leap against a weakened opponent rather than just using it.
  • Are you a magicka nightblade? If you spam cloak as your main defense you are going to be very disappointed in the class. You use shields and HoTs as your primary defense. Works best as a ranged attacker. Beware of defenders who can reflect your attacks. The key to playing this class is the land the Spectral Bow. Cripple is a strong DoT. Move, dictate tempo, Fear your opponent every 10 seconds.
  • Are you a Warden? Shalk on cooldown; don’t turn away - even when you want to retreat - if the shalk is about to trigger. Put the Bear away and use Permafrost (this morph). It’s very strong and you don’t have an execute or a stun so it’s a huge help. If a bunch of friendlies attack an enemy force get in there with Permafrost going: does huge damage and offers a nice protection buff. It’s not a great spec solo, but it’s effective with allies around and if your patient, you can get kills. If you are a stamina warden: I find the Two-handed weapon very good synergy with Dawnbreaker. You want subterranean assault to go off, Dawnbreaker of Smiting (get this morph, you need the stun) and the revere slice execute (either morph) is a very strong combination.
  • Are you a “stam” player? It’s really hard for me to boil this down in a pithy paragraph. Scroll up and read my specific points.
  • Do not stand still. Movement breaks the rhythm of people who are attacking you and powerful attacks like Dizzying Swing and Puncturing Sweeps are hard to hit against moving targets.
  • You will die a lot. It’s fine, everyone did when first starting. Even brave, experienced players (i.e the one who do more than stand in the rear spamming Snipes and Jesus Beams) also die regularly.
  • If you are alone in a high traffic area (i.e. the direct route from a keep to crossed swords), there is a good chance you are going to get “ganked,” and if the ganker is good, probably die outright. If the fight is worth going too, simply wait for other people to get on the horse and ride there (if nobody is going, then the fight is worth your time anyway).
  • If you see a small group of players with funny looking symbols “retreating” from anything less than double their number, they aren’t retreating, they are setting up a counter-attack. Don’t follow!
  • Capturing Resources and Castles especially are worth large amount of AP. If the enemy captures a resource, join other players to get it back. Even if there are no enemies, it’s a free 1.5K AP
  • Do not pay the Capture/Scout quests any heed. They often ask you to go to out of the way places and you’ll get just as much AP capturing that resource right next to a well defended keep.
  • If a Castle Wall goes under 50%, it will “flag” and transit will be cut off. Transit is by far the easiest and safest way to get from place to place. If a castle is called out in zone as being under attack, make up your mind quickly and get there as fast as you can if you want to help the defense (I advise you do so if you are just waiting around).
  • The “emperor ring” sees the vast majority of action. Many DC players go east from Fort Aleswell to Bleakers and then Chalman or South to Fort Ash to Nikel to Castle Roebeck. AD players will Go North from Castle Alessia to Sejanus and then Blue Road Keep or from Castle Roebeck to Nikel to Fort Ash. EP players go from Chalman Keep to Bleakers to Fort Aleswell or south from Blue Road Keep to Sejanus to Castle Alessia. This is by far the best area to get your feet wet, find quick and constant action, other allies, etc.
  • If it’s just you and like 12 players and arrive at an enemy Castle that is strongly defended, you’re going to get wiped easily (small outpost with no outer wall is potentially another story).
  • There is a difference between panicking when being attacked and a tactical withdraw where you are actually using your skills, blocking, opportunist dodging to get away from a dangerous situation.
  • I said it once and I’ll say it again and you’ll probably ignore me. If castle defenders are pouring oil, DO NOT STAND ON THE PORCH.
  • If you play EP and “potato” to Castle Alessia Front Door and try to set up siege, you will give my agita, raise my blood pressure, and probably shorten my life by two weeks. Do not join this idiocy. If you want to skirmish the equally idiotic AD who jump off the walls, fine, but do so AWAY FROM THE APACOLYPTIC SIEGE REIGNING DOWN. If more intelligent EP are not trying to start a useful siege by the Mine or Farm, hang around the smarter people toward the bridge – eventually when the EP potatoes die, the AD will counter attack toward the bridge.
  • If you’re a “healer” or a “tank,” please scroll up to my aforementioned mentioned advice. You will get your kill 50 player achievements soon enough.
  • If you really want to get somewhere without getting “ganked” and don’t feel like waiting for others, put rapid maneuvers Alliance War ability in place of your least important skill and take it off when you feel safe (but do so before entering combat as you can’t switch skills then). Alternatively, taking a path less traveled helps (for example – want to go from Bleakers to Aleswell Farm? As soon as you exit, head North for a bit, then west (bonus, you’ll pass an Alyeid Well you can tap for temporary health) then south once you’re due north of the Farm).
  • Do not get frustrated by getting “zerged” down by numerous enemy players. It’s the reality of open world and unpredictable combat. It happens, it’s fine, it’s nothing personal against you. Just rez and have back at them!
  • Rebind your CC break to an easily accessible single button because it’s the most important thing you’re going to do. I used to use “x” and even that was too slow. Now it’s mouse wheel up and any stun gets broken pretty much immediately.
  • Note the difference between organized groups and disorganized masses. An organized group will run very tight and together, like a school of fish. Be SUPER cautious against them (remember what I said about people with funny symbols “retreating”) and do not get into melee with them without clear numerical superiority (I’d say at least 2:1). Never follow these groups through choke points. If they are stringing you away from a safe objective, do not pursue if friendlies break off and head back. If they turn around to attack, IMMEDIATELY dodge roll left or right and move away from any siege weapons or groups of allies. You can be more aggressive Vs. disorganized masses.
  • If you see me, say hi :smile:
  • I’m sure there is more but there’s a lot of stuff here!

One more thing. How do I get AP?

The way offensive and defensive AP "ticks" are awarded for capturing resources and keeps has a procedure that you kind of have to follow in order to get credit.

Offensive is pretty straightforward. The AP tick comes immediately when the resource or keep changes alliance color to your own (the NPC guards spawn at the same time). So you need to be near the resource or castle to get credit - don't just walk away when the enemy guards are dead.

Defensive was more complicated. Now pretty simple. As long as you participated in the defense, you’ll get a tick pretty much no matter what 60 seconds after the last enemy player dies. You might have to wait a bit, but now you don’t have to wait at the keep.

You also get AP for "contributing" to the death of enemy players, either by damaging them, healing allies who damage them, and other means which are pretty complex. My advice is just fight effectively: heal allies, damage enemies, and that sort of AP will roll in naturally.

Be sure to do all the "kill enemy" quests. You can do a total of 6 (players, templars, nightblades, wardens, sorcerers, dragonknights). You don't need to actually kill them, just contribute damage/healing when enemies die.

Wait, how about a few more quick tips?
  1. You have to move out of the way of siege fire. You can’t stand in it. No matter how important whatever you think you are doing is.
  2. If you die reasonably close to your allies, wait to see if they can rez you. I have 1000 soul gems and I’d rather you be here right now so it’s perfectly fine, I will rez you.
  3. Single target DoTs might not look like they are doing a lot, but they are very efficient skills and you should use them often: Reflective Light, Poison Injection, Haunting Curse, Swarm, Blood Craze, Burning Embers, Cripple, etc.,
  4. Move around. Whether on offensive or defense, it makes you far less predictable and renders any ground DoTs your opponent uses useless.
  5. Your build should be able to do everything for yourself: you need a heal, you need damage skills, you need defensive skills.
  6. I would highly recommend you get the “kill 40 players” from the Conquest board. Accept and drop whatever until you get that one. Once that is completed, then try for the 3 keeps or 9 resources.
  7. Remember what I said about the difference between organized groups (move like a school of fish) and disorganized masses? Vs. an organized group, do not engage unless you have double their numbers, do not follow through choke points, and if it moves toward you, immediately dodge roll to the side - they attack in a straight line.
  8. If you are EP, do NOT go anywhere near Alessia Keep Front Door. Even if the Castle is owned by EP, on principle ignore it and use the side posterns.
  9. If you are AD, use the other nine skills on your bar in addition to Snipe. It’s also fine to move and work with other AD players rather than sitting in stealth the whole time, even those snooty Altmer.
  10. If you are DC, the other DC players are actually your allies and working together as a team rather than bickering in Zone chat can make your alliance achieve great things.
  11. These are the ultimates I would use depending on class. Try to have a plan while using them rather than just using them
  12. Magicka Templar: If you are a Vampire, Devouring Swarm is good. If not, SpellWall (sword and board, Soul Assault, Dawnbreaker of Smiting are OK. Meteor is good to have on one bar.
  13. Magicka DK: Ferocious Leap is what I’d want to use 90% of the time. You can use the PvE orientned Elemental Rage or Standard of Might, but I’m just going to walk out of it and you’ll waste your 250 ulitamte.
  14. Magicka Sorcerer: I’d put Light’s Champion (restoration staff) and either Negate or Meteor. Meteor is good against single player, Negate is fantastic Vs. a group of players.
  15. Magicka Nightblade: Light’s Champion and Soul Harvest.
  16. Magicka Warden: Permafrost (you really want to use this), whichever morph of Secluded Grove as an “oh crap” button.
  17. Stamina Nightblade: Incapacitating Strike.
  18. Stamina Dragonknight: Take Flight
  19. 90% Stamina anything else: Dawnbreaker of Smiting. Remorph and get this version.
  20. “tanks”: Spellwall is solid.
  21. Bow users: Ballista isn’t bad when the bad guys are out of range of Dawnbreaker.

Most of all have fun!
Edited by Joy_Division on July 26, 2018 10:12PM
  • VaranisArano
    Like last years guide, this guide has everything I wish I had known when I started to PVP. Excellent advice!
  • casparian
    Tips 8-10 are absolutely pro level. You can instantly elevate yourself above even many veteran players by taking these to heart.

    The only thing I would add is that it's important for both DC and EP players to know that when Chalman keep is flagged, the rest of the map is actually still there -- it doesn't just disappear until Chalman is captured.
    7-day PVP campaign regular 2016-2019, Flawless Conqueror. MagDK/stamplar/stamwarden/mageblade. Requiem, Legend, Knights of Daggerfall. Currently retired from the wars; waiting on performance improvements.
  • geonsocal
    wow, absolutely outstanding work joy...thank you very much for sharing :)
    PVP Campaigns Section: Playstation NA and EU (Gray Host) - This Must be the Place
  • sudaki_eso
    You earned more then an insightful its really appreciated that you took the time to write this down. good job!
    PS4 EU - StamDK

    I’m still reading but as usual you’re spot on. Great work man.
  • Morgul667
    Nice post !
  • Takes-No-Prisoner
    If you are good at ESO, even as a full time “PvEer,” you absolutely have the potential to be a good at PvP.

    This sentence is one of the most important sentences in the OP.

    Skill does play into some aspects of PvP, but a lot of that skill also comes from a willingness to learn and try. Without those two tools, PvErs won't make it far. Just try and have a will to learn from mistakes. When in doubt always ask a PvP guildmate or Veteran PvPer.

    Also, always ask yourself how you could of handled fighting another player better--this is the first stepping stone of the Learn2Play mentality that will serve you well in PvP. This is where most newbies start to lose face. Never forget to ask yourself this question. AND, be honest. Being honest brings you closer to the truth. Closer you get to solving those truths will also transcribe into making bigger, better builds for the situations you tend to fail in. That is the path you want to be on.
    Edited by Takes-No-Prisoner on July 26, 2018 3:14PM
  • antihero727
    @Joy_Division thanks for making farming PvE players a lot harder if they read this. At least I can count on millennial attention span to only absorb 15% of the post. In all seriousness thanks for taking the time out of your day to improve others PvP experience in a positive way instead of calling them trash and belittling them to play a certain way (Not saying you are guilty of that). This is the approach that brings population to the lag farm.
    Veldrn-AD Magica Sorc
    Bizarro Veldrn-AD Stam Sorc
    Antiherro-AD Stam DK
    Antihero-AD Magplar
    Aww Crit-AD Magblade
    AD Since PC beta
    On A lag free vacation
    for the near and far future
  • Ydrisselle
    Thank you for the updated guide :)
  • DoonerSeraph
    So if we all flock to Alessia's FD we gonna kill you instantly? >:)

    Anyway, amazing write-up. I laughed hard at the "Try using the other 9 skills other than Snipe", as a EP Sniper, i do use them... Almost always, I promise >.>
  • DoonerSeraph
    casparian wrote: »
    The only thing I would add is that it's important for both DC and EP players to know that when Chalman keep is flagged, the rest of the map is actually still there -- it doesn't just disappear until Chalman is captured.

    Come on now. Every part of the map is totally worthless next to Sej-Alessia bridge :D:tongue:
  • Ragebull
    It's a shame that people like this work so hard to help others out yet ZOS puts forth a nearly unplayable event. It's hard to learn to play when you can't even play :(

    Thanks for the all the hard work though. At least somebody is trying! Lol
  • Tasear
    Thanks @Joy_Division
  • Katahdin
    Wow really really nice guide for newbies
    Kudos @Joy_Division
    Edited by Katahdin on July 26, 2018 4:45PM
    Beta tester November 2013
  • Stinkyremy
    Great guide, awesome, and bump
  • Graydon
    Great guide!

    I have no issues training through inexperience and honing PvP skills.

    However, I’d rather not play PVP where a toxic environment of hostility and taunting is the norm.

    Yes there are some respectful and mature players, but they are the rare exception.
  • Aisle9
    Step 1: make yourself a full set of sload
    Step 2: buy a scattershot catapult
    Step 3: profit
    Artemis Absinthe - DC magicka nightblade (PC - EU)
    Gruzosh Barrelsmasher - DC stamina sorcerer (PC - EU)
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    Jebediah Orbrynn - DC magicka templar (PC - EU)
    Hold-Many-Bags - Mule DK, Promoted to main tank, occasionally stamDD
    Olaf Proudstache - Mule - No longer with us Now a Stamwarden healer
    Aglieglie Brazorf - AD magicka sorcerer (PC - EU)
    Rodolfo Lavandino - DC stamina, greatsword wielding, Jesus beam spamming, Redguard hybrid templar just a stamplar again (PC - EU)
    Lemmy Raise Master - EP stamina necromancer (PC - EU)

    Scions of Dawn recruitment ad - PC EU multifaction PvE endgame raiding guild

    LUI user - I can see you when you fap loot.


    In the Game of PuGs you win or you ragequit

    "Dip dip potato chip, dip dip potato chip"
  • geonsocal
    Katahdin wrote: »
    Wow really really nice guide for newbies
    Kudos @Joy_Division

    you know, I kind of thought the same thing initially, great for new pvp players...

    but, I really enjoyed reading it, and, always good to check out other folk's perspective of pvp...lots to learn :)
    PVP Campaigns Section: Playstation NA and EU (Gray Host) - This Must be the Place
  • Soleya
    Nice tips, although you are missing a tip on how to defeat the hardest enemies....lag, crashes, and load screens. :#
    Graydon wrote: »
    Great guide!

    I have no issues training through inexperience and honing PvP skills.

    However, I’d rather not play PVP where a toxic environment of hostility and taunting is the norm.

    Yes there are some respectful and mature players, but they are the rare exception.

    It’s really not anything like what you described in over 90% of cases. Oddly enough by far the most hostile thing I’ve seen in weeks was yesterday when I made the mistake of PVE farming in someone’s spot. That guy was a peach.

    If you join a group and stay on crown you stand an almost zero percent chance of anything bad being said to you unless you’re “that guy” and “that guy” will always have nonsense said to him cause “that guy” is always completely unaware that he’s “that guy”.

    Can’t do anything about opponents bagging you though. It is what it is.
    geonsocal wrote: »
    Katahdin wrote: »
    Wow really really nice guide for newbies
    Kudos @Joy_Division

    you know, I kind of thought the same thing initially, great for new pvp players...

    but, I really enjoyed reading it, and, always good to check out other folk's perspective of pvp...lots to learn :)

    This. The tactical stuff is spot on even though I disagree with like 90% of his build advice FOR ME. For a new person it’s spot on and very well done. @Joy_Division is a smart player.
  • Gargath
    Great stuff, have my awesome.
    But nothing about Warden's Corrupting Pollen in pvp, some say it's very good supporting skill for healers when they spam it under the enemy. I watched the enemy attacking keeps were running away from the growing field of flowers. I have it also for the 45% healing reduction on Major Defile. Any pros and cons?


    PC EU (PL): 14 characters. ESO player since 06.08.2015. Farkas finest quote: "Some people don't think I'm smart. Those people get my fist. But you, I like."
  • SugaComa
    Great write up
    .. just missing one thing ...

    Most fun you will have is when someone yells "Bridge fight" at Alessia ... Head towards Ser Janus and get ready for fun on the bridge
    Edited by SugaComa on December 4, 2018 6:50PM
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