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Beginner guide to keep defense

There are so many times the keep I'm in is hit with an attack where the attacking players really know what they are doing, and I see my fellow defenders making serious mistakes in attempting to defend. So this is my attempt to help new PVP players defend their keeps. The good news is the way sieges are designed means if you do this right, you as a new player can be a HUGE help in defending your castle. Side note, I'm only a brigadier rank, so this is truly a beginner's guide. I can't speak to elite meta siege guilds and their best starts when 20+ people coordinate well. Second, while somebody who understands this guide will be benefitted in other areas, I'm really describing defending the outer wall.

Your priority is to keep them outside. The way you do that is protect the wall or door. Player spells and attacks can't hurt the wall, siege can. Your first priority is to dismantle their siege, not try to gank a player.

1. TOP PRIORITY. Stop the battering ram. Nothing will get the enemy into the keep faster than a battering ram assault on the door. If your keep is under attack, your first response is to see if they are going after the door with a ram. If they are, you have precious few moments to get a counter in place, if its not already too late. Good news, you have the advantage on this if you act extremely fast. You pour down crazy amounts of oil and melt them. Simple as that. On an outer wall door defense, there are four good places to put oil. On the very top of the gate tower, there are two little unwalled notches you can step out on, those are meant to place oil pots and rain the oil down as fast as you can. One man can place two oils and run them both. You need a minimum of two oils for a good ram defense. One will not stop them. Three or four oils is much better. If somebody mans one of the oils you place, don't be offended, rather your new goal is to dump your oil at the exact moment he dumps his. This is so you can get better burst dps on the people below. One floor down on the gate tower, is a grate looking down on where the ram will be. You can set up another two oils here, IF you spread them out, don't place one in the middle. If you place one in the middle of the grate, everywhere will say "too close to other siege weapons" and you've just robbed your team of an oil slot. The enemy can't handle four oil pots continually raining on them. If some can...I promise they are the exception that proves the rule. Do this first, make sure somebody is pouring oil onto the ram. Do just this, and you've bought time for everything else I'm going to say. As a side note, the current meta attack strategy has as many as five or six ballistae all crammed around the ram. So oil gets all that crap cleared out. EXTREMELY IMPORTANT: Do not place ballistae in the oil spots! There are only four good spots for oil on an outer door defense, and this is TOP priority. Ballistae can be placed tons of places. I want to cry when I am placing one oil and an ally drops a ballistae on the second upper oil spot. You are handing them the keep when you do this.

2. Second, destroy their Trebuches and Ballistae. If somebody already has the oil covered, your next thought should be this. If there is a ram and no oil, YOU make sure the oil is covered. If somebody else has it, then you want to take out their other siege weapons. A good attack force will have each of its attackers either manning two or three siege weapons each in an outer ring of players. If you stopped their battering ram they then turn to doing this exclusively. This is slower, especially attacking a wall but can still rip down a door quickly. Good news! you again have the advantage. Each of their siege can do from 1-4k damage per strike against the door depending on what they are firing. If you use a stone should be using a stone ballistae...your attacks do 12k damage against their siege weapons. So if you are attacking with a stone ballistae against their siege weapon, you will tear them down way way faster than they damage your door. BUT !! It gets better. If you will NOT aim at their siege weapon, but rather aim at the ground in between two closely placed siege weapons, you will damage both. Your ballistae is an AOE attack, use it that way! I often can be hitting three siege weapons per shot with my stone ballistae. And there will almost always be at least two close together because somebody is going to be running two of them and they don't want to run super far to go back and forth. Four stone ballistae being fired for max effect like this, can fight off a far superior number of siege weapons. So think like this...first, where can I shoot to where I am hitting the highest number of siege weapons with splash damage with my stone ballistae? Second, if you've beaten them down to where you are only able to hit one at a time (a sign you are successfully defending) then you want to hit the same siege weapon that other people are targeting so you collectively tear it down as quickly as possible. Also, if you are down to attacking one at a time and one of them is firing glowing blue attacks at the keep, choose that one because its doing more damage. But the biggest mistake I see is people directly targeting enemy siege weapons, thus only damaging one, when they could be hitting two, three, or even four at the same time by aiming at the ground between a cluster of them. Also, the BEST way to take out a revive tent is with your ballistae if they've mistakenly placed it too close to your wall. Seldom happens, but don't miss out if they do.

3. On ending the siege in favor of the defense. Understand that your goal is to stop them from tearing down your wall. If they are making progress on that, you are seriously messing up if you are just dancing around casting spells down at them. And you are seriously messing up by aiming at clusters enemy players rather than a cluster of siege weapons. The priority targets are their siege weapons, not the players. (if you are an elite guild that lines up 8 cold fire ballistae and melts the players, please keep in mind this is a guide for beginners.) However, once you have halted their onslaught against your wall, you must understand the only way to truly end a siege is by charging them. As long as you don't take the ground they are on, they can keep resurrecting their players, so as defenders, as you beat off their attack, you are constantly watching for that moment where the attacking force is in such shambles that you can completely route them by simply jumping off the walls and thrashing them. This moment may arrive after you have crippled their siege weaponry, it may arrive when they have ten siege weapons still up, it may be that reinforcements came from another castle and attacked them from behind, but at that point your goal is to swiftly break the siege. As a beginner player, you probably won't be the one that intuitively feels the moment shift and then begins the charge. What is important, is that when you see it happening, you recognize it for what it is. When this moment comes, you must first recognize it for what it is, and then immediately do your part to make it succeed. There are two things that need to be done quickly, you be a big help in either way. First, the counter attack needs to succeed. If you are somebody able to contribute well in open field fighting, help the attack succeed. Second, the walls or door needs to be rapidly repaired. RAPIDLY. If enough players respond quickly the wall or door could be quickly repaired in sixty seconds. So even if the counter attack fails, it may have yet bought the reprieve that allows you to repair the walls and door. Not only does this help you defend again when the attackers start firing once more, it also can repair your keep enough for all dead players to respawn or reinforcements to travel to the keep. Meaning your companions who failed in their counter attack, can immediately rejoin the fight, and other defenders who have anxiously been eyeing that battle on the map can join in. But the cycle continues, until a counter attack works and you sweep the attackers.

Good luck. I hope this helps some of you enjoy Cyrodiil. I want to encourage you to try it, because if you use siege weapons properly, they truly are a wonderful way that new players can meaningfully contribute to PVP. And if you are each thinking in sense of this three step process, you will naturally coordinate in the best way possible given that you are only companions of circumstance rather than a pre-coordinated defense.
  • Artis
    A lot of good info. And the last part is absolutely on point and seems like most people don't intuitively understand it: you can't defend a keep if you don't counter attack! The time is working for them and they can respawn and place new siege weapons infinitely.

    Would be cool and helpful for readers, if you could add screenshots illustrating some of the things you're saying: oil spots you listed (maybe even the optimal placement of as many oils as possible there), and hitting several siege weapons at once.
  • BejaProphet
    Thanks for the feedback. And yes, I agree that would be helpful. But I play on XBOX and I am not technically savvy enough to record me on xbox and get it on my computer. But those things would be wonderful for somebody to link in this thread.
  • Serjustin19
    HI, I want to add some stuff to, least what worked for me (Via Trial and Error over 2+yr In Cyrodiil. I'm still learning)

    I wanted to add, while those defenders using oil on top above door and top wall. In order to keep the attackers at bay, it's still not enough; especially with the enemy support siege bubble.

    I would also like to recommend if it's OK. That defenders of the keep should go to Right or Left Tower and use stone ballista and or fire ballista (certain extant, but not always.

    However I would greatly recommended going to the left keep outer tower instead. Setup stone ballista (or fire ballista to certain extent) and start siege. It’s possible to attack the ram at left keep outer tower by door. It's just takes a lot of practice, but keep practice.

    Also able to use 2 sieges to attack ram, however if enemy has no ram. Place your ballista but away from prongs (those pointy things on Wall...) start sieging enemy sieges, again able to use 2 stone ballista's, (But with limited view at times)

    Most of the time on left outer keep tower, it's very possible to see the outer door break. If you haven't siege when the door break it's possible to mount up and go along the tower wall (It's hard to explain) all the way until your close to side door.

    If no enemy is close by side door, then safe to jump of wall and go to side door (hard to explain) most of times your lucky to made it in side door.

    Now what I'm about to put, let's say enemy does actually reach to inner door and start sieging inner door. Most would say it's a waste and bad example of what I about to give. I would also say they are right, but 85% it actually works. Expect it's really hard when enemy siege bubble is up, it's the 85%.

    It be expensive and probably waste of AP, yes but I would recommend to try this out. it has helped me in many occasions as well when sometimes I'm the only Keep defender.

    1. Always keep 8 oils on hand. Always.

    2. When no one putting up oil, then you must put oil. But near the grate. If done correctly it's possible to fit 5 oils around the grate to defend inner door.

    3. Most expensive,( as well as give enemy advantage but certain extent) Start setting up oils. 1by 1 around the grate above door. But do not use the oils after setting them up. Keep setting oils up around the grate. Make sure you angle the oils pointing to door, but don't use them yet. Once you finished setting up the 5th oil, then and only then, use all your oils. But after the 5th is up.

    You be surprised how many will get destroyed doing this way, instead of setting up 1 and then use it with little effect. However if enemy set up siege support bubble by inner door, it's even more riskier. Most of time it won't work and really hope you get reinforcements in time.

    Yes this is why many will say my advice is really terrible, as well as being expensive. Especially when oils just sitting and taken self damage, while waiting for you to setup your last 5th oil around grate. Not to mention will also give your enemy an advantage, which would be enemy disadvantage in turn.

    I'm to confusing.
    Edited by Serjustin19 on September 1, 2017 6:15PM
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  • Turelus
    Community Ambassador
    @Nermy bring some old man wisdom here why don't you. :grin:
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  • Nermy
    Turelus wrote: »
    @Nermy bring some old man wisdom here why don't you. :grin:

    Who are you calling 'old man'? :p
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  • BejaProphet
    @serjustin19 You give several good tips. I especially like that you can get on the wings and go at the ram with ballistae. I've done that before. However, I seldom do, because I find four constant oil pots get the job done. Without a siege bubble two will. Four I think will do it regardless of siege bubble. So my advice to a new person would be to begin targeting siege weapons if oil is covered. If other siege weapon is covered down, then sure, you can add some fire to ram from the sides. But usually I see a bad need for stone ballistae to be targeting attacking trebuchet and ballistae. That, and a desire for things to be super simple causes me to leave out such things though.

    Two good stories happened to me yesterday to illustrate this guide. First, I was solo defending a keep while an organized group of eight attacked setting up the current meta of ram + ballistae crowded around the door. I knew I couldn't stop them alone but I followed this guide and hoped reinforcements would arrive. Began dropping oil from two pots. Took out ram, made them go through front door slowly. On that door I set up oil, a second player was with me then, and was using one of my oil pots. So I left both pots to him, and I set up one stone ballistae. I was hitting three of their siege weapons at a time, while he took out the ram with my oils. We held them off so long, people finally arrived and wiped them. We won. Two people (only one actually placing defenses!) held off 8 who were very well organized and trained.

    Second story, I come up to help a siege defense in progress, FIFTEEN of my alliance sitting on our wall casting spells, zero oils, zero stone ballistae defending. We lost. Fifteen men could have held off fifty men if they simply known how to defend correctly. And I mean if they simply had known the basics. Not even needing advanced tips.
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