Strategy is what separates the Pick up Groups (Pugs or puggies) from the guys who go into Cyrodiil and make people cry. And I’ve been waiting for this week ever since I started writing articles. This is why I PvP in the Elder Scrolls Online (ESO). Strategy combined with real world leadership comes into play and you’re not just mashing buttons anymore. You’re using distraction, coordination, surprise and other ploys to turn the map in your favor. The best part of it is that you’re not playing against a preset objective with fixed obstacles. You’re facing living breathing people who sometimes have the capacity to rival your strategy and even outsmart you. The trick is to not let them do that. The best defense against that is knowledge. This is a big topic so it might take a few weeks to get through. Hopefully, I’ll be able to impart some of that to you this week as we take on ESO PvP Strategy part I.
Looking at the Map
Look to see if there are any keeps flagged. A keep is flagged when it’s outer or inner walls are brought down to 50% strength. This will be signified by a yellow star around the keep. Generally, this can be a good sign that an attack is taking place, but it can also be a distraction. One single siege can bring a wall down to 50%. So, when leading a group you should always send a scout to a location to make sure an attack is real. Make sure this scout has a Forward Camp (FC) so if the threat is real, you can respond quickly.
You can also typically predict an attack by what an opposing alliance has just done. Let’s say that we’re playing as Aldmeri Dominion (AD) and we own both Ash and Nickel. Then let’s say that Daggerfall Covenant (DC) has just taken Nickel. We can safely assume that their next target will be Ash since they have just cut off the free transit from our home keeps to Ash. Also, by this logic, we can send an ambush group towards Nickel from Ash to try and catch them off guard and wipe as many as possible. Since Nickel is an outpost, you cannot respawn at it. If the DC group headed from Nickel is obliterated, then Nickel should theoretically be an easy assault because it’s probably empty of enemy troops. Additionally, it would take a long time for any DC to ride back to Nickel to place an FC.
Strategy is not only employed by groups though. There are also strategies specific to ganking (Sneak attacking the enemy whilst employing guerrilla tactics rather than on a larger scale). This is usually based on attacking players as they return to the main battle after they have died and respawned at a FC or Keep. When defending at a Keep assault it is pivotal that you find out where their FC is. You can do this by scouting out where the enemy is running/riding back into the battle from. It doesn’t take long to find out the path that the majority of the group is running and then you just have to time out your attacks. If you are by yourself, you have to be careful that you don’t overstep your abilities by taking on too many. You usually want to change your positions between each gank so that they will not be prepared for your attack. Having a position with a good view is key. This way you can see if there are any more players coming up behind your target that would aid them if you attack. Always remember that the longer you gank the more likely it is that they will try to actively catch you. The best gankers are like lightning, they hit hard, fast, and never in the same place twice.
This is this sort of thinking that puts you ahead of the curve in Cyrodiil. You have to be able to anticipate the moves of your enemy and then counter them. Being able to read the map and predict an enemy’s movements is a critical part of leading a group. This is something that is learned over time and with a lot of experience. Remember that not every Alliance always has the same style or approach to strategy. The Ebonheart Pact (EP) in your campaign could be a bunch of West Point graduates or they could be derps (EP is usually pretty derpy though). Each campaign has its own unique style to it. It’s up to you to learn this and integrate it into your strategy.
Oooooooooh man do I love talking about this stuff. If you have any questions I’d love to hear from you guys and gals. Got any good stories about strategy? Notice any flaws in my logic? Tired of hearing me talk about this? Go ahead and let your voice be heard in the comments below. Thanks for reading and I’ll continue this topic next week.