Builds (gear and abilities) that you use for a large group should be very different than those you use for a small group or solo ganking. Many people watch streams or videos of some very good (or bad) players and try to emulate them in different play styles and contexts. All this serves to do is waste your time, gold, resources, etc. If you see someone in a very nice solo build, then don’t try it in a group of 20 people. You bring very little value to your group unless you’re an amazing player – and if you’re an amazing player you’re probably not going to flat out copy some build you saw someone using in a stream.

Build and gear min/max details change every time there’s a new patch or someone comes up with a great idea. Pay attention to what new sets come out regularly!

Magicka builds:

  • Most magicka builds who have their Undaunted skill line levelled up with all passives unlocked should be running 5 light, 1 medium, and 1 heavy with the chest as a heavy (as the chest gives the most armour) and one of the head/shoulders/legs/feet as medium (they all give equivalent armour).
  • For other build considerations, note that the belt gives the least armour, and gloves second least – so builds that only have one light armour item should have the belt as such.
  • The use of food vs drink or the 1 stat + 1 regen consumables are debatable depending on your build, role, and responsibilities. More resources give more damage or healing, though without enough regeneration you won’t be able to sustain your damage or healing. A good magicka regeneration number to start with is 1800, and you need to find what works best for you. I personally prefer the food that gives max health with both magicka and stamina regeneration, though that can be cost prohibitive.
  • Character points should all be put into max magicka. It’s easier to change enchants or consumable than redo character points all the time if you want changes made to your resource pools.
  • As a base, all armour enchants should be max magicka and jewellery enchants should be spell damage. If you find that you need more of other resources (health/stamina), the major pieces (chest / head / pants) should have tri-stat enchants. As a general rule, if you need more health then changing a magicka enchant to a tri-chant is the most effective method to gain such.

Standard Magicka for group play: This combination gives you good damage and the speed resurrection bonus for Kagrena’c Hope that is vital to recovering from losing a few players in a fight. I highly recommend this build for anyone in group who already has Alliance War skill line rank 10 with the Battle Resurrection passive as they stack for an even faster resurrection. Templars who have the passive for faster resurrection, PvP skill rank 10, and Kagrenac’s Hope can resurrect a fallen ally in a few seconds. Note that as of the TG patch resurrection bonuses are multiplicative instead of additive, so the old 1.25 second Templar resurrection is now about 3 seconds.

Traits on gear: Unless you are in a niche build or are a ganker, every single piece of armour that you use in PvP should have the Impenetrable trait. The math behind this suggestion can be found here: http://goo.gl/84hnar (also linked from the Defence section). Some sorcerers will prefer Divines if they can maintain their shields (which can not be crit) 100% of the time, though for the most part I still suggest Impenetrable even to them. Shields will go down, and Impenetrable can be the difference between being 1-shot and living long enough to get their shields back up.

Stamina builds:

  • While many stamina build prefer 7/7 medium armour to take advantage of the medium armour passives, most seem to be running 5 heavy (Black Rose) with 2 medium.
  • Character points should all be put into stamina.
  • All armour enchants should be max stamina and jewelry enchants should be weapon damage.
  • Max health + max stamina, and max health + stamina regeneration are the two consumables that seem to be most popular with the better stamina players that I run with. As always, you need to  find what works best for you.
  • The use of dual wield for AoE damage, bow for single target ranged and two handed weapons for single target melee (or rally buff/heal) will depend on your play style or the needs of your group. Try to have all of them available if you can.

Please keep in mind that these are simply standard details related to common builds. Using a good build is just one of many things necessary to succeed.

There used to be a lot more detail about particular sets and combinations in this section. I removed them as build discussions have mostly moved to Discord.

Do what your leader tells you to do.

Learn to cast / use skills as you move.

Learn when to roll dodge, and practice movement and skills/casting coming out of a dodge.

Learn to recognise the animations of every skill in the game, so you know when you need to move out of something (like a DawnBreaker).

Most importantly, never stop moving. If you stand in one place, you will probably die.

Some of this is the responsibility of the group leader, though every individual needs to be aware of where their opponents are located, where damage is coming from, the existence of red circles on the ground (indicative of AoE or siege), and where to position in order not to get hit.

People dropping siege can make or break a fight. Siege needs some space, and has a projectile time (before it hits), so locating your friendly siege well is very important. The person(s) running siege also need to be protected (they can’t just stand out in the open and expect not to be attacked.

When running siege, you should get on the siege to fire when it’s ready, then immediately get off of it and maintain awareness of your surroundings. If counter siege is aimed at you, get out of the circle it’s going to hit, then go back in and fire your siege.

Line of sight is another important principle. An area of effect projectile spell will not hit you if it can’t see you, though a single target projectile will still hit you if it starts travelling before you move out of sight.

When in and group and in stealth, don’t use any skills! There are some that can be safely used in stealth, though the people who are watching you don’t know that, and can easily give away your stealth position. If there is a group of people in stealth near you, you should stealth as well so as not to reveal them.

If there is a large train of players (grouped up tightly) moving towards you, then roll to the side! If you stay directly in front of them, it doesn’t matter how tanky or survivable you are, you’re not likely to live through it. It is better to use some stamina in a dodge roll then all of your (or your healers’) resources staying alive in the face of high damage.

If someone is moving towards you with a proxy detonation on them, move away until the proxy explodes and then attack. If you can’t move away, blocking the detonation is usually your best option, though be wary of destro staff ultimates that can’t be blocked.

A good leader understands all of these principles (among many other things), can predict what opponents will do, and make the right calls to counter them

A good leader is completely useless unless the people in the group all perform well. If the leader calls for movement, you should move. If you stay where you are, you may get one more kill, but more often than not the leader knows or sees something you do not, or is strategizing for the next movement and if you do not follow commands then the group is less powerful. You may have gotten that one kill, but you’re going to miss out on the next 20 kills because of it, or put others in your group at risk because they have to come resurrect you rather than keep on killing.

Do what your leader tells you or get out of the group.

If every person in a group plays the same class and uses the same skills, your group will fail.

If you have good healers (and players), your group will usually need (total members /4) healers. If that doesn’t sound right, take the total number of people in group (round up to the nearest multiple of 4), then divide that by 4. For a group of 12 people, you would need 3 healers (if they are good and your players play well). If your players are not performing and simply stand in damage, then no amount of healers will help you.

A dedicated person, two or even three (if the group is large enough) on cc (to fear, talons, etc.) is important. One player (usually a DK or Templar) running a set that applies a defile (heal bebuff) such as Fasala’s Guile is also very important.

A few people on siege is important too. Fire siege does very little damage to players these days, though meatbags are critical to preventing opponent healing. Stone trebuchets will hit for about 10k damage. That’s almost half of most opponents health (or the full value of most shields). One or two people hitting with stone trebs (or even cold stone trebs) at the start of a fight can make for a very quick win!

A few people running particular skills (such as efficient purge, siege shield, etc) is very important, as are the retreating manoeuvres to get your players out of slows – and remove snares from people who would otherwise get caught out and die.

A diverse assortment of ultimates and ordering them such that the group leader can call for them is critical.

When forming a group (or adding people to a group), spending a few minutes making sure that the group composition makes sense, key skills are available, and ultimate orders and calls are understood by everyone is critical.

There are optimized builds for every set of roles and responsibilities in a group. Some may need more weapon damage, some more spell damage, some larger resource pools, some more resource regeneration, and some more defensive stats. The gear, enchants, and skills that you use / equip / put on your bar are what determine if you have the potential to be great. Good gear does not make a good player, but it does give the player a higher likelihood of success.

Every individual has a role and responsibilities. Some examples are: Stamina DPS, Magicka DPS, Disruptor (disrupts the opponents with cc), Protector (ensures that certain key members of  your group don’t get targeted) and Healer. Note that there is no such thing as a tank in PvP, or rather a PvP tank doesn’t serve much purpose. If you come into PvP thinking you’ll be “the tank”, very few good leaders will want you in their groups. There is a requirement for “tanky” players to assume other roles (such as applying defile or other healing debuffs to opponents), but there is no dedicated Tank role as there is in PvE since you have no control over who your opponents attack. If they think even a little bit about what they’re doing, they will target the high priority players first (such as known group leaders, healers, or high damage doers) – not the person who will last to the end of the fight who doesn’t do anything useful. It can be fun to be “the tank” and last a long time before dying, though you should also consider that you’re not going to make very many points by just standing there holding block.

Be very wary of taking advice from people. People build biases based on what they like to do, not necessarily what is best for them or their group.

 

There are many buffs that give benefits to your allies, and debuffs that take remove benefits or add hindrances to your opponents. Read all of the passives of all of your skill lines, and ensure that you are keeping your needed buffs up at all times.

A simple example that is not used near enough is Choking Talons. Most DKs use the morph that adds more damage, though the Choking morph reduces opponent damage by 15%. If your group is going to charge into an opposing group of 20+ players, having a tanky DK go in a few seconds early and cast Choking Talons a few times before you hit them can make a huge difference.

The timing on your own buffs is also very important. If you’re using DW (either as stamina or magicka) then the cast of Quick Cloak just before you’re going to get hit by AoE damage will negate an additional 20% of said incoming damage. When I lead groups, I’ll often call for “20 second buffs”, meaning that I’m giving people 3-4 seconds to apply everything that they want before going in. I’ll sometimes call “20 second buffs” as we disengage or if the engagement is delayed by a few seconds to ensure that my team’s buffs are all up for as long as possible without them needing to spend casting time reapplying them.

There are also some sets that provide buffs to your allies such as Spell Power Cure (increase spell damage). Having such a set on a player who can provide the associated buff to as many players in your group as possible can greatly increase the performance of your group.

Crowd control is one of the most critical and under rated mechanisms in the game. There are two types of crowd control, hard and soft. Hard usually causes a loss of control of your character (such as being feared or knocked up/down), while soft usually causes you to be unable to move, but you can still cast spells or use skills (such as being snared by Talons or Bombard).

Lets consider a NB’s fear skill. It hits 3 targets, and puts them out of the fight for between 1 and 2 seconds (one or two casts of skills). One player casting fear doesn’t do any damage or healing, though negates the activities of three opposing players for the same amount of time (or more) it took to cast the fear. Unfortunately (or fortunately depending on how you look at it), fear is not a smart targeting system, and may hit someone who is immune from cc (as they’ve just broken out of a cc effect), so continued fears within a large group of opponents will probably only take out two targets after the first few seconds of fighting, though two for one is still very good especially if you’re outnumbered!

Snares are critical to taking out groups that move tightly together. A few people casting snares will cause some opponents to get stuck for a second or two, fall behind the moving group, and lose the protections that being in said group (all balled up) provides them. They’ll be much easier to kill. A strung out group can be focused down one by one, whereas a balled group needs to be AoE’ed.

Having your NBs cast fear regularly, your DKs talons, your archers Bombard (though consider that you can’t snare someone with cc immunity using bombard), your ice staff users slows and the use of ultimates that knock up (Meteor), down (Nova) or snare (ice destro staff ultimate) in the right place can all cause your opponents to get out of position, panic, or use up their critical stamina resources getting out of them. A player with no stamina can’t block or escape, and can be killed much more easily.

Defensive statistics are important, though too many people focus on staying alive and ultimately lose fights as they can’t do enough damage. I personally prefer glass cannon builds (the best defence is a good offence), as I’ll usually be able to kill my opponent before they can kill me. In a group with good healers and crown control, being able to kill off the high priority targets of your opposing groups will increase the likelihood of winning an engagement. While this may be my personal preference for build / play style based on the current patch (December 2015), there is value in having different builds in a group that aid in protecting the group.

  • The way defensive stats work, if you have 32,000 resist, then it mitigates 50% of the damage (you take half of the damage that you should). Your resist minus your attacker’s penetration will result in a number. Each 640 Resist in that number mitigates 1% of incoming damage up to a maximum possible mitigation of 50%.
  • Everyone should be running a skill/buff that gives major defensive stats (Immovable, Rune Focus, etc.) and/or a skill for added mitigation (Blade Cloak for DW to mitigate 20% of AoE damage, Dodge from NB or medium armour passives, shields for Templars and Sorcerers, or others).
  • Healing is not only the healers’ responsibility. If a stamina DPS player is PvP skill rank 5, then the Vigor skill is an amazing AoE heal, and casting it when you know your group is taking large AoE damage will help everyone. The Cleanse morph of Purge uses a lot of magicka, though the heal on it effectively negates one large hit from almost anything. Some buffs also heal or apply a HoT (Heal over Time). The less your healers have to heal you all at once, the longer they can keep everyone alive.
  • I did some calculations based on Impenetrable vs. Reinforced traits: http://goo.gl/Zng18G
  • I also recently updated my crit vs. impenetrable calculations: http://goo.gl/84hnar and have concluded that impenetrable is still a very important trait on gear.

Offensive tactics first involve knowing how likely you are to win a fight. Some groups are better than others for a variety of reasons (coordination, balance, composition, leadership, experience, min/maxed builds, etc) and knowing that you are outclassed can save a lot of frustration and change the tactics that you’re should use in order to try and win an engagement.

Every player should be min/maxed for their role and responsibilities. For offinsive players that means that they should be able to do the most damage. Every major patch the min/max for each class/spec may change, so always pay attention to the theorycrafters (if you don’t want to do it yourself). For stamina builds, you will probably stack the most weapon damage and maximum stamina with sufficient crit. For magicka builds, it will be the most spell damage and maximum magicka with sufficient crit. You’ll need a reasonable amount of resource regeneration, and to choose the right skill on your bars. I’m not going to go into each build, though if you are in a good PvP guild I’m sure that there are people who can help you. If you’re new to the game and want a quick recommendation, I’m usually happy to spend a few minutes (as long as I’m not in battle) helping people out – regardless of your faction.

  • A good balance of outgoing damage types is critical. Dual wield Steel Tornado spammers and coordinated proxy detonations have become the norm, though there is always room for a good player with a good build.
  • Coordinating your damage so that it all hits at the same time makes it much more difficult for opposing healers to keep their players up.
  • The best timing on execute skills to kill opponents is based on their health. Most become effective at 20 or 25%.
  • Debuffs that reduce healing mean you’ll have less damage to do in order to kill an opponent that is receiving heals from a healer (or themselves using one of their own skills). For example, a DK’s Dragon Blood skill heals for less if they are debuffed, so ensure that as much as possible everyone runs the disease enchant on their weapons, a Meatbag catapult hits opponents, and skills such as Dark Flare (Templar) among others are put on high priority targets. If you’re running solo (and are a NB), Soul Harvest also applies a healing debuff.
  • People with a high enough PvP rank should be using the skills available from it, most notably Proximity Detonation. This puts a bomb on you that detonates after a few seconds and damages all enemies that are close enough. There are groups who all run that skill (even those who are stamina builds). Consider that a stamina build may only do 2,000 damage with that skill (after mitigation) and magic damage can crit at over 10k. If you have 12 people all running that skill, even if they each only so 2,000 damage, their opponent is just about dead and can be killed with an execution of Steel Tornado.
  • Knowing when to use your skills is critical. When you see a group of opponents running at you with blue glowing lights and big red circles around them (they’ve all cast Proxy Det as described above), run away for a few seconds until they detonate, and then turn around to do your damage. If you take the damage from all those detonations, then you’re reducing the likelihood of winning the engagement. Proxy Det will take a few seconds to re-arm, so you’ll have time to kill them before it explodes again.

CrownWelcome to my ESO PvP Guides. There are way too many people saying way too many different things about PvP. This is my attempt to ensure that as many people as possible are not given false, misleading, or wrong information.

Why should you listen to me? My main character on PC/NA is Crown, Alliance War Grand Overlord (the highest PvP rank that you can get) and the first North American AD player to reach that rank. I have been playing since about a month after launch, and have been in Cyrodiil (PvP) since mid 2014. Between all of my characters, I’ve been crowned Emperor 70 times that I recall on every campaign since Thornblade (I believe that I’ve worked hard at and deserved most of those – though a few were night capped or PvDoored by other people while I was sleeping), and have helped more people than I care to remember become Emperor and/or make it to the top 2% of the leader boards in every campaign I’ve played.

Do you have to listen to me? No. If you don’t want to / care to, stop reading and go do something more fun. If you are relatively new to the game and want to read some of my advice, then please do read on and perhaps it can help you be a better player.

I stopped playing the game regularly around the time that Thieves Guild was released (early 2016) and came back to the game just after One Tamriel (September 2016). The main reasons I left the game were due to a realisation that I enjoyed the camaraderie and social aspects of the game far more than actually playing. This was largely due to the issues and problems that had not been addressed, game breaking bugs, lack of proper balance, and decisions made by the people in charge that simply made the game worse rather than more fun. There are still significant issues with PvP (and the game in general), though until Camelot Unchained is out of beta, or something else grabs my attention, I’ll be playing ESO again (though nowhere near as much or as seriously as I did before).

Successful groups are based on a few principles that will be discussed in the next few sections. If there’s anything you’d like to see added to this (specific sections, content / discussions, etc) please let me know!

Anyone who is/was part of Moonlight, Majestic 12, Misfitz, Victorem, Resilient, RAGE, DiE, and really anyone else who wants to just chat, be social, or keep up with where everyone has gone / what they are playing is welcome to join us in PvP.Ninja Discord. If you’re an ESO player, you’re also welcome to join the ESO PvP Discord.