First I’d like to go over a bit about how Alliance Points (AP) work: They come primarily from killing opponents. Each individual is worth a certain amount of AP. That amount usually ranges from 1500 to 1,800 though it can vary from almost nothing up to 2250 based on a few factors. Please see this spreadsheet for more details.

  • The level of the person who died (lower level = less AP)
  • How long since the person died (shorter = less AP with full AP value returning after 5 minutes of no deaths)
  • The alliance rank of the person being killed (0.5% per alliance rank)
    • (25% more AP for killing an AR50 Grand Overlord than an AR1 Volunteer)
  • The campaign buffs that you have (small % for home keeps, and more for each enemy keep owned)
  • The personal buff that you have (20% for killing a delve boss)

When you’re solo, if you’re the only person to damage an opponent (and nobody has healed you while you took damage from said opponent), you get all the AP.

If you are part of a group, then for every member of the group (even if they didn’t participate in the killing or healing), as long as they are in range, the AP will be split with the members of the group See the spreadsheet linked above for more details. There is a balance to be found for making AP, and I’ve always preferred groups of 6 to 12 – as beyond that the AP is too diluted.

In order to get AP from a kill you (or your group) has to do damage to the person who died. Simply tagging them (such as with caltrops) isn’t usually enough, as the amount of AP you get scales with the percentage of damage that you do to the target. In most engagements, people will be healed while they fight, so a person with 20k health may in fact need 50k damage to be killed (as the person has received 30k healing over the course of the fight). Damage to shields is also included in this, so if you want a significant portion of the AP gains you usually have to do a lot of damage.

Healing other players used to give a lot of AP, though that has been reduced in the current patch. Simply casting heals on people won’t net you any AP unless those people have taken damage while in combat and the person you heal (or their group) kills a target worth AP. If a large group is spamming AoE abilities and taking down opponents, then you’re probably not going to be able to heal them enough to count for enough AP to be worth spending the time.

Bizarrely, people who take fall damage can be healed for a little bit of AP even while not in combat and that AP is not usually shared with the group.

When players (both sides) die in range of a keep, resource, or outpost (or behind a scroll gate), the total amount of AP that they gave up with their deaths (average tends to be about 1600 for their first death, then less each subsequent one if they die within 5 minutes of respawn) gets added to “the tick pool”. If a keep/resource/outpost is taken there is an offensive tick (O-Tick). If there has been no death within a certain amount of time (ranges from 45 seconds to 3 minutes depending on where you are) then there is a defensive tick (D-Tick). When a tick happens, the total tick pool gets divided up between all of the players within range (who are members of the alliance that owns the keep/resource/outpost). Most ticks range from a few hundred to a few thousand, though prolonged fights can generate ticks in the tens of thousands. The largest tick I’ve ever seen was for 118k AP at Bleakers. Long long ago, there was a 70k tick called “The Tickening”. It took place at Sej in late 2014 after a fight that lasted well over 8 hours. Opponents would send people in to die every minute while they regrouped just to ensure that there would be no D-tick.

You can also make AP by turning in quests that are given at your starting gate, though other than the kill enemies quests they tend to be more opportunistic – rather than something you should strive to do.

Repairing walls and doors also makes you AP, though the amount that you spend on repair kits will be more than what you get by using them. If you are repairing, try to get the major mending buff as it applies extra “healing” to repairs as well, saving you on the cost of repair kits. The extra AP from repairing a wall while you have major mending is proportional to the extra repair amount that you do.

You can increase your AP gains by 20% for one hour by killing a boss in a delve. Note that it may take a few minutes to get to a delve, clear the trash, and kill the boss – then get back to your group or fight location. You should never leave a good fight or a potential tick to get the buff, as the amount of AP you’ll lose out on may very well be more than 20% of what you’ll make in the next hour. Always save your AP buff renewals for times when your group is on break, or you know there will be a lull in fighting for a few minutes. If you are not in a group, or want to take a change that you won’t get stuck in a long load screen, you can allow the delve NPCs to kill you then respawn at the wayshrine. This is usually a faster way to get out of a delve unless you’re far from your own faction’s control with nowhere to transit to.

Now that you understand how AP works, it is very important to understand that there are very different play styles. Playing for AP farming is very different from playing for map control, winning fights, taking keeps/resources/outposts/villages, or any other play style. When you play for AP, the most important thing is how much AP you will make. If you can make 10k more AP per hour by repeatedly bombing, dying, and running back than you can by waiting and ganking (but never dying), then you choose the first method. Every player has to figure this out for themselves – what is the best method for making AP based on their skills, build, and preferred style of play.

When looking at the map and deciding where you want to make AP, you need to consider where your opponents will be, where will they be coming from (running back after being killed), who else will be there (other factions and your own faction), the likelihood of how long you’ll live, how many kills you’ll get, what percentage of AP you’ll get for those kills if shared with other people, what the terrain will be like, and a lot of other things. When you see popular streamers going for emperor, they usually don’t understand AP farming and just try to play their 1vX (I call it 1vPotato as they don’t fight skilled players, they only look for easy kills) style as usual. That style will make good AP most of the time, though a true AP farmer is easily capable of making more.

One of the easiest ways I used to make AP (that tended to drive other people crazy as they couldn’t figure it out) was to run two people, one a tank (yes, I know I’ve said that there are no tanks in PvP) and the other a magicka nightblade with a fire staff. The tank would lure people to the edge of cliffs (you can find a LOT of them in Cyrodiil), and the nightblade would knock them off with a flame reach. The important thing to note there is that the two players would not be grouped, and the tank would not do any damage to the opponents, so the nightblade would get all of the AP. This works just as well with other classes, though takes better timing and positioning as a nightblade is able to stealth easily while multiple opponents charge at the tank (who would stand there and block at the edge of the cliff). The best such AP farming moment I ever had was 28 different players who all ran sporadically in to a particular location just north of Bleakers, most of whom died by being knocked off a narrow ledge with a meteor, and the rest with flame reach. That was about 50k AP in 2 minutes.

In order to understand a lot of the ways AP works, a person has to spend many hours testing every skill. Over time and different patches, AP gains have changed based on damage, healing, synergies, buff application, debuff removal, and debuff application. The results of the below have changed over time, and I will not share past and current test results – though this has always been a very important series of tests at each major patch that relate to the creation of new strategies on how I’ve made a lot of AP when solo/duo. Here are a few tests that you could perform to see how each skill that you have available impact AP gains. In the past (when I really cared about AP farming) I maintained excel sheets for each skill in every tree available to any character on which I’ve wanted to make AP:

  • Do damage to a target that someone else of your alliance kills. What percentage of the the damage needed to kill them did you do, and what percentage of the AP did you get? If shields were applied to the target, does the total damage to kill them include shield damage?
  • Do damage to a target that someone of another alliance kills (If you’re AD, damage an EP player that a DC player then kills). What percentage of the the damage needed to kill them did you do, and what percentage of the AP from their death did you get? If shields were applied to the target, does the total damage to kill them include shield damage?
  • Cast or use a skill that enables a synergy that someone else of your alliance uses before they kill a target. Does using the synergy equate to a percentage of the the damage needed to kill the target, or of healing on the friendly player, and what percentage of the AP did you get?
  • Apply a debuff to a target that someone else of your alliance kills. Does the debuff equate to a percentage of the the damage needed to kill them, and how much of the total AP from their death did you get?
  • Apply a debuff to a target that someone of another alliance kills (If you’re AD, apply a debuff to an EP player that a DC player then kills). Does the debuff equate to a percentage of the the damage needed to kill them, and what percentage of the total AP from their death did you get?
  • Heal someone else of your alliance who then kills a target. What percentage of the damage that they took did you heal or what percentage of their total health did you heal (two separate tests) and how much of the total AP did you get? If you shielded instead of healed, how does that affect the numbers?
  • Apply a buff to someone else of your alliance who then kills a target. Does the buff equate to a percentage of the healing done, and what percentage of their AP did you get?
  • Remove a debuff from someone else of your alliance who then kills a target. Does the debuff removal equate to a percentage of the healing done, and what percentage of their AP did you get?

Then, for each of the above, you also have to consider (and find out) for the beneficial activities (healing, shielding, synergies, buffing, or removing a debuff from a non-grouped same-faction player), how long after you apply them will the link from you to the other player last. It may be solely for the kill in question, it may be for a period of time (perhaps until they exit combat), or it may be for a particular range (from one end of the Alessia bridge to the other).

You also have to consider which skills, abilities, synergies, buffs, and debuff removals can apply to people who are not in your group, and when they are performed, do you gain a percentage of the player on whom you cast, or are you treated (for the purposes of AP gains) as an equal member of that player’s group. If that latter, then a new series of tests need to be performed per the paragraph above related to how long will the link from you to the other group last. Another very important consideration for situations where multiple conditions apply, and you gain links to multiple groups who both participate in a kill. In that case, is it possible that you can double-dip in the AP gains and be considered as a full member of multiple groups gaining AP for both?

The last consideration is related to guards. Are there skills or abilities that you can use that affect guards at a keep or a resource? If you use the right ones, and guards do damage to opposing players, might that damage be considered as coming from you for the purposes of AP calculations?

If anyone would like to discuss AP farming techniques, I’m happy to do so in Discord (see the links on the main page).

There two major types of groups, PUGs and guild groups.

PUG stands for Pick Up Group. Sometimes, anyone who is not part of *your* group is called PUGs. It can sometimes be used as a derogatory term by groups who consider themselves elite, though factually, any group that is not pre-organized as part of a guild is a PUG. PUGs are generally open to anyone, though some will require that you join in for voice communications. You never know what you’re going to get with a PUG.

Guild groups can be of any size up to a full 24 person group. These groups are usually restricted to guild members only. Sometimes they will be open to random people in order to find new potential members, though that is the exception and not the rule.

When joining a group you are expected to follow the directions of the leader. If you don’t follow the leader’s directions, you will probably be kicked from the group. You may not like the directions, and you may not believe that the leader’s decisions are the best or most appropriate ones, though you still need to follow them. If you don’t want to follow the leader of the group, then leave the group.

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.

Stone trebs do 4,000 damage to walls. Stone ballista do 2000 damage to walls. You can shoot a ballista twice for every shot of a treb. Both will do the same amount of damage over time to a wall or door, though if you have twice the wait for reload, a normal player can run more trebs than ballista. One player can easily run two ballista, or three trebs, making that player much more efficient with trebs.

When besieging a keep or outpost, don’t just hop onto any open siege you see. Most experienced players will set up two or three siege and rotate between them. We feel very useless when running three siege and random people hop on two of them. We know that we can run more, we’re just not able to. If you don’t have any siege, then buy some! Don’t steal siege unless you see the siege owner run away / move off to do something else.

When sieging a door with a ram, drop ballistas right in front of the door and surrounding it so that the people on the ram can fire the ballistas. One of the people on the ram should be running cleanse, or alternatively one can run efficient purge and another can spam healing in the event that oils are poured on the ram. Position yourself with your back to the door in the corner, as some oils being poured won’t hit you in that spot.

Siege shield can save your ram (or any siege for that matter) a lot of damage. It is especially useful on rams as there will often be oil poured down onto said ram..

When starting to place siege against the outer wall of a keep, place trebs down first so that they can hit the inner (if you are going to try to take both down at once). When placing siege down after the first one, try to place them in a triangular form at minimum distance from each other. If your siege line is too spread out, you make it easier for gankers to take out the people on the edges.

If your siege is on the edge or back of the line – or near a set of stairs that someone can come up to it, get a caltrops on it. That will prevent sneaky nightblades from burning them. If you have caltrops and the person on that siege doesn’t, then cast yours to help them out.

Meatbags apply a healing debuff on opponents, while oil catapults slow them and sap stamina. Both are very useful when hitting a choke (such as a breach in the wall), though you won’t usually need more than one or two.

Oil pots poured over a breach can do a huge amount of damage. Place them as close together as possible and pour them when opponents are moving under you.

Make sure that you know the timing for each type of siege at different ranges. You can go to a safe keep and siege to your heart’s content in order to test and get a feel for distance and timing.

Siege repair kits cost less than buying new siege. If you have a siege low on hit points, repair it in between firing. You can also take it down, and when you’re in a safe place put it down again, repair it up, and pack it up.

Picking up a scroll and running it can be a lot of fun, though there are a few important considerations you should make before picking it up and while running it:

  • How much opposition you are likely to face. If you will need to be able to take a good few hits running through opponents, then a player in light armor with no shields is not the best option. If you need to outrun opponents, a player in all heavy armor with low stamina regen is also not a great choice. The scroll carrier should have a good balance of run speed and survivability.
  • If you are part of an organized group with voice communications (TS or other). Being able to make and hear calls about the scroll carrier being in danger, or where opponents are coming from is very important. If you pick up the scroll and are not in a group, ask in zone to be invited to one. Most will be happy to bring you in to ensure the safe travels of the scroll.
  • The path you need to take. If you will be running through choke points, gates, or areas in which opponents can plan to bomb you, ensure that you have people riding ahead to watch and let you know if it’s safe. Don’t get too far ahead of the group if you’re fast, and don’t fall behind.
  • Scroll quests. Have you turned in your current one? If not, don’t pick up another scroll as you’ll not be able to turn in your quest before capping the one being picked up. Scroll carriers will usually announce that they are capping and give people a minute to ensure that they have the right quest.
  • Resource management. Some classes with certain builds can move at full speed all the time such as high magicka regen NBs with concealed weapon and dark cloak, or very high stamina regen sprint cost reduction builds. If you are not one of these, you may be tempted to burn all of your stamina running, though make sure you have enough to block if need be. Other people should provide you with the Rapid Maneuvers buff so that you can use your stamina more efficiently.

I’ve been intending to write up a choose your own adventure style decision tree on choosing where to go dependent upon your goals, though haven’t yet put enough time into it.

Where you go will depend on your primary and secondary goals, such as:

  • Make the most points
  • Defend keeps from opposing faction
  • Take keeps from opposing faction
  • Increase your faction’s campaign points
  • Take campaign points away from opposing faction
  • Crown your faction’s emperor
  • Dethrone an opposing faction’s emperor
  • Steal an opposing faction’s scroll
  • Have good / balanced fights with opposing groups