Rather than write more about PvP addons, I made a video showing how I like to set up for healing.
This is using (not quite) minimal addons to get all of the options that I want available. When I have the time, I’ll add comments / notes to the video on Youtube with the time links for each addon, so for now you can probably watch it at 4x the speed and just pause when you get to the configs you’re looking for!
Here are my Minion addons list (as of 2020/Q4). Note that not all of these are active in PvP!
The math behind ESO has changed many times, and likely will change many more times. You’ll hear theory crafters talking about additive or multiplicative sets, buffs, debuffs, champion points, and skills. Here’s what that means with some math examples:
For the purpose of this example, the attacker is going to hit the defender with a skill. The base damage of the skill is 10,000 damage. If both parties are not using any gear, have no champion points, no buffs, zero armour and zero magic resist, then the defender will take the full 10,000 damage.
Consider the attacker then adds some champion points that adjust their damage output by 25%. That’s great, as their attack will now do (10,000 * 1.25 = 12,500) damage. In that first calculation, it doesn’t matter if we multiply the base damage by 1.25, or if we take 25% of that damage and add it to the total. With only one calculation (there’s NEVER only one calculation) the result is the same. Here are the two possible equations:
Multiplicative: 10,000 * 1.25 = 12,500
Additive: 10,000 + (10,000 * 0.25) = 12,500
Next, consider what happens if the attacker uses a buff that increases their damage output by 25% more. There are a few ways that this can play out depending on if the math is additive or multiplicative:
In this case, there’s only a difference of 625 damage, but consider that there may be 10+ different parts of the equation in normal fighting, and different sets, buffs, debuffs, champion points, and skills may each be treated differently (multiplicative or additive) in the equations. This is rendered even more challenging as the ZOS team may change how a particular item is treated in each patch, so a theory crafter will need to test and keep track of numbers / math for every set, buff, debuff, champion point, etc. every patch!
With ten instances of a 25% increase in damage (remember that this isn’t possible, it’s just being used to demonstrate how the math works):
One more example to put this into perspective is damage mitigation. For this example, we’re going to consider an AoE damage skill hitting someone with the following mitigation. Note that the likelihood of this actually happening is low, but it makes for a good example to understand.
Major Protection (30% Mitigation)
Minor Protection (8% Mitigation)
Heartland 4-Set Bonus (5% Mitigation)
Heartland 5-set Bonus (20% Mitigation)
Major Evasion (25% Mitigation)
Minor Evasion (10% Mitigation)
Swift Set (10% Mitigation)
Elemental Defender CP (15% Mitigation)
Thick Skinned CP (25% Mitigation)
If we add up all that mitigation together: 30+8+5+20+25+10+10+15+25 =148.
148% mitigation doesn’t make sense, and would reduce any AoE from players down to zero damage.
If all mitigation is multiplicative (it’s not like that, but for this example we’re pretending that it is), it will make more sense. Note that 20% mitigation means I will multiply the damage by 0.80. The calculation for how to turn a percentage into a multiplier is: (damage * (1 – 0.mitigation%))
With all nine sources of mitigation multiplicative, 0.70 * 0.92 * 0.95 * 0.80 * 0.75 * 0.90 * 0.90 * 0.85 * 0.75 = 0.19
In this case, the defender will have 81% mitigation and take 19% damage. From our original example of 10,000 damage (before buffs, CP, and sets that increase damage, the defender would take 1,895 damage. Note again that this is NOT a comprehensive example and does not include armour, magic resist, and other multipliers. It’s just an example to help you understand the math.
Sources of Stamina, Health, and Magicka cost reduction that are obtained from passives, abilities, or item sets are now all multiplicative, rather than being a mixture of additive and multiplicative.
Block mitigation now has a cap of 90%. This was done to prevent situations where you could reach 100% damage mitigation.
In Conclusion: Not everything is multiplicative, so it’s up to you to figure out which sources of damage and mitigation work out best for your build and/or group composition, and ensure that you have (at least) those available if you’re going to min/max.
You could be the absolute best damage build in existence. You could kill thousands of opponents. Your bombs could generate enough ultimate from Combat Frenzy that you could chain them back to back and keep killing forever. The only problem is, you have a finite amount of health, and you won’t be able to do any of this if you’re dead. Too many bombers and DPS players seem to think that they are the be-all and end-all of PvP. Many don’t realize that they wouldn’t be able to do anything without the healers and support roles that keep them alive, keep them moving, keep them purged, and keep them buffed with a myriad of benefits.
Raid healing may seem simple, and I’ve heard many people say things like “get a set of Seducer and just spam heals”. In reality, raid healing takes more awareness, predictive assessment, better reaction times, exceptional positioning, and a higher degree of coordination than most damage roles. A group leader will call for ultimates or some damage skills, but rarely will a raid leader make healing related calls other than “big heals” or some variant thereof. Raid healers will need to coordinate their gear, their movement, their skills, their timing, their ultimates, and may not be able to take advantage of voice communications to do so (the purview of the group leader making calls).
In this guide / post, my intent is to give an overview of what different gear, skills, and styles should exist for Templar raid healers so that your group can better plan and optimize (min/max) how you’re going to keep your DPS and bombers alive. If you’re a solo player or a small group player, while the information here might be interesting it won’t apply significantly to your play style. Note that while the focus here is on Templars, other classes can be viable raid healers as well. The information presented here is also focused on the premise that the healers in group will be coordinated and will want to min/max as a group rather than as individuals.
Individual healers playing in a group (as opposed to the aforementioned coordinated healers) will often want to use a higher regen or sustain set rather than one that will complement the group (such as Shroud of the Lich or Alteration Mastery).
As a main 5-set, most Templars will be very happy using Kagrenac’s Hope. This set has been a staple for many years, and gives a bit of everything: health, magicka, magicka regen, spell damage and the always important speed resurrection. This set pairs very well with The Master’s Resto as you can keep a Kagrenac’s resto staff, dual wield swords or sword & shield on one bar (depending on your build), and use The Master’s Resto for Illustrious Healing to apply the resource regeneration buff on your back bar.
For a second 5-set (or choice of two if you won’t be using Kagrenac’s Hope), there are a few options as listed below. While this is not an exhaustive list of all the good possibilities, and there are a lot of niche builds for small man that are very different, these are the main sets that raid healers should be running:
5 items: When you heal yourself or an ally with a healing over time ability, grant them 1400 Critical Resistance for 5 seconds.This is required for one healer (preferably a Templar). The Transmutation buff mitigates about 20% of extra critical strike damage. Every healer should have a set, and only one healer needs to run it in any given raid.
(5 items) When you heal yourself or an ally with a direct heal ability, remove up to 3 negative effects from them. If a negative effect was removed this way, your target restores 678 Magicka. This effect can occur every 8 seconds per target.
(5 items) Casting abilities that leave an effect on the ground will create a circle of healing frost for 10 seconds. You and your allies restore 2358 Health every 1 second while inside the circle. This effect can occur once every 10 seconds.
(5 items) When you heal yourself or an ally with an ability, gain a Warming Aura for 10 seconds. While in the Warming Aura, you and group members restore 1020 Health every 1 second and reduce the cost of Sprint, Block, and Roll Dodge by 5%. This effect can occur once every 12 seconds.
Nice to have on one healer who applies a lot of HoTs.
(5 items) When you heal yourself or an ally that is at 100% Health, you have a 50% chance to give the target Major Courage for 10 seconds which increases their Weapon Damage and Spell Damage by 258.
(5 items) Casting abilities that leave an effect on the ground in combat will create a circle of might for 10 seconds. You and your allies standing in the circle gain Major Courage for 30 seconds, increasing your Weapon Damage and Spell Damage by 258. This effect can occur once every 10 seconds.
There are a few other sets that could be of value to a group, though they tend to be more situational and depend on the conditions in which you’re playing. Note that Worm (magicka management for 12 players) and Sanctuary (increase healing received by 12% for 12 players) may seem healing relevant, they can be used and applied by any player. Only healers can apply heal proc set effects, so these should be used by non-healers if they are needed in group.
When an ally activates your synergy, they heal themselves for ~ 19 k Health over 10 seconds and gain Minor Force, increasing their Critical Damage done by 12%.
This set can be exceptionally good, though it will depend on how many spells the player can cast that have synergies, as well as the lag conditions – which affect whether synergies can even be seen or used.There are some niche compositions and interesting conditions in which this set can be of value.
The value of this set is to help mitigate damage when your group is being bombed. If your group has a turtle capability (eating multiple bombs and live through it), then this set can help in very situational fights.
When you take damage, you have a 10% chance to grant you and your allies within 8 meters a damage shield that absorbs 12 k damage for 6 seconds. This effect can occur once every 15 seconds.
The monster 2-set completing the healer’s gear list could be Bogdan the Nightflame, Earthgore, Symphony, Troll King, or others that provide value to the group – rather than damage. Many healers in 5 light armour prefer Blood Spawn for the added defence stats (during proc) and ultimate return. Earthgore may seem like the best choice for its ability to remove ground effects (including ultimates), but keep in mind that multiple Earthgore procs at the same time won’t give much benefit. Two or three Earthgores in the group is enough.
On the topic of armour, most (if not all) healers (and magicka DPS) should use 5 light armour, one medium, and one heavy. If the sets you’re using support it (Kagrenac’s Hope does as it’s a crafted set), the chest piece should be heavy (as it gives the most armour) and one of the head, pants, boots or shoulders should be medium. Note that the belt gives the least armour so should always be light, and the gloves give second to least armour (so in 5 heavy builds the belt should be light and gloves medium to min/max defensive stats). The value that a group build gets from the light armour passives far outweighs the defensive stats that heavy brings. You may be 1-shot ganked, but remember that your build and group comp is meant to fight other groups, not chase one or two gankers or tower humpers.
If you feel that you need more survivability, then I suggest using a defensive set as your jewelry/weapons rather than changing to 5 heavy armour. You can enchant and transmute your jewelry and maintain the levels of regen, cost reduction, and spell damage that you need while gaining some survivability and keeping one of the group healing sets discussed earlier.
I’m a firm believer in all pieces having tri-stat enchants. If you’re low on gold, then put tri-stat enchants on your major pieces (head / chest / legs), and the trait that you need most (probably magicka) on your minor pieces. Your goal for resources between gear set bonuses, enchants, and character points should be about 28k health, at least 32k magicka, and 16k stamina. My preference for stamina is to have enough to break free, dodge roll, sprint for 2 seconds (to be back in your position in the group), and be able to break free again just in case. Considering that magicka Templars tend to have low stamina regen, about 16k is the right amount to cover this.
The jewelry enchants that will probably be best for most healers are two magicka regen and one magicka cost reduction, though there are some builds where three magicka regen are best, and others where one magicka regen, one magicka cost reduction, and one spell damage are best. As a healer, you need to know how each of the skills that you use are affected by your spell damage vs maximum magicka (how much more healing or damage they do), and get a feel for how your group requires heals. If you tend to continuously spam spells, cost reduction is advantageous. If you have some delay in between casts and you have more casting down time then regen is likely best. There is no one true way, and each player needs to determine what is most efficient for their role and responsibilities. If you’re the type who doesn’t want to think about it and just wants to run something “good”, then go two regen and one cost reduction.
The trait on at least two of your jewelry should be Swift. While DPS builds can get away with using a Ring of the Wild Hunt or another mythic item, your best value as a healer is the ability to proc healing sets, so you shouldn’t break those sets if possible.
One of your bars will need to be a resto staff. As to which resto staff you should run, the most likely options to synergize with your builds are as follows:
A resto staff that completes a 5-set bonus (most likely).
Master’s resto staff that will restore resources to those in your Illustrious Healing. There should be a few healers with The Master’s resto staff as the buff will stack from multiple sources. Even though a second cast removes the first cast’s ground effect, you may still cast the skill repeatedly in some situations to keep the regen buff.
Maelstrom resto staff that will help restore some magicka. This is more for smaller groups, and not for large raid healing builds.
Asylum resto staff that will reduce the cost of other heals when you use blessing of protection or combat prayer. This could be good in a niche build, but is not likely in a medium to large group.
Your other bar may be a sword and shield, two swords, a destro staff (probably lightning), or a second resto staff. Here’s the comparison:
1H & Shield
Dual Wield passive gives you more healing.
Second weapon gives you more spell damage.
Quick Cloak mitigates 25% of AoE damage.
You look really bad-ass.
You can block when stationary or moving slowly.
You can block more damage at less cost.
You can role play being a knight with a big shield.
You can run Blockade to provide the “off ballance” debuff with lightning or slows with ice.
If you feel the need to block, you can do so with ice and keep your stamina for breaking free or rolling.
You can adjust your bars for Radiating Regen and Illustrious Healing on different bars.
You can light attack to proc different poisons from ranged on both bars.
Most healers should be running powered weapons in most groups. Precise for critical strike chance and Nirn for spell damage could work for some niche builds.
Rounding out stats on your healer will be your Mundus stone. My preference is The Atronach for magicka recovery (letting me change a ring’s regen enchant which are more easily swapped as needed during a raid). The Ritual for increased healing is likely the most efficient if your build and play style has sufficient magicka management. Other viable options could be The Mage for maximum magicka, or The Apprentice for increased Spell Damage.
Once you’ve worked out which sets you’re going to use, gotten your equipment, gotten the right traits on everything (Impenetrable on armour with few exceptions and Powered on weapons with few exceptions), you will need to determine which skills to use. Depending on how many healers you have in group, you should be able to determine if you’re going to need to spend most of your time spamming healing, or if you’ll be able to cast many other skills as well.
If we’re in combat, I am always casting something. Here is the logic behind what I cast and prioritize for standard Cyrodiil medium to large group scenarios. The lower the number of the line, the higher priority, so for every cast you could start at the first option, if that’s not needed, consider the second, if that’s not needed consider the third, etc.
Remembrance or Barrier. Is there an emergency, is the group being bombed, or are a lot of people missing enough health to warrant it? Note that you may interrupt Remembrance once the group is almost out of range (or topped off) so that you don’t get stuck catching up.
Repentance. If you’re not at full Stamina or someone in range is missing health, Repentance if available.
Hasty Prayer. Are burst heals needed immediately within 10 meters? Hasty Prayer. I tend to look at burst heals being needed if three or more players are missing 25% of their health.
Breath of Life, Healing Ward, or Ritual of Rebirth (alternate Hasty Prayer morph). If one person is out of range and is missing 25% of their health, face their direction and cast one of these.
Race Against Time. If speed is needed or snares are irritating, this will GYTFO.
Channeled Focus. Ensure that you have Channeled Focus up for the armour/resist and the magicka regeneration.
Energy Orb. Cast Energy Orb in the direction the group is moving so that it hits the most people for the resource Synergy every 20 seconds.
Quick Cloak. Ensure that you have Quick Cloak up (if in dual wield swords build) for Major Evasion (unless the group has external coverage from enough Gossamer, or you’re running Spectre’s Eye).
Extended Ritual. Keep an Extended Ritual down. If the entire group has moved out or past it, recast.
Illustrious Healing. Keep an Illustrious Healing down every 10-12 seconds. This may be higher priority for applying The Master’s Resto resource regeneration buff.
Radiating Regeneration. Ensure that you have two Radiating Regeneration cast every ten seconds.
A Dawn’s Wrath skill is needed by one Templar per 12 players in group in order to provide Minor Sorcery every 20 seconds. The ultimate regen is nice too.
Mage Light is a good choice if you have a free slot. It gives 10% spell crit, and you can detect stealthed players when they try to escape.
Your champion point setup may be different depending on your role, your group composition, and if you want to be lazy and have one setup that works for both healing and DPS. You can see my current (2020/Q3) preferred setup in the screen shot below, along with a sample build for raid healing.
The content below is intended for solo and small group players who have not developed their own (successful) strategies on how to counter these groups. I see random groups and PuGs run into ball groups and die way too often and can only blame it on their not understanding what’s going on. I hope this helps!
First, please read the Offence section, the Defence section, and then the Siege section. These sections contain some basics that are applicable regardless of who you are fighting.
Pay attention. I can’t stress this enough. If you’re going to blindly follow your group leader without watching what’s going on, you’re going to have a bad time. If you’re going to madly focus on killing one person, chances are you’re going to get trampled to death.
You can’t take them out alone. Don’t even bother trying. Help another group that is there, or go do something else. These groups prey on the weak, unskilled, or small group players and they will try to pull you together so that they can hit more of you at once. Don’t let them get away with this. If you leave them alone and they have nobody to kill, they’ll move away trying to find more players at once.
If you see an organized group fighting them, don’t stack with them. Stay at least 5 meters (VD distance) away. They have group buffs, and may be min/maxed so that they have a lot more resilience than you. You will get bombed and you’ll contribute to their deaths if you’re too close!
The key to winning versus these groups is strategy. You’re going to need a reasonable number of players to coordinate their damage (player damage or siege damage) and debuffs (snare/stun/slow/defile/breach/etc) in order to take them out or make them run away.
Keep moving, and keep a distance from them until you’re ready to engage or ready to try and bait out their ultimates.
If you have solid ranged damage or debuffs, keep them applied. Corrupting Pollen, Dark Flare, and Inevitable Detonation are all good examples that can affect how and when they will attack.
Slow them, snare them, and ensure that they’re on the defensive as much as possible. Bombard spam, caltrops, anything to prevent them from moving consistently.
Keep them out of formation or position. Warden teleport circles, DK Chains, Fighter’s Guild Silver Leash, and to a lesser degree knock-backs will ensure that they’re never perfectly ready to hit with their full power.
Opposing ball groups will use their ultimates together, and will proxy together before they do so. Consider the timing of proxy – that’s how much time they’ve allotted to moving to you so that they all explode together. Don’t be where they are going.
They’re going to be spamming crowd control (slows, snares, and hard cc). Be aware that you might have trouble moving, and plan accordingly.
Use what methods you have available to not be where they are going with their bombs. Elusive Mist Form, Retreating Maneuvers, Shuffle, Immovable potions, and any methods you have to get snare or cc immunity and speed to get out.
If you have damage mitigation, use it when you see them about to hit. Warden’s sleet provides incoming damage mitigation and Templar’s Nova provides opponent outgoing damage mitigation. Use them if needed, not just to save yourself, but to help others of your faction who are fighting!
Keep as much siege as you can on them. Siege that does damage, like Scattershot Catapults (increases other damage), Cold Fire Ballistas, Cold Stone trebuchets if you can, and a combination of siege (though primarily Scattershot Catapults) if they’re in a keep or relatively open world. Try to coordinate hits. One Oil catapult is also nice, and a Meat bag if you’re unsure if there’s a Defile build fighting them. See the Siege section for more insights.
If you’ve managed to bait out their ultimates, or once you’re out or have escaped their bombs, consider that this is the best time to hit them back. They’ve just blown their ultimates, so will need between 20 and 30 seconds to get them back up (subjective timing, though a good base for your strategic thinking).
When counter attacking, be quick and accurate with Negates. Most players can’t cast in a Negate (damage or healing). Once they’re in, they won’t be able to much of anything other than run – either towards you and hope that their proxies or ultimates do damage as they get out of the negate – or retreat.
Separate them and pick off the one(s) that are out of the group. Wardens can use their circle to teleport them. DKs can grab one with chains. Any class can use Fighter’s Guild leash. Templars can javelin. NBs can drop a fear trap and Necros a fear totem in their path, and cause a few to be separated if they don’t break free quick enough. Those that become separated need to be targeted and taken down quickly.
If you can tab target a player with higher importance (such as healers or the group leader – if known), then it makes things easier if you try to single target that player in order to disrupt the group. Some groups fall apart when the leader dies, others will obsess about getting their healers back up (if they run low on burst healers), and others won’t care and just continue to play and recover as normal.
Learn about your opponents if they are regular organized groups. Their leaders will have relatively consistent play styles, so if you can predict what they’ll do most of the time, countering them and winning fights will be easier.
Don’t let them resurrect. You’ll probably take out at least a few of them if you execute your bomb or counter well. If it looks like they won’t be able to recover, some will likely stay to delay you, while a few of them will run away to get a camp up.
Most of the ball groups are going to be running fairly tanky due to cross heals, consistent purges, and builds that provide buffs to the group, so you will need a sufficient amount of damage to get through their survivability. Unless you have a lot of players able to coordinate damage, you’re probably best off pulling one out of position then single-target damaging them to death before they can get back to the group.
An advantage to the above is that you then know where they’re going to be in the near future when they try to resurrect the dead player! Prepare to bomb them there if you can!
SOLO PLAYERS & SMALL GROUPS:
The most important points to understand are:
As a solo player or small group, you’re probably not going to be able to wipe a well structured min/maxed organized ball group.
Their goal is usually going to be farming AP and getting as many kills as they can.
Once they see that they’re not going to have an easy time farming, they’ll move somewhere else.
Your criteria for success (winning) should not be killing them all, it should be something along the lines of making it so tough and irritating for them to farm pugs (decreasing their AP per hour to less than PvDoor activities) that they have no choice but to go elsewhere (or rage quit). With that in mind, read through the following points and consider best how you can contribute to the fight.
Don’t stack together. That just makes you a target, and even if you don’t die from their damage, the Vicious Death procs from other people around you will kill you.
The majority of their damage comes from AoE, so if you can get the major evasion buff, you’ll be more likely to live.
Most players use one defensive set, one offensive set, and a monster set. Whatever it is that you use normally, while fighting a ball group you should consider swapping your defensive set to either Spectre’s Eye or Swift (if in a magicka build) to take significantly less damage from their bombs.
If you’re a healer, use Earthgore as your monster set. You’ll be throwing out heals and hots, and Earthgore will probably proc as the opposing ball group hits people around you and save a lot of them by removing negates, smashes, conduits, graveyards, and other ground effects. While the heal from Earthgore isn’t great (big nerf), the removal of ground effects is still great.
Keep snares down on all sides of them. Caltrops if ranged, Gripping Shards (Warden) and Talons (DK) are good choices. This helps keep them less structured and may help isolate a straggler.
Use time stop. Then use it again. Keep using it. You have no idea how irritating and disruptive it is. The hate whispers will flow..
Use knock backs. If the opposing group are running around the top of a wall or keep, knocking a few off where they can’t get back in (because you’ve already repaired behind them) will make the rest jump off to get everyone back together. They may re-siege, but that wastes their time.
Call out their healer’s names (/yell) and tab target them. Single target burst those healers, and the rest of the group will have a tougher time. An even better target is their rapids spammer, as if you can take that person out then the group will be a lot more challenged in their movement (no more perfectly consistent Major and Minor Expedition buffs).
Keep siege on them. If you’re alone, the damage you can do with siege is a lot more than with your skills (ultimate excluded).
If you see them proxy and run towards you (usually with ults), use a snare immunity skill (RaT or Shuffle), then run through them not away from them optionally while popping an Immovable potion or hitting with an Immovable poison. That will reduce the time you spend standing in their ults, and they will rarely stop to kill you as they’re all following their leader. if you can get some snares in while moving, it will help de-ball them for a few seconds!
Remember that your goal is not necessarily to kill them, but to make it so challenging for them to achieve their goal of (easy) kills and enough AP (to make it worth the time) that they will go away. Killing them should be seen as an added bonus.
To become Emperor, you have to be top of the leader board (with at least 50k AP on 30-day campaigns and 25k AP on 7-day campaigns), and your faction has to own all 6 of the keeps around the Imperial City (centre of the map). To lose emp, your faction has to have lost control of all 6 of those keeps at the same time. You can lose and retake individual keeps, and you won’t lose emperor until all 6 of the keeps are lost at the same time.
The emperor gets some rather overpowered passives:
Chaining ultimates is one of the most significant emperor powers. Using sets like Bloodspawn that give 15 ultimate will also be doubled, so Bloodspawn procs will give 30 ultimate to an emperor! The passive that gives ultimate when getting a killing blow on an opponent is also doubled, so if an emperor drops a large damage ultimate then it is very feasible for ultimate chaining (or multiple ults at the same time).
Emperors need to siege. While it may awesome that they can do more damage with their larger resource pools and continue to do so with their higher regen, doing double damage on siege (especially with three stone trebs up) can make the difference between getting a wall or door down before too much opposition arrives. After the wall or door is down they can then use their awesome damage powers to kill everything. Note that this passive does not apply to ram damage. A few years ago this passive also applied to damage done by siege to players! Imagine a cold stone treb hitting for over 30k!
Emperors should usually be running something that can heal them. Considering their resource pools and regeneration, using Cleanse to remove two negative effects and heal for 18% of max health becomes amazing for an emperor healing them for 27% max health.
Doubling resource regeneration will usually mean that an emperor who wants to min/max can take any recovery enchants (on jewlery) or sets (like Seducer) and replace them with others that are directly able to increase their killing power. The more damage an emperor can do, the more ult is made, the more damage can be done, etc.
75% more resource pools can make for some incredibly powerful players. Magicka and stamina pools in the area of 70k will make most skills hit like a truck, and health pools in the 40-50k range for DPS builds make emperors a lot harder to kill. I’ve tried a few fun builds in my many times as emperor based on health and health regen, such as a DK spamming igneous shield (which is like a spammable barrier for the group) or a Templar 1-shotting opponents when a Blazing Shield comes down. These types of builds are more entertaining than they are useful – but if you have the chance to be emperor you should get as much enjoyment out of it as you can!
If you want to become emperor, you have to be at the top of the leader board. To be at the top of the leader board you have to make the most AP. Traditionally, emperor has gone to the player who spends the most time, or farms the best.
If the current emperor drops campaign, there will be no emperor until the opposing factions take all the emperor keeps (effectively dethroning the empty throne).
In the early days of the game, there were some emperor passives that remained after becoming emperor. They were nothing like what emperors get, though 5% ultimate cost reduction and 2% extra resource regeneration did count for a lot at times. This prompted many people to “emp trade” on some campaigns, whereby one faction would crown emperor, then allow another to dethrone and crown their own emperor. The dethroned emperor would then drop campaign allowing the person in second place to be next in line, whereby they would crown that person. Residual emperor buffs were removed from the game in the hopes of eliminating this behaviour.
If you want to support your emperor, lay siege so that he doesn’t have to spend time dropping / picking it up. When the emperor has to get off his siege to kill something, keep firing it for him, and be sure to get off of it as soon as he is back! Shields that are based on maximum health such as bone shield synergies are amazing for emperors. If you’re in a stamina build, running bone shield and spamming retreating to remove snares for the emperor can help a lot towards his survivability as well. If you’re a healer, throw area heals at the emperor, if you’re running purge, spam it to keep disabling effects off of him, and if you have crowd control abilities then use them on the areas or players that the emperor is attacking. You want your emperor to get kills, so that more ultimate is generated, allowing for more kills, and to further the goals of your faction. A good player as emperor can count as five or more other players working together.
The disadvantage of supporting the emperor is that the emperor almost always makes AP at a much higher rate than other players, as he has a lot more killing power. If you want to compete for emperor the next time that your faction crowns, then you might hope that the emperor’s reign lasts as short as possible! Some emperors have been dethroned in as little as 30 minutes when both opposing factions actively push to dethrone (there’s almost no way to fight a faction stack who force flips flags). My longest emperor run was about a week back in mid 2015, though these days emperors tend to only last a few hours due to game and population changes.
Some players run into problems in their pushes for emperor in that they have angered their faction (or an opposing faction). In the “good old days” when there were a lot of guilds playing regularly, and there was 24/7 coverage of the map by at least 2 solid guilds at any given time, some guilds would refuse to push for someone who they did not like. Some would even log onto other faction characters to actively try and prevent someone from achieving emperor and call in their friends from PvE to help when they were having trouble! With the mass exodus of players in early 2016, and most of the larger guilds now unable to run large groups with the power that they used to, most of these challenges have fallen by the wayside and no longer exist.
The biggest challenge a potential emperor will face will be in coordinating their faction to take all of the emperor keeps. Many people don’t care about the map or campaign, many people prefer to run less “zergy” and keep to groups of 6-8 people, many people prioritise AP farming over map control, and many people understand that when one faction has emperor, the other two will focus on dethroning and cooperate (in a limited manner) to double team the faction that has emperor. The “good old days” where people like me could direct multiple guilds and groups to coordinate are long gone. I remember the day we crowned Lolimage for the first time: I was directing six full groups of 24 each one from a different guild. We had over 150 people in TeamSpeak, and we were fighting on two fronts versus faction stacks (100+) of each opposing faction. Those were the days of the #CrownZerg!
Now, people wanting to become Emperor in a populated and active campaign will either have to wait and hope that their faction happens to work together long enough to crown (AD crowned emperor an average of once every two weeks for the past few months), or will have to try and gain the cooperation of the many smaller groups that play in addition to the one or two larger guild groups that run two or sometimes three times per week for a few hours. The challenge with those larger guild groups is that they get together less often, so don’t have the incentive to push for emperor in the few hours of prime time that they play together.
Alternatively they could wait for the middle of the night and bring in a solid group to night-cap, or go to a nearly dead campaign (one without people playing much) and wait for the keeps to flip back and forth. That tends to be looked down on, and someone who does that on purpose will usually not be respected for their skill – though most people don’t really care what others think and only want the Emperor costume and red dye, so it is a viable way to be crowned.
My first time as Emperor was achieved at 4:35am on January 19, 2015 after playing all night with DiE and friends. It was an amazing experience that I’ll never forget. Thanks to Minoa for recording it!
There are a lot of complaints about lag (since the lighting update a few years ago). If you’ve played PvP during prime time, you’re certainly seen your ping spike into the hundreds if not thousands. Ping is a technical term (or tool) to describe an ICMP Echo request and reply. This is a type of packet that is sent over a network (or internet) from a source (in this case your computer) to a destination (in this case the ESO servers) and a measurement of how much time it takes for the response to be received. It is important to note that a ping is not a true measurement of the speed that your communications are processed, it is simply a measurement of the capability of the connection between you and the ESO server based on a lot of factors (most notably network congestion by your internet provider, or the ESO servers’ ability to process your requests in a timely manner).
Some of the causes of lag are known, and quite obvious. The more players who are in a particular area, the more processing the server will have to do, and the slower its relative performance. Here are examples:
Healing springs is one of the most commonly used healing spells. It is an area spell, and thus affects a certain number of players who are within the area of it being cast. When someone casts it, there is a process to determine who is in the area, how much health they have missing, how much health each tick of the spell will add to their health pool, and communications between the server and all the clients of the players in the area to add each tick of health to their health pools. Each player has different gear and champion points which may affect increases in healing received, or debuffs that may affect decreases in healing received. All of this needs to be calculated for every tick of a healing springs. If the caster of healing springs is using a Master’s restoration staff, then there is an additional calculation on the return of stamina. If the caster is using the healing mage set, then there is an additional check on any opponents in the area of the heal that will reduce their weapon damage. Every effect that needs to have status determined or calculated increases the required processing on the server side and for each calculation to be sent to the clients for every player who is affected, and every player in range who may mouse-over players in their area.
Steel tornado is an area damage skill in the dual wield line. It hits everyone within a certain area, though only a certain number of players receive full damage. Other opposing players receive reduced damage up to a point. Steel tornado is also an execute, so when any player is hit there is a check to determine if execution damage should apply. Every hit of damage has to be processed for every player in the area, and all that data sent to every other player in the area who, like with healing, may mouse-over other players in their area.
Back in the good old days, ultimates such as Meteor (Mage’s guild) that hit an area also included a calculation to determine if your ultimate has already hit and done damage (so one person’s ultimate should not hit multiple times). The use of an ultimate brings your ultimate pool down to zero, though once lag starts this was not instantaneous – so multiple ultimates could go off from one person. Only one of them would do damage, though for each one the calculations and checks to determine if it will damage, to whom, and what debuffs will be applied need to be performed. This would significantly exacerbate the lag if someone (or multiple people) spamed Meteor during lag.
Every time that an area of effect (AoE) skill is used, calculations need to be performed and information updated in the game clients (computers) of every player who is within a certain range. The more players from each side, the more calculations need to be performed and the more updates need to be sent. There is a reasonably feasible number of such that can be performed without impacting timing of game play (lag) for the players involved, and this is largely dependent upon the way that both the game client and servers were programmed.
When you see / hear some players complaining about zerging, this is the main reason that they do so. If a guild runs tightly stacked in the same place all casting area of effect spells, then they are directly contributing to the increase in lag. It is debatable if it’s their fault knowing that what they do causes lag, ZOS’ fault for not delivering the large scale battle capabilities that the promised (many years later), or a combination of the two. I believe that the groups who zerg are responsible, and ZOS is accountable. If you know that running in large numbers exacerbates lag, then there’s no excuse to keep doing so unless you don’t care about other players – unless of course it’s a case of “the largest zerg wins the fight” .
There is no “lag switch”, and lag is not something that the developers “turn on” just to upset you. The people who believe that obviously don’t understand how technology works.
The term zerging is used often by a lot of people to mean different things. It would be nice to have a shared definition of the term, so my proposal is: Zerg: A zerg is any set of people who run around in a group, organized or not, who mindlessly spam arbitrary skills. The mindless spamming of area skills, be they healing, damage, or cc are known to cause lag.
The term comes from the game Starcraft where the Zerg race of creatures was known for running giant groups of less-powerful group members and taking down opponents by sheer force of number (and not necessarily by skill or technique). By this definition you could have a small group zerging, or a giant group (such as multiple groups of 24) zerging as long as the opponents of the zerg are lesser in number than the zerg.
That raises the issue of what do you consider a small group of 8 people who have randoms (I use the term randoms instead of PUGs, as by definition PUG is a group) following them around? I have often run groups of 8-10 where less than one minute after starting something, there are over a dozen randoms who show up – or another organized group who show up! It would not be reasonable to require that every time other people show up that the group move away, as they would spend all their time running away from their own faction. Thus, you can be part of a zerg even if you or your group is not voluntarily zerging.
If someone calls you a member of the zerg, this is what they probably mean. As you progress in skill and technique, you’ll find that you probably prefer running in smaller groups where individual skill makes a difference, and will only organise or participate in large organised groups of groups when it’s absolutely required to fight a zerg from an opposing faction. Nobody likes zergs (with some exceptions of people who don’t know that it’s possible to be successful outside of one), though the game in its current state often requires that a very large group be used to fight another very large group.
Historically, AP has come primarily from killing opponents. Each individual is worth a certain amount of AP. That amount usually ranges from 1,500 to 1,800 though it can vary from almost nothing up to 2250 based on a few factors:
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, thus 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)
As of the Summerset patch (v4.0.5), defence ticks at keeps and resources work slightly differently. To get on the credit list for a defence tick, you must do one of the following:
Do damage to an opposing player who dies (resulting in AP)
Repair a wall or door
Resurrect a dead player who is within the keep area
Heal a player who has taken damage in a fight, where that player kills an opponent and earns AP
Defence ticks have also received a multiplier based on the level of the keep or resource. You can see the keep or resource level by opening the map and clicking on it.
When players (both sides) die in range of a keep, resource, outpost, or behind a scroll gate, the total amount of AP that they gave up with their deaths gets added to the “tick pool”. If a keep/resource/outpost is taken there is an offence tick (O-Tick). If there has been no death within a certain amount of time (one minute) then there is a defence tick (D-Tick). When a tick happens, the total tick pool gets multiplied based on the keep or resource level (if it’s a keep or resource), and is then divided up between all of the players within range (who are members of the alliance that owns the keep/resource/outpost) and who have done something to get on the credit list.
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 596k during the 2018 Mid Year Mayhem (double AP) event. Prior to that, it was for 118k AP at Bleakers. Long long ago before base AP was doubled and before there were 20% delve buffs or 100% AP buffs, 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.
Capturing a resource nets you 1,500 AP, and capturing a keep is 6,000 AP. If players have been killed during the capture, then that amount is added to the tick as described earlier. A simple manner to make consistent AP is to group up and take resources continuously. Every hour, the players renew their 20% AP buff in a delve, then proceed to take all three resources of a keep, run to the next keep to take all three resources, and continue on. They sometimes stop to kill players if it’s convenient, though the amount of AP is usually better if they just keep going to the next resource. This can net up to 60k AP per hour if there are no kills made – a reasonable amount for low levels of effort. While competent groups can easily make more than that, during lower population times some groups just keep taking resources.
SOLO VS GROUP
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 AP Calculations sheet (second page) within this spreadsheet for more details. There is a balance to be found for making AP, and I’ve always preferred groups of 6 to 8 – as beyond that the AP is too diluted. Larger groups can be fun, and sometimes when fighting other large groups or faction stacks it is necessary, but if AP is your primary focus you should probably cap your group at 8.
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 have to do enough damage.
Healing other players used to give a lot of AP, though that has been significantly reduced. Simply casting heals on people won’t net you very much AP (comparatively). There are still methods to gain AP from other peoples’ work related to buffs, debuffs, and synergies. Every patch is slightly different, so you should test using each skill available to you and see if that nets you increased AP from opponent deaths.
OTHER SOURCES OF AP
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. The amount of AP earned is minimal (well under 100 per player healed) and there is a cool down whereby healing that player won’t generate AP for a certain amount of time, so I have not done any testing to confirm these numbers (believing it to not be worth the time).
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. Sometimes you have to make a decision of timing for turning in quests. If you leave a location, then you’re not earning AP at the location while in transit. The quest turn-in can wait until a fight is over and you’re ready to go somewhere else.
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 intend to make AP by repairing, try to get the delve AP buff and if possible the (major/minor) mending buffs as they apply extra “healing” to repairs as well, saving you on the cost of repair kits. The extra AP from repairing a wall while you have a buff 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 (or just run past it), 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. Note that entering a delve removes you from the credit list for a tick! 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 want to save a minute or two – and if you’re hard core AP farming then every minute counts, 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 if you intend to go somewhere where transit is up.
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 or cycling resources at different keeps (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 – or what is within their capabilities.
When looking at the map and deciding where you want to make AP, you need to consider the following:
Where your opponents will be.
Where will they be coming from (running back after being killed).
How long it will take them to be worth good AP again.
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.
Will you be able to get offence or defence ticks rather than just kills.
When you see popular streamers going for emperor, they don’t often understand AP farming and just try to play their 1 v X (I call it 1 v Potato 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 much more.
HISTORY & FOND MEMORIES
Two of the easiest ways I used to make AP (that tended to drive other people crazy as they couldn’t figure it out) were:
Run two people, one a tank (I know I’ve said that there are no tanks in PvP) and the other a magicka nightblade with a fire staff or another knock back (such as Javelin). 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 NB 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. Today, with the way ticks work, this style is no longer (as) effective.
As a magicka NB who could stealth everywhere, find your way to wherever the two opposing factions are fighting. Once you’re there, throw out as much AoE damage as you can without actually getting into the fighting. Caltrops used to work well, though don’t do enough damage to get you the AP that you want these days. Inevitable Detonation was the go-to skill. As an AD player, casting it on an EP player would damage all EP players and all DC players in the area with enough to get a nice amount of AP regardless of who won the fights. Surviving can be challenging, so keep in mind movement speed as you’ll want to get away from the zergs as soon as they start to take more notice of you. This technique was what once got me the title “Grand God of AP Whores“.
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 relates 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 spreadsheets 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? Does the synergy damage count towards your or the other player’s contribution?
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?
For each of the above, you should also consider (and test) 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 bridge to the other).
There are some skills, abilities, synergies, buffs, and debuff removals that can apply to people who are not in your group, and when they are performed, you gain a percentage of the credit for the player on whom you cast, or you may be treated (for the purposes of AP gains) as an equal member of that player’s group (even if that player is part of a full 24 player 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, it may be possible that you can double-dip in the AP gains and be considered as a full member of multiple groups gaining AP for both netting you more AP than you would normally get for your own contribution. This situation is most likely a bug, and you should report it if you find one that is working.
One last consideration (that I’m sharing) 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? Since I’m bringing this up, it’s obvious that this does work. I’ll leave it to you to figure out how to make it work!
TIPS & TRICKS
There are a few relatively simple things that people don’t often realize, so in this section I’m going to list a few of them. None of these are game breaking or particularly amazing, though if you combine them all, think logically (and slightly out of the box), and consider many of the things I’ve written about earlier, then you’ll come up with a lot more that can help you earn more AP.
Your own death and the death of your allies counts for AP towards a tick. If you’re fighting at a keep where you expect a defence tick, it is in your and your allies’ interest to die every five minutes (the time for your AP to be worth max) in order to increase the size of the tick that will happen once the fight is over. Always ensure that you’ll be able to resurrect before dying!
Related to the above, if you know that an opponent is going to bomb a flag just before it flips (for your offence tick), let it happen. The deaths of your allies will increase the size of the tick. If you play a healer, it may be counter to your nature to let people die, but AP > life!
A resource can only give you an offence tick every five minutes. Keep this number in mind, as small groups who want to farm a resource won’t expect defence ticks and will usually allow it to be flipped back to your faction’s control (so that they can flip it again five minutes later). This gives you a window of control where a defence tick may be possible, whereby you’ll get the AP benefits of their kills.
If you’re roaming around looking for small groups who want to take resources, once you engage in a fight, try to pull them back into keep range rather than resource range. Remember that resources don’t multiply defence ticks (as of 2021/06) and keeps can multiply them by up to 3. Resources used to multiply up to 3 and keeps up to 7. Those were good times!
If it looks like you probably won’t kill your opponent quickly, and you’re in range of a keep with a multiplier, then it might be in your interest to just let your opponent kill you (netting them 1.5k+) so that you can get the defence tick from your own death of 4.5k+ (note that this is the base number, and it will almost certainly be higher per this spreadsheet.
Consider when the end of a fight should be for you, rather than for everyone else. If a group of opponents have all died, you’ve earned AP, and they then all take a camp to resurrect, they are not going to be worth much AP for a few minutes. It is probably in your interest to go find other opponents to kill!
If you come across a small group who are in stamina/tank builds who are trying to farm a resource, don’t even bother. Move on to fights where you’ll make more AP. These players specialize in survival, rolling around and running with a lot of cross healing to stay alive until they can coordinate their damage.
If you come across an allied zerg chasing after a few players (such as the example above where 20+ players chase them into a tower), don’t waste your time. You’ll make more AP moving on to a fight where your contribution will make a difference rather than getting one skill off on a target before they are zerged down or run away.
You can earn ticks for a keep and its resources at the same time as long as you don’t earn AP at another keep or its resources. If you’ve finished a fight and move on, ensure that the kills you make or contribute to are not at anther keep or resource until you get your defence tick from the prior one.
Use an addon to be certain of your location. I prefer Wykkyd Toolbar. Here’s an example, and note that the location is listed on the left (ish) side. You can configure the toolbar to show a lot of information!
Keep moving, and check your back keeps’ resources. There will often be players coming to flip them, and those make the best AP gains (if you’re solo or in a small group).
Keep track of your AP. Set a goal of how much AP per hour you want to make. Use Ghostbane’s AP Meter, and be sure to configure it in your addon settings (I don’t like having my chat area spammed with AP notifications from combat – only ticks). Here’s what the addon looks like:
If anyone would like to discuss AP farming techniques (or anything relevant), I’m happy to do so in Discord.
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 SIEGING TO TAKE KEEPS:
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. If you’re running multiple siege (as you usually should be), then between firing renew any defensive buffs that you have!
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 three siege if they’re well placed.
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 purge or cleanse, or 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. Be wary of negates being dropped on rams, as you won’t be able to cast (purge or heal) and you’ll need to get out of the negate in order to stay alive (under oils). Keeping a HoT (such as rapid regen, mutagen, vigor or others) on you can proc your Earthgore if you get low on health and this will also remove ground effects (such as the negate).
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 them.
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.
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.
Some positioning with a trebuchet on the outer second floor can hit the inner ground floor of a keep. If you find these areas, you can use a (cold) fire trebuchet to help take out the inner guards in advance, and/or help your allies kill any opponents in the area of the front flag.
Placing anti-player siege (such as cold fire ballistas) on the third floor above the front door, and on the third floor of the corners of keeps can make or break a keep take. Use that siege to hit the opposing players on top of the inner keep who are pouring oils down on your allies. Use that siege to coordinate a hit if there’s a large (ball) group running around inside killing your allies.
If you can get upstairs above one of the posterns, you can often place an oil that will drop down and hit the defenders of the back flag. One oil pour can make the difference!
WHEN SIEGING TO DEFEND KEEPS:
Use oils. Use as many oils as you can. Place them as close together as you can, and use them as much as you can. When defending the outer, put them above where opponents will be coming in. When there’s an opposing ram in use, put them above the ram and if you have a sorcerer available, a negate on top of the ram can prefent opponent healing while they are taking damage from (and dying to) your oils. When defending the inner, place them above the breach, on the corner at the top of the stairs (above transit and scroll platforms), half way up the stairs (above the front flag), and on both sides above the posterns facing inwards so that opposing players who want to come from the back flag and go up stairs have to walk through them. If a postern wall is opened, one oil facing outwards (above the stairs) and a few more facing inwards is usually the best configuration.
Put up as much counter siege as possible, and coordinate hitting the same targets. If you see someone else’s siege hitting something (a valid target), wait for their siege to reload and fire at the same time as they do so that your likelihood of killing the target (more damage at the same time) is higher!
When the front door to the inner is opening, place siege on the back flag facing the front. You can get at least three on the back flag, and a few more between the back and front flags. You can even get two more ballistas on the top above the postern doors that are capable of firing down to the front flag. The more siege hitting the same area, the less likely opponents are going to live through walking in that area.
If you can maintain a killing area on the flags, even if you don’t push out on the opponents there, that gives the rest of your faction time to send support and help you defend the keep.
The decision whether to repair the outer breach if the opposing group is already inside is sometimes a challenging one. On one hand, that prevents other opponents (or those who have died and taken a camp) from getting in, though on the other hand if it looks like you’re going to lose the keep very quickly, leaving it open will allow your own reinforcements to get in if they show up too late. If it looks like you’re going to lose the keep, setting up a stone ballista outside to hit the breach as soon as it is taken can give you an extra few seconds where your opponents can’t repair, such that your reinforcements might be able to get inside and start the fight to take back the keep.
WHEN SIEGING AS PART OF A FIGHT AGAINST PLAYERS:
If there is nobody running a defile build, then a meat bag can help reduce opponent healing. Reducing opponent healing is often critical to taking out a large group.
Oil catapults will snare and take stamina away from players, meaning they can’t block, roll dodge, break free, or sprint as much as they could otherwise. An oil catapult hitting an opposing group make it much more challenging for them to win.
Cold stone trebuchets will hit most players for more than 10k damage, which is about half of their health. If you can get a solid hit on an opposing group, the damage from the stone trebuchet can account for the equivalent of a few players’ damage. If you can hit at the same time as your opponents are being bombed, then it will often ensure that your side wins the fight.
More siege hitting more often is best, as good groups will tend to move a lot. If all of the randoms/pugs/individuals drop a fire ballista when there’s an opposing group fighting nearby, the opposing group’s chances of winning drops significantly.
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 or roll if need be. Other people should provide you with the Rapid Maneuvers buff so that you can use your stamina more efficiently.
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!
Most players who have their Undaunted skill line levelled up with all passives unlocked should be running 5 of their main armour type, and 1 of the others. For Magicka builds this would be 5 light, 1 medium, and 1 heavy with the chest as a heavy (as the chest gives the most armour) if possible, and one of the head/shoulders/legs/feet as medium (they all give equivalent armour). For stamina it would be 5 medium, 1 light, and 1 heavy. There are many viable builds that use 5 heavy armour for both magicka and stamina builds, though as I’ve said a few times each player needs to find what works best for them.
For most 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 chest gives the most around, and the other pieces (shoulders, boots, pants, head) all give the same.
The use of food vs drink, the 1 stat + 1 regen, or the 2 stats + 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 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 of the stat that you use most (magicka or stamina). 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 major armour (head/chest/pants) enchants should be tri-chants (health/magicka/stamins) with minor armour enchants as the stat that you use most, and jewellery enchants should be damage (healers tend to prefer 2 regen and 1 cost reduction).
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.
Please keep in mind that these are simply standard details related to common builds. Using a good build is just one of manythings 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 and to the Raid Requirements Document.