The Elder Scrolls Online

Ask Us Anything: Cyrodiil

We tackle your questions about PvP in ESO. Learn more about the Alliance War and what awaits you in Cyrodiil.

Over the last few weeks, we’ve been talking more about Cyrodiil and PvP in The Elder Scrolls Online. As usual, we’re on the lookout for your questions, and received a big amount from our German fan site ESO-Schatzsucher and the French site JeuxOnline. Read on to find out more about what you can expect when you step onto the battlefield.

If you have a question you’d like to see answered, send it to us at community@elderscrollsonline.com and we may answer it in an upcoming Ask Us Anything.


You say the map of Cyrodiil is huge, but how huge? How much time does it take to walk across the whole map on foot?

If you were walking on air traveling from the north-most point all the way south, it would still take longer than our team spent presenting the dungeon at QuakeCon. Considering the enemy players you’re likely to bump into, the aggressive NPCs, the wide berth you’d need to give keeps to avoid getting caught up in the battle, and the fight you’d have to put up to avoid the temptation of loot in that ruin you just passed… well, you’d probably spend a lot longer.


Will the design of Cyrodiil allow solo players or small groups to roam around without having to be part of a massive group? Are there multiple ways to enter the area or just one small corridor?

There’s a bottleneck location between each of Cyrodiil’s three territories where you can find other players taking land routes across the area. Everyone in Cyrodiil can see where transit networks end for each alliance clearly on the map, so hanging out near those end points is a great way to find skirmishes.


Can you describe how to capture a keep or other structure? Is there a schedule to respect or a declaration war before an attack? What is the average time or the minimum number of people needed to capture a keep?

No declaration of war is required to attack a keep—they can be assaulted at any time. Let’s say a keep is entirely undefended by players. In that situation, it might take around 15 minutes to take over the keep using a ram and around three groups of players. Capturing an undefended resource won’t take quite as long and should only require one group. However, you’ll have to have healing available in both cases—even if there aren’t any players around, the NPC guards will still be on duty, and they aren’t just for show.


How do keep improvements work? Are they visual (bigger walls, towers, etc.) or just an increase to the keep’s stats?

Each resource near a keep controls specific upgrades for it: farms upgrade guards, mines upgrade walls, and lumber mills upgrade the keep’s doors. Walls and doors gain more hit points from these upgrades, while guards get better abilities. There are some visual upgrades: walls receive improvements to their corners and sections near the postern doors. These upgrades occur over time as long as the same alliance owns the resources and the keep. 


Can we deploy siege weapons wherever? For example, will defenders be able to put several battering rams behind the door of a keep in order to block it or obstruct visibility for the attackers? 

Most siege weapons can be deployed wherever there is a flat space wide enough for the weapon. This is indicated by a circle projected on the ground when you try to deploy one. If it’s red, you have to keep searching for a suitable location. You won’t be able to deploy a ram at a keep your alliance controls—they can only be deployed at enemy-controlled keeps.


When a keep is under attack, is the defending alliance informed of the assault? If so, who receives alerts? Can we receive them while we’re outside of Cyrodiil and see battles on the map? Do you have a plan to deal with spying?

When a keep is under attack, everyone in the zone will see an icon on the map that indicates the assault status, so you’ll be able to easily determine which keeps are in danger. Some events are broadcast across the entire game; for instance, you’ll see a message when an emperor is crowned or an Elder Scroll is captured no matter where you are. As far as spying goes, there are only so many systems we can put in place to prevent it before we end up getting in the way of fun, so we need to be cautious. We can, for example, prevent players from joining a campaign if they have a character of an opposing alliance assigned to that campaign.


Are there PvP ranks? If so, do we gain more or less Alliance Points depending on our rank?

There are 50 PvP ranks with 25 titles and grades. When you rank up, you’re worth more Alliance Points to enemies who manage to get a kill, but you won’t earn less for killing lower-ranked players. You’ll get more Alliance Points for killing higher-ranked characters.


Can we see the names of our enemies? Can we see their rank or level?

You can choose to enable nameplates for yourself, allies, and enemies. An enemy player’s rank is displayed symbolically next to their name when you have them targeted.


Low-level characters can access Cyrodiil. Obviously, they aren’t as strong as high-level characters. We know low-level characters can be useful on the battlefield, but will they have any chance against a veteran?

It really depends on the player behind the character. We’ve seen fights where a level 50 character has been killed by a level 10. Of course, there’s strength in numbers, so even a highly-skilled level 50 character can be taken down by several low-level characters. We’re working diligently to find the best balance point so that levels are still important and benefit your character in Cyrodiil.


Can we switch weapons instantly?

Swapping weapons isn’t instant, but it’s very quick—as close as we can make it while still playing an animation that looks appropriate. You can swap weapons while in combat, and the ability to do so is unlocked at level 15.


I assume the video is supposed to show an escalation from group combat to bigger skirmishes and full-scale sieges. Are one-on-one fights a valid option in Cyrodiil, too?

Indeed they are. Many solo battles can be found at chokepoints and at the ends of the enemy alliances’ transit lines or in Cyrodiil’s towns.



From the German community at ESO-Schatzsucher:


Do costumes have a use in PvP? Can we fool enemy guards or even players? Do they allow infiltrating keeps or outposts?

Players can wear costumes in Cyrodiil if they wish, but they don’t offer any combat advantages.


What can stealth-based characters do in Cyrodiil other than assassinate enemies? Will they be quick enough to spy on moving enemy troops without being seen? Can they interrupt supply lines or attack caravans?

Many stealthers find great joy in camping the end points of transit lines or at milegates and bridges, which serve as bottlenecks between alliance territories within Cyrodiil.  Also note that the five towns located in Cyrodiil, where players can find quests, serve as great locations to spy and find enemy players to kill.


Are you able to steal an Elder Scroll with a small group, or will there be a broadcast that the Scroll is missing? Will the position of a stolen Elder Scroll on the move be visible on the map?

When an Elder Scroll’s gate is opened or closed and when a Scroll is picked up, captured, or returned, everyone will see a broadcast. It’s possible for a small group to escort a Scroll carrier, but the Scroll’s location will appear on the map—everybody in Cyrodiil will know where it is.


I like the idea of keeps having resources nearby. How close to the keeps are they – within range of a courageous excursion?

Almost all resources are within 60 seconds of travel time on foot from a keep. They’re very close, and your alliance will likely want to make the effort to defend them.


Can a keep store up resources, or does the loss of a resource immediately downgrade a keep’s defenses?

If you lose control of one of your keep’s resources, the upgrades it sustained will begin to degrade, but you won’t immediately lose the benefits.


How long does an emperor stay emperor?

An alliance retains the emperorship as long as they hold at least one of the six keeps surrounding the Imperial City. If the player who is emperor changes his or her home campaign, that player will lose the emperorship.


I heard there is a bonus for the number of keeps your alliance controls. Isn’t this going to make it even harder to stand up against a winning alliance?

The interesting thing about those bonuses is how spread out an alliance has to be to keep them. While it does make defeating individual members of that alliance more difficult, it also means there are many more keeps they have to defend, leaving them spread out and vulnerable to coordinated efforts.


How will siege weapons work? Can I aim all of them at anything—players, doors, walls, guards, ground targets, etc.? Or do certain weapons have certain targets (e.g. a ram can only attack a door)?

Most weapons can be aimed at anything. The only exception is the ram, which can only attack a door. Even though you can target nearly anything, each weapon has varying degrees of effectiveness against players or structures.



From the French community at JeuxOnline:


Is there a “raid” interface that joins several groups? If so, how many players can join?

You can form large groups of up to 24 players, and it’s done simply by inviting more than four people into your group.


For groups that want to roam around together, are there any skills that boost everyone’s speed for more than a few seconds? Do you have plans to help players get to battles quickly?

In the Alliance War skill line, you’ll find an ability that speeds your group up temporarily, but what you really want in Cyrodiil is a horse. They’re much faster than walking, and with their sprint ability you’ll be able to cover ground quickly. You’ll also be able to access fast-travel routes from a keep your alliance controls to help you get right to the action.


Conversely, can teleportation points be blocked in order to plan tactics due to long trips between two strategic positions?

Indeed! Cutting off teleportation to a keep can be done not only by capturing the keep itself, but also by capturing all three resources around that keep. Furthermore, damaging a keep that has been breached will also put it under attack. 


Can you tell us a bit about the different siege weapons and their roles? We know about the ram (for destroying a door) and forward camp (for respawn). Are there more?

Besides the ram and camps, there are trebuchets, catapults, ballistae, and flaming oil. Trebuchets are best used against keep walls, and ballistae excel at taking down other siege weapons. Catapults are good for covering a wide area with duration effects like disease or snares, and you can pour flaming oil down onto enemy ram operators to drive them away from your keep’s doors. 


Because you have just one megaserver, will there be queues to join Cyrodiil? If so, will we be able to see our position in that queue?

You’ll be assigned to a campaign when you create a character, and you can access Cyrodiil from the Alliance War interface once you’re level 10. There may be queues in some campaigns to retain balance between the alliances, but you can join another via a guest pass if you don’t want to wait or you can jump into a campaign with another player in your group.  


How does the campaign system work? Can we just see campaign names in a list and choose to join one where our friends are already playing?

You’ll be able to see available campaigns in the Alliance War interface. Your home campaign, guest campaign, and the campaigns your friends are assigned to will be noted on the list. You can become a guest in your friends’ campaign or even choose to change your home campaign (though this is limited).


Can you tell us a bit about accidental disconnections? Can we come back easily and find our friends?

There is a brief window where you can log back in and be with your friends in the location your character was last.


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