With the launch of ESO only months away, I want to look into the make or break part of an MMORPG - PvP. All of the top MMO's out there have special events, battlegrounds or instances for where players can get together and fight against those from the opposing faction. When you reach maximum level on your character, your going to be mainly doing 2 things... PvE (dungeons, instances etc) or PvP (Player vs Player). So if a gaming company wants to keep a good chunk of their subscribers, then this part of the game has to be absolutely spectacular and repeatable without getting boring.
Although, it’s probably not as big as it used to be, PvP still is big business and very popular among online gamers, I have to admit though, in any MMO that I've played in, I always try to keep away from others until I’m at a respectable level - otherwise it's just not worth wasting my time getting killed over.
Take WoW (World of Warcraft) for example, there was a time when every Joe and his uncle was talking about who they fought and beat the previous night, everywhere you looked there was a tournament of some sort going on and with this there were viral videos of players filming themselves in the midst of epic battles on onslaught. You would get the feeling WoW was pushing PvP on everyone and it was a big deal. Nowadays it’s still there in the background and people accept it as being a regular part of the game rather than something that is special and needs promotion.
So, What is PvP? First things first, PvP stands for Player vs. Player, (for all you experienced players please bare with me, it’ll get interesting further down) it enables you to engage/fight with other players while you go about your quests/missions and earn extra XP or alliance points as in ESO.
The alternative to PvP is PvE and stands for Player vs Environment. PvE is just you, or a group of your friends competing against the computer characters, aka the NPC's.
Please note if you don’t want to keep getting attacked, stay away from Cyrodiil as much as possible, although it will be unavoidable during some missions which take you there, as in Elder Scrolls Online, this is the main PvP area and anything can happen. As we’re only concerned with ESO, let’s talk about what PvP will be like for us within this MMO. PvP or Alliance War in ESO will only happen in Cyrodiil which is in the center of the map. Cyrodiil is where the Ruby Throne is and he who takes the Ruby Throne, controls Tamriel.Also if your faction is in control, you get to challenge the mighty Molag Bal and his armies.
Each time you win a battle, or do pretty much anything in Cyrodiil you earn Alliance points. Alliance Points go towards your faction, the faction with the most points tends to be in the lead in respect to their reinforcements, guards and siege weaponry available for them to use. At the moment, once a faction is in the lead, it earns fewer Alliance Points than the trailing factions, making it easier for them to catch up. Although I do suspect this system will be tweaked and changed in the final version.
Cyrodiil is a huge province; it’s worth mentioning the area is roughly as big as the one in Oblivion for fans who have been following the franchise. So there will be plenty of space for fighting or running around attacking random people, meeting Non-Player Characters who give you plenty of side quests and plenty of dungeons etc for you to explore. Some reckon it takes around a half hour to navigate your way from end to end. There also will be other towers and castles spotted around the area which can either be protected or attacked.
There are various ‘choke points’ throughout the province where smaller, random battles break out and the developers encourage you to call your mates on the communication systems which allows you to either talk to smaller groups, individuals or do a shout out to the entire faction and get them involved in it. The benefits of winning these are huge; taking a certain objective like a keep, town, fortress etc boosts your overall score and boosts all individuals in the faction. All of which goes towards winning the Alliance War.
Warring costs gold, whether it’s rebuilding walls and defenses or repairing your gear. It all costs gold and time. So it’s almost certain that some factions will plan their whole strategy around controlling resources. To gain gold and resources, you and your Alliance need to capture the surrounding resource buildings, such as Lumber Mills, Gold Mines, Ore Mines, Farms and other familiar commodity sources that you can get your hands on. All of these building will produce a certain resource which get added to your Alliance's reserves in order to keep the battle going, helping to produce siege weapons and feeding the NPC guards that join your ranks and help protect any buildings your side controls
Special Armor, Weapons and other items for your character can also be purchased in Cyrodiil and here alone, although you will still be able to use gear that you've collected in other areas or from quests until you've done enough PvP activity to gain yourself some specialized gear. The main goal in PvP is for you and your Alliance to get close enough to the Imperial City with a decent sized army and enough siege weapons to take down the walls, penetrate the towers and overthrow the previous ruler within the Ruby Throne. Anyone who accomplishes this task, will get the chance of being appointed the next King or Queen of Tamriel, which in it's own right gives a major boost to that single player and their whole Alliance.
To take part in PvP, your character must have reached level 10 or higher, but after this, finding and taking part in a battle is easy, just open your map and take a look. Battles show up as swords on the map, the bigger the swords, the bigger the battle. You can also determine which factions are in the battle by the swords. It’s also worth noting that if a particular faction starts to become too powerful, the other two will be able to form an allegiance and attack it.
Although it’s not too clear how powerful the faction must become or what the other two must do to combine forces. Unlike any other MMO, PvP in Elder Scrolls Online is going to be humongous. With up to 300 players in an area of Cyrodill at any one time battling it out with each other. This also brings up the subject of the time scale that is in place - there isn't one. Unlike in battleground in World of Warcraft for example where PvP matches last around 20 minutes, in ESO there are no time restrictions to typically it could take weeks or months before a new King or Queen is crowned on top of the Ruby Throne.
There are three main pools, Magicka, Health and Stamina. The best fighters are those who will manage these the best as each spell, ability and skill will require one of these. The Magicka pool will be important for mages, sorcerers and healers and stamina for melee attackers and is used for blocking and stealth etc.
The better your reactions, blocks and attacks, the more Ultimate Points, XP and Finesse Points you earn. The more of these you have, the more chance you'll get at accessing more powerful attacks. So fighters need to have some class about them when fighting in order to fill their 'Ultimate' bars up quicker so they can use their Ultimate skills more often, rather than just button bashing.
I am really looking forward to PvP in ESO, from battling the other 2 Alliances, taking over towns, villages and resource buildings to defending the ones we already have. From what information we have at the moment, with 300 players being in battle with each other at the same time, War's lasting up to weeks at a time and the possibility of actually becoming the next King or Queen of Tamriel... PvP sounds like it's going to be absolutely epic!