The Rule of War: Elder Scrolls Online

The maxim goes as follows: If it’s a stupid plan and it works, it’s not a stupid plan.

Recently, standing on the parapet of a keep in Cyrodiil, I watched the Daggerfall Covenant troops break their way in. Combat was messy, it was unfocused. It was war.
I took the shots I could, I’d slogged to get here after all. Standing on that parapet I saw someone lining up a siege weapon with his friend.
“Can I hit him from here? Eh worth a shot.”
First mistake.
“Oh hey, I can see him casting the crystal shards thing I do. Awesome.”
Second mistake.
I didn’t get to make a third because I wasn’t just watching someone cast in battle, I was the target.
Anyone else would have kept in motion, everyone else will learn to do that. It was a stupid plan to take that shot at me. It worked, it wasn’t a stupid plan.
Like that experienced beta PvPer taking a gamble on me standing there like a complete numpty, the War in Cyrodiil is an exercise in potential gain.
I’m an optimist at heart, I like looking on the bright side of things and assuming it will turn out better than not. Looking at Cyrodiil I can easily see how fantastic this three way war for the heart of the kingdom could be.
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How Does It Work
Mechanically there are a number of keeps spread across the triangle shape that is Cyrodiils surrounding lands. Each faction has their own starting city and links to nearby keeps. Keeps themselves have an attached support structures, farms and so on. Holding these will give bonuses to the keep. Taking them away from an enemy will work in your benefit.
At the moment seizing one of the satellite structures is apparently pitched at a group for 4-6 players, assuming of course you don’t run into player defenders. Keeps naturally need a bit more work.
Need to get around? You can use the Transitus Shrine to teleport to any linked keep. Word of warning though, you can’t teleport there if it’s under attack. So get in the fight early or get left behind.
Everything after that is PvP. Kill the other guys, dominate, win! Really you don’t need me to explain what you’re supposed to do when you see the other guys.
The Rule of War: Elder Scrolls Online - - Your Source for MMOs & MMORPGs

Will it Work?

Like I said, I like to be optimistic. The distances feel vast between keeps and camps. There are pockets of hostile NPCs scattered around, from encampments of Imperials who don’t like you to a family of trolls in a cave. The whole experience is pitched towards armies. I can easily see there being scattered skirmisher groups as friends go out to cause trouble, but victory will depend upon unity.
Think less of zergs, at least in my optimistic foresight, and think more of co-ordinated outfits from Planetside. Between the distances necessary to cover on foot or on mount (Oh God get a horse) and the fact that you can lock down teleporting reinforcements, there exists the potential for strategic warfare instead of the zerg.
Will we get that? I hope so. The potential is there.
All we need is a leader.

That Leader Guy

Want a reason to herd cats? Want an excuse to boss around armies in a grand dance of give and take? The best of the best will have the chance to become Emperor. Less political horse trading and more actual martial prowess, at least to my understanding, the Emperor position gives all those budding generals a reason to lead. Those names are going to be remembered by the fans and the rabid pvpers. Do you have glory in you?
The Rule of War: Elder Scrolls Online - - Your Source for MMOs & MMORPGs

Potential Payoff

If it works and if players make it work, the War in Cyrodiil promises to be rewarding. If we fall back on good old behaviour and charge around in unfocused barely coherent blobs… well then where’s the fun in that?
Given that we’re all going to be on one large megaserver if nothing else I’ll be enjoying the metagame. Who will win? The forces of disorder or the might of your chosen faction?
Here’s hoping that the potential gets met.
For an opposing viewpoint, check out Maressa’s article and why she doesn’t like the realism of war. Which of us is right? Well you’ll have to come try it out yourself and decide.
Just watch out for people waving their hands at you. Incoming fire has the right of way.
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About Jonathan Doyle

Once long ago Westwood made a space game. Earth And Beyond was the start of the journey. From there, through Paragon City and to the fields of Altdorf, there were battles. Westwood brought me to MMOs. City of Heroes refined my love for them. Warhammer brought me to writing about them. He loves all things space, sci fi, Warhammer or heroic.