Zenimax offers lots of answers to PvP questions on Elitist Jerks boards.
A special Q&A with The Elder Scrolls Online PvP Developer Brian Wheeler was hosted Wednesday on Elitist Jerks. A massive number of questions were asked and lots of answers were given. Here is a sum up of those answers.
Note that Brian Wheeler will answer to some of the leftover questions in a couple of days, so stay tuned! The questions tackled quite a number of topics, so we bundled them by theme for an easier reading.
Combat is mouse driven (on the PC/Mac) with a reticule to aim at the target. Left clicking will attack while right clicking will block. There is no “auto-attack” and combat keeps you immerse yourself in the world and actively fight your target like in all the Elder Scrolls games.
Player skills at timing dodges, blocks, attacks, skills, power attacks and sneaking against other real people is important in PvP. Of course network latency is taken into account but there's wiggle room for such skills in Cyrodiil battles.
There is no player collision in PvP because it hits badly performance both server and client side. Larger battles were more interesting to offer. It also tends to become a frustration point more than a strategic advantage when dealing with masses of players.
It is not possible to move an Elder Scroll outside the main PvP zone of Cyrodiil (so leaving the zone or entering a cave) as it would drop. It is also impossible to sneak or mount while carrying a scroll. The scroll position is always shown on the Cyrodiil map, so as you move carrying the scroll, so does the scroll position on the map.
To gain Emperorship, one need to capture the 6 keeps surrounding Imperial City and the only way to lose it, is to have all 6 of those keeps lost to the enemy. Once an Alliance gets an Emperor, they don’t want to lose it, so it’s not possible to trade Emperorship to somebody in your Alliance as one would need to loose all the keeps and not just a single one.
The ZeniMax team worked on finding sweet spot ratios and abilities to make it so small groups (4 players or so) can have the opportunity to take out larger groups (8-12 or more depending on the group make up). Small roaming groups of 2-4 can win against larger groups of players, but it depends on the power and skills of both groups.
When first entering Cyrodiil, it’s interesting to stay in big groups. Later on, small groups can become very effective in the war, tactically or fighting other players in the open field. A group of 6-8 players can hold off waves of 40 or more at upper levels of Keeps if they are well coordinated.
All gameplay styles are encouraged within Cyrodiil. Zerging is a legitimate tactic, which can be defeated by smaller groups with superior skills. The zerg is a safe haven for those who are not adept at guerrilla warfare. Solo stealthing or small group fighting can be as rewarding but players should do what they want to do at a given time.
In Beta, it took around 30 to 36 hours for players to develop those higher level fighting tactics such as rooftop keep defense, tower defense, and open field battles ripping apart larger groups. Coordination vs disorganization is the key.
Siege weaponry has been adjusted to help small and coordinated groups fend off larger and less organized groups (and it has been successfully tested at Chalman Keep in Beta). There will be updates through the lifetime of the game to help skills, weapons, armors and abilities benefit everyone both small and large groups, open field or not, in PvE and PVP.
Leaderboards and Scoring
There is a cap of number of players per Alliance but if an Alliance has more Campaign points than the other two Alliances combined, the lower scoring Alliances get bonus to their score against the higher scoring Alliance.
If Daggerfall and Aldmeri were losing to Ebonheart for example, both Daggerfall and Aldmeri will get more points when they capture keeps, resources and Elder Scrolls native to Ebonheart, but also more points for holding their natively owned keeps.
PvP ranks will be apparent on the battlefield as every other Alliance War Rank will confer a new rank Symbol to the player target frame to indicate what Rank that player is. There is no extended title attached to the name. There also are some very cool looking light, medium and heavy armor sets available in Cyrodiil that have an appearance that should be very familiar to Elder Scrolls players.
PvP leaderboards are available in the game itself and update roughly every 10 minutes. They can be filtered by Class, Alliance and Overall leaders within a Campaign.
PvE vs PvP Equipment and Abilities
Some of the Emperor and Alliance War abilities are useful in PvE while others are not (like preventing Siege damage when not in a Siege).
Passive abilities purchased with skill points are always active regardless of where you are or what you have equipped.
You don’t need to use PvP armors and skill lines to be effective in PvP. You can be effective with your weapons and armor and skills gained from anywhere in the world (Cyrodiil, PvE quests, dungeons or crafting). There will be sets available in PVP that aren't available elsewhere with a unique look to them and set bonuses, but they are not required to "win" in combat.