I finally made it into Cyradiil! After playing in the beta since November and having the best intentions every time to participate in PvP I can finally share my thoughts on what is being lauded as the closest thing to DAoC PvP we’ve seen in over a decade.
The very first thing I realized was that Cyradiil is really big. DAoC’s frontiers are still ginormous by comparison, but Cyradiil is already feels 4x the size of GW2’s WvW zone. Cyradiil can hold 2,000 people and from what I am told is optimized for 200 people on the screen at a time. I’ll vouch for what I experienced so far, which is probably only ~75 people, but it was 100% smooth.
Cyradiil is full of cities (mostly abandoned) with NPCs (both good and bad) and daily quests to complete. Graev and I spent what felt like 5 minutes running from one town to the next and didn’t come even remotely close to seeing another player or even a keep or objective to claim.
Teleporting around is a feature. You can portal between major objectives if you control a path connecting them. This introduces strategy associated with breaking the enemy’s ability to reinforce quickly. From only a few hours of play I can already tell you this is going to play a major role like it did in DAoC.
There’s a distinct feeling of anticipation in Cyradiil. I do remember this same feeling from DAoC. You’re going to spend a lot of time traveling, and when things eventually slow down (they will) there will be even more time between organized conflict. This is a good thing, and Cyradiil is designed to give you that ‘Oh crap I just discovered a huge group of players trying to sneak around’ rather than always knowing exactly where the enemy forces are located. It’s that feeling of anticipation that can keep you going.
Keep sieges are standard. There’s a door, you set up siege weapons, they set up siege weapons, you break the door, and you kill everyone inside to win. I haven’t seen anything special about the sieges themselves, and can already tell you there will be intense multi-hour standoffs in my future. I wish someone would innovate on the experience a bit with ladders, stealthers sneaking in, etc. Not yet, but maybe one day.
Field battles are where it’s at. Graev and I on numerous occasions flanked the enemy and pulled (Graev’s DK Scorpion style ‘get over here’ ability) them into us for the kill. I was running with a Restoration Staff (among what felt like the other 200 people) and trying to make sure we were very hard to kill. I had a blast running around.
Here’s one of the parts I don’t necessarily like. There’s a point system at play almost identical to GW2. You hold objectives and you gain points for your faction. I think it’s… clumsy. I don’t know if that’s the right phrase, but it feels like it’s done because there isn’t something else. People are already complaining that some of the campaigns are compeletely overrun, and the way the system works you can just jump between any of them you want anyway.
There’s a definite disconnect between the campaigns and the rest of the game. I can play with anyone in the world in the PvE because of the megaserver, but I have to choose to belong to a particular campaign. Despite being able to guest into any campaign, I feel like some of the realm pride that carried over into the rest of DaoC isn’t attainable in ESO.
Is it DAoC?
Nah, but a pretty darn good attempt. ESO’s Cyradiil is infinitely better than any battleground, way better than GW2’s WvW, and (in my opinion) much better than what WildStar is offering to PvPers. ESO is the game to play if you want PvP.