ESO PvP (AvA) First Impressions

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 Map

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. 

Sieging a bridge in Cyradiil
Sieging a bridge in Cyradiil

The Action

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.

Siege weapons are an integral part of any siege
Siege weapons are an integral part of any siege

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.

  • Hey! I saw you guys in there. I was playing my melee Sorc.

    I agree with everything you wrote. WvW is way way better then GW2. I love the size of the map and all the little areas to do things in. There are even quests you can do in some of the little villages.

    I’m really surprised how well it runs overall. Massive sieges that would grind GW2 to 5 FPS run at 20 plus (my comp is pretty old and the CPU is terrible). Most of the time I’m easily over 30 with action everywhere.

    My only real issue is the lack of feedback the game gives you. I understand why they did it but I’d like to know what hit me and how hard. Sometimes I just get toasted and I’m looking at one or two guys wondering if it was them, lag or if I missed something. Also, I’ll find myself in some form of CC and I’ll have trouble getting a melee move off.

    Not gamebreaking but annoying.

  • Good post keen =)

    I don’t no what DAoC is but I do really like elder scrolls pvp I haven’t done it yet tho but im really looking forward to doing it but im waiting for when im level 20 =)

    I didn’t agree with u about the point system I like that idea it should give u credit its for the empress or emperor thing at the end the faction that takes every thing the player with highest score who earned the most points can become empress or emperor and all top players for that faction get special titles or ranks I think.

    Makes pvp more rewarding and furfilling with out a point system for doing things in the pvp zone it would be dumb so I don’t agree with that part.

    But i do like the faction restriction and hope they don’t change them I due think they maybe need to fix the pvp complain map choice thing.

    But other thing is more people are trying to level so i wouldn’t juge number unbalance just yet cause there so many people still leveling so maybe at end of month see if its really badly unbalance by then more people will be higher levels wanting to pvp and more 50s to pvp.

  • Great to hear…still trying to figure out my main and I think I really want dual weapons at 15 before jumping in…it’s looking like nightblade bow/dual wield atm but I still need to play templar and revisit my sorc.

    Keep (haha) us updated on your pvp adventures and insights 🙂

  • “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”

    I just don’t get this and I don’t believe I ever will. As a DAOC vet myself, albeit of fairly short standing since I’d had enough of the game by about six months after launch even though I hung on for about a year altogether, this whole “the longer the run, the slower the travel, the fewer the fights, the better it is” motif completely mystifies me. Running (or sneaking) across a vast landscape in the hope of finding someone to fight doesn’t create a sense of anticipation in me; it creates sense of frustration and annoyance borne out of a very strong sense that I’m wasting my time.

    Far from finding GW2’s WvW maps too small, I find them too large. When there’s a Map Call to Garrison and it takes me thirty seconds to run there I begrudge about 15 of those seconds. Conversely, when there’s a Map Call and by luck the Waypoint happens to open for two seconds and I manage to click it and port in right at the fight I get a thrill of satisfaction and excitement.

    I absolutely understand and appreciate deferred gratification but for some reason that delicious sense of anticipation simply does not trigger for me in an RvR/WvW/AvA setting. My memory of DAOC is pretty hazy by now but I seem to recall that one of the main reasons that Battlegrounds, the on-demand RvR instances, were added was because of the high level of dissatisfaction expressed by many DAOC players over exactly the kind of long travel, few fights dynamic offered by the Frontiers.

    Does ESO have an on-demand PvP/AvA option? If not it’ll be interesting to see how long it is before one is added.

  • If they ever add an “on-demand” pvp action element for top level players, the game will implode. Quite literally, the massive PvP zone is ESO’s draw. If they EVER allow another option, today’s instant-grat crowd will automatically swap over and literally kill the game.

    And for the record, DAoC’s battlegrounds were added so that low level players could experience RvR before 50. ESO doesn’t need that with the upscaling to 50 for Cyrodiil.

  • I don’t think ESO needs “instant action” pvp. If you want action you are never more then a few minutes from an action point. The difference from GW2 though is there is actual action. Not just three sides trading points for rewards. If they add BGs I agree with Rawblin, the game will implode.

    I loved GW2. It was my go to MMO since its release. Having said that ESO does everything GW2 tried to do better.

    The soft trinity actually exists in ESO. I don’t have to be zerker to be “optimal”. Support is important. I’m also not “stacking for buffs”. God I hate that mechanic.

    Exploration is rewarding and doesn’t feel as forced as GW2. I’m not going for 100% map completion. I’m constantly rewarded for finding things by just wandering. The way you level skill lines and the shards/lore books are done really well too.

    WvW is actual PvP where you will often see all three sides meet and fight at points. Its not just letting the other side take a point so you can take it back for the rewards. There is also ample opportunity to play in different ways due to the size of the map. There is no zerg train running around taking points while the enemy zerg trains follow and take the same points until you lose steam.

    Stealth for everyone! Best idea ever.

    Having said that, its early still and the new MMO shine is still there. As time goes on the flaws will show and we’ll see how well constructed the game is. 50 hours in on two characters (17 and 15) and Im still having a grand time.

  • If you somehow think wvw in GW2 is just trading points for reward, I think you are probably playing in the wrong server. WvW at least in T1 is serious business and commanders play up to 12 hours a day to help your server win the match.

    Anyway, I am interested in ESO RvR, however I am a bit skeptical and would like to wait couple months for the initial excitement dies down and real objective opinions begin to surface. I like the sense of realm pride and fight for your world/server, however if for solo/small group players the most you can do is just running around and hope to gank someone once in a while, I think I may get bored. I like small scale relative fast pace action with meaningful purpose to help your realm, not sure if I can get in in ESO.

  • @rasli

    GW2 is going to a mega server structure so “realm” is going to be subjective soon. It’ll be about the same as “faction” pride in ESO now.

    I play on Crystal Desert US in GW2. PvP amounts to everyone stacking on a commander and running around taking points. That’s the strategy. You keep going until you meet a bigger force. I know a lot of those commanders put in a lot time but that doesn’t make it any more tactical.

    Small group stuff is the same at all tiers and amounts to little in the grand scheme of things. You take a supply point alone or with a friend or two and within 10 minutes a bigger group runs over and takes it back.

    I would say GW2 is the Call of Duty version of WvW. Fast, slick and streamlined with little depth overall. It was fun for about 40 hours or so but I’m totally done with it now. Hopefully ESO doesn’t end up the same and actually ends up with some depth.

  • @Bhagpuss: For me the constant fighting cheapens the experience and makes me feel like I’m playing a match of Call of Duty. I like know that there is physical territory to patrol and defend. I like knowing an army of 200 people can maneuver behind me without me knowing. The anticipation of the fight makes each encounter more meaningful, and having to run back to each fight makes avoiding death a huge part of the strategy.

  • @Ferger

    Again no offense but if that was your experience with wvw you are playing on a bad server. There are tons of strategies/cross map cooperation going on in upper tier servers, especially tier 1. Small teams play an extremely important role right now in the tournament, helping your server controlling the bloodlust often means win or lose for a server. If your server do not talk about these tactics and strategies etc, you should transfer to a top tier server to experience proper wvw.

    Mega server in gw2 does not affect wvw. Even in pve your home sever is a top priority for putting players together. From devs’ posts if your sever’s maps are well populated, your pve experience won’t ven be affected much. That seems quite far away from eso, which honestly seems more like eotm in gw2.

  • I personally would not compare ESO pvp with GW2 pvp. I know a lot of people will, sure… but I just can’t see it.

    ESO has three personal resources per character (Health/Stamina/Magicka). That, all by itself, instantly makes ESO in a completely different realm of pvp than GW2 will ever be. Having stamina is immense. DAoC had the triple resource system, and to this day I had not seen it again, except now in ESO. And thank the gods for it.

  • It’s hard not to compare them. Both are trying to replicate DAoC, both have 3 faction, both are about taking keeps, both take players to a separate area to do it.

    The combat may be different, but PvP as a whole is very much open to comparison.

  • I cannot wait to get 10 to try PvP. I am so in love with the game at the moment though, more so than any MMO I have played in a long time. The leveling is actually fun (at least for me) and to me the questing is very similar to the way oblivion/skyrim did it, which while maybe not the best to me is much better than most MMO’s and is what is making it interesting for me.

    The last MMO I really enjoyed for a long period was rift, but even that one, by level 10 I was bored with leveling and just bursting through quests not reading anything, etc. Here I find myself actually liking the story of the quests. The activities themselves (kill 5 of this, collect that, search for this) might be boring, but the actual quests themselves interest me. Like one I did were you found a guy who inherited some ruins but a ghost was keeping him from it and you go around uncovering why the ghost is there then have to make an actual decision (THAT IS NOT BLACK AND WHITE ITS 2 GREY AREAS WHICH AMAZES ME) on what to do at the end. And there has been 3 quest-lines like that so far before level 8 where there is a grey decision at the end where I am actually not sure what is right. Even though they don’t have an affect on you like alignment of anything I actually love that they are there even more because I feel like they can make the decisions more morally grey without them having a gameplay effect.

  • I am surprised how long it takes to get to level 10 – I am curious how it will be during the later levels if it is “slow” now. I do think that is a good thing though and I hope it will take quite some time to get to 50. Maybe I am just slow!

    Another observation – things don’t just die if a cough on them. For the first 8 levels, some things were tough to kill. Attacking two or getting an add can be a disaster…my character is getting better now with gear but I still feel like I have to play semi intelligently or I die (and I had my fair share of deaths by now).

  • @Argorius: I agree. this seems slowest leveling MMO in awhile, and in a good way. Also about the mobs. Lashers around the Daggerfall area especially seem tough. If you don’t dodge/interrupt them they can kill you one on one quite easily.

  • Couple questions.

    1. Is it still a 3 monther?

    2. Is there an end game and is it pve, pvp, or a mix of both

    3. Is it purely keep battles in the WvW area or are there any other points of interest for pvp ie rare spawns or dungeon areas?

  • @sikk

    1. Thats a purely personal thing. One person’s three monther will last another person 5 years. If I get 3 months out of ESO and enjoy it as much as I do now over that time I wouldn’t complain. I’ve already gotten over 50 hours out of it and Im only level 20 (15 on another character).

    2. Mix. No raiding in the WoW/Wildstar sense. If that’s what you enjoy steer clear.

    3. The WvW zone is massive. There are resources around the keeps that strengthen them. There are little areas with quests, mini dungeons, etc. A ton of different things to do and find. Plus with the field so large you can do what your want – Join a big group to take over a keep, run around with friends killing stragglers trying to re-enforce their side, etc.

  • @Bhagpuss fights need to matter otherwise we might as well be playing and FPS, punishment can be time(run..) or damage to character, both can work but people seem to be able to stomach first better

    Currently Cyrodill is quite a rezspam fest to be honest. It will get better I think but who knows.

    Whatis impressive that you can be fighting someone one on one next to a 100+ man siege and there is no lag.. you can time your stuff, block etc it works 😮 /mindblown

    The more I apply the more I am impressed. I think biggest issue will eb campaign and side hopping xrealming that people will do.

  • I am curious about the three monther question – if that zone really is the shiznit compared to GW2, and that one held interest for a time. Maybe you will still be playing if others take the plunge.

  • @bhagpuss, I disagree with everything you said on every level, you get bored after 30 seconds of running, you want instant action ?

    ESO is not for you , that’s fine not every game is every person, but don’t dare try and ask for changes like that.It’s awesome the way it is, hope you understand that 😉