Introduction to Cyrodiil

This guide covers some basics and tips on things unique to Cyrodiil, but does not go into detail about how to effectively fight or kill other players. Having a PvP-specific build (including skills and rotation) and practicing with it helps you become a better player-slayer and is very different from the typical PvE builds and gameplay. Do not hesitate to reach out to fellow guildies or in the #pvp-advice channel for specific advice on builds, combat tips, etc. or to find someone to duel/practice with.

General Notes about Cyrodiil

There are three factions involved in the Alliance War; your faction is usually determined by the race of your character (unless you have the Any Race/Any Alliance bundle and have specifically selected a different faction than would otherwise be tied to your race).

  • Aldmeri Dominion (yellow / “bananas”) – High Elf, Wood Elf, Khajiit
  • Daggerfall Covenant (blue / “blueberries”) – Breton, Orc, Redguard
  • Ebonheart Pact (red / “strawberries”) – Argonian, Dark Elf, Nord

Cyrodiil has 4 campaigns, 3 of which can be “homed”:

  • Blackreach – Standard/CP
  • Ravenwatch – Standard/NO CP (No PROC)
  • Gray Host – Alliance Locked (once you home a character here, you can only bring other characters within the same faction into this campaign)
  • Icereach – Below Level 50 (7-day Campaign)

Your character must be level 10 or higher to enter Cyrodiil; characters of any level (10+) can enter Blackreach, Ravenwatch or Gray Host, however Icereach is restricted to characters from level 10 – 49.

“Homing” a campaign allows you to receive Tier rewards at the end of the 30 day campaign; Tier 1 rewards, which can be earned for each character and include a transmute geode worth 50 transmute crystals, are awarded after gaining 25k AP in a homed campaign (which can usually be accomplished with a group in under an hour).

You must enter Cyrodiil from your character menu: Alliance War (or press L) > Campaigns > Enter Campaign (“E”).

You need to do the introductory quest in Cyrodiil if you wish to unlock the daily quests – this can be found at one of your alliance bases (the one that does NOT have the bank).

Within Cyrodiil, you use the Transitus network to travel between keeps/towns on the map. Note that you can only travel/port to keeps or towns that your faction controls (and are not under attack) and are linked to where you are trying to travel from (they will glow green if you can travel to them). Links between keeps can be restored by ensuring that at least one resource surrounding the appropriate keep(s) is controlled by your faction. If an enemy faction controls all of a keep’s resources, you will not be able to port to that keep.

Note: you can “blood port” to a keep that is not linked via the transitus network if you are dead.

To leave Cyrodiil, you need to travel back to one of your alliance’s home bases, and use the wayshrine to port out.

Each keep has three resources surrounding it, and they each offer a buff to the faction that controls them; the farm buffs the health of NPCs (such as guards at the keeps/other resources), the lumber buffs the front door of the keep, and the mine buffs the walls of the keep.

Keeps and resources are captured by flipping the flags within them. Flags will flip faster the more players are surrounding them, but they are also bomb bait – you should try to keep a loose spread and ensure you have your buffs and heals active (or hold block) when standing on flags to avoid your entire group being bombed/wiped.

Cyrodiil has Milegates and Bridges that must be used to access certain areas – these can be the source of fights, and can also be sieged/destroyed as a tactic to restrict players’ access to specific parts of the map.

Having a fast mount is extremely important in Cyrodiil (to be able to make it to a fight or defense in time) – it is a good practice to upgrade your mount speed daily if possible for your PvP toons (speed & stamina should be first priority, in that order). The Continuous Assault passive (from the Alliance War > Assault skill line), which grants a 30% mount speed increase, is ESSENTIAL – if you have not unlocked this yet, do so as early as possible.

Note: It is important to try your best to stay with your group/crown when in a PvP zone – your chances of success against other players and enemy keeps/resources is significantly better when you stay together; don’t be afraid to ask questions or ask your crown to slow down if needed.

You earn skill points as you rank up in Cyrodiil – up to 50 in total!

Common Terms

  • Ganker (aka “Nightblade”): a player that hides in stealth and attempts to kill players using the element of surprise; will often target players that have strayed from their group and/or are low health.
  • Bomber: a player geared to deal extra damage to large groups of players (typically on flags or repairing doors or otherwise tightly grouped); can wipe entire groups of players
  • Tower/Rock Humper: players that utilize rocks or towers to break Line of Sight (LoS) from their attackers to avoid being killed; tend to try to entice other players to go after them and can spend a significant period of time distracting players from more useful objectives.
  • Tank: a player that is built to stay alive (but usually does not do much damage); similar to tower/rock humpers in that you can invest a lot of time trying to kill them that could be better spent elsewhere
  • Squishy: a term used to indicate that a player can be killed easily (i.e. does not have a lot of health or resistances)

Siege Notes and Best Practices

Siege must be assigned to your quickslots to be utilized (you cannot do this while in combat, so it is best to setup your quickslots before grouping or engaging in combat/siege)

Siege can be purchased using Alliance Points (AP) – or gold, for certain items – from a siege merchant at your alliance’s home base, or in any keep that your faction has claimed. You gain AP by capturing keeps or resources, completing quests, or killing other players in Cyrodiil

Each player can easily operate multiple siege weapons at a time in a rotation to maximize damage while the weapons are “reloading”, for example:

  • Put down and switch between 3 to 5 ballistae when sieging a front door or wall (remember to keep up your heals or buffs when switching between them); you can also operate ballistae while standing on the ram by putting down your ballistae facing away from the door, then turning it to face the door
  • Put down and switch between a meatbag catapult and several fire ballistae when defending a keep against an attack
  • Put down and switch between multiple flaming oils from the upper level of a keep you are defending

Note: Because many players will often deploy/operate multiple siege weapons simultaneously, you should never use another player’s siege if they have not offered it – this can be very frustrating and throw off the player’s rotation!

If you do not have any siege equipped, you should remain on the ram (if less than 6 players are on it), or focus on defending, buffing (siege shields are a great example, and can stack up to 4x), or healing your team while they siege.

Note that siege weapons depreciate over time/use or when they are hit by counter-siege (they have their own health bar that you can review); while you can repair siege using siege repair kits, this is typically only done on rare/expensive siege or on rams.

Best Types of Siege

NameTypeBest used againstNotes
Battering RamOffensiveKeep doorsNormally slotted/used by crown or healers
BallistaOffensiveKeep doors/wallsMost important offensive siege
Fire BallistaDefensiveEnemy players/siegeBest against enemy siege; very effective against enemy players
Meatbag CatapultDefensiveEnemy playersBest against enemy players
Flaming OilDefensiveEnemy players/siegeUsed from the upper levels of a keep to drop on enemy players/siege
Stone TrebuchetOffensiveKeep wallsUsed from range when sieging a keep wall
Keep Door Woodwork Repair KitDefensiveDamaged doorsUsed to restore keep doors after flipping a keep
Keep Wall Masonry Repair KitDefensiveDamaged wallsUsed to repair damaged walls after flipping a keep; can also be used to ensure you receive a defensive tick (ap award) if you arrive late to a successful defense

Best Siege to Quickslot

(in order of importance, with recommended minimum inventory):

  • 8x Standard Ballistae
  • 50x Cyrodiil Repair Kits
  • 5x Flaming Oils
  • 2x Meatbag Catapults
  • 2x Fire Ballistae Offensive / Door Siege Examples / Best Practices
  • Ram in front of the door; 6 players standing on it (ideally healers or players with self-heals/purge skills)
  • As many ballistae surrounding the ram as possible (see example below with 5 ballistae; up to 20 offensive siege weapons are permitted); try to stay as close to your group as possible so you are within range of their heals/buffs and less at risk against enemy players/gankers.
  • Note: you can’t setup siege weapons too close together; however you CAN drop a battering ram close to/behind a ballista and roll over it to reach the keep door (but not vice, versa)

Defensive Siege Setup Examples / Best Practices

  • Several meatbag catapults/fire ballistae directed at incoming enemy players/chokepoints, such as:
  • the outer door from the courtyard
  • the inner/front door from the back flag
  • outside the front door from the outer walls
  • Several Flaming Oils above the front door/porch, dropping on enemy players

written by

— updated on