Ten Dos and Don'ts of Keep Sieges
by: Tony "RadarX" Jones
One of the pinnacles of gameplay in Mythic's Warhammer Online age of Reckoning is the sieging of Keeps. Pitting dozens of players against each other, these fights might be relatively simple if one side is uncontested, but some have been known to go over 8 hours. If you are looking for detailed information on how these sieges work and what you can do to improve your performance, we have a prescription available already. Today however, we'd like to present you with 10 simple Do's and Don'ts of keep sieging which will help you succeed and might even prevent a few unneccessary deaths. While some of these are obvious no-brainers, even the most experienced MMOG player can lose their head in the heat of battle so without further delay, here is the list.
Do join a Warband - This one might sound pretty obvious but there are a number of people still sitting on the "had a bad group" stigma from other games and would rather play multiplayer on the Nintendo Wii before accepting another pick up group. In a keep siege, this is just a basic requirement for victory for both defending and assaulting. Not only does it distribute experience and renown for people who contribute, but it helps you locate where everyone is on the map and allows a single person (ideally someone who knows what is going on) to direct the group. Look for an open one with the RvR indicator but if you can't find that, just ask in spatial if there is room.
Do know the area - While it may be less important in Tier 2, in Tier 3 and Tier 4 it becomes vital. Some castle interiors are littered with tents and other ground clutter that will hang you (or attackers) up. Others have hills with limited approach points and being stuck trying to ride up somewhere too steep can delay things just long enough to kill you. Know where all the postern doors are located on the exterior walls and keep. I can't count how many people I've watched chased down because they simply assumed there was only one posterior door and ran by another one. Know the potential ambush points such as bridges where a small group of enemies can very easily pick off reinforcements.
Do buy siege equipment - Many of us been there. You ride among dozens of other players, guild banners blowing in the wind, and with adrenaline flowing charge against the walls of the enemy. After dispatching a dozen NPC's you rush to the door where everyone just kind of stands there. Finally a genius pipes up and announces the obvious. "Does anyone have a battering ram?" Of course no one does, so you spend an extra 5 minutes being scalded by boiling oil and beating on the door. Yes, it can get expensive if you start buying cannons and ballista, but you never know when it will come in handy. Oil pots can frequently mean the difference between a successful defense and you jumping off the top floor of the keep in an effort to deny your enemy renown.
Do know who to listen to and listen well - Going along with the first Do, when joining a warband it's imperative you learn who to listen to and who just has no idea what they are talking about. In most sizeable sieges, there are at least a few very skilled players who have participated in enough of these to know what to do. Players you should listen to will speak in detail and offer advice, not scream at people they suck. The guy on the first floor of the keep who states "We need to just rush him" is also the guy you don't want advice from. A good warband usually will have a natural leader or a few people who will go along with things. The best way to avoid this however, is to join a guild where there is no question who you can trust.
Do be persistent - This does not mean to repeat yourself over and over until people listen to you (I'm looking at YOU let's charge the keep lord guy). Expect you will die a number of times at these things, it's just the natural progression of things. If you are offense, head back to the siege and find your niche. If you don't have a healer, maybe you need to drop down a piece of siege equipment. These events as I stated above can literally last hours and hours, well beyond what is considered a normal session. They are an investment in time, but are some of the most fun you can have in the game.
Don't avoid sacrifice - This becomes a difficult prinicple to apply, especially in pick up groups. It's one thing if you are with a group of guildmates and your sacrifice is for friends, but quite something else for complete strangers. While they might be hard to swallow, sometimes these actions can tip the balance of a standoff to victory for your side. As a Witch Hunter for instance, it is my job in a siege to be a sneaky bastard and attack enemies who aren't paying attention. Sneaking over and harassing a mage or healer is almost certainly a death sentence, but can distrupt their attacks on your team and forces them to focus attention on you. You were just brutalized by a group of seven people responding to your attack on their healer? No, you just got the attention of seven idiots who now aren't watching the real battle. Don't be in a hurry to die, but never be afraid to use tactics like these.
Don't be impatient - In a world of "I Win" buttons and instant gratification this one is tricky for many players. Undefended keeps can drop in just a few minutes, but with opposition you could be in for a lengthy fight. Yelling at your warband and trying to take matters into your own hands is rarely ever beneficial. Yes we know it can be done faster and have probably seen it ourselves, but every situation is different. That keep you rolled over in 10 minutes last night, might take this group 45 minutes and may not happen at all. Listen to whoever is taking charge, assume they know what they are doing, and do the best with what you have.
Don't Wander Off - This means don't rush off after something shiny because a small fraction of the time, that is exactly what your enemy wants. Sure, chasing down a single enemy is a good source of renown but stop and think for a second. Why is he out here alone? Will anyone else follow me to help? I can tell you first hand this tactic works and kills countless people. Pulling off a small group of stragglers will sometimes allow an organized enemy to press their attack and turn your advantegous situation into a loss. If you are attempting a lengthy siege, set a group of your warband to patrol the postern doors or battlefield objectives to help stay organized.
Don't overextend yourself - We've all seen those battles where the will of the enemy is broken and they are run back to their own camp. This tactic might draw a little renown, but more than likely it's just going to encourage the enemy to move to another zone where things are less defended. If you are in an overadvangtageous position, keeping the enemy engaged and inflicting just enough losses to confine them there is how to truly win an engagement. Have a small force move between battlefield objecitves and before you know it, you'll have taken control of that realm and receive a renown bonus for it.
Don't be ignorant of your class role - This is where you as an individual come in to play. Knowing your class is just one of those things which will make or break you in combat. While there are some simple rules such as not rushing a tank if you are a healer or overnuking somesone, the nuances that make your skill set stand out from everyone else is critical knowledge. Set up an RvR specific toolbar to help you utilize the most efficient skills and be sure to have your tactics set up in a way that is beneficial to your situation. Look to more experienced players and ask them for advice. I've never met anyone who wasn't flattered to be asked how you can play a class better.
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