Thanks to some of my old-school guildies returning to the game I’ve been put in the position of leading warbands through the mostly barren battlefields of T3. As I almost alluded to in a previous post that was eaten by the internets (I.E. it never got posted) the tactical state of doorhammering, or Keep Sieges, is frankly quite pathetic for the majority of casual players. Don’t get me wrong, I happen to LIKE casual players for the most part, it’s just that a lot of them have no idea what to do when you’re rolling up on a keep that is likely to have a dozen defenders or more. As such, I’m taking personal responsibility for not enlightening these players earlier on the more subtle tactics and strategy involved in Keep Siegeing.
Hopefully, I can right my heinous mistakes with this short guide.
Keeps, starting in T3 and typically continuing through T4 have a few key points of interest to note. Understanding each of these and the strategic significance not only to your realm, but the enemy realm, is a challenge that most players are either uninterested in, or the zerg as a whole considers unimportant.
First, the main focal point of a keep siege. The door.
- Mistake #1: During a siege, all the MDPS will run up on the door and flail away at it seeing their big unmitigated numbers fly across the screen all willy-nilly, driving them to raging e-boners as they get perverse satisfaction from big hard numbers in their face.
- Mistake #2: RDPS will focus on the oil with single target abilities and dots, leaving the oil pourer relatively unscathed the entire time, freely dumping hot splattery love all over the mass of MDPS humping the door with reckless abandon.
- Mistake #3: Healers panic. All their bars are dropping as melee and tanks alike get rocked by oil splashing freely all over their faces. Half the warband dies, the enemy pushes out and drives hard and deep into the warm and squishy center, the Keep Siege is wiped, rags are handed out at the warcamp to clean up.
A question for anyone playing a melee toon, do any of you really think that you’re doing a reasonable amount of damage when compared to a ram that hits for 30-40k a swing? Fine, of course you do. Well, stop it. Your job is not to beat on the door, your job is to kill incoming reinforcements. It’s not as exciting as afk-humping the door and tugging off to your big damage numbers scrolling across the screen, but it’s necessary. Not to mention, with ~6 melee guarding each postern, you’re going to quickly destroy any enemy that wanders through. Hey look! Renown, Xp, AND Influence! You just have to WAIT FOR IT.
Here’s one for the RDPS, why are you trying to focus down the oil if there’s someone pouring it? Once oil is loaded into that thing, it gains 10x it’s unmanned hitpoints, and can be repaired almost instantly. You know what really sucks for someone trying to pour the oil? AOE the damn thing. Yes, move into your 65′-80′ range and drop every AoE you possibly can on that stupid thing. If every RDPS in your group can do this, that oil is going to stop pouring as the poor sap trying to tip the bucket will either quickly die, or run like a bitch crying to his momma. Hell, for this reason, I’d recommend leaving the oil UP, so you can nuke whatever poor soul thinks he has a chance at dumping the stuff.
Healers… for the love of god… you have one archtype to worry about for the majority of your keep sieging. YOU can shape the battlefield with your unique ability to keep people alive. 4 Tanks on the ram, 4 targets to heal. Move out of the 100′ group heal range and stay safely between 100-150′. If some MDPS get into the oil LET THEM DIE. Drop a rez on them, and let them LEARN the hard way that “No motherfucker, I’m not healing your stupid ass if you’re playing in the oil. Go guard a postern”. It’s OK. You can be the biggest dick on the battlefield and NO ONE is going to forsake your healing if they die immediately after doing some stupid… well, at least after the first couple times. Now, to be fair, if they’re doing what they are supposed to be doing, by all means heal them when they get in trouble. If you see no melee on the door, but life bars are dropping, run over and give them a couple quick bursts of loving goodness, they’ll do their job much more frequently when you give them candy for doing it right.
Tanks, your job for the first two doors of each keep is simple. If you have a shield, take the ram and slam that bitch into the door. If you DON’T have a shield, then go join the MDPS at a postern. Hell, you might even want to guard them too. Now, if your warband leader is one cool savvy sonofabitch (like me), he’ll have all 4 tanks in the same group so you can have a 4-way with each others Guard ability. Yes, Cross-guarding is good. Everyone with a shield has a chance to block, everyone guarded/guarding with a shield has a chance to block TWICE AND TAKE 1/2 DAMAGE. Don’t QQ over taking damage on the ram. If you die, you die. Expect a rez shortly, probably before you can whine about how little heals were spammed on you, or how long it takes to get a rez around here. If this doesn’t happen, you’re probably wiping anyway for any of the above reasons. Regroup, smack a few of the assholes that failed at their job, and move along. The game doesn’t end from a single wipe.
Now, the secondary and more tactical aspects of keep siegeing is where things require a bit more finesse and patience. Oh, and a picture for Passwatch in EvC T3.
So, everyone should understand the positioning here if you read the previous paragraphs.
Red is the four Tanks on the ram.
Green are the healers in the middle, closer to the DPS for group healing, but within 150′ for focused heals on the tanks.
Yellow is the RDPS, close enough to AoE the Oil, or to nuke anything rushing the middle.
Orange is the MDPS spread out near each postern to intercept incoming reinforcements.
Two new lines here, the path for Order in light blue, and the path for Destro in purple. It’s important to know where your enemy is coming from, and where they’re going to head. 60% of the time, if they’re going for a postern, they’ll be swinging around wide to stay out of sight as best they can. Also, having a single RDPS near the postern is more than acceptable, faster to dismount them at max range, and let your melee eat them alive. Now, chances are if anyone is coming to defend a keep, they won’t be very organized until they get inside. It’s a bit more rare to see a well established warband roll in as a single force. At best you’ll have 3-6 players at a time that are actually organized, and aside from that one or two at a time that will try to sneak around. Provided you have a suitable force, it shouldn’t be an issue to kill them before they pop inside. The KEY TO KILLING THEM, is simply to keep your distance from the postern. Standing AT the door, or even within rez range from the wall does absolutely dick. You need to kill them far enough away from the wall that a healer can’t reach them without risking their own ass, because they simply won’t (most of the time).
During this stage, you may see renown pouring in like crazy as small amounts of players are focused more on getting inside than fighting at all. They drop fast and hard, with sexy RP’s and candy flying around. Guarding the Postern will give you MORE RP than flipping the Keep (which you’ll get anyway if you do your job). MDPS have the unique ability to Charge or Stealth, not to mention Mara/WL Pulling. At RR30 your stealthers can sit right inside the postern and crush the hopes of anyone who thought they were going to survive, this is more common in T4 however.
enemies will most likely get tired of filtering into the keep and go RvE somewhere else (the battle is won!), or they’ll get their shit together and come storming through the center. IF they choose the latter of the two options, everyone (TANKS INCLUDED) needs to fall into the middle and wipe the bastards before too much damage is done. This is tricky, and not guaranteed to work, but occasionally you can deflect an attack on your rear if everyone reacts accordingly. Provided your grouping is done well, send one group of melee to the back for healer assassination, the other group to the middle to intercept and defend the squishies. Derpa durr, it’s RvR, good luck with that!
Moving on to Stage 2, where most warbands wipe since they usually fail at executing stage one properly and the inner keep is full of pissed off enemies. With fire.
–Pardon the horrid image quality here…-
So here we have the same idea in practice, the only real change is the MDPS. One group will be guarding the most likely postern, while the other one does laps around the building killing off guards and catching heals as they pass by the core group on a hunt for any other enemies wandering around. Also, you have the greater danger here of Morale 4’s being thrown around, possibly many at one time. Keep some distance between each other (as best you can) to lessen the AoE morales, and use whatever CC you can to mitigate the rate at which they’re flying about.
For Passwatch in particular, the healers are going to be pretty damn close to the walls. Not a lot of great places to go between the 100-150′ range and still have LoS on your tanks. Spamming group heals, if tanks are in your party, in this instance is fine and dandy. You’ll probably need them anyway since defenders inside the keep are REALLY hard to get rid of. Keep the same strategy in play as the first door, and soon enough you’ll be walking up those nice new big stairs to wipe the Lord.
So there you are. Essentially a two step process for any class to what they need to do during a siege. The problem currently is getting people used to the idea that yes, you get a LOT more renown for guarding posterns than humping the main door. Also, getting people to listen falls mostly on the shoulders of the healers and the warband leader. If you’re leading, make sure your healers fully understand what you are planning to do. Getting them to agree to your devious plans will make things a lot easier when they keep people in line.
As a disclaimer, running a pug warband with tactics does not equal a premade warband with 10x the communication. If you want to get serious about RvR, join a guild, get on Ventrilo, and take part of the glory that is vocal communication. Even WB leaders have to fight, we can’t sit around and give direction the whole time.