Beginners Guide to Cyrodiil

Beginners Guide to CyrodiilCyrodiil is an enormous area in Tamriel, and for a lot of players the most fun part of Elder Scrolls Online. It’s a PvP area with a ton of different keeps and siege warfare, as well as some PvE content (quests). It also contains 45 skyshards, giving you more than plenty of reasons to visit. This guide will provide a basic overview of campaigns, keeps, siege weapons and other stuff you can find in Cyrodiil.

  1. The Basics
  2. Keeps
  3. Resources
  4. Siege Weapons
  5. Types of Siege Weapons
  6. Campaigns
  7. Emperorship
  8. Leaderboards
  9. Alliance Points
  10. Alliance War Skills
  11. Elder Scrolls
  12. Other Content in Cyrodiil

Everyone can become an Emperor!

Becoming an Emperor is a dream of every PvP player in Elder Scrolls Online. What others farm for months, you can have in just 1 week!

Learn the best PvP tactics, find out how to dominate other factions, and get your Emperor skill line with great abilities and passives!

Best of all, you won’t need a dedicated guild behind your back to carry you, and you’ll even earn some gold while doing it! Interested?

Read more »

The Basics

Cyrodiil Map with keeps and other objectivesYou can join Cyrodiil once your character reaches level 10; base attributes will be adjusted to the same values for all players unless you’re level 50, making it possible to compete even against higher level players. By participating in alliance warfare you gain gold, experience, gear, and Alliance Points. If you want your shot at the exclusive Emperor skill line, this is the only way to get it!

All new recruits fresh to the Cyrodiil warfront are provided with detailed instructions about how to participate in the war effort, courtesy of their alliance. You can speak with the following NPCs to initiate the Alliance War tutorials which will quickly walk you through the important basics of Cyrodiil and the Alliance War:

  • Aldmeri: Arcarin at the Eastern Elsweyr Gate
  • Daggerfall: Veronard Liancourt at the Southern High Rock Gate
  • Ebonheart: Olvyia Indaram at the Northern Morrowind Gate


Farragut Keep in CyrodiilIn Cyrodiil, each alliance has six keeps which are natively theirs.

  • All keeps have an outer wall, an inner sanctuary structure, two control flags, and a multitude of NPC defenders.
  • Almost all keep walls can be destroyed by siege weaponry. Look for wall sections flanked by shields—those are the sections you can destroy.
  • All keeps have a gatehouse door and inner sanctuary door. These can only be damaged by siege weapons, and are most damaged by rams.
  • When a keep is captured, the state of walls and doors remains unchanged. There are repair kits available to get the walls and doors back to prime condition.

Ownership of keeps will grant bonuses to your alliance outside and inside of Cyrodiil, but will also open up many other important aspects of the war for your alliance.

Keeps are linked together in a transit network. To teleport from one keep to another, interact with the “transitus shrine” which opens the transit map.

  • On the transit map, if a keep’s icon is green, you can teleport to it. If a keep’s icon is not green, you won’t be able to teleport there.
  • You cannot teleport to a keeps that is actively under siege, owned by another alliance, or if all of the resources around it are owned by another alliance.
  • A keep is considered “under attack” if any of the wall sections or doors are below 50% health and any keep pieces are taking damage from siege weaponry.
  • Keeps may also be considered “under attack” if the flags which control ownership are contested.


All keeps have three resources that fuel the upgrades to a keep over time, as long as the keep and resource are owned by the same alliance.

  • Farms control the nearby keep’s guard strength.
  • Mines control the nearby keep’s wall strength.
  • Lumber-mills control the nearby keep’s door strength.

Resources also upgrade over time to have tougher guards at them, or an increased rate of resource flow to the nearby keep.

Siege Weapons

Siege WeaponsSiege weapons are available at all keeps from a Quartermaster NPC, or at your entry location into Cyrodiil.

  • Siege weapons are purchased with Alliance Points.
  • A very limited selection of weapons are purchasable with gold.
  • Siege weapons are controlled by your mouse movement and can be fired with clicking the left mouse button.
    • Visit your siege practice range near your entry points to get used to siege control mechanisms.
  • All Siege weaponry can be destroyed by players by interacting with it to light it on fire. Conversely a siege weapon can be set back to usable once on fire by interacting with it if you’re the same Alliance.
  • All Siege weaponry can be stowed when in control of the weapon and if you were the person who purchased the weapon initially.
  • Rams require at least three players to escort them to a door. Once a ram is positioned on a door, it will damage the door based on how many players are escorting/controlling the ram.

Types of Siege Weapons

There are several types of siege weapons you can use in Cyrodiil to help capture keeps or damage multiple players at once. Trebuchet and Ballistae are long range weapons, and Catapults are used for short range. All siege engines deal AoE damage!

Trebuchets, used against structures:

  • Firepot: spread burning oil (deals fire damage to enemies and structures)
  • Stone: smashes walls and enemies (used to assault keeps)
  • Iceballs deals damage and ensnares multiple enemies in ice

Ballistae, used against enemy siege engines (including rams):

  • Standard Bolts: deal massive damage (more than other ballistae’s, use those against siege engines)
  • Fire Bolts: deal fire damage
  • Lightning Bolts: shock and ensnare enemies

Catapults, used against troops:

  1. Meatbag: cause debilitating disease (damage over time debuff on players)
  2. Oil: deals fire damage
  3. Scatter-Shot: causes impact damage


CampaignsCyrodiil is packaged in a campaign system to bring a bit of order into the chaos of the Alliance War.

  • Campaigns track how well your alliance is doing in the war based on ownership of keeps, resources, outposts and Elder Scrolls.
  • You can access the campaign overview window by pressing the P key.
  • Each of the prior mentioned structures grant you points towards a campaign score. Scoring is evaluated every 60 minutes based on the ownership of structures at the time of evaluation.
  • Cyrodiil doesn’t go down or reset any keeps’ status’ when the campaign ends. Cyrodiil will, however, have a 10 minute period where no scoring is added before resetting the score values and leaderboards to zero before starting the next campaign duration.
  • Ownership of keeps will grant your alliance bonuses based on how many you own. Be aware that you must own all of your natively owned keeps to qualify for any bonuses.


Emperorship is gated by owning the six major keeps around Imperial City. If a single alliance owns all of these keeps at once, the player on top of the leaderboard for their alliance will be automatically crowned Emperor.

  • Emperorship is maintained as long as enemy alliances don’t capture all 6 of these keeps.
  • The Emperor (or Empress) is granted a new skill line with very powerful bonuses making them a force to be reckoned with!


LeaderboardLeaderboards are available to track how well members of an alliance are doing within the campaign. The leaderboards are accessible by clicking the trophy symbol in the Alliance War UI.

  • Leaderboards track how many Alliance Points players have earned in that campaign.
  • Leaderboards update approximately every 10 minutes.
  • You can filter leaderboards by ‘Alliance,’ ‘Class,’ and ‘Overall’ status.

Alliance Points

Alliance Points are the experience points you earn by participating in the Alliance War. You can earn AP by killing players and capturing various points in the zone; killing players gives more AP though to make sure the focus is on combat.

  • You earn Alliance Points by defeating enemy players, capturing and defending keeps and resources, and doing Alliance War missions, which are available on the mission boards at your border entry locations.
  • Gaining Alliance Points will allow you to raise you Alliance Rank, which also increases your Assault or Support Alliance War skill lines.
  • Each Alliance Rank you gain will also grant you a Skill Point.

Alliance War Skills

There are two Alliance War skill lines that you can learn: Assault and Support. Alliance skill abilities affect large areas and are much more expensive than normal abilities.

  • The Assault skill line’s abilities cost stamina focus on attacking enemy players and keeps.
  • The Support skill line’s abilities cost magicka and focus on defending ally players and keeps.

Elder Scrolls

Elder Scrolls BonusesElder Scrolls are objectives that provide bonuses to all members of the alliance that controls them. They are stored in scroll temples near the border gates in Cyrodiil. Once a faction takes control of them though they can keep them in any keep in their control.

Elder Scrolls are basically one additional objective for factions to get and are highly contested. Since they affect everyone in your alliance they can help turn the battles in your favor.

Other content in Cyrodiil

The various towns and caves of Cyrodiil beckon all players to explore and enjoy all aspects of the land.

  • Repeatable quests are available in Bruma, Cheydinhal, Chorrol, Cropsford and Vlastarus.
  • There are 18 caves to find and explore—but be aware, enemy player characters are lurking everywhere in Cyrodiil, possibly even in these caves. (All content is PVP-flagged, including the explorable caves.)

We hope this beginner’s guide to Cyrodiil will help you get a quicker grasp of the basics. Large scale player versus player combat is one of the best features of this game and you definitely shouldn’t miss out on it, so get to Cyrodiil and put your class build to the test against other players!

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Published 3735 days ago This entry was posted in Guides and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

8 Responses to Beginners Guide to Cyrodiil

  1. Tyree says:

    I was recently in a campaign and it said it was ending that day, but when the final minutes were over the days restarted without any bonuses

  2. thetaze22 says:

    Yeah because its all PvP I wont be going back to Cyrodil… Thought i could solo and not be apart of some bullshit war vs other people, guess that was not the case.. I went in to a delve and was vaped by a group of covenant.. The PvE and PvP stuff needs to be separated, not combined.. 2 skyshards found out of 45.. Looks like the other 43 can just sit there, Im not going back..

  3. Boltec says:

    I’ve read as much as I can find about the best skills, combos, buffs, etc. for pvp in Cyrodiil. I don’t buy any of it — at Champion level 600, I can barely kill anyone and have lost 1 on 1 to someone Champion 235 (I couldn’t even damage them and I died in 3 hits). The people who have figured out exploits and cheats or employees of Zenimax are sure to respond to this post with “You just need more practice,” or “Maybe you’re champion points aren’t spec’d out properly,” or “LOL sucks to be you/cry some more.”

    I have legendary set armor with a very high critical defense rating, but apparently I need the armor which takes damage and heals the wearer — was just in a keep battle and one guy killed 20 of us hacking away at him. In fact, he was so arrogant/hacked out that he stood still in the middle of the mob, didn’t try to run, took a sliver of damage then set off an ultimate which was like an atomic bomb, instantly killing half of us, then he just vanished. I also appreciate being targeted and hit by bows and staffs from twice the distance that I can target anyone. I doubt anyone will ever post the only useful tips to success in Cyrodiil — it’s always the basic stuff (learn how to use artillery… get a horse… make sure you have legendary gear…) WRONG. ALL BS to keep the secret among those in the know. And for thetaze22 — I feel your pain about the skyshards. I have about 15 of them and since a neutral dungeon is a great place to get ambushed, you’re just banging your head against concrete because the sneaky little l33ts and Zenimax employees like to hide and engage you when you’re fighting the boss. No nearby respawn, so there’s truly no point taking your maxed out speed horse (which still for some reason isn’t as fast as many players’ steeds) the requisite 10-15 minutes to get back across Cyrodiil to the dungeon where the sneaky POS is probably still camped. The worst part of MMOs have always been PvP. I’m sure I’m in the minority opinion about that because Bethesda/Zenimax had to cave and entice WoW style RPGers from leaving ESO because they couldn’t satisfy their bloodlust and murder people online because their weak cowards IRL.

    • admin says:

      The worst part of MMOs have always been PvP. I’m sure I’m in the minority opinion about that

      We may be in the minority, but you’re not alone. I quickly learned to hate PvP in ESO, in large part because collecting skyshards across Cyrodiil was a very frustrating experience for me.

      I think it’s far less prevalent in ESO, but PvP in majority of MMOs is just a cheap way to keep players “engaged” without actually bothering to create actual game content. If anyone needs proof, just take a look at 30-plus (mostly crowdsourced) PvP survival gankboxes that popped up over the past 2-3 years.

      PvP, in my opinion, is not a viable long-term strategy for MMORPGs, and any game in this genre with a lack of great PvE content is destined to fail. Just one reason why out of dozens of MMORPGs released in the past decade only a handful are worth mentioning and playing. Even with some faults, ESO fortunately is one of them for me.

    • JediPanda says:

      I really think you are jaded from dying so often. as in any video game like halo for example I can run through any mission content with a blindfold on set to the hardest difficullty, then when I get into matchmaking with a group of 8 of us we can be easily destroyed by 2 seasoned players or vice versa. it is practice that makes us better at all things.try building a new character and starting in the beginner campaigns to learn the ropes and then work your way to playing in a campaign where champion points are involved. I started in pvp playing like an idiot thinking real ppl were like npcs only to realize that I am not the god I am when soloing a dungeon and destroying the boss also it is a war zone you wouldn’t walk out on the beach on d-day and expect to frollok around picking flowers right? seiging castles and strategizing with large groups to distract enemy forces and kidnaping elder scrolls is fun, as well as owning bosses in a dungeon. so have fun or maybe just don’t go there because you don’t have to. There is no secrets I started out dying and once I learned how to sneak and burst properly I got better just the other day I killed an emporer and it felt great. P.s. Without cheating and I have only been playing for 6 months

  4. Boltec says:

    I honestly never thought about it as a cheap way to keep players engaged without creating new content — and you’re absolutely right. At least we’re free to stay out of Cyrodiil, and I do enter at my own peril because I am trying to load out my dual wield skills (I maxed out all my craftsman skills, because I enjoy building things for my characters and homes). What I do loathe almost as bad as Cyrodiil is the fact that dueling is allowed anywhere (even in the bank!) I can’t stand the sounds of duels and being hit with AoE spells when I’m trying to concentrate on banking/resource management in a nice quiet setting. Is the game really that boring to you that you have to duel everyone anywhere at any time? Then move on back to WoW please. Or here’s some advice — save up and completely furnish 4 homes without using the Crown Store. That’s a true, creative challenge.

  5. Edward Decker says:

    It’s not just Cyrodiil, they have turned this whole game into some group BS. They seem to forget that all of us that paid for this game don’t want to be in some group, because we don’t have top of the line computers, video cards, or great internet connections; so group fights if there are a dozen people turn into this jerky slowed down mess. And apparently some people have figured out how to cheat in this game. I’ve been playing this game for 5 years now and I still can’t kill anything in these Group areas. I needed to kill 3 dragons, and it took me 2 months to do it. You step on the battle field and instantly die; you resurrect yourself with a soul gem, and instantly die. You couldn’t even get a shot in. There was 6 of us at one point and we still couldn’t kill this thing. Then all of a sudden some guy comes along who can beat this thing on his own. This guy never seems to die. I’ve tried different armor, weapons; nothing seems to help after level 50. It takes 20 shots to kill some of these people; but it only takes them one or two to kill you. I’ve been in Cyrodiil 4 days now, and have given up trying to fight anyone that isn’t generated by the game itself. I’m just sneaking around to all the delves, and anything that has nothing to do with this siege crap, and collecting lore books and sky shards.

  6. BadWolf says:

    I didn’t know or like PvP at first, then I played during midyear mayhem. I am still not a real PvPer, but I have 99% of the PvE map of Cyrodiil completed, the Cyrodiil Achievement and leveled like crazy. These PvP zones are crazy and they are out to get you, no fair play. There are quests specifically to kill a certain amount of players; people want to become emperor so they need high scores so they get good. The ones that just come out of nowhere and kill everyone are called bombers. Its a tricky build but no secret, it’s all about timing and rotation. I still don’t consider myself a PvP player per se, but sometimes I can hold my own and most times very squished (i’m a dps anyways). It has made me a better player; I know that bc PvE becomes predictable right? and all the mechanics have guides online, but fighting against another human with real time reactions force you to think and get creative. If you learn to be sneaky, you can become a gank blade…I play mostly defensively as I am a bow and then I run away or die. It’s all in fun and makes it unpredictable, which made me a better player overall.

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