Note: This post is based on personal experience and opinion
ZeniMax Online Studios is working on this huge project called: The Elder Scrolls Online (ESO). And many aspects of the game have changed since the first launch in 2014. The Champion Points system is in place and much new content has been added ever since. With that, the game is becoming more and more complex for both the players and developer. In this blogpost we discuss the current meta in this special arena: the Player versus Player (PvP) arena.
The old meta
Ever since the beginning of PvP, players have been trying to create the best builds for PvP.
Youtube Creators and Twitch Streamers like Deltia's Gaming, FENG RUSH, King Richard and SypherPK, are just a few names in the community that many will know. They have found ways to use a combination of Armor Sets and Abilities to create very strong characters. And these players are very skilled in the game also, due to the fact that they have a lot of knowledge and experience. Their builds are often used by players to create their own variants.
Most known are the 1vX videos in the Internet that show a single player fighting a group of players. These are often produced by skilled players that believe that quality is more important. These players often play solo or in small groups. And for many years this has been the meta in ESO: solo and small group gameplay.
The new meta
However such skills and builds are not always needed. Players can also group up and combine their strenghts. These groups exist out of players that dedicated themselves to certain roles. Most of the time there are one healer per six players and one tank present in such groups. The remaining force of the group mostly consists out of damage dealers. These large groups are often refered to as "Zergs". The practice of zerging is known as a group of low level players using numbers instead of strategy to defeat their enemies. This type of gameplay does not necessarily mean that all players in a zerg are low skilled or low leveled. It would be better defined as defeating an enemy without the need for skill. It is important to point out that zerging does require a lot of discipline to keep a large group of players together.
In March of this year (2016), ZeniMax Online Studios introduced a new Armor Set to counter these zergs on their PvP servers. The Vicious Death Set was introduced and would counter zerging. However this set was quickly rendered useless. Zergs reacted to this set by having more healers in their group, meaning that players who stayed close to the crown* never died, due to the huge amount of healing. In a reaction to the powerful heals within groups, ZeniMax Online Studios nerved the bread and butter of the Templar: Rushed Ceremony and its morphs. Earlier, ZeniMax Online Studios introduced Area of Effect AoE caps to counter zergs and reduce their overall damage and healing. Not so long ago, another skill was changed to counter zergs: Dawnbreaker would now knock back all enemy players in front of the casting player. However this skill now seems too powerfull and it seems from the PTS patch notes that ZeniMax Online Studios is increasing the amount of Ultimate needed to cast this ability.
However the new set, AoE cap and changes in abilities did not counter zergs at all. It always looks like the players are one step ahead of ZeniMax Online Studios. Zergs will probably always exist in ESO, however zerging has become the meta for PvP gameplay. Sometimes zergs of 40+ players have been spotted steamrolling enemy players. This causes major issues for players that go for quality instead of quantity. Players are now forced to play in zergs, because they can't out-heal a zerg or tank through it on their own. It also is rendered impossible to kill an enemy player that is part of a zerg due to the huge amount of healing.
Players can't find a solution for themselves and ZeniMax Online Studios will have to change some aspects of the game to reduce zerging. The only method quality players can apply to counter zergs is using guerrilla warfare tactics. This means that small groups and solo players will not be able to take keeps, but rather take resources and towns to tease the enemy zergs and maybe attract some enemy small groups or solo players for small scale PvP fun.
It is very unlikely that zerging will stop. But there are some measures that ZeniMax Online Studios still could take. For example: ZOS could make zerging less profitable by introducing a penalty for large groups that reduces the amount of Alliance Points earned by x% per player in the group. That would however not stop two groups from sticking together and moving as one.
What do you think?
Can zerging be stopped? And how would you like to see that implemented?
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