The ultimate goal for players of Warhammer Online is to destroy and ransack the opposing realm's city. In order to get to this ultimate goal, a great deal of keep and fortress capturing must take place first, with zone control being of the utmost importance in the highest tier.<br /><br /> Aside from providing the opportuntity to have a crack at a city, taking keeps can also give players a chance to get some swanky gear, renown bonuses (even defending gives these) and the chance to fly their guild's colors. So how exactly do you go about flipping control of a keep from one realm to another? Continue on to find out.
In Tier 1 zones, the RvR lakes contain battle objectives, but there are no keeps. Starting in Tier 2, each racial pairing has 2 keeps. Keep capture is quickest at this stage of the game, seeing as you can walk right up to the front door with no outer defenses. There will be a few groups of NPCs patroling, but of greater concern is the fact that any attack on the keep or its guards will send an alert message to players of the opposing realm... we'll get to what that means in a moment.<br /><br /> Aside from players, the main obstacle stopping players from entering the keep is the front door. This can be attacked with any spells or abilities, but destroying the door is sped up dramatically if someone purchases and sets up a ram. Up to 4 people can get on the ram, and there's a mini-game they have to play to determine how much damage they do to the door. Once the door is down, everyone can rush inside!
The lowest floor of a keep usually has a few more NPC guards stationed inside, and a ramp up to the second floor. The second floor is where the Keep Lord and some final guards wait to fend off attackers. These NPCs cannot be pulled away from the second floor, and therefore must be engaged in their room. Make sure everyone is ready before beginning the encounter upstairs, or you might end up with half your group dead in a difficult spot!
Each Keep Lord is normally accompanied by 4 Champion guards, and the Lord will be a Hero, so you'll need sufficient amounts of tanks/healers and the DPS to cope with this. You can either deal with the guards first and then tackle the Lord, or if the Lord is defeated first, the guards will despawn. In either case, the killing of the Keep Lord instantly turns control of the keep over to the attacking realm, awarding players with a big renown bonus (the amount depends on which tier you're in -- defenders get ticks of 100 renown every few minutes they are in the area regardless of tier) and a chance to roll on some loot.<br /><br /> The loot is determined using the same system as PQs, with random rolls helped along by some Contribution Points. Keeps also have a third floor that houses some renown gear vendors and a renown points trainer. Don't get too cosy in your new keep though -- as soon as the NPCs are back up, the keep is open to be re-taken by the other realm!
Before we move on to defending keeps, it is worth noting that keeps have vastly differing architecture depending on which race originally built it. For example, shown in this picture is a Tier 4 Greenskin keep. Compare this to what we have on the next page.
This is a Tier 4 Dwarf keep. Mythic has done a good job in making the keeps look appropriate for the races that built them. These last two shots have in fact been pictures of outer walls, and not of the keeps themselves -- walking straight up to the front door of a keep only lasts for one tier.<br /><br /> In Tiers 3 and 4, these outer walls mean that there is 1 extra door to break through, and much more opportunity to defend. The walls (and the keeps themselves) all have postern doors which allow sneaky side-access for defenders coming to join the fight. Let's take a look at how players can stop their keeps from being flipped over.
Before rushing off to defend a keep, make a stop at the Quartermaster, a merchant that can be found in any warcamp. They sell siege weapons which are very useful in keep warfare, and they are also the source of the rams we looked at earlier. Tier 2, 3 and 4 keeps can take Light, Medium and Heavy siege weapons, respectively.
Once you have your choice of siege weapons in your possession, you'll need to find places to set them up. There are designated "pads" that take a certain kind of weapon located on the ground outside keeps, and up on the walls and rooves.
Pouring oil on door attackers has quickly become one of the favorite ways of defending a keep. If the attackers aren't smart enough to back away quickly, they will probably fall victim to the nasty hot liquid, as it is fairly damaging.<br /><br /> Keep attackers can destroy the oil with their abilities or with ranged siege weapons -- defenders have a repair option on the oil that they can use to help fight this, and others can assist in repairing to fix it up faster.
Shown here is an organ gun and a catapult, evidence of both the attacking and defending sides doing all they can to defeat their enemies. Players should be familiar with how guns work thanks to the quick tutorial that each race has access to in a very early quest. However, simply setting up a massive siege weapon doesn't mean you've won the battle ...
As you can see, the siege weapons can be destroyed without too much trouble. Each archetype gets some extra abilities to augment and hinder siege weapon operation as they progress through the Renown Rank system.
Guilds that are level 14 or higher have the option of claiming a keep after capturing it. If they place their guild standard in the standard slot on the top floor, it will become theirs. Clicking on the NPCs in a claimed keep reveals that they now have a guild tag.
As well as the NPC tags, all the flags around the keep will change to the claiming guild's colors and emblem. This of course depends on whether the guild has a level that is high enough to have these displayed (guild level 15 for color, and 20 for emblem).<br /><br /> It is very important to note that there is a cost in gold-per-hour involved with claiming a keep, and it is deducted from the guild bank. This cost is 10g/hour at Tier 4, and is cheaper in earlier tiers. Having a keep claimed makes a guild's level increase faster, and keep defenders get all the bonuses of the guild's standard while in the area. Is it worth the cost? That's for you and your guild to decide.<br /><br /> We hope you've enjoyed our look at keep capturing, and wish you luck for your next siege! <a href="http://www.massively.com/2008/10/10/massivelys-war-camp-capturing-and-defending-keeps/">Back to main page >></a>