Introduction to ZvZ
Most of Albion's open-world content requires large groups of players working together. Guilds and alliances often gather large masses of players (10++ per side), called Zergs, to have large scale fights over the content. Some of the most common forms of Zerg activity include Mage Raiding, Dungeon Diving, Castle Sieges, City Sieges, War Camps and large group dungeons.
ZvZ, short for Zerg vs Zerg, is when two or more of these large groups collide.
Positioning, engaging, shot-calling, cooldown rotation, damage trading, team composition, and individual skill are all highly important factors for a successful ZvZ team.
Albion has a built-in protection system for groups that are outnumbered. This protection comes in the form of Focus Fire - a damage-reduction buff that kicks in when you are attacked by multiple opponents, based on the number of players attacking you and whether they are using melee or ranged weapons.
When two melee opponents are attacking you, the damage you take is reduced by 14%. If you are attacked by three melee players, the damage is reduced by 25%, scaling more with each additional player. The same mechanic is applied when you are attacked by ranged opponents but the damage reduction isn’t as severe. You can see the full damage reduction values below.
|Number of Players||Melee Damage Reduction||Ranged Damage Reduction|
|Number of Players||Melee Damage Reduction||Ranged Damage Reduction|
This buff is partially ignored by melee weapons depending on their Resilience Penetration stat. For example, a Bloodletter will ignore 75% of the Focus Fire buff, making it an efficient weapon for ZvZ.
Another built-in mechanic is called AoE escalation which causes an AoE ability to do additional damage per player hit if it hits more than five players. The damage bonus given by AoE escalation is not precisely known but it can increase your damages by around 200% if you hit 20+ enemies.
Most groups have designated shot-callers whose job is to direct the entire fight over voice chat. They make groupwide calls such as where to move when to engage when to disengage, and the overall positioning of their group in the fight. It is incredibly important to listen to the shot-caller, as 10 players united can be much stronger than 20-man chaos.
Typically the shot-caller(s) and the healers will do all of the talking during a fight.
One of the most important factors when working with large groups is their positioning. Because players typically bring AoE-heavy gear to these encounters, battles tend to be fought around choke points, higher ground, and other natural obstacles. It is important not to clump up and become susceptible to an enemy's AoE abilities. Different positions offer different advantages and different opportunities to engage your enemy.
Groups must not only be aware of the position of their tanks and healers but also of the enemy. It is important for the squishier players, namely the healers and DPS, to position themselves safely and avoid being jumped on by the opposing group. Healers, in particular, are a high priority target and their positioning is key to a successful fight, as healers not only must keep themselves safe but also must be in range to heal their team.
Zergs normally try to take the south position to gain a vision advantage and/or take position over a choke in order to funnel the enemy team through their CC and AoE damage. Good positioning before a fight is incredibly important and will give a strong advantage over an opponent.
Bridge Choke: Many dungeons and zones throughout Albion contain bridges. These are prime locations to use as choke points with players coming from the south having an extra advantage with their viewing angle. Catching clumped up enemies on the bridge with CC and AoE can decimate a team, but be wary of overextending as the enemy healers will not frequently go past the opening of the choke point.
Doorway/Wall Choke: Territories and zone walls often contain walls with doorways. For teams defending a territory, this position offers an easy choke point that the attackers are forced to funnel into. Attacking teams benefit from higher ground on the outside allowing them a better viewing angle to launch AoE abilities over the wall.
Engaging the Enemy
The initial engagement of the fight is often the biggest, involving the most cooldowns and abilities being used at once. Engagements are typically ordered by the shot-caller and involve the tanks engaging with their CC on the front and middle lines of the enemy team, allowing their offensive line to jump in unimpeded and disrupt the enemy team. To make themselves more visible to their group, tanks may spam /say chat with characters such as "X," helping guide their team by providing positioning and target information.
A common tactic is to wait for your opponent to try an engage and counter-engage on it as soon as their DPS is placed offensively.
Once the following engagement cooldowns have been used it is up to the DPS to quickly follow in and attack priority targets. Failure to follow up on an engagement can lead to a fight reset.
The 3 main tank weapons are:
- Grovekeeper: AoE stun with splash damage
- Morning Star: AoE stun with follow up snare
- Soulscythe: AoE knockup and slow
Less common alternative tank weapons:
- Heavy Mace: AoE snare with follow up silence
- Great Hammer: Dash with a stun
- Ironclad: Knockback enemy players into bad positions
- Camlann: AoE pull with follow up snare
When a large, coordinated zerg initiates a ZvZ fight, it often utilizes multiple flank groups.
The idea is to have a group of players creating pressure on the enemy zerg from one of the flanks. The allied groups aim to coordinate asynchronous engagement with the main raid attacking the front while other groups attack the enemy's backline. They can also engage in different cooldown rotations but that is riskier and only well-coordinated groups can accomplish it.
Playing against a flank group is difficult and requires much adaptation. The group being flanked can either utilize its own flank group to counter it or even turn on the flank group if the main enemy group is out of CDs. It is important for a team to properly respond to a flank and help keep their priority targets alive, as flanks often target the squishy backline targets such as the healers.
Defensive cooldowns are very valuable during a ZvZ as they allow a player to disengage, stay alive, or provide mobility to reposition for better DPS/healing/CC. To gain access to a specific ability, a player must equip its corresponding piece of gear.
Helmets provide many options for defensive abilities:
- Knight Helmet: Displacement Immunity causes the player to become immune to displacement spells such as Soulscythe's AoE knock-up, Knight Armor's wind wall, or the mace air compressor. This spell will allow you and up to 5 close allies able to ignore these spells, it will be harder for your opponents to interrupt or kill you.
- Mercenary Hood: Cleanse removes all debuffs and movement-impairing stuns and roots from a player and all nearby allies. Cleanse is very strong at escaping a tank's CC and the enemy teams follow up damage.
- Soldier Helmet : Block makes a player invincible for 2 seconds during which a player can move but can't cast spells. Block often utilized by the melee DPS to allow them a greater chance to survive during fights.
Body Armor provides additional defensive options:
- Judicator armor: Force Shield creates a large bubble on the ground providing resistances and increasing the healing received for up to 10 nearby allies. This spell can help a group survive their enemy's engage or counter engage. This armor is expensive because it is rare and extremely useful for ZvZ.
- Cleric robe: Everlasting Spirit creates a buff where if a player receives damage in the next 1.5 seconds, they will be immune to incoming damage for two seconds and their damage will be increased by 30%. This spell is very popular with ranged DPS as it provides survivability while also increasing DPS.
- Knight Armor: Wind Wall creates a wall on the ground that is impassable to all enemies. Wind Wall can be utilized to hold a choke or allow a team to retreat.
Boots provide strong movement spell options:
- Scholar Sandals: Focused Run increases movement speed by 100% for 5 seconds and makes the player immune to movement-impairing effects but unable to attack or cast spells.
- Assassin Shoes: Dodge is a great tool to increase survivability because it is a quick repositioning spell with immunity that also provides a small movement speed buff and has a short CD.
- Knight Boots : Shield Charge allows a player to dash to a close ally or enemy and provides a large shield to the player and nearby allies. This spell is rarely used on an occasional Arcane support player
Consumables provide long term buffs such as extra defenses, damage, or CC, making them essential boosts for all members of a ZvZ team.
Potions provide defensive bonuses or on-use CC:
- Gigantify Potion doubles a player's current HP for 8 seconds. It's very useful to survive an enemy engage or to give you more HP to place your spells when you go deep into the enemies.
- Resistance Potion provides defenses and CC resistance for 6 seconds.
- Sticky Potion creates a movement-impairing zone on the ground, slowing the enemies inside. It can be used to increase DPS when used to trap enemies inside AoE spells, to slow down an incoming enemy's engagement, or to allow for the retreat.
Food provides a 30-minute buff that grants health, damage, or cooldown reduction:
- Stew provides up to 13.5% increased damage dealt.
- Omelette decreases all CDs and increases cast speed by up to 13.5% and is often used in ZvZ for increased damage, healing, or engage opportunities.
- Sandwich increases health by up to 13.5% and is often used by tanks for increased survivability.
- Eel Sandwich increases health and healing received by up to 9.5%.
- Eel Stew increases damage and cooldown reduction by up to 9.5%, making this the ideal food for many ZvZ DPS players.
Albion's open-world content may require a zerg to be mounted for a long time before being able to take a fight.
- Finding an ideal tactical position: To gain a better choke point or land advantage, a team may need to remain mounted and run around an enemy team, searching for a good spot to take a fight. Be aware that this might lead to the enemy team dismounting and killing players before they are ready to fight.
- Attacking various place at the same time: This most commonly occurs with castles. If a group is trying to attack a castle, the most optimal way for them to succeed is by attacking two castles on different continents simultaneously. The team will kill the guards at the first castle, mount up and run across multiple zones to the second castle, then kill the guards at the second castle. The team will then return to the first castle, kill the elite guards, then return to the second castle, kill the elite guards, and repeat moving back and forward until the lord of each castle is killed. It is recommended to use a fast mount for this technique such as a Direwolf, Moabird, Husky, or Spectral Bat.
- Chasing a fleeing group: After losing a ZvZ fight, the surviving players may attempt to run away from the battle and can be chased down and killed with a fast mount. Alternatively, if two zergs meet each other and the weaker group decides they do not want to fight, it may be possible with a fast mount to catch some of the weaker zerg's enemy players and kill them while they try to avoid a battle.
- Running away from a group: If a zerg feels unable to win a ZvZ fight they may try to run away from the stronger zerg to the safety of Caerleon or allied territory.