While there are a lot of themes in the Ashes of Creation theme section of Player vs Player content, Castles Sieges are without a doubt the crown jewel of Guild PvP content. Not only is the main event of the siege cycle a strategic 250 vs 250 battles, there is a constant flow of content leading up to that main event. Not only is the amount of PvP content in this theme satisfying, the reward for winning a Castle Siege is meaningful. Successfully winning a Castle Siege grants the guild leader the title of Monarch and gives player a significant level of control over 20% of the world. Do not get too excited; the easiest part of winning a castle siege was reading that last sentence. There is nothing easy about castle sieges.
This page is specifically written to talk about Castle Sieges, for more information on Castles make sure to check the specific Castles Page.
Claiming a Castle
There are two ways a Castle can be claimed. The first, is by being the guild who initially takes it from the NPCs holding it at launch. Right now, this is based around an open world fight over a Raid boss. The highest contributing damage will determine who captures the castle. The other, is by taking it from the guild that currently holds it.
Monthly Siege Cycle
We have very few details on castle sieges. We know that the Castle Siege system is more than just a one-time event that occurs monthly; instead there is a monthly of numerous events. While the actual Siege on the castle itself occurs every fourth week, during the three weeks in-between there are going to be a lot of smaller events happening at the castle as the defensive garrison attempts to build their defenses and potential attacks attempt to prevent that from happening.
Attached to each castle are three special nodes. To call them Nodes is rather unfair, and Intrepid will be changing that giving them proper names, but for the moment players are used to hearing them referred to as Nodes so that is how Ashes 101 will present them.
These three special Nodes are always Military Nodes and they are capped at Stage 3. These nodes exist outside of the standard Node system rules. They cannot influence their neighboring Nodes stopping their growth, and they cannot have their growth stopped by neighboring Nodes. There are no elections in these Nodes, there is no Housing, and presumably no standard Mayoral constructible plots.
Each week during the siege cycle, one of the Castle Nodes is scheduled for development. This will require members of the owning guild (and possibly their alliance) to do experience earning events/tasks inside that Nodes ZOI, so that it can level. It will also require the guild to bring in Caravans for all the tangible items (wood, stone, lumber, metal) the Node requires to level up. This creates an enormous opportunity for PvP as anyone who is planning on sieging the Castle is highly motivated to disrupt these Castle Nodes from developing, as stopping these Nodes from developing makes the castle weaker.
Each of these Nodes contributes to the defenses of the castle during the Castle Siege event. Steven has stated they will open services to the members of the garrison and they will provide defensive bonuses to the garrison when they are trying to hold the castle on siege day. Additionally, up to five officers in the guild will have access to Wyrmlings on Siege day depending on how successful the guild is at building their Castle Nodes during the Siege Prep Month. These Wyrmlings are flying mounts usable only on Siege day and will give the defenders a strategic advantage. The importance of disrupting these Nodes from developing, turns the Castle Siege into a series of events that occur all monthly long rather that it being a one-and-done singular event.
Castle Node Weekly Event
Since April 2019 we have been waiting for information about the Weekly Event at the Castle Nodes. On 28 August 2020, we got information about part of this weekly event, The Weekly Tax Payment Caravans. The Regional Monarch can levy taxes on all the Nodes in their region. Each week, during the weekend, NPC generated Caravans will spawn in each of the Nodes inside a Castle. The function of these Caravans is to transport the regional taxes to the castle. These caravans are also responsible for building up the three Castle Nodes.
The current incentive for attacking these Nodes is that it weakens the castle by keeping the military nodes from fully developing. The other incentive is being able to steal from those caravans.
Right now, the only restriction we know about for these caravans is that Regional Citizens cannot attack the Tax Caravans.
As far as the rest of the weekly events, we do not have that information at this time.
Declaring a Siege
Declaring a siege on a castle is a two-step process.
The first part of that is going to be dropping a siege declaration scroll. To do this, the guild must be of the appropriate level, and if they are of a sufficient level the guild may register for the siege scroll quest which requires the guild members to participate in. This is the part of the quest that we believe requires a Master in each of the three branches (Gathering, Processing, Crafting) of the Artisan System. When the quest is complete and the Guild Leader is in possession of the siege declaration scroll, the Guild Leader may attempt to cast the scroll near the castle. This requires a five-minute cast timer and which can only be interrupted by killing the Guild Leader. During the channel, the Guild Leader is immune to CC so death is the only way to interrupt the cast. There is a regional alert when this cast begins, so the castle defenders, or any of their vassals, can intercept the channeling and prevent the siege before it even begins. If killed while channeling the scroll is not consumed, the Guild Leader retains it and will have the opportunity to try again. The scroll is lost; however, if not used during that week’s siege declaration period.
There are different tiers of Siege Declaration Scrolls, and the higher the quality of the scroll the closer to the castle the Guild Leader can be when he casts the channel. This will provide an advantage as the closer you start to the Castle, the less time you lose during respawns. At the present time we do not have any more information regarding Siege Declaration Schools.
If, and only if, the Guild Leader successful channels the cast then his guild members can register for the offensive against the castle.
If two guilds attempt to siege the same castle at the same time, the guild that gets their siege declaration scroll cast first will be the guild eligible to proceed with their raid. There has been some speculation that this will lead to alt guilds registered for a siege to prevent the castle owners from having to actively defend their castle. While Intrepid has not spoken on this exploit yet, we have it marked for future testing.
Declaring a siege on a castle is only the first step in seizing it. There is still the mater of the actual fight that needs to take place. It is currently scheduled for these fights to be 250 vs 250; however, these may increase to up to 500 vs 500 depending on what Intrepid Studios is able to accomplish with their backend architecture. These fights will not be restricted to guild vs guild; both the castle owner and the attacker have the option to allow outside participants to improve their chances of success. There will also be NPCs fighting along both the attackers and the defenders in the siege. These NPCs function as commanders and serve as objectives for both armies. Eliminating the opposing sides NPCs is one path to promote victory.
Another path to victory is to capture certain way points. Both sides will have locations they want to capture and hold which decreases their own respawn time and increases the enemy respawn time. Of course, time will be of the essence because castle sieges only last for two hours and the defenders of course have the advantage. The defenders have the home court if you will and will be intimately familiar with the layout of their castle, but they also only must hold and run the clock. It is the attackers who must breech not only the outer walls, but also the inner keep of the castle, with enough time on the clock to successfully run a three to five-minute channel to capture the ownership seal. Only the attacking guild leader or one designated officer may be the individual to perform the channel; however, any Guild Leader or designated officer participating in the siege is eligible to capture the ownership seal which might lead to some infighting during clutch moments of the Castle Siege. Finally, let us not forget the defenders have a Monarch among their ranks, which means they have at least one Dragon at their disposal.