6/22/09 Note: This post is about locking via victory points. If you are looking for information about locking a zone via domination, please see my other blog entry on the subject.
In Warhammer Online's RvR endgame, locking zones is the key to pushing the war front closer to your enemies and opening up fortresses and capitols to assault. However, the way this is done is not especially intuitive. So this post is my attempt to summarize what I have learned about the process over the past couple of months.
To lock a Tier 4 zone, one side needs to gain ~97 Victory Points in that zone. Victory Points are gained for controlling objectives and keeps, winning scenarios associated with that zone, completing Public Quests in that zone, and controlling the Tier 3 zones for that pairing.
Victory Points go as high as 97 and as low as 0 and will decay slowly over time if there is no action in the zone or its related scenarios (but the VPs will not fall below whatever the baseline is for the controlled keeps and BOs). Each objective is worth ~6 Victory Points, while keeps are worth ~15. So controlling all six points of interest in a zone will only give you about 54 total points.
Scenarios can contribute significantly to your faction's VP total, but the key is winning on points rather than having time expire. This makes the scenario objectives vitally important, something that many kill-happy players don't seem to understand. Winning a scenario with 500 points will grant your side 6-7 VPs for the appropriate zone. Winning because time ran out, on the other hand, only generates 2-3 VPs. Quite a difference!
PQs only give 1-2 points, which makes grinding PQs to flip a zone rather difficult and not especially efficient. PQ grind should only be considered if you just cant seem to get those last few VPs to lock the zone, or there is major overabundance of players on your side in the zone.
Skirmishes between players in the zone seem to contribute almost nothing to the VP total. Occasionally you will see a 1 or 2 point gain as the result of a large battle, but that's pretty rare.
The bulk pressure of locking a zone still seems to rely on scenarios. And as a result, scenarios are not always the casual, quick fun that they are in the lower tiers. And remember, scenarios only affect VPs for the pairing they are in, so if you're trying to lock a zone, it's best to queue for only scenarios in the pairing that you want to lockdown. Unfortunately, this relies of the other side also queuing for that scenario, but there are usually enough players choosing the queue all option to make it work. Supposedly, if the other side never tries to join the scenarios and you have enough people queued to get it started, your side will still get a few VPs, but I'm not exactly sure how this works.
In my experience, one of the best ways to lock a zone is to first win a bunch of scenarios to push your side's VP total up. If your opponents control the keeps, so much the better. It is unlikely they will notice your point creeping upwards unless you take a keep from them. If you can reach 40 or so VPs without controlling any objectives or keeps in the zone, then you're pretty much set. Run out and grab all the points of interest as quickly as possible, running a scenario or two at the same time to buffer your VPs and keep VP point decay from setting in too much.
To assist in your zone-locking attempts, I recommend installing an addon or two that will give you more information about the Victory Point progression. I use Realm Status and War Effort, myself.
War Effort is a nice addon that shows a window with basic info about all the T4 zones, including current VP count and keep status.
Realm Status is dual-featured. It has a window with VP info about every zone, and it also has popup windows that notify you about changes in VPs for the Tier 4 zones. I almost never look at the main window, but I love the popup notifications. By keeping an eye on these, I can generally get a good idea of whats happening in each zone without actually being there, which makes it easier to see when the RvR focus needs to be moved to a different pairing