For Patch 1.3.1
Keeps are key control points in the Realm versus Realm zones. Each keep counts as an objective for zone locks/domination. Keeps are first encountered in Tier 2.
siege weaponry are available for purchase from the Quartermaster located in any friendly Warcamp. A friendly Keep will not have a Quartermaster so be sure to stock up on defensive items before defending.
Guilds can claim keeps as their own. Doing so puts the keep under the benefits conferred by their Guild Banner and also allows guildmembers to purchase upgrades forthe keep. Maintaining a keep is meant to be a challenge. Keeps left undefended, or defended only by NPC guards, can be captured. It may take some work, but an undefended keep will eventually fall into enemy hands.
Here's the original concept for keeps as of December 2007 Official podcast. Things have changed considerably.
There is at least one keep per realm, per zone in all Tier pairings except for Tier 1.
The taking of a keep has three distinct stages:
Each keep is a PQ for the Realm that doesn't currently hold it. The attacker's goal is to kill the Keep Lord while the defender tries to prevent this. When successfully killed the attackers gain control of the Keep and get to roll for a Loot Bag. The highest reward is a Golden Loot Bag which contains the Chest piece of your RvR armor set.
The reward for defenders is a "defensive tick." After a certain amount of time defending the keep each defender receives a bonus of Experience, Influence, and Reknown points based on the number of attackers. Keeps that have been claimed by a Guild that are successfully defended will also receive Gold Loot Bags by mail.
All keeps are artistically-themed to reflect the buildings of their original owners. In other words, an Empire keep looks like an Empire castle and a Chaos keep looks very chaotic. High Elf keeps are white with tall towers, and [[WAR Race:Dark Elf}} keeps have lots of spikes. You get the idea.
All keeps have banners located outside and in that bear the mark of the side, Destruction or Order, who currently controls the keep.
Outer Wall (Tier 3 and 4 Only)
The first line of defense. The outer wall has a single door for the attackers to breach located within the Gatehouse structure. In addition there are at least 2 Postern doors for the defenders to use (Thickmuck Pit in Tier 3 Badlands is a notable exception with 3 Posterns). The main door and each postern if protected by a group of defensive NPCs and in addition there is a patrol that wanders in front. The Gatehouse and Ramparts are accessible from two ramps on either side of the Gatehous on the Defender's side.
The attackers have a Ram Siege pad and several other siege pads outside that they can use to attack the Door and Ramparts/Gatehouse.
Gatehouse (Tier 3 and 4 Only)
The focal point of any Outer Wall defense. The Gatehouse is where your Boiling Oil is located on the Outer Wall and 2 convenient platforms for Ranged Classes to fire down on the attackers. The Boiling Oil area on the Gatehouse has much better protection for the player operating it. The Entrance Tunnel located under the Gatehouse is narrow enough so that only 2 or 3 defenders are needed to block access through it and it is long enough that defensive healers and ranged classes can target those in the tunnel without being exposed to the attackers' ranged classes.
Ramparts (Tier 3 and 4 Only)
Not often used but can be ver useful for a stiff defense. Several siege pads are located to either side of the Gatehouse and 2 platforms with siege pads are located halfway around the Rampart. The nearest pads are useful for anti-siege weapon siege weapons (such as Ballistae and Cannons) to attack the Ram while the further ones and the platforms are great for flanking the enemy with ranged attacks (by spreading out and preventing their AoE from hitting all of your ranged classes) and anti-personnel siege weapons (such as catapults).
Courtyard (Tier 3 and 4 Only)
Not a true Courtyard but an open space that separates the Keep from the Outer Wall. There are several patrols of defensive NPCs located here and another guard on the Door. The attackers get a Siege Ram Pad but that is it.
All keeps share a similar underlying structural layout with three different levels (ground level, 2nd floor and 3rd floor). Access to the interior of a keep is gained via a single breakable door on the ground level and a Postern door located at the back of the keep (being the side opposite the door). The first floor is defended by a group of defensive NPCs. The second floor is where the Keep Lord is located and he is guarded by several Bodyguards. The third floor is not defended per se but the merchant NPCs up there will fight any attackers that stray up there (they aren't as dangerous as the other defenders).
Access to the second floor is gained from 2 ramps. The first, often called the "old ramp", is located directly across from the Door. It is 2 players wide and is very easy to defend but it leads directly to the Keep Lord. The second ramp was added in Patch 1.3.1 and thus is often called the "second ramp" or the "new ramp." It is located in the far right corner from the Door, is slightly larger (3 defenders to block comfortably), and leads to the back of the second floor. It also has a left hand turn halfway up.
The second floor has the Lord Room, a large platform just outside the Lord Room (and where the second ramp leads), a smaller platform with a siege pad (for attacking the ram) and a "rampart" where the Boiling Oil is located.
The third floor consists of a "watchtower", small pltform with seige pad (too high to attack the ram), a platform with decoration, and a platform with some sort of covering. The "watchtower" is accessed from a ramp in the Lord Room and it contains a Reknown Trainer, 2 Reknown Merchants, and a Token Quartermaster (Scout, Soldier, or Officer depending on Tier).
The Outer Wall and Keep Doors are both breakable with both regular attacks and the ram and siege weapons. However, the Doors have lots of hit points so it is worthwhile to use a ram!
These are not breakable and can only be accessed by Picking the Lock (Witch Elves and Witch Hunters can do this). A claimed keep can be upgraded with a Deadbolt which prevents the Keep Postern from being picked.
At the start of the game (or when the campaign resets), keep ownership is based on the zone in which they stand (i.e., the keep in Ostland is owned by the Empire and the two keeps in the Chaos Wastes are owned by Chaos). In the Tier 4 neutral zones, ownership of the two keeps is split with Order and Destruction each owning one.
When a Keep is successfully attacked the ownership passes to the attacker' realm. Such keeps count as captured for Tome of Knowledge unlocks. If they are attacked by the original Realm they count as Reclaimed for Tome of Knowledge unlocks.
Keeps claimed by Guilds willshow as such if you hover your mouse over the Keep on your map. This tooltip will tell you which Guild has claimed it, which tactics are being used for their War Banner, the Level of the Keep (0 for unclaimed or non-upgraded), whether it is under attack, and how heavily defended it is.
Each keep is ruled by a Keep Lord and his retinue of 4 bodyguards. In order to successfully capture a keep for your Realm, the Keep Lord must be killed. This plays out as Public Quests and rewards are based on the PQ contribution system. When the Keep Lord is killed, all remaining guards are killed (despawned), and new Keep Lord (with retinue) of the appropriate Realm will spawn.
In addition to the Keep Lords retinue, keeps will have guards stationed in and around their walls. The upgrades purchased by a claiming guild will dictate how many guards and of what quality are located in the keep. Guard levels are set to the maximum for the zone per standard RvR level caps (level 12 for Tier 1, level 23 for Tier 2, level 40 for Tiers 3 and 4). Apart fro the Lord and Bodyguard they will all be standard NPCs unless upgraded to champions by a claiming guild.
Capturing an enemy keep will play heavily into RvR Zone Control. Once a keep is captured, the Zone Control meter will move significantly in favor of the victors.