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Keeps are square-shaped structures that are controlled by either enemy, rogue, or allied forces. Each keep has a Keep Meter which reduces as troops spawned from it are defeated by troops from an opposing army. Once the meter is emptied, a Keep Boss will appear. A Keep's color determines the faction controlling it: Blue represents the Allied forces (the player's faction), Red represents Enemy Forces (opposing enemy faction) and Yellow represents Rogue Forces (a second enemy faction that opposes both the Enemy and Allied Forces).
Seizing keeps from enemy or rogue forces allows the player to stem the flow of enemy reinforcements from a keep. To take a keep, the Keep Meter must be emptied to make the Keep Boss appear. Once the Keep Boss is defeated the Keep will be captured; however, it should be noted that an allied Keep Boss can appear in allied Keeps if enemy or rogue forces units decrease the blue Keep Meter within an Allied Keep. Crafting Farore's Wind assist badges at the Bazaar's Badge Market increases the speed at which a playable character can capture keeps, allowing them to capture keeps more quickly.
Sometimes the gates leading to an enemy keep are shut, preventing access to the keep or certain areas. Gates can be removed by either accomplishing certain tasks, defeating Gatekeepers, or obtaining Boss Keys.
In Adventure Mode, a Raid Captain can march forth from a keep on the battlefield where all the forces meet and will advance towards the opposing faction's nearest keep (or Outpost if they come upon one). Once the nearest opposing faction's keep is claimed by the Raid Captain's forces, the Raid Captain will continue on from that keep and look for more positions to take. If the allied forces capture a Keep that Raid Captains spawn from, this will result in an allied Raid Captain appearing on the battlefield. Allied Raid Captains can help the player by attacking and capturing enemy keeps (and outposts), either alongside the player or while the player is engaged elsewhere.
Siege Captains are specialized enemy units capable of weakening keeps, allowing their forces to capture them most easily.
In addition to Raid and Siege Captains, there are Keep Saboteurs which are specialized enemy units that can reduce a keep's meter more by defeating fewer enemies while also attacking faster and more frequently, making it a priority to defeat them. Only enemy forces have these soldiers, presumably for balance reasons.
Certain types of Keep may appear depending on the scenario. There are even some scenarios where Keeps have little to no role and/or do not need to be captured.
These Keeps generally have little to no importance and capturing them is not required to finish a scenario. However, depending on their location (such as a keep near and/or around the allied base), capturing and/or maintaining control of them can be quite useful and effective strategically, as they can be used to occupy, distract, and deter the opposing factions. It is also a good way to stem the flow of enemy troops.
Keeps with a castle icon are a faction's main bases (and like standard keeps, the faction is determined by the color). If the allied keep falls to enemy attack, it results in the allied faction losing the battle and leads to a Game Over. Capturing Enemy or Rogue Bases usually requires the player to defeat the faction's Commander in order to capture them. However, in some scenarios, while it is possible to capture the opposing faction's base, doing so will not result in victory for the allied forces.
If an Enemy Base appears to be locked, it means a boss has shut it tight. To unlock the enemy base, the player must find a Boss Key in a Treasure Chest hidden within a certain enemy keep. Once the Boss Key is acquired, walking near the enemy base will open its gates.
Blank and Inactive Keeps
Depending on the scenario, some keeps may be empty and cannot be captured by either faction. These keeps are blank, have no color, and generally do not spawn troops (however, troop may spawn and fight within their confines). In some scenarios, these keeps may suddenly become active (coming under the control of a faction) as dictated by changes within the scenario.
In the Land of Myth, initially, the West Boulder Keep on Death Mountain is unmanned and not under any factions control. However, it will automatically fall into whichever faction enters it first.
Barrier Keeps are a type of enemy controlled keep that causes the player and allied forces to take damage while within the keep itself. Though it is possible to capture these Keeps, generally it is safer and advisable to remove the keep's barrier. To remove the barrier, the player must obtain an Elemental Fairy from the keep it is imprisoned in. A Barrier can only be dispelled by a Fairy of the same element as the barrier.
Barrier Element Attribute
- Fire - Causes Fire Elemental damage. Requires a Fairy of Fire to dispel.
- Water - Causes Water Elemental damage. Requires a Fairy of Water to dispel.
- Lightning - Causes Lightning Elemental damage. Requires a Fairy of Lightning to dispel.
- Light - Causes Light Elemental damage. Requires a Fairy of Light to dispel.
- Darkness - Causes Darkness Elemental damage. Requires a Fairy of Darkness to dispel.
Imprisoned Fairy Keep
Keeps containing an imprisoned Elemental Fairy required to dispel elemental barriers in Barrier Keeps. Capturing the keep allows the player to collect the imprisoned fairy, which can be used to dispel a single elemental barrier of the same type as the fairy.
Mission Specific Keep Types
In certain scenarios, specific keeps must be captured or under allied control in order to complete certain objectives.
In the Land of Twilight story scenario, the enemy keeps which are covered in a veil of Twilight appear. Midna (Commander of the Rogue Forces that must be defeated at the climax of the scenario in order to complete it), due to her Twili origins, gains great power from these keeps (regardless of the faction controlling them). However, the player can dispel the Twilight by capturing the Twilight Realm Keeps. These keeps feature Dark Darknuts or Dark Aeralfos as Keep Bosses, depending on the faction controlling it (Dark Darknuts appear in ones controlled by Midna's Forces and Dark Aeralfos appear in ones controlled by the Dark Forces). Midna's strength is determined by the number of Twilight Realm Keeps on the battlefield and capturing all Twilight Realm keeps will return Midna to normal. However, it should be noted that it is possible to defeat Midna even if there are Twilight Keeps present.
In the Sealed Ambition story scenario, Groosenators appear and can be used to halt The Imprisoned's attack on a keep. In order to use the Groosenator, the Keep must be under allied control, and if not, it must be captured first before it can be used.
In the War of Spirit story scenario, the Dark Forces use Magic Keeps to spawn countless powerful ReDead Knights. Magic Keeps combining the energies of a group of keeps to weave powerful enhancements, causing strong enemies to spawn. Breaking the connection stops the flow of strong monsters. In the War of Spirit, the magic keeps appearing as three connected keeps on both the east and west sides of the Temple of Souls (six keeps in total). The simplest way to take out the magic keeps is by capturing the middle keep that connects the other two. Alternatively, the connection can be severed by capturing two magic keeps (provided that the middle magic keep is not taken first).