The Eternal Watch is a guild that embraces both the "friends and family" atmosphere along with the "hardcore" drive to excel at end-game content.
TEW is over 14-years old, beginning in Asheron's Call 1, moving to Asheron's Call 2, Lineage 2, Aion, Age of Conan, World of Warcraft, Rift, Star Wars the Old Republic, TERA, and recently Guild Wars 2 and Neverwinter.
The Guild rules are simple: don't be an ass and treat your guild members with respect and courtesy...and most of all, have fun!
B'Day - NthDB
Creating ESO: Identity and Update 3
Update 3 introduces new ways for you and your guild to stand out. Learn how these features came to be.
The importance of customizing your character can’t be overstated. Watching a character come together is something we love, too, and it goes far beyond just creating it in ESO. You keep making choices that shape your character’s identity as you play—what skills will you use? What racial styles do you like the most? What choice will you make when confronted with a dilemma in a quest? There are already many ways to develop your ESO character, but we know there’s always room for more expression. Update 3 brings more customization to your look and your guild, and today we’re diving into how we created these new features.
When Update 3 launches, you’ll be able to obtain armor dyes and create the look you want by applying up to three colors to each of your armor pieces. Dyes are unlocked by completing achievements throughout the game, and it’s completely free to change your look at any of the new dye stations you’ll find in the world. We’re launching with a selection of more than 200 colors total, and there’s still room to grow.
At first glance, something like a dye system might seem relatively simple, but an enormous amount of planning, heated debate, and implementation work went into ESO’s. We wanted to make the system special—something that would give you a sense of accomplishment along with more options, but also something that would feel rewarding no matter what type of gameplay you love the most.
One of the biggest decisions we had to make was how you’d obtain dyes. This was a topic that prompted spirited discussion. We considered several designs for the system that would meet our goals of giving you new options and emphasizing your accomplishments. We also wanted to limit friction in the system, meaning we wanted you to feel free to change your dyes without having to scour guild stores or farm enemies to get enough of them to dye your whole set, for instance. In the end, we choose to tie the system to achievements. Once you unlock a color, it’s yours to use as often as you want (provided you’re at a dye station).
The decision was just the beginning. It defined the work we’d need to do and the issues we’d have to tackle. ESO is a game that should feel rewarding no matter what your playstyle is. We don’t want you to feel punished, and that meant making sure everyone had access to a full range of colors, and that dyes could be unlocked at a good pace throughout a character’s career. We looked at our existing achievements and one thing was clear: we needed more. To make sure that all types of players had a good, diverse palette within reach, we’d have to add new achievements to support each level range and playstyle. So we did. We introduced around 40 new achievements to help us spread dyes throughout the game—horizontally across systems like dungeons, crafting, and exploring and vertically through the levels and Veteran Ranks.
Color selection had to be considered carefully, too. There were discussions about what colors we should choose, how bright and saturated they should be, where to distribute which color, and how much we needed to consider their impact on the visual landscape of the game. A frequently-heard comment was, “Well what if they wear all hot pink?” At the end of the day, we wanted to provide as many options as we could, so we selected a broad range of colors. While we picked colors that fit into the overall artistic scheme of the game for the most part, you’ll find plenty of standout shades among them. We want you to choose your look, whether you prefer subtle hues or bold visual statements.
Dyes also needed to be indicative of your character’s accomplishments. We created a set of special rare colors and tied them to particularly difficult or pivotal achievements. In our dye system, most of the dyes respect the material they’re applied to (which is something quite special in itself among dye systems). When you apply one to leather, for instance, the armor retains the look of that material. The rare dyes, the iridescent shades, can affect the material and have a special highlight color. That means they can apply effects like a metallic sheen, and that they shine with a second color that’s different from their base color—imagine a beetle’s shell or a raven’s feather, for instance. Like the rest of the dyes, iridescent colors are spread across many game systems, from the main quest to PvP in Cyrodiil to crafting. When you wear one, people will notice.
We found that the psychology of rare dyes was noteworthy. During development, we made a conscious decision to make what we thought was the most desirable black relatively easy to obtain. We knew black would be a popular color, and we chose not to make it hard to get. The artists designated one of our nine black dyes as the “best” and distributed the color, which was called Noxiphilic Black, to the achievement for becoming a vampire. Another of the shades was given to a tough Trials achievement. When we went into testing for the system, the feedback was clear: some testers were unhappy that the “best” black (the one we thought would actually be less desirable) was tied to a difficult Trials achievement. The effect of rarity on desirability was fascinating. While there will be some dyes that are quite hard to obtain, we want to emphasize that our goal is to make a full palette available to each playstyle, not to restrict every shade of desirable colors to the hardest tasks.
Associating dyes with achievements presented its own challenges, but it opened up some fun opportunities for us, too. For instance, all of the dyes are thematically related to their achievement, in name and color (where it’s possible). When you join the Mages Guild, you’ll unlock the blue color that Mages Guild NPCs wear. When you craft a legendary item and affix a legendary glyph you created to it, you’ll unlock a gold color. This context and level of detail is something we strive for in all our systems.
Want a demonstration of the dye system’s flexibility? Check out the screenshots from our internal dye contest in the recent Road Ahead article!
GUILD CUSTOMIZATIONS AND TRADERS
Personal expression is great, and the dye system expands it significantly, but guilds have their own identities, too, and they’ll be able to show them even more in Update 3. We’re introducing new customizable guild ranks (and icons you can choose for each rank) and permissions, tabards that your guild leader can design, and traders scattered throughout Tamriel that guilds can bid on to sell goods from their guild stores to the public.
Your guild’s heraldry gives you and your guildmates the ability to show off your guild more than ever before. When you charge into battle in Cyrodiil all wearing your tabards, the enemy (and your allies) will notice. A guild leader can use any of the available colors, tabard shapes, and crests when making a tabard; there’s no need to unlock any of them. The number of combinations you can create with these options is massive, so if you want to stand out, you can. The crests range from new iconography to lore-based options like the Daedric Prince emblems, the Aedric symbols, and many more.
Guild traders from the Gold Coast Trading Company will offer another new way to get your guild out there. More than 120 traders will be distributed throughout Tamriel. They’ll be located conveniently in places you’d expect to find traders—major cities and smaller centers of civilization. Every week, your guild can choose one to bid on. If you win, the trader will don your guild’s tabard and begin selling goods from your guild store to the public. This gives your guild a sense of place in the world, and will expose it to more players than ever before. Every player on your megaserver will see your trader and your guild’s name at that location, and your guild will receive a cut of every sale, making having a trader very attractive.
There were, of course, plenty of development decisions to make for guild traders, too. We had to choose good locations that were still convenient to make sure that they’d be accessible. Most of them are located near a Wayshrine, and in one instance (Markarth), we actually moved a previously-inconvenient Wayshrine to a better location to make player access to the town and traders easier. We also had to determine what bidding process we’d use. We didn’t want guilds to feel like they needed to camp and watch bids from minute to minute, so we elected to use a blind bidding process. Your guild can only bid on one trader per week, and you won’t see the bids from other guilds. This means that bidding wars will play out over weeks and months instead of minute-to-minute. This was another difficult choice that saw lots of internal debate.
The trader system offers opportunities for inter-guild competition, incentive to stock up your guild’s store, a new stream of profit, and a chance for guilds to establish themselves in the world. We’re excited to see how the traders are received.
ROOM TO GROW
All of these systems have multiple opportunities to expand, and we want to know what you think works, what doesn’t work, and what you want to see from them all in the future. Based on how you end up using these systems and what you tell us about your experience, we’ll work to make them even better and more fun. Just like with any other systems, we’ve had to make some tough decisions. We love games just like you, and we feel and discuss options as passionately as you do when we have to make a choice. We can’t wait for you to get your hands on these new features and tell us what you think.
We hope you enjoyed this look at how we’re expanding personal and guild identity and options in Update 3. Join us for the next Creating ESO for another look behind the scenes.
Elder Scrolls Online Interviews: The Future of ESO & Our Interview Matt Firor
By Jason Winter on July 21, 2014
ZeniMax Online Studios had plenty to say about The Elder Scrolls Online at this year's QuakeCon in Dallas. Seven members of the design team took nearly an hour and a half to regale the excitable crowd with enticing glimpses of the game's future, eliciting cheers and applause at the most dramatic reveals.
Without a doubt, the loudest applause was reserved for Creative Director Paul Sage's part of the presentation, and since I was due to interview him right after, I paid the most attention to (and took the most notes on) what he had to say. Due to a last-minute scheduling change, I actually wound up speaking with Game Director Matt Firor instead, and the two of them helped paint what looks like a rosy picture for ESO's future development.
Put simply, a lot of changes are in the works, and they seem to be geared toward making the game more, well, Elder Scrolls-like. This would seem to be an obvious notion, but it was something that seemed rather lacking to many players.
And justice for all
By far, the biggest cheers were when Sage brought up the Justice System, whereby players could murder and thieve to their heart's content – or at least until they got caught by guards, whether they were NPCs or players. Yes, players will have the ability to become guards and enforce justice, though the exact method for doing so was something neither Sage nor Firor were willing to share at this time.
As I asked Firor, won't this mean that within five minutes of the Justice System going live, every NPC will be dead? “The first step is, you don't allow any NPC that's critical to be killed,” he told me. “But yes, we will have to put in a lot of protections to make sure it's not exploitable. We really think that the player guards will help a lot with that.” Still, for players complaining that The Elder Scrolls Online wasn't Elder Scrolls-y enough, this should be a major achievement if ZOS can pull it off well.
The big recent news was the scrapping of the Veteran Ranks system and revamp of Veteran Zones. As Firor said, despite the team spending years working on the VR system, “As the saying goes, no plan survives contact with reality. We make the game, but MMOs are a living, breathing entity. They evolve, and one of the ways they evolve is you listen to what people are saying, and if they really don't like the way something works, you take action.” This was a theme throughout most of the presentation and my talk with Firor, as the ZOS team members repeatedly stressed how much the changes to the game were being fueled by player feedback and input.
While some people might infer that ZOS is “dumbing down” content or making it “easier for noobs,” Firor offered a different perspective. While some players loved the challenge of Veteran Zones, that wasn't for everyone, and it offered few options for less-skilled players after they finished that first batch of content. “You just happened to finish the first alliance [in 1-50 content] and then you got to the next, and suddenly it was five times harder. If you want that challenge, you can go to Craglorn, go to a dungeon, go to a veteran dungeon. That's the way we want to divide up the content, so you know when you make the choice, you know you're going to the more substantially difficult PvE.”
It's in the stars
Going hand-in-hand with that change is how players will advance post-50. Though everything Sage showed us in the demonstration is subject to change, it currently looks like the Champion System will let players acquire passive abilities via a set of Skyrim-like constellations, with nine constellations divided among three major branches: combat, stealth, and magic. Players can assign points into each of those constellations, and at certain point breaks, such as 10/30/50/100, you'll get access to other passives in those constellations.
By themselves, each passive ability is small – the “not-set-in-stone” examples Sage gave were increases in blade damage, stamina increases, shock damage, etc. – and are meant to help players customize their characters even further.
Small as they are, these bonuses add up. A question I had for Firor was how “passive overload” could give veteran players with 100+ passives unlocked too much of an advantage over new players. “The points you put into it first have a far greater effect than the points you put into it later,” he said. As an example – again, not set in stone – for an ability you wanted to sink 10 points into, the first three or four might give you 80% of the ability you needed, with the final six or seven filling out that last 20%. In other words, a player with few points to spend can adopt a narrow focus and be nearly as efficient as a player who has everything unlocked.
During his talk of itemization and rewards, Sage let slip one interesting line. In talking about how new content will introduce new gear, he seemed to say that ZeniMax “might sell old items directly to players.” I say “seemed to” because, while this potentially volatile remark did stand out, and I wrote it down as soon as it did, I can't yet find a recording of the presentation, which was streamed live via Twitch. For obvious reasons, I hesitate to stand 100% behind it until I can get confirmation of exactly what was said.
When I brought it up later with Firor, he said that he didn't recall the line. He was backstage during most of the presentation, and probably not hanging on every word like the attendees were, so I didn't think this represented any sort of subterfuge on his part.
Still, if Sage's offhanded comment is to be taken at face value, it opens up a whole new can of worms that even Mannimarco would have a hard time closing up again. As Sage (allegedly) said, it would refer to old gear, stuff that would normally be available in game, so this isn't a pay-to-win scheme. It could even be construed like any other attempt by an MMO developer to make older high-end gear more accessible as content ages, either by nerfing old content or making the gear cheaper to purchase via in-game vendors.
Still, as a paid game with a subscription, any attempt to add gear to a cash shop is going to be met with a healthy dose of skepticism. Perhaps Sage simply misspoke. If he didn't, he and ZOS will need a spectacular PR job to convince players that selling gear, even older gear, for real money isn't the end of the world.
The road ahead
Even with that potentially turbulent issue looming, the future of Elder Scrolls Online looks better than I might have thought it would. Other topics covered included the Imperial City, a PvE zone at the heart of Cyrodiil that only one faction will have the right to enter; a new facial animation system to make NPC speech seem more realistic; a spellcrafting system that seems to work similarly to enchanting; work on increasing combat responsiveness; a new adventure zone, Murkmire; and a new solo PvE zone, Wrothgar.
Also, early on in the presentation, lead designer Rich Lambert admitted that grouping “didn't quite hit the mark.” He said the team is resolved to making it easier and more desirable for players to group up, which will include a much-requested dungeon scaling system, which will “level down” characters to participate in dungeons beneath their level while still offering proper rewards. Daily dungeon quests and rewards and more Undaunted passives will also help make dungeons more appealing. They also intend to squash all those niggling inconveniences of grouping, such as being split from your party when entering a new zone, making it easier for players to share quest progress, and keeping players informed of their groupmates' quest progress.
In truth, little has changed from my initial opinion of The Elder Scrolls Online, which is that it was iffy at launch but had the potential to fulfill its promise with a few more months of development time to smooth out its kinks. I'd still like to see an overhaul of the inventory system and fewer crippling gold sinks for new players, but those are smaller points. “What you saw is our content plan at least through 2014,” Firor said. “We're doing a lot of other things besides that, working on minor things all the time.”
For me, at least, I'm going to adopt a “wait and see” attitude. If they can pull off the Justice System, dungeon scaling, and the other irritating issues I still have with the game, I'll give it another shot. Will you?
Elder Scrolls Online : SuperData Research Pegs ESO at Nearly 800,000 Subscribers
Posted Jul 18, 2014 by William Murphy
Not only is ESO proving to have retained nearly 800,000 subscribers through June, but apparently SWTOR, LotRO, and TERA (even Lineage) are all doing quite well as well according to new research from SuperData. Read on for details.
As GameIndustry.biz reports on the research:
Star Wars: The Old Republic remains one of the top five subscription MMOs in the world, according to new research from SuperData.
EA's ambitious MMO, which launched with a subs-only model but eventually integrated freemium options, made $165 million in revenue worldwide last year. That figure is from subscriptions, expansion packs and microtransactions, and it makes Bioware's MMO the fourth biggest in the world in terms of earnings.
As expected, Blizzard's World of Warcraft remains the global leader by a wide margin, with just over $1 billion in revenue. The first game in NCSoft's Lineage series was a distant second with $253 million in revenue - a truly remarkable amount given that it was launched in 1998. Indeed, NCSoft games occupied four of the top ten.
See the charts below for subscription info. What's more interesting though is what came out about ESO and WildStar so far (though it's admittedly early).
WILDSTAR AND ELDER SCROLLS ONLINE CHALLENGE STATUS QUO
When Bethesda Softworks released Elder Scrolls Online, the industry took notice as the publisher fearlessly announced a subscription model, rather than going free-to-play like its direct competitor Guild Wars 2(NCsoft). So far, a subscriber base of 772,374 (June) indicates that its strategy is working. And perhaps its because of this that NCsoft released its own subscription-based title, Wildstar, over one month ago. As the initial purchase included a free first month, NCsoft is about to find out how strong the demand for sci-fi action really is. Traditionally, sci-fi styled MMOs tend to generate three times as much in monthly revenue compared to fantasy-based titles. And the early signs are good. According to Carbine, the game has so far seen “four to five times” as many concurrent users than during its open beta stage. Combined with NCsoft’s expertise, having four titles in the worldwide top 10 for subscription-based MMOs last year, Wildstar is a strong contender in the current market.”
Definitely some intriguing numbers, and strong hints that maybe the sub model isn't going anywhere... yet.
So not happy there's no cross...so we may have to have a vote on which ones would work best...it looks like they are using a runic alphabet, so maybe we can spell TEW if we can use more than one...
Preview New Guild Crests
Get a look at some of the options you’ll be able to select for your guild in Update 3.
You’ll be able to give your guild more personality when Update 3 launches, from bidding on public guild traders to creating new ranks and selecting your own customized heraldry. Today, we’re giving you a peek at just some of the guild crests you’ll be able to select. You’ll probably recognize some of them, like the symbols for the Divines and the Daedric Princes, as well as a selection of alliance-themed options. Combine these with even more crests, a huge color palette, and different tabard shapes, and your guild will have its own memorable look. Enjoy a preview of some of the crests and a selection of new avatars for our official forums!
A pretty nice game review...although the title is a bit on the negative side, it gives a good overview of what TESO is and is not...
Elder Scrolls Online Column: Is ESO Worth Buying?
By Ryan Getchell on July 16, 2014
In my last column I asked a rather heated question, is ESO Dying? This is a question I get asked a lot during my livestreaming sessions. Another question I get asked is going to be the focus of this column. Is The Elder Scrolls Online worth buying?
There are a lot of people wondering if ESO is worth the purchase, if it is worth the subscription fee. However they’ve been told by people it isn’t because of [insert bug here]. If bugs were the reason to not buy a game the gaming industry would dissolve. There isn’t a game in the world that is bug free.
The most common issue right now affecting players is an FPS bug in Cyrodiil. Since patch 1.2.2 (June 16th 2014) there has been an issue in the game that is causing some players to drop drastically in FPS when fighting other players. Since this patch, Zenimax has been releasing a fix for this every week. These fixes haven’t fully corrected the issue but it has alleviated it for many players. Even though they haven’t nailed down the exact cause of the issue they are correcting it. This shows that Zenimax cares about the game and wants it to be the best experience for everyone. Personally, I haven’t had the FPS bug in a few weeks and I PvP all the time.
There are some other bugs which I am sure will be mentioned in the comments, but this is one of the biggest ones as it is causing some players to be unable to play unless they log out of the game and back in.
So, is ESO worth purchasing? That depends on what type of game you are expecting. If you’re looking for a World of Warcraft style game that has a mediocre questing line, but a completive, large scale raiding scene, this is not the game for you. I would suggest looking into Wildstar for something like that. Elder Scrolls Online isn’t a hardcore raiding game. It has End Game content, such as Trials, and an upcoming 4 man Arena. But neither is as competitive as World of Warcraft raiding. Raids in WoW can take hours to complete. Right now the Trials can be done, on average, within 40 minutes. A solid group can do them within 15 minutes. Are they as difficult as World of Warcraft? Yes. Sure they might not take as long but length of time doesn’t determine difficulty. World of Warcraft bosses have over 100 million Hit Points. Which take a bit of time to burn through, that isn’t difficult, that is time consuming.
Elder Scrolls Online is a completely different type of MMO, its experience as a player I don’t think can be compared to any other MMO on the market right now. If you’re looking for a slightly more casual game that is built around a central story line that is connected to everything you do in the game than this is the game for you. If you’re the type of player that wants to rush to end game content in a matter of days or weeks, you’re going to find yourself at end game saying there is no content to do. Mainly because you rushed through it all and didn’t have a chance to experience it. As of right now, with the game being only four months old, most of your content is going to revolve around the leveling experience. If you take your time, enjoy the immensely in-depth and incredibly well voice acted story lines you will reach level 50 with a very satisfied feeling.
At level 50 you’ll be able to do the 50++ content, which is basically going through the other two alliance’s quest lines. Personally not a very enjoyable experience for me, but many people like it. I feel this aspect of the game ruins any sense of alliance pride. You’ve just completed your own faction story line where you’ve been told how horrible the other two factions are, and why you’re at war with them. Now you’re going to experience their stories and learn about how horrible your faction is. So much for Pride.
However, like I said this game is only four months old, and Zenimax has already mentioned that they are going to be doing a complete overhaul on the 50++ content (veteran content). This is a huge change. A large portion of the game is being completely redesigned solely because the community doesn’t enjoy it. Another reason this game is worth the money. Not many companies would change such a massive part of the game strictly because the community didn’t enjoy it. These changes are already being put into place.
ESO is by far one of the most eye and ear pleasing MMOs to ever be sold. The graphics in the game are outstanding. The lighting (which is constantly being updated) is unbelievable for a video game. The audio cues in the game are just out of this world. So many little things that most MMOs don’t bother with. The sounds the different armour makes when you move, even bending over to pick up a reagent depending on your armour you’ll hear something different. I can’t tell you how many times I have jumped in my seat because of the thunder in this game. Is it so realistic that I have actually gotten up to check outside if it was storming?
If you’re looking for a game that is always pushing out new content, ESO is for you. As I’ve said before, the game is young. Only four months old and we’ve seen some fantastic content so far. Craglorn released not too long ago and it brought two Trials, an entire zone of questing, many new four player dungeons. Remember this game is fully voiced, so every NPC you see you can interact with, they all have something to say to you. This type of content isn’t easily pushed out, unlike games that use quest text.
After Craglorn was released we were given an additional Veteran level dungeon, Crypt of Hearts. One of the hardest four player dungeons I have played in any MMO. The mechanics and features used might be the infamous and over used “avoid red circles” and “kill adds” but the way they are implemented is exciting. The dungeon is a rush. You’re never not doing something and as a player you are constantly looking around to ensure you’re not standing in something and no adds are coming. These features are very unforgiving as well, simple mistakes could result in your group dying. Zenimax really ramped up the difficulty on this one. They did this because we said the previous ones were too easy. Another example of them listening to the community.
Early August we have patch 1.3.0 which will be introducing a plethora of new features to the game. Cyrodiil campaigns will be changing. These changes are designed to try and keep players from campaign hopping and to try and instill a bit of campaign pride in the players. It will also better populate the campaigns, as some of the campaigns currently are either unpopulated or very one sided. We are also getting some major guild updates, better guild stores, guild tabards, guild permission update, and one of the most requested features, a dye system for armour.
When it comes to content and keeping it fresh Zenimax is doing a fantastic job thus far. They’ve already mentioned a lot of other upcoming changes and content that is to be released in the near future.
So back to the main question, is this game worth purchasing? It all depends on what type of play style you want, like I said if you’re looking for the WoW style raiding, I’d look into Wildstar. However if you’re looking for a game that isn’t as hardcore but still challenging, has constant updates, fantastic story lines, a meaningful crafting system, than Elder Scrolls Online is for you.
I will be playing ESO for a long time. There are only two potential games that may take me away from ESO, and neither are planned to be released for some time, Camelot Unchained, and Trials of Ascension.
Update 3 Preview Video
Get a peek of the features you’ll see in ESO when the next update launches.
You and your guildmates have a lot to look forward to in Update 3! The patch is coming in early August and introduces armor dyes, guild tabards, public guild store locations, a new difficulty mode for Trials, and plenty of fixes and improvements. You’ll be able to personalize your look more than ever before, represent your guild, and charge with them into a new level of challenge. We think you should see these features for yourself, so watch this preview video to find out what’s on the way in Update 3. Enjoy!
The Road Ahead - July 8Below is the latest Road Ahead article, written by ESO Game Director Matt Firor:
It’s time for another update on what we’re up to at ZOS, how things are going for ESO, and what to expect in the near future.
ZOS and ESO at QuakeCon
As part of the pan-Bethesda fan event, we’ll be out in force at QuakeCon in Dallas from July 17th through the 20th. Most events related to The Elder Scrolls Online will be held on Friday, July 17th. We’ll have our own panel, there will be hands-on stations at our booth, and we’ll host a Q&A session. Everyone is welcome—we’d love to see you there. If you can’t make it to the show, you can still join us to watch the panel and Q&A on our twitch channel! Here’s a breakdown of what we’re planning:
- “The Future of ESO” panel, where senior developers will talk about their different responsibilities and what they’re working on. Creative Director Paul Sage will present an update on changes coming to the Veteran System (which we cover further down) and lots more.
- A Community Meet and Greet after the panel.
- PvP Tournament and livestreams—join in with your guild or friends and have your PvP session livestreamed on our Twitch channel.
- A Trials tournament and livestream.
To get all the details about our presence at the show, including how to enter the tournaments, check out our QuakeCon article.
EU Megaserver Update
We’re getting closer and closer to being able to announce a specific date for the migration of the EU Megaserver to our Frankfurt data center. As I type this, it looks like the move will happen during either the last week of July or the first week of August. This is obviously a delicate operation, and we have to make sure that everything is up and running and that all character data is transferred successfully. We are taking the time to do it right.
Veteran Rank System
We’ve been listening to your feedback about ESO’s Veteran Rank content. Some of the issues are that it’s too much of a departure from the 1-50 experience, it’s much more “grindy,” it can be too difficult, and the rewards don’t match the effort you have to put in to progress. I’m very happy to say that we’ll be making a series of announcements (starting at QuakeCon) that will address problems with the Veteran System in ESO, leading to a much more compelling high-level PvE experience for everyone.
In the interim, we’ve implemented some balance changes to content in post-50 zones that will make it much more like the content from levels 1-50. Our goal is to remove the feeling of “I have just hit a wall of difficulty” that many of you have commented on—you’ll be able to solo much more easily.
One of the guiding principles of our Veteran gameplay was to encourage people (not force them) to group. We wanted people to be able to solo to max level, but still wanted you to participate in group content. This principle was the reason we made our post-50 zones more difficult; we wanted you to get together with others and take on tougher challenges. But this hasn’t been well-received. Many of you love the game you played from 1-50, and the Veteran-level zones are too much of a departure from that experience. We know you want the ability to continue participating in solo content as you progress through Veteran Ranks. This will occur over time, but the first few phases look like this:
- Phase 1: Make sure the difficulty in Veteran zones ramps up slowly and rarely exceeds what a good player can do on their own. This change came to the live servers on July 7th. By the time you read this, you should be able to play Veteran content the same way you played from 1-50.
- Phase 2: Remove the Veteran Points system and have normal experience gains direct the growth of the Veteran System. Also, we’ll increase the amount of XP granted in PvP. This will happen at some point over the summer as we transition to the new system.
- Phase 3: Introduce a completely new Veteran System based on new character customization and growth mechanics. We’ll talk more about this in the near future—especially during Quakecon—but for now, be aware that we’re going to make some much-needed changes to post-50 PvE gameplay.
The primary reason for making these changes is to ensure that you have meaningful choices in the post-50 PvE game experience that reinforce the design idea that you can play the way you want to play.
Update 3 and Guild Enhancements
Update 3 (or “Guild Extravaganza!” as we call it) introduces lots of guild and player customization improvements, and it will be coming to the Public Test Server (PTS) soon. Few features are more important to ESO than guilds. They provide the easiest and most fun way to meet new people, chat with groups while you’re playing, and are almost always the first choice when putting together a dungeon or PvP group. As such, we’re devoting a large portion of Update 3 to making sure that guilds are easy to create, fun to join and manage, and provide players with a social group that helps them in their journey through Tamriel.
It is also important to note that almost all of these guild enhancements came about as a result of your feedback. Please keep up the comments on the forums, on social media, and in places like reddit—we are reading and listening.
Here’s a quick summary of Update 3’s guild enhancements:
- Management: guild leaders can create, delete, and promote guild ranks. Guilds can have up to ten ranks of membership, each of which can have its own icon.
- Bank: guild leaders can set permissions to allow members to withdraw gold from the guild bank based on their rank.
- Store updates: anyone in your alliance can browse your guild store in Cyrodiil if your guild owns a keep.
- Traders: The Gold Coast Trading Company will establish kiosks throughout the cities of Tamriel. The merchants running the kiosks can be hired by guilds on a weekly basis (via auction) to act as a portal to their guild’s store, which can be browsed by any player in the guild’s alliance. Auctions use a blind bidding process and are held once a week per merchant.
- Heraldry: guild leaders can design guild heraldry for their guilds if they have 10 or more members. Each guild member can purchase and wear a tabard emblazoned with the guild’s chosen colors and crest. There are 250 colors, 63 backgrounds, and 136 crests that can be mixed and matched to form guild heraldry.
This image has been resized to fit in the page. Click to enlarge.
Class Builds and Balance
I’ll take this opportunity to repeat an important point: we make class balance changes very slowly because they can have a big impact on your play experience. We’re making changes carefully, but we are always watching feedback about balance concerns. Recently, we adjusted stamina builds to help them become more competitive by making medium armor reduce the cost of stamina abilities and by improving the damage for several stamina-based abilities. In Update 3, ultimate abilities will scale from weapon damage or spell damage—whichever one benefits you the most. We’ll continue to make incremental changes to address balance issues.
It’s important to note that from now on, whenever we introduce a major change to a skill line, we will be offering a free respec to players who have invested points in that line.
Here are some other character and ability topics we’re looking at for potential balance changes and tweaks:
- The survivability of werewolves and the balance between their strengths and weaknesses may receive some adjustments.
- The effectiveness of Templars is being evaluated, particularly some specific builds that may be underperforming when compared to similar builds for other classes.
- Our previous changes to the Dragonknight class are undergoing review to ensure that the class is fun to play and still feels powerful.
- We’re continuing to make adjustments to the Nightblade. We believe that what we’ve done so far has helped, but there may be more on the way.
Itemization and Rewards
One of the most fun reasons to play games like ESO is to obtain cool weapons, armor, and other gear through the course of your adventures. We’ve been closely following commentary about how, at some points in the game, it feels like you aren’t being rewarded adequately for the amount of effort you put in. I’ve already talked above about how we’re looking to alleviate this at Veteran Ranks, but it also applies to some sections of the 1-50 experience.
We’ve seen feedback that there isn’t enough differentiation in armor appearances—especially as you adventure from moment to moment—and that the items you find are not substantially better than the ones you already have, leading to a feeling of incremental gain but never something exciting or momentous.
Armor dyes, which will be in the game as part of Update 3, will help by giving you the ability to customize gear colors to your tastes, but we’re also going to introduce some new itemization features over the next couple of updates:
- New armor sets that are visually distinct from others.
- A new system that makes it easier to find complete sets in-game.
- Item rewards will be handed out in a more logical fashion by quests and enemy drops.
Stay tuned to future patch notes to see how itemization and rewards evolve over the next few updates.
We’ve been working steadily behind the scenes to make combat more fun and visceral. This is a multi-pronged effort to tweak and fix dozens of different game systems to lead to a smoother, more responsive combat system. Similar to how we’re changing the Veteran System, we’ll make meaningful changes over time. We’re making changes to animations, audio, timing, server network optimization, and other factors to make combat more engaging.
We’ll show off some of these new combat enhancements at QuakeCon to demonstrate the evolution the combat system has made over the last few months.
Fun with Armor Dyes
Update 3 will be on the PTS soon, bringing with it a lot of fun new character and guild customization features. This update has been in internal testing at ZOS for many weeks now, and as part of that effort, we had a studio-wide contest to see who could use the new dye system to come up with the coolest (or most horrendous?) outfit. Check out some of the screenshots from the contest—it was a lot of fun, and it shows the lengths to which you can change what your character looks like just by applying different colors.
This image has been resized to fit in the page. Click to enlarge.
This image has been resized to fit in the page. Click to enlarge.
This image has been resized to fit in the page. Click to enlarge.
Thanks for reading. As you can see, there are lots of changes coming to ESO based on your feedback. As we roll them out, we’ll keep listening to what you have to say, and we hope you’ll enjoy everything we have planned for you. See you in Tamriel!Post edited by ZOS_GinaBruno at
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