During QuakeCon, plenty of exciting news was released for the new MMO from Bethesda and Zenimax Online Studios, The Elder Scrolls Online. Not only did we learn that the multi-player instalment of the single-player series would be available on Steam, but that there will be some incredible changes in the upcoming patches.
A PvP tournament was also held during the convention, and though the competition was stiff, the four-man team from Mostly Harmless worked together with easy confidence and came out victorious after a nail-biting contest. Each of the players earned themselves a map signed by the developers, an in-game mount, $50 dollars for the Bethesda Store, a complete lore book and plenty more goodies for their performance in the tournament. Surprisingly, two of the members were actually filling in. “We were the Mostly Harmless C-Team” Bryce ‘Rook’, Counselor of Mostly Harmless modestly claimed. “We were not the most skilled players in the guild, we were just the people that were at the convention”. Although one of these highly skilled fillers, known as ‘Laken’, had not even played the game before, he was named MVP at the Loadout tournament at QuakeCon last year after winning the whole thing.
The fluid dynamic of the quartet is merely a reflection of the Daggerfall covenant based guild’s ethos which is founded on the concept of teamwork and a fun community atmosphere. Though the guild has settled quite comfortably in The Elder Scrolls Online universe, Mostly Harmless has also been known to play Guild Wars 2 and dabble with the upcoming ArcheAge.
Mostly Harmless has certainly made a name for itself through the team’s accomplishments in the field of PvP. After the QuakeCon dust had settled, we caught up with Brad and Bryce, two members of the Mostly Harmless competition team, and they told us what they thought about the recent and upcoming features for The Elder Scrolls Online.
Cyrodiil and veteran points
In the most recent patch for the Elder Scrolls Online, some rather frustrating happenings occurred for PvP players. Apparently, Mostly Harmless had some issues with guild rankings. “Some of the new features surrounding guild functionality caused all officers in guilds to be demoted,” said Bryce. In addition to this, the popular vampiric ultimate ability ‘Bat Swarm’ has become extremely overpowered and the bonuses for the winning teams are far too great. There has been a large increase in critical chances which means that the winning alliance simply keeps on winning. According to Bryce;“We’re not worried though. ZOS is meeting with guilds, listening to and quickly addressing concerns. They’re great to work with.”
Not everything PvP related is viewed negatively, however. The Elder Scrolls Online QuakeCon panel revealed a brand new PvP zone in the heart of the Imperial city. In accordance with the already-implemented PvP, alliances and guilds will fight for control of specific areas while watching for the opposing teams and Daedric monsters. In addition to paying homage to the 2006 single-player release of The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion by using the sewer system to enter into the city, the development team has added familiar districts to the zone, such as the Market district and the Arboretum district. PvE quests are also being added into the city in order to preserve what little hasn’t been contaminated by Daedric influence. In a PvP based zone, these quests are dangerous and very high-risk, as enemy players will be in the surrounding area.
When you’re doing the quest you’re always going to be scared that you might die at any moment and that’s the exciting part.
Brad ‘Malarky’, Mostly Harmless Guild Officer
This new zone is certainly not the only big change coming to The Elder Scrolls Online in the coming weeks, however, as the post-level-50 content is getting altered. In response to the complaints that post-50 questing felt ‘grindy’ and ‘unsatisfactory’, the development team has replaced the Veteran points system for another. A large amount of passive skills will be added into ‘The Champion system’ which will be earned along with basic experience points. These skills add another level of customization to a player’s character build. Bryce had this to say about the change in content; “It’s a real attraction to games to be able to make your character more specialized, more individual.”
Instances and the justice system
With the warm reception to both the solo and group instances available in-game, it was only a matter of time before more of this type content was added or altered. Firstly, group instance difficulty is now scaled to the group leader. This means that it will be rather easy for a higher level player to power-level their friends through instances. “This is a step in the right direction to letting people group together more with friends regardless of level”, said Brad. In terms of actual playable content, the already implemented group instance ‘Craglorn’ is getting an extension, and a brand new Veteran’s instance will be patched in soon. While these additions are appreciated by players, will there truly be enough content for Veterans outside of PvP? Bryce certainly believes so.
With the bounties, with the stealing, with those things being more meaningful that’s going to reopen up a lot of old areas to be interesting again.
Bryce ‘Rook’, Mostly Harmless Counsellor
Indeed, the execution of the justice system in-game will give the factor of fun a boost in low-level areas for Veteran players. The prospect of blatantly murdering NPCs and stealing from merchant stalls may seem appealing until there is a hoard of real players and guard NPCs after the bounty on your head.
Lore galore in new PVE zones
Murkmire, is a swampy adventure zone in the Argonian homeland of Black Marsh, and Wrothgar is the solo adventure meant to help rebuild the Orc’s homeland Orsinium. Both of the aforementioned are going to be in future updates. For fans of The Elder Scrolls series, these two zones definitely spark some interest as both Black Marsh and Orsinium are both rare sights. Last seen in the 1996 release of The Elder Scrolls II: Daggerfall, Orsinium is a long-lost city which desperately needs some attention.
Murkmire however, is an entirely new and unknown experience to even the earliest of The Elder Scrolls players. Staying tight to the lore of Black Marsh, the land is said to apparently be home to many poisonous creatures and carnivorous plant life. The inhabitants, the Naga, are a never-before-seen subspecies of Argonian. While very little is known about the types of stories and quests you will happen along here, it certainly hasn’t stopped players from getting excited and speculating what might come next.
Many fans of The Elder Scrolls lore have been crossing their fingers for some more open territory in every corner of the map. Ebonheart hopes for the addition of Solstheim, an island off the coast of the Dark Elf province of Morrowind. While it appeared in both The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind and The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, it has yet to show itself in the new multi-player tie-in. There is also the issue of most of Eleswyr being completely forgotten. Though the small starting island for the Aldmeri Dominion is dominated by Khajiit, their homeland is virtually non-existent in game. The same can be said for the Summerset Isles, the High Elf province, as the main island is still completely out of bounds. Though all this content is missing, fans have faith that in coming updates the map will be restored to a truer form.
The Future of TESO
With all of these incoming changes to The Elder Scrolls Online, will it redeem itself in the eyes of any players? There is no denying that new content is going to continue to flow from the patches and updates coming soon, but is it enough to bring more hopeful heroes into the world of Tamriel? According to Bryce, players are coming back to ESO to enjoy the game. The new zones and changes to both PvP and PvE content stand as shining examples of what listening to the consumers does for a developer. As the latest update brings some fun customization options, we remain on stand-by for the bigger changes as they are slowly implemented.