ESO Paul Sage The Road Ahead Q&A Transcript

ESO Paul Sage The Road Ahead Q&A with Elderscrolls OTR to talk about Dragonstar Arena, Imperial City and the Champion system.

Video: You can watch the video here, it is 2.5 hrs long but Paul Sage leaves at 1 hr 45 minutes mark.

Dragonstar Arena

  • In Update 4, there is content called Dragonstar Arena. It is in the next part of Craglorn. It is a bit like trials but designed for a group of 4. You have to fight off waves and there an announcer that announces how you are doing and taunts you if you are not doing well. It is PvE content and pretty difficult (putting it mildly).
  • You get different scenery with different stage you are in.
  • There will be leaderboard just like the trials.
  • Dragonstar Arena is the last planned update to Craglorn.
  • Singleplayer arena like in Oblivion? Right we are working on on the social experience but fear not in Quakecon we will announce one to two new zones that give you solo stuff like the 1-50 experience.

Imperial City/3v3 map

  • Right now our PvP team is working on the Imperial city, it is a big dungeon where you have to own ownership of the Imperial city.
  • We have a 3v3 map for the shows (i.e. Quakecon) and we have gotten a lot of good responses. The trick is making sure that anything we introduced with battlegrounds etc does not interfere with Cyrodiil and reduce its population.
  • What about having arenas giving you different rewards from Cyrodiil? It is definitely something we have looked at it but the key is to make sure the different rewards play nice with each other.  Arenas are definitely something you can expect not too far off.

Class balance/EU server move

  • Progress report on class updates/balancing? When any update goes in, we look at the collected data from the various feedback methods and that will influence how we go from there. Putting a plan for all of balancing together is a bit different.
  • If you live in Europe and play in NA servers, can transfer to the EU servers after the EU server migration in late July/early August? That won’t be necessary, you won’t notice anything different.
  • What spurred on the migration of EU servers to Frankfurt? It is one of the things we always wanted to do. Now we got everything together and able to do that. We want the EU players to have the best experience.

VR Rank Overhaul

  • Our hope for the VR system initially is that it would gate items so you would always have this item progression to chase up. Behind the scenes we also had seasons idea where you VR ranks would be wiped and you would start fresh at a new season. That whole system just didn’t have enough moment to moment rewards. There is nothing that is a predictable reward to chase after.
  • For some people there is a level of challenge they really enjoy but there is also a large number of people who don’t like the challenges. The ramp up in difficulty between 1-50 and the VR hits you really hard. We have a lot of difficult things in the game like the trials already. We want players to still have fun when you reach the VR zones.
  • In the first phase of VR rank overhaul, we lowered the difficulty of the VR zones to make the difficulty more consistent. For those players who are after challenges we will have something for them later.
  • Lack of constant rewards make the VR system grindy.
  • In phase 2, which arrive with Update 4 most likely. We will 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 but we will add some measures to prevent farming.
  • Different Cyrodiil campaign for those below 50 and those in the VR ranks in the future.
  • When we take away VR points, we will not take away VR ranks so that won’t affect itemization and the gear you can wear.

Champion System (VR Overhaul Phase 3)

  • This will replace the Veteran system. This is a system where you are constantly adding points (Champion Points) into passives that will make your character stronger – i.e. critical hit or spell defense. You will add % that will increase these rating. It is a bit like the alternative advancement system (AA) in other games (i..e EQ1, EQ2)
  • It will be account wide so once you open up the Champion rank you will be able to take these points and apply to other characters. The points you put in one character won’t affect your other characters and there is a built in respec that will be fairly straightforward and easy to get.
  • Put in an hour and you will get one of those points for example. Experience past 50 are converted into champion points.
  • Any alts you make will be affected by the champion points already earned on your account. You just cannot earn champion points until you are level 50.
  • Enlightenment bonus – it is like rested experience so the longer you log off the more bonus you get.
  • In the Champion system, we will have more gear introduced by seasons where there is no level requirement. They will be harder to get. Season 8 gear will be more powerful than season 7 gear for example but the season 7 gear will be more readily available. There will be a solution for crafting as well.
  • Champion rating – Look at your gear as well as all your points in the champion system to see if you can take on a certain content or not. The Champion rating will be introducing some divide in the community but it based more on gear rather than your points to make it easier to catch up.
  • New itemization coming out as well in update 4– New sets coming out, populate bosses with different set pieces.

Guild management in Update 3

  • Guild leaders can now create guild ranks, delete guild ranks, and give people more customized guild ranks. They can also assign unique icons for the ranks. Guilds can now have up to 10 ranks.
  • With the guild traders/kiosks we created a shopping a game where it is really fun to shop around and see who has what. There are 122 of these kiosks added to the game.
  • Any concerns for bigger/wealthy guilds that just corner the market? We will let it go free market at first and see from there.
  • Guild Heraldy is same for all guild members and cannot be modified individually.
  • Custom chat channels for guilds with multiple guilds/overflows? Yes that is something we want to do.
  • Any sort of guild quest? Paul sage’s personal preference is to have some sort of land ownership or shop ownership where guild can own a bar etc but there are no promises that is coming.
  • Guild chat fixed to silence members that are actually silenced? Yes

Class Balances

  • There were some changes that went in recently that we felt we should have offered a free respec. We will be lowering the cost of respecting in update 3. We will also offering a single free respec in update 3. We may raise the respect cost back up in future updates.
  • We are looking at the damage output of Templars. There are some lines like Dawn’s Wrath that will be adjusted to increase their viability.
  • Stamina based builds – we are looking at it pretty carefully. We made some recent changes to it. When we have the answer will put it out there in more detail. We have to be cautious about it as there are always sneaky builds people make that become flavor of the month.
  • What more adjustments can Nightblades can expect? We will see how 1.3 performs and adjust from there.

Dyes & itemization

  • Any chance of an appearance tab? There are no plans for that at this point.
  • Able to dye weapons and shields? The development team is divided on this issue with some want weapon dyes and others not wanting weapon dyes. Costumes cannot be dyed currently so that is the first thing we will make adjustments before weapons/shields. Paul wants to dye shields but unsure on weapon dyes.
  • Option to toggle off armor dyes? We won’t have the ability to toggle it off anytime soon.
  • Torches? We would like to get them in but no ETA.

Combat

  • To imply impact, we have a small stutter in frame when your character’s weapon impacts a target. We analyzed this animation to make light attacks a bit faster and feel more responsive.
  • The character atlas now cache both weapons to make weapon swapping more responsive. Previously when you swapped weapons the character atlas had to rebuild that weapon. Now we predict what you are going to do by having the atlas cache both weapons to make for more immediate weapon swapping.
  • Zoom option on bows? We want to get the most bang for our bucks for features we introduce, not sure if this would benefit lots of players.
  • Adding a physical damage component to staves? Not anytime soon but there will be new animations for staves to make them feel more responsive.
  • Combat damage for light/heavy attacks increased anytime soon? Yes and no, it will depend on the weapon and the circumstances. Maybe not to the light/heavy attacks but to the weapon abilities. Wait and see.

Q&A

  • Jewelcrafting anytime soon? Don’t know Our current crafting designer wants it but it is a matter if we can fit it in. It is certainly on the plans but not sure on when.
  • Adventure zone that focus on exploration and questing? Our next zone that is built like a 1-50 zone will feel different and more centered on exploration.
  • After update 3, what is the next big step? Update 4, improving gameplay, champion system.
  • When is housing going to be a priority? It is already a priority but can’t talk much about things that is not at the near future.
  • Pets bound to account, summoned like a spell and not like an item? Yes we would like to put in an UI system for vanity pets.
  • Distraction based content. What features do you feel personally would fit in ESO. Finding little puzzles, treasure maps. Justice system.
  • Any new info on justice system? Tune into Quakecon
  • Any addons you would see to become toggle settings in the game? I am a huge fan of DPS meters. Different inventory management systems and also some people like the scrolling combat text.
  • Official companion app? That will be done in uh.. uh.. uh… No answer.
  • Hair salon to change my hair/features? If we don’t get one in soon our art director will kill me. It will be something you get for being social with people.
  • More info on Imperial City? Tune into Quakecon. There will be videos and pictures.
  • Inspect player feature? If we had infinite resources we would totally add it. Not on the horizon anytime soon.
  • Select players with cursor? Not that I am aware.
  • Consoles? No info on consoles.
  • Increase draw distance? Yes there is a possibility we will be doing that soon.
  • Will there be dueling system and option to automatically decline dueling? Dueling isn’t something we don’t want. It is just the rules for duels can be tricky in the environments. Once the Justice system goes in we will have the system setup since the Justice system will feature some PvP.
  • Additional weapons/weapon skills? Not any time in the near future.
  • Plans for multiple layers of armor rather than tight/form fitting? Some of the stuff you see right now is done to improve the framerate. There will be some armor improvements in the future but might not be what you are expecting.
  • Any QoL features for RP players coming soon? We will have more to release on this later.
  • Mounted combat or just charge ability? Wouldn’t say no to charge ability. Might be something you will hear about soon.
  • Additional questlines like thieves guild/dark brotherhood? We will definitely be adding those in and more gameplay options like stealing and murdering people, all those things that are really fun in life.
  • Fixes for Mac/OS X crashing in large group content? Our mac programmers are looking into it. Hopefully we will have news soon. The tricky part is that it doesn’t happen on every mac.
  • Nameplates/guild tags as optional UI elements? Nameplates have been in our UI backlog for a while. It is not we don’t like them. It is just that when we turn it on, it doesn’t look great. We will add them sometime in the future along with the option to not display them.
  • Limited guild/account API for making web apps? Not on the radar for development currently.
  • Any plan for large group content that isn’t timed? Yes we always look for places where players can demonstrate skills beyond timing.
  • Al’arra

    ESO, the SWTOR killer … and Dulfy’s walls of text meet walls of silence in the comments section in 6 out of her last 10 postings…

    • http://dulfy.net/ Dulfy

      ESO was never the SWTOR killer, it is Wildstar that is drawing people away.

      • Lucius

        I think it’s both. SWTOR just doesn’t get the Content fast enough, WIldstar and ESO both Feature some things that SWTOR promised, with ESO being a huge, wonderfully immersive World with open World PvP and Wildstar being a Raid, Rated BGs and Arena Endgame focused game.

      • m0nst3r

        Sure Wildstar has taken a few SWTOR players, so has ESO. But it is mostly boredom at this point (it’s been months since anything interesting has been put into SWTOR), that is why people are taking a break to check out other games. It happens to EVERY video game, every year.

    • Trogdor

      People have known ESO was going to be shit for a long time now. It’s no surprise that it isn’t popular. I’m just praying it doesn’t kill TES.

      • m0nst3r

        Yet, here you are reading ESO the road ahead notes, moron.

      • Dagoth_RAC

        Speak for yourself. This is the most fun I have had in an Elder Scrolls game since Morrowind. I was not expecting much as I usually hate MMO’s, but I am enjoying the heck out of this. If you enjoyed Skyrim for the lore and exploration and questing, ESO has far, far more of that than Skyrim. I have been playing almost every day since late March and think I have explored about 1/3rd of the game world. It is *immense*.

        And with the dragons gone and the Daedra back, this actually feels more like a TES game to me than Skyrim. That Lovecraftian horror feel that the Daedra lend to TES games was always one of my favorite things and the scarcity of Daedra in Skyrim was something that always bugged me. But that is just me, of course.

        And this has no chance to kill a single-player TES VI. Different divisions within the parent company, different development teams, different audiences. It is about 2.5 years since Skyrim came out. It is usually 5 years between single player TES games. TES VI will come along just fine in 2016 or 2017, regardless of what happen with ESO.

  • Angryzaf

    Thanks a lot dude. I was having a hard time understanding the podcast

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  • b92303008

    Thank you so much for this transcript.

  • JustaGuest

    Thanks for the transcript and awesome news finally! Can’t wait to see the future of ESO!

  • Antonio Evans

    The champion system seems like nothing more than a stat sheet redudnacy, I hope they learned from. The mistake wow had during vanilla, with the talent tree points being required after max/min through calculations, which just ended up forcing them to build in the stat increases baseline into the classes themself.

    But it is far to early to be apprehensive about it

  • Moonraker

    “Fixes for Mac/OS X crashing in large group content? Our mac programmers are looking into it. Hopefully we will have news soon. The tricky part is that it doesn’t happen on every mac.”

    This is incorrect. The memory crash is consistent and has been since beta testing on the Mac ESO client. It occurs in all play including PVE and PvP. The difference is that in general PVE play the time between crashes has been extended to several hours (with some reduction to graphic image quality as a result) which is generally tolerable. But in PVE big battles in Cyrodiil it is more in the range of 20-40 minutes between crashes and makes that aspect of the game pretty much unplayable for most Mac players.

    Efforts have been ongoing to resolve this and it has improved certainly. But the bottom line is that the Mac ESO crashes due to memory issue and even in PVE where the time between CTD is extended it is still not acceptable for the end user. In PvP it really means big battles are not an option currently for most Mac players.

    Although there are memory issues with the PC client (as noted in the forums) it generally doesn’t result in the PC ESO client crashing which is the big difference.

    The irony is that the native Mac ESO client is otherwise, in terms of both graphics quality and performance, pretty much on par with the PC client which is a testament to the quality of the development work. The difference between D3D and OpenGL API just introduce certain overheads and issues that make it hard to resolve (or it would have been done already)

    Hopefully the continued efforts by the Mac development team will result in the issue being fixed fully. In any event a 64-bit client will pretty much negate the issue allowing access to the installed RAM and not just that limited by the current 32-bit client. When that may be available however is not known.

  • Okamakiri

    Champion ranks sound like Diablo’s Paragon ranks.

  • Jerkface

    It all looks good but I’m really disappointed that there’s gonna be a “seasonal” gear treadmill. Luckily we’ll be able to craft this gear but gear progression is tiring, I would prefer if the progression was purely character stats.

  • Redire

    The Seasonal Gear Treadmill is STUPID please stop copying wow and other terrible mmorpgs. Progression should be character stat based such as rare skill manuals to get new abilities and that are trainable or perhaps skill books that allow you to further train other abilities to higher levels however with much grind involved! This is a much more interesting than a stupid gear grind and far more rewarding, as you are investing on your character permanently instead of just getting a few stats that you will swap out in another update.

  • HadesClutch

    Definitely need that stamina change. All they gotta do really is make dodging it’s own little pool of energy so using dodge doesn’t deplete stamina – just like GW2 or WildStar.

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