Despite still being in its first year of launch, Elder Scrolls Online has already seen its share of rough times. How large that share actually is will depend on who you ask, of course. According to recent information from Superdata, ESO has over 770,000 subscribers as of June which is a fairly impressive number given some of the comments seen in MMORPG communities about the game’s comparative success, but there’s also the fact that console/PC gamers– and not just MMO fans– love Elder Scrolls.
The rough times in question primarily have to do with ESO‘s endgame content. Veteran content as it’s called is currently wrapped in veteran ranks that are obtained by either grinding out content that was unexplored by leveling your particular faction to level 50 or by tagging alongside a few friends in Craglorn.
The main issues with veteran content have to do with both the content’s “grind” factor as well as the major lack of character progression obtained while gaining veteran points/ranks. The ranks don’t offer much in the way of rewards. The original leveling experience from 1-50 offers a whole lot more comparatively which leaves a large chunk of endgame ESO players feeling as though veteran content is a way of artificially extending the life of the game and little more.
Luckily, Bethesda seems to have taken notice of those feelings. During this year’s Quakecon which was held late last week, ESO‘s development team spent a great deal of time touching on various updates and plans in the works for the future of Elder Scrolls Online– including their plans for nuking veteran points and giving players more in the way of actual veteran progression and rewards.
Here’s what we’ll see as far as endgame content adjustments:
- Veteran points will be disappearing. Instead we’ll see regular EXP again which will reward veteran ranks.
- This means we’ll get rested EXP in veteran content.
- As we gain EXP past level 50 this will unlock a new passive skill system called a Champion system. This is account-wide much in the vein of Star Wars: The Old Republic‘s Legacy system or RIFT‘s Planar Attunement system.
- Champion skills will all be passive and allow players to gain additional base damage from weapons, extra Stamina regeneration, elemental resist/bonus damage, and other similar bonuses. There will be various “paths” based on each of the constellations (The Tower, The Mage, etc.).
- At certain numbers of points placed into a given path/constellation, we’ll gain additional passive/active unlocks. Examples: Extra gold from chests, extra chance of success when unlocking chests, damage reflect when blocking, and an on-use damage reflect upon blocking.
- Each character on an account will be able to place their Champion points independently.
- Endgame gear will no longer be restricted by veteran ranks. New gear will be added in “seasons”. Similar to tier systems, players will be able to obtain a current season’s gear fairly rarely while older seasons of gear will be easier to obtain.
There was also a whole bunch of other cool reveals during Quakecon. Here’s a quick recap of what’s being added:
- New Imperial City PvP zone that’s unlocked by Cyrodil ownership. Combines daily quests, PvE mini-bosses, and player killing. Areas can be competed for.
- Grouping improvements including phasing improvements, quest objective sharing, group leader sync, and group quest tracking.
- New veteran dungeon coming in Update 5: City of Ash.
- Dungeons will scale to group leader (including when you enter solo). This includes enemies, EXP, items, and gold.
- New daily dungeon quests and rewards surrounding the Undaunted. Rewards including new passives and new armor sets.
- New Craglorn content including improved itemziation, new crafting trait, and new 12-man trial focusing on the Serpent.
- New Dragonstar Arena (located in Craglorn – video below) that includes 4-player trials that are progressively more difficult and timed. These have two modes (normal and veteran), leaderboards, and resurrection restrictions.
- Improved facial animations on character models.
- New justice system that will let you steal items from crates, etc. (instead of just taking them like you currently do). In order to steal, you must be hidden. If caught by a guard you can pay a bounty or run which causes guards to chase you. NPC guards can be killed.
- This system also allows players to act as guards and actively hunt down players with bounties. Yes, this a world PvP type of system that seems extremely optional.
- New Spellcrafting system that might be part of the Mages Guild. Will allow players to combine spell effects to create new spell effects. Uses a lockpicking-like system involving stone tablets of varying qualities and charcoal. Will involve exploring and discovering magical doorways.
- Improved combat responsiveness.
- New weapon and armor models.
- New swampland adventure zone called Murkmire which is similar to Craglorn. Argonian-focused. Has more 12-man trials.
- New solo PvE zone called Wrothgar.
There was also a brief Q&A session. Here are some highlights:
- Werewolves will be rebalanced.
- A babershop-type system is being added at some point, but the team is trying to figure out how to add it so it best fits for RP purposes.
- We might see a dueling feature when the justice system is added. This one’s complicated to add.
- We may eventually see more mini-games like horse racing, a better fishing system, etc.
- They’re looking to improve Stamina builds by boosting weapon damage and adjusting spell/weapon crit.
- We’ll likely see guild traders and other RP additions in the future.
- Respec costs we be reduced at the start of a new update by a large amount (for a week) as well as reduced overall. Morph respec costs will also be reduced across the board.
Overall, these updates and reveals seem pretty impressive.
Special thanks to Dulfy.
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