Hello everyone! I realized I haven’t written an article in quite a while and I wanted to express my thoughts on PvP in ESO in a more formal matter.
The Elder Scrolls, as we know, is now an open-world RPG series. Full of quests, adventures, colorful characters and dangers at every turn. Player-versus-environment in its purest form. The only taste of player-versus-player we received in a TES game would be the Imperial City Arena and even then we are fighting a computer opponent. So why is it that Zenimax Online Studios decided to make the first and only MMORPG based in the TES universe focus on PvP?
I’ve read concerns about this. That ESO being PvP-focused would alienate TES fans and would limit their experience with the game. Worries that most hardcore TES fans that haven’t touched an MMO would not want to enter Cyrodiil and thus make the newly introduced Guild Store system unfair. Are these concerns warranted? Of course.
So let’s start with the first topic: ZOS told us they wanted to make a game that bridged the gap between the RPG crowd and the MMO crowd. In order to do this, they must appeal to both sides while not alienating either side or making one side more important that the other. In order for this to become a reality, you’d think they would focus on PvE more. Because if the MMO crowd enjoys both PvE and PvP but the RPG crowd only enjoys the PvE side, then 3/4 of all the players combined (assuming equal number RPG/MMO players) would prefer PvE, right? Well it’s not as easy as that.
First of all, think of Cyrodiil in the terms of an MMO player. There’s many different kinds of MMO players. Some simply enjoy questing, raiding, crafting, the basic PvE side of things. Some MMO players enjoy all of that but in a PvP setting, so they join a PvP server. Other players enjoy battlegrounds, arenas, all manner of PvP, so they spend most of their time checking the leaderboards and pwning faces. Cyrodiil offers nearly all of this on its own. There’s keeps to siege and defend, there’s quests to do, public dungeons to explore, organic quests to pick up, Scrolls to capture and bring home and who knows what the Imperial City will bring when that is unlocked(pray for arenas). So hopefully you begin to see Cyrodiil as not only some place to PvP but a hub of activity which we now know includes extensive trade and probably an elaborate social scene with traders, merchant guilds and the like all taking refuge in the safe zone of their alliance within Cyrodiil.
A lot of time has gone into Cyrodiil, but what about the PvE side of things? What is there for the RPG crowd? I think with all of the PvP talk and discussions of Cyrodiil and the new Guild Store system, we’ve forgotten all of the information we already have on PvE and info we eagerly await intel on like Adventure Zones, vampires and werewolves, theft system, justice, Dark Brotherhood, Thieves Guild…. Sorry. Had a rush of excitement and frustration. By now, you’ve heard us or another articles/podcasts mention that it should take around 120-150 hours to reach max level. Another ZOS developer mentioned that that was the average speed for a QA tester with helpful tools that may not be available to us. This doesn’t include hitting all of the side quests, doing dungeons along the way, social interaction with other players and crafting/trade. With 50+ and 50++ content, it will probably take well over 500 hours to experience all of the quests within Tamriel. And just when you finish all of that, you find that there is a full DLC-style patch release with a new guild to quest for with new skill lines and characters to interact with.
Let’s talk about end-game content in PvE. We know some but there’s plenty more we don’t know. There’s going to be Master dungeons which are 50+ content and they continue the story of the regular version dungeon. There’s the 50+ and 50++ content which enables you to enter enemy territory to quest and group with friends you have on the opposing faction. Then there are places called Adventure Zones. Not much is known about these yet, but what we do know is that there’s open areas for solo players and small groups to enjoy and then there will be instanced off areas that are designed for 24-man groups. These are the raids of ESO, though ZOS doesn’t like the term “raid” for whatever reason. We believe it’s because raids usually contain some trash mobs and then a massive boss which your group then begins to hack ankles off of. We’ve heard tidbits of information and this lack of the word “raid” kind of backs this up. We believe that large group content will not consist of one large boss, but several powerful and large groups of enemies that will take coordination and teamwork to defeat. Choosing whether to split up or stick together, how many people will need to equip restoration staves, how many with crowd-control, burst DPS, sustained DPS and so many other choices will need to be made before and during the fight to overcome the enemy and collect your loot. That’s what we envision anyways. To further dream up AZs, I hope to see dynamic event style content that changes each time you enter and changes based on how your group performs. Think of the chained events in GW2 where if you failed to do something you’d see a different event happen then if you succeeded. But that’s enough speculation and dreaming, back on topic.
Though many of the mechanics may be tailored more for PvP, this may actually help PvE. PvP is a great benchmark for the rest of the game as well. If you remember, devs have stated that they have taken popular builds from players and programmed enemy NPCs to use the same builds. This means you could potentially see NPCs in PvE using useful builds dreamed up in Cyrodiil. Hopefully, ZOS will take advantage of this and make combat more dynamic in PvE. Imagine you leveled a character to cap and decided you wanted to make an alt character. You’re fighting the same mobs you had before but realize they are using a completely different set of skill then they had before! Do this Zenimax!
With all the information we have on ESO, I have to conclude that there is plenty of content for both types of players. Just because ESO is PvP-focused does not mean they are cheapening the PvE experience. Awesome mechanics in PvP, amazing content in PvE. They are attempting to bridge the gap between the MMO player and the RPG player. Some people will not be happy regardless, but I feel that most will find ZOS has succeeded in their plan. We’ve all been burned by games in the past, but only time will tell if ESO will be different. At the very least, we will all have hundreds of hours to spend in the TES universe which should help you all hold out until TESVI.
Thanks for reading.