ESO PvP and PvE: Two Sides of the Same Coin

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.



  1. alien138 November 3, 2013 6:51 pm 

    Nice 😀

  2. John November 3, 2013 7:07 pm 

    OP…..I suggest you use the phrase “consensual faction vs faction conflict” instead of “pvp”. It’s a much more exact description of how fighting happens. PVP for some is a turn off with just those 3 letters(and as we know there are various forms of pvp).

    Yes my suggestion is more cumbersome but also more exact.

    • Jonas November 4, 2013 11:18 am 

      lol i don’t think anyone really cares, most people know what he’s talking about

  3. The Negatron November 3, 2013 9:26 pm 

    From what I’m gathering, the concern in this area is largely coming from the RPG crowd who haven’t played MMOs before. I got into a back-n-forth with a fellow Shoddy follower about this on FB and my view on the topic is this: All the points you raised are exactly why all player types are needed in an MMO and why good MMOs are fun for all types.

    My point being, I have years of PVP experience in several MMO games. To me, it is the most fun I’ve had in any type game. Let’s say for instance a Shoddy guild comes together and want’s to make a run for a Keep. The RPG guildies who have little or no experience in PVP and want to participate in the guild activity will definitely want players like me on their team. Being a part of the same guild, I have much to share to help them along their learning curve, both in tactics and advice on skills or play style.

    Conversely, I dabble in crafting, but it becomes tedious to me and starts feeling like a non-paying job. I know many players love crafting and maxing out their abilities, and in an MMO I love those players. I rely on those guys to keep the stores stocked with the enchants, potions, etc, etc that I would rather buy than create.

    Likewise, I enjoy the occasional raid or dungeon, but don’t want to watch hours of youtube videos to learn the dynamics of every fight, or read encyclopedias about each boss and the nuances of every second of the dungeon. I’d rather go in following a tank/healer team who live for dungeons and follow their lead along the way.

    MMORPGs can be awesome. When done right, they are fun for PVPers like myself, fun for raid mongers, crafters, questers, and everybody else. In an MMO, all of these people play the way they want to, and the options are there. ESO seems to be providing plenty of content to fill everybody’s gaming desires. In my top 20 list of things I wish for in ESO, crafting wouldn’t even come close to landing on my list. That said, I’m happy the system is there and want it to be robust and engaging for the craft-loving players. I wish the PVP-haters would be satisfied with the hundreds of hours of non-PVP content in ESO without trying to nerf or destroy the facets of the game I enjoy. MMOs have room for everyone and it takes all types to make them successful and rich with content. The gamers who don’t know this now due to their lack of experience playing MMOs, will learn quickly after launch. …And when the ShoddyGuild pvp-haters wander off in Cyrodiil in search of that elusive crafting recipe only to find themselves repeatedly ganked by a griefing enemy player, just message any of the resident PVP aficionados in your guild to avenge your death and clear the path for your continued questing.


  4. Nattngale November 3, 2013 9:48 pm 

    John you are rigth, most players are cowards who fear others players in fair combat, pvp to the players is a death sentence if they are not in a party do ambush and zerg anyone.

  5. Şəhriyar İmanov November 4, 2013 2:17 am 

    You really need an editor to proof-read your articles for you… There are so many grammatical errors in them!

    • exavierwilson November 4, 2013 3:56 am 

      I agree

    • Jasmiina November 4, 2013 6:26 pm 

      Haha, I agree. I can notice them and I’m not even a native. Grammar has never been SC’s strong point from what I have gathered from their videos.

      But good article either way.

  6. Will Gordon (@WingnutLegit) November 4, 2013 9:42 pm 

    ‘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.’ Has this definitely been confirmed, we can play with friends in other alliances at 50+? If so I’m happy, but also I don’t understand how this doesn’t intefere with the lore, can anybody explain to me how this will work?

  7. Parker S. (Mirez Elderon) November 5, 2013 1:19 am 

    Something I really want to see for the RPers is player made camp sites and caravans. I’ve discussed this with other people in numerous forums and they all love the idea. You would craft them and place them anywhere you want (campsites) or build them up and leave them at the stables (caravans)

  8. Loren November 5, 2013 3:48 am 

    “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”.

    Not true. Players belonging to different factions can not party together. Guilds can contain players from any faction, but that does not mean that those players can actually play together. When you gain access to the other factions’ areas in 50+ and 50++ content, you will only see and play with people from your faction.

  9. Korgus November 5, 2013 4:56 am 

    I am not a big fan of PvP. I can be absolutely ruthless in board games, but I much prefer co-op video and board games. I was wondering about guild stores and the cyrodil thing. If I don’t want to PvP, but the guild wants a keep, I feel like that might cause resentment or sort of an elitist mentality within a guild. Anyone else think this might happen?

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