***UPDATED with content from Saturday night’s Community Event***
Things were pretty quiet on The Elder Scrolls Online front on Saturday, but surely that means Sunday will be epic. While we wait, we’ve gathered a little bit of information through interviews and fan interaction that we thought you would enjoy reading.
Evarwyn and Lou made a beeline for the merchandise tent at the Bethesda Store to see how well items were selling. In a brief interview with a cashier named Alex, she informed the guys that everything was selling quickly and they were restocking items like mad. The faction t-shirts and lithographs of High King Emeric, Jorunn the Skald-King, and Queen Ayrenn were exclusive to PAX, so if you’re there and reading this, you’d better go get in line now. She also said the Ebonheart faction t-shirt was probably the hottest selling item. Could this be an early indicator for the most popular faction come launch?
The guys also spent some time chatting with fans waiting in line for their chance to experience ESO. With 30 stations available and 20 minutes allowed per session, the line varied in length from up to a five hour wait to as short as an hour. But regardless, the fan excitement level has been really high. Many people seem excited that ESO will offer the first-person mode, so the fact that ZeniMax got this feature in the game should go a long way to helping the game appeal to a wide audience. Fans also seem excited over the limited user interface and the promise to keep the game a true Elder Scrolls experience.
They were also able to briefly chat with Creative Director Paul Sage, who is very pleased with the energy that ESO seems to be generating among fans. He said they’ve been getting a lot of great feedback, and they’re thrilled to finally be able to show it to people. Speaking of how well the event is going so far he said, “It’s definitely met the expectations that I had, and the line as far exceeded my expectations.”
The guys also bumped into Andrew from Tamriel Foundry and had a few minutes to catch up on everything he’s experienced so far. He was pleased to see exactly how much customization is available within the user interface, noting that for those that want a lot of information on-screen, it will be available to them. But for those who want to immerse themselves in Tamriel and forget about numbers and stats, that is available too. He added, “You can fine tune for your target level of immersion.” Look for a full write-up of their experiences on their site in the coming days.
Last, but not least, Evarwyn and Lou had a chance to speak with Lead Gameplay Designer Nick Konkle. He had a lot to say, and the full audio will be available from Elder Scrolls Off the Record in the coming days, but we wanted to share a few things with you that really stood out.
First of all, when asked about the implementation of first-person perspective, he said, “It’s something we really wanted to do, but we were like, ‘Man, this is going to be difficult.’ But we are going to do it, it’s Elder Scrolls.”
Nick also broke down a few of the specifics with regards to PvE endgame content, specifically since it has been said there is no “raiding” in the game. He said there are a bunch of dungeons in the game designed for up to four people, and you visit these dungeons throughout your leveling process. Once you hit max level, you’ll go back into these dungeons to continue your story, but it won’t just be to fight slightly harder versions of bosses you’ve already defeated. Stories will continue, there will be new monsters and bosses, and even a new layout to the areas. It will be a completely different experience than when you were leveling.
He also noted that what they’re laying out now is what we’ll see at launch, but once that happens, then they’ll go wherever the community tells them to. “Because at that point, it becomes a game of feedback and doing what we can for the people who are playing it,” he said.
The Community Event
After spending the day exploring all that PAX East had to offer in the way of Elder Scrolls information, Evarwyn and Lou decided to abandon any quest they were currently on and head for the mysterious castle they saw in the distance – the Tamriel Beer Garden.
The beer garden was decked out to look just like a castle or town set somewhere in Skyrim. With authentic-looking oak tables, minstrels playing music in the background, vendors selling their wares on the sides of the room, and actors dressed to play the part of sons and daughters of Tamriel, it looked almost like a Jarl’s mead hall, and the immersion didn’t stop there.
Upon entering the hall, guests were given bags of coins to spend on the various wares available. Two coins for Fire Salt Sausage, Gold Coast Meat Buns, Elsweyr Sweet Meats, and much more. The guys used their coins to purchase extremely limited TESO beer steins (there are only 300 in existence).
But the mead hall wasn’t just for devouring meats or debating strategies for overrunning the Imperials, it was a chance for fans to get together and share their excitement over The Elder Scrolls Online.
Additionally, the guys had a chance to chat with Pete Hines, Vice President of PR and Marketing at Bethesda. We’ll have full audio of the interview available soon, but we wanted to share some of his thoughts here as well. He was really pleased with how the event was going so far, noting that fans really seem to be enjoying the game. He spoke specifically how there were many MMO fans worried that ESO would be just another case of a generic watering down of a great franchise, but he thinks people are finally starting to see they’ve got something special.
“People who have experienced it for themselves are saying it feels just like playing Skyrim online, and it didn’t really feel like it was an MMO,” he said.
He also spoke about endgame content, saying, “The idea is that we don’t have a single solution for endgame – we’re trying to focus on a variety of options.” He reiterated that while there is of course is PvPvP alliance battles, the single player experience will also continue to be rewarding, since you can take your level 50 character into enemy territory to continue with the story. Additionally, groups of up to four can enter dungeons and adventure zones together. He also noted that while they aren’t talking about it a whole lot just yet, they are planning to roll out more features and content regularly and consistently, adding chunks of new content all at once. For example, new guild additions, new dungeons, adventure zones, quests, and more will be added posy launch to keep the game fresh and alive. They will also open up areas of the map in future content updates that aren’t necessarily available at launch.
He added, “The game we were talking about a year ago has evolved, it was always intended that it would evolve… It just continues to get better.”
Pete also talked about his own playstyle a little bit, saying that he liked to play his own version of Aragorn. “I like to play the ranger guy. I like ranged, but I like being able to switch (when in close combat).” He said he’s always the nice guy and helping people, always looking to do good. He added, “I tend to solo a lot, which is very Aragorn-esque by the way.”
Evarwyn and Lou also met up with fan of the show Scotty D, and chatted with him about his impressions so far. He noted that due to Wigit praising the Dragon Knight, he tried it out and absolutely loved it. He enjoyed that you could use the shield to block and bash opponents, interrupting their attacks. He also voiced an opinion that has been said a lot this weekend, that the game looks just as good, if not better than Skyrim.
Lastly, the guys also met up with some members of Guild Umbra, Game Skinny, and Tamriel Foundry. Conversation topics included, graphics, combat, whether or not it felt more like Elder Scrolls or more like an MMO, and more. Stay tuned for the audio for this interview, and all the rest soon on our website.
We’ll continue updating you with news, information, and playtest details as the weekend rolls on, so keep it here, and let us know what YOUR excitement level is in the comments below.
*First image pulled from Bethesda’s Twitter account