The crew from Zenimax Online Studios took the stage at Quakecon today, and boy, did they give a lot of information! The panel included:
Game Director – Matt Firor
Lead PVP Designer – Brian Wheeler
Lead Content Designer – Rich Lambert
Lead Programmer – Jesse McIntyre
Creative Director – Paul Sage
Lead Gameplay Designer – Nick Konkle
Art Director – Jared Carr
First up, Brian Wheeler introduced the Imperial City. This is entirely new content, bringing with it both PVP and PVE gameplay. Featuring all new rewards, districts from Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion will also be featured in the Arena, Arboretum, Market, and Temple District. You’ll enter the city just like in Oblivion: using the sewer system. There are three sewer entrances, one for each alliance. which leads the player into their respective Alliance Entries. The sewer system looked vast with an additional Crossroads Sewer Level where PVP content takes place underground.
Next up, Rich Lambert brought tons of new content news to the floor. Looks like grouping will get an update by way of five initiatives:
- fix quests so players aren’t separated so often
- more quests have shared advancement
- you will always be able to sync with your group leader
- journal and quest tracker to show common quests (as well as how far ahead or behind you are relative to your group)
- confirmation for quest sharing (success or fail)
In addition, a new veteran dungeon called City of Ash was introduced, featuring a Bosmer village under attack. requiring the players to close an Oblivion gate. Dungeon updates were also given, specifically how dungeons will now scale to the group leader. If you’re in a solo instance, the dungeon will scale to you. Dungeon replayability was also discussed, bringing new passives and daily rewards.
Craglorn will be getting its third and final update featuring a new crafting trait and a new 12 man trial focused on the Serpent sign. Finally, Dragonstar Arena (which made its debut announcement on Episode 118 of ESOTR) was officially announced. This is a four man group mini trials arena featuring PVE battles and leaderboards.
Jesse McIntyre took the stage next and discussed some truly impressive updates to the NPC facial animation system. Utilizing FaceFX technology, the developers are working to create believable mouth sync to the speech said in-game. Meaning, the NPC will look as if it’s actually forming words with its mouth. The demo shown was truly impressive.
Paul “Huge G” Sage was next up, discussing changes to the Veteran Rank system (which also was debuted on Episode 118 of ESOTR). He also discussed the Justice System in depth. Players will be able to steal from NPCs, sell those stolen items to fences, and kill NPCs. However, this comes at a cost since guards can arrest you if you fail to pay your bounty. Additionally, other players can become guards and go out to claim bounties placed on you.
Nick Konkle spoke next about Spellcrafting, an oft requested feature that was sorely lacking in Skyrim. The system is centered around mage scholars’ research surrounding ancient doorways. These doorways lead to a room containing tablets, which may or may not be intact, requiring the player to assemble all pieces. Using these pieces, the player can then decipher the school of magic the tablet belongs to and apply any of six Focuses. The customization in this system seems immense.
Finally, Jared Carr spoke about combat responsiveness and discussed ongoing efforts to make combat feel better. He showed off several new armors including Dark Brotherhood and Thieves Guild raiments. He announced two new adventure zones as well. The first is a group zone called Murkmire, nestled in Black Marsh, and will feature four man group content and twelve man trials. The second is a solo PVE zone called Wroghthar, sitting between Skyrim and High Rock. Any player from any alliance can enter Wrothgar. More on these zones in the future.
A Q&A followed featuring many questions. One such question asked if new motifs would be coming soon to which Paul Sage replied, “Yes”. Another asked for a 1v1 dueling feature. The team answered that they very much want this in the game, but it’s a matter of correctly implementing it.
These were just the highlights of the panel. You can be sure that we’ll be adding more articles going further in depth into some of these features. For all your Elder Scrolls Online news, stay right here!