The Elder Scrolls Online – Highlights from Matt Firor’s May Update
May is here, and with May comes one month of The Elder Scrolls Online. Matt Firor, Game Director for ZeniMax Online Studios posted another letter to the ESO website.
As with last month’s letter, Matt addressed some issues with the game the team is currently working on, as well as gave us a sneak peak into what’s coming for the MMO.
One of the largest problems threatening Tamriel is not in fact Molag Bal, but the continued existence of gold farmers, or bots. Leif Johnson of IGN posted a wonderful article detailing just how large this problem truly has become. ZeniMax is tackling this issue head-on, but as Matt states, the nature of this problem has prevented the team from fixing legitimate bugs to improve the quality of the game.
The scope of the black market activity accounts for up to 85% of Customer Service emails/calls. Because of this huge influx of contact relating to this one issue, our CS team has been slower to react to other problems than planned – our sincere apologies if you have been held up for a long period of time waiting for CS to respond to you. Again, our goal is to keep this activity away from you so you don’t have to contact Customer Service in the first place.
Matt also goes on to detail some of the current testing happening on ESO’s Play Test Server (PTS), as players on there are currently getting the first taste of the upcoming Adventure Zone Craglorn. The testing has been ongoing for the past week or so, and while there is no date set yet for its live release, Matt assured us we will know as soon as the information is made available.
Noted among the content being added to the game in Update 1 is the inclusion of Underdog Bonuses in Cyrodiil. This would give a faction with a low population a bonus to Alliance Point and Experience gain in a campaign where your faction is less populated. A nice touch, and a way to start giving players an incentive to go to Cyrodiil, even if their alliance is outmatched in numbers.
Matt also tackled head on the varied response in to the game through the major reviews on the web.
As those who follow ESO closely know, a wide range of reviews have been posted for the game, with scores ranging from 90s to 50s. ESO generates strong emotions in gamers—both positive and negative. While I obviously don’t agree with the more negative articles, the reviews are out there, and we read them to determine if there are legitimate complaints that we should address.
He goes on to state that the game developers will, in the end, add and tweak the game experience based on the player feedback, rather than the opinions on the major sites. He also touched on the new community spotlights, such as showcasing the community’s guilds, builds, screenshots and more.
Some highlights for upcoming additions to the game were showcased. The most prominent were:
- A system that allows grouped players to see each other, even when they are on different phases of the Megaserver (Thank you!)
- A justice system – allows players to steal from and kill NPCs and deal with the consequences
- Two new Veteran Rank dungeons: City of Ash and Crypt of Hearts
- Field-of-view slider (FOV slider)
- Armor Dyeing and tinting
- Dragonstar Arena – similar to Trials, but for groups of 4
- Improvements to the crafting system
- Thieves Guild and Dark Brotherhood quest lines
- Guild functionality updates: guild store interface updates, customizable guild insignias, tabards, and guild ranks, and Guild Kiosks—guild stores open to everyone that are available to the highest-bidding guild.
Finally, Matt addressed the issues with the game’s launch, tackling head on the many issues and complaints shared in the game’s first month. Bots, black market scamming and that major bank-slotting bug effected pretty negatively player experiences. As a thank you to the fans, ZeniMax is giving each account created before May 1st (today) 8PM EDT five additional days free on top of the 30 days free time included with the box. This is a great gesture by the ZeniMax team and shows their willingness to make fans both happy, but willing to come back despite the bugs and issues with the game.
How do you think ESO‘s launch has gone thus far? Happy with the information ZeniMax is showing us? Excited to not pay a sub for a couple extra days? Let us know in the comments below!