It isn’t easy being emperor, just ask Oblivion‘s Uriel Septim. No sooner had players encountered this distinguished old king in The Elder Scrolls IV, than that rightful ruler of Tamriel found himself struck down – slain by sewer-dwelling assassins. With the throne room set to empty once again as part of this year’s Elder Scrolls Online, developer ZeniMax Studios is announcing a new revolving door approach to royalty.
With three new factions all warring for control of Cyrodiil’s vacant throne, it only makes sense to offer up the high seat of power as the ultimate in high-level incentives. With this mammoth prize in mind, TESO director Paul Sage sat down with OXM this week, to discuss just how players will go about ascending the slippery slope to power.
Fans may already be aware that the game’s central PvP combat revolves around keep capture, a sort of fantasy base domination that continually expands upon and ebbs away at the strength of your empire. What many players may not have guessed at, however, is the ultimate goal of all this never-ending combat.
According to Sage, after every keep surrounding the imperial city has been taken over by one group, that faction will then achieve mastery over the capital, including access to its throne. The player with the most Alliance Points within that faction will then be crowned as new Emperor of Tamriel. As relevant Alliance Points can only be earned in PvP combat situations however, the system would appear to prevents single-player gamers from taking the title, no matter how powerful they had become.
Cyrodiil’s kingly perks include an all-new skill line — a permanent addition to the ruling player’s arsenal, even after they’re eventually deposed, plus an array of smaller boosts for loyal faction members. Interestingly, Sage declined to go into any great detail regarding this loss of power, an event which sees the aforementioned skill tree lose some of its potency. It’s entirely possible that a newly crowned emperor could lose power within mere minutes of winning it, should players be required to maintain constant control of the same outlying keeps.
The introduction of a real life ruler, plucked from relative obscurity of the Internet, raises a few interesting possibilities. What if the second most powerful faction member were able to assassinate or conspire against the current king or queen? What if the chosen monarch were able to issue decrees, raise taxes or conscript new armies, affecting everything from tavern fees to armor prices? Such powers could only seemingly enrich the experience, adding a Game of Thrones-like layer of intrigue to what appears to be a largely ceremonial position.
Is imperial rule the pinnacle of play or a simple end-game distraction? How might you choose to exercise your kingly powers? Let us know in the comments below and be sure to check in with all of the latest Elder Scrolls news, right here on Game Rant.
The Elder Scrolls Online arrives April 4, 2014 for PC and Mac platforms, with Xbox One and PlayStation 4 ports set to debut in June.
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