Like any good legend, the lore of The Elder Scrolls universe is jam-packed with prophecies of doom, destruction and the plucky young things destined to overthrow the status quo, be it dragon, orc or evil empire. In the eyes of its many failed competitors the World of Warcraft phenomenon falls neatly into this latter category, ruling the MMORPG market for an astoundingly successful 9-year-run.
With WOW‘s iron grip now appearing to loosen at last, can The Elder Scrolls Online step in to usurp the frozen throne, or will Blizzard’s mighty franchise remain the one true king of the hill? Unsurprisingly, ZeniMax Online Studios are betting big on option A, courting critics, console owners and Skyrim fans alike, in pursuit of the lucrative top spot.
One particularly simple, if effective, method of garnering fan feedback and support has been the company’s ongoing Q&A sessions – so-called ‘Variety Packs’ inviting fans to write in with their thoughts and queries about the game. The latest batch, released earlier this week reveals a number of all-new details on TESO, including info on lock picking, player keeps, and kill stealing. For more on these tidbits, check out the new info below.
- Campaigns (group quests/raids) feature both “soft” and “hard” entry limits, allowing players to join their friends and guild mates in otherwise full lobbies. However, if too many buddies or clan members are invited at once, then a “hard” limit is reached, preventing further invitees, thereby maintaining balance.
- NPC guilds are neutral, as far as the game’s main conflict is concerned (they still oppose the Daedra, for instance). Characters can join these guilds, no matter their overall alliance.
- Pompous, self-appointed titles are now a possibility, thanks to the game’s expanded naming options. Four hyphens/apostrophes or spaces are allowed, with names such as ‘Nh’yen the Ter-Grol’ becoming viable.
- On the subject of kill-stealing (waiting out a battle, before delivering a last-minute blow and sharing the spoils) ZeniMax appears to confirm that the game’s XP spoils are not evenly split, but awarded in whole to the character that first initiated combat. Parties who come in to assist this player will receive an additional sum, depending on their input.
- Things become a little murkier where co-operative kills are concerned, with ZeniMax stating that teammates working together “will get even more…,” though whether this relates to the first point (i.e.) both players receiving 100% of their enemy’s XP plus a bonus, or the latter (i.e.) “even more” than a normal assist bonus, is unclear.
- Following death, players respawn at the nearest friendly keep. The only exception to this rule is when the closest available keep is under attack, (adjudged to be when a certain amount of damage is done to an area of the building). Keeps are also deemed to be under attack if involved in a nearby flag capture.
- Events such as lock picking do indeed leave the player character vulnerable to attack. ZeniMax recommends bringing along a friend to watch your back.
- Lock picking returns to the system utilized by The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion, involving a set of tumblers, which must each be tweaked into falling.
- Starting keeps, mines and farms will all be guarded by troops from that region. Once these are defeated, individual players will vie for control of these points among themselves.
- Your in-game profile updates every 10 minutes, reflecting your success in PvP combat through earned character titles, Alliance Points and achievements.
Can The Elder Scrolls Online translate the success of a Skyrim or Oblivion to the massively multiplayer market? If so, where might that leave the series’ single-player installments: as unnecessary or integral?
Let us know in the comments below, and be sure to check in with all of the latest TESO news, right here on Game Rant.
The Elder Scrolls Online will arrive on Xbox One, PC, PlayStation 4 and Mac platforms in spring, 2014.
Follow Sam on Twitter @GamingGoo