So I haven't written a blog in a while and thought this would be a good time to bring something up that I've been hearing/seeing recently. It would appear as though the major focus of Elder Scrolls Online (ESO) in the endgame phases will be PvP (Player vs Player). This might sound like a cool thing to some of you, but for people like me it strikes another blow to the confidence in the game.
Now I liked the idea that PvP was going to be separated from he PvE content, and that it'd have its own set of rules to follow. That essentially makes it a game of its own, while keeping balance to both PvE and PvP. However, some of the recent rumors coming out of the beta events are making it seem like, beyond a handful of dungeons and the occasional raid, that's all you can do at max level. I won't dare sit here and speak to that, I won't say that this is the gospel facts in the game. I can't, as I have not had the fortune of being given a beta access, for whatever reason. However, I will quote some interviews and articles from earlier in the year that hinted to this being a possibility from the start (sources are notated and linked at the bottom):
- "The last pillar in ESO's endgame is the Alliance War, which is designed with the PvP player in mind. Players of all three factions will meet in Cyrodiil (a zone roughly nine times the size of a normal map) to wrestle over keeps, resources, and bragging rights."(1)
- "Sage commented on that by saying, 'There's a real desire in the community to have PvP. It's just one aspect of taking a game online because it's great to cooperate and to see how you stack up against other people. Plus it's not just the rumor of war; it's actually getting to participate in active battles in that war.'"(1)
- "To be honest, real PvP starts after your character reaches maximum level. That’s because you have a lot of strong abilities and spells that you can use in battle. Your abilities are morphed and your character has enough stamina, health and manna to perform well in Cyrodiil. Moreover your gear at the highest level is also good and thus you chances to win are high. Your character is ready to meet enemies. You can have a lot of fun fighting against other alliances in AvA war after reaching highest level."(2)
- "Little of the game appears to be untouched by PvP. And theoretically, a player can level from 10 to 50 just within Cyrodiil itself. I haven't even touched the battlegrounds (instanced PvP)."(3)
- "Readers were also concerned that we will have to PvP in order to buy or sell items publicly. Calin wrote, 'Forcing people to PvP to have access to player merchants? No auction house?' The developers said we won't have to PvP, but there is definitely no auction house. Because you can travel directly to a claimed keep, there should be no reason for anyone to have to participate in PvP. However, I believe it's clear that PvP will have a direct impact on the economy in general."(3)
There are countless other examples, including a whole "Ask Us Anything" centered around Cyrodiil where I saw more in depth answers than in much of the other editions. I couldn't begin to speak for all of the potential players, but PvP isn't my focus in these games. I enjoy it, I like playing it from time to time, but I sure as hell better be able to get along and do other things.
I think back to the old days of World of Warcraft. PvP was a fairly young mechanic for Blizzard and they did the best they could. It was basic, and it was pretty fun to run around in every now and again. When Activision bought Blizzard they made what appeared to be an attempt to turn it into an E-Sport (openning whole tournament realms, even). That's all well and good, but it's not for everyone. Then I look to how the WoW engame progressed - granted never to focus on PvP, but instead to focus on Raiding. If you didn't Raid, you were useless.
In the latter days of World of Warcraft they bottlenecked you so much that you literally had to do each zone in Pandaria to progress "properly" The gaps in equipment started getting bigger, the inability to pick and choose how, where, and when you would level was introduced, and now they've lost half their peak player-base. I'm not saying that forcing you to focus on one thing is going to make ESO fail and go the route the WoW is currently tracking, but I think it might be something for ZeniMax to ponder about.
As an avid fan of TES, as a long-time gamer, as a concerned MMO enthusiast, as a TES player from the days of Morrowind and beyond, and as a member of our great and growing community I am worried. I fear for our great franchise and what will become of it thanks to the hands of ZeniMax. ESO was a great idea when they announced it, but far too many things are being done that are angering the players (and I think the Aedra and Daedra, alike).
For some of you the PvP focus might be the best news ever, and I won't judge you for that. I think the PvP in ESO has great potential, but I think I would rather be able to go it alone out there and have my small guild of me and three friends so we can do our thing our way. I think there are far too many people with far too many playstyles for any company to say they have the best final answer.
I am curious, though ... what do all of you think?