Many of my friends have expressed more than a fleeting interest in The Elder Scrolls Online, but faction selection could pose a problem for us. I always liked Imperials in the other Elder Scrolls games. One member wants to relive his Skyrim adventures and play a Nord. And of course, we have that hold-out who will play nothing but elves (or the closest approximation) in whatever game she's playing. Although I very much want these players to play whichever race they will have the most fun playing, it places the guild as a whole in an interesting position: With so many conflicting loyalties, which direction does the guild head?
The Elder Scrolls Online created a solution within its guilding system. Does the ESO system encourage loyalty to a faction or is factional loyalty just fictional loyalty?
Mind you, I am in favor of accounts being bound to the guild and not individual characters. Although I can't say that I've always been in favor this style of guild creation, I have come to appreciate that guilds are an out-of-character bond between players and not something built on some loose in-character lore or storyline. He mentioned that each account will be able to join up to five different guilds. I'm reminded of the Guild Wars 2 system; I can only assume that in ESO you will be able to represent a given guild at will.
However, if guilds are not bound by faction, then why is communication? Perhaps a player will be able to communicate to his guild no matter which faction he's currently playing. (If not, then this game has other issues.) Basically, I will be able to visit the territory of The Aldmeri Dominion, but my guildie who is playing a Bosmer will not be able to assist me in any way. What's the point of the guild being cross faction? I am confused. Maybe you can help me figure it out.
If the game design works the way it's been explained, Cyrodiil stands to be the only place you can meet your cross-faction guildies to show off your latest outfit. I can see it now: I'm showing off my latest Nord viking-like look to my Bosmer guildie, who is also showing off the leafy wood elf fashion, then we are suddenly attacked by a group from the Daggerfall Covenant. But we just wanted to compare clothing!
At any rate, beyond the maps, The Imperial Library details each of the major cities in Cyrodiil from the Imperial City to Leyawiin. Each city description is complete with screenshots and descriptions of what you will find where. "Above ground, the gleaming Imperial City is clearly seen from miles. The city is walled in circle shape. Inside the city there are seven districts, Green Emperor Way or the Palace District, Market District, Arena, Arboretum, Talos Plaza, Elven Gardens and Temple District. There are two other smaller walled districts outside the city, Arcane University in the southeast and the Imperial Legion in the northeast. The last district is the harbor, the Imperial Waterfront, in the southwest." As I read through descriptions like that, I can't help but wonder how things will be different when it's a war-torn area. What are your thoughts?
I agree that getting an immediate, visceral reaction to my mouse clicks and keyboard mashing has its appeal. But at the same time, I can't discount the other side of the coin. Another reader, Murzerker, wrote last week, "I think in a lite action based game it is fine. However, I do feel that (for me) it is detrimental to my ability to suspend reality. I can't help but feel like I am playing a game. So for a real MMORPG, I feel that action combat is truly out of place, plus for me it's exhausting. I feel worn out after playing for an afternoon, yet I can't remember anything truly exciting about anything I'd done."
Reader Madrox30 asked a couple of interesting questions regarding a combination of the two systems. "Is there no middle ground to be had? Or is managing a rotation, being mindful of situational CDs, positioning, and dodge mechanics just too much to ask from the skillful PvPer? Just as there was such a thing as too much, there can also be too little, and I fear the industry has too readily embraced the latter." Maybe he's right. Why does everything have to be to one extreme or the other? Good food for thought.
This week, I want to know your thoughts about the guild system in ESO. Do you think this will create conflicted loyalties? Maybe communication between factions isn't necessary because of how your guild plays MMOs. Is this going to be an issue for you and your guild?
Each week, traverse the treacherous terrain of Tamriel with Larry Everett as he records his journey through The Elder Scrolls Online, an MMORPG from ZeniMax. Comments are welcome below, or send a message to firstname.lastname@example.org. He promises to keep the arrow-to-the-knee jokes to a minimum.