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The Elder Scrolls Online

ZeniMax, Elder Scrolls Online hit with layoffs

Fantasy, Events (Real-World), MMO Industry, News Items, The Elder Scrolls Online, Subscription

eso
ZeniMax has confirmed earlier Twitter rumors of layoffs -- sorry, "adjusted staffing" -- within the Elder Scrolls Online studio with the following statement made to our sister site Joystiq:
As is the norm for games of this type, we had ramped up a large workforce to develop a game of vast scale, and ramped up our customer service to handle the expected questions and community needs of The Elder Scrolls Online at launch. Now that we are nearly 6 months post launch, we have a thriving online community in a game that runs smoothly. We have adjusted staffing to meet the ongoing needs of the studio, which continues to operate with a large work force.

We remain strongly committed to The Elder Scrolls Online, and continue to invest heavily to develop new content for PC players, prepare the game for its console launch, and handle our planned expansion into important international territories. As for customer service, we continue to operate large support centers in Hunt Valley, MD and Galway, Ireland.
Former ESO animator Nate Walpole attributed the apparent layoffs to the team's large size and the unpredictability of the MMO industry:
Large layoffs reported ongoing at #ZeniMaxOnline today. MMO dev coupled with a #huge team size - GL and reach out if you need contacts. :(0
Massively extends its sympathies to those affected.

Tamriel Infinium: Five reasons to return to Elder Scrolls Online

Fantasy, Bugs, Game Mechanics, Guilds, MMO Industry, Patches, PvE, Opinion, Dungeons, The Elder Scrolls Online, Subscription, Tamriel Infinium

Today seems as good a time as any to mention returning to Elder Scrolls Online. I'm not talking personally, mind you, as I've been playing pretty consistently since early access. The winds of MMO change are doing their thing, though, and I'm seeing a bunch of thinking-about-returning-but-have-some-questions threads at my usual ESO forum hangouts.

Maybe this is due to all the fail trolls glomping onto WildStar while eyeing the fast-approaching North American version of ArcheAge. Or maybe it's because ZeniMax has added quite a bit of post-launch tastiness to its ESO recipe.

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The scoop on Elder Scrolls Online's Dragonstar arena

Fantasy, Super-hero, Trailers, Video, Game Mechanics, Patches, Previews, News Items, PvE, Dungeons, The Elder Scrolls Online

ESO
When The Elder Scrolls Online's fourth update arrives next month, a new type of content will open to players: themed PvE arenas. The first of 10 such arenas, Dragonstar, is the subject of a new developer essay on the official site today.

The Dragonstar Arena is located in Craglorn and will pit a group of four players against five waves of monsters with "escalating intensity," though not necessarily escalating numbers; ZeniMax promises there will be no "cannon fodder" to waste your time. Hazards inside the arena -- like poisonous clouds, lava flows, and immobilizing blizzards -- will further impede groups' progress through the challenges.

ZeniMax says that arenas are intended to provide difficult combat encounters and elite rewards to small, highly skilled groups, but more casual players can skip Veteran mode for normal mode if they choose. We've included the brief Dragonstar arena trailer below.

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Elder Scrolls' fourth major update teased in new concept art

Fantasy, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, Patches, News Items, PvE, Dungeons, The Elder Scrolls Online, Subscription

When Elder Scrolls Online's fourth major update lands in September, players will be able to "discover the ruins and delves of the last region of Craglorn," according to a teaser on the fantasy MMO's website. Upper Craglorn holds the key to the mystery of the fallen constellations, apparently, and it also boasts something called "the Serpent Trial" and "treacherous new delves."

ZeniMax has posted a few concept art wallpapers to whet your appetite for the new content.

Leaderboard: How do you feel about loyalty rewards?

Fantasy, MMO Industry, Opinion, Leaderboard, The Elder Scrolls Online

Elder Scrolls Online announced its vet reward program recently, and while it doesn't take effect until next month, it got me to thinking about similar incentives in other MMOs. They're pretty common, of course, and even F2P games offer them provided that they also offer an optional subscription tier.

Personally vet rewards aren't much of an incentive. I mean, sometimes they offer a neat-looking vanity pet that I'll look at once and subsequently forget to ever summon again, but I can't recall ever anticipating a loyalty reward or remaining subscribed in order to get one. What about you, Massively readers? Are loyalty rewards nothing more than a nice bonus, or are there some that go above and beyond in terms of desirability? If so, which ones? Don't forget to vote after the cut!

Ever wish that you could put to rest a long-standing MMO debate once and for all? Then welcome to the battle royal of Massively's Leaderboard, where two sides enter the pit o' judgment -- and only one leaves. Vote to make your opinion known, and see whether your choice tops the Leaderboard!

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Elder Scrolls Online introduces subscriber loyalty program

Fantasy, Business Models, MMO Industry, News Items, The Elder Scrolls Online, Subscription

ZeniMax has just announced a subscriber loyalty program for Elder Scrolls Online that is slated to start in September. If you're eligible, you'll receive an email and subsequently a High Hrothgar Wraith vanity pet provided that you've been subscribed for three months.

"The loyalty program will keep expanding over time," ZeniMax says, and you'll be able to collect pets and other upcoming rewards once you meet the requirements, so don't worry if you've canceled your sub already but plan to return.

The Elder Scrolls Online plans 4v4 arenas, veteran rewards

Fantasy, Business Models, Classes, Game Mechanics, Patches, Previews, News Items, PvE, Dev Diaries, Dungeons, The Elder Scrolls Online, Subscription

ESO
In a fresh entry on The Elder Scrolls Online's official site, Game Director Matt Firor has penned the latest Road Ahead update, in which he discusses the game's recent patch as well as what's in store for players next month. Of note, Firor says ZeniMax aims to make combat "more responsive," push out new Craglorn content, complete the last trial in the constellation storyline, and introduce a new 4v4 PvE arena. Work on the champion system, which revamps the MMO's character development and customization mechanics, continues; in fact, ZeniMax implores players to help test the inbound content on the public test server.

The team plans to formally announce a loyalty program later this week; it's expected to dole out traditional MMO veteran rewards like minipets.

Tamriel Infinium: The sweet and sour of Elder Scrolls' new dye system

Fantasy, Culture, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, Opinion, Crafting, The Elder Scrolls Online, Subscription, Tamriel Infinium

So, armor dyes! Elder Scrolls Online now has them. They're pretty slick, too, and they add quite a bit of personality and personalization options to my Tamrielian alter-ego.

The dye process is straightforward. In fact, the hardest thing about it is finding a dye station, which isn't very hard at all. You'll need to travel to a town or a major city and look for the alchemy vendor on your map. The dye station, a workbench surrounded by barrels full of color, is typically located either inside the alchemy shop or very near it in the town proper.

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Elder Scrolls' Update 4 coming next month, here's a trailer

Fantasy, Trailers, Video, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, Patches, News Items, PvE, Dungeons, The Elder Scrolls Online, Subscription

Elder Scrolls Online's next major content drop is scheduled for September. That's only a couple of weeks away, crazily enough, so ZeniMax has released a new teaser vid designed to whet your appetite for Update 4. It focuses on Craglorn and includes a new adventure zone, a new trial, and the new Dragonstar Arena group challenge.

See it all via the new vid embedded after the cut.

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Elder Scrolls Online's 'Tales of the Dead' contest seeks storytellers

Fantasy, Contests, Culture, Events (Real-World), Lore, Roleplaying, The Elder Scrolls Online, Player-Generated Content, Subscription

ESO
If you've spent even an hour in an Elder Scrolls RPG, you're certain to have stumbled into one of the iconic corpse-and-letter storytelling scenes created by the writers and world builders. This week, ZeniMax is giving Elder Scrolls Online players the chance to join in the fun via a contest titled Tales of the Dead, which asks gamers to put pen to paper in the service of describing this cheerful scene:
To participate, take a good look at the image [above]. Then, create your own fictional entry of 500 words or less that tells us more about the scene. You can write a short story, a journal entry, or any other kind of fictional text that sheds more light on what happened to cause this grim tableau. Once you're happy with your creation, post it in the contest entry thread.

We'll start accepting entries today, August 11th, and will close the contest this Friday, August 15th at 11:59PM EDT. If you're one of the three winners we announce on August 29th, you'll receive a $25 electronic gift certificate to the Bethesda Store and an ESO t-shirt of your choosing!
The complete rules are available on the ESO forums. Good luck topping A Falling Wizard!

Elder Scrolls Online's third update has deployed

Fantasy, Game Mechanics, Guilds, Patches, News Items, The Elder Scrolls Online, Subscription

ESO
The Elder Scrolls Online's third major patch officially arrives today, bringing with it a vast new dye system, customizable guild ranks, guild heraldry, and bid contracts for public guild merchants. Patch notes have been published to coincide with the launch.

Get caught up on our coverage of everything planned for this patch and the ongoing rollout of the endgame overhaul:
Elder Scrolls' ginormous post-50 update plan
Elder Scrolls Online plans massive revamp of veteran rank content
Elder Scrolls 1.3.3 tweaks weapon-swapping and guild management
Elder Scrolls Online publishes video of its QuakeCon panel reveals
Let's all dye our armor black in The Elder Scrolls Online
Elder Scrolls Online shows new zones, active world PvP at Quakecon
Elder Scrolls' Sage explains new Champion alternate advancement
Elder Scrolls Online offers new guild heraldry

Elder Scrolls 1.3.3 tweaks weapon-swapping, guild management, and more

Fantasy, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, Patches, PvP, News Items, PvE, The Elder Scrolls Online, Subscription

If you're looking to play Elder Scrolls Online today, you might want to plan a few minutes ahead in order to download the substantial 1.3.3 patch. ZeniMax's notes describe it as "our third major content update," and the big bullet points include the armor dye system and guild management additions.

The devs have also addressed instant weapon swapping. "The previous delay when swapping has been reduced significantly, so swapping to your second ability set will be seamless and fast, making combat feel more responsive," ZeniMax says.

Tamriel Infinium: My love/hate relationship with Elder Scrolls Online

Fantasy, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, PvP, PvE, Opinion, Crafting, The Elder Scrolls Online, Subscription, Tamriel Infinium

Quakecon was certainly interesting, wasn't it? Whether you're looking forward to new zones, the veteran system's extreme makeover, active world PvP via the thieving system, or combat upgrades, Elder Scrolls Online acquitted itself pretty well at this year's ZeniMax Media shindig.

The reveals even led to positive ESO comment vibes here on Massively, which added some much-needed love to the love/hate relationship that everyone seems to have with this particular MMO. I've got my own twisted take on said dynamic, so join me after the cut to celebrate the good and ask for more of it.

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EU Elder Scrolls megaserver migration scheduled for July 30

Fantasy, MMO Industry, News Items, The Elder Scrolls Online, Subscription

European Elder Scrolls Online fans, consider this your heads-up for the datacenter migration which will take the EU megaserver offline for much of July 30th. The migration is scheduled to run from 8:00 a.m. EDT to 5:00 p.m. EDT (1:00 p.m. BST to 10:00 p.m. BST).

ZeniMax says that nothing will change with your characters, and there won't be a patch to download, either. The company explains that the migration is happening during Euro prime time because many of its engineers and support staff hail from both Europe and North America, and it's vital that "everyone we need for the process is awake, ready, and available."

Elder Scrolls Online publishes video of its QuakeCon panel reveals

Fantasy, Video, Events (Real-World), Game Mechanics, Patches, Previews, PvP, News Items, PvE, The Elder Scrolls Online, Subscription

ESO
If you missed the hoopla of last week's QuakeCon, you lost out on some startlingly cool Elder Scrolls Online announcements, including news about an "active world PvP" system for thievin' and murderin' that makes the game feel just a bit more like a true Elder Scrolls title. Fortunately for you, ZeniMax has today released a video of the entire Future of The Elder Scrolls Online panel, which runs almost two hours and covers everything from PvP to the veteran ranks overhaul. Enjoy!

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