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The Elder Scrolls Online

The Elder Scrolls Online coming to Steam today

Fantasy, Events (Real-World), MMO Industry, New Titles, Promotions, The Elder Scrolls Online, Subscription

Starting later today, The Elder Scrolls Online Standard and Imperial Editions will be available to download on Steam.

This announcement was made to kick off QuakeCon 2014 in Dallas, Texas, where Zenimax Online will be hosting a panel entitled "The Future of The Elder Scrolls Online." The presentation will begin on Friday at 6:00 p.m. EDT and can also be viewed on Bethesda's Twitch.tv channel for those not able to attend.

[Source: Bethesda press release]

Elder Scrolls Online offers new guild heraldry

Fantasy, Screenshots, Game Mechanics, Guilds, Lore, Previews, News Items, The Elder Scrolls Online, Subscription

If you're excited for August's Elder Scrolls Online upcoming update, then today's ZeniMax devblog will be a welcome one... though not one that promises sweeping changes for the game. Specifically, the new post previews some of the new symbols that guilds can adopt as their official crests. "You'll probably recognize some of them, like the symbols for the Divines and the Daedric Princes," write the developers. "Combine these with even more crests, a huge color palette, and different tabard shapes, and your guild will have its own memorable look."

We've included the images below. See one you like?

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Elder Scrolls' Sage explains new Champion alternate advancement

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

Elder Scrolls Online creative director Paul Sage released a lot of interesting info about the future of the game on a recent ESO Off the Record videocast. Sage talks about everything from the new Dragonstar Arena in Craglorn to an Imperial City three-vs.-three PvP map to guild management and class balance additions to extensive VR changes.

The veteran rank tweaks are so huge that they'll be rolled out in phases, the first of which debuted earlier this week and featured "lower difficulty" in existing VR zones. Phase two will remove veteran points in favor of normal XP and will also include increased PvP XP. Phase three will completely replace the current VR system with the Champion System, which involves alternate advancement that Sage compares to the AA system in EverQuest II.

That's not all, either, as Sage's interview runs for nearly two hours. You can watch the whole thing after the cut. If you don't have time for that, Dulfy has published a summary transcript.

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One Shots: Requiem for a rancor

Screenshots, Culture, One Shots, Star Wars: The Old Republic, Miscellaneous, WildStar, The Elder Scrolls Online, Landmark

You know what scene from Return of the Jedi that always got me teared up? When Luke kills the rancor and the beast's owner breaks down sobbing. You just know that thing was his best friend and now... now there is a large, monstrous hole in his life.

Reader Chris could have had a lifelong companion but chose to go the Luke route in Star Wars: The Old Republic. "I let a Sith escape Belsavis in order to save the injured fighter pilot Conrad Gall from an 'ancient beast' -- a rancor, as it turns out. It was a close fight, as you can tell by where my Trooper finally took it down."

Hats off to the brave rancor, whose only crime was being born a big, fat, sharp-toothed freak. Stop the bullying, I say!

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Tamriel Infinium: Immersion matters in Elder Scrolls Online and every other MMO

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

Grahtwood art
I'm fully on board with all of the changes ZeniMax listed in its latest state-of-the-game update. My only concern has more to do with personal OCD issues than it does with any long-term effects on Elder Scrolls Online. See, as I mentioned in a previous piece, I love the fact that ZOS allows me to play all of the game's quest content, which is spread across three different factions, on a single character of a single faction. I hate alts, or more accurately, I hate the need for them because they pull me right out of the game world.

Oh yes, I'm going to talk about immersion, even at the risk of inviting a bunch of anti-immersion comments. I'll even define the dreaded "I" word, though of course it's pretty subjective.

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The Elder Scrolls Online's third update lands in August

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

ZeniMax says that The Elder Scrolls Online's next patch, which includes the preliminary veteran rank system changes and balance fixes previewed in yesterday's dev blog, is officially on the way next month.
The patch is coming in early August and introduces armor dyes, guild tabards, public guild store locations, a new difficulty mode for Trials, and plenty of fixes and improvements. You'll be able to personalize your look more than ever before, represent your guild, and charge with them into a new level of challenge.
The team has posted a preview video focusing on the many changes to guilds due in the patch. Wanna join our guild? We have tabards, yo! Enjoy the video below.

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Elder Scrolls Online plans massive revamp of veteran rank content

Fantasy, Classes, Game Mechanics, Guilds, Patches, Previews, News Items, Dev Diaries, The Elder Scrolls Online, Subscription

ZeniMax has just posted a new Elder Scrolls Online dev blog, titled The Road Ahead, which outlines the studio's plans for the game in the relatively near future. Of note to MMO players are details for update 3, which is due to hit the test server "soon." The patch will enhance guild creation and management (with ranks, bank permissions, and heraldry) as well as address class balance changes, itemization issues, and combat feel.

The team also means to revamp grindy veteran rank content with short-term balance tweaks in endgame zones, some of which are live on servers already; ultimately, the veteran points system will be deleted entirely from the game and replaced with a new system "based on new character customization and growth mechanics" that will be discussed at this year's QuakeCon and beyond.

The full post can be found on the official site.

One Shot: The eternal vigil

Screenshots, Aion, Culture, One Shots, Miscellaneous, ArcheAge, WildStar, The Elder Scrolls Online

Some MMO tableaus attempt to tell a wordless story, and some of those stories are up for personal interpretation. I love finding these scattered around the world because they invite my imagination to be a part of the experience instead of spelling it out for me.

Reader Chiara came across our first screenshot of the week here in Elder Scrolls Online, and it brought out strong emotions: "I don't really know what this man's story is -- but I can't help but wonder about it since I've first seen him. Did he die there? Did someone arrange his skeleton? I've no idea, but the scene just struck me as incredibly sad."

Maybe he was keeping a vigil for a loved one. Maybe that vigil is not yet over. Who knows?

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Tamriel Infinium: About that Elder Scrolls VR grind

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

Khenarthi's Roost art
Last time around I took a little flak from people who felt that my positive opinion of Elder Scrolls Online would change once I reached a certain veteran rank. In the past two weeks, I've gotten most of the way to VR2 whilst playing primarily solo a couple of hours per day. I would've gotten higher, but I got sidetracked into ESO's addictive crafting minigame!

Anyway, so far my opinion of the world's first Elder Scrolls MMO hasn't changed despite the fact that the VR content does seem pretty grindy. The game is still a first-class themepark that's full of content, incredible art direction, and interesting progression, and the cherry on top of this particular sundae is one of my favorite IPs.

All that said, ZeniMax could stand to alter its post-50 approach.

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Elder Scrolls patch adds veteran dungeon, improved lighting, and more

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

It's patch day in Tamriel, as ZeniMax has rolled out Elder Scrolls Online's 1.2.3 update. The main content addition is the veteran Crypt of Hearts dungeon. Additionally, there's now a field-of-view slider for first-person fans as well as improved interior lighting and a number of bug fixes.

Full details are available via the patch notes.

[Thanks Zjeven!]

Tamriel Infinium: In which you're told that Elder Scrolls Online kicks ass

Fantasy, MMO Industry, Opinion, The Elder Scrolls Online, Subscription, Tamriel Infinium

Welcome back to Tamriel Infinium, folks. I'll be your new writer, but don't worry about Larry. He's alive, well, and we're lucky to have him back at the helm of Hyperspace Beacon here on Massively.

I've done plenty of dedicated game columns in the past, but it has been a while, so you'll have to bear with me while I shoot from the hip for a week or three and figure out what's best for this space. One thing I know already is that I dig Elder Scrolls Online, even though that's a pretty unpopular opinion in some quarters. With that in mind, let's poke fun at anti-ESO hipsters after the break, shall we?

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The Elder Scrolls Online illuminates its veteran dungeons

Fantasy, Video, Game Mechanics, News Items, PvE, Dev Diaries, Dungeons, The Elder Scrolls Online, Subscription

A new Creating ESO blog post on the official Elder Scrolls Online site today aims to give players an inside look at the process of creating the game's veteran dungeons. These dungeons are "much more than just tuned-up, harder versions of the original dungeon[s]," the post insists; they're special boss encounters and storyline expansions that include complex mechanics and battles. They likewise include elite loot, the acquisition of which often requires repetition, something the developers say they keep in mind when writing dialogue and staging the area.

ZeniMax also emphasizes the importance of testing for these dungeons:
Much like we do for Trials, we have groups of skilled, coordinated testers ready to take them on. The Dungeon Team wants to kill you, don't get them wrong, but they don't want bosses to be unfair or impossible. It's a difficult tuning and balancing act to get them just right, especially considering the broad range of character builds that will be attempting them. When the testers wipe several times learning the fight and let out a cheer when they finally manage to scrape by with a win, we know we're on the right track.
The video that accompanies the post is embedded below.

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Elder Scrolls Online on solo veteran content, dungeon scaling

Fantasy, Game Mechanics, Patches, News Items, Community Q&A, Dungeons, The Elder Scrolls Online, Subscription

ZeniMax is back from E3 with a brand-new Elder Scrolls Online ask-us-anything variety pack. Here are the highlights:
  • The Craglorn update will be included as launch content when ESO arrives on consoles.
  • Dungeon-queueing intentionally locks out overleveled characters for balance reasons, but the devs are working on a scaling system that will eventually adjust dungeons to the leader's level.
  • ZeniMax is aware that Enchanting levels slowly. It'll be tweaked in a future update.
  • Using Equilibrium to exchange magicka for health to gain Ultimate power isn't considered an exploit but might be revised in the future.
  • There will eventually be veteran content that doesn't require grouping.
Notably, the developers request that players continue to use the report player chat option to help combat bots and gold spammers. More questions and answers await over on the official site.

E3 2014: The Elder Scrolls Online offers small-scale PvP at cons

Fantasy, PvP, Events (Massively's Coverage), The Elder Scrolls Online, Subscription

If you are one of the fans who has been begging for a smaller-scale PvP experience in The Elder Scrolls Online, E3 2014 offers a glimmer of hope. Instead of dishing out a large production, ESO offered attendees a a unique 3v3 experience that was made specially for the convention. The map itself, which utilizes art assets from Cyrodiil and is about the size of one fort (like Glademist), took the devs only about two weeks to put together. There are no kill counts or rankings, and players battle for control of a single flag in King of the Mountain-style gameplay.

The drop-in-and-play scenario has apparently been well-received; game representatives on the floor reported that players really like the size and the fast pace of it, which is perfect for short allotments of time. If you want to try out this small-scale PvP yourself, it will be be available again at both Gamescom and QuakeCon later this summer. And if you want to see a version make it into the game itself, be sure to let the devs know on the official forums!

Massively's on the ground in Los Angeles during the week of June 10-12, bringing you all the best news from E3 2014. We're covering everything from WildStar and Landmark to Skyforge and H1Z1, so stay tuned!

ZeniMax reduces ESO customer support staff in Ireland

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

The Connacht Tribune reported earlier this week that ZeniMax, which had established a customer service operation in Galway, Ireland, for The Elder Scrolls Online, has let go "up to 300 workers," apparently temporary, from its Rahoon location.

It's not at all uncommon for MMO studios to let go crunch-time staff after a launch (or when a release is delayed, as ESO's console releases have been), but former employees told the publication that many of the staffers, some hired on short-term contracts of two to six weeks on up to six months in duration, were being terminated significantly earlier than anticipated.

The Tribune suggests there are currently "just over 100 employees at the European customer services centre in the Rahoon Business Park." We have requested more information from ZeniMax and will update accordingly.

[With thanks to tipster Paul!]

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