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Columns: Provisioning Revamp: More Logical, Less Redundant

By Christina Gonzalez on November 26, 2014

Provisioning Revamp: More Logical, Less Redundant

With Thanksgiving here in the US this week, it is probably a good time to talk about food. Namely, the long-awaited Provisioning overhaul that is set to arrive in update 6 of The Elder Scrolls Online. The changes to crafting in the game continue, but Provisioning will not just intend to increase immersion in the game world, but help players with management as well. ZeniMax Associate Systems Designer Chris Balser appeared on the recent ESO Live broadcast to break down just what to expect from all the changes fans had a hand in bringing to the game, and it’s a promising collection.

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The roots of the Provisioning changes date all the way back to the summer, when a post was made outlining some of the proposed changes and asking for player feedback and suggestions. Things like making the contents of the container match it visually were mixed with suggestions about an upgraded system of combination meals that provided multiple benefits. Both of these will make it into the final result, with the recent Guild Summit having revealed that the number of provision loot containers in the game will be around 80. This means that if you see a basket of apples, you’ll be able to get some apples. See some meat hanging around while visiting your local neighborhood Bosmer friends? Go loot it for your recipes. Fishing also becomes useful when the fish you catch now become ingredients to utilize. Other types of clickable ingredient loot types include alcohol, tea, tonics, and vegetables. The continued effort to make things more intuitive as well as more interactive is what the team wants to do with this update. As a result, some of the weirder ingredients in recipes (beetles, anyone?) may also be on the outs.

Speaking of recipes, things will be both streamlined and added. Green recipes will still be your very simple tier. Blue recipes will be rarer and require more ingredients. These will be where the combinations begin to take hold and provide extended benefits. One thing the community requested was the ability to stack food and drink buffs, and this should be the closest thing to that. Purple recipes will stay the rarest, the goal of completionists, and those looking for the best of the best. While the color coding will stay, the alliance specific recipes will be no more.

Anyone who has made alts in this game would’ve quickly noticed how very similar recipes that provide the same benefits exist in each faction. While it’s good to provide a bit of grounding in culture and lore, the team is wise to ditch this in favor of a new collection of recipes that will reduce redundancy and whittle down the necessary ingredients. In fact, the team aims to reduce inventory demand for Provisioning by about ?. That may sound like a lot of streamlining, which it is, but what it doesn’t sound like is a reduction in overall quality. Instead of redundancy, there seems to be an effort to make this crafting discipline match the immersive direction the game has been moving toward, as well as make it more practical. By putting grain in grain sacks and cheese on plates and such, it should also cut down the time it takes to find the ingredients you need. If only Enchanting were this straightforward when it comes to finding runes.

It should be noted that anything players currently have will still be useful after the changes. The team has stated on a few occasions that recipes will continue to work at the same quality, though some might be under new names, and some details and ingredients will likely change. Anything you’ve made will also remain. Since the game is adding multiple new recipes, loot containers, and recipes (including VR10 recipes, which will presumably shift and grow in number once the Champion system is in place) ingredients, it will take some getting used to once the update is in place.

I think having separate ingredients local to certain areas and corresponding recipes added its own flavor, no pun intended, to the game. Yet it really does put a huge load on your inventory and bank. Getting things like capon from a sack of peas inspires a few chuckles, but I think this system sounds like it will be much improved. If you too have alts in different factions, you know that the storage reduction alone will be worth it. I am always running out of inventory space, so the streamlining of the system looks promising. Adding new layers of immersion added onto what I personally already considered an immersive game is also something to look forward to. While there may be some real issues with the game’s updates at times, there’s no doubt to me that overall, ESO has improved, and looks to continue doing so as we head into this major Provisioning revamp in what’s likely to be 2015’s first major update.

Christina Gonzalez / Christina is a freelancer and contributor to MMORPG.com, where she writes the community-focused Social Hub column.