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Elder Scrolls Online General Article: Three-Faction PVP a la DAOC

By Garrett Fuller on May 09, 2012

Welcome to our first Elder Scrolls Online column at MMORPG.com. This feature kicks off a series that will follow the game all the way to launch and beyond. After the announcement last week we are just as excited as you guys to see what Zenimax has in store. Game Informer ran an amazing interview with Paul Sage, Creative Director on the project. Paul’s career goes all the way back to Ultima Online and he is a true veteran of the industry. One of the major points that Paul brings up in the interview is the three faction PvP system.  Being that the Elder Scrolls has never had official PvP in it, I thought this would be a great aspect of ESO to begin the column with.   

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About three quarters of the way through the interview Paul delivers what the three factions will be in the game. The Ebonheart Pact of Nord, Dark Elf, and Argonians has put aside any differences to band together. The Daggerfall Convanent which is run by commerce and profit has joined the Bretons with the Orcs and Redguard. The final faction of the Khajit, Bosmer (Wood Elves), and the Altmer (High Elves) join the fight to make the third faction in the game. Whew, just thinking of these races fighting is awesome, and it sounds like the team has a great backstory in line for the factioned PvP. But let’s talk about the mechanics.

Matt Firor is the Studio General Manager at ZeniMax Online, but he is also one of the people directly responsible for Dark Age of Camelot.  That team wrote the book on three-faction PvP. Many MMO players who came in under World of Warcraft or later may not have seen the amazing system that DAOC had in place. Recently, Guild Wars 2 has been making massive waves with their three server warfare system, which is the awesome stepchild of the DAOC system. This three-tiered idea was lost in World of Warcraft because the game decided to have two factions based on the RTS game. To be honest, most of WoW was not about the two factions at war. It came later, and is big part of the next expansion, seven years after launch. Unfortunately from 2005 to 2010 many of the MMOs followed WoW’s format. Thus the idea for three factions pitted against each other was lost.

Now in 2012 we see a host of games coming with this style of end game. Guild Wars 2, The Secret World, and Planetside 2 have all talked about their three-faction systems. Elder Scrolls Online has this system in place by some of the folks who invented it, which is really cool. The style is coming back into play and from Paul’s interview Elder Scrolls looks to have it built into the game from the beginning.  So these three factions look to be battling over Cyrodil itself. Paul also mentions that the impact of PvP will be felt throughout the game to all players via many different systems.

I guess the biggest choice for everyone is what faction will you play? I mean for me, it is hard to ignore the coolness of Nord and Dark Elf fighting together with the Argonians. With Skyrim being such a hit, this could be the most popular faction in the game. However, we have to take into account the other factors of past Elder Scrolls games, also the idea that Elves are hugely popular among players. Normally I go for my Orcs in almost every game and will certainly have one in Elder Scrolls, but I may have to try Nord as well this time. It really depends on the breakdown and the story lines.

Also, Paul’s interview only mentions the races. We have yet to see the classes in the game, or no classes, but skill systems?  That could play a major role in what choice peiople make. If anything that is the major debate that can go on, what would you play? Hoping for a Nord Axeman…or an Orc Berserker! Man, this is too much to think about. For now the idea of the three factions battling is insanely cool. Based on races listed, who would you choose to play? The more that is revealed the more I am sure we will be able to discuss. For now, think about your choice of faction. You can see the interview on Game Informer here.

We will continue our column each week discussing major points of the game. Paul mentions Public Dungeons which is one of the greatest topics for discussion. Hopefully next week we will see more information on that. Anyway, the question this week as I step off the cart in bonds is: What faction will you represent? What race will you play?

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