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Elder Scrolls Online Column: Craglorn - Is It What We Want?

By Ryan Getchell on June 10, 2014

With the release of patch 1.1.0, players have been debating Craglorn and whether or not this is the type of PvE End Game they want to spend their subscription fee on. Trials, daily quests, and an entire zone dedicated to doing group content, is it what we want?

The entire time I’ve been in Craglorn doing all quests and content, the best and most fun I’ve had was doing the 4-person group quests / dungeons. When Craglorn first hit myself and some guildies jumped in and started doing the main story line. One of the quests brought us to a dungeon were we spent several hours in. It was a dungeon that had four other dungeons within with in it. The boss mechanics were exciting, new, and took a couple tries to completely learn the fight. It was awesome. Then I jumped into the trials.

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Trials are supposed to be the hardest of the content. Designed for groups of 12 players, and supposed to be difficult. According to the developers prior to release of patch 1.1.0, Trials will test player’s skill, the limited resurrections will make them even more difficult. They expected players to die, a lot. However, during my experience in the trials, what they promised wasn’t the case, or perhaps I was just expecting something different.

During the first week of Craglorn we were seeing guilds completely trials within 11 minutes, and even 30 minutes for the most difficult content. Personally 11 minutes isn’t a challenge, granted only a few guilds have completed it within that time frame but when it’s still the first week should players be completing the end game content within 11 minutes or 30 minutes?

I am a firm believer in risk vs reward when it comes to MMOs, the time investment is what should reward the player. When the high end gear comes from content that takes 11 and 30 minutes to complete, how can we as players feel that our investment has been worth it? I hate to compare or say that I’d like to see World of Warcraft mechanics in ESO but when it comes to End Game, Blizzard did it right. Hundreds of thousands of players login every week to do End Game content, to do achievements, to do something that takes time and rewards them for it.

ESO does not offer anything of the sort, there is no collection system for players to waste hours farming for that rare pet or costume, and there is no risk vs reward as ESO offers no risk. Sure the leaderboards for trials do offer extra items if you happen to be on the top, but racing for an 11 or 30 minute time is going to cause players to burn out really fast. Forcing players to do content so often and so fast does not give any form excitement.

So what would make ESO End Game worth the subscription fee? Easy, make the content feel epic, and most importantly feel like an Elder Scrolls game. Star Wars: The Old Republic had a fantastic end game content, if you forget about the countless bugs. SWTOR’s end game if it was put into an Elder Scrolls universe would have worked seamlessly.

Woah! Stop calling me names and let me explain why. SWTOR had operations (aka raids, or end game content) that were puzzle driven. Something that, when I look at an Elder Scrolls game is what I see. Two great examples of this are the Pylon event in Eternity Vaults, and G4-B3 Heavy Fabricator in Karagga’s Palace. Both of these bosses were puzzle style events. You had to complete a puzzle in order to defeat the event or the boss. ESO doesn’t offer anything remotely similar to these events and the puzzles that are in the current Trials are able to be completed by someone who may have eaten lead paint chips. 11 and 30 minute content reflects how difficult or long the counters are.

Ideally, I’d like to see a Trial that is large enough to last several hours. This trial should offer an option that only the leader can utilize, a pause. This pause will allow you to stop the timer, remove everyone from the trial and let you continue on from where you left off on another day within that week. This will allow casual guilds to be competitive in these events spreading it out over several days. Content that takes a time investment feels more epic and more rewarding than content that can be finished almost six times in an hour.

What do you think of Craglorn? Do you feel that patch 1.1.0 is what we can expect to see from Zenimax in the future patches?

Ryan Getchell / Ryan Getchell is a freelance writer for MMORPG.com. His roots go deep within the MMORPG gaming genre, branching back as early as Ultima Online. When he's not swaying around the forums you can find him lumbering around on his twitter, barking tweets. @Garbrac

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