World of Warcraft was a game that had me playing for nearly 12 years (including closed beta). Since then not many games have been able to keep my attention. Now, because of this all my gaming friends ask me what my flavor of the month is. When I tell them I’m still playing The Elder Scrolls Online, I get the same reply, “You’re not bored yet?”. ESO offers me something that I can’t figure out, it keeps me entertained, it keeps me busy. I’m always trying to figure out new and better builds, and before WoW changed its talent system to incredibly simplified system, it too offered me this. However, there are aspects in ESO’s PvP that have me questioning their design idea. In this week’s column I want to address some of them and provide my ideas as to what would make ESO an even better experience for players.
With the release of patch 1.3.x Zenimax introduced a wave of impressive features that allow players to customize their characters as well as an option for us to show off our Guild. Guild Tabards was a feature I originally requested at PAX East 2013. Having spoken too many of the Developers and all confirming that they were coming and being worked on had me even more excited for ESO.
As great as this system is, I think there is room for improvement. First being able to put guild symbols on our shields. This was something that was in DAoC and is something that really stuck with me. It didn’t have tabards but it did have the ability to place your guild colours and symbol on a cloak as well as your shield. Making you very recognizable on the battle field. There is nothing better than striking fear into your enemy with just a symbol. Also nothing more intimidating that having an entire guild standing outside a keep sieging it all wearing the same colours.
Guild Tabards is a form of status symbol as well. If you’re in a guild that excels at doing End Game PvE or PvP the tabard should reflect that so people know at first glance how awesome you are. There should be unlockable tabard designs and symbol that are rewarded to those who complete some of the hardest achievements, World Firsts, etc. As a player having unique items that other people won’t be able to get gives me a sense of accomplishment, a sense of pride that my time investment into the game has been rewarded. Isn’t that what we all want? The ability to say our time spent in the game is being rewarded?
Why are tabards not being displayed on the keeps that have been claimed by a guild? If a guild can take ownership of a keep should that keep not also display its owner’s colours with pride? The guards walking around with their tabards. The guild traders when purchased will wear the guild colours so why not the guards of the fort.
Guild Claimed Keeps
The lack of guild banners isn’t the only thing that is missing with guild claimed keeps. Prior to patch 1.3.x guilds would claim a keep with the idea of having their guild market available to anyone who wanted to travel to Cyrodiil and check it out. Sadly this concept was merely that, a concept. When it was implemented it didn’t quite work the way Zenimax intended, in fact it didn’t work at all. The markets wouldn’t be visible, or you couldn’t search anything. So with Guild Traders being placed in all major cities across Tamriel, what is the point of owning a keep?
Sure, someone can mouse over the keep on the map and see who owns it, but in all honesty does that really mean anything? If a guild owns a keep would it prevent you from attacking it, or change your strategy at all? No, owning a keep in Cyrodiil is a moot point right now.
What needs to be added is some sort of bonus to PvP players for owning a keep. Either a bonus to AP or even a boon that offers discount prices with all merchants in Cyrodiil. For each level of keep it could offer a percentage, up to 5%. Owning a resource would also offer a bonus to the guild as well. Currently there are three types of resources, Farm, Lumbermill and Mine. Owning these could offer a percentage to crafting based on the level it provides the keep it surrounds. For example, it could offer a bonus to research times, ability to refine better items or even more inspiration earned.
With a system like this players would take more pride in owning the keeps which in turn would encourage players to defend resources and keeps with a bit more tenacity.
Along with this, Zenimax needs to enable some form of Guild Spam for when guards are being killed. In Dark Age of Camelot they had a message that would notify the guild that a guard was killed with x amount of people in the area. When I was at PAX East I spoke to Brian Wheeler about this and he said this was a feature he liked and wants to implement. I don’t know if they’ve changed their minds on this but I think this is something that needs to be implemented as it would help boost guild comradery when it comes to defending a keep. Imagine you’re at a crafting station in Craglorn and you see that a guard was killed by 20 people in the area. I’d drop what I was doing, rally the guild and get them to defend the keep. Even if they aren’t PvPers, seeing the spam in guild chat that something you own is being attacked will spark a lot more interest in people.
I love the aspect of the Emperor title but I think it’s providing too much of a single player bonus and not enough faction bonus. Right now, when your faction has crowned an emperor everyone who is homed to that campaign will receive a boon called, Emperor Alliance Bonus, which increases your Health by +5. As you can see it really isn’t anything fantastic. Whereas if you’re the Emperor you’d receive a ton of bonuses from added damage, double your health, stamina, and magicka, 50% more healing done to you, 100% more ultimate gain and reduced cost, 100% more combat regen on all resources, and double your siege damage. As you can see being Emperor provides a major advantage to the single player but very little to anyone who is not.
What I would like to see is the removal of one or two of the incredibly powerful single player buffs and implement a radius boon. Anyone who is playing with the Emperor or is around him receive a bolster in damage. Either 5 or 10 percent increase. This would promote more people to play as a team, or something along these lines. In order to crown an Emperor it is a team effort within the alliance, why shouldn’t the whole alliance gain from crowning an Emperor?
If you think of it in a real life situation, if your emperor is on the battle field and you’re fighting alongside him or her you’d feel a bit more empowered and you’d swing your weapon into the enemy’s skull with much more force.
Having it focused a bit more on an alliance wide buff instead of a personal one, claiming Emperor would be something a lot more people would be interested in. As it stands right now, people only do it for the personal gain and not for the alliance. Which is why Emperor flipping was such a common thing prior to patch 1.3.x.
I hope I was able to shed some light on the areas of ESO that confuse or puzzle me when I think of them from a design aspect.
What aspects of ESO do you want to see changed or improved?