I’ve been playing Imperial City on the PTS and been watching others play it on HitBox / Twitch. I know I say this with every expansion / update that Zenimax releases but holy Meridia this DLC is epic. The boss fights, the loot, the Tel Var system, and so many more incredibly awesome additions to the game. Except, one thing still bugs me, and that’s what I’m going to focus on this week. Instead of doing a informative column I want to reach out to you, the readers, the community and get your input on something that I personally find very disturbing. Perhaps my issue here is because I was a diehard Dark Age of Camelot player but leaving Imperial City open with no restrictions seems like a bad idea.
According to Brian Wheeler (Lead PvP Designer);
When Imperial City launches it will be open access to all Alliances in all Campaigns to all those who purchase the DLC or are ESO+ members. After the dust settles we'll be looking at Campaign population and feedback about the new rulesets also going out with the Imperial City update (that apply regardless of getting the DLC or not).
Based on those factors, we may or may not open\convert a Campaign to gated access to Imperial City, but again when Imperial City launches, it will not have Keep Gated access to start.
The gates for Imperial City will be open to everyone in the campaign, no matter your faction. There are no goals or requirements for you to accomplish in Cyrodiil to unlock this new location. While I am against this concept, I do see that putting in a gate when people have paid for the content will become an annoyance. Those who’ve purchased the content but can’t complete whatever objective is required to open the gates will find the DLC content to not be worth their investment. However, is this really a valid concern? With all the campaigns that are currently available, almost every faction has their own campaign that they completely dominate. Thus, will always have access to the Imperial City.
That being said, if you completely dominate the campaign and own everything in Cyrodiil when you go into Imperial City you have little to no concern of enemy players who are lurking in the shadows. So where is the challenge?
Without the locks, we introduce a challenge for sure, as everyone will be able to enter the content but this can easily become more of an annoyance than not being able to enter the content. In a recent Zenimax Twitch Stream the developers were playing Aldmeri Dominion in Imperial City. The stream lasted roughly an hour and for the first twenty minutes or so the developers were enjoying the zone, showing off the content and some of the creature encounters. After this, all hell broke loose and the Daggerfall Covenant and Ebonheart Pact players found them and began farming them. Not only did they get wiped incredibly fast while fighting a NPC, but when they spawned the enemy players were there waiting for them.
For the rest of the stream the developers kept trying to fight their way through the enemy forces. They even tried to completely avoid the other players so they could adventure deeper into Imperial City but nothing worked out for them. They kept getting killed, over and over and over. You could hear the distraught in their voice when they died later in the stream. Even the developers were starting to get frustrated by being farmed.
So is not having the gates locked really that much better for the community?
Not to mention that without any requirements to open gates for Imperial City, the activity within Cyrodiil is going to dwindle drastically. Everyone is going to flock to the new shiny zone, even though Imperial City has a population cap, the overall engagement in Cyrodiil is going to plummet.
Part of the reason Darkness Falls (Imperial City) worked so well for DAoC was because of the locked gates. It offered so much more engagement in the Frontiers (Cyrodiil) as well as within Darkness Falls itself.
If the enemy had control of Darkness Falls you knew that if you took their keeps in the Frontiers they’d come out to defend their control or you’d gain control of Darkness Falls and you can take your group from PvP and go into Darkness Falls and kill all the enemy players who were trying to quest/level/farm/raid.
One of the best things you could do was have a high level stealth class and log it out on the enemy side. When they took control of the zone you’d be able to log in your stealth class and kill the enemy as they entered the zone. But if you died, you’d spawn back on your side and getting back to the enemy side without a team wasn’t easy to do as the creatures down there were very powerful.
So as you can see adding in the gates and requirements to open them offers a lot more funcationality to the zone and for the players. It keeps the engagement in Cyrodiil and inside Imperial City itself.
So now I ask you, which do you prefer? Would you rather it stay completely open or have a gate system? Let’s take this opportunity to really let Zenimax know what we want for Imperial City. If there is anything Zenimax has done well it’s listening to the community!