Imperial City has launched recently and it’s magnificent. I think this has been one of the best launches of a major content update to a MMO that I’ve ever seen. Not only has the launch gone off with very little issues, but they even somehow managed to fix a major issue that has plagued the game since its official release, the lag in Cyrodiil. Yes, you read that right, the lag in Cyrodiil is almost non-existent, emphasis on almost.
This update was on the PTS for a while but even when a contest or event is happening the population is a fraction of what you’ll see on a live server. It’s always hard to gauge how an update will actually behave when it goes live. People flocking to the new content like a Cy-Bug to beacon, it’s bound to cause major lag, crashes and other types of hiccups, but not in this case.
Imperial City’s launch wasn’t without its issues, though. The major issues were login issues and Cyrodiil not loading structure. Cyrodiil not loading any keeps or resources is a major issue don’t get me wrong, but the people at ZOS were on the ball and had everything corrected within a short time period.
What makes the Imperial City update great?
The lag is (almost) gone! I think that alone makes the update great. This issue has been a major issue for players and causing a lot of PVP players to leave the game. Maybe now that this issue has been placed a road to completion we’ll be seeing more and more people coming back to ESO.
A large reason the lag has been relieved is because the people who are playing in Cyrodiil are now placed in two different zones, Cyrodiil and Imperial City. On top of splitting the people up, there isn’t the incredibly large number of players fighting in the same location. One of my major concerns when this update was announced was Cyrodiil becoming a wasteland. That’s not the case, I’m finding a lot more battles all over Cyrodiil, instead of at a single keep as it was prior to the update. These fights while they are smaller, they remind me more of what Dark Age of Camelot had in its Realm vs Realm combat. Solid organized groups running around encountering other organized groups instead of mindless zergs that were unorganized with players more concerned about their AP than their actual progress in the fight. There were nights when I would log off due to the ignorance of other players, the ones who’d jump off a keep run into the middle of the enemy just to kill one person. No care if they died, as long as they killed that person. Such a pointless mentality to have in a group oriented zone. Anyways, I digress.
The other reason why Imperial City is so great is because Brian Wheeler and his team really did try to take a lot from Darkness Falls in DAoC. For those who aren’t familiar with Darkness Falls, it was essentially what the Sewers are in Imperial City, a large maze that all factions had access to. One aspect they tried to mimic was the Emerald, Sapphire and Diamond Seals. These were a type of currency you’d farm within Darkness Falls that you would use for gear upgrades. Imperial City has a very similar aspect, mind you they’ve evolved it a lot to make it a lot more intense.
Within Imperial City you have Bloody Claw, Bone Shard, Dark Ether, Mark of the Legion, Monstrous Tooth, Planar Armor Scraps, and the incredibly awesome Tel Var Stones. All of these drop off creatures within Imperial City, they aren’t overly hard to obtain but the way in which they are used is unique. You need to collect 60 of each in order to gain access to one of the hidden vault rooms within the city. Here you’ll be able to obtain a piece of gear for one of the newly implemented gear sets.
Tel Var Stones however are slightly different. These still drop off creatures within Imperial City, but; and this is where it gets awesome, you can have a portion of your collected stones stolen from you upon death. I’m not just speaking of a PvE death either, If you die at the hands of an enemy player they’ll receive a small part of your Tel Var Stones. This is incredibly epic, not many games allow you to take items off other players when you kill them, the care bear world our games have evolved into have forbidden it. Thank you ZOS for bringing back something that so many people miss. Obviously a lot of people won’t like this because they don’t want to have their hard earned items taken from them, which is why Zenimax has allowed you to bank your Tel Var stones. Anytime you’re back at your base camp I would recommend going to the bank and placing your Tel Var Stones within it. Anything placed within your bank can’t be taken off your corpse.
Zenimax has brought back a large aspect to the game that I felt was missing, a reason to farm. Not a lot of people enjoy farming but I surely do and this type of farming never feels like farming. You have to constantly watch your back for enemy players or even the roaming bosses that creep throughout the sewers. These bosses aren’t easy, they will bend you over a barrel and show you the 50 states if you’re not paying attention.
If you haven’t already tried Imperial City or if you left the game for whatever reason I would highly recommend spending the 2,500 crowns and picking up this update. You won’t be disappointed. If you were looking for content to do, you’ve got it here. Wanted smaller more organized PvP? You got it either in Cyrodiil taking keeps and scrolls, or within Imperial City running stealth gank groups. This update has something for everyone and is easily worth the price in my humble opinion.
Now we just have to wait for ZOS to push this update to consoles, Orsinium is still planned for release at the end of this year (if everything goes as planned) and if it’s anything like Imperial City, I wouldn’t be surprised to see ESO population boost quite a bit.