Yep. We aren’t even live yet and I’m already looking ahead to what’s next for The Elder Scrolls Online. That’s not to say that I feel the game is deficient in launch features, but half the excitement of playing a new MMO is pondering about where it will go next. I’ve got a couple of things I’d like to see, so let’s jump into it.
Thieves Guild / Dark Brotherhood
Let’s get the most obvious one out of the way first. This isn’t so much of an if, but more of a when. Zenimax has mentioned both many times in the past and I wouldn’t be surprised to see the addition of these two guilds to the game as part of one of the first few major content updates.
That said, I feel the Thieves Guild and Dark Brotherhood present some interesting gameplay opportunities for ESO. The associated story content is one thing, but ESO does a couple of neat things with guilds in general, such as adding new related skill lines and putting an emphasis on certain types of gameplay for each guild. Players in the Fighters Guild can take on bounty quests and must complete Dark Anchor content or kill Daedra and Undead to rank up. Mages Guild players must explore and find special lore books to progress. And finally, your ranks in the Undaunted can be increased by completing dungeon content.
Hopefully the wheels are turning for you just as they are for me when thinking about the Thieves Guild and Dark Brotherhood. We’ve seen some amazing content for these two guilds in the various Elder Scrolls games over the years, but there are some great gameplay opportunities here too for ESO.
The Thieves Guild is probably the most beneficial here. Aside from the storyline, I’d love to see randomly generated theft quests that could even allow for pickpocketing gameplay. Being able to pickpocket anyone in ESO doesn’t seem all too practical, but offering players specific content that allows for this sort of gameplay is likely much more doable. I’d love to see some high pressure quests where the player has to get to something guarded by a strong lock (or multiple things) while guards are pathing around. There are a ton of possibilities.
Along the same lines, assassination quests could be a fun way to play around with some Radiant AI style gameplay. Unfortunately, characters in ESO don’t really go about their business as they do in the single player games, but for assassination quests, the marks could be given their own schedules and players could track and take them out in different ways. Think finding out where they go to eat and poisoning their food, or learning where they sleep and taking them out while they’re asleep. Speaking of poisons, this could be where poisons are introduced to Alchemy.
New Skill Lines
Everyone loves new skills. I’m sure we can all think of a couple, but again, the most obvious ones that spring to mind would be associated with the aforementioned Thieves Guild and Dark Brotherhood. There’s some crossover here with the Nightblade, especially with regards to the Dark Brotherhood, but the skill line there could be more focused on tools of the trade rather than direct combat abilities. Think debilitating crowd control, buffs to poison use; that sort of thing. Similarly, I’d love to see the Thieves Guild abilities focus more on the use of stealth, skills helpful in pickpocketing gameplay, lockpicking skills, and a couple of combat tricks to get out of sticky situations.
Aside from the guild lines, I’d like to see at least one new weapon line: the crossbow. Bows are cool and all, but a crossbow line would be a seemingly obvious place ESO should go next for a new weapon type. Think tons of line piercing abilities, armor penetration, and knockbacks. Basically, Age of Conan’s version of crossbows would be awesome.
Finally, I’d like to see a companion skill line. I suppose this could be its own feature altogether, but something that allows players to either train and utilize animal pets or focuses on the use of actual NPC companions like Lydia from Skyrim (or both!).
I realize that Skyrim received the Hearthfire DLC that allowed players to partake in more traditional housing gameplay, but I think ZOS could put a more unique twist on MMO housing in ESO.
Aside from Hearthfire and purchasing actual houses, the series has often offered players the ability to unlock lairs. In the past, some of these lairs were part of DLC (Frostcrag Spire, Deepscorn Hollow, Dunbarrow Cove, etc), but oftentimes, you could unlock a lair for use as part of completing content in the Elder Scrolls games. Other than their thematic styling, these lairs set themselves apart from your garden variety houses by offering players a suite of unique amenities. For example, once the Dark Brotherhood comes online, players could unlock the associated lair by completing the content or reaching a certain rank within the guild and this lair could come with things like a unique companion (see above skill lines suggestion), alchemy station, and best of all, a garden with alchemy reagents used in creating poisons. Heck, why not throw in unique item set tables for each lair, too?
I get the desire to just have a simple house somewhere, but I think this sort of implementation would be a great way for ESO to set itself apart here, especially since housing is making a comeback overall right now.
Darkness Falls on the Imperial City
I’ve written about this previously, so I won’t spend too much time on it here, but this is another sort of obvious addition. Again, this seems like more of a when than an if, but Cyrodiil is absolutely begging for this sort of content. I feel like what ESO has on offer will probably keep many players entertained for a good while, but there’s nothing like fighting for territory that the opposing factions can’t access once won. Warhammer Online tried this with its capital cities, but the problem there was that players were then locked out of something their faction owned by default. With something like the Imperial City playing the role of Dark Age of Camelot’s ‘Darkness Falls’, losing access isn’t frustrating, but winning access is rewarding in many different ways.
Mounted combat wasn’t so hot in Skyrim, but that doesn’t mean ZOS shouldn’t give it a shot in ESO. If ESO were a mostly PvE game, I really wouldn’t care much for mounted combat, but with how large and vast Cyrodiil is, dreams of participating in a cavalry charge are definitely dancing in my head. It would also allow for an expansion on the game’s horse feature, think functional horse armor (oh yeah, I went there!) that helps keep you on your horse, or the ability to use the horse as a companion character (Shadowmere, anyone?), and of course, an associated mounted combat skill line of some sort.
What do you think? Did we miss anything you’d like to see added? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below!
Michael Bitton / Michael began his career at the WarCry Network in 2005 as the site manager for several different WarCry fansite portals. In 2008, Michael worked for the startup magazine Massive Gamer as a columnist and online news editor. In June of 2009, Michael joined MMORPG.com as the site's Community Manager. Follow him on Twitter @eMikeB