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Zenimax Online Studios | Official Site
MMORPG | Setting:Fantasy | Status:Final  (rel 04/04/14)  | Pub:Bethesda Softworks
PVP:Yes | Distribution:Download,Retail | Retail Price:$59.99 | Pay Type:Buy to Play | Monthly Fee:Free
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Is Zenimax Being Secretly Transparent?

By Ryan Getchell on May 20, 2015 | Columns | Comments

Is Zenimax Being Secretly Transparent?

One of the best things a game developer can do is get direction from those who play it. While a developer may have passion for the game they are creating, they will never understand the game itself like those who play it day in and day out. We play the games for a lot longer than any developer. So of course we all have feedback and design concepts that we feel could improve the overall quality of the game. What we don’t have is the behind the scenes knowledge to know what concepts are possible. However, if the Developers have ideas they want to implement, instead of just going ahead and doing it and fine tuning it afterwards they should reach out to the community. Provide them with a concept of the idea you want to implement and allow them to give you feedback on it so you can fine tune it and make it fit the game and the community that plays it right away.

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You don’t really see AAA companies do this type of developing. Typically they just go ahead without input and then deal with the community afterwards. Recently however, it seems Zenimax may be reaching out to the community a lot more with their concepts to get feedback.

Data Mining has always been a prominent thing. It’s gotten a lot more attention within the last few years with players trying to find out what companies are doing to their games that might not be fully announced or released. This is something that’s been happening in ESO as well. Players have been diving deep into the client and finding images of items being designed for the crown store and even new zone information.

All of the data mined information is stuff taken from the client that is released to the players, information that the developers have put into the live version for some reason or another.

With Zenimax knowing that players are going to Data Mine the information it feels as if they are adding in these tidbits of code or images to get player feedback, without actually have to ask for it.

One of the largest data mine images that held a controversy was the addition of XP boost potions to the crown store. Personally I do not have an issue with XP Boost potions as the end result is they got to level cap faster. It’s not a game changer, but a lot of people felt differently and once the first concept was data mined the players went to the forums and provided ZOS with a ton of feedback about the item. About a month later we have a new data mined image of the XP boost potion and it seems to have been improved based on player feedback. It no longer works for Veteran Ranks, which isn’t much of an improvement as Veteran Ranks are going to be eliminated with the final phase of the Champion System. The duration was decreased from two hours to one, and the maximum amount seems to have a few stipulations attached to it, 50% more than base, limit of 10% of the EXP needed to level per event. With this being data mined there is no official word as to exactly what “per event” means, but you can clearly see that ZOS did take feedback into consideration.

The newest data mined images are of the long anticipated Imperial City for Cyrodiil. Players who have seen these images of loading screens and map layouts are beginning to get really excited for Imperial City, of course providing their feedback based on the very little they’ve seen so far.

But all of this makes me ask, is Zenimax adding these images to the live client with the sole intent for it to be data mined knowing players would give their feedback on it?

If so, I really think it’s a great idea. But I would rather them discuss it on the forums themselves as I think it shows a much deeper level of passion for the game and the community.  Either way, if they keep taking player feedback and adapting it to their design concepts ESO is going to continue to be an excellent game to play, truly designed for the players who play it.

Ryan Getchell / Ryan is our resident Elder Scrolls nerd, and columnist for Zenimax's MMO. When he's not out killing things in Tamriel, he's working in IT professionally.
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