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Zenimax Online Studios | Official Site
MMORPG | Setting:Fantasy | Status:Final  (rel 04/04/14)  | Pub:Bethesda Softworks
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Columns: Zenimax Listens to Its Community Once Again

By Ryan Getchell on September 23, 2015

Zenimax Listens to Its Community Once Again

Once again Zenimax listens to the community. If you remember a couple weeks ago I wrote an article discussing some of my displeasures with Imperial City, mostly the fact that Imperial City is always open (unless your campaign is full) and all three factions would have access to it. Well as it turns out I wasn’t the only one who felt this way and Zenimax has heard our pleas and created a campaign with locked gates. However, is it too late for this to make a difference?


I realize Imperial City is only two weeks old and saying something is too late to happen is a bit silly but hear me out. Firstly, no matter if I’m right or wrong here this campaign will be my home campaign, because this is exactly how I want to play. That said, am I going to be playing in a campaign that isn’t nearly as active as it should be?

Giving players the option of having to work to earn something or allowing them to just go and get their “prize” without working for it. Just like lightning, players will always choose the path of least resistance. Which means if they have the option to go to Imperial City without having to take control of Cyrodiil they’ll go elsewhere.

Imperial City is huge, and I mean HUGE. There is so much more to do within Imperial City than just kill enemy players.  One of the most dominant things to do is farm some of the new currency items, which not only provide you with gear, but also a somewhat decent money maker. When Imperial City launched, Zenimax introduced many new types of currency, Bloody Claw, Bone Shard, Dark Ether, Mark of the Legion, Monstrous Tooth, Planar Armor Scraps and the Tel Var Stones. Each type of currency drops off specific types of creatures found within the Sewers or above ground sections of the city. After obtaining 60 of a specific type (except Tel Var Stones they are different) you use them to obtain a new random piece of gear.

These new currency items take a bit of time to obtain. Which isn’t a bad thing, I’m so glad that Zenimax has created something that takes time to obtain instead of just giving players items without any real work involved. Between the hours farming creatures, trading with other players and trying to avoid dying to the enemy faction that wants nothing but to see your corpse rot, it’s going to take a decent amount of time and work to obtain all the items you want from Imperial City.

So as you can see Imperial City is going to have players spending many hours within its gates.  Which option do you think players are going to pick, the option where they are forced to work outside the city to take control of Cyrodiil so they can then begin working towards the gear and item sets they want or choose a campaign where they can just go into the city anytime they want and begin farming for their items?

We all know that Imperial City has a strong connection to what Darkness Falls was in Dark Age of Camelot and I can’t help but think if Darkness Falls would be as epic as it was if they had two different versions of it, one where anyone could enter at any time and one where you had to control the frontiers to get in. I doubt there would have been as many people within the gated Darkness Falls had they offered one that was completely open.

At least within this new campaign the players within it are all likeminded players and want to earn their rewards instead of having them handed to them. They like the concept of putting their skills to the test and challenging themselves. But if you’re playing in a campaign like this that might be completely underpopulated; which most campaigns for Daggerfall tend to be, it could feel like you’re banging your head against the wall. Not making any progress towards the main goal of opening the gates.

As much as ESO PvP is about skill, population plays a much larger factor. I’m the first one to say a very organized small group can easily fight a large group of enemy players and win, but when it comes to taking control of a map, if you’re out numbered it becomes nearly impossible. As soon as you take one keep and begin working on another you start losing the previous keep.

Perhaps this is a instance where it might have been better Zenimax not have listened to its community and left all the campaigns the same or switched all campaigns to this gated feature.

As much as it pains me to say this, perhaps none of this would be a concern if there was an incentive for working harder; risk vs reward. When you play this campaign your turnaround on obtaining items is going to be much lower than that of the other campaigns. Introducing a multiplier would help elevate this handicap that players would experience. This new campaign, while it’s harder to gain access to Imperial City, your currency drops and TelVar stones amounts are increased when you have control.  The amount of the multiplier would increase based on the percentage of Cyrodiil you controlled. If you own the bare minimum to get access you’d have the same drop rate as any of the other campaigns but for each additional keep you take the higher the multiplier. This idea could potentially bring even more players to this campaign, making it a lot more engaging for players to play.

What do you think? Will this new gated campaign mechanic, one where you need to control Cyrodiil to gain access to Imperial City, become your home campaign?

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.