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Interviews: We Chat with Rich Lambert About the Summerset Isles

By Matthew Keith on April 03, 2018

We Chat with Rich Lambert About the Summerset Isles

Elder Scrolls Online will be expanding soon with the Summerset Isle chapter. Players will finally be heading off to the home of the High Elves this summer. We had the chance to chat with Rich Lambert to learn more.

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MMORPG: Hey Everyone welcome to this exclusive interview with Rich Lambert, the Creative Director for Elder Scrolls Online. Thank you so much for joining me today. I’m Super excited to spend some time picking you brain about the new Summerset Chapter that’s coming to elder Scroll online. So I wanted kind of follow up a little bit, we have had a little bit of preview time, you gave us a great overview of what's coming out but I wanted to spend a little time diving a little bit more into story. The first question I really wanted to ask is why did you go back to Summerset?


Rich: Summerset affords us the opportunity to do something a little bit different. So Elder Scrolls isn't traditionally very high fantasy, very high magic. And Summerset absolutely is its the home of the High Elves. They devote themselves to the study of magic and the study of knowledge. So What players are going to get to see here kind of changes the dial a little bit it is more high elven fantasy. It is more high magic and I think they are really going to be impressed with the architecture and the overall environment.


MMORPG: So with that I mean it's been years, as in 1994, in Arena, since we got to see Summerset. What was it like for you as a creative team to go back there and try to, in a lot of ways recreate and reimagine what that worlds was like? How was that for you guys?

Rich: It's always interesting. I like to think we have gotten pretty good at it over the years. Kind of going through this treasure trove of lore and story and picking out the relevant and important parts. In summerset I think we done a really good job of that. With arena it had, it was the start of things. It had a really large part in setting the tone for the remainder of the series. Just being able to go in and take the Crystal tower, summerset and pick out Cloudrest and actually show players what those look like. Its awesome!

MMORPG: I think that would be pretty incredible from a creative standpoint. So with that can you kind of give us a little bit of the story background as to how this all happened. Traditionally Summerset has always been this very exclusive place for the high elves and things like that. What's changed storywise for the elves? Again without giving away any spoilers.

Rich: Sure! No main story spoilers! At this point in time, Queen Ayrenn has opened the borders So it is no longer a safe haven, or at least that what some people on the Island often think, as place to pursue their interests. Part of the story is dealing with that. That conflict. Queen Ayrenn has opened the borders because she wants to bring economic wealth and prosperity to all the high elves, that's why she started the Aldmeri Dominion. So as you kind of explore the world  you get to see both sides of that argument.

MMORPG: I’m sure that’s going to create a lot of conflict across the border which would be great for sides quests as well. I wanted to shift gears a little bit because you had mentioned as well while doing the presentation that we are going be introduced to a new order. Can you give us a little background on whats thats all about and what players can expect?

Rich: Sure! So the Psijic Order play a large role in the main story of Summerset. They are a reclusive group of mages. They are almost mythical in Elder Scrolls ethos because they are so reclusive. They've been in other Elder Scrolls games but you probably don’t interact with them a lot. They live live on the Island of Artaeum which disappeared at some point hundreds of years ago from Tamriel and nobody knows why or where it went but it took all the Psijic Order with them. In the main story arc they come back and so because they don’t generally deal with regular daily life of Tamriel that's a really big thing.

MMORPG: It’s interesting, even in the some of the areas we got to see we started to see that even in the introductory areas. As far as the player concerned, will we be able to join the order? What would that look like? How does that all function mechanically?

Rich: You do. So for the first time ever in an Elder Scrolls game you get to join the Psijic Order. You get to learn  a little bit about who they are, what they do. They are the masters of Mysticism and time and as a result of joining them you get a new skill line. The skill line is really cool because A, you get to use it on your character that you already have, you don't have to start a new character. B, it gives you the ability to kind of be a master of Mysticism and bend time which is something we don’t generally do in Elder Scrolls. It's a really fun skill line.

I’ll give you a couple of examples. One of the abilities is called Time Stop. it's a ground targeted ability that you throw out in the world. There’s this bubble on the ground and anything trapped in the bubble or anything that's in the bubble sees time starts to slow down until it stops for a few seconds. So it's this really cool, kind of hard crowd control ability that anybody can access which is I think is going to have a really cool effect on both the PVP and PVE side of things.

The other ability  that is probably my favorite, is the ultimate ability which right now is called Undo. We may actually change the name when we do a fiction pass on it. It works how it sounds. So when you cast that ability its rewinds time back four seconds so it takes your health, stamina and magica and location you were in four seconds ago and has this really cool rewind animation and puts you back in that spot.

MMORPG: Wow! I’m excited to try that out. Im geeking out a little about that.

Rich: Yeah, I’m a little nervous as players are really creative but it's a really fun ability. So I can’t wait for players to get into that.

MMORPG: So in regards to story, one of the things I loved was when you guys did the switch over to the chapter system, where anyone could jump in anywhere and dive in and not feel like they are missing out. How does summerset impact that?

Rich: It follows that same kind of pattern. So for a brand new player, we have a new tutorial that is all about Summerset, gets you on to the story line right away and makes you feel like you are a part of the story. You don’t feel like your missing anything. For existing players you can just take your regular characters and just jump straight into Summerset and there's a really nice on ramp into the story there. Everybody gets to play together and everybody is on the same page.

MMORPG: That’s one of the nice things you see with the game is you can jump in as a new player, you can jump in as an older player and there is this seamless transition for people and I'm excited to see how that works with the new expansion coming out. So the last thing I want to touch base on because it was highlighted and touched on is crafting. In the realm of crafting we have jewel crafting. First of all it seems to be what it sounds like. You’re building cool rings and amulets and those types of things. But one of the things you had mentioned which I am hoping you can elaborate a little bit on was in regards to stats. We have three base stats in Elder Scrolls. We've got health, magicka and Stamina and they are the all encompassing stats. You had mentioned in the coverage event that you’re introducing six new stats.

Rich: To clairy its six new traits.

MMORPG: Thank you for clarifying that!

Rich: That will flesh it out the nine so it worked very similarly to how the other crafting works. So like blacksmithing, like woodworking.

MMORPG: Can you give me a couple of examples of what we can hope to see?

Rich: Sure, I’ll give you two. So the first one is called blood thirsty. What that does is as your target’s  health gets lower you start to do more damage. So there’s a certain threshold, that once they hit that you start doing extra damage. That trait is actually sourced in PVP and get it or trade with someone who already has it. We’ve done that with all of our new traits that we’ve added. Another one, and for the life of me I cannot remember the name, we will call it Synergistic. That’s not it but basically it improves the synergies, the damage and the resource returns in synergies and that's actually sourced in trial, in trial gameplay.

MMORPG: That's all the time we have today. Rich thanks so much for taking the time to meet with me today!