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Brian Wheeler Talks PVP in Morrowind

William Murphy Posted:
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During a recent trip to Zenimax Online Studios, we got to talk with ESO's PVP Lead Brian Wheeler about the upcoming PVP battlegrounds, Cyrodiil changes, and more. 

MMORPG.com: Are there PvP specific Battleground loot sets? Like item sets?

Brian Wheeler: Yes, there will be specific sets.

MMORPG.com: Will they help you in PvP? Or are they just meant to be exclusive to PvP?

Brian: There's definitely uses for ones that I can see everywhere. I can't tell you anything else. There will be like four or five sets that you get from Battlegrounds. And that's full deal, rings, weapons, etc.

MMORPG.com: And they'll look awesome and everything? Glowy particle effects?

Brian: No glowy particle effects, but I do know what they're going to look like and I went, "Yes!"

MMORPG.com: So you get points for Battlegrounds to spend?

Brian: The way it will work, when you go into a Battleground match, there's obviously the score of the match. Then there's as you're playing, you're going to get medals as you play, and the medals reinforce the game. So, let's say, we have medals that are kill other player, get 5k crit, get a last hit, stuff like that. Those are great for Deathmatch. But in CTF, those medals won't exist. You'll get medals for capturing the flag, healing the flag carrier, killing a flag carrier, returning a flag. Those will be those types of medals. It's stuff that's reinforced in the game modes, so that matches don't simply turn into Deathmatch.

MMORPG.com: And if you're a player that just sits there and doesn't do anything, do you get auto kicked?

Brian: There will be an activity monitor behind the scenes that kicks you out if you sit there. If you're defending a flag, it knows. If you're at a flag, you're good. If you quit early there's gonna be a penalty. There will either be a penalty that doesn't let you rejoin or you get no AP for a period of time. Something like that.

MMORPG.com: Everybody gets rewards, but winners get more?

Brian: Yep. Depending upon the medals that you earned and depending upon first, second, and third, that's what's gonna dictate whether you got a green, blue, or purple item.

MMORPG.com: What other kind of stuff do you get in your rewards?

Brian: We're talking about adding other things that are more useful across the board. We just added the alchemy sacks to the Imperial City. So that's become a sort of, "Maybe we should do that for PvP as a whole."

MMORPG.com: Maybe you're playing Battlegrounds and that's all you really have time for, but you still want to work on your crafting, so you get stuff like that.

Brian: Yeah. I'm pretty sure the gear is going to be bind-on-equip. Pretty sure we're going to have selling. That's still getting a discussion. If it follows suit, like rewards for the Worthy, then you should be able to sell the stuff.

MMORPG.com: Are there going to be seasons with these leaderboards?

Brian: Leaderboards will be weekly leaderboards. There will be rewards, we haven't nailed those down just yet. There may just be all these purple versions of the Battleground gear or not. We are looking at adding ranked stuff later.

Initially, when you play for now, there's going to be a 10-49 bracket, there will be a 10-50 bracket, and then maybe a 10-50 no CP bracket. There's also plans that when you're grouped you'll be matched against other grouped players, through a certain amount of cycles in the queue. If you're sitting there waiting too long, it's going to go "Screw it! Find some PUGs, put 'em in there, let's go!" That also being said, it's going to try and match single players against other single players.

MMORPG.com: Will it look for class roles?

Brian: That's going to be a very fast queue in that regard, that doesn't get hung up on those. But that also means you could have a team of all DPS, a team of all healers, a team of all tanks.

MMORPG.com: Being able to switch between item sets and skill sets on the fly, with like a loadout?

Brian: We haven't had any plans to introduce like an outfit. That'd be cool. I agree. That being said, before each match starts, there's a pre-game timer. So, if you look around and go, "OK. We're all DPS. I'm gonna switch out to my light armor and healing staff."

MMORPG.com: Are there any updates coming to Cyrodiil?

Brian: We're always doing tweaks. We just did the 1500 AP and 6000 AP thing, besides Blackwood Mine, which we fixed. To see if that changes player behavior, movement. We're looking at modifying their behaviors in terms of giving different rewards. Right now the 1500 AP and 6000 per keep thing, that is leading up to something we'll discuss when the time comes. But we didn't want to increase the values of those, because we wanted to have people try to spread out and try to take the objectives that are already there. A lot of feedback has been, "Give us more objectives to take." But you guys aren't taking the ones that are already there. And the feedback for that is that they're not worth anything. At that point, we said, "Let's make them the same value as a player kill." If it's a mine or a farm or a lumber mill, it's 1500 points, because a level 50 player is 1500 points. And you can take a mine solo. There is, of course, the timer for the thing to actually flip when you sit on a flag. We're looking at either adjusting that or looking at other values.

MMORPG.com: So people aren't trading.

Brian: Right. We know that that's going to occur, because of the path of least resistance to get AP, but on the other hand the question has been for a long time, "Why don't you make them worth more AP?" Well, now you know why!  It's more of a matter of giving them what they want, but also showing and stating, "We know this is going to cause this behavior. But we are also prepared to do other changes to see how we can curb that behavior." Things like making, not necessarily things like making the flag flip slower, but if you notice when you flip a flag all the way, there's still a time delay before it actually flips. We may extend that wait period. We may add some form of non flip buff/debuff thing. There's always things when you're looking at to continually add to Cyrodiil or Imperial City.

MMORPG.com:  What are your thoughts on the map of Cyrodiil becoming a bit stale over time? What can you do to spice it up?

Brian: There's a ton of unused areas and we have our own factions in the game already. We could add Alliance specific new things or we could add Imperial encampments. One of the things we could theoretically add is giving Cheydinhal or Chorrol capture locations. We can give them that. They were left empty at first, because we did one per Alliance, and if you rotated all three maps on top of each other, then Bruma, Vlastarus, and Cropsford, were the most even for the time being. The problem with doing it in Chorrol and Cheydinhal is that they are literally outside a keep's sight distance. You can see those towns. Shy of going in and adding in a whole new town, it would be difficult. But Bravil would have been perfect, but Bravil's out of bounds.

MMORPG.com: What about something like unlocking a world boss for your faction?

Brian: There's that. There's a possibility of adding a Murderball out there. So, there's things that we can add, that we're still going through the phases of design reviews. The Cyrodiil experience that we have is pretty good. When you play in an active Trueflame, or an active Azura's, or an active Blackwater Blade, it's hoppin'. People stay there a lot. It's one of the key stats about ESO. When a lot of people get into PvP, they love it. They just stay in there. 

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William Murphy

Bill is the former Managing Editor of MMORPG.com, RTSGuru.com, and lover of all things gaming. He's been playing and writing about MMOs and geekery since 2002, and you can harass him and his views on Twitter @thebillmurphy.