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Chatting All Things The Elder Scrolls Legends with Pete Hines

Michael Bitton Posted:
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MMORPG.com: How do you feel about the game's current state of balance? And what is your philosophy towards balance in TESL? Some studios take a more active approach towards tweaking existing cards, while others lean more on adding new cards to expand players options to dealing with problematic strategies or decks. Pete Hines: I think our approach is to constantly re-evaluate and re-examine the cards that we've got. Certainly, when we go to add new cards, we're looking at existing cards and seeing if there are some things that might be better addressed by adding a new card. Or, hopefully what you can do is, rather than saying, well, "I'm going to give you this card specifically to deal with that card that's not a great way to go." The better thing to do is, why is that card a problem? And should we do something to that card, so that if it's unfair, we make it a little bit more fair without requiring players to put a specific into their deck to answer it. I'm not really a good judge for how is the meta going and so forth. I'm not a great constructed player and particularly good at evaluating the meta. I tend to prefer limited more, because that's just usually how I play strategy card games. But to your question about how's the team addressing it, I think the answer is we're trying to be aggressive, we're trying to make changes that make it fun and varied. If we make changes and they're not liked, then we'll roll 'em back or do something else to make sure that we're continuing to adjust and modify so that players are happy and the meta game is healthy as opposed to just sitting back and saying, "Well, that's the way we designed it and so anything we to do address it is gonna have to come down the road with new cards." I think we've been pretty aggressive and really embraced why a digital game can be better than a physical card game, because you can make those changes. You can decide a card that does a certain thing is just way too powerful for four magicka and it needs to be five and say, "Well, then we're going to change it to five." As opposed to, "We printed it that way, so we can't change it." MMORPG.com: Can you talk about your views and current plans for TESL as an eSport? Is this something Bethesda really wants to get behind with TESL? Or are you looking to see where things go on their own first? Pete Hines: I think we have some plans to more formally support and allow it to grow, whether it's through in-game competitive tournaments, or whether it's better support for spectating and streaming. I think that's all part of our road map for this year. I think we have some things that we'll probably be talking about in the nearer term, in terms of what to expect, maybe next month, to talk about what's coming up, and then to start to lay out for folks, maybe without specifics, but to say, "We're doing X. We're doing Y." We are listening to the kinds of things players are asking for and to give them an idea of the things you can expect to come this year, along with new sets and single player content, and some of those other things. MMORPG.com: Do you have any plans for 2v2? Pete Hines: It's on our very, very long list of things that have been talked about and kicked around. I don't know if I would go beyond that. It wasn't designed as a two lane battlefield specifically because of two players, it was more to increase the sort of variety and player choice and the strategy of not just everything goes on to the same battlefield. If they have a giant creature, I can just constantly attack or kill whatever you put down. Certainly that's an interesting possibility, but I think there's a lot of other stuff to make the game that we have a lot better. As you said, whether or not it's exploring new ways to use lanes and different lane conditions in PvP, or any number of other things. We'll have to see.

MMORPG.com: What's on the checklist holding Elder Scrolls Legends from leaving open beta and being considered a live service? Pete Hines: I think it's sort of where we feel like we are in terms of, we don't really have much in the way of stability issues, it's more about squeezing out the last few bugs and quirks of, at this point it's a lot more corner cases, that I still find those to be, personally, I don't want to see that stuff come up, so that when people go to play a competitive strategy card game, that all the rules and actions are happening as they should. I think there's a few final things we want to do on the game side and then some more things we're trying to do on the back end, sort of behind the scenes. Things that don't really effect playing a card game, but that are things that are related to accounts or usability, that make things feel a little cleaner or easier, but I would say, at this point, we're really in the short strokes on that. I'm hopeful that we're going to get there and sort of formally be released and pull that beta tag off. I think that most folks that play it feel like it's a pretty solid product. But because we're going to be on other platforms, like tablets, and Mac, and other things, that there are some I's we want to dot and T's we want to cross, so that we feel like we're in a good place as it relates to getting out on those platforms as well. MMORPG.com: Do you know at this point when players can hope to find the game available on mobile platforms? Pete Hines: Yeah, I think we're getting pretty close on the tablet side. The plan was always tablets first and then phones after. I feel like we're getting pretty close. I play it a pretty healthy amount on my iPad, but again, some of the stuff that's holding us up there is not related to the game. It's more of the, like one of my big things, is I don't want you to have to create an account when you download on iPad and want to start playing. On the PC version, you have to. You download the Bethesda.net Launcher and have to make an account before you can start playing. I think folks on the PC are a little bit more tolerant of that. On the iPad, I don't think they are as much, so we need to finish coming up with a system, where, if you decide not to create an account, that we basically almost create one for you behind the scenes, until you're ready to formally pick a username and so forth. There's just some technical challenges to doing that kind of thing and making sure it works right. MMORPG.com: Finally, can you share any information on what players can expect to see added or changed with the game over the short term? Say the next three months or so. Pete Hines: The big thing in the very short term is the Chaos Arena coming back and then we are actively work on another balance and update thing. That one will probably come a little sooner than we have in the past, just because the holidays kind of messed up our cadences a little bit. In the not too distant future, it'll probably be, hopefully talking about some of the next bigger things that are coming, whether it's new features, or bigger release of new cards, or things like that. Short term it's going to be kind of getting out of beta and in the mid term it'll be that stuff, as well as hopefully maybe some news on when you can play this on a tablet or phone.

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Michael Bitton

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