Group play is going to be one of the hallmarks of Elder Scrolls Online when One Tamriel goes live later this fall. Dungeons are key to that goal. We had the chance to speak to Rich Lambert about how dungeons fit into One Tamriel and much more.
MMORPG: One Tamriel is about getting more and more people playing together in ESO. How are the dungeons being changed in order to facilitate this?
Rich Lambert: The biggest change was separating story from difficulty in the dungeons. With One Tamriel, you will be able to play any dungeon on either Normal or Veteran difficulty. In addition dungeons will now always battle-level players to max level, so it doesn’t matter who the leader of the group is, you will always be able to play with your friends and still receive level-appropriate loot/XP in whatever dungeon you choose.
MMORPG: How does scaling work in the dungeons from here on out?
RL: Dungeons and Trials will now always scale the player up to max level instead of the dungeon being scaled to the group leader’s level. (They will now work exactly like zones instead of working differently.) It is required that you’ve unlocked Champion Rank in order to do Veteran difficulty dungeons and Trials.
MMORPG: What work has been done on the LFG tool to ensure people get into dungeon groups quickly?
Prior to Update 12, we made some improvements to the Grouping/Activity Tool to help players more easily form groups for dungeons. We’re currently tracking down a few bugs and fixing them as quickly as we can, and with the most recent fixes we’re seeing the queue move pretty quickly now. We have more updates planned for LFG in future and when we get a bit closer to them, we will start to discuss them in more detail.
MMORPG: Each dungeon now has their own Monster Mask, too right? Can you share a few, and how players can get them?
RL: Monster sets (mask and shoulders) are found by running the Undaunted Daily Pledges and Veteran dungeons. The shoulders are rewards for completing Undaunted Pledges (you get a key and can open a chest at the Undaunted Enclave) and the masks drop 100% of the time off the end boss in Veteran difficulty dungeons. A good example of a monster mask would be the Selene helm from Selene’s Web – the 1-piece bonus adds maximum Stamina and the 2-piece bonus gives a chance to spawn a spirit bear to deal a single high-damage hit to your target.
MMORPG: Dungeons are one of the chief ways players can do PVE together. Yet, new players may not know they exist unless they see others talking about them in-game. Have you thought about directing players to them somehow in-game?
RL: We already guide players to dungeons in a few ways – the Undaunted are scattered around in various towns and they will direct you to the first dungeon in each alliance. We also have quest NPCs outside those dungeons if players happen to find the dungeon out in the world. Also, when the players hit level 45, the Undaunted send the player a mail with an invitation to join the guild in the form of a quest.
MMORPG: Each dungeon has its own set now, too? Can you share a few examples?
RL: Yep, each dungeon has three unique item sets that can only be obtained in them. As an example, in Tempest Island you will find the Overwhelming Surge, Storm Master, and Jolting Arms sets. (Light, Medium, and Heavy, respectively.) And these sets also include jewelry and weapons.
MMORPG: With all of the new sets being added to the game, has the team thought about some sort of gear collection system, or wardrobe system?
RL: Yeah we’ve definitely talked about a feature like that, but don’t have plans in the short-term for it.
MMORPG: In the future, when the Champion Level cap is increased, will this also increase the level of the gear that is dropped from dungeons?
RL: We can increase the Champion Point cap without increasing gear levels – that was the one of the big reasons why we removed Veteran levels in the Dark Brotherhood update. (to separate item level from player level.) When and if we do increase the item level, we will make sure we do it across the board for the game. (i.e. – overland, PVP, dungeons, Trials…etc.)
MMORPG: Are there any stops put in place to prevent a "low level" character joining up with a group of 3 high-level friends and being rushed through the higher level dungeons to speed up levelling?
RL: A huge part of One Tamriel, is enabling players of different levels to play with each other and we don’t put hard stops in the way. That said, there’s more to your character than just hitting level 50. There are lots of Skill Points to collect (questing/Skyshards), skills and skill lines to level, Champion Points to earn and gear to acquire.
MMORPG: For the gear drops, how will the item scaling work? Will it be scale for every level, every other level or something similar?
RL: For levels 1-50, equipment will always drop at exactly your level – for instance, a level 10 player will find level 10 gear, while the level 32 player right next to them will find level 32 gear. Once you hit level 50 and begin accruing Champion Points, gear scales to your Champion Rank. Gear at Champion Ranks only “goes up” in increments of 10, up to the current maximum of Champion 160 – so there’s Champion 10 and Champion 20 gear, but not Champion 13 gear. This means a level 50, Champion Rank 55 character will find Champion Rank 50 gear.
MMORPG: The scaling, does it also affect the Trials? Can a "low level" character create a group of other low levels can do a trail or will they need to be a certain champion level?
RL: As noted above, all dungeons and Trials will scale the same way as the overland zones – players are battle-leveled to max level. Note – you need to be at least Champion Rank to do Veteran difficulty.
MMORPG: What will happen to existing gear from dungeons? If I currently have a bunch of pieces from Fungal Grotto that are level 14 will they scale to my character if I'm level 25 by the time the patch is live?
RL: The gear is scaled to your actual level at the time it drops so no, any gear you already have will be unchanged level-wise. (i.e. You kill the monster at level 10 and get a level 10 piece. If you go back there at level 25 and kill the monster, you will get a level 25 piece.)
MMORPG: One Tamriel will unify the game, creating one world with thousands upon thousands of players adventuring through Tamriel, no alliance restrictions in place, but how will this work for the Cyrodiil dungeons? We can't group with enemy factions in Cyrodiil, will we be able to do these dungeons with players even though they are within Cyrodiil?
RL: Cyrodiil works the same way it always has – it’s a three-alliance war and player characters from other alliances are your enemy. Imperial City Prison and White Gold Tower are group dungeons and have always been accessible from outside of Cyrodiil. That won’t change with One Tamriel, so you will still be able to play those dungeons with anyone.