The Thieves Guild launches today, March 7th for PC and Mac, and later this month for XB1 and PS4. To celebrate the launch, we caught up with Game Director Matt Firor to chat about the content of this DLC, and how it'll tie into the forthcoming Dark Brotherhood...
MMORPG: How long is the content expected to last this time around? The Orisnium quests and zone were/are absolutely massive. I gather this one’s a bit shorter.
Matt Firor: That’s kind of an open-ended question. Orsinium had a lot of quest content, but was self-contained. Hew’s Bane, the zone where much of the Thieves Guild DLC takes place, is smaller, but many of its quests take the player outside of the zone and back to original world zones. We have so much land mass in the game now that we really want our new content to take the player back to older zones to re-introduce them to characters and locations they previously played in. Overall, the story lines in Thieves Guild are 8-10 hours or so, but there are daily and repeatable quests that you can play near-infinitely, especially if you like stealing stuff and fencing it…
MMORPG: How do you decide on the stories to tell, and are we working towards any overall narrative with them? There was a bit of a godly cliffhanger at the end of the main questline, and not to spoil it, I think we're all wondering what comes next...
MF: Well, you’ll just have to keep playing and find out, eh? No, but seriously, at the end of the game’s main quest (where you confront Molag Bal to get your soul returned), there is a resolution. You find out who has been helping you along the way and that things are returning to normal. That’s enough of a conclusion to let us tell some other stories for a while, which we are having great fun doing.
MMORPG: Why the decision to make the new thieves guild skills passive? Do you fear players won't "notice" them as much?
MF: The new Thieves Guild skill line has two purposes. The first is to give players who are interested in larceny as a career the skills to make stealing and fencing more lucrative and streamlined. The other is to not rock the boat with combat-specific abilities that could interfere with PvE and PvP combat.
MMORPG: And while I love to steal things in TES games, I'm sure you all know that not everyone wants to be sneaky. For people not interested in raising their Legerdemain and Thieves Guild skills, what should excite them in this DLC?
MF: For players who aren’t interested so much in the mechanics of larceny, there’s always the great story that comes with the Thieves Guild DLC – in this case about the corrupt merchants and government officials in Abah’s Landing. There are also the new group bosses and the new Trial as well – so there’s plenty for everyone.
MMORPG: What makes the Maw of Lorkhaj different from previous trials?
MF: It is the first Trial to use our new dungeon level-scaling, which should make it far easier to put a Trial group together. I don’t want to spoil anything, but as Maw of Lorkhaj is the first Trial we’ve made since we revamped a lot of our dungeons, it’s the first time we’ve had a chance to put all of our learning into one large-group experience – so it is going to have new mechanics and new situations that you’ll have to figure out as a group.
MMORPG: There are some great new items in the Crown Store, like the summonable vendors. Are there plans to allow players to earn these in-game as well?
MF: You will be awarded a Fence assistant when you complete the Thieves Guild story. The other two types (merchant and bank) will be available in the Crown Store. We’ll have more information about them shortly, but a quick preview: when you summon an assistant, your whole group can interact with them, which gives them a ton of utility.
MMORPG: Why is there only one new armor dye? Imperial City had roughly 7 new dyes, Orsinium had 1 and now Thieves Guild has 1. Dyes and titles are always fun status symbol achievements to do, a carrot on a stick in a way.
MF: We need to be careful how many dyes we hand out – we have so many that it’s getting harder to distinguish between some of them, and we want to be sure that when we give out a new dye that it looks awesome and different.
MMORPG: Will players be getting a free respec of their abilities with the Thieves Guild patch?
MF: No, it’s not a good idea to make everyone respec their entire character whenever a DLC is released. Until we have the ability to respec just one skill line at a time, we won’t be doing any more forced respecs. We do have plans for this, and we’ll get it in as soon as we can.
MMORPG: How, if at all, will Thieves Guild tie into the Dark Brotherhood?
MF: In terms of story, it won’t. However, Dark Brotherhood skills will also piggy-back onto the Justice system, in that you’ll be doing a lot of sneaking. The difference is that in Thieves Guild you are sneaking and stealing, and Dark Brotherhood, you will be sneaking and stabbing.