Matt Firor, Game Director for The Elder Scrolls Online, took to the ESO forums today to address player concerns over PvP and the dearth of updates on fixing the game mode's issues. This is seemingly in response to a statement made on a stream by Creative Director Rich Lambert's wife, Terri, response to concerns about PvP's issues.
The clip in question, which has been shared on Reddit, the official ESO forums, as well as our own, is taken from a personal stream by Lambert, one of many the duo do after hours on Rich's personal Twitch channel. Many streams showing the two playing ESO exist, with the couple talking many topics, from life to Rich answering questions about the MMO.
During a discussion on accessibility, one commenter on Twitch asked about accessibility in PvP, which Terri - who it should be noted is not a ZeniMax employee or representative and therefore doesn't officially speak for the studio - reacts by making a "crying" gesture, telling players they have "no sympathy" for PvPers. In the background Rich can be seen just dropping his head, shaking it, likely knowing exactly where this clip would eventually lead.
Player reaction has been, well, pretty predictable. Frustrations with PvP and the lack of updates to fix the massive issues has only grown in recent years, with many PvPers feeling neglected by the dev team. Some players have come to the conclusion that ZeniMax has simply "given up on PvP." Players on the forums have expressed anger at being "shamed" for caring about the state of PvP and asking questions.
While the question was certainly meant to get a response, as the accessability topic was about real accessbility options, things like colorblind modes and more, this isn't the first time some players may have felt ignored and neglected on one of these streams. Another clip has been circulating, with Terri stressing that the developers are working on PvP. However, it's the part of Lambert stating that if players feel they have done all the PvP they can possibly do, "go PvP somewhere else" that players have latched onto.
Seemingly inresponse to the controversy, game director Matt Firor has put out a statement on the official forums, and while he doesn't direct address the comments or the stream, he does try to assuage some fears that PvPers might have.
The statement starts off with Firor admitting that it's been "long past time" for a PvP update detailing improvements. Effectively, Firor states that in order to give "good play experience," the code for the server needs to be partially rewritten.
"It’s long past time to give everyone an update on where we are with PvP improvements. As many of you know, we did a series of tests over the last year to give us more data. These tests were successful and gave us the information we needed. We now have a plan going forward - but heads up: it is going to take some time.In short – just like we did for the client a year or so back when we introduced multithreaded rendering to increase client frame rates – we are going to rearchitect our server. The version of ESO in 2022 is many magnitudes larger and more complex than the ESO that launched in 2014. So, in order to give everyone a good play experience in high-intensity situations like PvP and Trials, we need to essentially rewrite some of the foundational server code to account for it. This should dramatically increase server performance, but obviously we will need to test and evaluate as we go along."
Firor goes on to state that the team has been working the last quarter on this, though he does stress that "changing the fundamentals of a huge live game" isn't easy and will take time. He also stresses that the team is handling much of this work behind the scenes and that they "are definitely not going to rush it."
Firor also mentions that while the team will be doing everything they can to get Cyrodiil and Battlegrounds in a spot where they're as interesting as they can be, no new features will be added until the foundational work is done and tested completely.
"In the meantime, we’ll consider additional ways to keep Cyrodiil and Battlegrounds interesting and exciting (for example, potentially special rulesets or weekend events) and will continue to work on bug fixes affecting combat, but we won’t be adding any new features to PvP until the work mentioned above is complete. Doing so would not only prolong the fixes we want to implement but would also exacerbate the issue of poor performance."
He goes on to close by addressing player frustrations, especially as updates and information have been scant.
"We completely understand the frustration many of you are feeling, especially with lack of information about our PvP plans. This was a huge decision to make and we needed to make sure we had exhausted all other possibilities before announcing this. Thanks for bearing with us, and we will give you periodic updates about the re-architecture progress over the course of the year."