Interview: Elder Scrolls Online’s Creative Director Talks About What’s Next

This coming winter, the current Season of the Dragon taking place in The Elder Scrolls Online will come to its conclusion with the Dragonhold expansion. Recently, Bethesda offered us a chance to get a glimpse behind-the-scenes of its current Elsweyr chapter, and a hint of things to come with the concluding expansion.

Elsweyr introduces a whole new zone for players to explore, along with a questline jam-packed with main and side missions and a number of new challenges. Additional mechanics will also be introduced. On top of that, players will also get to experience a new update to the general game before Dragonhold arrives, filled with fixes and Twitch Drops for consoles.

To get a better idea of what’s happening with the new Elsweyr add-on, and a bit of Dragonhold, we got a chance to sit down with the game’s creative director, Rich Lambert, during a recent stop at Bethesda’s presentation at PAX West.

First off, he had some sage advice for those that are hopping into this world, since there’s a lot to explore here. “With Elsweyr specifically, we have a brand new zone. It is northern Elsweyr, which is focused on Khajiit and their culture. There’s a brand new class in the Necromancer, and then, dragons – that’s the big one. Fight and kill dragons.”

He then talked about the effort that the team puts into adding additional content into an already overflowing game like Elder Scrolls, between Elsweyr and Dragonhold. “One of the first things that (game director) Matt and I do, we sit down and we talk about, you know, where haven’t we been, where we would like to go, what types of stories we want to tell. We settle in on kind of one word to help reinforce to the team what it is we’re looking for. 

“So, with Elsweyr in particular, the word we chose was ‘revenge.’ So this whole year of story content that we’re telling is all around ‘revenge.’ It starts with the big bad dragon getting his revenge for being locked up in the Halls of Colossus.”

Lambert then touched upon the latest class to be introduced into the world of Elder Scrolls Online. “The Necromancer is centered around the manipulation of mortal souls,” he explained. “So that’s their thing, raising the undead, you know, using kind of blood magic, that kind of stuff. And they’re different than our other classes, because they’re focused on kind of being a battlefield commander. 

“They get powered up by using corpses, so their style of gameplay is not just you and your target; it’s you, your target and the environment around there, and how you can position your target next to a corpse to get more power.”

Then we got into the Dragonhold expansion, which we were able to catch a quick glimpse of with some gameplay. We didn’t get a chance to kill a dragon during that time, but Lambert told us not to feel bad about it – apparently there’s a lot of work that goes into taking one down. This isn’t Skyrim.

Lambert said, “That’s one of the biggest things we tried to do in terms of differentiating us from Skyrim. So in Skyrim, you were the Dovahkiin. You had this tool set to be able to go one-on-one against a dragon. In our timeline, in Elder Scrolls Online, there is no Dovahkiin. We don’t have that toolset; and so, you have to rely on your friends to help you take these things down.”

He recommends making sure such friends are in place, as this won’t be a conquerable fight by yourself. “It’s very difficult to solo,” Lambert said with a laugh.

Then he talked about a “big” feature that will be coming later in the year to Elder Scrolls Online. “With Dragonhold, that is the southern portion of Elsweyr. The storyline is focused on the Dragonguard, and kind of putting the band back together. The Dragonguard are the precursor to the Blades, so they are an elite force of dragon hunters.

“The storyline is focused on a dragon cult and this prophecy that they’re trying to fulfill,” Lambert continued. “And, if you complete that content, and you complete the Elsweyr content and unlock a series of quests that allow you to kind of put a cap on the entire year and the story that we’ve been telling.” In other words, the more of the game you complete, the closer you get to the endgame that the team is going for.

It sounds like fans of Elder Scrolls are in for a treat this year, and Lambert took a moment to thank them. “That’s the goal, our community is a huge part of what we do,” he said. “If it wasn’t for them, we wouldn’t get to do what we do, so events like this is our way of bringing them in, getting them down, getting to spend some one-on-one time with them, and saying, ‘Hey, we’re here, we love you all.”

Elsweyr officially launched back in June, and players can explore its world now. As for the Dragonhold update, it’ll arrive sometime later this year, though a date hasn’t been given yet.

Elder Scrolls Online is available now for PC, Xbox One and PlayStation 4. Big thanks to Bethesda for having us down at the event!

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Gamescom 2019: Elder Scrolls Online Will Be On Stadia

One of the big questions we’ve had about Google Stadia since it was announced is if it would have online games. Well, it seems that we now have an answer to that question since Elder Scrolls Online will be on Stadia according to the announcement made at Gamescom today. And actually, if you’ve been following Elder Scrolls Online you would have already known this. Today though we got to see it become official during the Stadia Connect presentation at Gamescom 2019.

What we do know already is that there won’t be any cross-platform play with PC or consoles. So anyone playing on Stadia won’t have access to the 13 million ESO players that currently exist. How many people will be on a Stadia server? Will they have the population to support an MMO? All questions we’ll just have to wait to have answered.

There is also the question of data usage. MMOs are notorious for being big beasts. That’s why we’ve never seen any MMOs that are anywhere near as gorgeous as single-player games. What will that mean for streaming an MMO? Thanks to a PC Gamer article we know that Stadia will use 1TB of data in 65 hours of 4k streaming. If you have a monthly data cap on your internet you might want to seriously consider what you’re doing before you get Stadia. 65 hours goes by in a flash, especially when you’re talking about MMOs. At my height of playing MMOs, I could have easily done 65 hours in just a few days.

Check out the trailer below for Elder Scrolls Online: Elsweyr which was shown during the Stadia Connect presentation at Gamescom 2019.

Source: Stadia Connect Presentation

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Elder Scrolls Online Scalebreaker DLC Launching in August

Quakecon was held over the weekend and during it, the release of the Elder Scrolls Online Scalebreaker DLC was announced as August 12th for PC and Mac and August 27th for consoles. It includes two new dungeons and sees the return of the beloved Sai Sahan.

We also got to find out some details about improvements that are coming to the game from now until Q2 next year. The Q4 update is called Dragonhold and will include Southern Elsweyr. The Q4 2019 update includes a complete re-write of the LFG system, a memory management overhaul, and the first of the behind the scenes combat ability improvements. Q1 2020’s update is currently in development. It will include more of the behind the scenes combat ability improvements as well as a patching overhaul. Other updates then include faster loading art and characters, frame rate improvements, and server optimization. Finally, in Q2 2020, there will be more frame rate improvements, an account database “Cold Storage,” and additional bug fixes.

From the sounds of it the developers are hard at work implementing upgrades and making changes to the game based on the feedback of players. These little backend changes will have a huge impact on the quality of life of the game. It’s great to see that even after all this time since the game launched there are still improvements that can be made to make the game just that little bit better. While Scalebreaker may be just around the corner it’s not hard to admit that Dragonhold is what we’re really looking forward to. It is the culmination of nearly a year’s worth of updates after all.

 

Source: Quakecon

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Elder Scrolls Online Elsweyr Now Available

Those of you who have been waiting to explore the latest world in The Elder Scrolls Online…well, you don’t have to wait any longer. Bethesda has announced today that the gates to Elsweyr have officially opened. The new expansion has now become available for Xbox One, PlayStation 4, PC and Mac.

 

Here’s what you can find within this bold new world. And you might want to set some time aside…

An All New Class – Necromancer

With the Necromancer, death itself is a weapon. This dark, mysterious new Class – the game’s newest class since 2017’s Morrowind Chapter – allows players to command the dead and cast powerful spells to overcome their foes and bolster defenses. The Black Arts at your fingertips, manipulate the flesh of involuntary souls to take on those that stand in your way.

Dragons Wreak Havoc upon Elsweyr in the Season of the Dragon

Dragons have returned to Tamriel in the Season of the Dragon, a year-long interconnected adventure. Unleashed upon the world by the unwitting Abnur Tharn, the great Kaalgrontiid and his followers stalk from the skies and threaten to burn down the ancestral home of the Khajiit.

Adventure in the Diverse Environments of Elsweyr

In Elsweyr, players will travel across savanna grasslands, scorching deserts, and palatial cities tangling with invading Imperial forces and menacing dragons. The homeland of the Khajiit is rich in life, history, culture, and mythology hours of quests and challenges for new and old players alike.

If you’re looking to pick up this expansion, you can get a Digital Upgrade now for just $39.99. However, you can also get a Standard Edition of the game, which includes the standard ESO game along with Morrowind, Summerset and the Eslweyr add-on for $59.99. Quite a well-rounded package if you ask us!

Check out the debut trailer for the Elsweyr expansion below. We’ll see you in this brave new world! Will you be checking it out?

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The Elder Scrolls Online Elsweyr: Here’s What Players Can Expect

A little while back, Bethesda made its presence felt during PAX East weekend in Boston. Granted, it wasn’t actually at the show, but it did host the Bethesda Game Days event. There, it gave fans the opportunity to go hands on with Rage 2, as well as check out the new Elder Scrolls Online content for Elsweyr. While the company’s first-person shooter had its fair share of popularity, fans flocked to see what the new expansion of ESO would offer, and it’s quite a bit.

Already available on the company’s PTS (and set for release this June), this new chapter has an abundant amount of content for fans to check out. Right off the bat, you’ll get to see the land of Elsweyr, a massive new zone that offers dangerous foes to take on, and new goodies to discover.

On top of that, there’s also a new main story quest within the game, along with the introduction of a whole new class – Necromancer. Whatever character you decide to use, however, you’ll find lots to do. There’s a new Trial, Sunspire; a series of new Dragon Hunt events; some new world bosses to tackle; public dungeons to explore; item sets to unlock for your character; and, of course, side quests to add to your adventure overall.

The big thing here, based on my gameplay time with the new expansion, is dragons. Granted, you’ve probably seen enough of these beasts in Skyrim, however, in Elsweyr, they have an imminent amount of presence, and players are going to like what they find with these creatures.

Elsweyr actually kicks off a whole year of content being planned for ESO, as part of a “Season of the Dragon” by the publisher. But this is obviously one hell of a start for it, based upon what we experienced from within the game.

While there’s a lot happening with the dragons, we dare not ignore what the Necromancer brings to the picture here. This class relies heavily on calling upon the undead to do bidding, including minions that run around on fire and skeletons that carry bows and arrows, serving as a secondary arsenal to take on enemies. That said, it’s not entirely about being an action-based class. In fact, if you think tactfully and set them up for victory from a defensive advantage, you could very well score some bonus points for your character.

Thus far, the spells that your Necromancer can cast are highly impressive. The team at Bethesda put a ton of work into the animations so that the dead really come to life like nothing you’ve seen in a game like this. The way they execute battles is also impressive and keep in mind this is coming from a person who doesn’t usually engage in such a role-playing adventure of this magnitude. This could be just the type of character to bring you in and keep you there.

Now, let’s get back to those dragons. We didn’t actually experience these within our game demo, but during a recent live-stream for the game, the team discussed how you can see them on the map and go after them. That said, you’ll need to continue your pursuit, and if you die, you’ll need to be back on the hunt. That said, they are pretty impressive to see, and it’ll be interesting to see what they have in store when the expansion comes around.

Oh, and one other great feature is being able to form your guild around improved rules. While Elder Scrolls Online is certainly not challenging when it comes to putting together your own group, there are limits in terms of how you can connect. However, once Elsweyr launches, players will be able to search in a directory and see who’s playing. You can actually change certain search terms for your character, such as what kind of guild you’re looking to be part of; teammates you might be on the hunt for; and more. It’s an interesting new tool that should make it easier to put a group together, and we know that’s something a lot of fans have been asking for. Alas, we didn’t see it in action during the demo, but it sounds very promising, to say the least.

While hunting down dragons and playing with the undead sounds all well and good, Elsweyr actually offers something deeper with its exploration. Within this new world, you can discover a stunning new culture, with its own abundant history to dig into. This includes visiting the city of Rimmen, though you may want to watch out for Imperial forces that will stop at nothing to keep you from taking over.

For that matter, you can also check out the forests within the Tenmar Borderlands, as well as the Two Moons Temple. Sure, you may be tempted to hunt down a dragon or two, but it never hurts to see what you can find in-between taking on the zone events.

Oh, and when you do get into a skirmish with a dragon, be prepared for the fight of your life. As I mentioned before, they can take a licking and finish you quickly, forcing you to begin your fight again. They’re more devastating than most enemies in the game – even the Abyssal Geysers, and anyone will tell you what a handful they are. Your best bet is to work with that guild feature and take them on with friends. Going on your own is not advised; you’ve been warned.

As for those side quests, they lend a hand when it comes to the story coming together. As you venture through the land, you’ll come across the Khajiit people, who will ask you favors and provide you some details on their history – some of which can be quite useful as you make your way on to your next adventure.

Those dungeons can be fun as well. You won’t just deal with the usual round of cretins. Instead, you’ll have to put up with all sorts of beings as you journey through the Tomb of the Serpents or the Delves. Just be careful – those Akaviri spirits mean serious business.

There’s a lot of ground to cover here, so your best bet is to just explore and check out the world of Elsweyr for yourself. It’s firmly stacked, and looks to be one of the most important expansions for ESO to date. And the good news is you won’t have to wait too long for it. As I mentioned, it’s already available on PTS if you’re playing on PC. Otherwise, it’ll release on June 4 for Xbox One, PlayStation 4 and PC. We know you’re dying to check out the guild stuff, and honestly, we can’t blame you.

(Thanks to Bethesda for having us down to play the game!)

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Elder Scrolls Online: Elsweyr Introduced Along with 2019 Plans

On a livestream today Zenimax unpacked the 2019 plans for Elder Scrolls Online. These plans include Elder Scrolls Online: Elsweyr which will bring the zone of Elsweyer, the home of the Khajiit. Elsweyr also introduces the Necromancer class, 30 hours of new adventures, and a new World Event; Dragon Attacks.

Yes! Dragons are at last coming to Elder Scrolls Online they’re also bringing a year-long event with them, the Season of Dragon. It begins in February with the release of the Wrathstone DLC game pack, continues through the release of Elsweyr, then beyond into the Q3 DLC dungeon pack and the Q4 Story DLC. The Season of Dragon will connect all four updates into one massive adventure.

Elsweyr is set to launch on June 4th for PC, Mac, Xbox One, and Playstation 4. It will be available in Early Access for pre-purchase for PC and Mac starting May 20th. Speaking of pre-ordering, any current player who pre-orders Elsweyr will earn immediate access to an exclusive mount. Details about the Standard Edition, Upgrade Editions, and Collector’s Edition can all be found on the official Elder Scrolls Online website.

From the sound of it, Elder Scrolls Online has a very busy year planned. Events are already taking place in game like the Midyear Mayhem PvP event that has been running since January 10th and will continue until January 21st.

You’ll also be able to transform your Nascent Indrik mount by participating in this year’s events. Each Q1 event will give you the opportunity to buy Indrik berries. These events are Midyear Mayhem, Morrowind Celebration, Thieves Guild and Dark Brotherhood Celebration, and Jester’s Festival. When you get enough berries to evolve you’ll be able to immediately start working on evolving a new Nascent Indrik.

 

Source: Press Release

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