It was a busy 2015 for The Elder Scrolls Online: Tamriel Unlimited, and by all accounts, 2016 looks to be even busier. From switching the business model less than a year from its initial PC and Mac launch, to the release of Elder Scrolls Online for Xbox One and PlayStation 4, 2015 was about establishing a plan moving forward. Matt Firor, the game’s lead, broke down what’s on the horizon for ZeniMax Online Studios’ game in the near — and not so distant — future.
The release windows were announced for the upcoming DLCs: The Thieves Guild will hit Elder Scrolls Online in Q1, while The Dark Brotherhood will hit in Q2 2016. Firor said that the Thieves Guild DLC should be live on the Public Test Server (PTS) early next month. Players of the older Elder Scrolls games will be excited to know as well that the Dark Brotherhood addition is set primarily in Cyrodiil, where fans of the series remember the fantastic Oblivion Brotherhood questline. Firor also teased that there are more DLC plans after the Dark Brotherhood, but fans will “have to wait for details.” Firor also teased some of the plans for updates moving forward in Elder Scrolls Online, such as console specific quality of life improvements, character customization shop, and the long-awaited, much sought after player housing, though no express info was given about the last feature at this time.
With the announcement that Veteran Ranks are indeed actually on their way out, Firor pointed out that that is still the case, and is on track to be implemented likely Q2 2016. The Champion System would take its place as the post-level 50 progression, giving players a chance to continue to create the best character for style at the end-game, utterly replacing the Veteran Ranks in the near future.
Also in the upcoming Elder Scrolls Online update plan includes making every future DLC level scaleable, giving players of all levels access to the same content and able to level with each other without restriction. This doesn’t mean that the zones that are currently leveled to their content will be going away — the faction areas will still not scale as far as can be surmised, but all future Tamriel Unlimited will go the way of the Orsinium and Imperial City updates. One of the hallmarks of the Elder Scrolls series was the ability to go anywhere in the game world, regardless of your individual level. However, MMOs don’t exactly work the same way, with content being leveled to the zone. So a Level 1 character can’t just walk into the end-game areas without serious consequences to their avatar’s health. Elder Scrolls purists really hated this, as the level restrictions create an artificial barrier that inhibits the exploration content of the series. By using the level scaling with future updates, it takes out that barrier and really opens up future areas to all players to enjoy.
Unfortunately, it’s not all great news for Elder Scrolls Online players. Firor mentioned certain systems that were previously talked about will be getting the ax, including the PVP element to the wildly popular Justice System. According to Firor, the reasoning behind scrapping this feature is down to how exploitable the system could be.
“We will not be adding in the previously discussed PvP component of the Justice System. We caveated this many times – as I said at the ESO QuakeCon presentation in 2014, it was always going to be very difficult making it fun, but not exploitable. When introducing new systems to the game, our number one goal is to make sure that we don’t introduce new problems. Having players enforce justice on the criminal activity of other players has the potential to introduce imbalances and other issues that greatly outweigh any potential gameplay benefits. The game’s central concept of ‘PvP in PvP areas and be safe in safe areas’ needs to stay the way it is.”
Additionally, spell crafting is on the back burner as well, though Firor left open the possibility of having the feature introduced again in the future. You can read the full post on the official Elder Scrolls Online website, as Firor also details PvP balancing and more.
Looking forward to what The Elder Scrolls Online: Tamriel Unlimited has in store for players in 2016? Sound off in the comments below!