Matt Firor Discusses the “Road Ahead” for ESO

Adventurers will explore the ruins of Craglorn in the upcoming patch!

Adventurers will explore the ruins of Craglorn in the upcoming patch!

Today, on the Elder Scrolls Online official site, Matt Firor shared an interesting post detailing the “road ahead” for ESO. The Game Director shared some thoughts on the launch of the game so far, his take on certain challenges which ZOS has been working hard to overcome, and some solutions that are in the works to improve the ESO game experience for all of it’s players. You should definitely read the full post, but for some highlights and reactions to it’s contents, read on!

Current Challenges

Firor candidly admits that ZeniMax have been working hard to reduce the prevalence of bots and gold sellers in ESO, and he acknowledges that exposure to these types of players reduces the enjoyment level you experience in the game. He encourages all players to take a proactive stand to keep Tamriel clean against these pests!

You may have seen Customer Support GMs in the game over the last week actively banning bots in dungeons. We’re also doing a lot of work behind the scenes to keep the game honest and will continue to do so. Please keep helping us by reporting botting and spamming activity in-game.

I think it’s a noble goal, and it’s been great to see the bot-killer GMs rotating through zones banning accounts which are in violation of ESO‘s terms of service. It may be an unpopular viewpoint, but I think a certain amount of botting activity is an indication that your game has a healthy economy. As long as ZeniMax stays on top of things and takes swift action against botters, I hope that they keep paying for copies of ESO each time they are banned. The important thing is that such users don’t diminish the enjoyment actual players experience from the game, so I applaud ZeniMax’ reaction here.

Firor also mentioned some of the game-blocking bugs which were unfortunately prevalent during the first weeks of launch. It seems like the major blockers have been resolved, and although certain side quests are still bugged, players still leveling their characters should encounter fewer issues. Matt also discusses some of the major changes coming in the large Craglorn update (1.1).

I also admire Firor’s candidness when discussing the critic reception which has been received by The Elder Scrolls Online, saying:

As those who follow ESO closely know, a wide range of reviews have been posted for the game, with scores ranging from 90s to 50s. ESO generates strong emotions in gamers—both positive and negative. While I obviously don’t agree with the more negative articles, the reviews are out there, and we read them to determine if there are legitimate complaints that we should address. We are gratified by the many positive fan comments—the love that those fans express for ESO motivates us to keep working to make this the best MMO ever. Some of the negativity in reviews comes from bugs. As you can see, we’re hard at work addressing them and will keep rolling out fixes. The important thing for you, the community, to know is that we’re looking at ALL the feedback (from critics and from players), we’re addressing any shortcomings, and we’ll continue to do so. This game will get better and better every week.

I think as gamers, it’s easy to lose track of the big picture in favor of short-term doomsaying, but MMOs are games that (in an ideal world) are built to last for years, not days. I hope that ZeniMax remains motivated to continue their improvement of the game and to extend their commitment to ESO‘s players as a premium subscription service. As tangible evidence of that commitment, as an apology for the downtime and issues experienced during the first 30 days of launch, ZeniMax is crediting every ESO subscriber account with five free days of gametime, allowing players to experience more bug-free game time and see more in-depth previews of the hard work ZOS has put into Craglorn before committing to paying a further subscription fee. I think this is a politically savvy and magnanimous gesture from ZeniMax. I suspect that most players won’t be as appreciative of this as they should be, but I think allowing players to see tangible evidence of game improvements occurring before being solicited for a subscription fee is the best choice for the game.

Future Improvements

The dangerous Celestial Mage, in Craglorn's Aetherian Archive.

The dangerous Celestial Mage, in Craglorn’s Aetherian Archive.

Matt also teased a number of features and future improvements that are already being worked on by the ZeniMax developers, including:

  • A system that allows grouped players to see each other even when they’re in different phases
  • A justice system—steal from and kill NPCs and deal with the consequences if you are caught
  • Migration of European Megaserver to our European datacenter.
  • Field of View (FOV) adjustment
  • Armor dyeing and tinting
  • Two new Veteran Dungeons: Crypt of Hearts and City of Ash
  • New region of Craglorn with a new Trial (the Serpent)
  • Increased ability to pick up items in the world
  • Thieves Guild and Dark Brotherhood storyline and quests.
  • Spellcrafting
  • Horse Racing
  • Dragonstar Arena—similar  to Trials, but built for a group of four
  • Improvements to fishing
  • Crafting system improvements
  • Improved Looking for Group system
  • Better NPC facial animations
  • Guild functionality updates: guild store interface updates, customizable guild insignias, tabards, and guild ranks, and Guild Kiosks—guild stores open to everyone that are available to the highest-bidding guild.
  • Auto-leveling dungeons that level to your group leader
  • Awards when you repeat dungeons
  • Imperial City PvP dungeon

There’s some pretty notable things on this list that are really exciting to think about. Obviously the “justice system” has been something players have looked forward to for a long time as a post-launch update, but many of these other items are equally exciting. Armor dyes, new veteran dungeons, new trials, a Spellcrafting skill, guild functionality, and a PvP dungeon are the big highlights for me, all of which have me really excited for the future of ESO

What do you think? Do you feel like ZeniMax is communicating the right sort of things to its players? What stands out the most to you in Matt Firor’s address? Let us know what you think in the comment section below!