Tête à Tête: TESO Team Talk Alliance PvP

TESO‘s single player was a little underwhelming when I played it at Gamescom. Sure, it looked like Skyrim, but I suspect that’s probably the wrong message to be sending. My feeling is that TESO needs to be its own game, and by mimicking Skyrim it’s sleepwalking into trouble. Rather than attempting to trade on Skyrim’s success, it needs to be setting out its own stall to the MMO crowd, and doing so on its own. One area it might do this is in PvP, which is increasingly sounding like the most interesting area of the project. In a recent Q&A the team have started going into some details, and they sounds like My Sort Of Thing.

Take this:

If a player becomes Emperor and their alliance holds the keeps around the Imperial City, how will the other alliances be able to take control again if they have no point of access into Cyrodiil? Also, if the Emperor is changed when the current Emperor is killed, what is to stop a player just avoiding Cyrodiil on that character once they become Emperor? – By Mitchell Antico

Access to Cyrodiil is always available in safe locations that enemies cannot enter, so you can always fight over control of the Emperorship. If an Emperor is dethroned (meaning their alliance lost all the keeps necessary to crown an Emperor), the next time they are killed, log out, or switch zones, they lose the Emperorship. Emperorship isn’t just beneficial for the individual player, though—the entire Alliance gets a bonus if an Emperor is on their side.

Who wouldn’t want to dethrone an emperor?

And this:

How will the Alliance Wars work with the three alliances? Let’s say the Ebonheart Pact controls a keep. Can the Aldmeri Dominion and the Daggerfall Covenant attack that same keep, at the same time? Or in the same scenario, let’s say I am from the Aldmeri Dominion. Can I just go around and start attacking the Daggerfall people who are attacking that keep, or are the confrontations capped to two alliances at any given time? – By Gabriel Feix

In that scenario, Aldmeri and Daggerfall forces can attack the keep at the same time, and like you said, if they wipe out the Ebonheart defenders, it’s up to the two Alliances left to battle it out between each other. The Aldmeri attackers could choose to attack Daggerfall while assaulting the keep or just wait until the dust settles and attack whoever is left. Another tactic could involve the Ebonheart force withdrawing from the keep, letting Aldmeri and Daggerfall fight each other, and then wiping out any remaining forces from those two fighting. It’s very exciting what three sides in open warfare add to a fight, and you’ll see many tactics out there on the battlefields of Cyrodiil!

Sounds not unlike a very pretty version of Dark Age Of Camelot, to me. That can’t be bad.

Anyway. As for that single player experience. Well, I can’t be too negative about it: the world was lavish, and the quests were fine. Just fine, though, and not brilliant. It felt luxurious as a game – the money spent on it was very obvious – but it never felt even as ambitious as Skyrim. Imagination, I would say, hasn’t been spent on it in large amounts. And when you look at what Carbine are doing with the lovely-looking Wildstar, and what SOE are talking about for EQN, well, Bethesda will probably realise that MMOs need to stand apart these days. Their legacy is simply too heavy.


  1. gunny1993 says:

    The title has me thinking of Nanny Ogg and the worlds second greatest lover.

  2. VCepesh says:

    A TES game with no modding. Why does it exist? It has no purpose.

  3. Drinking with Skeletons says:

    I can’t muster anything but dread for this. Not about its quality; I don’t much like MMOs so don’t care whether it ends up good or bad. But dread that it will cause Bethesda to put the kibosh on stand-alone Elder Scrolls games.

    “We’ve got an idea for the next Elder Scrolls game!”

    “Hmm…Well we don’t really need to be drawing attention away from TESO. It would be in our best interests if players interested in the series paid the subscription fee and signed up. Can any of these ideas be incorporated into TESO?”

    “Uh, well, maybe. We, uh, we were going to have these colossal golems rise out of the ground and players would have to venture inside of them and clear a dungeon–inside the moving golem–before they destroyed in-game cities. Not, uh, I’m not sure that, er, the MMO engine can really handle that.”

    “Hmmmmm. Well, it doesn’t matter, we’re reassigning you to the Fallout MMO anyway.”

    This is my concern.

    • Grey Ganado says:

      Since they started a whole new development studio for this game I don’t think you should be too concerned about that happening.

      • Drinking with Skeletons says:

        But does that really change anything? I could see a Japanese company doing something like this (see Final Fantasy XI and XIV versus the rest of the franchise) but Western companies are less trusting of their customers’ ability to differentiate between and care about multiple branches of a property. Even comic companies have a tendency to alter their properties to bring them more in line with one another, lest they alienate the wider audience, even across media. Hell, DC purportedly forced the Justice League shows to dial back Batman villains (other than the iconic Joker) so as not to clash with the Nolan films, which is as stark a difference as you can get.

        Having multiple studios doesn’t change the fact that they will ultimately be overseen by the same upper management, and I won’t stop worrying about this possibility until TES6 is announced.

        • qrter says:

          Skyrim was a humongous hit, and everything we’ve seen of this MMO makes it seem like it won’t be nearly as successful. I would be very surprised if they haven’t been working on the next singleplayer TES game the moment Skyrim went gold.

          • Drinking with Skeletons says:

            I assumed they would be working on Fallout 4. I mean, the best way to drum up excitement for the next entry in your hit franchise is to work on the next entry in one of your other hit franchises.

            It allows the devs to not get exhausted with one property. More importantly, it allows them to incorporate new approaches from the lessons they learned in a way that doesn’t risk totally alienating the fanbase. Skyrim wouldn’t have been as good had they not utilized some of what they’d learned from the development of Fallout 3, including fan reaction. Perks? More dynamic factions? More crafting? Speech checks? Similarly, I’ll be very curious to see what lessons from Skyrim are incorporated into Fallout 4, because I’m sure there will be some.

          • Hmm-Hmm. says:

            If they have the funds for it. MMOs can be a massive moneydrain (sink?), if I recall correctly.

    • Pich says:

      By the time the nest Elder Scrolls hit the market, TESO will already be dead.

  4. Goodtwist says:

    Fear is creeping in my veins.
    What if the Bethesda folk jumped on the MMO bandwagon for Fallout 4?!

  5. Stevostin says:

    “My feeling is that TESO needs to be its own game, and by mimicking Skyrim it’s sleepwalking into trouble.”

    I entirely disagree. It has come from “absolutely no way” to “I am watching this” and if they were copying Skyrim as fas as removing the “O” of TESO, it could even jump onto my “probable buy” list. Which probably won’t happen but if the writing and land design are good, I’ll consider playing it seriously.

  6. Arglebargle says:

    I think they’re doing a pretty poor job of it, and they are going to fail to achieve their goals. Certainly, none of the Elder Scrolls fans I know have any interest in PVP, and if that’s your one signal element…..

    The gerrymandering required to get a pat three faction organization of the world still rankles. While DAoC may have had the best PvP around, this game is not named DAoC2. Their push to fit ES to their Procustean Bed sure feels wrong.. I suspect we’ll see the big-spike, big-drop arc of players, similiar to SWToR, Warhammer Online, etc.

  7. Hmm-Hmm. says:

    With MMOs I tend to find that it really comes down to trying the product (or reading a good review by someone) to see if it’s any good. As it is, the devs may talk the talk (and not that well, I might add) but the proof is in the pudding as they say.

  8. Enkinan says:

    I love the PvP concept, but they are out of their damn minds charging full box price, 15/mo, and in game store. Not worth it to me.

  9. tehsorrow says:

    I cant believe in 2013 developers can look at the graveyard full of failed MMOs and go “yeah but that won’t happen to mine”.

    • Jenks says:

      Because no one will actually try something new.

      9 years ago, people called (and erroneously still call) WoW an Everquest clone. The difference between EQ to WoW was many times bigger than the baby steps from WoW to the clones they’re still releasing 9 years later.

      MMO Timeline:
      MUDs, M59, The Realm, UO, EQ, EQ clones, EVE, WoW, 9 more years of WoW.