Campaigns, Castles and Concerns for Elder Scrolls Online

I have tried to hold on to this post until I was able to find more information regarding the realm battles but there is just so little out there. It seems weird that every other part of the game has been well documented (for an unreleased game) yet this part has been completely forgotten. Does that tell more of the story then it really should? Is this part of the game rather unfinished, are they unhappy with the iteration of it so far,  like most developers do that simply not care as strongly for it, or are they just holding back for some big release.

I think it also comes down to many of the media outlets not really being interested in this part of the game so they don’t play much of it and ask questions regarding its mechanics. From the links I perused the only information you really get is that they do indeed have castles and you can fire siege.. Shocker.

One interesting point from the Zam network interviews was that you will be able to traversing the land by waypoints in controlled castles and towers. That does sound good but I’m wondering if it could devolve into zergy graveyard rush mechanics at times if they are too easy to get around, and the death mechanic to simplistic.

The article at Massively was by far the best for information as they seemed to have asked some relevant questions. Keen and Graev did a little analysis regarding this information in their post “how to ruin 3 faction pvp ” and declared that The elder Scrolls has failed in regards to its AvA (rvr, wvw, the place we murder others). I am not exactly that sceptical of the model just yet since.. you know no one has actually played it.

Firstly we have seen that non committed, unfocused rvr without any permanence can be quite popular and sustainable with a reasonable long term population, as is the case with GW2. There was a lot more information dumped about the pvp in Elder Scrolls near the end of last year at the Tameriel Foundry that really clarifies a lot of the points that Keen’s made some conclusions on. I was planning on linking this when it was actually relevant but it took longer to post and they now have this link in the comments but lets discuss that info anyway.

Keen seems very worried in regards to the mega server technology and how it will fracture community in regards to the AvA. I honestly don’t see that happening.. well it is not optimal but I’m not all doom and gloom. Communities will arise, as they always do and this and this game will be no exception. The only recent example I can really use to compare this to is GW2 which I think will get my point across easier.

While gw2 does have servers the forced nature of them is a lot more blurred then usual, firstly there are the overflow servers that pool together people from anywhere which are kind of like a mega server technology. Secondly there is the guesting mechanic which lets peopl play inpve wherever you want. You are also able to connect rather easily to people from any server in order to do dungeons and fractals. In this regards, for pve at least, there is very little community involved. This has not harmed the wvw community at all as no matter what sort of pve you do you have a designated WvW server to fight for that builds community around it.

Elder Scrolls seems to be very similar in this regards as the pve side will mean very little in terms of community and you will have a designated battleground to fight for. Now it isn’t going to be all swapping to the best side all the time like Keen originally said. In the Tameriel Foundry interview they talked a lot about this mechanic and there is a mechanic in place that limits this. New players will be initially designated a campaign to fight for and at this time it will be very easy to change, but after a short while or maybe that first switch, it becomes a costly endeavor. They talked about using what they call Alliance points, points only gained and used in WvW to purchase a change so in this regards you actually have to engage in AvA on your own campaign in order to transfer. Sounds like that would make it a lot harder for bandwagoners to continuously jump to winning servers then say gems/gold. These Alliance points are also what you use to upgrade and progress within AvA as well meaning it would be a huge trade off between changing campaign or upgrading.

Also I have to say that I still play with people of varying servers and such in GW2 regularly and it in no way harms my ability to hate both Stackgate and SoS with a passion when it comes to WvW. The separated sense of these worlds means that, emotionally they are thought of in different capacities. Now I would like this to be an open world experience blending the pve and AvA together but unfortunately in this day and age, with the type of players we now have that is never going to happen.. and if it did it wouldn’t be widely popular and have the mass appeal meaning large companies can sink hundreds of millions into and get a return. For that we have to rely on the indy companies like adventurine with all their inherent flaws.

The only concern i do have that relates to keen is that for the most part I want the developers to keep their hands off balancing the campaigns. It doesn’t sound as it is going to be manipulated to the extent of the hysteria surrounding that comment as it is more going to be just where to place new players, guilds and groups will still be choosing where they go and i doubt developers would forcibly move them elsewhere regardless of a match being unbalanced.

So far I am actually looking forward to it and am rather curious as to how well it will play out. They seem to be more serious about it then Arennet in many ways and have improved many vital parts that have thoroughly frustrated me so far. An absolutely huge map to play on, improved culling situation (debatable), AvA progression system, guild functions and rewards (speculated), and just the general resource and keep mechanics seem more thought out. They have learnt a lot of lessons and iterated accordingly and if this is the more fleshed out and polished version of the WvW I, and a lot of people were looking forward to then it will be rather popular… unless of course they completely f it up.


I have to say that I am actually rather unimpressed with the level of hysteria surrounding this at the moment; many misinterpreted comments, points taken out of context, and because of people not actually researching what they are writing about the whole argument is just ridiculous at times. This article popped up on game informer (a serious must read) the other day and I think it resonates quite strongly with much of what we are seeing. It really is an extremely dysfunctional system and this sort of jumping to conclusions about a rather untried, untested, undocumented.. and more importantly UNPLAYED mechanic just boggles my mind.

It is great to be critical of things and to even promote discussion around concerns you may have surrounding a certain mechanic or game as buying and giving our time requires a decision.. this is not such an argument. Keen’s article was too much, it was opinion slated as fact. I don’t know whether he has some inherent hate towards this product as I have seen from many other media outlets due to the “OMG DIS AINT ELDAAR SCROLZS” argument or that maybe he has just become a little jaded as to the direction of pvp in mmo’s for a rather long time, but regardless i don’t think it’s maintaining that sense of journalistic, or bloggers  integrity we should aim for.

I know I’m rather critical as well, but i don’t think to date that i have been overly critical of a mechanic I haven’t tried.. i have definitely been opinionated so maybe it’s a fine line. Anyway, one blogger here looking forward to trying a new iteration on the realm wars format.


2 thoughts on “Campaigns, Castles and Concerns for Elder Scrolls Online

  1. I am actually pretty excited to see RvR mixed with a single world megaserver. Like you, I think communities will still pop up (though it won’t be nearly as easy and probably not half as personal).

    The benefit comes from the fact that you really don’t have to balance sides in as nit-picky a way since it all comes down more to race popularity. Even then, they’ve done a good job of varying looks and styles among the three factions’ race options.

    • i think the communities will work out fine, with forums, ts and such popping up relatively quickly. Like GW2 i also expect many guilds to sort out alliances and pre plan moves. The way they were talking was that campaigns would be a much longer, they were talking something like 3-6 months as an estimate.

      Then there is the fact that captured and guild claimed keeps will remain in possession even after the switch which would give a bit of permanence.

      then you have the large population caps.. i think 2000 per campaign which may mean there will be far less campaigns running at a time then you think. probably one quite balanced one, and a couple unbalanced ones.

      As to balancing themselves i’m a little bit more skeptical. the only thing i could think is limiting people moving to a certain alliance on unbalanced sides. I don’t think it will be as balanced as GW2’s server approach as there is nearly always a population skew towards certain races. due to the length of campaigns though i think we will see more tactical and political play between servers which should make it more interesting regardless of any unbalance

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