If you ever have the desire for a guide on how to instantly ruin 3 faction MMO PvP, and guarantee no chance of it ever recovering from a shallow and meaningless themepark experience, The Elder Scrolls Online appears to be writing the book. Yeah, that’s harsh, but I’m shocked more people aren’t saying something. Here’s what I’ve learned from various media who were able to see the game in action. Personally, I hope they have it all wrong, and if they do someone speak up.
Since there is only one “mega server”, Cyrodiil (the PvP zone) will be split into multiple instances to accommodate population. Players are assigned a campaign when they create their character (or reach level 10 or something). The campaigns are apparently NOT integrated in any way (I thought they were). There’s really no way you can spin that to sound good to anyone who knows something about open-world persistent RvR.
Problem: There’s no true sense of permanence or achieving a victory when you duplicate a zone. Even if you call them “permanent instances,” even if they are technically open all the time and mimic servers, nothing is ultimately hinging on your campaign. “How’s Ebonheart Pact doing in your campaign? We’re losing. Oh you should transfer over to campaign B since we’re totally dominating here!”
If a certain campaign is struggling, the devs will funnel new players to that instance/campaign.
Problem: Developers getting involved in who is winning? HANDS OFF the battlefield! That’s the entire point of having three factions: let the battlefield balance itself. So not only are there population caps on the battlefield and multiple instances, but the developers can choose to, at their discretion, help the people losing side by giving them more players.
When you hit level 50, you can go to the other faction’s PvE areas. At that point you’ll be able to communicate with the other factions, and even make friends and run dungeons/play with the other factions. [Source]
Problem: They are supposed to be your enemy! You wake up each morning with a burning hatred and passion to wipe them off the map, not plan to raid with them. From a PvP perspective, this is a mistake.
So let’s sum up what we have so far:
- Multiple instances of the Alliance War zone creating no continuity between Cyradiil and the rest of the world.
- Funneling population where it’s needed to alter balance by automatically assigning players a campaign.
- Grouping up and PvEing with your opponents
In short, how do you ruin 3 faction MMO PvP? You instance it on a mega-server.
I’m curious to learn how I’ll be able to meet up with friends in campaigns. According to what I’ve read, new players are assigned a campaign to participate in. What if we get assigned different campaigns? What if my guild of 20 wants to go play together? How do we get into the same campaign? Can we transfer campaigns instantly? All I’ve read is that transferring is “limited”. Why are these even questions I have to ask?
Remind me why this system exists? Remind me why the alliances exist, and why they are fighting on instanced battlefields but chummy in dungeons? The Elder Scrolls Online should just drop this PvP charade altogether and go straight PvE; clearly their PvP is a tack-on. I can’t understand why anyone would ever think these are good PvP design principles. If I can see the huge problems this far away, why can’t the people in charge? Who is deciding to forgo servers, one static battlefield, and a real sense of faction-based fighting in favor of this shallow disconnected and seemingly meaningless themepark nonsense?
Update: I removed discussion of point funneling because I believe the interviewer mistook “alliance points” for what I have recently learned as personal points which just happen to be called alliance points. I don’t think the campaigns funnel points to see who is winning overall. If someone knows more on the subject, I’d appreciate the clarification.