matt firor

Elder Scrolls Online: Deep-diving Morrowind’s new Warden class

Along with a new expansive 30-hour long story, Elder Scrolls Online: Morrowind will introduce us to the game’s first new class called the Warden, a class I previewed at last week’s press event at ZeniMax HQ. And although it is called a “class” because that’s the term that gamers understand, Game Director Matt Firor likes to call it a “theme,” and the theme of the Warden is nature.

By now, I hope you’ve seen the Blur Studio trailer for the Morrowind chapter. The Redguard with the giant bear in that trailer represents the Warden. He shows off many of the abilities that are specific to the Warden, including the bear pet. But of course, there’s much more to the class than a fuzzy friend, so when I spoke to Game Director Matt Firor and Creative Director Richard Lambert in person, I asked them all about our new class and the role it plays in the expansion.

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Elder Scrolls Online: Setting up the Morrowind story

Last week, I trekked out to Baltimore to visit ZeniMax Online Studios and get a first glimpse at Elder Scrolls Online’s upcoming chapter/expansion, Morrowind. After all, it’s been fifteen years since anyone explored the island of Vvardenfell; it would have been extraordinarily dumb of me to turn down the offer. The press event also afforded me the opportunity to speak personally to the ESO developers, including Game Director Matt Firor and Creative Director Richard Lambert, so believe me, I took advantage of every opportunity that I had to get our readers questions and concerns addressed.

During my visit, Lambert and Firor gave a presentation about Morrowind story, the new Warden class, and battlegrounds. Later this morning, I’ll have articles about the Warden and battlegrounds, but in this piece, we’re tackling the Morrowind story and what’s happening on Vvardenfell some 700 years before The Elder Scrolls III.

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Elder Scrolls Online now boasts 8.5M players

At a press event today at ZeniMax Online Studios HQ, Elder Scrolls Online’s Matt Firor announced something we rarely get out of any MMORPG studio these days: a headcount.

Firor says that Elder Scrolls Online currently counts 8.5 million players across all platforms. This number reflects unique players, not concurrent subscribers (the game is buy-to-play with an optional sub). It does not count beta players or free weekend players, just people who’ve purchased the game outright, so it might more properly be termed “boxes sold.”

Massively OP’s ESO columnist, Larry Everett, was on hand at the event to clarify that the number is an update to the 7M number released last year.

We received explicit permission to print this news ahead of the original embargo lift.

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Rumor: Elder Scrolls Online players datamine map of Morrowind’s Vvardenfell, hint at DLC

Speak quickly, Outlander, or go away!

Fancy a trip back to nostalgia town? Elder Scrolls Online Redditors have datamined what appears to be a map of Vvardenfell, the massive volcanic island at the heart of Morrowind and the location of the fan-favorite 2002 TES III: Morrowind RPG. It’s no stretch to assume that Vvardenfell DLC is on the way.

It’s a little bit odd that buildings and boats would be in exactly the same place an age later, but if it’s legit, it’s time to get excited, especially in context with Matt Firor’s hints about something “amazing” coming in 2017 beyond housing.

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Elder Scrolls Online’s Matt Firor promises ‘amazing new things’ in 2017

ZeniMax’s Matt Firor has penned an address to Elder Scrolls Online players to cap off the year. While most of it’s a recap of 2016 — multiple DLC, One Tamriel, and the 7 million player announcement at the top — he does offer some hints about the new year, promising that in 2017, “it’s only going to get better.”

“We’ll talk more about our 2017 plans early next year, but most of you already know about Homestead which introduces player housing. This will be launching in February, and you can expect to see it on the PTS very early in the new year. After that? Well, you’re going to have to wait a bit, but trust me, the wait will be worth it. We’ll talk a lot more about the amazing new things that are coming to ESO as early as we can in the new year. We had a huge year in 2016, and I fully expect 2017 to be an even more successful year for ESO and will set us up for many more years of growth and success.”

Elder Scrolls Online has already taken home one of our awards this year — for Most Improved. Much deserved too. Stay tuned for tonight, when Massively OP’s MJ takes a tour of ESO’s holiday festivities live on Twitch!

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Elder Scrolls Online’s Matt Firor on One Tamriel, Cyrodiil PvP, and housing

For many of us at Massively OP, Elder Scrolls Online won E3, if that’s really a thing, but that’s partly because all ZeniMax Online Studios really had to do was show up when most other MMORPGs barely made a showing at all. Even so, ESO did much more than just show up; in fact, it made it to the main stage during the Bethesda conference presentation.

Just like many other conference presentations, ESO’s time on stage was limited and left fans with more questions than answers, only exacerbated by the arrival of 2.5.0 on the PTS this morning, patch notes for which already have players speculating about the precise nature of open-world vs. instanced housing in the game.

So we’ve chatted up Game Director Matt Firor about the next update, the changes to Cyrodiil PvP, One Tamriel, and of course, player housing. Read on!

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New players join The Elder Scrolls Online’s NA megaserver today with Japanese launch

The Elder Scrolls Online expands again today, this time with a launch in Japan. Game Director Matt Firor writes that ZeniMax and DMM have fully localized the game for the new region over the course of the last year.

Because of the way the game’s megaservers are set up, existing players in North America will definitely be bumping into the new Japanese players. As Firor explains,

“You will see our new Japanese players on the North American PC/Mac megaserver starting today. You may notice them conversing in Japanese as they explore Tamriel alongside you. The game supports Japanese-language chat options, too, much like those that are already in use for French and German on the European servers. Please help us make our new heroes feel welcome by showing them courtesy and hospitality. Say hello in Japanese (Kon’nichiwa! or こんにちは!), and maybe even extend them an invitation to your groups and guilds!”

In this age of rampant region-locking, we can only salute this move!

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E3 2016: Elder Scrolls Online’s player housing is coming in early 2017

Elder Scrolls Online players eager to move into their own dwellings will need to wait a bit longer to do so — but the good news is that it’s going to happen for sure.

After making vague promises about housing earlier this year, ZeniMax confirmed at E3 this week that the system will be coming out in the first quarter of 2017.

Game Director Matt Firor said that housing will be part of a sweeping series of updates planned for Elder Scrolls Online. The plan is for the implementation of several smaller DLC packs over the next year, which Firor is informally labeling as “episodes.”

Next on ESO’s agenda is the Argonian Dungeon Pack, which will arrive this August and contain a barber shop for characters who haven’t had a haircut in two years.

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Elder Scrolls Online’s Matt Firor on game population, not going F2P, and defining MMOs

ZeniMax Online’s Matt Firor told players back in April that the console versions of The Elder Scrolls Online had “opened the game up to millions more new players,” and he’s not backing down from that statement. In a new interview on GamesIndustry.biz, Firor clarifies his comments.

“That’s actually new players,” he tells GI.biz. “It’s been huge. Bethesda doesn’t talk numbers, but it’s been huge. […] It was way beyond our expectations, and it was mostly because players could knew they could buy it just like they did with Oblivion and Skyrim. Most of them didn’t even know there was a store in the game.” Success, he says, is “mostly because we didn’t go free-to-play” and alienate core Elder Scrolls players.

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Matt Firor says Elder Scrolls Online’s ‘population is huge and thriving’

ZeniMax Online’s Matt Firor has addressed The Elder Scrolls Online playerbase on the occasion of its second anniversary with a bundle of screenshots from his own character’s journey through Tamriel.

“Over the last year, we have grown our family by leaps and bounds,” he writes. “We launched the console versions of ESO, which opened the game up to millions more new players. We added three DLCs’ worth of content, allowing players to explore the Imperial City, Wrothgar, and Hew’s Bane. And we will continue to make the game better every day. Our population is huge and thriving, and we are happy to share our enthusiasm and nostalgia with you.”

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Tamriel Infinium: Six features Elder Scrolls Online’s level-scaling system needs

I have a terrible confession to make: I was about to write off Elder Scrolls Online. I was going to consider it dead to me. The game has made major steps in the right direction, but as my report card indicated at the end of last year, it’s really just an average game from an MMORPG player perspective. In the latest update, however, Creative Director Matt Firor described a few things that gave me pause, and I think you should be considering the implications, too.

It would be silly for me not to mention player housing and what’s currently being called the barbershop. I’ve said for a long time that housing gives players a sense of ownership in the game, and every MMO should have some sort of player-ownership. And the barbershop’s features of name change, race change, and even gender change certainly makes me sit up and pay attention. But the biggest upcoming change for me is level-scaling across the whole game.

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Elder Scrolls Online subscribers to get bottomless crafting bags

Packrats rejoice! If you ever wanted a bag of holding in The Elder Scrolls Online to store all your piles crafting components, then you are luck. During last night’s livestream, Game Director Matt Firor revealed that bags with unlimited space for crafting items are scheduled to be introduced in the Dark Brotherhood DLC. These bags will be an exclusive perk for ESO Plus subscribers. Other topics covered in the hour-long stream include the barbershop, 64-bit client, extra character slots, pets, special events and Tamriel-specific holidays, and much more.

Lead PvP designer Brian Wheeler also shared information about the alliance war and the general PvP plans for the year, including instanced and small-scale PvP (which is still happening). For a full run-down of everything, watch the complete recording below. If your time is too limited for that, one fan added a written summary of major points on Reddit.

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The Elder Scrolls Online’s 2016: DLC, housing are in; veteran ranks are out

ZeniMax Game Director Matt Firor has just posted a dev blog outlining The Elder Scrolls Online’s gameplan for 2016. “With the millions of players that joined the world of ESO in 2015, our player population is very strong,” he begins. “We’re not perfect; we have things to work on, but we are very happy with where we are.”

Two DLC are on the agenda for the year: The Thieves Guild in Q1 and The Dark Brotherhood in Q2. The former should land on the test server early next month. The latter will tickle the hearts of Oblivion players as it’s set primarily in Cyrodiil’s Gold Coast locations. “We do have plans for DLC after Dark Brotherhood, but you’ll have to wait for details,” Firor teases.

ZeniMax also plans to focus more on social features and the open world with a new LFG tool, an emphasis on player level scaling, a guild search tool, and console chat. “Longer term, expect to see information about systems like a character customization shop so you can change your character’s gender, appearance, name, etc., player housing, and other systems that we’ll announce in the future.”

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