Speculation can be dangerous because I tend to be too hopeful for the MMOs that I play. I’ve been critical of The Elder Scrolls Online in the past, but I do like the game, and I’m hopeful for its future too. I truly only want good things to happen to it. Maybe that’s why I’m a bit harsh about it sometimes.
This being the end of the year, I thought it only fitting that I do some speculation about my favorite fantasy game. I did vote this game the most improved in 2015 (although it didn’t win); maybe 2016 will bring some equally important improvements to the game. Let’s take a few moments and talk about the things that we know are coming to the game in 2016 and also what we think might be coming down the pike next year.
The Dark Brotherhood
I shouldn’t have to explain this to people who have played Elder Scrolls games before, but for those who have been living in the dark for the last 10 years, here’s the deal: The Dark Brotherhood is a group of assassins who have formed a secret guild. Many people consider the Dark Brotherhood and the Thieves Guild some of the most entertaining content for every Elder Scrolls game dating back to Daggerfall. The Brotherhood is a combination of a business and cult.
Earlier this year, ZeniMax Online Studios introduced us to the Justice system, which allows players to steal from and kill random NPCs. Because of the new level of immersion added to the game, it was revitalized for me and I actually started playing again. When the Dark Brotherhood releases sometime in the first half of 2016, it will build on the Justice system, perhaps offering Dark Brotherhood questlines as well as opposing Enforcer questlines for those working against the Dark Brotherhood. But most of all, my hope is that it will give an interesting level of PvP that really wasn’t provided when the Justice system launched.
The Thieves Guild
The Dark Brotherhood and Thieves Guild are usually mentioned in the same breath, but in ESO, it appears that they will be separate DLC, encompassing the first of the year. During QuakeCon this past year, ZOS teased that this guild of thieves, which runs safehouses all around Tamriel, will complete the Justice system and offer its own set of quests. And like the Dark Brotherhood that I mentioned before, it will also have its own skill tree.
I’m interested in seeing how this all plays out, but my biggest concern is whether there will be incentive for others to participate in the opposition to the Thieves Guild. Right now the Justice system is really just another form of PvE, and there isn’t risk of another player actually trying to attack you. I really hope that the questlines end up being a lot of fun, but my true hope is that it will be interesting PvP as well.
Things I think are coming
The second half of the Justice system
As I mentioned above, the Justice system will be rounded off by the Dark Brotherhood and the Thieves Guild. But in reality, we aren’t exactly sure how this will all finish out. We know that there will be questlines from both of those guilds, else these will be very small DLC packs. We are fairly certain the DLC will bring with them new sets of skills. I believe we’ll see three skill sets, one for each guild and a skill set to counter those guilds.
As I mentioned, I am not concerned that there will be a reason to want to be on the other side of the Thieves Guild and Dark Brotherhood. However, if I were designing a system where I knew one side of a faction would be less appealing than the other, I would likely break one of cardinal sin of MMOs and create… an alpha class. Now, I’m not saying that we should change one of the classes to be something super powerful, but it would be very interesting if the new Enforcer skill tree were actually overpowered when it came to fighting those who were flagged as criminals. Of course, the counter to this system would be that the criminals need a better fleeing system that allows them to get away.
The cat-and-mouse game is what would make this system interesting. Although many might disagree with me, I do trust ZOS to make a very interesting PvP system, but I do hope that we get something other than the standard system that pits my math against your math and the one with the greater math wins.
The end of VR
We have now heard ZOS’s plan for the Champion Points system. In fact, it’s in the game right now, more or less. The plan is for this to finally get rid of the dreaded Veteran Ranking system. But I have a feeling that ZOS doesn’t understand why the VR system was reviled in the first place because as far as gear is concerned, one hated system is being replaced by another. The plan as it stands will ensure that gear requires a certain number of skill points in order to be equipped. I hope that this plan is overturned and that ZOS replaces the number of CP to a specific CP aspect. It might seem like just semantics, but if you’re really wanting to specialize your CP, then there should be some sort of benefit and incentive to do so.
I really don’t have any wild speculation for ESO, other than to say that it would be very interesting if ZOS started mentioning an expansion. I don’t think it will happen, and even if hints were dropped soon, we wouldn’t see it until 2018, if the current track record is any indication of what the future might bring.
What are your thoughts on the future of ESO? What do you think 2016 will hold for the game? Let me know in the comments.