As Elsweyr is put through its test phases on Elder Scrolls Online’s PTS, ZeniMax is offering up a preview of the zone itself – along with its infamous cat people, the Khajiit. The zone map is going to be a big shift for those of you used to Summerset; ZeniMax says it used West Africa, India, Indonesia, and Thailand as resources for creating the grasslands and more arid canyonlands of the province. It’s pretty clear from the concept art that the zone’s architecture is based on construction from multiple Southeast Asian cultures as well.
“The challenge with Elsweyr was the verticality and traversal,” writes Lead Artist Kevin Boehm. “This new zone features a lot of cliffs and a huge gorge that runs right through the middle, so it was tricky to build all those canyons and vistas without making it difficult for the player to navigate. In several locations, we had to go back and add more paths out, because while they’re really cool to look at, if you’re stuck in a canyon and you have to ride 100 meters to find a path up, it can be frustrating.”
(Guild Wars 2 players nodding along right now.)
As for the Khajiit, the devs say they’re working hard to wreck some of the more annoying and pervasive negative stereotypes about the types of cat folk. No, they’re not all thieves and layabouts; their civilization is ancient: “In Elsweyr, Khajiit families and Clans can consist of very different types of Khajiit, and this diversity of furstock is always there in the backdrop of your adventures in the new zone.” Furstock!