Elder Scrolls Online PvPers are grumpy over an out-of-context stream clip


(We’ve updated with Matt Firor’s new statement on PvP at the end of this article.)

Longtime players know that The Elder Scrolls Online Creative Director Rich Lambert frequently streams the game on his own Twitch channel outside of business hours, answering player questions on his own time. During a recent multi-hour stream, his wife, Terri Lambert, who does not work for or represent ZeniMax Online Studios but who is often present during the streams, was chatting about various game topics, including players’ desire for a bard class and accessibility in the game – actual accessibility, such as making the game playable for colorblind and blind gamers and folks with other sight issues.

In the midst of this discussion, a player planted a question about PvP “accessibility,” the implication being that PvP issues are making PvP inaccessible, clearly not the same type of accessibility. Terri Lambert reacted to the question by teasing PvP players, mimicking crying motions, telling them she has little sympathy for PvP, saying “nice try” to signal she saw what the player was up to, and repeating that the developers are working on fixing PvP, which the players already know. Rich Lambert himself, who literally has a parrot sitting on his shoulder during the episode, can be seen in the background shaking his head, clearly knowing the response was brutally honest but perhaps a bit lacking in tact for gamers already primed to be salty.

And salty they were, as a massive thread on the official forums and a now-locked thread on Reddit show; some PvP players clipped the reply out of its context and distributed it, using using the moment to bash the Lamberts and the dev team. But others have pointed out it wasn’t Lambert or even a studio rep mocking players; that it’s just a few seconds in a four-hour stream where the Lamberts are talking about personal things (like autism and pets and parenthood and home ownership); and that it appears to have been a goading comment from a player, the response to which was then circulated out of context.

Still other gamers are hoping to parlay the situation into even more communication from ZOS or amplify the wishes and goals of PvP players, who have long felt neglected in the game as developers have promised to fix Cyrodiil for several years now. Either way, it’s probably a good reminder for developers and stream participants to simply ignore provocative questions lest the replies be used against you.

The clip in question is below, but you might also want to flip through the whole stream to see the full context of the discussion into which the the question was injected as that context, as well as the teasing demeanor of the Lamberts with their chat participants, is rather critical to understanding the response and its tone. Start around 30 minutes in. Worth a note here is that all proceeds from the Lamberts’ streams go toward charities; the current charity is a dog rescue charity. Bonus: At one point, the parrot even poops on Rich Lambert’s shirt.

Source: Twitch, Official forums, Reddit. Cheers, Manerva.
ESO’s Matt Firor has now posted an update on PvP for the players. While he doesn’t directly address this dust-up, he does say he understands the frustration PvP players feel – it’s just going to take time to actually rewrite the server code underpinning those fixes.

“It’s long past time to give everyone an update on where we are with PvP improvements. As many of you know, we did a series of tests over the last year to give us more data. These tests were successful and gave us the information we needed. We now have a plan going forward – but heads up: it is going to take some time.

In short – just like we did for the client a year or so back when we introduced multithreaded rendering to increase client frame rates – we are going to rearchitect our server. The version of ESO in 2022 is many magnitudes larger and more complex than the ESO that launched in 2014. So, in order to give everyone a good play experience in high-intensity situations like PvP and Trials, we need to essentially rewrite some of the foundational server code to account for it. This should dramatically increase server performance, but obviously we will need to test and evaluate as we go along.

We’ve been planning this for the last quarter and we’re starting work on it right now. But, as you can imagine, changing the fundamentals of a huge live game such as ESO is a delicate and multi-stepped process, so expect this to take up much of 2022. Much of the early work is going to happen behind the scenes and we are definitely not going to rush it. A re-architecture of this magnitude will require the entire game to be re-tested and evaluated, as this particular code is the foundation on which the game is built. It will take tons of QA and testing time as well, and I’m sure that when the time comes, we’ll do as large a test as we can on the PTS.

In the meantime, we’ll consider additional ways to keep Cyrodiil and Battlegrounds interesting and exciting (for example, potentially special rulesets or weekend events) and will continue to work on bug fixes affecting combat, but we won’t be adding any new features to PvP until the work mentioned above is complete. Doing so would not only prolong the fixes we want to implement but would also exacerbate the issue of poor performance.

We completely understand the frustration many of you are feeling, especially with lack of information about our PvP plans. This was a huge decision to make and we needed to make sure we had exhausted all other possibilities before announcing this. Thanks for bearing with us, and we will give you periodic updates about the re-architecture progress over the course of the year.”

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