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Tamriel Infinium: Does The Elder Scrolls Online revolve around PvP?


At the conventions this summer, the ZeniMax staff gave us only a taste of what The Elder Scrolls Online will offer us in the PvE department. Massively's staff appeared to enjoy that PvE side of the game well enough, but why didn't ZeniMax show off PvP? Probably because that part of the game is not complete enough for public consumption. But if rumors are to be believed, beta testers have begun testing the PvP systems that will eventually appear in the launched game.

And developers have begun to talk about the ESO PvP systems extensively, although we still don't know a whole lot. After examining our limited knowledge of ESO PvP, I have to wonder whether PvP is still the primary focus of endgame (though even if it's not the primary focus, it will likely consume a large chunk of development resources all the same). We already know many of the systems coming at launch and one that will be introduced shortly after, so let's break them down a bit.

As we Elder Scrolls fans know, Cyrodiil sits pretty much in the center of Tamriel, with the Imperial City hovering in the middle of the province. If you've kept up with ESO news, then you know that Molag Bal controls the Imperial City at the start of the game. However, the lands around the Imperial City are up for grabs for any alliance that can take it. This is accomplished via control of the approximately 20 keeps evenly distributed across the area.

Keeps represent territorial control. Player will use a combination of supply line disruption and siege engines to actually capture a keep. In fact, developers have stated that siege weaponry will play a vital role in both offensive and defensive tactics. I suspect we will see our fair share of zerg tactics, but I hope we avoid witnessing 50 or so players all shooting arrows at a gate to bring it down. I hope siege weaponry is the only way to break keep gates and walls.

Although the game consists of a single mega-server, Cyrodiil will be divided into shards called campaigns. We learned this week that everything in the campaign will remain the same throughout the duration of the game, but every three months the scores and the leaderboards will reset. Players can switch campaigns at will, but the idea behind the consistency is to help build rivalries within the individual campaigns. Each campaign can contain about 2000 characters, according to ZeniMax.

And last week, we learned that guilds can claim ownership of a keep and set up a set up a shop that can sell wares to the general public. We'll talk more about this later.

Tamriel Infinium Does ESO revolve around PvP
ZeniMax stated that the Imperial City will not open at launch. But shortly after, players will battle the forces of Molag Bal not only to gain control of the city but also to lay claim to the Imperial crown. The developers have not revealed the exact mechanics for winning the crown, but we know that the player with the most points will be crowned when Molag Bal's forces are driven from the city.

Although the Emperor's alliance will gain perks, ZeniMax noted that the title is mostly for bragging rights and does not give the player special abilities or powers. Also, we are unsure how long an Emperor will remain in power and what circumstances determine his reign's end.

Tamriel Infinium Does ESO revolve around PvP
Just as I thought it would, the lack of an auction house and the inclusion of keep-markets divided the MMO community (or at least my readers) again. Personally, I'm still sitting in the wait-and-see mode. I can see the good and the bad that will come with public markets being found only in Cyrodiil's keeps. Squidgod2000 outlined the pros and cons I see:

The bad: Keep turnover will (likely) be too fast and timezone-based. TESO becomes an EverQuest 1-style economy with a few areas overwhelmed by chat spam from sellers (as I assume player-trades are still allowed).

The good: Creates a smaller, less cutthroat economy. May see the rise of dedicated crafters who take and fill orders from players who can't simply buy anything they want with a few clicks.
In last week's column, I didn't address what the solo-crafter will do if he or she wished to sell wares. Of course, the easy answer would be to join a guild. But that's not always a viable option for everyone. This leaves barking in chat. I'm assuming ZeniMax will include trade chat, but the number of players who will not have a public store will greatly outnumber those who do. I foresee a lot of unfiltered spam in the future.

Readers were also concerned that we will have to PvP in order to buy or sell items publicly. Calin wrote, "Forcing people to PvP to have access to player merchants? No auction house?" The developers said we won't have to PvP, but there is definitely no auction house. Because you can travel directly to a claimed keep, there should be no reason for anyone to have to participate in PvP. However, I believe it's clear that PvP will have a direct impact on the economy in general.

Tamriel Infinium Does ESO revolve around PvP
Little of the game appears to be untouched by PvP. And theoretically, a player can level from 10 to 50 just within Cyrodiil itself. I haven't even touched the battlegrounds (instanced PvP). So what do you think -- does the game revolve around PvP? The more I hear, the more I believe that it does. But is that a good thing or a bad thing? Or just an interesting thing? Are you intrigued or turned off by this apparent shift in focus?

Tamriel Infinium Stepping into the world of The Elder Scrolls OnlineEach week, traverse the treacherous terrain of Tamriel with Larry Everett as he records his journey through The Elder Scrolls Online, an MMORPG from ZeniMax. Comments are welcome below, or send a message to He promises to keep the arrow-to-the-knee jokes to a minimum.

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