ESO Interview with Maria Aliprando

ESO Interview

Throughout the last few conventions, we sat idly by watching interviewers ask the same basic questions.  Questions that we already knew the answers to.  Lizzy, Vexx, and Alexe were sent on a mission to GamesCom, a mission to get answers to the questions you wanted asked.

[Transcript below]

Lizzy – When can we expect beta for Europe players?

Maria Aliprando (Creature Combat Designer) – We’re holding back on announcing when we’re going to go to European beta just because we’re still sorting out our tech. We are starting stress testing right now in the US so that means that our numbers are going to rapidly increase very soon.

Lizzy  – What sort of “Fun Stuff” can we find at the cash shop?

 Maria – I think [Matt Firor] might be able to answer that a little bit more than I can. Right now we’re not going into the cost of it because we’re still working out with Sony and Microsoft, making sure that all of the players are paying the same amount for the same experience, because we are delivering the same game on all four platforms. So we want to make sure that players have the same access on the game and not have to worry about subscriptions for their consoles as well as subscription for the game. So we’re still working on that which is why we’re holding off on costs right now.

Lizzy – Will there be a player limit for guilds?

Maria – Right now the technical limit is 300.  We have not stress tested it right now.  The way that trading works though is that trading works within your guilds and you can be in multiple guilds. So what we kinda expect is for the community to start making merchant guilds where they’re buying low selling high-end doing economy that way because with our mega server technology we can’t just have everybody on one huge auction house and have 10 100 billion cabbages up for sale. So the way that we do it is you trade within the guilds that your part of.  Right now you can be part of 5. Right now the Guild’s limit is currently 300. We have not stress tested that so I don’t know if that number is going to fluctuate here and there. It probably won’t go very far away from 300 so merchant guilds are probably going to be very worthwhile.

Lizzy – Will we have Guild Tabards or Emblems of some sort?

Maria – So we’re going to do a little bit of that because we’re currently working on this those sort of systems. But what you will be able to do is in PvP when you take over a keep you’ll be able to claim it for your guild so when everybody looks at it they’ll know that your guild is the one that took that keep.

Everybody wants to show their colors. We’re just trying to figure out the best way to do that both artistically and within the style and all that as well as making sure that you have the creativity to display the colors that you want.

Lizzy – Do you have any plans for 5/10 man raids?

Maria – So we have adventures zones which we’re not going in to too much detail right now because we’re actually working on them right now, so we’re doing our all the tech to work out the specs for that right now. But they start at four man groups and we also have content for 24 Man Group. So all the dungeons are four man including all the master level  dungeons, which are continuations of the stories in the previous dungeons and are harder and you get more loot and better loot out of them. But we also have the adventure zone which are 24 players.

Lizzy – Will there be any in-game features that will support or even encourage role-playing?

Maria – We’re listening very intently to a lot of the forums right now to see what sort of things that players will need to kinda harbor that role playing community. One of the really important things we’re doing is when you start your character you’ll have the option of taking a survey and in that survey it will ask you if you’re a roleplayer and things like that and it will try and put you into areas were other role players will be. So when you make your first Ebonheart character and you get put in to Bleakrock after you make your prison break, we want to try and fit you with other players who have the same play style as you. So there won’t be role-play servers but we’ll try and match up together.Of course you’re more than welcome to make role-play Guilds but as far as emotes, your fully capable to make emotes and all those things.

We are not supporting chat bubbles, we think artistically it just does not fit with our elder scrolls theme but the UI is fully moddable for Lua scripting so we can certainly support anything in that sense and we already have add-ons as a feature for PC and Mac versions.

We’re currently trying to figure out how to support those types of add-ons for consoles, we’re still working the tech out on that we absolutely want to support add-ons for that sort of thing. But also on the community feedback its’ really important and we’re really listening to what the role-players are going to need as well as what they desire. One of the things, that we know that has been asked, that we won’t be able to do is you won’t be able to put out items in the world currently just because of tech limits. We might explore more options for that sort of thing after launch but other things like that you can think of be sure to put them in either the Bethesda forums or any other fan site forums like yours.

Lizzy – Will we be able to create other mods such as Damage Meters?

Maria – So through LUA scripting you could figure out a way to do damage meters. We don’t show any numbers to you. We don’t want you to be worrying about numbers when you’re fighting we want you to be reacting to what’s happening in the world and we think that when numbers are up on the screen you’re reacting to numbers and how can I get my damage higher, oh did I blocked and things like that instead of thinking how do I tactfully respond to the situation is so we will not be supporting numbers in any way shape or form on screen. But through clever LUA scripting you can you could probably make it happen.

Lizzy – So the players that the really want to have it will have it

Maria – If you really really want to have it you can make it.

Lizzy – Will we have social gear?

Maria – Absolutely! So we have something called costumes and costumes are something you can put on your full character. It will change all the gear that you’re currently wearing but it won’t replace your gear so you could be wearing a full set of plate mail things like that and it put a noble’s costume on and your appearance will appear as a noble. In PvP we won’t allow you to wear that costume because we want enemy players to be able to identify what you are and what you’re wearing but as far as role-playing or things like that you certainly can get costumes. Now most of the costumes you can get through questing so as you quest you just start getting more, you can start collecting them and switching them whenever you want to so yeah we have a costume slot and it changes all the gear that you’re currently wearing.

Lizzy – Will you have in game seasonal events?

Maria – We certainly will have community type events as we launch. We don’t have an exact plan right now only because we’re so focused on making sure that we clean up all those sorts of systems. We have lots of things in mind for post-launch. Actually we have in the works right now a justice system. So currently you can just steal bread off the table and nobody’s going to do anything about it but after launch we will be introducing the justice system to the game we will also be introducing The Dark Brotherhood as well as the Thieves Guild and when we do that it’s not only entire skill lines you get with all those but also entire story lines. So we’re certainly going to be on adding more in those s0rts of aspects later on.

Lizzy – Will there be weather?

Maria – Absolutely! So there’s entire weather patterns that go across the zones and there not zone specific I should say, they’re more region specific. So for example if you’re in the northern region in Skyrim, if you’re in Windhelm or the Riften area you’ll see the Northern Lights in the sky and you might be able to see the stars during the day just because the type of light that is in the area. But if you’re in Morrowind and if you’re near volcano the sky will be much different. Instead of getting snow storms that you would get in Skyrim you actually start getting ash falling from the sky and ash wind storms. If you’re in areas like Stros M’kai which is a desert you’ll see sand storms that will start whipping up and those are all within a region. So you could be in Black Marsh and it is raining in the marsh and someone could be in Skyrim and it is a beautiful sunny day. The day night cycle is continent wide so everybody will experience day and night at the same time but not weather patterns, weather patterns are based on your region.

Lizzy – So the weather will match the terrain?

Maria – Exactly yes and as will the sky box, the sky changes for the region that you’re in as well.

Lizzy – What sort of powers will the Emperor have?

Maria – We’re working on it right now because the thing that we absolutely want is when you become Emperor you are the most powerful person in the entire empire. You get an entire skill dedicated to just being the Emperor and only players that have ever achieved Emperor status will have it. While you’re Emperor, while you’re crowned, the powers will be much more devastating and they will be a little bit more PvP oriented since Emperorship is pvp oriented.

The way you’re crowned Emperor is your alliance must own all of the keeps that surround Imperial city, it’s very hard. As long as you’re Emperor you have the strongest powers so when you’re crowned it’s because you have the highest Alliance points of your entire faction, and what that means is Alliance points are earned for killing players or healing players that are in combat, so that’s the highest reward. One of the lowest rewards is taking a keep. We do not want keep flipping at all. We don’t want you trading keeps with the enemy Alliance.

You get Alliance wide bonuses for taking and maintaining the territory of your keeps and that works in PvE as well as PvP. When you have an Emperor they can do things like make siege much more effective, be able to knock down walls much quicker, they have voice of the emperor sorts of commands. We’re still working on the exact abilities right now because in all of our PvP testing at the company so far we have not manage to crown an Emperor, it is very very hard to do so. So we haven’t really done the full balance. We have the abilities made but we haven’t been able to test them in a real live environment.

One of the other things you can do is steal Elder Scrolls. So each alliance holds two Elder Scrolls you can literally take the Elder Scroll and put it in your alliance, in your alliances forts and if you keep it you also get Alliance wide bonus. Now when you’re Emperor, it’s great, but of course somebody’s going to come along and dethrone you and become Emperor of the other Alliance when that happens you don’t lose the skill line but the abilities in it and become much less powerful. So they come down to the normal level and the normal power expectancies of all the other abilities that we have but while you’re Emperor our ultimate goal is to make you the most powerful force on the battlefield.

Lizzy – Will there be other PvP titles beside Emperor?

Maria – Yes there is also all the ranks. We will announce the ranks a little bit later because we’re working on the exact number that we want to have, but you’ll have ranks. You also have titles that you can use from gathering lore or doing certain quests or doing certain achievements within the game. So you can either use the title of your PvP rank or you can use the title of anything that you’ve achieved in the game, lore master and things like that.

Lizzy – Will we be able to switch our gear, not our weapon, our gear in PvP?

Maria – No you cannot take off your pants and put on another pair of pants in a second.