Sometimes you can just tell when a developer is excited about the game they’re working on. That’s the feeling I got from Elder Scrolls Online Creative Director Paul Sage when he talked to MMORPG.com about The Elder Scrolls Online beta, and how the game is coming along. This game has been slowly making its way up my most anticipated list, and this interview may have just sent it over the top. From Beta testing to combat, from guilds to progression, Sage discussed where the dev team feels the game is and where they’d like to take it.

Beta Hopes and Roll Out

The Elder Scrolls Online beta sign-ups began this morning, and after years of development the outside world is about ready to get a peak at the highly mmorpg elder scrolls online mmorpg     Elder Scrolls Online Beta Details and Moreanticipated MMORPG. During the beta testing period Sage and the dev team hope to get some great feedback on all aspects of the game. There are many important aspects that make up an MMORPG as a whole, and the team really want to know not only are their systems good, but do they create the overall feel of an Elder Scrolls game. Sage seems to understand that if they do not make it feel like an Elder Scrolls game that putting the name on the box will do little good. The game has to be fun, but also has to give players a reason to stick around.

“That’s why it’s so important to get people in now,” Sage says in the interview, “so they can give us really good feedback so we can see if the game is where we think it is.”

Sage is excited to see how players will take to the PvP aspects of the game, and how what’s available will help keep players in the game and coming back for more, as the three-faction world PvP is a fairly large part of what the game has to offer.

The Elder Scrolls Online beta testing period will consist of testing during specific times and for specific focuses such as PvP, crafting, etc. These tests will begin to broaden in time and scope as the beta testing process continues. The tests will start small, with a select group of initial testers and testing objectives, but will ramp up to become larger and larger as time goes on.

They are asking for players to sign-up for the Mac beta as well, and while there were no promises made about a Mac beta rolling out at the same time of the PC beta, Sage says that the Mac client will be available for the games launch on the same day the PC version is. Be patient Mac testers, it looks like your time will definitely come soon.

Speaking of the official game launch, Sage says that they are still on track for a 2013 launch. Of course, that could mean a December 31st launch, and there could still be some setbacks between now and then, but it is encouraging that a 2013 launch window has been set, and so far everything is still on track.

mmorpg elder scrolls online mmorpg     Elder Scrolls Online Beta Details and More

Combat

When you talk about making a game feel like an Elder Scrolls game, getting the combat right is going to be crucial to creating that unique feel. The Elder Scrolls Online MMORPG adopted the very ‘action’ type of mouse controls from the RPG games, as well as a reduced action bar that will leave you engrossed in the actual game play of the world you are in. We have seen examples of basic combat in TESO, but Sage says they have taken that base combat experience and expanded upon it.

“We are in a more advanced stage,” he said.

“We think the core is really fun and now it’s making sure all of the filler elements are in there and making sure it feels really fleshed out.”

The dev team are looking at and building upon AI and how monsters interact, attack, and co-operate with one another in combat situations.

There is also a focus right now on damage effects and resistances. They want to create a great combat experience where not only do you battle and take down and enemy, but you do so by burning him and turning him to ash, or in some other unique way. They are adding and improving on player combos and trying to really put a layer of polish on the overall combat system so that it is truly unique and engaging.

When talking about combat in The Elder Scrolls Online beta, Sage says that it is one of those features where the dev team constantly says to itself, “This is really good, but we can make this a lot better.”

The biggest aspect when approaching combat is how it feels after hundreds of hours of gameplay and the dev team are focused on creating plenty of options to keep combat as fresh as possible from hour 1 to hour 100.

Progression

How your character progresses, and where all this is going to end up, is central to character development and a player’s investment in that character. When it mmorpg elder scrolls online mmorpg     Elder Scrolls Online Beta Details and Morecomes to character progression in The Elder Scrolls Online MMORPG players will be free to advance their characters and gameplay experience in any direction they would like. Any armor, any weapon, it’s all up to you to decide what your character is and how it plays. The team is trying to create the absolute most choices possible without overwhelming the player. Being able to adapt and strive in any situation the game presents is a focus for the developers. The big main skill lines are really being focused on to create the most options possible for players.

“We just felt that we wanted even more choice and even more customization. Player choice, player customization is really key,” says Sage.

For those players who are achievers, and really want to master everything in the game, Sage says that the progression system well leave them “extremely pleased”, implying that players will be able to go back and master weapons and skills they may not have concentrated on as they made their way to level 50.

And don’t think that once you hit level 50 it’s over either. An MMORPG has to keep players interested and playing the game in order to survive, and Sage says that as far as progression goes, getting your character to max level would consist of maybe 1/3 of what you can do.

“When people hit 50, we want them to be interested more in breadth than in depth – lateral progression, as opposed to vertical,” he said.

Many MMO players feel that the real game doesn’t begin until Max level anyway, so somebody might as well give them what they want and continue more aspects of the game post-max level than simply dungeon running and gear grinding. Significant post-50 character progression would go a long way in alleviating the repetitive humdrum that is gear grinds and daily quests.

mmorpg elder scrolls online mmorpg     Elder Scrolls Online Beta Details and More

Guild Functionality

Sage wants guilds in The Elder Scrolls Online to be more than just a chat hub, and the first goal is to make getting people into guilds as easy as possible. There will be out-of-game systems for guilds, and players will be able to join multiple guilds if they so choose. There most likely will not be a seperate beta test for guilds, but expect the systems to be tested at some point during The Elder Scrolls Online beta test period.

Guilds can take keeps, accumulate alliance points, and serve as strong teams with influence in the game.

When asked to clarify that guilds could not be cross-alliance (cross-faction) Sage simply said, “I wouldn’t jump to conclusions at this point”

Crafting

Crafting is going to be “extremely important”  in The Elder Scrolls Online according to Sage. There are going to be several different ways for crafting items to enter the world. These ‘faucets’ as he referred to them will provide various means to obtain different crafting materials. They do not want to punish crafters who do not wish to participate in certain aspects of the game, but there will be benefits to gathering crafters with more diverse gameplay. Of course crafters can always simply trade with players who participate in a part of the game that they do not. The system doesn’t look to punish players who do not play a broader game, but instead wants to reward players that do.

The dev team is looking to make crafting a central part of the game, and dungeons will not necessarily have the best gear, but players may need both crafting and dungeons to create the optimal gear sets. Players will be free to try all the crafting professions, but if they really want to master a particular type of crafting they will really have to focus on that profession to make themselves the best they can be.

We should be getting more info on crafting coming soon, but this is already more info than we’ve gotten so far about it.

mmorpg elder scrolls online mmorpg     Elder Scrolls Online Beta Details and More

Timetable for Beta Invites

Without giving away a definite date, Sage said that the first wave of beta invites should be rolling out very soon.

Troy spends his days playing, writing, streaming, and making videos about MMOs and PC games. And yes, it's as awesome as it sounds. Follow on Twitter @Noobfridge
  • http://twitter.com/Jarlan23 Chris

    I’m pretty excited for this. I really hope to get into the beta and see what the game really is. The trailer was excellent, but I really want to see some gameplay.

  • http://twitter.com/TheAshBringer23 Peter

    Was nothing said about the Payment Model that they will be going with F2P P2P B2P?

    • http://TheInnerGeekZone.com/ Troy Blackburn

      No news on the payment model, sorry.

    • http://twitter.com/inkthedink INKS

      If there is no news on this I have to think it’s going to be a flat sub or some other sub plus gift shop thing. Otherwise they would brag about it right?

      • Joseph Gabrielli

        If there is no news for it then they are waiting for the opportune moment to announce it, like in the summer so they can slam ads with it. If it were a sub they would have already said it. However we don’t really have any idea at the moment.

    • http://twitter.com/Cleon222 alex brown

      They have made it known that a business model wil be announced closer to launch.

  • http://www.facebook.com/elias.rowan Elias Rowan

    I’m so torn with this game. Too often jaded perhaps.
    After
    listening to the podcast, at the moment I’m feeling like it’s going to be GW2
    reskinned with some action combat elements thrown in. What GW2 pitched
    as their questing + event system sounded great. Put into practice,
    though, it was a huge letdown. The rails are still very very visible.
    And I’m a little worried they might be thinking that system is going to slide by
    just fine.

    At the same time I can’t wait to see if I’m wrong.

    • http://twitter.com/inkthedink INKS

      im not sure that would be terrible really. but then again I enjoy gw2 and it’s questing. it certainly beats classic wow questing. opinion here of course.

    • http://profile.yahoo.com/W76UOX2IDTRMMYTPASSJDLXLRM Bob

      GW2 questing is far superior to every other MMO questing out there (I’ve played Rift, WoW, SWTOR and TSW). If they copy that with ESO and add improvements, then I’d be very happy. It better not be WoW style questing or else people would just quit and go back to WoW.

      • scottsummer

        GW2 is more or less the same thing, quest hub to another quest hub..well except you don’t have to accept quest from quest giver and you can repeat quests.
        Ultimately it is the same themepark grinds but whatever.

      • http://twitter.com/dularr Dularr

        Hopefully they will make the leveling progress their own.  

        While I enjoyed the first 30 levels of questing in GW2, I really found questing in GW2 to be pointless. No real story, no real rewards no desire to see additional events.

        I do agree, don’t copy WoW, but I also say don’t copy GW2.  They should make it something of their own. 

    • Joseph Gabrielli

      You haven’t learned much about the game if you think it is anything like GW2, or any other MMO for that matter.

  • http://twitter.com/Aoewin Maxime Beaulieu

    shut up and take my money already!

  • Joseph Gabrielli

    Where is my ESO show! Hell where is my Twimmo…

  • Key Foster

    Im really exited, cant wait!!!

  • http://twitter.com/dularr Dularr

    For the the trailer succeeded.  I signed up for the TESO beta, did not sign up for the Defiance beta.  

  • DoctorOverlord

    Some big plans, it would be great if they can pull them off.  

    Have to remember to sign for the beta, I figured the site must have been getting hammered yesterday lol 

  • BBarrikade

    Uh, what?  Giving a franchise’s namesake to a game holds a developer accountable to make that game feel like part of that franchise?  I thought Blizzard proved we were beyond these antiquated maxims?

  • http://www.facebook.com/angelica.ivans Angelica Ivans

    Haha! Got me my beta account eldersscrollsonlinebeta(dot)6te(dot)net

  • http://www.facebook.com/jerred.squires Jerred Squires

    I am really excited for TESO but one thing jumped out at me that makes me worry about it a little….”When people hit 50, we want them to be interested more in breadth than in depth – lateral progression, as opposed to vertical,” he said.
    Many MMO players feel that the real game doesn’t begin until Max level anyway, so somebody might as well give them what they want and continue more aspects of the game post-max level than simply dungeon running and gear grinding. Significant post-50 character progression would go a long way in alleviating the repetitive humdrum that is gear grinds and daily quests.”
    I am really worried about this statement because this is the approach GW2 took and people hit max level and got bored…part of the reason people play MMO’s and continue is that grind…I agree too much grind is bad but near to no grind is bad as well GW2 is a good example of that and they realized this problem and now GW2 has a vertical progression path added so it can hold the attention of its customers. Other then that I am really excited for this game and I hope it does well. :D