To continue the series of ESO interviews at E3, Gamespot invited Paul Sage to tell us more about the game. By the looks of it, positive feedback is coming from the E3 participants that had the chance to play the game.
How many people will you get to see in one world?
We have the MegaServer technology so we can allow you to play with everybody. There’s not going to be necessarily a limit, but we’re going to balance it out to where it’s going to be a natural experience. It depends on the area more than anything else.
Since ESO will be available in separate versions for PC, MAC, PS4 and Xbox, is it going to be cross-platform?
PS4 players will play with other PS4 players, Xbox One players with other Xbox One players, and PC & Mac will play in the same environment.
Are you finding the next-gen consoles to be a good fit for The Elder Scrolls Online? Will they be able to offer those big massively multiplayer experiences?
Next-gen consoles are really powerful, they’re great machines…so yeah absolutely. It’s going to be largely the same experience, the difference is going be in the way the UI is done for consoles because we want to bring out the best of the controllers. For PC and MAC, they use a keyboard and a mouse so we want to make sure that the interface is not influenced in anything other than it’s great for the PC and the Mac.
In terms of other MMOs they have action bars on-screen, but in Skyrim there’s almost no HUD to speak of. What is the player’s view going to look like when they’re in first person or third person?
Long ago in the game, long before we even thought about whether we’re going to make it for console, we said we wanted to immerse the player in the world. A part of immersing the player in the world is taking away those UI elements. I think it’s one of the things that gets people saying “This really feels like an Elder Scrolls game”. We do have a shortcut bar, but that’s just related to context. So if you’re mousing over a monster, or something of that nature then it’ll come up to show you: “Hey which buttons do you have to press to fire off certain spells?”. You know in an MMO you don’t get to pause to do what you want to do. You get to see what the monster is going to do on-screen instead of watching a little UI element that tells you what to do.
Will the PC version support gamepad controller?
Right now we’re still on keyboard and mouse, but you know…we won’t rule that out and see what the future holds.
Does stealth work in ESO like in the other Elder Scrolls games?
Absolutely. You know…on the PC, they just hit Control, you see the little eye in the middle of the screen. You get certain bonuses if you’re hidden and you attack somebody from behind. There’s a lot of stealthing elements in the game and I think it’s a really compelling way to play.
What are the advantages and disadvantages of ESO’s playable races? What are the different races?
You can choose from 9 different races. There’s 3/alliance (we mentioned them earlier). The nice thing about choosing the races is you’ll have a skill line associated with that race, just like for choosing your class. You’ll be able to look at the racial skill lines and choose your race accordingly.
Are you considering an open beta?
We’re actually in closed beta right now, which is great. We’re getting a lot of good response. I’d say that the number of sign ups has been absolutely overwhelming. We will see, when we get to an open beta…if we get to an open beta, but I do think that it’s part of the plan.
In Skyrim you had followers…people that could follow along with you. Are you going to have any tag-along folks as an option in The Elder Scrolls Online?
Sure. There will be NPCs you meet in the world, you’ll get to have them play along with you, and they’ll help you out. One of the interesting things when you talk about pets is mounts. Our mount system is pretty interesting in the fact that you get to start off with a horse and depending on the kind of horse you buy you get to feed it different things. And what you feed it determines how that mount is going to grow and it will get either faster, be able to sprint longer with stamina or be able to carry more.
Will it be able to grow wings….or another pair of legs?
Not that I’m aware of.
Can you elaborate a little bit on PvP?
Sure. One of the things you’re trying to do is get Emperor status. As you do different things in PvP, for example kill a player, capture a keep, you get Alliance Points. If you sign up for a guild they can actually claim the keep and this helps you get Alliance Points. what you can do with AP is you can buy new gear, or new abilities (new skill lines). There are specific skill lines for AvA and there are lots of reasons why you’d want to purchase them.
Will there be dragons in ESO?
During this time dragons weren’t around.
One of the ways to socialize and meet new players is through text chat. How’s that communication going to work on consoles since people don’t have a keyboard plugged into?
We’re still working on the console interface and we’ll be talking more about it, but as you can probably imagine one of the things we have is a radio menu that when you get next to somebody you have a little context list where you just pop up and say I want to invite you to a group or other things. It will probably be something a lot like that.
Will there be Oculus Rift support?
Oculus Rift is a pretty fascinating piece of technology. I have looked at it a little bit, but we haven’t gotten to Oculus Rift territory at this point.
Skyrim PC community is silly with mods. Is that something that’s going to factor into the MMO?
I think the mod community is amazing for Skyrim. Since a lot of people look at the UI as something they want to mod we’ve added LUA functionality for modding the UI in the game so it will be available to PC and Mac players.
What can you tell us about crafting and trading?
If you’ve played Skyrim you might be familiar with Alchemy and how you would experiment with the different additives and ingredients. ESO also uses that discovery as a baseline for crafting so instead of crafting the same thing over and over again the discoveries you make actually add more to your skills as you grow.
In Skyrim players had to fight valiantly against to pick up everything that wasn’t nailed down.In MMOs there’s loot sharing, multiple people fighting to get the same reward. How are you guys handling that?
Our loot is actually instanced to the player.If you and I were to go into a dungeon together and kill a big monster together, you would get loot and I would get loot. It would be instanced just to us (the people who contributed to that kill).
Will players have their own homes?
Not at ship
Will there be romance options in ESO?
There is something, I don’t want to call it a romance. Could be something else entirely, just a friendship, but we do have somethingin the game where you can actually perform a ceremony. You get rings out of that ceremony, and if you wear those rings when you adventure together you get experience bonus.
Can you have multiple rings with multiple people?
It might be expensive, but I suppose you could.
Are guilds a part of ESO?
They absolutely are. We can talk about two kinds of guilds. We can talk about in-game guilds like the Fighters and Mages Guilds or we can talk about the player guilds. If you hav an established guild ( it can be established online prior to game launch) when you get in the game, that guild is going to be there with reserved name and everything else. When you’re in a guild, in the game, you’ll be able to claim keeps, there’ll be certain bonuses that you get for that. You’ll have the guild leader that can set permissions within the guild so it’s a really robust system.We’ll announce a few more things later about the guilds. Of course you’ll have a guild bank where you get to put items, but later on we’ll start talking about how we build on that system.
Will respeccing be available?
It’s something you’ll be able to do with the same character.We understand that you might make a mistake or just want to try something different out. There’s going to be respeccing.
How long does it take to walk across Cyrodiil?
I’ll give you some roughmathematics. If you can go 6.5 meters/second in the game (perhaps faster if you sprint), imagine Cyrodiil has 9 zones and each zone is about 3 kilometers. You can do the math if you want to.
Don’t forget to tune in tomorrow for the IGN’s and Twitch.TV’s interviews.
IGN — 10:40 am PST
Twitch.TV — 11:25 am PST