Pre-Launch Reddit AMA


Matt Firor


The cash shop. I and many other players are very concerned about “premium” content. The game hasn’t even launched and there’s already an entire race and two mounts we’ll have to pay extra to access. Extra, on top of the game’s already-hefty $60 price tag and $15 monthly subscription fee.

ZOS_MattF: “Cash Shop”: The next items available for purchase are a name change service, and possibly some vanity pets. We have no timeline for these, so don’t expect them soon, and there aren’t concrete plans for anything else at the moment after that.


The starter islands. Why did you decide to make characters start in the first main city with an option to go to the starter islands, rather than starting characters on the starter islands with the option to skip? I’ve met a number of people who hadn’t played before the last beta test who didn’t even know the starter islands existed and were very confused when they were quickly outleveled on the mainland.

ZOS_MattF: Starter Islands: We made this decision to give the players lots more choice in the early moments of the game. Not being able to leave the starter islands was too much on rails. So, we made the starter islands just “islands” and let players explore them when they want, along with other level 3-8 content. But after (much) feedback, we made it too hard to find the quest giver to send you to the island, so we are making one more change before launch: now, you’ll find a questgiver directly outside your front door to direct you to the islands. You don’t have to go there, but you can if you want. Choice.


The “any race, any alliance” preorder thing. This seems like a way to make it so that there are only a limited number of characters playing in factions that don’t fit their race. Will there be some ingame way to change factions for people who didn’t preorder?

ZOS_MattF: Explorer Pack Bonus: playing any race in any alliance is a pre-order perk. We have no plans to offer this bonus in any other way.


What have been your favorite parts of the game to work on and see to come to fruition?
What classes will you all be playing?
Can you confirm or deny a Sweet Roll Atronach vanity pet at this point in time?

ZOS_MattF: Any game developer will tell you the best part of the process is watching people play it for the first time. It is such a thrill logging onto a server during a beta (or live, or PTS) and watch gamers explore the world you spent so long creating. We all have our favorite builds – we’ve been playing this game a long time. My current build on PTS is a full dual wield specced Dragon Knight. I can neither confirm nor deny this. But it would be yummy.


Once the game is released, what will be the development focus for the next few months?
You guys are very efficient at responding to the community. Will there be the optional speech bubbles that some people in the ESO community keep begging for?
Will updates/expansions ever cost extra money in the future?
As far as rule enforcement, will there be moderators in the server(s)? Approximately how many total?
I have heard talk of addon free Cyrodil campaigns. Will there be addon free campaigns upon release?
How many months after release do you think the first major content update will release?
How much more work will go into optimizing the game for lower end pcs?

ZOS_MattF: Post launch dev plans: Our first Adventure Zone, Craglorn will be our first focus. Expect to see lots of info on that soon.
Speech Bubbles: We have no current plans to support speech bubbles.
Updates/expansions: all regular content updates will be provided as part of subscribing. We will probably do some kind of expansion in the future, we don’t have concrete plans for that at the moment.
Moderators: yes, we will have full CS support on the live servers, including being able to handle TOS violations and harassment. We take player experience very seriously and as much as possible won’t allow disruptive players to make life difficult for others.
Addon Free Campaigns: no, all pvp campaigns will have the same ruleset, but we are taking steps to ensure that UI mods won’t give players an advantage in PvP over a player that doesn’t have one.
First major content release: as soon as possible after launch – this is Craglorn. Expect to see more info very soon.
Lower end PC: we spent a LOT of time ensuring that ESO is playable on a wide variety of PC (and Mac) hardware. It was one of our core tech requirements.


Can you please shed more information on Adventure Zones? How they will be implemented. Requirements? This information will make or break the game for alot of people.

ZOS_MattF: Expect to see a LOT of information about Adventure Zones at some point very soon.


Will the starter islands return from the start?

ZOS_MattF: We have a change going up to PTS early next week that puts a quest giver right outside the front door the house/boat you appear in after leaving Coldharbour. This quest giver will explicitly show you how to get to the island, should you want to go there. Players who don’t want to go to the islands won’t have to.


I noticed that people were encountering bugged quest a lot during the last beta test, but not the people on PTS servers, i guess this is related to the number of player on the last beta, how can you assure us that that is not going to happen at lunch where the number of people is going to be much bigger?

ZOS_MattF: We found the underlying problem that caused that series of bugs (similar problems across a wide variety of quests) that made the last beta frustrating for players and those fixes will show up on PTS on Monday and will be live for early access. We’re pretty sure we found all of them, but we will remain vigilant and will fix anything else that may crop up.


Any plans to allow us to increase the terrain draw distance? The constant fog feels terribly restricting and makes vistas unsatisfying.

ZOS_MattF: I wish this were as easy as just making the distance farther, but we run into tech restrictions very quickly if we set view distance farther than it can go now. I 100% understand what you (and many others) are saying, but believe me, if it was easy to do this we would have done it already. We’ll do what we can, but not any time soon.


Console question blah blah blah

ZOS_MattF: We’re going to release more information about console after PC/Mac launch, including all the questions you have here.


Paul Sage

paul sageWhat direction do you see expansions taking; Large expansions once a year or so, or smaller content expansions broken up during the course of the year? (If smaller content patches, is there a rough time frame in mind?)
This one from my wife, an answer grants me “Nookie Points”“If a group of people are on the same quest will each member’s gathers/kills be a cumulative thing, or individual as they are in the beta?”

ZOS_Sage: I think we will have good sized content expansions at a regular cadence. That is our goal. We will talk more about any plans for a larger expansion well after launch.

Nookie Point Answer: For now they are going to be individual, but may change in the near future. It really depends on the quest.


1.) How exactly do the “Rings of Mara” work? (i.e. location, created/gifted, usage, etc.)
2.) And my last question is revolving around crafting – Do you guys think that smithing will make globally found items obsolete? Maybe not at first, but give it a few months and I truly believe that everyone will be crafting their own gear, thus not promoting a lot of eagerness for end-game content.

ZOS_Sage: You will get a pledge of Mara in your mail when you create your first character. If you visit a shrine of Mara with another person and both join in the pledge, each of you will receive rings. When you are grouped together wearing the rings, you will get an XP bonus.

No. I think found items will have unique properties not available to crafters, but crafters will be able to enhance those items.


On the racial passives with procs – like Redguard stamina return and Imperial health return. Do they stack with the equivalent jewelry glyphs? If so, will stacking effectively increase the proc chance or magnitude? Is there a cool down attached to the procs? If so, is it a global proc cool down or individual per source (racial, ring, medallion…) or type being health return, magicka return etc.

ZOS_Sage: Yes, racial passives will work with the enchantments on jewelry. There is a cool down on procs, or a rate of proc if you prefer individual proc rate (cooldown.)


Are there plans to expand the organization within the guild such as the amount of available ranks?
What is the purpose of the 10% “house cut” in guild shops, and why can’t guilds set their own “cut” that they can actually receive?
Will guilds ever be able to have an internal treasury to store and use gold for the guild?
Is the ZOS team aware of the guild bank bug where items don’t stack properly?
Another bug is where the guild shop’s “Materials” search field returns items of all kinds, and doesn’t give options for sorting craft professions?

1. Yes to more ranks.
2. It is a gold sink. We are evaluating it, but it was something to help keep the value of gold up.
3. It can certainly cause arguments, but I think we will likely add something like this.
4. Yes. Working on a fix.
5. We are going to redo categorization of items to make sure they are more easily searchable.


Will the FOV slider and/or changes be out for release?

ZOS_Sage: The FOV slider will not be in for launch.


Obviously it would be frivolous to have you elaborate on future added content, as development is an ongoing process, subject to change at any time, but I’d like to get your thoughts on one specific area, and that is expanding skills. At first blush, what do you guys find more interesting, a vertical expansion to skill lines (adding more skill lines, essentially), or a more horizontal approach, where we see more expansion of currently in-game skill families? Or do you find an even mixture of both to be most interesting?

ZOS_Sage: I think both are very attractive, but in the near future, I would expect to see completely new skill lines.


Why do you continue to reduce experience from mob kills?

ZOS_Sage: There was a way, because of spawn rate and other factors, to level very quickly in public dungeons and other spaces. We track leveling times and can see anomalies like this. So we had to shore this up to make sure people didn’t level quite so fast in this way. It was by far more efficient to level in public dungeons than anywhere else, so we brought this more in line with questing.


Many of us in the RP community got very excited when a month ago you announced to us on twitter that role-players could select an option to be phased together, but just over a week ago Matt said in an interview that the plans for “social options” had changed and it seemed to indicate that role-players being grouped together might not be in for launch? Can you please give us role-players more enlightenment for what your plans for us are?

ZOS_Sage: With a large company, sometimes someone is going to get something wrong. The social agent, who posted on twitter, just wasn’t right. I apologize, but it happens. We had plans for this at one time, and this just didn’t make it for launch. We are looking at many things to help our RP community in the future. Possibly something more like costumes and a way to trade them or maybe even getting the survey back.


TESO willfully obfuscates a much of the information freely available in other games of the same genre. Yesterday’s API changes swung the balance much further in that direction. What is the developer team’s view on information availability and how it impacts gameplay?

ZOS_Sage: To be fair, our goal is to keep the information in world as much as possible. Obfuscating is not the goal, but rather presenting the information in different ways than is done in other games. Many people have trouble following different pieces of information coming at them from all over the screen, and as you may know, our goal is to rely more on in-world information than UI. As far as the API changes trying to obscure information, that was never the goal. It was only the goal to prevent information not readily available to everyone being put in add-ons.


At the start area of the latest Beta when you went through the start area to collect your first weapon this time there was only the choice of a Sword and nothing else. Will this change when the game goes live back to the choice of weapons as in previous betas?

ZOS_Sage: Yes. Our goal was to have several weapons you could just pick up. Not choosing, just pick them up. We changed this for launch in the tutorial. You will be able to pick up the weapons scattered there, and by the end of the tutorial should have access to most of the weapon types.


Hi i would love to know if you are going to separate the option for adornments and facial hair as i believe it would give more customization and that’s what Elder scrolls games are about…love the game can’t wait for release.

ZOS_Sage: We’re definitely looking at adding in more options in the future for player customization.

My question to any of the developers is quite simply this; what drove you to your decision to Massacre the API as you did? This has literally shot the modding community in the back and you guys need to realize that. We can’t even track information on our own character now. I would like some feedback on this because it is a very big matter of mine. While i like the game the base UI just doesn’t provide the features i am looking for, But the addons were the final sway in my decision, But a mere 14 days before release you cancel them. WHY?

ZOS_Sage: We had to make decisions that were based on trying to make sure competitive elements of the game, both PvE and PvP had as level of a playing field as possible. As our API was in Beta, it exposed certain functions that made ‘macro programs’ much easier to abuse. Also, there were functions which were exposed that let the API display information not readily available to the normal game client, thus making some players feel they would be forced to use add-ons to remain competitive.
While we are very aware this was going to hurt some add-ons, we felt these decisions were necessary. We certainly tried to keep in things which would still allow for damage numbers to be seen, and what was happening to your character to be seen. As we get deeper into launch, we can always re-evaluate what is available and what isn’t.


The ability to add additional guild ranks?
Some form of noticeable party leader identification?
An ability to blacklist player accounts from a guild?

Not currently, but certainly this is something we could discuss. Right now, your guild is tied to your account, so people will know not to invite people they don’t want.


Do you plan on altering phasing/instancing to make it easier to group with friends and other players who are on different parts of a quest or further along in the zone?

ZOS_Sage: Well, the specific goal is to make it easier to stay together with your group members, and that is something we are working on.


How many total skill points are obtainable in game? I have heard there is over 300 but that seems unlikely because that would be more than enough to master every profession and any combat skill line you desire.

ZOS_Sage: I can confirm there are over 300. Remember with 50+, 50++ content and Cyrodiil there are many skill points available.


How will you ensure that crafters and resources for non-consumable items remain in constant demand?

ZOS_Sage: Item decay is one way to take currency out of the economy, but there are many others. As the game matures, I expect there will be many things players will want to spend gold on.


Nick Konkle

NICK_KONKLECan you tell us the exact time the servers will open on early access and launch day?

For 5 day early access:
* North America (East): 7:00 AM EDT, Sunday March 30th
* UK/IE: 12:00 PM WEST, Sunday March 30th—
* Central Europe: 1:00 PM CEST, Sunday March 30th—
* Sydney, Australia: 10:00 PM AEDT, Sunday March 30th—
* Singapore: 7:00 PM SGT, Sunday March 30th –

For 3 day early access:
* North America (East): 7:00 AM EDT, Tuesday April 1st—
* UK/IE: 12:00 PM WEST, Tuesday April 1st—
* Central Europe: 1:00 PM CEST, Tuesday April 1st—
* Sydney, Australia: 10:00 PM AEDT, Tuesday April 1st—
*Singapore: 7:00 PM SGT, Tuesday April 1st—

…and for launch:
*North America (East): 7:00 PM EDT, Thursday, April 3rd—
*UK/IE: 12:00 AM WEST, Thursday, April 4th—
*Central Europe: 1:00 AM CEST, Thursday, April 4th—
*Sydney, Australia: 10:00 AM AEDT, Thursday, April 4th—
*Singapore: 7:00 AM SGT, Thursday, April 4 th


Nightblades are generally perceived as not the best group pvpers. Will you be balancing classes post launch?

ZOS_Konk: Yes, we’ll continue to balance after launch. A good number of our most recent changes have been focused on fixing issues that come up in our soon-to-be-released high end content, but I know that me and our ability balance guys, Floyd and Eric, are extremely excited to improve some of our abilities that are unpopular and/or underperforming.
Nightblade support build is one that we have read a good deal of concerns about, so I’d expect some changes on the horizon.


Vampires – currently PTS players are saying that they are having issues with the vampirism stages sometimes resetting to stage 1 on death, change of zone or relog and that poison mist is only giving 3 ticks of damage where the tooltip suggests it should do 8 (once every 0.5s for 4s). Are these performing as intended and if not is there an expected timeframe for a fix?

ZOS_Konk: Yep, we noticed that as well. In fact, Ed Knapp, our lead systems designer, just fixed that today! Expect that to be working for launch.


1. In terms of skill-mechanics Bosmer and Argonian seem to be slightly inferior to the other races. Is there a plan to change/adjust their racial skills before launch?
2. What is the benefit of improved swim-speed in the game? I never needed to swim more than a few seconds and slaughterfish still catch you easily

ZOS_Konk: Yeah, we are actively looking at balancing the racial abilities, especially as we get more feedback and data from our beta testers. I don’t want to speak to what sort of changes we have in mind until they are fully tested and ready, but I think we can safely say that racials passives are common topic of discussion for the systems design team.

Well, it felt appropriate for Argonians from a thematic perspective, but yes, it doesn’t have too many advantages in most gameplay. That was why we chose to add extra functionality (stamina recovery) so that the passive would be useful to players that enjoy it’s thematic value and players that want a combat benefit.


Can you speak to the plans for Templar’s and magicka regeneration after the change to Restoring Spirit? Currently reports from the PTS are that they are severely limited in late game content due to resource issues. Other classes have “mana battery” type skills, but Templars do not. As someone who is going to play a Templar regardless, I’m hoping you can talk about this?

ZOS_Konk: Alright, so I know this is a tricky one, because the old restoring spirit passive was extremely flexible and powerful. I am very sensitive to the fact that the changes we make can sometimes have an effect on the builds that you spent a long time developing. I promise you we each take balance changes very seriously.

The reason for the change to the restoring spirit had more to do with how it scaled as players progressed through Veteran ranks (especially beyond rank 10) than with how it was performing in the level 1 – 50 experience. We considered a few options for altering that value, but ultimately, we decided on a % reduction to all costs gives the class a lot of flexibility and scales very well in the long term.

I guess that doesn’t answer your specific question: can I speak to the plans for Templar’s Magicka recovery after that change? Short answer is, it’s something I am actively looking at, but i don’t want to speak to specific changes just yet until we are fully confident in the design and implementation. I hate not be able to give you details just yet, but I wanted to at least let all the Templar’s know that I am aware of the feedback and looking into it. Cheers!


Why do you guys hate healers so much? 🙁 By which I mean, there are SO many different and unique ways to build a dps character, less so for a tank (but still a fair number of options)…but for healers we get pidgeon-holed into Templar’s restoring light tree and/or restoration staff weapon.

ZOS_Konk: I think you have a very reasonable concern about the depth of healing builds versus dps builds.We are currently building several new skills for release in future patches, and while I can’t confirm the specifics, many new healing and support spells will be included.
(We do love healers, I swear!)


I am generally pleased with how crafting works. However, I was wondering if you had any plans to implement poisons to be applies to weapons in the future. Half of alchemy in TES was in creating poisons.

ZOS_Konk: You can expect poisons to become a part of alchemy before long. More details to come!


Brian Wheeler

BRIAN-WHEELER-770x472PVP in TESO is clearly inspired by Dark Age of Camelot (I’m looking at you, Firor). Some other MMO’s have attempted the “RvR” style of PVP. Will TESO PVP have a similar feel, considering a lot of the features are similar?

ZOS_BrianWheeler: PVP in Elder Scrolls Online has been noted as the type of PVP people have been waiting for, for a long time, espeically the old school DAOC crowd. I’m happy to report that many Beta players were specifically looking for this type of PVP and they had great stories and nostalgia about their fights in Cyrodiil, just like their fights in the past. I hope we get the same Alliance pride and angst between the Dominion, Pact and Covenant just like the old days, and that will translate to great PVP stories to come!


What kinds of updates are planned for PVP? What do you guys have in mind? Are we thinking more battle areas in addition to Cyrodill? Are we thinking big PvE bosses in Cyrodill? Are we talking about more keeps and more complex siege mechanics?

Do you have anything planned regarding Dark Anchors interrupting things like big zergs fighting each other or keeps being sieged and then a dark anchor pops up in front of the wall etc. Anything Molag Bal would like to contribute to the chaos in Cyrodill?
Apologies if this has been asked before, but are there any plans for the Imperial City to be accessible for the Emperor?
Anything on Mercenary armies led by players or NPC armies laying siege on castles?
Can we expect any costumes for reaching high ranks in PVP as a reward?

1 – We’ll be looking at what the players want beyond Cyrodiil or within Cyrodiil after we launch. If it’s Arenas, more keeps, more caves, or whatnot, we’ll be listening! For the interim though, we are adjusting the NPC defenders to stay in line with the power curve of players and looking at adding additional archetypes of defenders.
2 – We tested that a bit internally and found that it got a bit too crazy with 3 alliances fighting each other and adding dark Anchors into the mix at a keep or resource. For now we’re not planning on adding this to the keep battles.
4 – For now Mercenaries are stationary defense but we are looking at adding different archetypes to them such as Archers.
5- There is high level armor which can be purchased and the Emperor gets their own costume as well. That’s not to say we’re done with high ranking PVP gear/costumes, but we’ll see what the players ask for post launch =)


In beta, it’s difficult to control a keep a very long time. Don’t you think it would be difficult to sell and buy things by this way?
Will you incorporate a buff in Cyrodiil to balance factions?

ZOS_BrianWheeler: During the course of Beta’s involving PVP we’ve seen that keeps offer many different strategies for assaulting and defending. I’ve personally seen small groups hold keeps against masses of players and then again, that same amount of players get flooded and wiped. It really depends on the tactics used by players to assault and defend a keep. That being said we will be adjusting difficulty of keeps and such as the game goes on past launch to adjust for player power gains via Veteran Ranks.
Currently we have a scoring balance system and are working on a population imbalance scoring addition so that when you have a Campaign with either a lopsided score or lopsided population, the two Alliances on the lower end will get more points for capturing keeps, and more alliance points per kill. That’s not to say that’s all we’ll add but for now, those are the countermeasures we’ve got in place to help with balance.


Do you guys have plans to implement dueling?
Do you guys gave plans to implement a gladiator arena for players to fight?

ZOS_BrianWheeler: For the time being there are no plans to put in duels as we want player vs. player combat focused on Cyrodiil, and fighting the enemy not your friends.
For the future, we’ll be paying close attention to what players ask for whether it’s sport style PVP, Arenas, or adding more Keeps to Cyrodiil or different campaigns. That’s the beauty of continually supporting E.S.O. after we ship! =)



Elder Scrolls Online Guide - Killer Guides
  • Adin

    Damn it still no answer on if them emperor can enter the imperial city …. 🙁

  • DrGerm

    Very informative, I read through it all! Thanks

  • Bowstripe

    Thank you! And to the person who posted it on the boards, of course. Looks like Paul Sage answered the most! 😀

  • Dr_Chainsaw

    Thanks for compiling this. I am not a huge fan of reddit, but I saw this was happening and I wanted to read it. Excellent article.

  • Apantos

    Definitely needs dueling.

    Dueling is the most fun way to practice and train with friends while waiting for groups or to train your guild for PvP/PvE

    It's by far the MOST requested pvp feature and it needs to be implemented in some way. If it's a tech issue then allow instances arenas for friends to train and foes to battle one on one in a fair fight.

  • Apantos

    Definitely needs fuelling.

    It's the most fun and effective way to train with your friends

  • Libertylight

    I'm glad to see they are looking at getting the healers out of the pidgeon-hole, I really hoping soon maybe a healer class without the religion would be nice.

  • Tankgirl415

    I'm seeing a YES to archers, a YES to more skill lines (looking at you jewelry crafters) and a YES to guild gold banks. I'm a happy camper 🙂