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Elder Scrolls Online’s dungeons geared towards group play, but solo areas do exist

Tuesday, 16th July 2013 09:00 GMT By Dave Cook

The Elders Scrolls Online developer ZeniMax Online Studios has posted a fan Q&A in which the studio answers questions about its MMO’s many dungeons. Based on the teams responses it seems that most dungeons will be geared towards team play, rather than the solo quests see in previous Elder Scrolls games.

During the Q&A, one gamer asked about the solo nature of dungeons, to which Zenimax replied, “The Elder Scrolls Online is set up to be a fluid experience. As you wander the landscape you’ll encounter caves, forts, tombs, dungeons, and etc.

“Certain rare locales will just be for solo players, and some dungeons are meant for groups made only of people you choose to go in with. Most locales, however, will be accessible by everyone. Some might be too dangerous for you because of your current level, but you can always come back when you are more powerful if you want to complete them solo.

“We recommend grabbing a friend or grouping up with a stranger if it seems too tough, though, because that’s all part of the fun.”

While some dungeons can be tackled solo, you have to be high level to do so, which might require grouping until you’re strong enough to survive. It’s a format that might fall out of sync with gamer’s expectations of the personal journey at the heart of Elder Scrolls games.

The team added that there are also no lock-out timers on dungeons, meaning you can re-enter them as much as you like.

What do you think?

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8 Comments

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  1. Aullah

    Any news if this game will be b2p, f2p with micro (then i dont care) or subsciprion based (dont care) ?

    #1 9 months ago
  2. Dave Cook

    @1 no idea yet I’m afraid :(

    #2 9 months ago
  3. Aullah

    Odd…

    Thanks.

    #3 9 months ago
  4. deathm00n

    I remember they saying that the game could easily be done solo, I guess they meant the main quest then, what a shame…

    #4 9 months ago
  5. karma

    Why even bother with solo play? No way its going to replace a proper single player Elder Scrolls game. Its why I dont give a rats ass about this, or any other single player IP that turns MMO. They’re completely different experiences, and just overall a lot less enjoyable.

    #5 9 months ago
  6. TheWulf

    The issue I have is that a group in an MMO can sometimes be 2-3 people who love playing games together regularly. Now, you can do this in something like Mass Effect 3′s multiplayer because it scales well. MMOs feel so 1990 when they don’t even have scaling technology. I think that the Elder Scrolls MMO is going to be stillborn because of that, and it’s going to feel obsolete before it launches.

    See, Champions Online did it. If Cryptic can do it, being a small and somewhat inept developer, then anyone can do it. How did Cryptic do it?

    1.) They scaled the number of mobs in a dungeon and the numbers their attacks could reach by the number of people in your party.

    2.) They added a difficulty level, from Easy to Elite, which also affected enemy numbers and attack power.

    Besides, what “group play” says to me is that a mob isn’t going to be difficult because of good AI, it’s going to be difficult because of huge numbers. It’ll be able to nearly one-shot people, thus facilitating “group play.” This is the problem that Borderlands 1 and 2 had.

    I tended to play Champions Online dungeons on Medium with 2-3 people so that we could just have fun with it. That’s group play to us. And I honestly feel that in some ways CO does represent the future of MMOs — and that’s one of them. Moving away from clownsuits is another, too, as no one in their right mind liked clown suits. But I digress.

    The more they tell me, the more this sounds like a flop.

    Stillborn, I called it.

    #6 9 months ago
  7. TheWulf

    @5

    This is why I wish there was an MMO which had no combat, and instead focused around jumping puzzles, logical puzzles, research, exploration, and collectible gathering. Sort of like Uru: Ages Beyond Myst for modern audiences.

    That’s what The Secret World felt like when it wasn’t doing combat. Sadly, combat took up most of The Secret World’s content, and they had to use some really ridiculous lore pieces to actually justify this combat. Plus, in the combat areas, everyone became super serious. That was depressing, because the game felt more like it was supposed to be in London, where you couldn’t tell if someone was bullshitting you or telling the truth. And half of it was bullshitting-with-a-grin, and I wholeheartedly support that. I’m sick of po-faced characters.

    Everything went wrong with The Secret World the moment it started doing combat — it expected you to take it seriously, it expected you to enjoy grind, and it thought that you’d actually prefer it more when compared to the exploration, gathering, jumpy, and puzzly missions. I didn’t! I bloody hate the combat of TSW and what it does to it.

    I just… I want that MMO, one that gets rid of combat completely, because we don’t need it. One which has a well written, mysterious, and slightly bullshit-y storyline that keeps you on the edge of your seat. One that has you researching and solving logical puzzles, learning more as you go. One that has a genuinely well designed world to explore, with jumping puzzles which lead to further lore and collectibles.

    I want this.

    Combat in MMOs is obviously so shit. Most people don’t like it going by the complaints I’ve heard so… let’s drop the combat! The combat is clearly not the best part of an MMO.

    There were parts of The Secret World where there was no combat at all. None! I spent an hour or more (I forget how long) working on certain puzzles in an underground complex that just went on from puzzle to puzzle. At one point I even had to /spit on a statue to solve a puzzle, because why not? And it was all well-designed and brilliant. That’s by far my fondest memory of TSW thus far, and my most painful, vomit-inducing ones are of the gratuitously repetitive combat.

    Sigh.

    MMOs, what am I going to do with you?

    #7 9 months ago
  8. TheWulf

    And on the topic of MMO combat? If a combat absolutely must have combat, I wish it would be more than CO. CO was tolerable because it was essentially a spectacle fighter disguised as an MMO. You had abilities with massive range which could obliterate massive groups of enemies, and the game just encouraged movement and having fun with it.

    It even had the so lauded enemy telegraphing of TSW and GW2, but it actually did it better. How? It didn’t lay down obvious markers on the ground, and these cones and circles could even appear in the air, so you had to use your noggin. Without obvious circles and cones, though, how could you tell what attack an enemy was going to do? There was onomatopoeia for every kind of attack! No, really!

    FREEM! – An area of attack cylinder.
    BAM! – A single-target attack (similar to sync-kills in ME3, but less deadly).
    FOOM! – An area of attack cone.
    BOOM! – A point-blank splash damage attack with high damage.

    And so on.

    Now that’s brilliant because it requires you to pay attention and you need spatial awareness. Add to that that you could fly around whilst in combat and it genuinely felt more like a spectacle fighter than the typical MMO garbage. I mean, you could fly up to a foe and attack his head, rather than just chipping away at his ankles.

    MMOs really need to be more like good spectacle fighters and less like… well, MMO combat. If MMOs had combat like CO’s, I could find that tolerable. If they had combat which was better than CO’s and even more akin to a spectacle fighter, I’d be the happiest Wulf of all.

    But MMO developers don’t tend to listen. They just develop the same crap over and over.

    — Edit —

    Further examples?

    Don’t have a flying power in CO? Then hop in a vehicle and blast a boss from your spaceship or whatever else you happen to have. Or perhaps hop into a suit of armour via a device and use the flight powers of that.

    And mobs were actually smart about things — VIPER especially. VIPER I loved. VIPER had healers, buffers, debuffers, crowd control, pet masters (setting up turrets and stuff), guys that could make it easy for mobs to kill you (Brickbusters), and they all worked together very cleverly. Also, if a mob felt that their group was in danger, very often they’d split off and try to aggro another group. How often do you see any of this happening in an MMO?

    — Edit —

    Blargh. It’s hard to stop talking about this when you have so much to say.

    The original Guild Wars had this, too. They had mobs that could heal, buff, and debuff. Now the fun thing in Guild Wars was that the support mobs would pull back, and the melee/damage mobs would try to crowd you to keep them alive. What this meant was that you had to very carefully push through to try and take out the support mobs without dying.

    The combat of GW1 was boring (sorry), but the AI was bloody marvellous. If we have to have combat, then let’s have enjoyable combat and good AI.

    #8 9 months ago