I love pvp, no it’s not perfect, no it’s not for everyone but it’s something that doesn’t get a lot of attention, updates, fixes, or new content but has the potential to be the best in any MMO. And while I personally don’t think PvP needs a lot more content it desperately needs more incentives, better performance, seasonal rewards and a new mode or expanded on previously modes like battlegrounds and imperial city and that’s what I’m going to talk about. Help me Zenimax Online Studios your my only hope, here’s my 2022 opinion and thoughts on what could be done to improve ESO PvP
Will Lag Ever Be Fixed?
Ever is a long time, but I don’t think lag or server issues will be fixed in the near recent future if I’m being honest.
Take for instances the studio director’s letter from December 9th, 2021 “The ESO EU and NA Datacenter hardware refresh is ongoing, but our timelines have been greatly extended by the global shortage of computer hardware. To give you all an idea of the impact, some key hardware devices are delayed by one year, most are delayed by 3-5 months. We had intended to have this process complete this year, but it has taken us far longer than we thought it would. This is as frustrating for us as it is for you, trust me – but progress is being made and we will get there.”
And in another paragraph from the same letter “We will also—with the understanding that some of these things are out of our control—keep working on refreshing datacenter hardware as quickly as we can. This will result in a more stable platform experience for you all. And of course, we will continue to work on performance and stability fixes and tweaks in every update.”
To be fair, they have probably been caught up in the mix with the global shortage of supplies but it’s very disappointing that year after year we continue to hear promises with very little action being taken. Me personally, I just accept Cyrodiil for what it is, a zerg fight, meant to be a big zerg fight. The performance has degraded over the years and so too has my enjoyment. That’s why I predominately do battlegrounds and imperial city, zero siege and zero lag all action and I love it. But even those have problems.
Where’s the Incentives Bro?
It seems like all the juicy rewards, titles, dyes, collectables and mounts are tied up into PvE. But why? I know incentives drives MMO players actions, because every time there’s a daily endeavor for battlegrounds the que lights up. Every time there’s an event that requires action in Imperial City, the servers get pop locked even if people don’t necessarily like doing so. Another game, Destiny 2 has a good balance of incentives for people in pvp. Their game doesn’t only reward you for winning, but at least for trying with weekly rewards based on participating not just wins. Lose a few matches and you still get something valuable for at least participating.
Think transmutes stones which is the equivalent of end game currency in ESO. This incentive to participate rather than only win, with a key reward everyone wants keeps the population higher, the pool wider allowing for better match making. Otherwise you’ll get that 8,000 hour game time sweat against a brand new player rocking green gear who qued up for the first time. There experience is going to be like me when I play destiny 2 pvp, miserable. The only difference is, there’s very little incentive for them to come back with abysmal rewards, transmutation stones and gear, they are much more likely to quest or que up for dungeons. At least when I finish last in Destiny 2 with a kill death ratio that laughable, I get my weekly complete a pinnacle gear piece and I feel like my account is progressing.
I get that same feeling doing a random normal dungeon finder. Fill out my sticker book, 10 transmute stones, maybe a quest completion with a skill point. I’d much rather do a BG because its way more intense and fun, but you can’t pass up a 4-minute fungal grotto 1 run and the rewards for participating need to be in line with PvE in my opinion.
Speaking of rewards, what’s the long-term incentives for PvP beyond collecting AP, Tel Var and some useless gear sets? If we take a look at Rockgrove, ESO’s latest trial in Blackwood, you can earn an exclusive titles that’s plural, body markings, dyes and an utterly insane mount the flesh ripper. To my knowledge there isn’t one PvP mount? Heck even Star Wars the Old Republic has season tier rewards for there PvP player base that is much less than ESO. Back in Season one of SWTOR your boy deltia got a Rancor which I may have flexed day in night at the fleet, well until they reskinned and sold it in there cash shop and then I rage quit the game, but that’s another story.
We need something to work towards beyond becoming emperor. Even getting that, which is the best multiplayer pvp experience of my life, rewards you with a title, a cool throne for your house and a costume. Meanwhile every single update pvers and housing folks get a plethora of updated things to do in collect. New dungeons, awesome new rewards. PvPers? Nothing, we need more seasonal rewards not just the initial collecting, because we are not getting any new content. We at least should have some seasonal quarterly DLC things to strive for, to collect and feel like we are accomplishing something just like PvE.
For the love of the maker please balance out the transmute gains ZOS. The current meta now is to do random normal dungeon finder with a low-level character, pop fungal grotto one and I have 10 shine transmutes to retrait and reconstruct my gear. Meanwhile I can spend 15 minutes in the most sweaty bg of my life and left with 1 measly Weasley. Sure Cyrodiil you can earn 50 for tier 1 campaign rewards, but what’s the repeatable daily activity that rewards account progression, giving you some end game currency so you can get worthwhile gear? It’s not there.
Speaking of worth while gear, PvP sure does need some. A couple of ways to approach this, make specific PvP sets like arena weapons that augment abilities designed specifically for battlegrounds as part of the rewards. Sure you could use them outside of PvP, but just like some of the Cyrodiil sets take buffer of the swift, it only works for or against players not NPC. Make perfected and non-perfected version of them. Say the top 20 players on the battleground leaderboard for the week get gold perfected and the top 100 get non perfected versions of them. Also what about earning undaunted keys for battlegrounds thru other means either like spending AP or Tel Var?
Other games do this to reward players to play the content they enjoy the most like PvP while not having to grind undaunted pledges to get monster helms keys for a PvP build. ZOS could also make seasonal gear sets or augments existing ones with their DLC releases. Every quarter or DLC, slightly change them and or add more to give players an incentive to return and collect the latest gear, sets, and achievements. Otherwise, someone might farm BGs, cyro or IC and be done with the entire system unless there’s constant reintroduction of seasonal rewards, and a reset of the leaderboards and scoring.
Speaking of leaderboards, I wish the leaderboard would be displayed, alongside pve leaderboards, on the Elderscrollsonline.com official website. Star Wars the Old republic does this, and I love there’s an external site that houses this information. More or a less a total flex but isn’t that half the fun of gaming?
ESO Battle Royale?
Battle Royales seems to be very popular in other multiplayer genre why not doing something like that for ESO inside an instanced based Imperial City. Drop in 60 players (or 40, whatever works well), lock the players in the districts above. As players start dying off, there could be a gas mechanic that starts eliminating districts pushing the action to a central location until its down to one district in the central point. Imagine huge rewards like 50 Transmutes and 50,000 Tel Var for the winner with cool incentives like dyes, titles and the first PvP mount. This is something I would stay up for 18 hours a day and play nonstop to win one game.
What Would We Change About Cyrodiil?
I enjoy cyro minus the lag and think its some of the much fun possible in a video game. Downside is on PC NA, nearly no one sieges. You’ll play for 2 hours during prime time pop lock server with no keep fights. Everyone turtled up in their keep awaiting the next person to siege so they can defend and get a big defensive ap tick. There needs to be more offensive and siege incentives, after all if you don’t like big map conquest generals and commands type play style you can always que up for a BG. But what I’m constantly confronted with is a grid locked map with little incentives to push beyond our home keep.
Another thing that would spice up the map is expanding on the artifact system sure we got the hammer, but last time I checked there were supposed to be other artifacts and its been years now and nothing nor any updates that I’m aware of. Me personally, I love the hammer and see it as a way to change up the map. Sure, it’s not fun when you get gated with the emperor wielding the hammer but it at least gets action on a dead map. You could even change the scenery in Cyrodiil assuming this wouldn’t cause more lag. Add, remove, change, texture make it different, cyclicality every quarter so it looks and feels different.
What About Imperial City?
I don’t know if will ever get IC popular again. Reason being, it’s too rewarding for either god tier PvP players with super high skill cap or gankers, stealthers and super high mobility builds like sorcerers. Sure, I go down there on my stam DK and have fun, but I cannot escape if being chase by a ball group and ultimately get dog piled, killed and lose all my tel var. What I think could be cool to add is something like a leaderboard similar to battlegrounds that is calculated based on Tel Var earned. Weekly rewards like we talked about earlier that would change seasonally, that way pvpers could have another end game loop to play over and over and come back to.
And it seems all the action and fun remains at the top of Cyrodiil, what about the bottom? I remember the first time I saw Molag Ball down there, spoiler alert, and sure he has a cool dye but there should be some epic prize down there that 24 hours a day Is camped and fought over by huge groups. I think a very low probability mount would be the best thing, very low chance to get it, but something Daedric that you cannot obtain in the crown store only through earning by collecting the drop. Can you imagine how many people would flood the sewers day and night to get that?
Well gang that’s just some quick thoughts on improvements to PvP in ESO. I love PvP in this game and I constantly criticize it from a place of love, not of nastiness. I want the game to get better, I want people to jump in and play it and more importantly have a reason to come back and play it. Because other games consntalty provide seasonal incentives to encite folks to keep on coming back and I think that’s the missing ingredient in ESO pvp right now, well minus the lag but yeah we’ve heard enough about that.