ZOS Adding More Veteran Ranks (and my opinions)

Yesterday’s ZeniMaxOnlineStudios (ZOS) bi-weekly show, ESO Live featured special guest Eric Wrobel (Lead Combat Designer).  They announced many wide sweeping changes, but one that provoked the most emotion for me was the announcement of two additional Veteran Ranks coming with the next content update (no release date give).  I’ve been getting a lot of questions on this and I wanted to summarize my thoughts here.

Video coming soon

Before I begin, two things I want to point out, one you can find an awesome summary of the information here courtesy of Neizir on Reddit.

And two, I make my living playing THIS video game.  Not only that, but it’s my primary means of socialization.  Over the past two years (including beta), I’ve been infatuated with the idea of a multiplayer Elder Scrolls Game.  Not to mention the help that ZOS has personally given me.  I still love ESO, but I’m not going to blindly follow a games growth that does not fit my needs.  After all, ZOS is a business and Deltiasgaming is too.  Just realize the passion I have for this game, it’s community and developers runs deep.

VR 16?

Within the same breath, Eric Wrobel said they still have long term plans of removing Veteran Ranks (VR), but for the new content they are increasing it by two thus making end game VR 16.  At this point, I think it’s clear that Veteran Ranks aren’t going away, ANYTIME in the future.  I have eight VR 14s and the problem I have with this isn’t the time investment to re-level all those characters, or the fully legendary gear, but the constant deception about not adding more Veteran Ranks.  We as customers have a right to voice or opinions and/or a right to stop being customers.  For me, it’s time to pick one and voicing seems to be the best option.

I have defended their decisions as a business model constantly but this is one I cannot ignore.  Adding Veteran Ranks is not content, it’s busy work.  Content is intractable quest, dungeon diving finding worthwhile rewards with friends, a working PvP system giving flexibility and choices.  Yes, I know Imperial City is coming with this additional Veteran Ranks, but why increase the cap? “Deltia to increase the contents difficulty,” well that’s true in most MMOs but not ESO and that’s due to the Champion System.

Champion Progression

Most games have a level cap that once reached, one works on optimizing gear and your individual skill for increased performance.  However, ESO has the Champion System rendering time in game collecting XP as account progression.  So take the most skilled PvPer in the world (let’s say Sypher) vs. someone with 1,000 more champion points.  Skill is irreverent at this point.  Thus removing one of the core reasons I play MMOs and video games alike.  Busy work trumps constantly improving yourself.  Grinding mobs and CP is the new meta, not skill.

Take another game for instance, you have fully maxed out gear and have been playing for four years.  Once a level increase hits, most players will be on an even playing field in terms of gear.  So, there is some possibility of catching up to those folks that spend eight hours a day in game.  Not ESO, there is no Champion Point catch up mechanic.  The person at level 10 might be more powerful than someone at VR14 due to CP.  Without a catch up mechanic or a way to limit zombie grinding macros and bots, you’ll have a runaway performance gap the size the Grand Canyon.

The Fix

Someone like me benefits significantly from the Champion System.  Having alts, grinding mobs and skills, etc just makes me VERY powerful.  But it does not help new players, inexperienced ones nor the overall game.  My good friend Parfax had an excellent suggestion, simply have seasons for Champion Points.  Meaning, every three months or so, you could gain 100 CP.  Once you reach that number, you have to wait for the reset.  No more 100 v 1,000 CP fights.  If that doesn’t work, why not make CP have diminishing returns?  So the first 300 are very easy to obtain, but everything beyond that is harder (similar to Alliance Ranks).

I’m all for account wide progression, but at what cost? At the cost that people grinding zombies ultimately win?  At the cost that skill and performance are removed out of the game?  I want to one day challenge Sypher in PvP without out grinding him.  With skill, learning, getting my face kicked in by him over and over just to beat him one day with pure skill.  Until this changes, the easier way for me to beat him is out grind him.  Obtain such a mathematical advantage that no amount of skill can compensate.  And that is the day that ESO dies.

Why I Give a ****

No I do not plan on leaving the game.  I still love the combat, the people and the developers.  But I’m no longer a bushy eyed fan-boy.  I don’t want to leave this game, this is my absolute favorite thing to do (well besides you know what).  I’ve have (not had) such an emotional attachment to the land of Tamriel that I won’t let it go just yet.  But I’m not going to sit back and let another level increase happen without a true fix to the underlying problem, the Champion System.

I plan on spending a lot of time reading these comments.  I tend to overact and pray that this is one of them.  Please leave your feedback for our against my opinions.  Voice your own opinions on the forms and in Reddit they do read them.  I can’t wait for Imperial City and SOME of the changes to ESO, but VR16 is not one of them.

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