Interviews

Q&A with The Elder Scrolls Online Lead Creative Director Rich Lambert

ESO has had another fantastic year with it’s latest Chapter, Blackwood. Last week the team had their Gates of Oblivion year-end stream where they announced the arrival of Deadlands, an upcoming DLC that will launch on November 1st for PC/Mac/Stadia, and on November 16th for XBOX and PlayStation. Console players have also seen significant improvements that the ESO team has been working hard on with Console Enhanced, which brought a slew of both graphical and performance upgrades.

The Elder Scrolls Online: Gates of Oblivion Year-End Event

 

They also teamed up with American metal band Trivium to bring us the killer new song, The Phalanx. If you haven’t seen the video yet, be sure to check it out, the song is 7 kick ass minutes that any Elder Scrolls fan will enjoy. On top of that, Trivium and ESO have teamed up to create a giveaway for a guitar that is themed after Dagon’s Axe! You still have time to enter, but hurry…the sweepstakes ends on October 31st!

 

Trivium - The Phalanx [OFFICIAL VIDEO]

 

I was able to catch up with Creative Director Rich Lambert for a few questions, which you can read below:

Holly:  Hopefully the Companion System was well received by players, if so do you have plans to release more Companions, and/or add more to the system (i.e. more skills, armor, or cosmetic items)?

Rich: Companions have been extremely well received by our community and the vast majority of players who have access to them, are using them on a regular basis. It’s been fun for us to see which companion is the most popular (Mirri – 62% vs. Bastian – 38%), and which abilities players seem to gravitate towards equipping on their companion (Most players have at least one heal ability on their companions). As for the future of the system or if we will release any more, only time will tell…

Holly: What was the hardest thing for you to implement with Companions? Any funny bugs or hiccups along the way?

Rich: Companions were difficult, not only from a “how are they going to work” side of things, but on the performance side. A player, with a companion is now essentially the cost of 2 players on the client and server, so the team had to do a lot of work to ensure that we didn’t make performance of the game worse with this new system.

Holly: What has been your personal favorite part of the Blackwood Chapter?

Rich: My personal favorite part of the Blackwood Chapter was getting to explore more of Mehrunes Dagon lore. They are such an interesting character and being able to reimage them for ESO has been exciting.

Holly: Probably the one main thing I love so much about ESO is the flexibility. It doesn’t feel like other MMO’s ; you can play however you want and aren’t locked into a linear quest system. With the recent release of newer MMO’s, what does your team do to try to mitigate players migrating? Over the decades I have been playing MMO’s I’ll usually see people leave their favorite game, and come back after a short hiatus. Are you seeing this trend now?

Rich: ESO is a game that focuses on the player’s personal journey through the world. It’s fun to explore and experiment with. You can play with anyone, regardless of level or alliance and can go anywhere/do the stories in any order. All those factors, plus our regular content cadence makes it easy for players to play at their own pace and take breaks without fear of being left behind. It’s a strength for us and we absolutely see players take breaks to play something else and then come back.

Holly: In addition to the question above, are there any new features or things in the works that you can talk about that will keep ESO uniquely different?

Rich: We are always working on the game, adding new features and quality of life improvements. As an example: with Update 32 (Deadlands) we have some great quality of life additions (armory system, curated item set management) to go along with the finale of our Gates of Oblivion storyline. For things even further in the future, you will just have to wait and see. 😊

Holly: What is the number one most requested thing from the player base?

Rich: It really depends on which group(s) of the player base you talk to. ESO has a huge, diverse community, and our players are very vocal about what they would love to see added to the game. We have a giant list of things to work on, ranging from new locations to explore, to performance initiatives (Yes folks, Cyrodiil performance is in progress) to new cosmetics, furnishings and new quality of life improvements.

Holly: The Trivium collab was awesome, do you guys have plans to do more stuff like this with other bands in the future?

Rich: If we decide to do something like that again in the future, it would have to make sense in terms of the tie-ins. For this year’s Gates of Oblivion storyline – it has dark, metal overtones in it. Dagon themselves is pretty metal, so Trivium was the perfect partner for this year. They were so great to work with and did an amazing job.

Holly: Lastly, how has Covid and working remote impacted things for development? Do you find it easier or harder to work remotely, and why?

Rich: The hardest part of working from home, outside of just not being able to see everyone in person on the regular, is finding ways to continue to be collaborative. When you aren’t in the office, it’s easy to fall into the trap of focusing on your one area and becoming siloed from the rest of the team. So, we’ve had to work hard to keep the collaboration going and making sure that everyone understands the tasks at hand and are on the same page.

As always, it’s a pleasure to chat with the ESO team. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed this year-long event, and though I will be sad to see it end, I am pumped to see what is coming next year! You can check out The Elder Scrolls Online, which has a free member ship as well as a subscription here. I’ve been playing ESO since beta, and there is no other MMO like it!

Thanks for reading, and stay tuned to Gaming Trend for upcoming coverage on all things ESO!

 

 

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