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[Column] Elder Scrolls Online: Asymmetrical Factions

BillMurphyBillMurphy Managing EditorBerea, OHPosts: 2,360MMORPG.COM Staff Uncommon

We analyze the potential implications of The Elder Scrolls Online's racial arrangement across its three factions in this week's TESO column.

Any fan of Bethesda’s Elder Scrolls games will be familiar with the distinct bonuses that help set each race apart from the next. Will Zenimax Online utilize these same sorts of racial bonuses in The Elder Scrolls Online? We don’t know just yet. But if it does, what sorts of implications could they have for the game’s three factions? The races as they are currently configured under each faction present some interesting possibilities.

Read more of Michael Bitton's The Elder Scrolls Online: Asymmetrical Factions.

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Comments

  • health001health001 league city, IAPosts: 54Member
    balance is boring,true MMO player can take any  classe and turn them into beasts:P
  • NildenNilden null, NBPosts: 1,284Member Uncommon

    I would prefer not having three race locked factions and instead letting the players make their own factions and being able to join whatever faction they wish regardless of race. This would also include being able to pick where you start and able to explore any part of the world without having parts off limits to your hardcoded, pick at charcter creation faction.

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  • tixylixtixylix gfff, TNPosts: 1,208Member Uncommon

    I always thought The Elder Scrolls would make an amazing MMO because it was basically an MMO already but one that was different and fun to play, it just needed the people.

    Sadly they took all that was unique about it and are just turning it into WoW.

  • WolfClawsWolfClaws Arlington, VAPosts: 554Member Uncommon

    I like the idea of "realm pride", but racial bonuses are minor boosts to help with the first few levels.  At level 50, having +20 to Str to your 2,000 Str just is never going to matter.

     

    You are actually eluding to the fact that there may be unique classes or class twists depending on the faction.  Like the Animist or the Skald, ... Heck, in DAOC the 3 "Archer" classes were all completely different in how they played.  Same with the Infiltrator/rogues for all 3 factions.  (LA FTW cause of the imbalance for a while lol)

     

    Back on races... if it is really that much of a concern, work it like Everquest II did when it first came out.  Not what it is now.  If you made a Wood Elven Conjurer, and you wanted to be with Freeport, you had to do an amazingly long and somewhat difficult quest (depending on your level) to change sides.  Eventually you would become a Wood Elf Necromancer... something that is not common. And you experience discrimination not only from the NPCs but players too.  

     

    That would be very acceptable to me.

  • ZairuZairu Portland, ORPosts: 469Member
    Originally posted by nilden

    I would prefer not having three race locked factions and instead letting the players make their own factions and being able to join whatever faction they wish regardless of race. This would also include being able to pick where you start and able to explore any part of the world without having parts off limits to your hardcoded, pick at charcter creation faction.

    agreed.

    i would even be happy with factions based on if you wanted to be good, evil, or follow an alternate agenda, all of course related to the game plot/lore.

  • FdzzaiglFdzzaigl Somewhere in nowherePosts: 2,322Member Uncommon

    Race-wise, they seem well balanced.

    But can't say I'm a fan of this concept at all. Except for the Altmeri Dominion / Stormcloaks, there really didn't seem to be any factions in the series that were overly concerned with races before.

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  • PsiKahnPsiKahn Woodside, NYPosts: 126Member
    They're gonna need to do better than some petty skill bonuses to make this interesting.  The diversity of classes in DAOC was a major headache for the developers due to all the balance issues, but it really added a lot of flavor to combat.  Not to mention the sheer number.  You really had to know your stuff to identify an enemy combatant's class from afar and strategize accordingly.
  • ShakyMoShakyMo BradfordPosts: 7,207Member
    This is a good thing, different classes on each faction breeds animosity and rivalry.

    It's always "they are overpowered because they have paladins" etc.. great news, well done for not giving into to the balanced obsessed wow kiddies.
  • sapphensapphen Madison, NCPosts: 911Member Common
    Originally posted by nilden

    I would prefer not having three race locked factions and instead letting the players make their own factions and being able to join whatever faction they wish regardless of race. This would also include being able to pick where you start and able to explore any part of the world without having parts off limits to your hardcoded, pick at charcter creation faction.

    Agree up to a point.  I don't think races should be able to start out where they want, I think they should start in the area designated.  Then they would have the option to join that army or travel to another region to join another faction.  It is my opinion that it should be easier to join the faction assigned but not impossible to join another.

    The war should have never been racial.  It should've been about 3 groups fighting for the throne made mostly of the races in their region - but not limited to.  Similar to Stormcloaks and Imperials but with three divisions - you could be a nord and join with the Imperials or a imperial and join the Stormcloaks.  It's the freedom we've come to expect out of an ES game and the developers was wrong to dismiss this so easily.

    There is more than one way to design a game.  They did not have to lock factions like they did, it's lazy and uncreative.
  • sapphensapphen Madison, NCPosts: 911Member Common
    Originally posted by ShakyMo
    This is a good thing, different classes on each faction breeds animosity and rivalry.

    It's always "they are overpowered because they have paladins" etc.. great news, well done for not giving into to the balanced obsessed wow kiddies.

    Balance is an illusion.  There will always be OP classes, that is the nature of the MMO - it is constantly changing.  The trick is to make the imbalanced fun and entertaining.

  • MardukkMardukk Posts: 1,556Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by health001
    balance is boring,true MMO player can take any  classe and turn them into beasts:P

    Amen, balance is boring.  It's one of the worst thing about the latest MMO's.  Non distinctive classes and elimination of racial anything all in the name of boring lame "balance".

  • adam_noxadam_nox hays, KSPosts: 2,035Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by health001
    balance is boring,true MMO player can take any  classe and turn them into beasts:P

    You just defined balance.

  • YamotaYamota LondonPosts: 6,620Member
    Originally posted by tixylix

    I always thought The Elder Scrolls would make an amazing MMO because it was basically an MMO already but one that was different and fun to play, it just needed the people.

    Sadly they took all that was unique about it and are just turning it into WoW.

    I agree. But unfourtunately the MMORPG genre has cancer and that cancer is turning all IPs, regardless of source, into some kind of WoW/ThemePark model.

  • meddyckmeddyck Athens, GAPosts: 1,140Member Uncommon

    It's been many years since starting race really mattered in DAOC. With gear and RAs, a kobold warrior is as viable as a troll warrior, a highlander scout works about as well as a saracen, and a Celt mentalist can compete with an Elf. Where the really significant asymmetry is in DAOC is in the classes. I like that in that game each realm, while for the most part having access to all the same abilities, has them in different classes. It adds a distinct flavor to playing a particular realm. You don't have that in games like GW 2 where every server in WvW has exactly the same classes.

    There are definitely balance headaches with doing it the DAOC way, but I actually think that was part of the fun with that game: hating a particular powerful enemy class strengthened your identification with your own realm and your resolve to defeat your enemies.

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  • XilentStormXilentStorm Melbourne, FLPosts: 224Member
    This is pretty epic, it makes you really want to choose who to use and use it properly. But I just wish true scale of power were easier in game, where you could take down players faster and in a more epic scale than ten minutes of taking and dishing out hits while button mashing. -.-

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  • xeraxxerax LondonPosts: 61Member Uncommon

    I hate this current obsession with balance and the many sins against fun committed in its name need to stop.

    Taken to the extreme every class could be exactly the same but with different names for their abilities and skins.

    Totally diffeerent significant abilties for each class /  race are hard for developers to balance.

     A large spectrum of power levels at the same level depending on progression and equipment are hard to balance.

    Giving plays a signifcant boost from a piece or hard fort over loot that has taken many weeks to aquire makes a game hard to balance.

    But you know want i dont care do it anyway and do your best as a developer to balance it. I will play the result for much longer.

  • MaelwyddMaelwydd CrawleyPosts: 1,123Member

    As others above, locking races into faction is bad. It takes all the freedom that TES games are about and forces you into something, like it or not. CHOOSING to join the war would have been a better option then being FORCED into it. We have 3 armies of conscripts who fight because they MUST not because they want to. Add on top of that the fact that, should you not be happy that you have been conscripted into the army, you cannot even go AWOL or defect....not just because the game doesn't allow you but also because you cannot even enter their lands to offer yourself up....

    Ah this game frustrates me more and more becase I Sooooo want a TESO MMO but I hate, HATE, REALLY HATE, their design choice for their faction/race lock simply so they can get their DAOC 3 faction PvP again.

     

    Make TESO first, then DAOC2 not the other way around!.

  • TaishiFoxTaishiFox NottinghamPosts: 670Member Uncommon
    Sweet, I am so playing Argonian! they look pretty damn good in the concept, the khajit look a little weird compared to previous games though O_o  Well, weirder than usual look I mean lol.

    imageimage
    image
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  • ScotScot UKPosts: 5,762Member Uncommon

    Having racial or faction differences that have real gameplay weight is something MMO designers have learnt to be very careful about.

    If you have different bonuses between factions which are not fluff you will get unbalance. If you have meaningful bonuses for races as long as each faction has that race (or an equivalent) there is no problem.

    Certain races will dominate certain classes but as long as it is a fair playing field that’s fine.

  • OgreRaperOgreRaper Detroit, MIPosts: 376Member

    Asymmetrical factions is a must for me. Mirrored classes is boring, bland, and lazy. DAOC is still to this day my favorite in that regard. I absolutely love how each realm has its own unique classes.

  • PsiKahnPsiKahn Woodside, NYPosts: 126Member
    Originally posted by Scot

    Having racial or faction differences that have real gameplay weight is something MMO designers have learnt to be very careful about.

    If you have different bonuses between factions which are not fluff you will get unbalance. If you have meaningful bonuses for races as long as each faction has that race (or an equivalent) there is no problem.

    Certain races will dominate certain classes but as long as it is a fair playing field that’s fine.

    I've always felt that part of the problem is the insistence on giving players precise data on their damage output, etc.  People are so worried about the numbers that they're not playing the game.  Would they notice slight differences in class balance without that readout?  If they were subtle difference, probably not.  They'd just learn to play their characters to the best of their ability and to maximum effectiveness.  Also I think as long as each class has a role to play within its own faction, it need not be equal to that of another faction in power.  Some factions could just be stronger overall at certain things.

  • udonudon Durham, NCPosts: 1,767Member Uncommon
    EQ2started out with a good deal of difference between the two factions too but it also had them slowly nerfed and buffed together to the point where you can't tell them apart anymore.  I think the only way this works long term is if the developer is very committed to the principle and willing to put the effort into staying the corse.  Not a easy thing to do long term,
  • kosackosac Bakov nad JizerouPosts: 189Member Uncommon
    classes wtf? :)  i stay in tsw :D
  • NC-JohnNC-John burlington, WIPosts: 113Member

    Why not let players start out neutral and then join one of the three factions if they choose to? of course if they wanted, they could remain neutral to the primary factions and could travel to any zone without being retaliated against for remaining neutral. this would allow players to create a rogue faction of their own. the game world could remain a place that didn't have border restrictions due to faction choices for a neutral player, but you could play both sides for your own personal gain.

    Not wanting to upset or make fans of TESO have to flame me for this opinion, but you guys need to get more vocal with the devs before they sell you this MMO, which will no doubt end up free to play with a cash shop within 4 months.

    It needs to incorporate a great many things that make elder scrolls well...elder scrolls.

    Housing before release, not a promise of housing which never comes due to having to transition to free to play.

    Player centric economy with a heavy focus on player crafted gear/items/weapons, item decay to maintain a constant flow of fresh crafted gear.

    the ability steal items in the game world, for example: Be able to steal a NPCs mount or pick up a crate of apples and make a run for it.

    The ability to pick pocket all NPCs with a penalty if caught.

    Breaking into a players houses or NPC house and stealing their underwear if you choose to. Provide housing insurance that replaces the item/s if players are touchy about the mechanic.

    Allow player created quest for guilds that unlock the option. great recruiting tool to test new recruits. a personal guild instance you can decorate with creatures and items you have discovered  in the world and gear you earned or crafted with as rewards.

    the ability to be cursed as a vampire or werewolf, when you transform into one you are hunted by everyone you come in contact with. you can remain cursed or you can have friends search the world and complete a series of long quest to find a cure.

    Spell and potion creator. the ability to chain effects or create entire new spells.

    So much they could do to make this MMO what it should be. it's just looking like they're rushing it out fast now.

     

    "Not even a cray super computer can make this game run well. Thats what happens when you code an MMO in pascal. " - miglor

  • jtcgsjtcgs New Port Richey, ILPosts: 1,777Member

    "Dark Age of Camelot (another Mythic MMO), asymmetrical factions were part and parcel of the experience. Indeed, these differences between factions helped to cultivate a sense of “realm pride”.".

    It also cultivated a massive realm imbalance that was never fixed. When the game was first released Midgard was massively over-powered and was dominating every shard other than a few where Britain outnumbered them...and Hibernia was so bad for so long that the players were having sit in PROTESTS a YEAR after release.

    It was one of things the game did WRONG in a big way.

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