General:Future of The Elder Scrolls Online Panel from QuakeCon 2014
- 1 Imperial City (6:32-17:00)
- 2 City of Ash (19:30-21:14)
- 3 Craglorn (24:07-26:24)
- 4 Advanced Facial Animations (28:48-37:20)
- 5 The Champion Systems (37:21-49:16)
- 6 Justice System (49:16-52:47)
- 7 Spellcrafting (53:11-1:04:57)
- 8 Motifs Art (1:11:35-1:15:24)
- 9 Murkmire (1:15:24-1:19:04)
- 10 Orsinium (1:19:05-1:22:54)
- 11 Q&A
For QuakeCon 2014, Zenimax held a panel discussing the future plans of The Elder Scrolls Online in July 2014. Some of the announcements have since then been implemented in-game in one form or another, while some have been scrapped. The stream is viewable here. An official article talking about what it is about, as well as a wrap-up article, can be found in ESO's official site.
Matt Firor: Hey everyone, welcome to the future of Elder Scrolls Online panel. I'm Matt Firor, the game director on Elder Scrolls Online. Before we get started, did you guys see that Doom thing they did last night? Really hard to follow that up. That looked awesome, and while I'm on that, thanks to ID and Bethesda for having us here to talk today, it's a great honor. It's the first Quake Con I've been to, so it's been it's been a lot of fun so far, love it! I love the people, it's great to walk around, and see gamers doing what they do best, so thanks for having us! So, you know, in addition to the great audience we have here, we are live-streaming this on Twitch, on the Bethesda channel, so welcome to all you guys out there in internet land. The way this is gonna work today is we have a panel of ESO devs that are going to come out and talk about different parts of the game. After that, we'll follow up with the Q&A that we've been collecting from Twitch, and also from our forums, and from Reddit. So, before we bring them out though, just a few words. It's been, believe it or not, only about 12/13 weeks that The Elder Scrolls Online launched, so it seems like a long time, but it's actually hasn't been that long, so this is a great time for us to talk about what's going to come up next, what's coming up in the future, because we've gotten through all kinds of the trials and tribulations of a major MMO launch. Things are pretty smooth now, and now we're going to talk about what we're working on in the future.
So you guys, if you read the forums and everything, you notice about two weeks ago, we started to talk about our future plans a lot more. I wrote a blog post, Paul Sage has been doing a lot of interviews - this presentation is going to be a follow-up to that. You're actually going to see some videos in-game of what we're talking about, and there's some of the cool systems that we're working on. We're gonna go into a little depth on these, so it's gonna be about an hour and a half of information about ESO, and you're actually going to see some cool stuff. So, before I get started, before we get everyone out here, we want to talk about the team. We have a really great dev team on ESO, these guys have tons of experience, and I cannot think of a better bunch of people to work with, so I'm gonna bring them out one at a time and I'll introduce them as I go.
[Introductions have been omitted.]
Imperial City (6:32-17:00)
Brian Wheeler: So now we're gonna finally give you some details on [the Imperial City]. First and foremost, it is a PvP zone - you get to go in there and kill enemy players. I mean why wouldn't you, as in Cyrodiil, it's PvP flagged. Not only is it PvP flagged, but there's also a lot of really cool monsters in there to kill. There's bosses and mini-bosses, out there, some of which you'll see in some videos coming up that the team has done a really good job making them look pretty much badass as possible. The other big point about it is that you get to rid Imperial City of Molag Bal’s minions, and this is his last-ditch effort. He's trying to take over Imperial City with that huge anchor. If you've been inside of Cyrodiil at all, you've seen the White Gold Tower with the big anchor on it and the chain sticking into the city. This is your chance to go in there and experience that content, and actually capture several districts. When you capture the districts, you'll get a lot of rewards for it: You can actually respawn at a district once you own it, much like the keeps out in Cyrodiil, so that's a really cool bonus. Adding to it, there's unique bosses and mini-bosses like I mentioned before, and of course, something that's a really big draw is the PvE quests, as well as the monsters, give a lot of XP, and a lot of gold. This is very important because it not only rewards for the PVPers to kill other people, which I love doing, but also just having everybody go out there and experience as much cool content as possible to get a lot of really good rewards for it, and having the experience and thrill of rush of being able to get killed by enemy players. That's a whole lot of fun. So in case you're curious where Cyrodiil is, and you've been living under a rock, it's where Oblivion took place, but also Imperial City is kind of [Arrow appears on on-screen map, pointint at the Imperial City] right there. It's in the middle, so, you know, where else would it be? It's the center of Cyrodiil. It's really cool, and you can kind of get a hint of what the huge anchor on top of White Gold Tower looks like.
So what's going on in there? Everybody knows that the arena exists in there, and this is 700 years agoOblivion, but it's a little different. The Dremora have taken over again, this is sort of like they have nothing else to do. They've taken the Imperials, enslaved them, so why not throw them in the arena, have some pretty sick gladiatorial games with them, have them get killed? It's your job to kind of go in there and help stop it, and that's just in one of the districts but it sort of looks a little like this. Dremora were cheering on the boys getting all murdered up, I feel bad for them. But you get to go help him out.
One of the next districts is the Arboretum. This is another one of those very iconic districts that we wanted to show that it isn't completely taken over yet by Coldharbour. You get to see a little bit of flora and fauna in here that's not fully corrupted, and you get to go in there and help make sure that that life carries on when you kick out the Dremora. It looks a bit of something like this. Again, you'll recognize some Imperial architecture, you see the Imperial sigils, and we're doing our best to make sure it stays faithful to Oblivion just like what we did with Cyrodiil.
Next, we have the market. This is another district that's pretty iconic, but this is one that you can actually capture, and when you capture it there's gonna be basically a switch from Daedric control to an alliance control, and you can actually take a district back from another alliance. And again, once you own it you can actually respawn there, but also, other things that give your alliance a bonus. In this situation, in the market they have specific trade skill stations that let you create Imperial Daedric gear. It's a new Armor set that's coming out with Imperial City. It looks really cool. Jared is actually gonna give you a preview of what that looks like later on. The armor is really badass, and you'll be able to make it once you flip the Market District. So, in that center area, we saw the impact crater where one of those large anchors comes and slams down into the district - that's a lot of fun actually, fight off the enemies as well as see that thing snap and shoot back up.
The temple district - this is the Temple of the One. If you played in Oblivion, but Tiber Septim that exist around now, so it's way, way, way back in time. This is actually where they're trying to kick-start the Planemeld. If you've played the game, you know that in the beginning you actually get sacrificed and get sent to Coldharbor - so they're starting to do that over again underneath the Temple District, and you get to go in there and help stop it from happening, as opposed to being sacrificed this time. I think my fillings just fell out.
So, how do you get in? We thought it would be a very cool idea to pay homage back to oblivion, and have you enter Imperial City through the sewers. You left the sewers to get out of this Imperial City in Oblivion, so we thought it'd be a great idea to have you actually go back in via the sewers. Also, remember these three entrances are in Cyrodiil, so you can imagine the crazy PvP combat happening out in here to try and stop people from getting in, and so far, this is what we have those looking like. So nice and serene now, but you know when people are camping there, that's gonna be a nightmare.
So, when you get in, you get into the sewers, and every Alliance has a starter location, much like you do in Cyrodiil. This area is safe, you won't get camped, we're doing our best to make sure that it is absolutely 100% safe, so you can get the story of what's going on. You come in here, and you actually find out that the Imperials need your help. When you were out in cyrodiil, their last standing orders were to kill you because that's what they were told to do to defend Cyrodiil, but these guys in imperial city they're a little bit more entrenched. Their standing orders are "get help". We don't care who is helping us, which Alliance, it doesn't matter, they just need you to help get their citizens back, and help fight off Molag Bal. So again, every entry, this is where you start to get the story of what's going on, and this is sort of what they're shaping up to be. Again, we want to make sure that you have to drop into combat to be safe and each Alliance will have one of these in a huge sewer network.
So again, each alliance has their own entry location. They're all connected with a large sewer network, and a lot of sewers you'll recognize from Oblivion, but we added some new sections to make sure that you actually crossed with the other alliances' paths. In the deepest, deepest levels of the sewers, we have this section called the crossroads. It's the most corrupted by the takeover from Molag Bal. There's portals that pop up underneath, as opposed to Dark Anchors that spawn from above, and this is where you're going to get a small sample of some of the monsters we have added. You'll see in here a Grievous Twilight, which is sort of a winged Betty gargoyle looking guy. And of course, if you watch the blur trailers, you're going to see the Flesh Colossus, super-duper badass trademark guy. He's really cool, our designers have had a lot of fun making them, and you guys are going to be able to kill him in this, and it's a lot of coolness to see in this. He's big, he's mean, he's out to get you! So, that's just a taste. I know we didn't have many PVP stuff shown in there, but I want to show you the environment that you will be able to kill people in, as well as the coolness of Imperial City. Again, you get to take districts over you get to respawn in, that's a new twist. Only one alliance is in at a time! So that means when one side comes in, the other side's sitting here to get to wipe them out. Or even better, you can camp out in Imperial City, wait for the other alliance to flip it, log back in and kill them! So, there's all kinds of dirty tricks you can do and have fun with Imperial City because it's PVP-flagged. And there's going to be a lot of cool content in there, new armor to get, and I hope you guys are having a lot of fun palying it, as much as we have making it.
[The following bit including Lead Content Designer Rich Lambert going over bug fixes and UI improvements has been omitted.]
City of Ash (19:30-21:14)
Rich Lambert: And the next thing I'd like to touch on a little bit is our new veteran dungeon that's coming online in Update 5, and that's the veteran City of Ash. Now, a little bit of a spoiler for those of you haven't played through the normal version yet, but in the normal version, when you arrive, there's a Bosmer village on fire, and as you're progressing through the dungeon, you find out that there's a Daedric invasion going on here, and when you get to the very end, and you kind of push the invasion back to some degree, the leadership of the Bosmer village decides that the best way to put an end to this once and for all is to go into the portal, and close it from the other side. So that's where the V eteran version comes into play. When you go back there in veteran mode, the village elder hasn't returned yet, and so you're charged to go into this portal, go to the Deadlands, and figure out what the heck happened to her. Let's take a look at what things are looking like right now.
[A video showcasing the dungeon plays.]
[The following part from (21:14-24:06) regarding listening to feedback has been omitted.]
Rich Lambert: The last thing I'd like to touch on is Craglorn, the next chapter in the Craglorn storyline. So, most of you, or a lot of you, have played through the first two chapters, and those focused in on the Mage and the Warrior celestial. This third chapter centers around the scaled court, and you finally putting an end to them. Now, We learned a lot in building the first two chapters, especially in terms of itemization and the overall group experience, and so we've taken those lessons learned, and put them into practice to really improve the overall quest experience here. In addition to the quest content in this chapter, we've also added in an all new crafting trait for you crafters to learn, and we also have a brand-new 12-person trial, and that's focused on the serpent, and that will kind of tie the celestial storyline off, and put it in a nice neat place. I've got a couple of videos here let's take a look at how things are shaping up.
[Two videos on the content plays. One showing areas featured in the third chapter Craglorn, and the second showing Sanctum Ophidia]
There we go. So, I know I promised that I would stop talking after the last little bit there, but I have one more thing to share, and that is the Dragonstar arena.
[From (26:25-28:47), Rich gives further commentary on the arena, talks about testing it, as well as shows a video on it.]
Advanced Facial Animations (28:48-37:20)
Jesse McIntyre: I'm Jesse McIntyre, I'm ESO’s lead client programmer, and there's a lot going on tech wise at ZOS and on ESO, from new feature development to systems upgrades, bug fixes, performance, and stability improvements. We work on all that stuff the time, but I'm here today to tell you a little bit about something in specific, and that is an upgrade to our facial animation system, and I could just show you guys the kind of before and after, and we can ooh ahh a little bit, but I thought it would be more fun to talk a little bit about the technology behind how this stuff works, and as a tech guy, that's the stuff that gets me excited. I think this one's particularly interesting. I think you'll enjoy it as wel, but let's start with a look at the state of the game at present.
- Darien Gautier: : "What makes tyrants do any of the things they do? Ambition? Glory? I certainly don't know.
What I do know is that Montclair's forces have taken half the capital and will soon take the rest of it unless the Shornhelm guard gets some help."
Right, so what do we have here? We've got a character with one bone in the face for the jaw, in specific, a couple bones to move the eyebrows - you saw a little expressiveness in there - but really that gets you pretty much a sock puppet, right? So it's not really hitting the fidelity bar that we'd like it to, so if it's been some time now with a small group of programmers and animators working on this upgrade, and at the core of it, the upgrade is powered by face effects. You've probably heard of it before, it's a technology we've licensed, it's in a lot of games, a lot of your favorite games most likely, but it focuses specifically on the facial animation part, and what I find most interesting is kind of how it works. What it does is it takes audio and text of the dialogue as input. It does a bunch of analysis on it, offline, and it identifies phonemes in the dialogue, and phonemes are the linguistic term for the individual sounds that we make in speech, and in English there are exactly 44 of them. And so what it does is it actually identifies those, right, in the dialogue, it creates a sequence of them, and then maps them to mouth shapes, which is what we're seeing here, and these aren't the mouth shapes of our characters in specific, but this is just like an artistic reference to give you an idea of what these things look like. And there are only a handful of them here, but in our game we have about 20, 22 of them or so? 22, 24? Some of them do double duty when they're mapped from those phonemes to the mouth shapes, but effectively they're representing them, right?
So why is this interesting? Like, it's pretty fun to stare at these. I do it at work. It’s a good time. So, that's sort of a fun part of it, but the actual interesting part is sort of twofold, right, it's how it mimics real life, which is the part I really like, I like when technology and real life converge a bit. And, you knowa it's important that we that we kind of author them this way because of how our brains work, right. When we're watching somebody speak, whether it's somebody alive, or you know in film, or in video games, your brain expects to see these mouth shapes occurring as you hear the speech, right. So, think of like your favorite Kung fu movie, you know, with overdub dialogue, right? It just feels wrong when you're watching it, but you get used to it after a while, right, so that's okay. Or like you're streaming video off the internet, it's a bad stream, so the audio is off a little bit, and at first you're like "hey what's wrong?", but then you quickly identify the fact that you know those mouth shapes aren't actually matching up with what you're hearing, so it throws you off.
So that's much of the importance of, you know, using a technology like Face Effects to make things believable. So that's sort of like the base of the technology right. But then there's a whole additional step which is which is our artists and programmers working together to actually take our characters and create believable mouth shapes. It's actually well advanced here, one more. Actually, looking at a fully formed character. You know, this is one of our... he's probably the Breton male, but this is an example of kind of the extents they have to go to to get these shapes right, and so if it looks subtle here, but it actually it's actually really important that these are shaped properly, like I was mentioning before, you notice when they're off just a little bit, and in particular our game is a little bit more complicated in that not only do we have a lot of dialogue, right, we have over 120,000 lines of dialogue translated into three languages which is huge, right. I did a little research before this and identified that like your average feature-length film has something like a thousand lines of dialogue. So think about the scale, right, and for that reason we don't have the luxury of really going back and looking at the Face Effects output, you know, and modifying it to get it to look exactly right.
So our artist have had to spend a lot of time, you know, getting these mouth shapes just right across all of our races and genders, and as you well know, you know, we have the humanoid races, but then we also have the Beast races which I have a very different facial structure, and so, you know, they spend a lot of time focusing on those in particular, and then on top of that, as you're probably also aware we have a really robust character creation system, and part of that allows you to modify the face, which also modifies the facial structure underneath the hood. So they also have to take that into account when when they're authoring these things, and you've probably noticed running around in the world, but you know not every Breton male looks like a Breton male, or Khajiit looks like, you know, the Khajiit next to him, right. Our content developers have those same tools you do in the character creator to change the structure of the face, so they, you know, they need to take all of those structural modifications into account as they go. So, it's actually a really complicated process, but, you know, I think the results are beautiful, and while this is very much a work in progress, I think it's coming along really well.
So, let's take a look at that before and after.
- Razum-dar: : "They don't think we need the Dominion to survive. They think the Queen is making a mistake, "elevating" the Bosmer and Khajiit to be equals with the High Elves. Racists. Isolationists. And general idiots."
- Darien Gautier: : "What makes tyrants do any of the things they do? Ambition? Glory? I certainly don't know.
What I do know is that Montclair's forces have taken half the capital and will soon take the rest of it unless the Shornhelm guard gets some help."
- Queen Ayreen: : "Betrayal? She turns against her people after years of service? And she spoke of my betrayal?
She obviously could not be trusted. But you have proven your worth. "
So, there you go. So again that's it's very much a work in progress, but really, it's looking beautiful, and, you know, it looks nice on the screen, but it really makes a difference when you're playing the game, right? The immersiveness of your interaction with NPCs, you know, it's a significant improvement, and it gets me really excited both to play and develop the game. This stuff is why I love coming to work, right. So yeah, thank you very much for listening. I should call out just once more that, you know, this is one of a myriad of technical, you know, modifications and improvements we make behind the scenes, and we look forward to continuing to do so. Thanks a lot for listening.
The Champion Systems (37:21-49:16)
[In this section, Paul Sage talks about the concepts such as reinforcement reward, predictable rewards, and things about character growth, primarily around the Champion Point system.]
Justice System (49:16-52:47)
Paul Sage: ... I'm excited about this system, which is the Justice System. It's all about emergent gameplay and the way in which you're going to act with the game. Let's see what that's going to look like. Okay, so as normal you could come in, and just take this gear in the game right now, except now for the first time you'll be stealing these items. I'm doing a pretty good job right now, and instead of the items not having any value they'll actually have value if they're stolen, but to sell those items you're going to have to find fences around the city, and of course you want to make sure that your hidden. Nobody else can see you, nobody can witness the crime of you stealing what isn't yours, now hand it over now, you can see that a guard will now accost you if you steal, and you'll be able to pay your bounty, so you know best be moving along. Indeed, I should so I'll be able to pay my bounty, and it'll clear everything of my crimes, but it'll also clear all the stolen goods that I've taken now. Stealing is only part of the miscreant activity which we encourage our players to involve themselves in, so we would like to encourage everybody to start killing NPCs in the game I think a little murder sprees in order Oh an eclair geez not safe stop right there criminal scum all right now I can't afford to pay my bounty. Oh boy. For passing time. oh well that was okay, but you know I know you guys are gonna find ways to get around that guard. You're gonna find ways to do things that we probably don't expect.
So what's fun about this being an online game is that you aren't going to just have to be the anti-establishment character, but you're also going to be able to be guards, you're going to be able to go in to find those characters who haven't paid their bounties, who've been on these killing rampages, and you're going to be able to enact your own justice. So that's right there's going to be an active PvP, that's right, it's active PvP in the world. It's just turning the game over to you in ways that I really like, so with that, that's just a brief introduction of the justice system.
Nick Konkle: My name is Nick Konkle, I'm the lead gameplay designer for ESO, and uh, thank you. Spellcrafting is a system that a lot of people have been asking about for a pretty long time. It was a big favorite of everyone in The Elder Scrolls: Oblivion, and it's safe to say that it's a something that's really exciting because it allows so much flexibility, and creativity for your builds, and your characters now spellcrafting is what it sounds like you're going to be able to find, and combine various effects from spells in the game, some of which will look very familiar, and create new abilities that you can put on your hotbar, and permanently half part of your character. You can have a hot bar full of entirely spellcrafting abilities, you can mix and match them with weapon skills or class skills, but there's just a lot of a lot of flexibility that will be added to the game as a result of it, and pretty much the first thing that everyone says to me when I encounter you guys wherever it is, in the elevator, or on the taxi, in the airport is that yeah, it sounds pretty awesome to go ahead and be able to make whatever ability I want. The first thing I'm going to do is make a 50 meter AoE stun that does a lifedrain, and you know basically unbalances the game and will make it completely on fun, and so I'm gonna go into a good deal of detail about how the system works, and how you'll be able to have a great deal of flexibility in the spells that you make, and can be creative in that way, while also being in a bounded system that isn't completely unbalancing to the game.
So for starters, I'm going to talk about how the system is introduced. For those of you that have been playing the game, there's a quest line associated with the Mages Guild and part of what you're doing for that questline is recovering this island refuge called Eyevea, and that refuge is a location for mages to go ahead and study, and do research, and have a greater understanding of magic, and having completed this quest line, you really unleashed the researching might of the mages in the Tamriel. One of the first things they discover is this these ancient doorways that are hidden throughout the world that belonged to some culture that no one's seen before, but what's interesting about them is, in some places, they seem to be intentionally part of these ruins, and in other places they're kind of scattered about randomly, and that's part of the mystery of them that you'll be uncovering as part of it, and what's particularly compelling about it is when these researchers discover the doorways, they seem to have hints about this new way of organizing magic into schools that no one in our time has seen before, but they should look pretty familiar at all you guys, and there'll be a sort of spells again, that no one has seen before, and a lot of opportunities to discover new types of magic. So, of course, the researchers are super excited about it, and they'll be tasking you to go and find those doorways, and the act of doing that looks something like this.
So you chase that little ball of light, and it'll go all the way across the world. It'll cross bridges, mountains, it'll go on forever and over, and it's a little faster than you, so you got to chase it, but it's no big dea. lf it gets away, you can just recast it with Magicka, and when it eventually finds its end location, you'll see these doorways that can only be revealed by people who have the spell, and were never seen before this point, and they take you into these ancient classrooms, and they're a little rundown because they've been around for a pretty darn long time, but in the middle of them is these ruin tablets, and they contain inscriptions in a language that's familiar to those of you familiar with the enchanting language from the crafting system, and this tablet for example is completely pristine, it's unbroken, but it's not always going to be that easy. You know these things are gonna be worn down, broken, and scattered all throughout the world, and it's part of your job to find the complete inscription, and be able to replicate it yourself so that you can learn the underlying magic beneath it. That looks a little something like this. This is an interactive UI similar to how lock-picking works, or you're actually just going to go ahead and use a to try to Drew message of charcoal and paper to recreate this spell, and collect it, and like I said it's not always going to be three pieces like that. Sometimes it'll be broken into two, sometimes five, and sometimes maybe you'll be lucky enough to come across a pristine one, and it all depends on the spell that you're trying to hunt down. There's a lot of exploration in the system, and a lot of a sort of discovery and intrigue and when you do collect these papers. You would throw them into this portfolio that you're collecting over time, and as you discover different parts of different characters as part of the language, it's going to give you hints about what those spells might be. This for example is conjure flame atronach from the conjuration school, and this is lightning bolt from the destruction school. There are many spells like this in the game, and so of course, be familiar spells from previous The Elder Scrolls games, and overtime you're gonna want to collect many of them, and it will take quite a while because the doors are well hidden, and it should take you know a good amount of exploration and research, but that's of just the first part of the actual spellcrafting system this just gets you to the door, and what you want to do when you've actually found one of these spells in order to harness that magic yourself is recreate the tablet that you found in these ancient classrooms, and you want to make one for yourself.
The UI for that will look something similar to this this is a temp UI, but it'll give you the basics. So the first thing you do is collect the base effect of the spell, like we've been talking about up to this point, and that's an exploration and research game, but when you actually know one, you can customize it in one of these six ways which we call a focus, and they're similar to morphs. For example, if you put the AoE morph on lightning bolt, you're gonna create a Chain Lightning spell, or if you put the AoE morph on the conjure flame atronach, it's gonna run around with a fire aura, or you can put the enduring more focus on the flame atronach, and it'll be a permanent pet like a sorcerer that rather than a temporary one. Any ability can be focused in any one of these six ways. You can make an ultimate out of any single one of these spells with as much customization as you want out of that. You can give it a cast time for a bonus effect, you can reduce the cost and make efficient spells, and there's a whole variety of things that you do in that way to customize the effect itself just beyond what it does by default and that's the second part. The third part is actually the tablet itself. So you can see the one there is this kind of stone worn down tablet that isn't particularly attractive, but there's plenty of other ones out there in the world. Marble rune stone things that are a little more high-end material, and the higher-end material used to create one of these spells, the more powerful and the more expensive it will be. There's kind of a trade-off there in terms of you what kind of power you're gonna get out of the spell, and how much you're willing to have it cost. Now, this is bounded, so you can't just create a single spell that does cost automatically would kill someone in one hit, but there's a good deal of flexibility there in terms of trying to make something that is the right mix of exactly the sorts of spells you want. There's three different avenues of customization for every single spell that you find of, which there are many. It's a hugely open and flexible system I really have no idea what everyone's gonna do when they get their hands on it, but I'm really excited to see how these builds sort of affect the metagame. yeah I think it's I think it's safe to say that you will probably use this to murder innocents. That's just the first part of the system, which I think up to this point, it's pretty exciting, but it's all been about the crafting of the spell itself. There's a lot of different elements to that about exploration, and about deciding exactly what you want, and I certainly expect different sort of spellcrafters to be known for the different things they can make, because it is quite a challenge to actually find all the different spells, but the system itself is social, so when you do create that tablet, it isn't just me that can use it, you can trade it, you can sell it on the guild store, you can give it to your friend If you have friends that are that nice to you. you can do whatever you want for it, and especially, I think, when the system first comes out, and a spell is brand new, there'll be some really interesting demand rising from some of the most popular spells that I think everyone will want.
When you do get one of these tablets if you're lucky enough, you can consume it anywhere in the world, and it looks a little something like this. So that would be learning a lightning spell, and that would be learning an ice spell, which are both from the destruction tree. Now every spell that you can learn from any school will have a unique effect associated with the school of magic, and at that point the spell is permanently added to your library of spells. You can cast it, you can put it on your hotbar, you can put it on backup slot, or you can not use it at all if you want to for whatever reason, and if it's the first spell that you learned from say the destruction school, then you'll actually get that skill line and in the normal way if you put this ability on your bar and gain experience, and use it. You'll then be advancing your destruction skill line, which has its own passives with it, so you can become a master of destruction magic, fire magic, or whatever else you're really interested in doing that you know maybe is something that you've really wanted to be able to do in all the Elder Scrolls game. It's a build that you know that you've really wished you could make happen but haven't been up to been able to up to this point. I'm gonna go ahead and give you a few more examples of the spells we're creating in this way, just to sort of tease it, but this is certainly not the full set, so that's okay. The alteration school that's pretty cool. that's muffle from the illusion school that'll make you very difficult to detect. Conjure Flame Atronach, Conjure Familiar, and that's Ice Cloak, the first two from the conjuration school, and the latter from destruction. So a lot of these are going to be familiar, and there's many more that that are available for you to unlock. It's worth noting that every single one of those spells can be customized with any of the six focuses, and with any of the different tablets you can find, so really you can make it build entirely out of spellcrafting spells you could mix and match. However, if you want to, you can find restoration, you can find destruction, and it should be really exciting to see how that all develops. We really value a whole lot of flexibility and creativity out of a progression system and I feel like this is really taking it to the next level unbounded and keep it open-ended so that we can see what sort of creative things you guys do so that's all I have for the spellcrafting system.
[The following section involves Art Director Jared Carr. Omitted is his section on combat quality assurance, but the following sections up to the Q&A involve him.]
Motifs Art (1:11:35-1:15:24)
Jared Carr: So this is um, this is the Kothringi, and this is an armor set that's going to be dropped with one of the zones that I'm going to show you in a second. The Kothringi is an ancient race that in our time period, it's pretty much all wiped out, and if you know your lore, you know that they're the silver-skinned people, they're a tribal culture that basically lives naked, they don't wear clothes, and the issue here is that nudity is difficult to itemize, so we took some liberties and designed this these would be Kothringi ceremonial armors and weapons.Here's some designs based on the Morag Tong from Morrowind, and these are grouped. The two on the left side of the screen, there's a light pant and a light robe. That's the light set. We just break it out like that so that we can see both, and then the medium, the heavy, and weapons. Dark Brotherhood [armor and] weapons. Thieves Guild [armor] and weapons. Glass armors and their weapons. And this is a set of high-level PvP Alliance themed gear for the ebonheart pact. and we'll do all three sets for all three alliances. And this is the Undaunted [armor and weapons].
So earlier, Rich was talking about the undaunted skill lines, and what we're doing with that and he was mentioning the treasure chests, so these would be the first items that you would find through those activities, but the team was talking, and we wanted to take this a step further. So we liked the idea that if you're running through the dungeon the killing a difficult boss, you should be able to essentially skin it and wear it. So there's the Daedroth, Grievous Twilight, Spider Daedra, Dwemer Spider, and the Harvester. And just some behind-the-scenes stuff, this is a ZBrush model of that Harvester shoulder pad and the helm in a second. ZBrush is a digital sculpting tool that we use. Obviously these aren't final textures or anything like that, but it's looking cool so far here. So this would be the glass heavy ZBrush sculpt, and this is the Imperial Daedric medium, and these would be released with the Imperial City content. That's the heavy, and here's some Dwemer armor in-game. The heavy and the light, and here's that Imperial Daedric heavy in-game.
Jared Carr: Alright, so the first zone I'm gonna talk about is an adventure zone called Murkmire. Like Craglorn, it supports four-man group content, the Overland, delves, and 12-man trials. Murkmire is a province of Black Marsh. It's in the southeast under Shadowfen there, and when we begin designing the zone, we do a simple map, and we sort of decide well, what are the biomes going to be like? So in the north here, there's swamp, you know, a kind of verdant green swamp. In the middle there's kind of an upland area as it heads towards Cyrodiil, and then in the bottom it's a bog kind of nasty, moody. The dominant culture is Argonian, and we're doing another sort of architecture set, and this is just a quick sample of what this stuff is looking like.
Here's a prop set. We concept everything, and our goal is to develop a world that that looks you know, looks real, and looks like it's lived in, and it's believable. We'll be introducing a new non-player character race called the Naga. These guys are pretty cool. Here's the ZBrush sculpt of his head. he's a happy guy. This is a Naga variant for Murkmire, and this guy I like a lot he's a turtle, but he's a really big turtle, and he's fast, and he breathes fire because everybody likes fire-breathing reptiles. This is Argonian behemoth. He's quite large, and I think he likes to eat Naga. Here's some paintings. This is where all the parts and pieces come together. Here's the architecture in the zone. The argonians, their civilization is in decline. At one point, they had temple architecture, but since then, it's been sort of swallowed by the swamp. So there's all these ruins studying the landscape, and at this point in time, they're pretty much relegated to living in more primitive conditions. This would be that upland area headed towards Cyrodiil. More forests and swamp, and here's a shot of the bog. A little moody, a little nastier. And some in-game footage. So this is how it's coming together. This is under sort of a simple lighting condition, obviously, we have time of day systems and weather systems, and so the trees will animate and all that, but this is looking really great. More animated plants. A lot of carnivorous plants in the zone. You can see the fly traps there, and there's the behemoth posing for you.
Jared Carr: So the other zone I wanted to show is a solo PvE zone. It’s Wrothgar, and anyone from any Alliance can go to this zone. Wrothgar's in the north, it's between High Rock and Skyrim. The back story here is that Wrothgar was given to the Orcs in their deal when they joined the Daggerfall Covenant, and this is important to them because their ancestral capital Orsinium is in this province. That sort of black mountain there is where Orsinium is. What's happening in this zone is the followers of the Code of Malacath are distrustful of the Orc King Kurog, and his Daggerfall Covenant allies, because it was their ancestors, the Breton in the Redguards, who destroyed Orsinium, and simultaneously King Kurog is sympathetic to a sect of Trinimac worshippers and they want to do away with the code of Malacath. And so, it's against this political backdrop that you will help rebuild Orsinium. this is Orsinium here, and thereby influence the future of the Orc people.
Here's a shrine to Malacath in the wilderness. Here's a set of statues that you'd find In Orsinium. They're based off of an Orc armor set that will release with the zone, which you might find in a dungeon like this. No zone is complete without ambient creatures. This is the Chub Loon and a Horker. Give it up for the Horker, ladies and gentlemen. We save on polygons with only the one tusk. [Here’s] a female giant. So I think it's important to add depth to the characters in the game by adding having both male and female variants for the monsters, and instead of having a group of males and group of females, so I wanted to add a tough sort of matriarch giantess, and here she is in game. Here's a couple of ogres looking for their companions in the tundra of Wrothgar beneath Orsinium. Here's Orsinium itself, and this is a work in progress, we're still in production on this, but wanted to show this to you because it's pretty cool. We're spending more time on developing more organic cities, so that it really sells the idea that this is a place that was built up over time, and provides a lot more interesting areas for exploration, and it also looks really cool. Up at the top there would be King Kurog's throne room, which you can get to. We're really excited about this, the team has done a fantastic job
[Questions that were answered from the official forums were obtained from this thread. Included only are features not yet included into the Game.]
Jessica Folsom: All right, so I've got an easy one for you, this is from ring-a-ding 92. he wants to know who's the old man that appeared in a spellcrafting presentation.
Nick Konkle:I guess I’ll just answer that - hi guys hope you're not sick of me. The answer to that is that is a special stonemason that the spellcrafting are started the mages guild has conscripted to go ahead and make these for you there's some lore surrounding him, so I don't want to spoil it, but I will say that you actually can get that costume and look like him – so that's pretty cool.
Gina Bruno: This next question is something we've seen come up a few times recently. Will we ever see more character customization options like a barbershop? And that's from the guild the Art of Warfare.
Paul Sage:I know Jared feels really strongly about this. They've actually been working on a lot of different customization options for players, so I think really the way we introduced, it is going to be extremely important, and you know kind of off the cuff. You know, and again like matt said, anything is liable to change. The way I'd like to see this introduced is more of an RP mechanic where players can earn these, and give them to each other. I think that's really a fun thing for people to be able to do, and so you know that's something that we're working on, but I know the artists already have lots of more customization options, so absolutely it's coming, it's just a matter of how and when.
Gina Bruno: Okay this question is from Leona, they're asking when will we see some time sinks that are not related to fighting? Such as minigames, housing, music systems, horse races, stuff like that.
Matt Firor: Those are all great questions so some of those things are under discussion now no promises in the future but some of the things you heard in the in the presentation today we're getting towards that like the justice system and and things even even though there is there is combat there but we are definitely talking about waste abroad in the system we've talked already public about making a fishing system more exciting. We've dropped some hints about horse racing in the past, and we're going to continue down that line too. So there are things that we're working on, but we will reserve the announcement of those until we actually have more information, and we know it was it kind of better wooden they'll come out all right.
Jessica Folsom: I'm gonna combine a couple then. So this is about spellcrafting, so ring-a-ding 92, Kendra's visit to combine questions. So is a spell tome a one-time use of the spell, or do you just learn the spell, and also can we create weapon spells, or stamina based spells?
Nick Konkle: Let me guess who's gonna answer that. Yeah, god, I'm sick of me by this point. Okay, the answer to the first question is yes, it's consumable, but you can make more of them, so it's definitely going to provide a lot of value to some of the more rare blank tablets that you can find out in the world. If someone's willing to sell a, you know, a legendary quality, say a ultimate conjure flame atronach off the top of my head. I suspect that would be an extremely valuable in terms of gold item that you might be able to try to someone else, versus you know something that's made a little more mundane, but you can keep producing them and that will definitely spread across the world as the as the system gets more and more users. The second question was can you make a stamina ability? We have other plans to expand on different stamina abilities, but one of the spells which can actually create is restore stamina from the restoration skill, so I actually think you might see some more cycle builds based off that way. On the sorcerer right now, there's an ability called direct exchange that you can use to trade stamina for Magicka and, there's an ability the Mages Guild called equilibrium, where you can trade health for Magicka, and there's never been sort of the opposite direction, which is magicka for stamina, and that's something I think you might see a lot of people who want to, you know, stamina builds start to use, because the Magica you know doesn't necessarily have value if you're if you're all focused on stamina, and that's a way for you to get value out of it.