Other MMOs have tried to allow players to create personal stories and mask what is in actuality identical quest lines with varying degrees of success. Maintaining the personal story is a key factor in Elder Scrolls titles. How have you tackled these issues in TESO, and is there a greater focus on soloing in TESO?
There is a focus on single player elements as we know lots of people enjoy MMOs as a solo-player. This isn't unusual. Lots of people just want to be able to jump into the game and not coordinate with anyone else. The story about recovering your soul from Molag Bal is a solo experience. And of course, much of our content can be played solo. NPCs that you interact with will notice the different things you've done. They may treat other players differently based on what they've done. So you will feel like the decisions you've made matter. But, that's just one aspect. There is lots to do for smaller groups and larger groups. We want people to play the way they want to play.
How have you approached designing a MMORPG while making sure it still feels like an Elder Scrolls game, and how does the decision to have three factions work within established lore?
As far as designing it to feel like a TES game: our artists pay very close attention to the style of all the TES games, our writers to the lore, our gameplay designers to the gameplay such as a highly interactive world, engaging combat, believable NPC reactions, etc. But each TES entry has been unique and brought changes to the franchise. We'll be unique as well, and that takes us to the factions or alliance portion of the question.
Alliances aren't something new to TES, in fact, the Empire is an almost forced alliance. But we wanted to have a really compelling PvP game, and bring the rumors of a war into an actual reality. Part of doing that well involves getting people to feel a sense of pride in a larger community effort. Give them something to fight for. That's why there are alliances. Some of the people in an alliance may seem unlikely at first, but it all starts to make sense as you experience the game.
We've already established that we'll finally get to explore all of Tamriel. Will there be sections that'll cover those older events chronicled in previous games, since this title's set earlier in the timeline?
Yes. You will get to see some things you have only read about in the books in other games. I don't want to give away too much, but certainly the battle of Glenumbra Moors is one such event, and savvy people will note that takes place before our time...
What have you done to differ the quest system from the likes of WoW and Guild Wars 2? Will we be doing fetch/kill quests ten times over or have you something different planned?
I think the variety of quests and what you do in each really stands out for us. But if I said you'd never do a fetch quest or kill quest, that would be disingenuous. The mechanics matter only in how you use them, and if they are used too frequently. The beauty comes from the variety of what you do, the story around what you do and the NPCs you interact with in the world.
Comparisons with World of Warcraft are inevitable. One thing that differs is the setting and adult content. Skyrim was 18+, WoW was 12+. What is your goal age rating wise for The Elder Scrolls Online. And what's your reasoning?
We want to have a large community while staying true to the deeper themes of Elder Scrolls, so we'll fall somewhere that allows us to do both.
When signing up for the beta, players were asked why they should be chosen over anyone else. Let's give that back to you. Why should an MMO gamer pick your game over the competition?
Players who want a fun combat system, a great social game, a huge world to explore, a deep and different progression system that rewards exploration, and the ability to jump into three-way meaningful PvP should give us a look. But really, it's about the entire game. It is a terrific online RPG, and for the first time, you get to play Elder Scrolls with friends.