Elder Scrolls Online: Q&A with Paul Sage

Tamriel Foundry hosted a live Q&A session with Creative Director Paul Sage.

Tamriel Foundry recently held a live Q&A session with Creative Director Paul Sage from Elder Scrolls Online on Saturday, January 25th. The main topics discussed were:

  • Group Systems: Functionality and tools.
  • Multiplayer Challenges: Dungeons, overland bosses, Dark Anchors, etc.
  • Group Gameplay: Synergies, group roles, etc.

XP and Grouping Mechanics:

  • There is a percentage bonus for XP gain while grouping.
  • There is no auto-grouping system like in Rift, as the contribution of every player is taken into account without being grouped through open tagging.
  • There won't be penalties for grouping with more than 4 people, but it's not possible in some areas.
  • The holy trinity (Tank, Heal, and DPS) isn't always needed. It is not for Dark Anchors but some dungeons might require the archetypes.
  • Questing is the best way to gain XP, but you can still grind on mobs for XP/weapon skill points in some areas. Things change a little once you get to Veteran Ranks.
  • Not all dungeons or caves are for a group of four. They can be solo.
  • A PvP group can be very large but Dungeon groups are capped at 4 players. Large group sizes are of 12 players.


  • Loot is instanced to every player contributing to a kill. If there is loot to drop, everybody will get some. Some of the gear is tradeable, and some is bind on equip or pickup (especially bosses' gear).
  • There will be gear which is unique in look and may be unique in stats. As an example, while the gear you earn in a Veteran Level dungeon may not be more powerful than the gear you gain in PvP and vice-versa, it can look different and have different stats.
  • The inventory slots are: Helmet, Shoulders, Chest, Hands, Belt, Pants, Shoes, Rings x2, Necklace, Weapon (possibly 2 or a shield) which makes seven pieces of light, medium or heavy armor.
  • The finesse system for extra loot was taken out because it had some problems and they didn't feel it added as much as it once had.

PvE Difficulty and Types:

  • PVE will provide a range of difficulty. Some content will be geared to a casual playstyle while some will be hard and appeal to players in search of competition.
  • Overland areas are tuned more to solo and duo play.
  • There are overland bosses.
  • Public dungeons work much as the overworld, but are really tuned for you to bring or meet a friend. Anyone can come right in. The "16 dungeons or instances at launch" are the group (4 player) instances. The public dungeons are not included in that count and there are 16 public dungeons as well.
  • ESO is more like Morrowind in its leveling with regards to monsters. Monsters and players have definite levels. ESO also has zones which are tuned to certain levels. These zones allow you to meet people around your level range and adventure together or just let you know what you are getting into. Once you hit 50 and venture into the other Alliances, level doesn't mean as much and you will be able to go from place to place without worry of being overpowered.

Dark Anchors:

  • Dark Anchors are difficult for two players and ramp up for up to four players.
  • Dark Anchors vary by level from one area to the next. There are three anchors per zone and more scattered in Cyrodiil.
  • The amount of players present determines how hard an Anchor is up to a certain amount of players. The fight and mobs within the fight vary depending on the anchor location – and can vary at the same location. Difficulty is adjusted by adding more mobs and strengthening them a bit.
  • When a Dark Anchor is destroyed, it appears again after some time. Molag Bal doesn't give up that easily.
  • Dark Anchors are open events similar to Oblivion Gates that don't need to be entered. There is no zerg prevention but, given the high variety of things to do within the world, players should spread out. This should solve the problem of potential zerg fests.
  • A Dark Anchor event rewards players with experience and ranking with the Fighters Guilds. There's also loot drops, especially from the boss.
  • There will not be anything preventing PvP around Dark Anchors in Cyrodiil.


  • A player would probably have to be at least 10 levels higher than the group recommended level to solo a group dungeon. Surviving might still be difficult.
  • The only difficulty setting for a dungeon is between Normal and Veteran level.
  • Dungeons can be repeated as many times as a player wants to, and monsters and events stay active, but the quests in them can only be done once. In Veteran mode, dungeons have a second part or the second half of the story, so you will get an entirely different experience. Repeating a dungeon can be interesting as there is unique gear in certain dungeons as well as opportunities for better gear. It also allows gaining skill points in the Undaunted skill line.
  • New veteran dungeons will be added after launch.

More info on Combat Mechanics on page 2

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