Inspiration behind Elder Scrolls Online’s new Battleground PvP mode explained

Chris Stead 5 June 2017

eso-morrowind-battlegrounds

ZeniMax Online Studios is changing up the PvP experience in Elder Scrolls Online by adding an exciting new mode.

On June 6, the first new chapter for Elder Scrolls Online launches on PC, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. The Morrowind expansion invites fans back to the island of Vvardenfell – the setting for the beloved third game in the core series. The chapter gives existing and new fans an opportunity to start their experience again from this location. There’s a tonne of new quests, story sequences and areas to explore, plus there is a new class, the Warden, to try out, who has a great new battle ally in the War Bear.

More on ESO's Warden class

I thoroughly enjoyed what I played of this new beginning for the citizens of Tamriel. The starting sequence is energetic and enjoyable, and it doesn’t waste too much time throwing you into the full world and allowing you to set about building a name for yourself. But there are of course many players who have been in the game since it launched in 2014. What’s in it for them? Aside from a number of minor tweaks to the way the game plays, there’s a brand new Player versus Player (PvP) mode called Battlegrounds to enjoy.

Ahead of The Elder Scrolls Online: Morrowind’s release, I was given an opportunity to chat to the game’s creative director, Rich Lambert. We spoke about the changes made to Elder Scrolls Online that would impact the existing user-base. This included a run-down of the new Battlegrounds mode and what inspired it – here is how the conversation went.

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The Morrowind expansion brings a whole new region to Elder Scrolls Online, but what about existing areas? Have they been changed at all and can fans expect to find new things in areas they had already fully explored?

Let's see. So, we added a new quest to the base game that teases the story coming with the Morrowind expansion. That is already available. Outside of that, no. We focused most of our efforts on the Warden, the new trial and Battlegrounds, then obviously Vvardenfell itself.

Can you just talk to me a little bit about the inspiration for battlegrounds and how the experience has changed the way people approach ESO’s PVP?

So battlegrounds came out of internal feedback and playtesting, but also a lot from players’ feedback. We had always intended to focus our PvP effort primarily on the large-scale CG type battles. That was what we wanted and players loved that. However, some of the feedback we got was it was really hard to find battles, it took too long to get back into the fray, and on some days, players just wanted to have more balanced fights. By balanced fights I mean, it's not 20 on 10, or 30 on 40: that kind of thing. And so that's where Battlegrounds came in.

When you look at how Battlegrounds is setup and how it was developed it focused on those points of feedback. It's small scale - it's four on four. It unfolds in really tight, confined spaces, too, so it's really easy to find other people to battle. It is really quick to get into. You queue and you get in within… well we've had less than 30-second queues to get people into these matches… and you’re playing 15 minute battles. This scratches an itch for that type of player.

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