Addons have been a topic of controversy since the early days of MMORPG’s that has continued to this day. A controversy that Elder Scrolls Online is unlikely to avoid. From simple UI changes to gameplay tips and even full-blown bots, both players and developers have had a love/hate relationship with addons. Some types of addons end up banned while others are integrated into the game by the developers.
For players that do not want to spend time exploring, such as players with alts, getting lost or spending an hour trying to find the specific mob you need to kill can be irritating. Many players choose to use map addons which can perform a range of functions from detailing the mobs found in an area to estimating the most efficient quest route through an area.
Since Elder Scrolls Online will have an element of exploration just to come across certain quests, it seems likely that map/quest addons will be common. Perhaps an addon that not only tells you where you need to go to “discover” a quest, it could also tell you the outcomes of certain quests and the effect it will have on your phase. These are the least controversial addons since they don’t affect any player aside from those that choose to use them.
With the simplified UI that ESO has, it would be hard to imagine the wide variety of utility addons that may be created. Other games have had addons for helping you trade with other players, quickly changing your gear, raid information, improved macros, damage and cooldown data, tips to avoid dungeon traps and the list goes on.
Some guilds may not even want you as a member if you don’t use certain addons they see as necessary as has been demonstrated in other games. Some players complain that certain PvP oriented addons give players an unfair advantage. Utility addons come in such a wide variety that some will be praised while others will be hated for various reasons.
The most controversial addons are those that directly or indirectly make gameplay decisions for the player. Simple gameplay addons may just maintain buffs or other more passive actions. Some addons may indirectly make decisions, such as which spell to use for a given situation such as the Healbot.
Full game playing addons are never officially tolerated, but that does not keep them from being created and can be hard to catch. PvP addons that perform a combo that can be hard to pull off can change the landscape of PvP.
Another example, there is a World of Warcraft addon that has existed for a number of years that allowed players to set waypoints and the addon could completely control your character to grind mobs including looting, healing, and buffing. Even if too many mobs attack at one time and the character dies, the addon can find its’ way back and resurrect to continue grinding. This particular addon has also been used by gold farmers to increase productivity.
Of course addons like the one from the above example will be disallowed, but many lesser addons that still make decisions over certain aspects may not be.
Why Addons Matter
The addons that have the greatest effect are usually those tied to PvP simply because the addon can affect the gameplay of another player. With PvP in ESO playing a fairly large role, the potential for highly specialized and possibly overpowered addons exists.
While everyone would be happy to just play a vanilla Elder Scrolls Online at the moment, addons will make an appearance at some point. What addons have you found most useful in the past? Which types of addons should Zenimax allow? Which should they disallow, aside from the full-blown gameplay addons?
In other news, Elder Scrolls Online pre-order is now available for PS3 and Xbox One.
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