Player vs player combat will be a large part of Elder Scrolls Online. After all, the plot does set the three playable factions against each other. This is not unique, but what is less common is the fact that you can capture cities and important locations in ESO.
This allows players to contribute in a meaningful way to their factions through their engagements with the enemy. By capturing different strategic points players actually move their faction towards dominance and gaining real benefits.
This is a great concept, but there is a problem that other games that tried the same thing have ran up against. Many games only rewarded players for killing enemies. Or rather rewards for killing enemy players were much greater than the rewards for capturing locations, defending and progressing their faction’s interests.
ESO and Player’s Interest
The problem of course is that the player’s interest and the faction’s interest are not necessarily aligned. How can that be? How can killing enemies not be in the interest of a player’s faction?
Consider this common scenario. A capturable location is flanked by two equally valuable locations. A battle erupts in the middle location and rages for hours. Control of the location never changes because there are such large numbers of players fighting around it. This location is usually a hot area for combat.
The two flanking locations are just as important, but generally have small, brief battles. Capturing these other cities reduces the resources available to defenders at the center location making it easier to capture. Since players get more points for kills rather than capturing locations, many will choose to fight in the center location, knowing no progress will be made. In fact, it is in their interest that the center location not be captured.
These players need concentrated, constant battle to score as many kills as possible. This may not seem like a big deal, but consider the implications common in other games. If ESO does not have the rewards balanced, players will have less sense of community in the faction. Unbalanced rewards promotes a self focused mentality instead of a faction focused mentality.
Why heal or assist allies outside of your group/guild? They are really just competition for kills if killing enemies is much more rewarding than meeting faction goals.
This is even more of an issue when you consider that players can become the Emperor. Do you want an emperor that only cares about his own guild’s score? What about an emperor that lead assaults on a variety of locations and was an integral part of conquering Tamriel?
Hopefully, ESO will be balanced so that progressing your faction’s interest is equally or more rewarding than killing as many enemies as possible. Hopefully, if you play for two hours and kill 30 enemies that will be less rewarding than playing for two hours and capturing two locations. What do you think? Am I completely wrong or does this make sense?
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