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Adding "Backgrounds" -- Passive Customization + New Appearance Options

tinythinker
tinythinker
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Special Note: Feedback/Terminology/Lore Concerns/Clarifications
Please check *here* first for clarification. If this isn't a concern for you, skip ahead.
(Concerns about "lore", as well as why this post was revised, are addressed in this section.)
The feedback received from comment #2 to #36, based on the original version of this post (which is available below), in particular the feedback which had elaboration and clarification (rather than pronouncements), has lead me to think that at least a portion of the reaction to this concept, both positive and negative, had a bit to do with semantics.

Because I went with Argonian as my primary example in the original version of my posting, because "subrace" is a common category used to summarize subdivisions of character creation choices in RPGs, and because I was basing customization options on a character's initial race, I used the term subrace as a catch-all for a proposed game mechanic.

Another term used for some form of additional distinction in character customization in RPGs is "occupation". But honestly, if you look at my examples and elaborations in this thread, neither "Subrace", nor "Subculture", nor "Occupation/Profession", is adequate to convey what I'm working toward. All of those terms are are too misleading and too limiting. Having thought about it, a better description is needed. I therefore decided that a better phrasing would be "Background".

As for lore, the ideas presented here fit well. I am working within the broad (and loose) framework of the lore. There is always room for more details to be added, for additional knowledge and mechanics to be created. There are still people who don't like Elder Scrolls Online because they added the Three Banners War to the Interregnum Period of the Second Era, or because Argonians have no stealth passives as per the lore and the bonuses offered in prior games. There are those who were miffed that Skyrim dropped the class system that had been in every previous game.

Backgrounds are a combination of biology (both hereditary differences and distinctions acquired by how a character has lived) and cultural elements. The biological elements affect cosmetic options, while the cultural elements affect cosmetic options, passive skill options, and possibly even NPC interaction options.

Should some Backgrounds include additional options for the basic biological size and shape of some races? Yes. It is hard to deny that Khajiit and Argonians have strong lore-based biological variation. Accounts of Argonian tribes speak of cultural and historical distinction, but some also describe particular tribes as having significantly different shapes and size and physical features. The lore also suggests considerable variation for the Khajiit, from nearly Elven with some cat-like features to fully bestial. Thus, the cosmetic aspect of the beast races focuses on these kinds of striking differences.

While additional biological variation is on the table for men and mer, it would be much less pronounced. More focus is given to adornments instead, which is discussed in more detail below under the heading "Cosmetic Changes".

As for concerns about including new passives, that is also discussed in more detail in the section titled "New Passives Added" section, but, it is hardly lore-breaking. Depending on your character's tribe, subculture, or path general in life, it makes sense that there would be differences in specialization. Otherwise the Champion System itself would be "lore-breaking".

ZOS, with the Bethesda's blessing and expressed via this game's loremaster, see lore as a platform to build on rather than a straight-jacket. It is in that spirit I offer my proposal.
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Features of the Background System

Welcome to the Background System thread! This post offers an idea for adding further customization to your character. This includes cosmetic changes, passive skills, and NPC interactions (to see examples of new passives skip to the end of section two below).

The basic concept is simple: have the option to further customize your character based on a particular background befitting your race. This adds a bit of cosmetic distinction as well as a small degree of specialization to your passives. Backgrounds are not "just" or "mostly" subracial, or subcultural, or occupational, etc. They may or may not include something from each of those categories, but they are not limited to any one of them.

A quick skimming of this post and skipping of the subsequent comments might lead one to think this system demonstrates a "choose what you want to be good at anything" approach to the passives for Background options. If that were true, I would just de-link Backgrounds completely from race. Backgrounds could just be free-floating and anyone could choose whatever bonuses they wanted in order to most effectively min-max.

Backgrounds are tied to race specifically to help them be both lore-friendly and to avoid such abuses/extremes, as race and culture are often strongly linked in the Elder Scrolls universe. My primary example given below, for Argonians, is meant to give a sense of the way the system would work. If anyone feels the numbers are just way too big, imagine them being smaller.

While I envision all three features being added together, other options include adding only one or two of them.

1. Cosmetic Changes.

That is, new options for your character's appearance. For the beast races, this would be heavier on biological appearance, such as highly distinct body/facial types. For men and mer, any biological appearance changes would be limited to a bit of minor body/facial variation.

For example, Argonians could get options such as short, squat bodies or thin bodies with narrow, needle-like faces. Those are distinct body and facial types. The same degrees of distinction are found in the lore concerning Khajiit.

For the races of men and mer, Backgrounds might include some extra biological differences for body or facial types but these would not be as extreme. They might reflect the difference between a life spent in prayer versus one spent in combat, or, minor tweaks based on lore-friendly difference in heredity (for example, slightly more Elvish features in some Bretons).

Importantly, men and mer would have many additional adornment options (which includes things like scars, soot, tattoos, jewelry, and as yet to be added potential features) to reflect their backgrounds. These would obviously be cultural, rather than biological, forms of variation, and, it is hardly unknown to have the way people dress or other cultural/occupational differences show up that way in ESO, such as those who wear certain types of war paint or have sooty faces from working a forge. These kinds of appearance options would be expanded as well depending on your choice of Background.

2. New Passive Skills

This is one that people seem to potentially be the most opposed to or conflicted about, especially when linking it to whatever concept of "subraces", "subclasses", or "occupations" they have from other RPGs and wondering whether such a concept would fit with The Elder Scrolls. Others worry this is just a way to get more powerful builds for min-maxers and cause more imbalance.

On the first concern, that is why I think "Background" does more justice to what I've been proposing and describing. To the second concern, the few examples I give, and my discussion of this issue in subsequent comments, are against this very thing. The advantage of tying such Backgrounds to race in some way is that it addresses the concerns of those who feel bored by current system and does so through a more organic system of customization. It also allows for more distinctiveness to your character and how you play but, by not allowing you to grab "just anything you want" and by not offering over-powered options, the system doesn't allow for too much pick-and-choose for min-maxing. That is, such a combined system can make character development more fun while more effectively limiting racial imbalances if implemented properly.

The options laid out include one or the other of the following:

New Skill Tree

In other words, an additional named option for investing another two or three skill points. Or, it and the rest of the Background system could be tied to earning achievement points. This would *not* have Bretons with weapon damage/stamina bonuses or Redguards with bonuses to spell critical chance or faster casting time on magicka-based abilities. It would be more like small modifiers to combat that add flavor and make a character *a little bit* better at something or bigger bonuses for non-combat modifiers. If someone else posts a comment asking for huge or lore-breaking bonuses based on Background, I will join in saying "Noooooo." In the meantime, I will respond to comments based on what I have proposed, not on what folks may worry others might propose.

Single Passive

Either one point only to spend, or automatically gained. No progression by adding points into it. A static one-liner of a change, like "Duration of snares reduced by X%" or "Take Y% less damage from Undead".

Full and partial examples of Background passives are offered below inside the spoiler tags.

Example: Argonian Backgrounds

My example is based on and builds on the tribes/subraces of Argonians. Based on existing lore, here are some prime candidates for Argonian Backgrounds...
Agacephs: Most have needle-like faces and vary in color from bright green to orange. Found in inner Argonia near the Hist.
Paatru: Described as "toad-like", they live in the inner part of Argonia.
Sarpa: Described as being "winged", though it's unclear if this is meant literally or not. They live in the interior of Argonia.
Nagas: They are described as having "huge mouths filled with dripping needle-like fangs". Usually seven to eight feet tall, the Nagas appear to be more snake-like than other Argonians. When the other races were attempting to put plantations into Argonia, they generally acted as highway robbers; however, since the other races ceased trying to put plantations in Argonia, they have left the roads and have gone back into the inner swamps

For those who want cosmetic-only changes, this gives the ZOS artists some fun things with which to work. Although Nagas will probably be NPC-only if they are adapted at the size mentioned. Other tribes not mentioned here have no distinction of appearance mentioned, suggesting they have a more standard Argonian appearance and that their differences are largely or entirely cultural (that doesn't disqualify them, but anatomical/physiological variation would be more striking than ethnic distinction for new types of in-game Saxhleel). That still leaves the Agacephs, Paatru, and Sarpa to play around with.

For the actual system proposed, here is one way these backgrounds could be fleshed out (and again, if you think these numbers are too big, picture them smaller):

Agacephs
While all Argonians are connected to the Hist the Agacephs -- distinguished by their brighter coloring, thinner build, and needle-like faces -- live close to its inner core, among the oldest groves. This grants them a greater attunement to the ebb and flow of living energy, making them excellent healers.
New passive tree option:
(*) Increases the Armor value of Light Armor by 10%.
(_) The cost of healing spells is reduced 3%.
(_) The cost of healing spells is reduced 6%.
Single passive option:
The cost of healing spells is reduced 6%.

Paatru
The shorter and squatter Paatru are masters of an ancient and nearly extinct form of shamanism from the dawn of the Argonian peoples. This arcane knowledge grants them greater skill when engaged in the magical arts.

New passive tree option:
(*) Increases Maximum Magicka by 4%.
(_) Increases Spell Critical chance is increased by 4%.
(_) Increased Spell Critical chance is increased by 8%.

Single passive option:
Spell critical chance is increased by 8%.

Sarpa
The Sarpa are known for their swiftness and agility (on land as well as in the water), which makes them ideal candidates for the Shadowscales when open to recruitment. However, living so far into Argonia's interior, they prefer their traditional pursuits such as hunting, to which they are ideally suited.

New passive tree option:
(*) Duration of snares is reduced by 40%.
(_) The cost of stamina-based skills is reduced by 2%.
(_) The cost of stamina-based skills is reduced by 4%.

Single passive option:
The cost of stamina-based skills is reduced by 4%.

Standard Argonian (Saxhleel?)
(Maybe Lawrence Schick could offer a name? Maybe Saxhleel refers to "standard" Argonians and is sometimes used by outsiders (and unifiers among insiders) to refer to all subraces?)

The Saxhleel (or whatever name to use for standard version) are the most well-known of the lizard-folk. They are also the type most associated with the cult of Sithis and their militant wing, the Shadowscales. As a result of their contact with outside races, they developed skills that aid in guerrilla warfare tactics, such as the effective use of stealth.

New passive tree option:
(*) Allows you to enter stealth more quickly and increases speed while stealthed by 10%.
(_) Increases out of combat Stamina and Magicka regeneration by 10% while in stealth.
(_) Increases out of combat Stamina and Magicka regeneration by 20% while in stealth.

Single passive option:
Increases out of combat Stamina and Magicka regeneration by 20% while in stealth.

[Note: The Backgrounds offered here focus on tribes with physical differences but other tribes exist. Other tribes given in the lore may be from the subracial types hinted at for the Backgrounds above, i.e. thin/colorful/needle-nosed, short/squat/toad-like, etc. Perhaps Argonians care more about tribal affiliation than physical appearance. Perhaps not. Maybe the Archeins, for example, who tried to capitalize on the slave trade, included those of the standard/Saxhleel subrace. Maybe the Gee-Rusleel, who are known for their connection to the Hist, tend to be of the same subrace as the Agacephs, hence they both live near/share a deep connection to the Hist. And so on. Lots of room to play around here.]

Thus we have the lore-based Agacepths (healing bonus), Paatru (magicka bonus), Sarpa (stamina bonus), and Saxheel (stealth bonus). Because Argonians are magicka and stamina neutral, the relatively small bonuses do not somehow make a character over-powered.


Other Races

I haven't fleshed out the Backgrounds for other races. I think three or four options would be good. My Argonian example uses four options, so if I were going to work on Backgrounds for other playable races I would likely stick with that.

Here are a few initial sketches of early thoughts on a few other races. If I took the time I could get four for each, but here are the first glimmers of small number of potential Backgrounds:

Redguard
(1) a Background focused on bringing back sword-singing

- cosmetics include uniquely cool beards, hairstyles, jewelry in homage to ancient Yokudan legends
- passive focus on skill in getting around a target's defenses: gain X% chance to ignore dodging/blocking by opponent

(2) a Background focused on devotion to the Yokudan gods

- cosmetics include unique and divinely inspired tattoos and/or jewelry
- passive focus on powering up special attacks faster: gain X% bonus to generating ultimate points

(3) a Background for the Ash'aba

- cosmetics include some fierce new scars, scowls and tats
- passive focus on combating undead: gain X% dodge chance versus Undead, Fighter's Guild abilities do Y% more damage (or last Z seconds longer)

(4) a Background focused on the smithing traditions of the Redguard

- cosmetics add appropriate adornments for smithing
- passive focus: learn traits for Blacksmithing quicker/require fewer tempers for Blacksmithing upgrades, unique bonus for Blacksmithed gear (like an extra trait for Redguards only), character gains X% bonus to effectiveness of Blacksmithed gear worn (hmm, maybe only when made in Redguard racial style).

Breton
(1) a Background focused on having a more distinctly Merish (a.k.a. Elven) pedigree

- cosmetics include more Ayleid/Altmer-ish facial angles and slightly pointed ears
- passive focus on magic-manipulation: gain X% chance to absorb a spell projectile to gain Y magicka

(2) a Background focused on the hardier aspects of their human heritage:

- cosmetics include features for a more stalwart appearance via new adornments
- passive on resilience: gain X spell/physical/elemental resistance

(3) a Background focused on scholarly pursuits/magical experimentation

- cosmetics include appropriate adornments for magical research
- passive focus: ability to level up enchanting faster, ability to make unique enchantments for weapons/armor, character gains X% bonus to weapon/armor enchantments

(4) a Background focused on mercantile proficiency

- cosmetics include appropriate adornments for merchants and traders
- passive focus: Equipment and repair costs *much* lower, sell items to merchants for *much* more, bounties paid to guards much less with bribe to keep stolen goods

Orsimer
(1) a Background in a cult or ritual of Malacath associated with rage and "berserking"

- cosmetics include appropriately disfigured and violent looking adornments such as scars and mutilations
- passive focus: Gain X weapon power when below low Y% health

(2) a Background focused on the weapon smithing traditions of the Orsimer

- cosmetics add appropriate adornments for smithing
- passive focus: learn traits for Blacksmithing quicker/require fewer tempers for Blacksmithing upgrades, a unique bonus for Blacksmithed gear (like an extra trait for Orcs only), character gains X% bonus to effectiveness of Blacksmithed gear worn (hmm, maybe only when made in Orcish racial style).


3. Interaction Modifiers

This would include things such as occasionally having extra dialogue options (similar to the Persuasion passive from the Mage's Guild and the Intimidation passive from the Fighter's Guild). For what it's worth, I would like to see (more of) this for race choice regardless of whether Background are introduced. Not all of the time, but here and there would be nice.













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The initial version of this post on which comments #2 through #36 are based is found below. This post has been edited for clarification and to introduce new details.

Original Version of the Post from Dec 8th, 2015
Race morphs --> Sub-races --> Racial Passive Customization + New Appearance Options [<-- Original Thread Title]

Hello! Just something to ponder for those who find the idea of more options for customization appealing.[/size]

TL;DR Box
Racial morphs into sub-races that add racial passive and/or options and new appearance options!

:blush: :D :smiley: :D :smile: :D :relieved: :blush: :D :smiley: :D :smile: :D :relieved: :blush: :D :smiley: :D :smile: :D :relieved: :blush: :D :smiley: :D

The actual options suggested require additional reading
:o :o :o :o :o :o :o :o :o :o :o :o :o :o :o :o :o :o :o :o :o :o :o :o :o

Background
I previously suggested expanding the racial passive system to include four progression trees of three passive a piece, which gives a total of twelve choices, but limits the number of skill points one can use to nine. So, like now, every so many level from one to fifty you unlock a chance to spend a point. You choose which of the nine out of twelve options you want for passives. Each must be filled out in order, though only the ones you want and only as far into it as you want.

Thinking about customization in general, and recalling a previous thread (cannot find it) from a year ago about adding sub-races, it occurred to me that such an idea would make more sense of the revised passive system.

In addition to adding more options to racial passives your character would also get an appearance upgrade. You could keep the the standard appearance at the start of the game, which would be the most common(ly known) racial morph or subtype, or switch to another one. These can be based on existing lore (or new lore). Just like you click for other things, you can choose the subrace, then use the sliders and what not for details. Such cosmetic options could also be introduced without or independent of any changes to racial passives.

General Options for Implementation
Option #1

Connect the revised racial passive scheme linked/described above (see "Background" section) to the new sub-racial system. You could still have three trees much like the passives that currently exist, and gain access to (and have the option to respec into) the new tree after reaching level 50 in your race. Or, the new tree could simply be unlocked and an extra three points allowed in order to max out all four (current suggestions in linked post intended for only getting nine choices).

Option #2

The suggestions linked above could also be scrapped or cannibalized for some other racial revamp scheme, but still tie it to reaching race level 50 and giving new appearance options. There could be multiple version of "fourth trees" available that are mutually exclusive, for example, so that you can only unlock one bonus racial passive tree per character. I could write up a sample of this for a race or two or if you want to share your own ideas please do.

Option #3

Like either #1 or #2, but included as part of character customization at the initial character creation screen. No unlocking the sub-race at level 50.

Option #4

Unlike either #1 or #2. You would rather have sub-races added by doing....???

Option #5

Pass on sub-races.

Example: Argonian Subraces

As in real life, "race" and "subculture" are often used interchangeably, so the concept proposed here is fairly loose. Based on existing lore, here are some candidates for Argonian subraces...
Agacephs: Most have needle-like faces and vary in color from bright green to orange. Found in inner Argonia near the Hist.
Paatru: Described as "toad-like", they live in the inner part of Argonia.
Sarpa: Described as being "winged", though it's unclear if this is meant literally or not. They live in the interior of Argonia.
Nagas: They are described as having "huge mouths filled with dripping needle-like fangs". Usually seven to eight feet tall, the Nagas appear to be more snake-like than other Argonians. When the other races were attempting to put plantations into Argonia, they generally acted as highway robbers; however, since the other races ceased trying to put plantations in Argonia, they have left the roads and have gone back into the inner swamps

For those who want cosmetic-only changes, this gives the ZOS artists some fun things with which to work. Although Nagas will probably be NPC-only if they are adapted at the size mentioned. Other tribes not mentioned here have no distinction of appearance mentioned, suggesting they have a more standard Argonian appearance and that their differences are largely or entirely cultural (that doesn't disqualify them, but anatomical/physiological variation would be more striking than ethnic distinction for new types of in-game Saxhleel). That still leaves the Agacephs, Paatru, and Sarpa to play around with.

For those who want more racial passive options as well, those could be added separately from the subrace idea *or* tied in with them. As mentioned above (see the brief "Background" section), a distinct new racial passive tree could be added as an option for each subrace, or, such subracial variation could include a single passive with a fun/useful effect. Click the spoiler below for examples of the Argonian subraces mentioned with both a unique new tree and a single passive options for each. These examples are simply for illustration purposes--other versions or numbers are fine with me.

Agacephs
While all Argonians are connected to the Hist, the Agacephs live close to its inner core, among the oldest groves. This grants them a greater attunement to the ebb and flow of living energy, making them excellent healers.
New passive tree option:
(*) Increases the Armor value of Light Armor by 10%.
(_) The cost of healing spells is reduced 3%.
(_) The cost of healing spells is reduced 6%.
Single passive option:
The cost of healing spells is reduced 6%.

Paatru
The shorter and squatter Paatru are masters of an ancient and nearly extinct form of shamanism from the dawn of the Argonian peoples. It grants them greater skill when engaged in the magical arts.

New passive tree option:
(*) Increases Maximum Magicka by 4%.
(_) Increases Spell Critical chance is increased by 4%.
(_) Increased Spell Critical chance is increased by 8%.

Single passive option:
Spell critical chance is increased by 8%.

Sarpa
The Sarpa are known for their swiftness and agility (on land as well as in the water), which makes them ideal candidates for the Shadowscales when open to recruitment. However, living so far into Argonia's interior, they prefer their traditional pursuits such as hunting, to which they are ideally suited.

New passive tree option:
(*) Duration of snares is reduced by 40%.
(_) The cost of stamina-based skills is reduced by 2%.
(_) The cost of stamina-based skills is reduced by 4%.

Single passive option:
The cost of stamina-based skills is reduced by 4%.

Standard Argonian (Saxhleel?)
(Maybe Lawrence Schick could offer a name? Maybe Saxhleel refers to "standard" Argonians and is sometimes used by outsiders (and unifiers among insiders) to refer to all subraces?)

The Saxhleel (or whatever name to use for standard version) are the subrace of the lizard-folk most associated with the cult of Sithis and their militant wing, the Shadowscales. They have had the most contact with outside races, and have developed skills that aid in guerrilla warfare tactics, such as the effective use of stealth.

New passive tree option:
(*) Allows you to enter stealth more quickly and increases speed while stealthed by 10%.
(_) Increases out of combat Stamina and Magicka regeneration by 10% while in stealth.
(_) Increases out of combat Stamina and Magicka regeneration by 20% while in stealth.

Single passive option:
Increases out of combat Stamina and Magicka regeneration by 20% while in stealth.

The advantage of tying such subraces to an expansion of racial passives, however it is done, is that it addresses the concerns of those who feel too pigeon-holed by the current system through a more organic system of customization. It also allows for more distinctiveness to your character and how you play but doesn't allow for too much pick-and-choose for min-maxing. That is, such a combined system could more effectively limit existing racial imbalances if implemented properly.
Edited by tinythinker on December 15, 2015 3:09PM
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  • AngryNord
    AngryNord
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    AngryNord wrote: »
    Only if they remove Elder Scrolls from the game's title, and all references to TES lore in-game first.
    Do you actually read such proposals

    Yes.
  • Khaos_Bane
    Khaos_Bane
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    AngryNord wrote: »
    Khaos_Bane wrote: »
    No. I hate the there are racial passives right now. They should be vanilla and you pick a race because that's actually what you want to play, and not due to the racials.

    I HATE the racials.

    In other words: TES games aren't for you.

    Try reading. I don't like the racials. I like TES games overall or I wouldn't be playing them.

  • tinythinker
    tinythinker
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    Khaos_Bane wrote: »
    No. I hate that there are racial passives right now. They should be vanilla and you pick a race because that's actually what you want to play, and not due to the racials.

    I HATE the racials.
    Subraces can be introduced as "cosmetic only" to offer more options for appearance at character creation. But given how many people seem to want a revision or re-imagining of the current racial passive system, suggesting that such changes to racial passives could be tied to a new option for sub-races makes sense.
    Edited by tinythinker on December 7, 2015 4:18PM
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  • Khaos_Bane
    Khaos_Bane
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    Khaos_Bane wrote: »
    No. I hate that there are racial passives right now. They should be vanilla and you pick a race because that's actually what you want to play, and not due to the racials.

    I HATE the racials.
    Subraces can be introduced as "cosmetic only" to offer more options for appearance at character creation. But given how many people seem to want a revision or re-imagining of the current racial passive system, suggesting that such changes to racial passives could be tied to a new option for sub-races makes sense.

    Yeah it makes sense, I just don't like it :)

  • AngryNord
    AngryNord
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    Khaos_Bane wrote: »
    No. I hate that there are racial passives right now. They should be vanilla and you pick a race because that's actually what you want to play, and not due to the racials.

    I HATE the racials.
    Subraces can be introduced as "cosmetic only" to offer more options for appearance at character creation. But given how many people seem to want a revision or re-imagining of the current racial passive system, suggesting that such changes to racial passives could be tied to a new option for sub-races makes sense.

    No. Read the lore. Please.
  • UltimaJoe777
    UltimaJoe777
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    Sub-races would definitely break lore, regardless of the reason. The Racial Passives are not that driving when making characters also. The only people that would choose a race for the passives alone are metagamers and anyone else chooses the race they actually like regardless of passives.

    Personally, I use 8 different races between my 8 characters with Breton and Nord being the excluded.
    Guildmaster of Power With Numbers in PS4 NA Server's Aldmeri Dominion.
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  • Khaos_Bane
    Khaos_Bane
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    The only people that would choose a race for the passives alone are metagamers and anyone else chooses the race they actually like regardless of passives.

    I don't believe this is true at all. I think race is highly considered and why race change was a HUGE demand. If you know it's true please point to facts. Thanks.

  • tinythinker
    tinythinker
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    AngryNord wrote: »
    Khaos_Bane wrote: »
    No. I hate that there are racial passives right now. They should be vanilla and you pick a race because that's actually what you want to play, and not due to the racials.

    I HATE the racials.
    Subraces can be introduced as "cosmetic only" to offer more options for appearance at character creation. But given how many people seem to want a revision or re-imagining of the current racial passive system, suggesting that such changes to racial passives could be tied to a new option for sub-races makes sense.

    No. Read the lore. Please.
    Sub-races would definitely break lore, regardless of the reason.

    Yup, I have read a lot of lore and played Elder Scrolls games since Arena was released. I am working within the broad (and loose) framework of the lore. There is always room for more details to be added, for additional knowledge and mechanics to be created. There are still people who don't like Elder Scrolls Online because they added the Three Banners War to the Interregnum Period of the Second Era, or because Argonians have no stealth passives as per the lore and the bonuses offered in prior games. There are those who were miffed that Skyrim dropped the class system that had been in every previous game. And so on.

    The lore itself talks about different subraces of Argonian mixed in among their "tribes" (see the descriptions given in the original post) and it hints at considerable variation for the Khajiit, from nearly Elven with some cat-like features to fully bestial. The appearance of Imperials vary depending on which region of Cyrodiil they hail from, with some looking more Breton-like and some more like Nords. Those regions of Cyrodiil also have strong cultural distinctions. The Bretons themselves vary, with some being more hardy/human and some looking more Elvish, and there are again regional culture differences. And so on and so on.

    For the Argonian example I focused on actual anatomical/physiological distinctions because there are many tribes and the physical distinctions were the most interesting. For other groups, one could focus more on ethnicity, biology, or a mixture of both. Lots of possibilities. The subracial variations could be actual combat bonuses, or just interaction modifers, or they could be nothing more than cosmetic. Or some blend of the three. I am not proposing a fixed/inflexible idea. Other takes on subracial/ethnic variation for character customization is welcome as well.


    Edited by tinythinker on December 7, 2015 6:35PM
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  • TheShadowScout
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    Ah, what's this? it looks like a cunningly disguised ploy to sneak in a way to cherry-pick your racial passives through the backdoor...

    I consider the cosmetic part a worthwhile idea. Selling an "(subracename) cosmetic pack" with extra appereance features, skin tones, hair colors, makeup/warpaint, whatever; once character recustomization comes to eso might be a good addition. Could also be good for "halfblood" characters, a nord with black hair due to some reachmen blood, or such... we learned from ESO lore that halfbreeds take on the race of their mother (aka, passives) but may carry some characteristics from their father as well (aka, appereance option not usually seen with that race)

    Allowing people to specificylly select their passives for super-effective builds on the other hand, while bypassing the TES lore on racial characteristics... nah.
    They are all the same basic race, no matter their subculture.
    It'd be like wanting magica boosts for redheads and stamina boosts for blonde humans...
    No thanks, both from the game-mechanics side, and from the lore side.
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  • Shadesofkin
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    I support having an active racial skill or two, but sub races aren't really necessary for that.
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  • tinythinker
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    Ah, what's this? it looks like a cunningly disguised ploy to sneak in a way to cherry-pick your racial passives through the backdoor...
    Nope, just throwing out an idea. Again, some folks want racial passive changes, so it seemed logical to include that possibility with the general topic of racial variation.
    I consider the cosmetic part a worthwhile idea. Selling an "(subracename) cosmetic pack" with extra appereance features, skin tones, hair colors, makeup/warpaint, whatever; once character recustomization comes to eso might be a good addition. Could also be good for "halfblood" characters, a nord with black hair due to some reachmen blood, or such... we learned from ESO lore that halfbreeds take on the race of their mother (aka, passives) but may carry some characteristics from their father as well (aka, appereance option not usually seen with that race)
    Yup, that's one possibility on the cosmetic-only side.
    Allowing people to specificylly select their passives for super-effective builds on the other hand, while bypassing the TES lore on racial characteristics... nah.
    They are all the same basic race, no matter their subculture.
    It'd be like wanting magica boosts for redheads and stamina boosts for blonde humans...
    No thanks, both from the game-mechanics side, and from the lore side.
    Actually, for the passive revision version, they would have the same racials they have now. The additional tree is just a bit of extra customization, which many people have asked for. I always like to toss out different things based on what people seem interested in. That's why there are so many options discussed in my original post.

    (And it's funny how people are calling what I wrote "lore breaking" without backing that up in any way.)

    Edited by tinythinker on December 7, 2015 6:58PM
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  • tinythinker
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    I support having an active racial skill or two, but sub races aren't really necessary for that.
    Yup, that's the simplest, and it's included in the original post. It could be a combat boost (regen, cost reduction, etc) or just something fun (like the equivalent of increased swim speed for Argonians). :)
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  • Zorrashi
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    Forget the lore for a moment !(not really :p ). I am against anything that adds more importance to race than is necessary.
    It would be one thing if the changes were cosmetic, but tying them to racial passive trees just overdoes it imo.

    (Not to mention many of the sub-races suggested are seldom ever acknowledged outside of their province. They would never be socially accepted in mainstream Tamriel without several years of exposure to the other provinces of Tamriel many many years prior. This makes their sudden 'accepted' appearance on a wide-spread population dubious in terms of what we know in terms of historical record and basic cultural understanding.)
  • UltimaJoe777
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    Khaos_Bane wrote: »
    The only people that would choose a race for the passives alone are metagamers and anyone else chooses the race they actually like regardless of passives.

    I don't believe this is true at all. I think race is highly considered and why race change was a HUGE demand. If you know it's true please point to facts. Thanks.

    If you are referring to the metagamers only choosing Races for the Passives I did say would did I not? lol

    Also aside from metagamers wanting to switch passives what does Race Change have to do with my statement? Only reason an RPer would want it is they are too lazy to make an alt with the race they want lol unless their account is full then it's understandable.
    Edited by UltimaJoe777 on December 7, 2015 7:28PM
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  • Aunatar
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    Even if they won't implement the racial passive choices (I really like the idea but whatever) they should really consider to implement the subraces, it would be so cool for the lore!
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  • Gidorick
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    I do NOT like the idea of morphing your current race into a sub race as the standard practice. I would be totally ok with unlocking the ABILITY to create a sub-race.

    I had a similar idea @tinythinker that would introduce sub-cultures to ESO (http://forums.elderscrollsonline.com/en/discussion/223174/race-sub-culture-concept).

    While I wouldn't be opposed to different types of playable Argonians, the Agacephs, Paatru, and Sarpa are pretty fiercely xenomorphic. I don't know if it would makes sense for them to be playable factions. The Nagas are just too wild and bestial I think. In my linked concept I suggest we be allowed to join one of 3 tribes of Murkmire, but ZOS could add more. I chose 3 because I wanted to have the same number of sub-cultures for each race but there is no reason one race can't have 5 subcultures and one only 3.

    Now, this doesn't mean that ZOS couldn't write some lore about WHY these tribes are reclusive and make it so that the REASON they're untrusting of outsiders is because of their eventual betrayal at the end of the three banners war.

    My above concept considers the lore "Tribes of Murkmire" (http://www.uesp.net/wiki/Lore:Tribes_of_Murkmire) to suggest three tribes that players could align themselves with. The tribes in that lore are:
    • Bright-Throats
    • Ghost People
    • Black-Tongues
    • Root-House People
    • Miredancers

    The choices I made in the linked post are really arbitrary. I would love if we could join any of the tribes.

    Also, I do think Argonians need a wider variety of creation choices. It is my belief that ALL playable Argonians in all TES games have been one tribe, Archeins. This is the tribe that sold the Argonians into slavery. Even though all the player characters are (likely) the same tribe, we could still have quite a bit of variation in their appearance. I don't see why we can't have sliders that would give us options such as these:

    latest?cb=20131112055540

    I speak more about this in my Argonian Centric update (http://forums.elderscrollsonline.com/en/discussion/147221/concept-for-a-future-argonian-centric-update/p1) and Monetization of Character Creation threads (http://forums.elderscrollsonline.com/en/discussion/155307/monetization-of-character-creation-concept/p1).

    Overall though I really support the core concept of adding sub-races/cultures... no matter how they're added.

    @AngryNord , what about sub-races is against the lore?
    Edited by Gidorick on December 7, 2015 8:53PM
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  • bertenburnyb16_ESO
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    I like the idea of a couple of different racial lines focussing on specific playstyles while still keeping true to the base of the race
    like stam shadow scale, or magica hist healer focus, what I kinda mis is, argonians are a scaled armored desease resistan badass lizards when u see it u think damn thats a though creature compared to those thinskinned pinkish meatbag humans, some line should be a bit tanky orineted with something like damage reduction due to skin, desease resistant and other good stuff

    secondly I like the sub race apperance option, what kinda would be less favorable would be to be forced into a certain apperance for your playstyle (passives u would want) but that would be kinda required I guess, also I think alot of inspiration can be found looking at the real world, like iguana-inspired apperance for maybe the more heal oriented (since iguanas are vegans) monitor lizard to the more savage shadowscale orented line (carnivors) or maybe the snake like nagas, and a more crocodile-ish look for the tank oriented line, theres so many beautiful and unique real life examples while eso's argonains all have kinda the same base build with some fluff decorations on top to differentiate

    thirdly, I can see something like this with the sub race apperances working greath with argonians and khajiit, but with the human or mer races this is alot harder to make the visual changes, the races themselves are already the "sub"races of the main human and mer race kinda
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  • Gidorick
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    thirdly, I can see something like this with the sub race apperances working greath with argonians and khajiit, but with the human or mer races this is alot harder to make the visual changes, the races themselves are already the "sub"races of the main human and mer race kinda

    I agree @bertenburnyb16_ESO. This is why I think we should have sub-cultures for all races and then for Khajiit and Argonian a wider variety of character creation options that are 100% cosmetic.
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  • Danikat
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    I like the idea of more appearance customisation options, but I think presenting them as sub-races based on the existing lore could be problematic.

    For some races it would make barely any difference to the options already available. Particularly the humans where there's already a lot of cross-over (e.g. the palest redguard and the darkest nord options are pretty much identical) and as far as I remember there aren't many options they could offer which aren't already available. In fact the way most fantasy races are classified the men and mer would already be sub-races.

    And with races at the other extreme it would be hugely impractical. The khajiit being the obvious example. Playing as a Senche-raht (four legged, twice the height of an altmer) or an Alfiq (the size and shape of a housecat) would never work.

    Sure they could limit it to the more humanoid ones, but then we're back to the same problem as with the humans. The main differences between the Cathay/-raht, and Suthay/-raht are their height and the shape of their feet. I think you'd struggle to find people who get excited about those options.

    Finally what would you do for the altmer, who go out of their way to minimise variation in their race?
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  • Gidorick
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    The playable-appropriate furstocks of Khajiit are quite varied @Danikat

    jsvIUvI.jpg?1
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  • Spacemonkey
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    And those are only the least bestial of the Khajit because technically Senche-Raht are also Khajiit. Right now half the population of Eso is riding them, so go for lore breaking - In the lore they would be more likely to EAT anyone that tries to ride them. (Other than some other Khajiit)
  • Gidorick
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    And those are only the least bestial of the Khajit because technically Senche-Raht are also Khajiit. Right now half the population of Eso is riding them, so go for lore breaking - In the lore they would be more likely to EAT anyone that tries to ride them. (Other than some other Khajiit)

    The Senche-Mounts are NOT Khajiit @Spacemonkey.

    http://forums.elderscrollsonline.com/en/discussion/151606/senche-mount-khajiit-or-not-khajiit-with-the-response-from-lawrence-schick/p1
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  • tinythinker
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    Thank you all for so many thoughtful replies, where they are for or against my own suggestions! :smiley:

    Zorrashi wrote: »
    Forget the lore for a moment !(not really :p ). I am against anything that adds more importance to race than is necessary.
    It would be one thing if the changes were cosmetic, but tying them to racial passive trees just overdoes it imo.

    (Not to mention many of the sub-races suggested are seldom ever acknowledged outside of their province. They would never be socially accepted in mainstream Tamriel without several years of exposure to the other provinces of Tamriel many many years prior. This makes their sudden 'accepted' appearance on a wide-spread population dubious in terms of what we know in terms of historical record and basic cultural understanding.)
    That's a fairly stated opinion. I am open to many ways of doing customization. I would just point out that there are many things that ought to be rare that are not because players want them (flaming horses anyone?). I also feel that ZOS has Bethesda's blessing to open up this time period a bit. If they can drop an invasion by a major Daedric Prince into it, having some of the lesser know varieties (biological or cultural) of the established races is not a big deal. Plenty of things happening in ESO weren't in the historical record of previous games.

    Just because these subracial/subcultural variations aren't as common in the future doesn't mean some small number of them couldn't have been drawn out of their reclusivity in this period (again, players would represent a small fraction of the population). ZOS, with the Bethesda's blessing and expressed via this game's loremaster, see lore as a platform to build on rather than a straight-jacket. I just figured adding more lore-compatible variation sounded like a fun idea to toss out on the forums.

    Gidorick wrote: »
    While I wouldn't be opposed to different types of playable Argonians, the Agacephs, Paatru, and Sarpa are pretty fiercely xenomorphic. I don't know if it would makes sense for them to be playable factions. The Nagas are just too wild and bestial I think. In my linked concept I suggest we be allowed to join one of 3 tribes of Murkmire, but ZOS could add more. I chose 3 because I wanted to have the same number of sub-cultures for each race but there is no reason one race can't have 5 subcultures and one only 3.

    Now, this doesn't mean that ZOS couldn't write some lore about WHY these tribes are reclusive and make it so that the REASON they're untrusting of outsiders is because of their eventual betrayal at the end of the three banners war.
    Exactly. Maybe they are more rare in the future, or even extinct like the Kothringi. But the Akaviri invasion, the Planemeld, the the Three Banners War, the Constellations falling from the sky, and whatever other menaces have yet to be revealed, all within such a short span of time, can definitely be a reason for "some individuals" from isolated tribes, insular sects, and xenophobic ethnicities to be uprooted from their traditional lives. Wars and invasions, along with the resulting disruption to economic, environmental, and societal systems, can definitely cause migration or at least force some folks to leave their traditional lives.

    thirdly, I can see something like this with the sub race apperances working greath with argonians and khajiit, but with the human or mer races this is alot harder to make the visual changes, the races themselves are already the "sub"races of the main human and mer race kinda
    Danikat wrote: »
    I like the idea of more appearance customisation options, but I think presenting them as sub-races based on the existing lore could be problematic. For some races it would make barely any difference to the options already available. Particularly the humans where there's already a lot of cross-over (e.g. the palest redguard and the darkest nord options are pretty much identical) and as far as I remember there aren't many options they could offer which aren't already available.
    For the Argonians and Khajiit, it isn't an issue as far as the biology is concerned in terms of expanding cosmetic changes. For men and mer, the cosmetic changes would be less pronounced, *BUT*, there is certainly more variation they could add into the facial options for each paradigm (i.e. Sub-Saharam Africa, North Africa, Middle East for Redgard; northern France, Belgium, Wales, England, Scotland. Ireland for Breton, Scandanavian countries for Nord; Italy, Southern France, northern Spain, etc for Imperial; and so and so forth). There are plenty of basic facial morphotypes not currently available, which I noticed when I tried to make a character that looked like me :blush:

    And for any passives added, those are all cultural anyway. The Argonian example I offered was intended to be instructive if not the only way of doing it. Because they are health-centered (max health, healing received, resistant to poison/disease) and magicka/stamina neutral, and because of their lore, offering variants based on culture that make them a little bit better at magicka, a little bit better at healing, or a little bit better at stealth, is not outrageous. If I were doing one for Redguards, there would be those who, like Sai Sahan, are training to rediscover the Sword Singing powers of old. I would give them a chance to ignore dodging. Another group would be dedicated to service of the Yokudan gods, and maybe they would generate ultimate a little faster. But these would *build on* lore and the established racial passive profile of Redguards. I wouldn't be adding magicka passives because that would, indeed, be HIGHLY lore-breaking.

    The same goes for Mer. There are extra adornments, hairstyles, and even a few areas of facial variation (though less than for other races) that could be added on the cosmetic side, and again, passives would be lore-friendly expansions of sub-cultural variation.

    So to sum up:

    - Beast Races: More (extreme) whole body and facial variation for cosmetic options.

    - Men: Fewer (or at least less radical) body and facial variations added than for beast races, but more adornments.

    - Mer: Similar to Men, but for Altmer, even fewer (or less extreme) new body/facial variations, but even more adornments.

    Gidorick wrote: »
    I do NOT like the idea of morphing your current race into a sub race as the standard practice. I would be totally ok with unlocking the ABILITY to create a sub-race.

    Overall though I really support the core concept of adding sub-races/cultures... no matter how they're added.
    I tried to be fairly broad in my list of implementations for introducing subraces/subcultures. I used the term "morph" in the game mechanics sense of unlocking something, not in the sense of an actual in-character metamorphosis.
    Edited by tinythinker on December 7, 2015 11:21PM
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  • Gidorick
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    In addition to more variation in character creation (with sub-races and whatnot too!) I would like to see ZOS implement an offspring mechanic to ESO. Allow players to create an offspring of two of their level 50 characters and allow that offspring to be a mixed race.

    http://forums.elderscrollsonline.com/en/discussion/153977/eso-character-offspring-a-phylogenetics-concept/p1

    I created the concept as a kind of though experiment, a what-if of sorts but it has become one of my favorite threads. Players would create some really awesome builds.
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  • grumlins
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    Would love this! This would be awesome imo especially with alternative skin colors.
  • BennyButton
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    the only non lorebreaking addition like this would be subCLASSES, such as shadowscale for argonians, shadow legion or blades for imperials, etc.
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