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Broad Concerns from the Lore Community

Supreme_Atromancer
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Hey @ZOS_RichLambert !

First, I just wanted to say that watching your streams recently has been great - its really positive move I think - your passion genuinely shows through and the opportunity for people to engage, talk crap, laugh and ask questions is fantastic.

Its my observation that for a lot of the requests - balancing, quality of life, performance, housing and future content - even when they do have disappointing answers, we're presented with good logic, and very little is ever "completely off the table, forever". The general vibe is positive, and it really looks like you guys are doing everything you can to make the experience as good as it can be.

What I'd like to know is how important is the lore and immersion to development. I see that a huge amount of effort has been put into fun systems like the recent antiquities and followers systems, and I think you guys have done a fantastic job on those. But at the same time, the core systems such as class and combat seem to be really struggling in matching the lore or mythology to the mechanics. Not all playstyles or core Elder Scrolls archetypes were available at launch, but even since then, the ones we have have moved further and further into abstracted territory as they are stretched to accommodate the demands of a more diverse, mechanics-driven meta. Newer classes such as the Warden have been called out as conceptually "hodge-podge" - again, the answer to the demands of mechanics is very obvious in its construction, but what its meant to be, conceptually feels forced and contrived to match mechanics rather than anything lore-based. We still can't play some of the core ES archetypes because the class system can't seem to handle it.

The same sorts of things might be said about the Champion Point system, which, again - is a direct answer to mechanics, but honestly feels like only the most superficial effort was put into making it feel like it actually means anything lore-wise.

There's also been complaints since forever about the map that keep getting brought up, though we've never had a response regarding it. It would be great to get some insight into whether you guys recognise that stuff is important to us. Having the zones feel a part of the world rather than disparate islands is important - making them feel connected (with plenty of physical connections that make sense) and seem like they fit in with neighbouring zones is very important too (props to the world builders who do an amazing job on the individual zones, though!)

And finally, the crown store stuff often feels inauthentic from a lore perspective. It feels like whatever random MMO stuff just gets pushed through and someone has the job of pasting on a random lore name. I think that working in the opposite direction, drawing inspiration from the many years of great Elder Scrolls content for new things would solve this, making it feel far more authentic.

Most of us recognise that core gameplay systems such as class and combat are very important, and the rule of cool, and the demand for balance and playability need to be given priority. We want you guys to recognise that the lore and mythology behind the gameplay systems is a huge factor for many of us, with us much enthusiasm as you guys seem to have for the mechanical aspects. I worry that the latter is thrown under the bus for the sake of the former, but I can't see any reason that the two can't be reconcilable in a creative way.

Again, I don't want to be too negative - you guys are doing a fantastic job. ZOS's Tanriel is beautiful and I'm excited about the future. I'm not trying to be an armchair developer, rather would love some insight into zos' thinking on these things, and wanted an opportunity to stress how important this stuff is for us!
  • VaranisArano
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    Do you have some specific criticisms of items from the Crown Store? Which ones are you objecting to? Are there any that you think do it well?

    I find that item descriptions are a nice way they add some quick lore to the game, whether it's pulling on names of towns that haven't been shown in game since Arena (Snowhawk style) or building up the lore on mostly-forgotten islands like Esrionet (hot pepper bantam guar).

    ESO has added a lot of lore about everyday life from just the one or two sentence descriptions in their stolen items; the Crown Store items often do the same.
  • Thevampirenight
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    Well those seem more like your concerns, there are times we get some good lore texts from the Crownstore items, namely outfits and mount stuff. The real concerns, center around how they didn't do the Breton and High Rock stuff properly. It is such a major discussion within the UESP community its what helped drove the overhaul of the Breton lore page I believe, to use more of the Daggerfall stuff and a lot of work went into that overhaul to make that happen. Their use of an Aylied Ruin once again in the new Highrock Dungeon is more concerning then the Crownstore stuff. There are folks in the lore community that are upset about this and for good reason. They are not giving Direnni any focus.

    In fact because of how much it gets brought up I even made this thread.
    https://forums.elderscrollsonline.com/en/discussion/582883/do-you-want-to-see-areas-of-high-rock-redone-and-breton-content-overhauled#latest

    The Gist those that care about the lore, see Bretons and Highrock as having been done really poorly, to much focus on the Aylied stuff, not showing off the Direnni ruins and influence like they should. In fact the High Rock areas are considered to contain more Ayleid Lore then it does Direnni or Breton lores by some members of the lore community. The way the Direnni tower, was done as part of a Tutorial area didn't sit well with many in the lore community and those that wanted to see an expansion of Breton and Direnni lore, and thankfully they changed the model of tower, to be more then a copy of the White Gold Tower, which I think helped with the complaints that folks had about it, which was also another major complaint within the lore community.
    Edited by Thevampirenight on August 4, 2021 11:04PM
    PC NA
    Please add Fangs to Vampires.
  • SpaceElf
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    I would very much like to see Direnni and Breton focused lore in and around High Rock. I think these bits are very important and even a great way to explore the historical and current relationship between two peoples that are theoretically at war. Like Breton tolerance towards them despite past conflicts, and maybe even Direnni attachment to what they now consider their home after so long, despite a decline in political power. It's a story just waiting to write itself in the context of the Three Banners War and I am surprised it hasn't been jumped on already.

    I was super excited when I started the Direnni tutorial, because in the past that meant a new chapter and I do hope it becomes more than that.
    Edited by SpaceElf on August 5, 2021 2:06PM
  • Supreme_Atromancer
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    Do you have some specific criticisms of items from the Crown Store? Which ones are you objecting to? Are there any that you think do it well?

    I find that item descriptions are a nice way they add some quick lore to the game, whether it's pulling on names of towns that haven't been shown in game since Arena (Snowhawk style) or building up the lore on mostly-forgotten islands like Esrionet (hot pepper bantam guar).

    ESO has added a lot of lore about everyday life from just the one or two sentence descriptions in their stolen items; the Crown Store items often do the same.

    The Snowhawk Mage style is a great example, actually. The artists did an absolutely amazing job on it btw - but - what is a Snowhawk Mage? What is Snowhawk, even?? It was a place in Arena and Skyrim, but doesn't seem to exist in ESO. So we're left with some randomly-drawn lore name slapped onto a costume/style with nothing of substance behind it.

    Here's a few other examples: Sovngard Pony Guar, Psijic Mascot Pony Guar, Frostbane Pony Guar, Akavirii Potentate Pony Guar, Akaviiri Potentate Bear Cub, Psijic Mascot Pony Guar, Black Morthal Mastiff, Anthor Avalanche Dog, Druadach Mountain Dog, Frost Atronach Senche Cub, Atmoran Bantam Guar. You get the idea.

    There's no nuance because everything can just be reskinned and resold to the nth degree. For instance, Guars are a cool part of Morrowind, and the Senche are from Elsweyr. Those are parts of what make those areas unique and interesting. When you bastardise them, and give them to every faction, every place and every personality, just put a funny akaviri hat, ice skin, or literally some random lore name it feels inauthentic and overhashed. And look, while I recognise the need to market this stuff, and am not against the fact that they are going to want to get as much bang for their buck as they can for any particular model or skeleton or whatever, I think they could be done in a way that maintains the tone of the world a lot better than it is currently. The Dro m'Athra mount makes sense. It fits into the story, and feels like part of that world. Same with, say, the Karth Wolf mount. These are good, thought-out reskins. The major barrier to this is there needs to be a feel for that nuance in the first place. If the model is to just reskin a huge bunch of stuff helter-skelter and throw it all on the writer's desk and tell them that they have to somehow justify it, then it will be as it is. That's why I was arguing that there would be better outcomes if it went in the other direction - start with the LORE, find a niche or an idea from that, and make the mount/pet/costume.

    @Thevampirenight When the lore contribution amounts to a low-effort, one-sentence statement that seeks to awkwardly contrive why these wacky things exist, its technically the truth. The argument is that random, contrived factoids don't feel like *meaningful* contributions.
    The real concerns, center around how they didn't do the Breton and High Rock stuff properly. It is such a major discussion within the UESP community its what helped drove the overhaul of the Breton lore page I believe, to use more of the Daggerfall stuff and a lot of work went into that overhaul to make that happen. Their use of an Aylied Ruin once again in the new Highrock Dungeon is more concerning then the Crownstore stuff. There are folks in the lore community that are upset about this and for good reason. They are not giving Direnni any focus.

    How lore serves mechanics and vice versa is a valid thing to discuss, and I think it IS a concern for the broader community; even if you do speak for every UESP contributor (which seems unlikely), you must understand that UESP doesn't constitute the entire lore community nor does it have a monopoly on defining "real concerns". There are still discussions on forums outside of The Official Forums or UESP regarding the degree to which mechanics mesh with lore. Its certainly a big barrier to a lot of people who might otherwise play, and a pain point for many who already do. The quality and accuracy of the maps have been a big pain point for the community since 2014, and perhaps even earlier. Zone connectivity is discussed just as frequently. I'd say those are "real" concerns, and not just personal ones.

    And yes, I'd love to see them do some great work with Bretons. I'm one of the biggest proponents for this.
    Edited by Supreme_Atromancer on August 6, 2021 6:39PM
  • Supreme_Atromancer
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    .

    Edited by Supreme_Atromancer on August 6, 2021 6:34PM
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