The primary goal right now for The Elder Scrolls Online ready for release early in 2014. But MMOs live and die by their post-launch support, a fact that developer Zenimax Online is certainly aware of. Creative director Paul Sage discussed their plans with Shacknews.
"We watch everybody in the market, but I'm a big proponent personally of making sure we keep a high frequency of content releases," Sage said. "A big part of our plans is the future of the game. We always want to make sure there is something new right around the corner. Our plan is to have new content coming out on a really frequent basis. We want to make sure that people are really into the game and get to experience a lot of new things. We will have a lot of content at release, but I know that players are amazing in their ability to chew through content quickly, so we want to make sure there is a constant stream of goodies coming to them."
Sage said his experience as a developer on Ultima Online reinforced this theory. "The more frequently you update, the more the players like it. Players are more engaged. I think it is an issue of trust in a lot of ways. They know there is going to be a lot of new content coming in."
He added that, while the main storyline in the game may end, it is also a beginning. "We've talked about Molag Bol stealing your soul at the start of the game, but that's a launching point. You'll wrap up the main story in The Elder Scrolls Online at release and that leads into an even bigger story."
Sage said beta testing for the game has proven enlightening for the team. While the game will see numerous betas through development, the latest one has proven a theory that the development had about the user interface.
"In the latest beta, we are testing out the replacement of what used to be our mini-map with the compass, which is a little bit more Skyrim-like," he said. "The mini-map was a little bit bigger and bulkier, but the other thing was the mini-map could sometimes almost have you connecting the dots between locations. We wanted to test out what a compass would be like, so we ran this through the beta testers to see how they reacted. They reacted very positively to it. More importantly, watching their patterns of play, we wanted to see if they followed the straight line of a quest or if instead they explored more. What we found was they did explore more, which is what we were going for."
The game will be coming to Xbox One and PlayStation 4, as well as PC and Mac, but Sage said it was a bit too early to say just when the game would be released on the various platforms. "What we are planning is making sure all of the platforms are top quality, so it's kind of hard at this point to say they would be simultaneous release or not, but the goal is spring of 2014."