Elder Scrolls Online Studio Director talks creating a brand new expansion

Matt Firor discusses the challenges of adding a new class, letting new and veteran players experience content together, and more.


The Elder Scrolls Online first hit our systems back in 2014, almost a decade ago, and since then has received several expansions in the form of Chapters. The latest Chapter, Necrom, is scheduled for release in June and we had the chance to speak with Matt Firor, Studio Director of Zenimax Online Studios, about what goes into creating a brand new expansion, the challenges of adding a new class, and more.

When it comes to creating a new expansion, the team at ZeniMax are keenly aware of the need to keep veteran players engaged while also enticing new players into the fold. “The whole chapter process is really vital to how we retain players and attract new players. In traditional MMOs, expansions are kind of for the veteran players,” Firor says. “Chapters are not only for veteran players but also brand new players.”

Firor goes on to note that in ESO, everyone is kind of the same level and that new players don’t have to play through all of the other content in order to experience Necrom. This ensures players of varying familiarity can play with one another.

Necrom is also introducing a new class in the form of the Arcanist. Part of the challenge of adding a new class is balancing it against what already exists. Firor notes that the team has to ensure that the new class isn’t overpowered, specifically when thinking about the PVP side of the game. Additionally, a new class shouldn’t change the dynamic of PVP too much.

There’s a lot more to learn from the interview, including what goes into designing a new location like Necrom, misconceptions the community might have about designing an MMO, and more. For more exclusive developer interviews, there’s plenty to see on our GamerHubTV YouTube channel. There’s also the Shacknews YouTube channel for exclusive gameplay, reviews, and guides.

Guides Editor

Hailing from the land down under, Sam Chandler brings a bit of the southern hemisphere flair to his work. After bouncing round a few universities, securing a bachelor degree, and entering the video game industry, he's found his new family here at Shacknews as a Guides Editor. There's nothing he loves more than crafting a guide that will help someone. If you need help with a guide, or notice something not quite right, you can message him on X: @SamuelChandler 

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