Blackwood Pre-PTS Preview - All of the Juicy Details
Disclaimer: The pre-PTS build was a month old so everything observed was still a Work In Progress! These are NOT official patch notes. We were asked not to go too much into details regarding certain things such as item set values/item set tooltips so some things will be pretty general. There was also a Q&A session, most of what was asked/answered will also be shared in the video above and the summary below.
No screenshots or videos were allowed to be taken of the private server unlike last year's Greymoor pre-PTS preview!
Companions - How Do They Work?
Companions won't be as good as players or as smart as players as the developers don't want Companions to entirely replace actual players. Companions are meant for players to transition into content and to be provided with self confidence to eventually play with other players. New players may also intuitively learn from playing around with their Companions in regards to skill rotations or the basics of gear. Companions take up a player slot in groups meaning a 12-man raid team of players need to consist of 6 players with 6 companions total. Or a 4 man group for dungeons needs to consist of 2 players with 2 companions, vice versa.
Companions have been observed to Break Free and do the basic core combat abilities such as Blocking. Where can you take these Companions? Anywhere in PvE including 4 man dungeons/Arenas and 12-man raids/Trials! They are not allowed in solo Arenas or PvP zones including Cyrodiil, Battlegrounds and Imperial City.
Like Banker/Merchant Assistants, Companions can be summoned by Quickslotting them or through the Collections Menu under the "Allies" category. They are account wide once acquired through some steps in the Blackwood Chapter (they are not on the Crown Store as they come with Blackwood).
Companions cannot exactly fulfill mechanics, Aetherian Archive for example, they cannot stand on one of the 12 pads required to be pressed to advance through the next area.
Companions have healthbars and can also die but you can resurrect them with a Soul Gem. You can heal and shield your Companions while also being able to direct their aggro like you can with the Sorcerer's Pets.
Interacting With Companions (Bastian and Mirri)
With the release of Blackwood, these two Companions Bastian and Mirri will serve as a foundation for the high potential Companion system. Their leveling progression is from Level 1 to 20 which affects their combat prowess.
Companions have a "Rapport Level" (Relationship Level) which has a diverse range from having a huge disdain for you to really liking you. You can increase or decrease the Rapport Level by committing acts that goes against their morality or character. For example, Bastian is more of a noble character and won't like you pickpocketing people but Mirri is more roguish and will be fine with that.
Both Companions will have their own dialogue options for their background quests/stories, random quips as you adventure together and other neat features. These will change based on your Rapport Level, so since I have no friends and want to immerse myself into ESO further I decreased my Rapport Level with both of my Companions to see what they said to me:
"I can suffer fools, dull blades, bland food and miserable weather. But you...you are testing my patience."
"If you're afraid I'm going to let you die, I've thought about it."
You can access everything they have including looking at their Level, Equipment, Skills and other things by talking to them and going into the Companion menu through the dialogue option.
You can customize their appearance with the Outfitting system at the Outfitting station, costumes (not Polymorphs) and yes this includes Crown Store costumes. You can also assign them any of your mounts and they will ride with you although they seemed a little slow on the Preview server. They will crouch with you and sprint with you.
Your Companions' gear is Companion specific so you can find different Companion gear pieces ranging from white to purple quality items in various locations throughout the world. You cannot wear your Companions' gear and you cannot give them your Player gear.
Companion Items category has been added to Inventory UI.
There also different types of Companion Gear, note that you can mix and match different pieces of these whether it’s an Aggressive helmet piece with a Vigorous chest item piece as these aren’t item sets but simply item pieces that have different traits.
Similar to players, Companions have access to: One Skill Bar, three jewelry slots, seven armor slots, they also have access to their own Companion versions of skill lines including weapon skills, armor skills, guild skills and class-type skills along with at least one racial passive.
Companions cannot barswap as they only have one bar.
Companion Item Types
|Aggressive||Increases Damage Done by X% per piece|
|Augmented||Increases duration of all buffs and debuffs by X%|
|Bolstered||Reduces damage taken by X%|
|Focused||Increases Critical STrike Rating by X|
|Prolific||Increases Ultimate generation by X%|
|Quickened||Reduces ability cooldowns by X%|
|Shattering||Increases Penetration by X per piece|
|Soothing||Increases Healing Done by X% per piece|
|Vigorous||Increases Max Health by X% per piece|
Companion Skill Rotations
Your Companion's DPS, tanking or healing rotation is based on the order of the skills arranged in their Skill Bar that's exactly the same as a player's skill bar.
Take note that EVERY COMPANION SKILL has a COOLDOWN as opposed to GCD per cast for Players.
This will let players think even more about what skills to slot for their Companions. We think overall just like the Champion Point 2.0 system, there’s a lot of potential room for expansion on both the player and developer side in the Companion system for a lot of possibilities ranging from marrying your Companion to theorycrafting with your Companion.
Companions' unique "Class" skills are heavily inspired or drawn upon from Player Class skill lines whether it's a Nightblade or a Dragonknight.
Bastian Hallix (Class Skills)
- Lava Whip - Bastian Hallix lashes an enemy with flame, dealing X Flame Damage and setting them Off Balance for X seconds.
- Searing Strike - Bastion Hallix slashes an enemy with flame, dealing X Flame Damage and an additional X Flame Damage over X seconds.
- Stonefist - Bastian Hallix hurls a chunk of molten rock at an enemy, dealing X Physical Damage
- Ultimate - Deals X Flame Damage to enemies and stuns them for X seconds, while also releasing four lines of fire in a cross formation that deal an additional X Flame Damage to any enemy they touch
- Cauterize - Bastian Hallix launches a searing fireball at themselves or an ally to cauterize their wounds, healing for X Health. Used when Bastian or an ally is below X% Health.
- Obsidian Shield - Bastian Hallix calls the earth to their defense, granting a damage shield and their nearby allies that absorbs X damage. While the damage shield holds, healing received is increased by X%.
- Molten Weapon - Bastian Hallix charges the groups' weapons with volcanic power increasing their damage done by X% for X seconds.
- Fiery Grip - Bastian Hallix launches a fiery chain to grasp and pull an enemy to them. Used when the enemy can be moved and is further than X meters away.
- Dragon Blood - Bastian Hallix draws on their draconic blood, healing for X% of their Max Health and reducing their damage taken by X% for X seconds. Used when Bastian Hallix is below X% Health.
- Dark Talons - Bastian Hallix calls forth talons from the ground, dealing X Flame Damage to enemies nearby and immobilizing them for X seconds.
- Bastion's Insight - Potions looted from chests and monsters have a X% chance to be improved by Bastian's Insight.
- Tough - Increases Max Health by X% and damage done by X%.
Mirri Elendis (Class Skills)
- Veiled Strike - Mirri Elendis slashes an enemy, dealing X Magic Damage and setting them Off Balance for X seconds.
- Teleport Strike - Mirri Elendis flashefs through the shadows and ambushes an enemy, dealing X Magic Damage.
- Assassin's Blade - Mirri Elendis thrusts a magic blade with lethal precision to finish off an enemy dealing X Magic Damage. Used when enemy is under X Health.
- Ultimate - Mirri Elendis marks an enemy and exposes their weakness, causing them to take X% more damage for X seconds. While the enemy is exposed she builds up to a single killing shot, unleashing a massive bolt that deals X Physical Damage.
- Strife - Mirri Elendis steals an enemy's life force, dealing X Magic Damage and healing themselves or an ally around them for X Health.
- Blood Transfusion - Mirri Elendis infuses an ally with blood, healing them for X Health over X seconds.
- Drain Power - Mirri Elendis siphons the vigor from the blood of enemies around them, dealing X Magic Damage and healing their allies for X Health.
- Blur - Mirri Elendis surrounds themselves in a phantasmic aura, dodging the next attack made against them while also reducing their damage taken by X% for X seconds. Used when Mirri is below X% Health.
- Aspect of Terror - Mirri Elendis terrifies nearby enemies, causing them to cower in fear for X seconds.
- Shadow Cloak - Mirri Elendis shrouds themselves in refreshing shadows, healing for X% of their Max Health and becoming invisible for X seconds, causing most enemies to stop attacking them. Used when Mirri is below X% Health
- Mirri's Expertise - Treasure Chests found through Treasure Maps and in the Overland, have a chance to provide additional loot from hidden compartments.
- Dynamic - Increases Damage Done by X% and Healing Done by X%
Companion Weapon Skills
- Uppercut - Companion slams an enemy with an upward swing and sends them flying, dealing X Physical Damage, stunning them for X seconds, and knocking them back X meters.
- Cleave - Companion slices all enemies in front of them with a mighty swing, dealing X Physical Damage and an additional Physical Damage over X seconds.
- Reverse Slash - Companion spins around and strikes an enemy down, dealing X Physical Damage. Used when the enemy is below X Health.
- Regeneration - Companion shares their staff's life-giving energy, healing themselves and a nearby ally for X Health over X seconds.
- Blessing of Protection - Companion slams their staff down to activate its blessings, healing themselves and allies in front of them for X Health. The blessing also grants X Spell and Physical Resistance for X seconds.
- Steadfast Ward - Companion calls on their staff's strength to protect themselves or the lowest health ally around them, granting a damage shield that absorbs X damage. Used when Companion or an ally is below X% Health.
One Hand and Shield
- Puncture - Companion thrusts their weapon with disciplined precision at an enemy, dealing X Physical Damage and taunting the enemy to attack them for X seconds.
- Shield Charge - Companion rushes an enemy and rams them, stunning them for 4.1 seconds.
- Defensive Posture - Companion bolsters their defenses, granting a damage shield that absorbs up to X% of their Max Health for X seconds.
- Flurry - Companion floods an enemy with steel, battering them with five consecutive atacks that each deal X Physical Damage.
- Whirlwind - Companion launches themselves in a lethal spin, dealing X Physical Damage to nearby enemies. Deals triple damage to enemies below X% Health.
- Blade Cloak - Companion envelops themselves in a ring of floating razors, dealing X Physical Damage to nearby enemies every X seconds for X seconds. The razors also shield your Companion from attacks, reducing their damage taken by X%
- Destructive Touch - Companion blasts an enemy with magic, dealing X Magic Damage. Flame Touch knocks enemy back X meters and stuns them for X seconds. Frost Touch taunts enemy for X seconds. Shock Touch deals an additional X Shock Damage to all other enemies around them.
- Wall of Elements - Companion slames their staff down to create an elemental wall in front of them, dealing X Damage over X seconds.
- Impulse - Companion releases a surge of magic to enemies around them, dealing X damage.
- Snipe - Companion plants a masterfully aimed arrow in an enemy's vital spot, dealing X Physical Damage.
- Arrow Spray - Companion fires a burst of arrows in one shot, dealing X Physical Damage to enemies in front of them. Enemies hit are immobilized for X seconds.
- Poison Arrow - Companion shoots an arrow covered in Baandari poison at an enemy, dealing X Poison Damage and an additional X Poison Damage over X seconds.
Companion Armor Abilities
Your Companion is required to wear at least 5 pieces of each armor type to use their respective armor abilities just like players:
- Haste (Light Armor) - Companion focuses their magical energies inward, resetting the cooldown of all their other abilities.
- Vanish (Medium Armor) - Companion disappears in a puff of smoke, becoming invisible for 10 seconds and causing most enemies to stop attacking them. Used when below X% Health.
- Bulwark (Heavy Armor) - Companion becomes an unstoppable defender, blocking and reflecting all attacks for X seconds. Used when below X% Health while fighting a difficult monster.
Companion Guild Skills
- Silver Bolts - Companion fires a Dawnguard Vampire Hunter's crossbow bolt at an enemy, dealing X Physical Damage. Deals double damage if the enemy is an Undead, Daedra, or Werewolf.
- Circle of Protection - Companion brands the earth underneath them with a rune of protection for X seconds. Standing within the rune reduces the damage the group takes by X%. If the attacker is Undead, Daedra or Werewolf the rune reduces damage taken by an additional X%.
- Meteor - Companion calls a comet down from the constellations to blast an enemy dealing X Flame Damage.
- Reverse Entropy - Companion envelops themselves and an ally with stabilizing magic, healing for X Health over X seconds.
- Equilibrium - Companion barters with Oblivion for power, generating X Ultimate.
- Blood Altar - Companion conjures a fountain of blood to sustain themselves and allies around it, healing for X Health every X second for X seconds. Allies near the fountain can activate the Blood Funnel synergy, healing for X% of their Max Health.
- Inner Fire - Companion ignites the fires of hate in an enemy's heart, dealing X Magicka Damage and taunting the enemy to attack them for X seconds. Used when the enemy is not already taunted.
- Bone Shield - Companion surrounds themselves with a whirlwind of bones, granting a damage shield for X% of their Max Health for X seconds. While the damage shield holds an ally near them can activate the Bone Wall synergy, granting them a damage shield for X% of their Max Health for X seconds.
New & Powerful Item Sets, HUGE Change
We are not allowed to share exactly what the item sets do that are coming out with Blackwood however we can share the general concepts of each item set and a few other details.
In regards to Perfected and Non-Perfected, you can now MIX Perfected / Non-Perfected versions of the same item set. So assuming you have 4x Non-Perfected False God's and 1x Perfected False God's equipped, you will still retain the complete 5x Bonus. This is pretty huge for the players who are progressing to finalizing their Perfected gear setups.
There a total of four new Trial sets coming out (from the new Trial Rockgrove) in both non-Perfected (normal version) and Perfected (veteran) form.
- Bahsei's Mania - Increases damage done to monsters based on your missing Magicka.
- Saxhleel Champion - Gives Major Force to your group up to 12 people total upon casting an Ultimate.
- Stone-Talker's Oath - Fully charged Heavy Attacks places a bomb on target, resulting explosion restores Stamina and Magicka to a total of 12 people.
- Sul-Xan's Torment - A vengeful soul arises from something that was damaged by you when it dies. Touching the soul increases your Weapon Critical and Critical Damage. Think Essence Thief!
Blackwood Overland Sets
- Bog Raider - Gives Ultimate and Health Recovery for a limited time when something you've damaged dies.
- Deadlands Assassin - Offers proc-based Physical/Bleed damage upon Heavy Attacking a target.
- Frostbite - Increases your damage done with Frost abilities, damage done against Chilled or Brittled enemies.
Blackwood Craftable Sets
- Diamond's Victory - Dealing direct melee damage grants buff to Ranged attacks. Dealing direct ranged damage grants buff to Melee attacks.
- Hist Whisperer - Dealing damage with Light/Medium Attacks can heal and give sustain on your resources. Heavy attacks double the amount.
- Heartland Conqueror - Boosts your Weapon Traits' effectiveness. Does not affect Ornate/Intricate traited item pieces.
There are FIVE new Mythic items coming out!
- Death Dealer‘s Fete (Ring) - The longer you are in combat, the more it increases your Max Stats. Exiting combat leads to losing these Max Stats.
- Gaze of Sithis (Heavy Helm) - A helmet that offers Health, Health Recovery and Armor. Downside may be your Block Mitigation is null.
- Harpooner's Wading Kilt (Medium Pants) - Dealing direct damage grants you Critical Chance and Damage while taking direct damage removes the given stats.
- Harvester's Hope-Ring (Ring) - Increases likelihood of harvesting more materials on a crafting node over time. Does not affect surveys/event boxes.
- Shapeshifter's Chain (Necklace) - Reduces the cost of Transformation Ultimates while giving Max Stats.
Imperial City Monster Sets!?
Not quite sure how to get these just yet but there are a total of three new powerful, 2x monster sets with their names based on the District Bosses coming out from the old Imperial City PvP DLC zone.
- Glorgoloch the Destroyer - Adds Max Health and increases Damage & Critical mitigation during combat.
- Zoal the Ever-Wakeful - Adds Max Stamina and get reactionary Damage boosts after Breaking Free and stunning those around you after doing so.
- Immolator Charr - Adds Max Health and mitigation while giving immunity to all forms of Crowd Control effects for some time.
- Ancestral Akaviri Style
- Ivory Brigade Style
- Deadlands Gladiator Outfit Style
- Dremora Kynreeve Outfit Style
No new Crown Store items were seen on the Preview.
NEW Champion Points Slottables
The new Champion Points slottable nodes are added in such a way that you don't have to go beyond the current lines or trees of progressions to get to them so basically you don't have to grind more Champion Points to unlock these new Slottables.
A new damage slottable node has been added in the Warfare Constellation. Four other new slottable nodes have also been added to the Warfare Constellation that specifically involve Healing. Again, we can't get into the details before PTS but the concepts of these new nodes will certainly make endgame raiders, dungeoneers, PvP'ers and others think about these as options.
No Passive Champion Points have been added, as the focus of CP 2.0 is on horizontal progression and choices rather than vertical progression of power gain.
Seals of Endeavors - Crown Store Change
Yet another huge change coming to The Elder Scrolls Online. Please note that this is also a WORK IN PROGRESS!
Endeavors is a NEW Task system in the Group/Party interface which will appear alongside other existing functions such as Group Finder and Battlegrounds.
There will be at least two types of tasks for acquiring Seals of Endeavors and there are at least 60 different and unique tasks you can fulfill ranging from completing a quest, killing bosses, crafting an item to even harvesting nodes.
Fulfilling these Endeavors will grant you a new type of currency called the Seals of Endeavors - in addition to other rewards such as EXP/items - which you can use to PURCHASE CROWN CRATE ITEMS!
They function like Crown Gems, you can save them up, there is no limit on how many you can have and they are account-wide. These can only however be used to buy items from the active season of Crown Crates and not from past seasons.
At least 10 Achievement Furnishings available for purchase with gold in Leyawiin, includes banners, Argonian themed furniture and Deadlands themed furnishings.
Perhaps more furnishings to come as this was, again as noted, Preview server.
Rockgrove - New Trial Details, Mount & Rewards
An Argonian and Daedric themed Trial. The story of Rockgrove involves an innocent Argonian tribe and their Xanmeer being besieged by a very hostile chaos-worshipping Argonian tribe. It is not a mini-trial and is instead a full Trial complete with three bosses with three hard modes and somewhat lengthy trash.
Of course the Preview server is a month behind meaning there have been more balancing and monsters added.
The feedback from the endgame raiding community has been heard in regards to the Trifecta (Hard Mode, Speed Run, No Death) reward. Unlike Kyne's Aegis and like Sunspire, the trifecta reward is a mount.
Sul-Xan Fleshripper - Through an Argonian ritual imbued by the Razor Prince's chaos, this former welwa mount seethes with both fury and destruction in conflagration-touched form. Only the strong-willed can control this beast. Perhaps that's you?
This mount is classified as "heavyweight" in Collections.
The speed run - Rockgrove Sprinter - is (as of Preview server) 30 minutes which starts when you first ENGAGE the enemies as opposed to entering the Trial encounter like veteran Halls of Fabrication or veteran Sunspire.
Achievements/Rewards are as follows:
- Rockgrove Completed - Defender of Rockgrove (Normal Title), dye color called Glenbridge Green is a reward.
- Rockgrove Conqueror - Ca-Uxith Warrior (Vet Title) + Sul-Xan Raider Body Markings
- Rockgrove Vanquisher - Xalvakka's Scourge (Hard Mode Title) + Sul-Xan Raider Face Markings
- Soul Savior - The Stone-Kissed (No Death, Hard Mode, Speed Run Title)
- Xalvakka's Bane - Stone Talker (Trifecta & Other Achievements Title) + Sul-Xan Fleshripper Mount
Sul-Xan Raider Face Markings: Sul-Xan tattooists often fall into a bloody reverie when applying face paint to their warrior kin. Acidic dyes make their frenzied artistry dangerous for the eyes, but those who lose their sight in throes of chaos are doubly blessed!
Sul-Xan Raider Body Markings: The Sul-Xan raider oathtaking ceremony includes tracing a marsh-green pattern upon hide and scale. The dye's acidic scent hints at the level of burning pain involved in this exaltation of chaos.
The Preview server group did a full normal run and a post-boss 1 Veteran run. Note that there appears to be a mini boss.
Oaxiltso - Argonian Behemoth boss similar to Ruins of Mazzatuns' Xal Nur, has Fire Behemoth-like adds called Havocrel Annihilators, lots of Death Hopper adds, cleansing mechanics, etc.
Flame-Herald Bahsei - Argonian Necromancer Goliath, Fire Behemoth adds, Flesh Abomination adds, other mechanics.
Xalvakka - Bigger than average Daedric Harvester. One of the coolest and most obvious fight mechanics are reminiscent of the Shuro Chi the Corrupted fight from Destiny 2's Last Wish raid.
Reminiscent of both Kyne's Aegis and Maw of Lorkhaj trash mobs/base pop. There are elite adds and at times both a clear or unclear priority order as to how you should tackle these on. Most likely will be figured out on PTS by optimized groups but there seems to be options for tackling the trash mobs piece by piece if necessary.
- Death Hoppers
- Sul-Xan Fire Mages
- Sul-Xan Soldiers
- Sul-Xan Menders
- Sul-Xan Assassins
- Dremora Dreadnoughts
- Dremora Armamancers
- Dremora Conjurers
- Sul-Xan Hunter (Elite)
- Sul-Xan Shaman (Elite)
- Sul-Xan Reaver (Elite)
- Havocrel Butcher (Elite)
- Havocrel Savage (Elite)
- Havocrel Torchcaster (Elite)
- Fire Behemoth (Elite)
- Ash Titan (Mini Boss)
Blackwood Zone Details
The Blackwood Chapter zone is typical of the other Chapter zones such as Northern Eslweyr, Morrowind, Summerset and Western Skyrim. It is quite large and introduces a whole bunch of quests including 7 zone story quests amounting over 30 hours of content.
The map of Blackwood is actually quite big. There are no underground zones like Greymoor and Markarth Blackreach caverns. On the world map, it may stretch from near Northern Elsweyr all the way towards the DLC zone of Murkmire.
The zone includes 7 Wayshrines, 6 Locales, 18 Skyshards, 3 Set Stations (as listed above) and 10 Lorebooks. The port city of Leyawiin lore-wise is a bit bigger during the 2nd Era compared to TES IV's Oblivion but has similar layout. The town of Gideon is introduced with the Blackwood Chapter.
Speaking of Leyawiin, the city may become a serious contender due to its tightly condensed and convenient layout for many players doing their Crafting Writs as fast as possible meaning Vivec City in Morrowind and Alinor in Summerset may see some serious competition. Attempts to do crafting writs did not show the finalized drop-off location for writs so this is to be determined.
The city of Leyawiin also has other amenities that other capital cities in ESO has including respec shrines which are housed in the Chapel of Zenithar, the Fighters Guild, Mages Guild, stables, six Guild Trader spots available for hire, vampire/werewolf cure NPC and an Outlaws Refuge.
Despite the zone being displayed as a Work In Progress on a old server build, the details of the zone are quite enjoyable to traverse and venture through. You can encounter some preivous characters you've met in the past (no spoilers, don't worry) while also meeting fascinating characters such as Ylahizu the Magnificent who offers to take you on a wild ride as if he was your Aladdin to your Jasmine.
There are a number of World Bosses (one of which was incredibly difficult), Delves and a couple of Public Dungeons. There are at least 60 Blackwood-related Achievements for players to progress and work through.
Perhaps one of the most notable features coming with the Blackwood Zone are the Deadlands Portals. These are, as of the Preview, actually difficult to find. Once you enter through a Deadlands Portal, you are taken literally into the Deadlands where abominable creatures including Harvesters the size of buildings roam.
There seem to be both Treasure Chests and Heavy Sacks littered throughout these Deadlands encounters. The format of these instances are similar to dungeons, perhaps being most similar to the veteran dungeon City of Ash II. There are waves of adds, at least one mini boss and elite mobs that you need to defeat as you go through lava, smoke, dark towers and other structures towards the final boss encounter after which you need to break a Sigil Stone to end the instance for your rewards!
These may prove challenging to solo players, although other people can find the Deadlands Portals and come with you or you can bust out your Companion if need be!
New Tutorial - A Step In the Right Direction
Instead of being plopped into the Chapter zone or the jail cell of Coldharbour as you have for the past 7 years in The Elder Scrolls Online, a new player or a new character is instead transported to the Isle of Balfiera, the home of Clan Direnni. But don't worry you're still a prisoner as is TES tradition.
You talk to Norianwe who is a member of the Direnni's intelligence guild Sinderill. She greets and interrogates you telling that you and Shyazzel, a Daedric Harvester, came through your respective portals in an area known as the Keywright's Gallery.
What commences after she releases you from your cell is a MUCH better and engaging tutorial compared to the old Coldharbour one. It forces you to go over the basic core combat abilities and tips such as Blocking, Breaking Free, Light Attacking, Heavy Attacking, Bashing and so forth before it lets you progress further.
It also eases you into the game with well-timed onscreen tips and advice in regards to what you're doing.
This tutorial is still a far cry from player-made guides or videos that go into far greater details of theorycrafting or whatnot but it still gets the job done in a much more engaging way and newer players may get more out of this than the previous tutorial.
Perhaps the most notable part about this is your access to the Keywright’s Gallery. Remember those warp paintings in Super Mario you could go through to land in different worlds?
Well for new players or new characters the Keywright’s Gallery has different portals for you to choose from instead of putting you in the newest Chapter zone which often caused headaches when older players brought their newer player friends into the game.
So you can choose to go into a specific Chapter or starting zone instead such as one of the three starter islands like Bleakrock Isle, Stros M’kai or a chapter zone like Elsweyr, Summerset and Blackwood. Norianwe will also give you the backstory and advice as to where you could go.
Once you choose to go through a specific portal to start a specific part of your ESO adventure, it doesn’t seem like you can go back to the tutorial zone or Keywright’s Gallery although this may change in the upcoming Blackwood PTS build.
It's Finally Here - Ingame "Action Duration Reminder"
It is no secret that console players on Xbox/Playstation are at a massive disadvantage compared to PC players in The Elder Scrolls Online due to the lack of access to addons that can enhance or augment the default game User Interface or provide more information during fights.
Following closely on the heels of other Quality of Life improvements including Reconstruction, UI overhauls and other changes, Zenimax Online Studios is introducing an ingame timer per ability you cast on your Skill Bar. There will now be an integrated Action Duration Reminder that will allow all players to see how much time is left on their Damage Over Time effects, buffs and other skills.
This is incredibly significant particularly for console players who will now be able to perform dynamic rotations more easily as opposed to largely sticking to static rotations.
And yes, you will also be able to see how much time you have left on the backbar skills as well! This is also a Work In Progress as the UI could definitely be improved further in my opinion so hopefully the PTS will see to more better improvements!
ESO Console Enhanced Clients
While we're on the topic of console, the following are the confirmed clients' specs for the new ESO Console Enhanced versions of the game:
- Fidelity Mode (30 FPS, 4K)
- Performance Mode (60 FPS, 1440p) Xbox Series X, PS5
Xbox Series S has a lower quality on fidelity/performance mode (1080p for performance, 1440p for fidelity at respective FPS).
Shadows, Ambient Occlusion, lighting, details, etc have all been revamped for console performance and quality.
Updates to console voice chat will make ingame voice chat a lot more reliable.
There will be more combat performance work.
You can switch between different soundtracks ingame whether it was the original soundtrack or Morrowind soundtrack or whatnot.
A lot of the other Q&A has been integrated into the information above, so there are a lot of questions missing.
Q1) Will Companions have an effect on server performance?
A1) The developers have been extremely careful in regards to the implementation of the Companion system so as to not have a detrimental effect on the game performance.
Q2) Do Companions affect XP gain for players in groups?
A2) 1 Player - 100XP, 1 Player + Companion - 100 XP but Companion gets 25 XP so they don't steal XP from you or your group.
Q3) Class Changes? CP System Changes? Item Set Changes?
A3) Nothing too crazy that would drastically change the game as of now. Focus is on performance improvement, however there may be potentially important changes to proc sets that both PvP/PvE players will need to pay attention to.
Q4) PvP Changes? Adding PvP content?
A4) Focus on PvP right now is performance, not content. Don't want to add things to Cyrodiil or change things in Cyrodiil, for example destructible milegates/bridges initially had huge negative effects on the PvP performance, developers don't want to break the game. There will be new Cosmetics/Gear for PvP crowd however Performance is #1 priority.
Q5) Will Overland Content be made harder?
A5) Probably not any time soon.
Q6) Will Companions have their own inventories so you can get them to carry your stuff?
Q7) Companion item sets?
A7) No sets yet but there is Companion gear, majority of their power comes from their combat level (1 - 20).
Q8) Will Companions get player item drops in dungeons, Trials, etc?
Q9) Will Companions be affected by Players' Champion Points?
Q10) How will the downloads for the new Console Clients work?
A10) Xbox players' clients should automatically update while Playstation players need to download the update.
Q11) The Companion skills seem heavily influenced by classes. Will these be expanded upon later?
A11) The Companion system coming out with Blackwood is the starting point, there can be much to expand upon at a later time!