*Big thank you to JessicaRae who wrote down the developer panel taking questions from the audience of 300+ people at the HyperX eSports Arena at the Luxor in Las Vegas. Note that the answers that are italicized were also expanded upon from other encounters with the developers in Las Vegas and San Francisco. Some answers are paraphrased as we didn't record everything word-for-word. This session only lasted for about 45 minutes.

Developers on Panel

Brian Wheeler (Combat and PvP Lead Developer)

CJ Grebb (Art Director)

Rich Lambert (Creative Director)

Mike Finnigan (Lead Encounter Designer)

Matt Firor (Studio Director)

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Questions and Answers

Will there be more features coming to the Companions system such as Romance?

No definite answer to this yet however it's something we're looking at.

Will there be more of a headsup for an IRL ESO meetup in 2024?

Yes, there will be more of an advanced notice.

The event was supposed to be announced more ahead of time for 2023 but due to legal implications from the fact that the event ticket draw could be considered a "giveaway" under United States law (which also explains the puzzling "exclusion" of non-US residents) and some unfortunate mixups, the event was not announced as early as ZOS would have liked.

Why is recent PvE content so much more punishing on support roles, specifically tanking, such as the new DLC dungeons and the new Trial?

There's a really razor edge balance between keeping all roles engaged and people saying "oh this is too easy" on certain roles like tanking or DPS'ing which you can see in some instances like Kyne's Aegis. There's also been a lot of people who have asked what's the point of bringing a healer to a lot of the content we make so there's just a lot of things to work on as far as balancing out the roles in content are concerned. The more recent DLC dungeons which you've mentioned have a stronger emphasis on healers which shows, 'oh well the healer died and now the rest of the group is dead' which answers the question of why you bring a healer even if your tank is really good.

We'll also say that we've gotten the feedback in regards to how harsh tanking could be from the more recent Trials like Rockgrove and Dreadsail Reef (which in itself is a complicated thing to dissect due to the nature of tanking in ESO), so you may see more of a focus on group mechanics and people obeying those mechanics for Sanity's Edge, the upcoming Trial for Necrom as opposed to burdening specifically one role over every other role.

Will there be more Dark Brotherhood Sanctuaries implemented throughout Tamriel?

No definite answer to this but maybe.

Will Consoles get enhanced UI or even the ability to get more information from combat such as how PC gets ESOLogs or addons like Combat Metrics?

This can be a complicated one due to multiple factors including the performance of the game with those potential additions to consoles and we're also a bit wary of implementing some things that may give rise to more gatekeeping amongst the playerbase. This isn't to say we won't try to keep adding more base game features that are much more useful to those without addons such as the thing we've added - like target markers or duration of skills. We're also planning on improving messaging on console for ESO players as well.

How is feedback processed by the developers and their teams?

Daily reports are sent to all Lead Developers and people review data from both the Live and Public Test Servers. There's of course other mediums of feedback such as the Forums that are looked at as well. We try to triage and prioritize actionable items and those that are impossible to tackle on are simply filed away under the category of impossible while those  that we can tackle on are put on prioritization.

The perception of game development and how player feedback is taken at what point in time is quite interesting. For example, there may be a feature or addition to the game that is often requested by players and it just so happens that we're working on that feature or addition to the game then once it's added, then players go 'oh hey they added it so why aren't the other things coming'? There's markedly a big difference in the timeline the developers - or really, game developers in general - work on as opposed to the timeline players game on.

Are you planning on adding more incentives to not just the hardest content but the game overall especially for newer players and is the new earnable mount from Necrom's zone overland an indication of a future trend?

We are currently experimenting with what players would like to see added to the game as incentives and rewards such as the mentioned earnable zone mount. We would love player feedback in regards to rewards and incentives as that will give us more of a clear direction to follow.

It should also be said that there is an entirely different team that maps out a lot of stuff ingame including things like what rewards there are for certain things, how many things of what kind of stuff players should get and how often. This can be a complicated process when taking into account how it could affect certain parts of the game (such as economy) however given that we've been getting a lot of feedback both here at this event and elsewhere about rewards or potential existing rewards like housing/alchemy materials, Transmute Crystals and so forth, we will definitely forward said feedback to the appropriate teams.

When will ESO drop the old generation of consoles? (PS4 and Xbox One)

Eventually we will drop the old generation of consoles. You have to think about players that are still on the old generation of consoles that have yet to still get the new generation (PS5 and Xbox Series S/X) not just in North America but in the rest of the world. There will come a time where we let go of the old gen but it's not in the short term.

It should be noted that Matt Firor also gave a similar answer in a video interview by GamerHubTV which is a noticeable and possible indication of Zenimax Online Studios considering dropping the old generation of consoles, a topic which has not been touched on at all. Matt Firor in the same interview also openly stated that new animations use up memory and they have to plan around the memory of older technology (i.e. older console generation).

Will there be more content additions to PvP?

We recognize that a lot of players really want more things for PvP but we're still working on a solid foundation in regards to performance before we add any more PvP or certain content. For example, performance had a heavy drop when we made milegates and bridges destructible which made us realize that it's probably best to not fiddle too much with some things until we have said solid foundation for performance.

We are set on finishing up the server work on all platforms/servers except Xbox/EU by the end of May or so, so we're excited about the potential stuff coming from that as well.

It should be noted that contrary to popular belief amongst players, developers including Brian Wheeler really do want to add more things for PvP'ers and PvP systems in general however until at least the new server hardware replacement and other performance adjustments go through, ZOS is wary of trying to add more things to the game that may cause performance breakdowns.

Why not increase overland difficulty? Why not have Normal vs Veteran instances of overland?

Sort of looking back at how we did things with difficult overland content back before One Tamriel, we didn't see favorable results from separating players based on arbitrary categories and we really want to allow players to play with whoever they want and not introduce another barrier of interaction between different demographics of players.

With that being said, we do recognize a lot of people want increased overland difficulty and the new world events (Bastion Nymics) that are instanced for up to 4 players in Necrom is one of our answers to that.

Any plans for Bard class?

Not at the moment.

This was more of a joking question asked by somebody on behalf of Matygon.

Why can't we toggle Sprint on controller / console?

More than likely it's due to the number of available buttons on controller when compared to an entire keyboard.

Are there plans to rework the reward structure in ESO??

Again, we would love to get as much feedback as possible on what you'd like to see in rewards.

How will the "All In One" Attunable Stations work?

So there will be what's called a "Durable Station" and there will be four Durables. One for Woodworking, one for Clothing, one for Blacksmithing and of course one for Jewelry crafting.

You will be able to feed all of your Attunable Stations into 1 Durable. So all of your Woodworking Attunable Stations can be deposited into the Durable Woodworking station and you can simply craft the sets that were deposited from that station. The same goes for the other types of Durables.

As for what currency or method we get these Durables, it's been implied we can get it both ingame somehow (Psijic Ambrosia was referred to as an example - so players could potentially purchase or grind for these) or through some other means. UESP's Baratron asked this to Creative Director Rich Lambert.

What were the real life cultural influences for Necrom?

For the Telvanni Peninsula in particular, we borrowed a lot from East Asian cultures especially for the city of Necrom and its architectural style. Typically the Dunmers or Dark Elves do borrow a bit from East Asian cultures.

Is there lore or some kind of explanation for where the Indorils and other Dark Elf houses are in some parts of what we know as the Telvanni Peninsula as the peninsula that's mapped out so far isn't exclusively House Telvanni?

A potential answer for this is that, just like in our world's history, maps are drawn by people often with different motivations so maps from different eras or different groups will display what they want to display.

There's some quests that allow you to travel through time or at least see glimpses into the past and so on, will there be a zone set in another time period?

Anything is possible but that's certainly an interesting concept to try and manage.

The Leaderboard rewards are very outdated for a lot of activities including Trials, are there any plans to revamp the rewards?

We don't have plans currently but we would like more feedback in regards to this.

Stackable Treasure Maps when?

We know.

Is it possible that players can get more materials recovered from deconstructing things?

We recognize that there is a lot of concern as far as the economic price of materials go for crafting and also housing especially. We hear it a lot that housing tends to be expensive and upgrading or making things tend to be expensive for a lot of players. So we can look into this.

Any further changes to Map UI? We loved the Skyshard addition on console.

This is something we can look into and often do look into but a lot of our concern right now is to make the game less overwhelming for new players. That's one of our ultimate goals so you will see as a new player that when you get transported to a zone or a beginning area, you're bombarded with a bunch of quest givers or NPCs that run up to you like Stuga and it can be a very overwhelming amount of information. So things like adding more stuff to the map UI is in that territory of overwhelming new players but yes we will see.

When will we get more house furnishing slots?

We would love to give more space in houses for players, it's not that we hate players and don't want to give you more slots but it's just that there's currently a performance limit to how many things we can let players put into their houses before it crashes their game/client. Hopefully we'll be able to address this in the future.

Can you give us any details about the "endless dungeon"?

So the endless dungeon is coming out in the Q4 (4th quarter) DLC of this year. It will be connected to the Chapter story in some ways. It's an idea we've had that was inspired by the gaming genre of roguelites or roguelikes.

It's systemically endless.*

The endless dungeon will be completely randomized so no run is going to be the same as the previous run.

There will be what's called "Boons" and "Buffs" available to you throughout the endless dungeon which basically forces you to make choices for your success.

It can be done as a solo player or as a team of two players.

*Note that "it's systemically endless" was emphasized and repeated at least three times during this answer. This is probably implying that in theory it may be infinite but just like Pacman or some other games, some players could hit the "end" of the endless dungeon meaning you can keep going until you can't go any further.