Tamriel Foundry Q&A with Paul Sage: Summary

The ESO community had a delicious opportunity to get their questions answered by The Elder Scrolls Online’s creative director Paul Sage in a Q&A session hosted by Tamriel Foundry. The Q&A session gave out some good basic information on the group systems, group PvE challenges and gameplay in general. I have summarized the answers provided by Paul Sage.

Group mechanics

  • Right now there is a percentage bonus for experience gained in group.
  • Max group size is 4 players in certain areas such as dungeons. The “large group” size is 12 players. In PvP the group size is bigger.
  • The tank/healer/dps archetype is not needed for all types of content. Dark Anchors aren’t that difficult, whilst dungeons sometimes might need the holy trinity.
  • Cross-faction guild mates can not group up to do dungeons, but Zenimax “would like to enable this for the future”.
  • You can share quests in group.
  • Group finder is confirmed to exist in ESO and players can choose their roles for a dungeon (tank/healer/dps). Group finder isn’t just for dungeons either.


Dungeons, gear and loot

  • The gear earned in veteran level dungeons may not be more powerful than gear obtained in PvP and vice-versa, but the stats and the look can be different.
  • End game group dungeons have one difficulty: Veteran.
  • At launch there’s 16 four player dungeons and 16 public dungeons. Zenimax “hope to add new veteran dungeons” after launch.
  • Public dungeons “are really tuned for you to bring a friend or meet a friend”, but anyone can enter the public dungeons.
  • You can run the dungeons of other alliances after you’ve completed the same level dungeon for your own alliance. If you complete a level 12 dungeon, you can complete the other level 12 dungeons of the other alliances for example. Presumably that can be done via the group finder tool, since you’re not able to enter the other alliance zones until you hit level 50.
  • All loot is instanced for every player, meaning everyone in the group will get loot as long as they significantly contribute to a kill. Some dungeon loot is bind on equip, some bind on pickup.
  • Dungeon quests can only be completed once, but veteran mode dungeons reveal the second part of the dungeon-related story, giving the player an entirely different experience.
  • Completing dungeons and dungeon challenges increases rank with the Undaunted guild.
  • You can run to and resurrect fallen group members in combat with filled soul gems of appropriate level. The resurrection takes time and adds a strategic element to combat.


50+/++ content

  • At level 50, “a certain entity wants you to see things from a different perspective, and you will be able to travel to the new alliance”.
  • When exploring the other alliance stories/zones, players will still be considered part of their original alliance in PvP campaigns.
  • Lower level players can’t enter the other alliance zones.


Dark Anchors

  • In general there’s three Dark Anchors in a zone, and more in Cyrodiil. So Dark Anchors are also confirmed to exist in Cyrodiil!
  • Dark Anchor encounters are difficult for two players, ramping up to four players.
  • The number of players present will, up to a certain point, determine how hard the Dark Anchor encounter will be.
  • The type of enemies a Dark Anchor throws at you varies depending on the anchor location and even at the same location.
  • Once destroyed, after a period of time the Dark Anchor will appear again.
  • Completing a Dark Anchor encounter will reward the players with experience, loot drops from the Dark Anchor boss and rank gain with the Fighters Guild.
  • Different Dark Anchors can have different enemies, but the main difference between the encounters is level.

More  information on what the Dark Anchors are in a previous article.


Synergies and the finesse system

  • Using synergies isn’t necessary but they can provide a big advantage.
  • Synergies can be activated from certain player abilities. A player comes over and “activates the synergy effect”.
  • Synergies include AOE damage enhancing effects such as radius and damage increases, Atronach duration and damage increase, health leech effect for attacks, stamina recovery and invisibility among others.
  • How often you can use a synergy depends on the synergy.
  • The Undaunted skill line has only synergy abilities.
  • Finesse as a system is largely dead.
  • Finesse still affects how quickly players can build up ultimates. How well you do in combat, including heals, dodging attacks, blocking at the right time etc. contribute to building up ultimate.



  • There will be a learning curve in healing for players who are used to a standard target heal system, because ESO doesn’t have a lot of interface elements and healing in ESO requires you to be active in the world. The heals you have available are mostly cone, AOE and spread heals.
  • Some heals are instant and let you heal without facing your target, but they will not be as effective as heals which force you to face your target. Some heals are radius spells and some non-direct heals and they act as smart heals, meaning they heal the most hurt party member. Some heals are cone based.
  • A “safe” distance for a healer to do well is within ~15-20 meters of the target. Keep in mind it largely depends on the spells you are using.
  • In general heals over time (and damage over time?) effects do NOT stack.


Tanking, aggro and melee

  • There are threat increasing abilities and ways to reduce or drop threat.
  • Puncture (one hand and shield skill line ability) has a taunt element. Someone asked if using this skill when needed would enable the tank to maintain the attention of a dungeon boss throughout the whole encounter. The reply was: “It will certainly not last forever.  But you should be able to maintain attention, unless someone just tried to actively grab it from you.”
  • Zenimax acknowledged the critique they have received over the impact and weight of melee attacks, and have made some changes in the past weeks to make it better.


Paul Sage was also asked to estimate the length of the main storyline. If you could play the main story back-to-back in one sitting, he estimated it would take five to six hours. The original Q&A interview can be found at Tamriel Foundry.