Brian Wheeler of ZOS has posted an update on what Zenimax is currently working on to tackle some of the issues found in Cyrodiil, not only server performance wise but also regarding PvP mechanics that “promote poor sportsmanship and undesirable reliances”.
The post includes a concrete list of changes that will be implemented to address some of the problems. The main thing that caught my eye is the removal of Former Emperor Skill Line altogether, and restricting PvP buffs only to Cyrodiil. This is done to prevent “alliance buff servers”
Here’s a general update on what we are doing to alleviate some of the pain points in Cyrodiil. This includes systems/mechanics that promote poor sportsmanship, and undesirable reliances, and Cyrodiil-related performance problems that many of you are seeing, especially in Veteran campaigns. Please note that this summarizes our current thinking, but we may change this plan as events warrant.
As I’m sure many of you have noticed, there are far fewer performance problems in non-Veteran campaigns. We have been investigating why non-Veteran campaigns perform better than their Veteran counterparts, and are starting to make some changes based on what we have found. As some of you already know, what we’re seeing is this: there is a point where if too many players are too close together and perform too many AoE and other instant-cast types of spells that server performance starts to degrade. As lower level characters don’t have many of these types of spells, non-Veteran campaigns generally don’t run into this trouble.
As such, the combat team is currently making adjustments to line-of-sight checks for area-of-effect abilities that have been causing the majority of server congestion in Cyrodiil. This has resulted in us taking a close look at higher level abilities/items to root out line-of-sight checks and other potential client-to-server message overflow issues.
There are also many other issues that will be addressed in the near future, some of which are related to players exploiting PvP buffs, social systems, and the Emperor system. Many of these issues came to use via direct feedback from players – thank you so much for your help, everyone who has taken the time to give us well documented feedback. It makes our jobs far easier.
With all this in mind, a multi-pronged change is coming to campaigns, the Emperor system, and campaign assignment that will be a major adjustment. The goal of this change is to address population imbalance issues, the reliance on “buff servers,” and Emperor farming. Read below for an explanation of the changes you can expect to see coming to Cyrodiil in our next major update.
- Jump-to-Friend: Social jumping into Cyrodiil or any PVP space is being disabled. This has long been the way to get around the Guest/Home campaign assignment. With this change, we’re closing that loophole as it’s detrimental to the overall PVP experience and integrity of the campaign system.
- PVP Bonuses: Keep, Elder Scroll, and the Emperorship bonuses (passive buffs) will apply only in PVP spaces. This change will effectively do away with the concept of “buff servers.” Originally, we wanted these bonuses to provide a game-wide benefit, but we’ve seen this design become detrimental to the PVP experience due to alliances having “buff servers.”
- Emperor Buffs/Skill Line: The “Former Emperor” buffs are being removed from the game. With this new system, you will only get Emperor buffs while your character is actively Emperor. Also, you will be granted the Emperor skill line and abilities upon earning Emperorship, without the need to spend ability points. All players that have spent points in the Emperor skill line will be refunded those skill points.
- Low Population Campaigns/Underscoring Alliances: Players participating in a low-population campaign or as part of an underscoring alliance will now gain 20% more AP within the campaign they’re earning that bonus for, instead of 10%. Population polling has also been sped up to apply the underdog/low-population bonuses more often; however, this also means they have the opportunity to expire faster.
- Guest Campaign Reassignment: The cooldown on Guest Campaign reassignment will be increased to 4 days from 3.
- Home Campaign Reassignment: The cooldown on Home Campaign reassignment has been changed to 12 hours from 3 days, but the cost to switch will be 150,000 AP instead of 15,000. Also, switching home campaigns at the end of a campaign period will now cost 100 AP instead of 5,000 AP.
- Battle Leveling: The Battle Leveling system has been updated to include Veteran Ranks. Players that opt into Battle Leveling will be roughly equivalent in power to a VR14 player in moderate-quality gear.
- Elder Scrolls & Gates: A fix is in the works that will prevent enemy player characters from getting through the Elder Scroll Gates while the gates are closed. (Gate jumpers beware. Your days are numbered.) Also, a new protective barrier will now surround the Elder Scrolls while in their temples, if the Elder Scroll Gates are closed. This barrier will drop if the gate opens.
That’s not all—the combat team has been hard at work tweaking numbers on abilities and items, too. Expect to see more details about those changes in future patch notes…considering these aren’t patch notes. =)
Last but certainly not least, we have some changes coming for each of the campaigns. We will be making some scoring adjustments to the campaigns in order to provide 4 different campaign styles, each with with different scoring parameters. In all cases the keep transit system, keep bonuses, scroll bonuses, emperorship crowning/deposing, and leaderboards will remain the same except for the scoring and duration changes noted below:
- Azura: Ownership of keeps, resources, Elder Scrolls, and outposts will generate 1 point each per scoring cycle and last 30 days.
- Blackwater Blade: Ownership of keeps, resources, Elder Scrolls, and outposts will generate 1 point each per scoring cycle and last 5 days. (Non-Veterans only.)
- Chillrend: Keeps, outposts, and resources will generate zero points. Ownership of Elder Scrolls will generate 1 point per scoring cycle and last 7 days.
- Haderus: Keeps, outposts, and Elder Scrolls will generate zero points. Ownership of resources will generate 1 point per scoring cycle and last 7 days.
- Thornblade: Resources, outposts, and Elder Scrolls will generate zero points. Ownership of keeps will generate 1 point per scoring cycle and last 7 days.
- Versidue-Shae (Console Only): Ownership of keeps, resources, Elder Scrolls, and outposts will generate 1 point each per scoring cycle and last 5 days. (Non-Veterans only.)
All campaigns noted above will be ended when the patch with these changes is live, and start at a score of 0. We have not yet determined if we will reset all objectives to their starting alliances. We will communicate this in the associated patch notes.
As always, these changes are subject to change based on feedback and testing, but this is the direction we’re going with PVP and Cyrodiil. Hopefully this post shows we are dedicated to delivering a solid PVP experience, and we thank you again for your loyalty to the war in Cyrodiil and your feedback!
We’ll see you on the battlefield!