The Elder Scrolls

How to Save The Elder Scrolls: Legends

TheElderScrolls6 - How to Save The Elder Scrolls: Legends
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How we got here :

Before getting into how I believe TES:L can be saved, I'd like to suggest a hypothetical way of how TES:L arrived at its current state. Imagine the most boring strategy card game possible. There are only creatures and each creature has power and health equal to its magicka. So a 1 magicka creature is 1/1, a 2 magicka creature is 2/2, etc…

The game itself is kind of boring. You hope to draw creatures on curve, attack other creatures when you can trade beneficially, and generally play optimally. However, you never really feel cheated when you lose because, well, how could you? There's perfect symmetry.

But in order to keep players interested, new cards need to be released. By definition these new cards must be more powerful than previous cards. Otherwise they would never be played. So now there's a 4/4 creature that costs 3. Maybe a 3/7 that costs 4.

But eventually the players grow tired of those and we have to add effects and powers. This is where the opportunity (but not necessity) for a major problem begins, because of synergy. Because as more new effects are introduced, the possibility for synergy grows exponentially with the number of cards in the system. Similar to a network effect.

Soon, the system begins to change in ways the creators never intended. The possibility for synergies spiral out of control, similar to the way Alchemy functioned in Skyrim. There are possible combinations of components that yield results exponentially stronger than the writers ever intended. All systems move towards entropy. And they need to be reigned in.

All of a sudden, the player base senses something is off. The game is still challenging, because you're playing against other human decision makers. But, it's somehow less fun. Certain card interactions feel fair while others feel exploitative. Often players are unaware of why they feel this way, but they get the sense that something just isn't right.

Where we are now :

For a longer version, see the post by u/DukeMo here, but the key points that relate to this post are:

  • Too many possible synergies and good cards make tricolor decks the only viable option, along with one dual color (warrior). Spellsword, Monk, Archer, Scout, and Mage are all dead classes.

  • Too many cards exist that aren't fun to play against. Synergies have grown out of control, Ramp Warrior being a good example.

  • Creature trading, control of board, midrange decks are no longer relevant.

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We've seen the results of these in the game. Players are less engaged. Wait times for games are longer. Within the top posts on reddit, not one is within the last three months. And I don't have real data on the subject, but I feel as though more players quit games sooner, rather than play them out.

To be fair, I thought the Isle of Madness story mode was outstanding. It had about as much emotion and great storytelling as could possibly be done in a card game. It was fantastic! But the cards released and new mechanics did not help the PvP scene.

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Fortunately, I think it is possible to simultaneously salvage the competitive, expanded PvP scene as well as encourage veteran players to stay engaged.

The path forward :

I suggest the following three changes to The Elder Scrolls: Legends going forward.

  • Replace 'Casual' with 'Classic' as a game mode:

Classic mode would include only the expansions, stories, and promotional sets up to and including Clockwork City. Specifically: Madhouse, Heroes of Skyrim, Dark Brotherhood, and Clockwork City, along with Monthly cards up to that point.

It would provide a fun environment for veteran players that preferred the older style of play, as well as a simpler version of the game for newer players. There would be less effects (no rally, exalt, betray, or plot), and no double cards. Wins would count towards laddering.

There would be substantially less synergy as well. This would provide a more welcoming environment for new players and they would not be overwhelmed with the abundance of cards to choose from in deck building.

  • Expand character leveling and racial bonuses:

I'm honestly very surprised this hasn't been done so far, because I think every player remembers how exciting the early days of leveling up were. With each expansion to The Elder Scrolls Online, the max level cap for Champion Points has been increased. It now stands at 810 (I believe it was originally 270).

To start, I would suggest a new cap of level 250, with appropriate rewards spacing such as an epic card every 10 levels, a legendary card every 25, and an alternate art legendary every 50. These could be race specific to your avatar. Small amounts of soul gems and gold would fill the remaining levels.

In addition, I would suggest a small number of new avatar portraits for attaining level 250. There would be no need to record new voice lines or dialogue.

  • Inclusions for next expansion:
Read:  Unconventional tech choices versus cards that don't fit into a deck; matchmaking. Some thoughts.

Lastly, I would suggest two inclusions for the next expansion or story. A new keyword: Stoneskin and a new card restriction Noble.

Stoneskin would be a simple keyword for a few creatures. They would be immune to lethal. I think most of you have seen this effect in The Black Dragon. I think it provides an important counter to Telvanni and Ramp Warrior decks as well as strengthening mid-range. It could be limited to a handful of Yellow, and Purple or Blue cards initially to strengthen Mage and Spellsword decks.

Secondly, Noble would be a card keyword that essentially means: "Can only be played in dual color decks." I think a good, simple start would be to introduce 10 dual-color cards in the next expansion. One for each of the ten dual classes. These would be lore based and vary in strength related to the current meta. Crusader and Warrior would not need a significantly strong card, but Mage and Spellsword would.

With the transition to a Classic mode, an addition of more leveling, and possibly a change in the next expansion, I believe we would see both a substantial reinvestment from the current player base and the opportunity to attract newer players as well in a simpler environment.

I would appreciate your input.

Source: Original link


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