Creative Director Rich Lambert Welcomes The Elder Scrolls Online Players to Summerset

The Elder Scrolls Online clearly does not have enough content or activities to keep fans busy, so Bethesda responded to this by announcing an expansion. Set in Summerset Isle, this is a location that is only familiar to the most old school fans of The Elder Scrolls. Hardcore Gamer recently got to spend some time in Summerset and were fortunate enough to sit down with creative director Rich Lambert to discuss some of what we could expect with this new content.

[Hardcore Gamer] Last summer’s expansion, Morrowind, was set in the location of The Elder Scrolls III. Where would fans of the series remember Summerset from?

[Rich Lambert] Summerset was the setting of The Elder Scrolls: Arena which came out in 1994 and it was an integral part of the main story, at one point in Arena you actually went to the Crystal Tower in Summerset but this location hasn’t been in any Elder Scrolls games since then.

With each expansion, in addition to the new location to explore, several other changes and updates tend to come with it which has transformed the game into something completely different since its launch in 2014.

It definitely is very different from its initial launch, that is something we’ve all been working very hard to achieve. Summerset is the new content, so the islands of Summerset and Artaeum. There is going to be new skill line. There is a new twelve player trial and new jewelry crafting line which is something players have asked for a lot. There are a ton of new items and places for players to explore to just continue and expand their adventures in Tamriel.

Earlier in your presentation you discussed the Psijic Order becoming playable in this expansion. We don’t have access to them today but what kind of stuff will come with their skill tress and abilities? 

They are masters of mysticism and time. They manipulate and bend magic so another really cool ability they are able to get is called Time Stop so its a ground targeted ability so you throw a big bubble on the ground and anyone that steps into the bubble slows down until time stops and are frozen in time for a few seconds. The idea behind the ability is it’s another kind of crowd control ability that allows you to manage the battlefield a little bit more in PvP when you’re fighting other players but also when you’re fighting swarms of monsters in PvE, which we have quite a bit of in ESO.

You mentioned an ability that is currently called Undo that rewinds time to four seconds ago. Will this ability be available during PvP play?

It will be, it is an ultimate ability so if you’re familiar with Elder Scrolls you earn ultimates slowly over time and various combat actions. It’s not a cheap ultimate, I believe it costs around 200 ultimate so it takes a while to build it but you’ll be able to use it, rewind back to four seconds ago and put your health, stamina and magicka back to where they were four seconds ago.

That’s going to be so fun in PvP.

It’s going to be interesting. It’s similar to the Nightblade Shade’s ability where you can run away and teleport back but this has the bonus of basically rewinding you back to your state.

I can see this being used right after the enemy unleashes a devastating attack and then cursing you and everything you stand for after undoing what could have been their key to victory.

Potentially. You’d have to use it before you die since it’s not a cheat death ability but it could be a cheat the brink of death ability.

When I was playing earlier I came across some creature called a vendryk, basically a unicorn with moose antlers that made me think of a mammalian triceratops. 

It’s a magical horse (laughs)

What other sort of creatures might be coming to Summerset?

There’s a few new additions. Griffins will play a big part in overall lore and story. They are used as protectors of the island so there will be an elite force of griffin riders called the Welkynar. Griffins are a big part, we have the yogra, which are an aquatic based monster type that have been summoned to the island. We have vendryk that you mentioned, they are native to Summerset and we have a few other critters. We also have a really special monster I don’t want to talk about yet and spoil it, but it’s something Elder Scrolls fans will love.

Jumping back to the jewelry crafting, what all will this new feature entail?

Jewelry fits into our item sets so right now if you were a crafter there are fourteen different items you can use to fit your paper doll slots like your weapons and visual armor. Jewelry is a part of that, it won’t reflect visually on your character but it will help you fill out those sets. With jewelry crafting you can craft jewelry to fit in those set and also upgrade existing jewelry you’re wearing. On top of that jewelry in our game now are basically stat sticks, they add health, stamina or magicka, and we’ve added in six new traits on top of that give you more options. One of these new traits is Bloodthirsty which is basically an executioner trait where you do more damage to targets at lower health, so as a target’s health decreases your damage increases which makes more of an interesting mechanic.

It sounds really brutal actually.

It is, if they allow their health to get down to a low level you can easily kick the snot out of them.

Could you create an ability to nullify that, such as increasing defense as health decreases?

There is a new armor trait for jewelry where you can add more armor to the jewelry to help defend against that and there are a few other new abilities that will factor into group play. It’s going to be really cool once it gets implemented.

Out of everything new that is coming with Summerset, what part of it are you most excited about?

For me I am really excited about getting to explore the high elf lore and the story. You don’t really get that in Orisinium which is part of the base game because it wasn’t just high elves, it was just a trading hub everyone went to and Summerset has been closed off. This gives us the opportunity to let the players just go in and explore and see how cool the elves are and masterful they are at all things they do without them doing that I’m a snooty high elf thing they do. That to me is the most interesting.

Kind of piggybacking off that and I think I know the answer, I’m going to take a stab and assume that like the other Elder Scrolls games there is going to be a virtual library that covers the lore of high elves and Summerset scattered the new areas where players can spend hours just reading new books.

Absolutely, that is a thing that is core to the Elder Scrolls experience. The other core part to that is stories are told from multiple angles and there is contradictory lore. You can read a book that says so and so won this battle and then read another book from someone on the other side claiming their own victory in that battle.

I’ve noticed that in previous games, I’d read something and have to think for a second if I was remembering incorrectly or if one of these books is lying.

It’s absolutely intentional. It’s part of why Elder Scrolls feels so realistic, the winners tend to write the history books in the real world and there is some fudge factor in there so we play that up in the games so there’s always multiple accounts.

So you have to wonder when you find an account of events in a text book that contradict a discarded handwritten note, is the note some ramblings of a mad man or is it the true account of what really happened in a revised history book.

That’s what’s so entertaining about it.

The Elder Scrolls: Online is scheduled for a release on June 5 on PC, Xbox One and PlayStation 4. For more information about the game please read our preview.