The Elder Scrolls Online Preview: It’s Like Skyrim – Online
I ran a few public solo dungeons while I was a noob, but didn’t level far enough to join an instanced dungeon designed for a full group. The devs ran one for us and allowed us to observe, however. Groups in TESO are composed of four players. Unlike other games, the holy trinity of tank plus healer plus dps does not hold here. While someone with a tank spec may be of help, having one is not entirely necessary. In fact, even if you have a dedicated tank, the mobs are designed so that he can’t keep the attention of every enemy. Some creatures will slip through to attack the other players, no matter what the tank does.
Creature AI is even more sophisticated than that. Many mobs are designed to work together if they randomly cross paths. For example, if a nature spirit comes across a woodland creature like a wolf, it will enslave that wolf’s mind, then augment its abilities to make it faster, stronger and tougher. That wolf will then guard the nature spirit from attacks. Creatures in the wild have other tricks as well: I saw two necromancers perform a quick ritual when attacked that transformed one of them into a much stronger undead creature. If you don’t stop the ritual, you are in for a much tougher fight.
But just like there’s enemy synergy, there’s also player synergy. In the dungeon run, we saw one player drop a nova fire spell at the foot of a powerful creature. When a second player approached the nova, he got an indicator to interact with it and when he did, it exploded, taking out a good chunk of the mob’s health with it. Once players know what synergies to look for, you’ll be seeing a lot of this being used to their advantage.
The dungeon we saw was the level 15 instance Spindlecloth Clutch. As the name implies, its infested with spiders — lots of spiders, including half-human spider boss mobs from your worst nightmares. The job of your group is to investigate what has happened to another group of adventurers that went into the dungeon, with most failing to return. Along the way, you meet many variations of horrible spiders, including a type that consumes the corpses of its fallen comrades during the fight for extra health. Even worse, if it eats one of its own, you lose the loot on the consumed carcass. And we all know what happens to ninjalooters….
The mini-boss and boss fights in the dungeon were a combination of area attacks to avoid and adds to manage. Taking advantage of player synergies seemed to be the only way to survive.
There will be 16 four-man instanced dungeons available at launch, plus public dungeons. No announcements have been made yet on raid or end-game content, except for assurances that the information will be coming soon.