An overview of ZeniMax's in development MMO from a Q&A held for a select few at the company's studios
There will also be completely automated choices made for you if you wish. One feature, ostensibly called "Friendly Faces" would recognize if you have been playing in a group doing a raid for an extended time and deduce you might wish to play with them again, thereby placing you in the same "game area."
Not all of the decisions regarding where you will play will be automatic. If you wish to play where a different friend is, you will be able to click on his name and go to him.
I asked the devs for confirmation that this would mean large scale instancing and they indeed confirmed that instances would be generated to encompass the entire game world, each one populated by players according to their play preference, friends and guilds. No server transfers — and therefore fees — required.
Matt Firor outlined how this system removes the problems faced by shard based games, particularly in regard to server population:
"You don't have to worry about queues; you don't have to worry about "Is this server unpopulated? Will it become unpopulated? Is it going to be merged?" None of this will exist in our game."
"The Most Socially Connected MMO Ever"
TESO will be keyed into the most popular social networking platforms. For example, you will be able to import your Facebook page to your TESO account and that will set up an in-game friends list for you to keep track of that will allow you to easily group with them. A very cool functionality of this integration is that if you create a guild on Facebook before the game launches, you will be able to import it at launch. This should streamline a lot of the clunkiness that happens in guild recruitment for games pre-launch.
Your in-game friends list would produce a wall on which you would see their recent activities and achievements, giving you the option to send a congratulatory — or bitterly resentful — message.
You will be able to be in multiple guilds, the Circles idea of G+ that was mentioned as the inspiration for the system. Bringing social network concepts to the game was a very explicit drive for the design approach to TESO.
There was a promise of similar levels of integration for Twitter and Google Plus but no firm details for their inclusion were available just yet.
Crafting for Masters and Dabblers
One of the joys of Elder Scrolls game is hunting through every drawer, wardrobe, sack and box for goods. This continues in TESO, with the idea that cities are just as useful for gaining resources as running out into the wilderness, something not usually seen in MMOs.
Players will be able to dabble in all of the the crafts, but will need to focus on one to be a true master. There will be a universal trading system to drive the economy and sell the fruits of your crafting labors.