New Elder Scrolls Online details revealed on campaign play and guild roles

Patrick Carlson at

The more we hear about The Elder Scrolls Online, the more massive it sounds. But we're also getting more insight into how the MMORPG will balance the experience of navigating its ambitiously designed world. Campaigns, the possibly months-long battles between the game's three alliances for control of Cyrodiil, will feature "soft caps" on player participation, according to a new Ask Us Anything with ESO developers.

The soft cap represents an initial step to balance the faction warfare, but from what the developers say below, there's still a good chance you can help out a buddy in need when the time comes.

"There’s room for overflow that will allow you to join your friends or guild members in an otherwise full campaign, but eventually there is a hard limit to that," wrote the developers. "You’ll be able to join campaigns with your friends, but we want to ensure that an alliance can’t bring too many additional combatants in and hurt the overall balance."

Helpfully it looks like all the political shenanigans that will govern the struggle for domination through the campaign system won't extend to at least two of ESO's famous guilds, the fighters and the mages. It seems they prefer to sit on the sidelines counting their bounty payouts and hunting for dusty books somewhere.

"Neither of these guilds take sides in the ongoing conflict in Cyrodiil," the ESO developers explain. "They prefer to focus their resources towards solving problems that are, in their eyes, more important, such as fighting Daedra and recovering lore on the brink of destruction."

And in a way that opens play rather than narrowing it for the sake of balance, any member of any alliance can join up with the fighters or mages, according to the developers. We've heard before about certain "rare locales" for solo wanderers, so it makes sense that guilds will also have their own particular part to play in the ESO universe. For more information on player names and lock-picking, take a look at the full Q&A.