The Elder Scrolls Online devs discuss bugs, black market in "state of the game" address

The Elder Scrolls Online just pretend those snakes are bugs

While heroes across Tamriel journey to reclaim their souls from that jerk Molag Bal in The Elder Scrolls Online , the MMO's devs have kept to their own quest to vanquish lingering glitches and loopholes such as a pretty serious duping exploit and the dreaded Spell of Disappearing Bank Items . In a message posted today on the official forums, director Matt Firor addressed these issues and other problems in a general evaluation of TESO's current state and the studio's plans for improving it.

One highly visible aspect of TESO's gold-farmer invasion is the presence of bot groups sitting right on top of boss monster spawns in open dungeons to constantly gather high-quality loot and gold. Partly at issue is the game's open-tapping system, where any player can hit a monster once or twice and benefit from full experience and looting privileges. Beyond banning reported bot accounts, Zenimax is still figuring out a long-term solution—its latest proposal is a loot lockout timer that's drawn heated debate over its potential to hamper character progression.

"I play the game every day; I see [bots] too, and yes, they drive me crazy," Firor wrote. "We have had a daily running battle with them ever since the game launched, and we continue to take measures to keep them away from players, even when it isn't always apparent that we are."

Firor also revealed black market reports account for nearly 85 percent of calls and emails sent to the game's customer support team. It's a good sign of an active community stepping up to do its part to banish the gold-selling affliction out of Tamriel for good, but all the reports are also stretching the response time for open tickets to a lengthy wait—another concern Firor is aware of.

The recently discovered duping bug—a simple procedure of cloning stacks of items using guild banks—hasn't affected TESO's economy, Firor claimed. "We did turn off guild banks to limit the spread of the problem, but that was only until we put up a new version of the game that fixed the exploit later that evening," he explained. It'd be nice to see a more thorough description of how Zenimax detects which items were duped or not, as it's rather easy to launder copied crafting materials through secondary accounts and the sale of crafted items using said materials.

Firor concluded with the announcement of an updated version of the game soon appearing on testing servers with numerous fixes and adjustments to class abilities and item balance. Craglorn , the first adventure zone, will also appear for Veteran-ranked guilds to try out 12-man raid content and 4-man dungeon challenges.

Omri Petitte

Omri Petitte is a former PC Gamer associate editor and long-time freelance writer covering news and reviews. If you spot his name, it probably means you're reading about some kind of first-person shooter. Why yes, he would like to talk to you about Battlefield. Do you have a few days?