Modding Elder Scrolls games is a PC gaming tradition, and ZeniMax's Elder Scrolls Online will allow adventuring wizards and warriors to travel Tamriel with combat and questing UI addons when it launches on April 4. However, the latest beta update has locked down tracking of incoming damage and ability sources, a change that has many in the ESO community upset at the reduced effectiveness of addons.
The full patch notes are available on Reddit (opens in new tab) , but in a nutshell, addons can no longer display information involving incoming damage, buffs, spell types, and cast sources. Outgoing events such as your character's damage and spell casts stay unaffected, but this predictably hampers players wishing to constantly be aware of their character's status without having to pull up additional menus.
"There was no reason to remove information being displayed," writes one commenter in the Reddit thread. "This is a huge step back!"
"This is the product of people complaining about what addons can and can't do," remarks another. "I wish [ZeniMax] went more towards a middle ground."
The reaction isn't all negative, though, particularly from PvP players.
"I support these changes," says one. "It means that ZeniMax has a very specific vision for the way they want combat to work, and these changes mean that they aren't afraid to enforce their vision," says one.
ZeniMax devs responded to numerous questions regarding the addon changes in an AMA (opens in new tab) held earlier today, with Creative Director Paul Sage stating (opens in new tab) "obfuscation isn't the goal."
"Our goal is to keep the information in world as much as possible," he went on. "Many people have trouble following different pieces of information coming at them from all over the screen, and as you may know, our goal is to rely more on in-world information than UI. As far as the API changes trying to obscure information, that was never the goal. It was only the goal to prevent information not readily available to everyone being put in addons."
Sage also stressed the changes as a means to equalize the amount of information access possessed between players using addons and those using the stock interface.
"As our API was in beta, it exposed certain functions that made macro programs much easier to abuse," he explained (opens in new tab) . "Also, there were functions which were exposed that let the API display information not readily available to the normal game client, thus making some players feel they would be forced to use addons to remain competitive.
"While we are very aware this was going to hurt some add-ons, we felt these decisions were necessary. We certainly tried to keep in things which would still allow for damage numbers to be seen, and what was happening to your character to be seen. As we get deeper into launch, we can always re-evaluate what is available and what isn't."
The Elder Scrolls Online's launch is only a few weeks away, so be sure to check out our latest impressions (opens in new tab) on the attempt to move a renowned single-player RPG series into the massively multiplayer domain.