Hodor’s World First vHoF HM Highlights A Big Problem With The PTS | TES: Unplugged Ep05

    On today's episode, I discuss the possible fallout and ramifications of Hodor's earth-shattering World First achievement, and what it may mean for the future of ESO's end-game PvE scene.


    The Elder Scrolls Online: Morrowind and Patch 3.0 launched for PC/Mac on Monday morning, and before most players were able to finish downloading the patch, World #1 PvE Guild “Hodor” had already managed to snag the World First clear of the new Halls of Fabrication trial – and they knocked it out on Hard Mode, to boot.

    Congratulations, Hodor!

    First off – I want to make sure to congratulate Hodor on their World First accomplishment. A “World First” is a big deal, no matter how you slice it – and I know their guild has been spending a lot of time preparing for this content on the Public Test Server over the past five weeks, so it’s worth applauding their feat!

    That being said, however, seeing the brand new, cornerstone End-Game PvE content, which players have been waiting for for more than a calendar year, be completed so quickly is certainly alarming. This new trial – Halls of Fabrication – was designed to be the hardest piece of content in the entire game, and yet a guild has managed to clear it on it’s hardest difficulty before most players had even finished downloading the new patch. I think that warrants a bit of a discussion.

    Players Should Not Be Able To Test Veteran Trials On The PTS

    The main reason why top-level guilds like Hodor are able to clear this content so quickly when the content hits the live servers is entirely due to the fact that, in all reality, this race was effectively over nearly a month ago – on the Public Test Server. Most players in the major PvE guilds in The Elder Scrolls Online have had access to this new trial, and all of its mechanics, and on all difficulty levels, for five entire weeks now – and multiple guilds had already cleared the content on the PTS before Patch 3.0 went live.

    This, to me – and to many other end-game PvE players and fans of PvE content in general – presents a problem: in many other games of this genre, the “World First” and “Server First” races are a big deal, to be taken extremely seriously. When it comes to end-game PvE content, the most important question is, “who did it first?” – especially in titles with massive, high-end raiding scenes. Veteran Halls of Fabrication, and its associated “Hard Mode” difficulty, are things that are supposed to be designed, fundamentally, to take weeks, and in some cases months, to complete, and that becomes particularly true when a new trial or raid isn’t released more than once every year or longer.

    Difficult, well designed content, and a community of rival players and guilds engaging in friendly competition to see who can complete this type of content is the hallmark of great End-Game PvE content design. Having truly hard raids ensures that the content stays meaningful, and fostering an environment in which players are encouraged to compete for notoriety, pride and bragging rights whenever a new trial is released is healthy for a game. Having that race be non-existent because a few folks were able to figure everything out and farm the new trial on the PTS for weeks before launch is not.

    On today’s show, I sit down and offer my reaction to the news of Hodor’s shockingly-fast World First clear, and attempt to explain why I believe that ESO‘s developer team may need to make some hard decisions when it comes time to launch their next new Trial.


    1. What you need to take into account is the fact that vMoL seems harder than vHoF for the sole reason of how long it took to beat it. MoL was bug-ridden and a complete crash-fest for the entire time it was on PTS. This was not the case for vHoF which in turn made it easier to nail mechanics and build strategies faster. For a while, 2nd and last boss of MoL were unbeatable. When the time came to push vMoL HM, that was nearly unbeatable aswell – not because of mechanics, but because of bugs.

      HoF is just way better designed right off the bat – albeit it doesn’t have the same level of unforgiving mechanics like curses on 1st boss MoL, colors on 2nd boss MoL and panthers on 3rd boss MoL. HoF is just as difficult in my opinion, it just wasn’t as buggy as MoL thus making it SEEM easier than it truthfully is.

      • That’s fair, though that really isn’t my main point. I wasn’t all that thrilled about MoL’s testing either, even though those bugs were absolutely atrocious. I’m mostly concerned with ZOS making difficult content gated in a way so that everyone accesses it at the same time across platforms – the bulk of the testing should be done by QA, and players should only have limited access to mechanics or boss encounters at the absolutely most.

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