Elder Scrolls Online Thieves Guild Interview with Matt Firor

Before the release of the Elder Scrolls Online Thieves Guild DLC we were given the opportunity to interview Matt Firor, the game’s Director about Thieves Guild. As a result all the questions below were framed and phrased in a way that reflects the timing that was expected for the release of this article. Though Thieves Guild has now released we hope you still find it enlightening and entertaining. Our special thanks to Matt Firor for taking time out of his busy schedule to speak with us.


For those who have yet to learn about this new DLC, can you summarize the features that we can expect from it?

MF: Thieves Guild is the third DLC available for Elder Scrolls Online. It has everything you would expect from a Thieves Guild storyline in an Elder Scrolls game: an organization based on thievery to join, political problems, new sneaking-based gameplay elements, and overall, a reason to steal items from NPCs and fence them at Outlaw Refuges. It also has a new Trial, Maw of Lorkhaj, a new zone (Hew’s Bane, in Hammerfell), and a new larceny-based set of repeatable quests.


How much of the new content will be available to new and low level players?

MF: All ESO DLC scales the player to the level of the content, so players of any level can enjoy the new adventures. This also allows players of any level to group together, so long as they are in the DLC zone.


How much of the content if any, will be gated in some way?

MF: There are no content gates in Thieves Guild – you are free to play all of it from the beginning.

Having a new zone that has not been in any previously Elder Scrolls title opens the game up for a high level of freedom for the development team. How have you handled the freedom in contrast to sticking true to lore and zones that we have encountered before?

We’re still creating content in Tamriel, so we don’t go too far afield. Most of the continent is mapped out already and lore is established for our timeline, so we know the parameters of what exists in our timeline. We also already have another Hammerfell zone in the game (Alik’r Desert), so we have established art styles and cultural references.


What was it that led you to choose Hew’s Bane as the new zone?

MF: Hammerfell is cool! Seriously, the Redguard are a great culture to explore and this semi-abandoned area of southern Hammerfell makes a great place for a decadent merchant city – perfect as background for a story for Thieves Guild.


The assistants coming with the DLC will act as your personal merchants, bankers or fencers. You say that they stay by your side even when in combat. How long will they stay be your side once summoned? Can we expect them to evolve in any way or possibly turn into fighting companions in the future?

MF: Assistants are notoriously wary of fighting and will not help you in combat. We don’t foresee that changing any time soon.


With thievery being a huge part of the new content, will the justice system be changed in any way or is this simply a new way to introduce the thievery system?

MF: Exactly, Thieves Guild brings a meaning and purpose for the Justice System. All these months, you have been freelancing by stealing stuff and fencing it – now with Thieves Guild, you have an organization to join that pays you to do it for them, which rewards you even more.


Many players are excited about the heists coming with the DLC due to sneaking around being a big part of the Elder Scrolls series. Do these missions rely completely on thievery skills and sneaking or will they combine combat elements as well?

MF: To get all the bonuses for completing a Heist, you will have to sneak – but there’s nothing stopping you from killing everyone and just taking the items afterwards. You won’t be rewarded as much, but it is still a valid way to complete the Heist.


What can you tell us about the story with Thieves guild DLC? Will there be one extended plot or will it be broken into shorter storylines?

MF: It is one complete story, but you are introduced to new characters, many of which have side quests. Also, there are quests and areas to explore that have nothing to do with the main story, and are there just for fun and exploration.


How much game time can players expect from the new story content?

MF: About 8-10 hours of story quests, but the DLC quickly introduces you to Larceny Quests, which are repeatable and take you back to older areas of the game to complete missions. This includes Heists, the new type of daily quest where you sneak to avoid detection and steal from warehouses and other locations in Tamriel.


The new 12-player Trial: The Maw of Lorkhaj is coming in both normal and veteran with leader scaling. Will we see this for all the trials in the future, or possibly retroactively on older trials?

MF: Absolutely; it is our plan to give all our Trials (old and new) normal and veteran modes – with level scaling. This has been very successful with dungeons so far, and we expect this will lower the bar a bit for less hardcore players being able to complete Trials.


How is the future looking for ESO? With thieving finally being a big part of the game, can you tell us anything about the upcoming Dark Brotherhood DLC at this point?

MF: We could not be happier with how ESO is doing – we have a ton of players, we are adding new content, and we’re moving full speed ahead. Dark Brotherhood is coming next, but we’re concentrating on Thieves Guild right now – we’ll talk more about Dark Brotherhood after the dust has settled from the Thieves Guild launch.


Our thanks once again to Matt. The Elder Scrolls Online Thieves Guild DLC is now available for purchase in the Crown Store.

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About Shannon Doyle

Shannon first discovered MMOs in 1999 when she picked up the newly launched Everquest. This started a lifelong love affair with online gaming that has taken her around the world and brought her to MMOGames.com. While she still pines for the streets of Paragon, the City of Heroes, today she spends most of her gaming time walking across Tyria in Guild Wars 2, roleplaying with anyone who says hello.