The Elder Scrolls Online dev ZeniMax Online is taking inspiration from classic MMOs and plans to bring back public dungeons, a feature popularised by EverQuest.
Speaking to Edge as part of the mag's latest cover feature, game director Matt Firor said TESO aims to marry the questing and levelling template of second-generation MMOGs like World of Warcraft with classic features and elements found only in first-generation ones.
"If anybody's played MMOGs for a long time, they'll know that the very first generation had public dungeons," he said. "Public dungeons were my favourite thing about EverQuest, in fact, and I can't think of an MMOG since then that's had them.
"When you think back to the fun MMOG moments in the first generation, it's standing there, terrified, in an enclosed space, waiting for someone to come along and save you. We can't do that punitive gameplay that they did in those days, but we can put people together in places where they want to work with others."
Firor explained that public dungeons are a key factor in facilitating social interactions within the game world as opposed to through user-interfaces.
"They're basically a space that's designed for people who are not grouped together to go into to fight," he said. "It's a great place for people to connect with other players and they're very important to us, although we still have instanced private dungeons and end-game raid dungeons for groups of up to six players too.
"Each one of these public dungeons is soloable, however, and there are a lot of them, but they're also dangerous. Lots of creatures, very close together. Basically, if you solo it, you'll need to find a place to heal, and then you might find another player there who's exactly like you, and needs help, and then you can fall in together. You'll have met someone that, hopefully, you'll want to stick around with later on."
Zenimax Online plans to ensure Elder Scrolls Online won't be buggy by running a lengthy beta test.