The game director for The Elder Scrolls Online, Matt Firor, has said one of the things the team working on the MMO wanted to avoid was the ‘punish the player syndrome.’ Speaking with Game Informer, Firor said that while most MMOs are starting to move away from such things, one example he provided was giving full credit and rewards to both players for a monster kill. “In older MMOs, one player would be rewarded and the other player punished, and with the next generation [of MMOs] the players would split the rewards,” he said. “With TESO, the team encourages players to fight together, meet up, and interact. “That is how you make friends in an online game.”
Another design philosophy the team wanted to implement was to deliver content to the player, “without them even knowing they were being delivered content. For instance, you go an area of the game and see this ruined tower off to the left and a town ahead of you. With most MMOs, players have been taught to ignore the cool looking tower and instead head to the town where someone will eventually tell you to go to the ruined tower,” he explained. “To me that’s dumb. The Elder Scrolls games, and even TESO, you see see something interesting, you go over there, and you find something interesting to do. In fact, it might even be a long series of quests. You get something to do right then and there and you get rewarded for it and then you can go to the town. You don’t have to do things in an certain order.” A link to the full interview can be found here.
The Elder Scrolls Online is expected to launch in 2013.