ESO: Companion app

Introduction

The idea is a mobile app that will allow players to access parts of Elder Scrolls Online while away from their PC/console. It should be made clear from the start that this is not a way to play ESO on a mobile device. Instead its more about managing your account and to some extent your individual characters. While some of the features described below may be built by third parties, the app does need to be built by the ESO team as you will be logging into your actual account and some of the features would require changes to the game itself. Many of the features allow the player to earn experience points and income while they are away from the game – but not a significant amount that it would undermine the game itself.

There are two operating modes for the app. Online and offline and they refer to whether your character is actively playing the game or not. While you are running through the forests of Tamriel, the app would flag you as Online (and record the character you are using as the active character) and while you are logged out of Tamriel the app will flag you as offline (and you can manually select what chacater should be the active character – where applicable). The app focuses more on offline features but because you are logged into your account, it can act as an additional screen which can display player data, such as the map – which is particularly useful for console players. An indicator will be present on all screens to show which mode you are in and which character you have active.

As most mobile devices can be rotated, there are two views – portrait and landscape and the features available on the screen may change depending on the view. Where possible details will be supplied for both. In some sections, rotation may be disabled, keeping portarit mode as the primary view.

The app should support push notifications, so when you get a mail in the game you are notified on the app and you can view it immediately. Other custom notifications could also be created, such as alerting the player when a research timer completes or you sell an item. Server status messages are pushed to the mobile device, letting players know of maintenance or any server issues. These can be toggled on and off in the settings menu.

While there is still a lot of work to be done on voice recognition, switching to different sections within the app or the ability to execute a few commands could be very useful. One example of this is when the app is being used as a second screen and both of your hands are tied up playing the game itself. Custom voice responses (from the game characters) can be selected in the settings menu – giving the app a pseudo-personality. Additional personalities could be added later as an an upgrade.

Users will need to authenticate (Touch ID) to use app, which is the equivalent of entering username and password in the game. This ensures someone using the device doesn’t interfere with the ESO account.

The primary demographic would ESO+ members.

Offline Mode

1. Character Management

In portrait mode a 3D model of players character is available, similar to the current character select screen.  Landscape mode allows for pets and mounts to be see too (if present). Character can be rotated and behaves in the same manner as seen in game,, additionally shaking the device upsets the character and will generate a unique animation . Armour, and costumes are visible and show how your character will look in game. A few interactions are available:

  • Emotes : Choose from the in-game emotes to animate the character and have them perform various actions which can be recorded and saved to the devices gallery.
  • Armour : Access to the characters bank is not available as you are not logged in, but you can remove armour to show body markings/skins by force touching.
  • Background image : With the introduction of housing, you can see your own house as the background for this, or choose from a list of predefined images (possibly linked to content that has been completed). A blank version should be available, so the character animations can be edited in ‘green screen’ mode.
  • Mounts : While in landscape mode both the character and pet can be displayed, but in portrait mode only one is visible at a time, to save space.
  • Pets : With both pets and mounts, there is the option to switch it out with another from the collections and save that change, so the next time that character is loaded, the new pet or mount is used. Mount and pet animations can be activated in this screen.
  • Costumes / Polymorphs : Change the appearance of the character by adding a costume from collections. Inventory wont be accessible, so only items from collections.
  • Character editing : If the player has a service token that allows for race changes or rebuilding of the character they can be taken to the character editing screen.
  • Character stats : Detailed stats on the character, including a graphical representation of the various research timers that may be active and the status of your hirelings (showing how long until your next mail will arrive), how long until you will next be enlightened and any other buffs. Notifications can be set for these timers.
  • Set active : Active that character or select another character from your list of characters.
  • Zoom : Focus on various parts of the image/screen.

Character data can be exported to the mobile device in a number of formats.

2. House listing

This section displays houses you own, without actually entering the property. It can be sorted in a number of different ways. Statistics related to the house are visible, showing how many items have been placed in the home (and thus how many spaces are available) as well as new statistics like number of visitors, total value of house with custom furniture pieces added and possible comments made by visitors.

Mentioned in a previous post, was the idea of renting extra houses (but not your primary residence) to NPC’s as a way to earn extra income (provided certain requirements were met – such as having the landlord title/achievement). This section allows the management of a players house(s) and tenants.

Permissions can be set, allowing you to control access to your home without having to login to the account

3. Market trends

All sales in the game are added to a blockchain. That data can be analysed by app to show current trends, displayed in graphs and charts to make it easier to understand.

Additionally, NPC merchants will now pay much higher rates for certain items to stimulate the economy. These items are normally craft-able goods, giving crafter as much more prominent role in the game. NPC’s may also require sets from dungeons encouraging players to find that particular item.

History of your sales, guild sales, can be extracted from the blockchain and displayed.

Data from the blockchain can be exported for further analysis with an upgrade to player account and agreement with Zenimax.

4. Guild/friend management

Very similar to the existing guild/friend interface, showing you who is online in each guild, where they are and some other basic information about each player. This section also provides the option to edit the guild message of the day and promote/demote members and manage the guild. Personal notes can be added and players can be linked to the address book or social media. Guild events can be created and added to the device calendar and shared with other members (or pushed out of the calendars like Guild Launch, Facebook and Google).

A list of previous guild trader bids is available from this section.

Guild chat can accessed from here, allowing players to interact with guild members even though when are not logged in. Integration with TeamSpeak/Discord possible if the app is also installed on the mobile device.

Notifications can be added to alert player when friends/guild mates are online.

5. Item database (available from search/links, not its own section)

A listing of items available in game, showing their stats, traits and other properties. Linked to from the payer sales history and when items are linked in chat or from the inventory mode when player is logged into the game.

Items in the users bank, guild bank or sales history are flagged.

Player can adjust item settings to display item in different levels and can add extra information like recent sales (taken from the market trends) or average price. This can be sent to chat or sent to the devices gallery in an image format.

6. Household Staff

Once a player has acquired the landlord achievement/title they can begin to add staff to their houses. These staff members can be deployed out to various tasks from the home or from the mobile app. The status of the tasks can be monitored from the app. The staff members will often be seen wondering around the house when you are logged in, along with hiring NPC who will occasionally show up to deliver their mails.

  • Chef / Alchemist : Can be tasked with creating a specified quantity of any recipe you know know, so each day the player is provided those items. This task uses items from your bank, if not present the task will fail. Successful completion of the task will show a mail with players chosen recipe in the mail.
  • Farmer : Deployed to a designated area on the map and will harvest nodes in that area returning to house a regular intervals. Works in conjunction with market trends to see which areas are producing high quality nodes. Works in conjunction with survey report to fetch those items. Works in conjunction with crafting  (and can buff hireling to return slightly higher quantities)

7. Sidekick (Pet)

A new type of optional pet that can be unlocked through the housing quest line. Located in primary residence (it does not travel with player – meaning the player needs to return to the house regularly), it needs to be fed (like a Tamagotchi) and will generate quests for the player on a daily basis. If it is kept happy it provides a small experience buff to the player when they are online. If it is neglected the buff decreases. Feeding and satisfaction levels can be managed from the house or from the mobile app and will provide experience points (so players can earn experience points even when they are not logged in).

Different different pets are available for each race, they require different food and will require different treatment. Some pets are high maintenance, while others don’t need a lot of attention.

As the pet levels up so does the bonus it provides. It can be customized as it levels up, with its own items from crown store or in-game rewards.

When logged in and accessing the pet from inside the player house, the pet can initiate daily quests.

Note: Additional mobile device games can be added using the pet as the main character, as a way to earn XP without the player logging in. Bluetooth battles with other app users, where the device feeds the results back to the server to increase your XP or games running locally on the devices itself.

8. Crown Store

Access to the crown store from the mobile device. Purchases are sent to the player in the mail. Mobile app also has the ability to add crowns to player account directly via Apple Pay (Android Pay, etc).

Crown store preview will displayed in the same character screen discussed above and emotes can be applied to character.

9. Mail

Access to the players mail. If no character has been set as the active character, items will be sent to the personal bank. If no space is available, the option to retrieve the attachments is disabled.

Additional mail features are also available [described below in the online section].

Online Mode

1. Map

When logged in a player can use the mobile app as a mini map. Players position on the map is displayed in real time. Coordinates are shown. Survey reports, treasure chests can be marked on the map and saved for reuse later. Tapping on the map can set a rendezvous point for group.

PVP maps are shown and updated as they would be in the game. Recent battles can be seen on the map. PVP messages (like scroll captures) can be displayed only on mobile device or displayed on both.

Heat map shows where you have spent most of your time and which areas of the map you have not explored.

Filters are available for features like points of interest, way shrines, etc.

2. Quest log/diary

Players can display the quest log when they are logged, with the updates showing their progress in real time. Quests can be sorted by location, completion status, difficulty status, time to complete. Quests which reward skill points are highlighted.

Quests can link to map.

Quest history is also shown – recording the date and time each quest was completed and the reward that was obtained. This is linked to achievements and major milestones (PVP ranks, every 100 champion points, competition of major guild quests) are highlighted.

Number of hours played is shown as live figure updating in real time. Can be displayed as a chart.

Guild events can be added to diary. Guild sales can be seen in chronological order.

PVP campaigns can be seen as quests and leaderboards/campaign results/timers can be seen, alongside standard cyrodial and imperial city quests.

Kill history can seen, a record of who you have killed in PVP and who has killed you in PVP (last 1000 kills only, although additional data can be downloaded from server). Data can be exported to the mobile device for greater analysis.

3. Achievements

Players can see the status of their achievements in real time. Achievements can be shared to social media.

4. Guild chat

Guild chat and zone chat can be displayed on the mobile device, or displayed on both. Integration with TeamSpeak/Discord if application is present on device (and user is logged in). Can copy and paste from mobile device OS. Voice to text option available.

5. Mail

Players can access their mails from the mobile device while logged in. Additional mailbox functionality added, like auto return, auto-accept. Mails can be scheduled and sent to custom lists.

6. Group control

When grouped, players can see details from other group members, similar to the in-game group menu. Group members are also visible on the map.

Group finder is not available from the app. Players can leave the group from the app.

Considerations

The main purposes of the app is to allow people to stay connected to the game even when they cannot be playing it. With the few extra features it could allow people to add a passive income, so they are constantly generating gold and earning experience points.

Having multiple extra connections may place some additional load on the servers, but as they are not actual playing the game, hopefully this is quite a small load. A mobile server could be added just to handle these connections and query the ESO system as needed.

The iPhone/iPad would be the ideal device, but hopefully it would be possible to implement on Android device too.

Moving much of the content like sales to a blockchain and allowing users to access that data would have many benefits itself.  It would be a large dataset and as ESO is a virtual world it would be an interesting research subject too.

Other apps

The sidekick can have its own games once it has been created. It is a virtual pet and it could be deployed in other apps to earn your account XP.

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