Veteran Rank 16 – Some Context
So by now most players will know that ZOS plans to increase the level cap to Veteran Rank 16 with Update 7. This planned change has caught a lot of players by surprise given the hints earlier in the year (and even in 2014) that Veteran Ranks would be removed entirely and replaced with a different system.
I have collected some of the community response to this decision, both positive and negative, along with some context information to understand the situation a little better. I am neither for nor against anything here and I don’t want to argue one way or the other in this article, just provide some context. I haven’t included everything there is to know about Veteran Ranks and I may have even forgotten something. You can comment below if you notice something I have missed.
Beta And Release
Way back in the time of the early beta there was no Veteran Ranks or Veteran System. This changed when players found that they could not travel to, or complete the quests of, the other Alliances. Players would be forced to create alternate characters to do these quests and could not complete them on one character. Players complained about this issue and ZOS took notice and attempted to find a way so that players could complete all of the content that ESO has to offer on a single character, if they want to.
The result was the introduction of the Veteran Ranks.
This system was added to the existing levels in a way so that once a character completes their home Alliance quests and zones they would move on and complete the other two Alliance quests and zones. Instead of adding tons of levels up to 150, ZOS opted for the Veteran Ranks instead. The Veteran Ranks would take a long time to level up because they had to last through all of the content in the other two Alliances which would typically level a character up 50 times.
The Veteran Ranks at this time used Veteran Points to level which were different and separate to normal XP gained. It took quite a while to gain enough Veteran Points to level all the way to Veteran Rank 10 which was the level cap at the time.
Craglorn was introduced in May 2014 and was an entirely new zone designed for high level groups. The update for Craglorn also included an increase of the level cap to Veteran Rank 12. The XP from completing Craglorn was designed to take a character to this new level cap. Players did begin to experience problems, however, as not everyone could find a group to complete Craglorn and felt left behind.
More and more players were beginning to notice the length of time it takes to level up Veteran Ranks as well. Making alternate characters also presented a problem as these characters had to repeat the same quests of all three Alliances just to get to Veteran Rank 10. This took a considerable amount of time. At this time the Veteran Rank zones were also much harder to complete than they are at the moment and on average monsters had higher Health and did more damage than they currently do now.
Veteran Rank Changes
In July 2014 ZOS announced that it would be doing a pretty big change to the Veteran Ranked zones to make them a little easier. This change was brought about because a number of players found that the Veteran Ranks were too much of a departure from levels 1 to 50 and became much more difficult. ZOS states that the Veteran Zones were designed to be completed with a group of other players, especially the World Bosses and Delves. In response ZOS changed the difficultly of all VR zones and reduced monsters Health and damage to facilitate solo players as well.
Update 4 And VR14
By the time that September 2014 came around the problems of the Veteran Ranks were well known. In Update 4, ZOS increased to level cap once again to Veteran Rank 14 but also reduced the amount of XP required to level those last 2 Veteran Ranks.
As you can see Update 4 also contained new content – Upper Craglorn, Dragonstar Arena and Sanctum Ophidia.
In October 2014 ZOS stated that Veteran Rank changes were in the works and would come in Update 5.
In October 2014 ZOS hosted a Guild Summit in which the leaders of 20 guilds and online communities were able to meet up and discuss the future of ESO. The Champion System was discussed here as the replacement to the Veteran Ranks. You can take a look at coverage of the Guild Summit on Tamriel Foundry and there are also videos and audio from the summit available on YouTube.
It was made clear that “the Champion System will be introduced later on, and at first both the Champion and Veteran Systems will co-exist for a short time, with the ultimate goal of replacing the Veteran System entirely”.
In November 2014 Update 5 was released and included Crafting Writs, scaled Group Dungeons and the removal of Veteran Points. The Veteran Ranks would now be gained through normal, regular XP like levels 1 to 50. The amount of XP to get a Veteran Rank was set at 1,432,550 XP.
Veteran Ranks were being integrated into the normal levels and the transition from level 1 to 50 was becoming smoother. As you can see the Champion System is being mentioned here. This was the system which was designed to take ESO away from Veteran Ranks and present a better, more horizontal and active levelling experience. Of course the Champion System would take time, so in the meantime Veteran Ranks would stay. It was also stated that in the beginning of the Champion System the Veteran Ranks would remain so as to ensure a smooth transition. All items in ESO have a level and removing the Veteran Ranks would cause a lot of problems with these systems.
In Patch 1.5.4 which went live near the end of November 2014, ZOS decreased the amount of XP needed to earn a Veteran Rank from 1,432,550 to just 1,000,000 XP.
Update 6 – The Champion System
Update 6 was a huge update that had many different features. The Justice System and the Champion System launched in this update along with a host of balance changes and system improvements. The Champion System turned out to be a system which exists on top of the Veteran Rank system and unlocks for characters when they reach Veteran Rank 1. This was part of the plan and eventually Veteran Ranks would be removed. The Champion System provided another method of character advancement to help players get through the Veteran Levels.
The Champion System turned out a little different to what some players were expecting and some members of the ESO community feel that the Champion System as it is forces players to grind monsters for long periods of time in order to stay ahead. Players also have expressed concerns that the power gap between a long time player and a relatively new player is widening to such an extent that new players will never be able to compete.
The introduction of XP potions was made in June 2015 with the Psijic Ambrosia. Some players feel that in order to compete they must grind monsters with the help of this potion in order to gain the most amount of Champion Points possible. There are also players who like the Champion System as it is and feel that it rightly rewards players who spend more time in ESO.
In Update 7 ZOS will add two more Veteran Ranks – 15 and 16 – and increase the level cap again. This is a temporary solution before the eventual removal of the Veteran Ranks in the future. A number of players were unhappy with this change as ZOS has repeatedly stated their intention to remove the Veteran Rank system altogether. It should be noted that Update 7 also includes a reduction in the XP it takes to level a Veteran Rank and increases to XP gained from Veteran quests, Public Dungeons and activity in Craglorn. These changes should, in fact, make levelling Veteran Ranks much easier for a lot of players even with the rise of the level cap.
ZOS has repeated that it is the long term plan to remove Veteran Ranks from ESO and design a better system of late game progression. They also realise that in order to make a system that works time is required and in the mean time they felt it was necessary to increase the level cap with the introduction of new content like the Imperial City.
It is safe to say that the most visible response to the introduction of VR 16 has been negative. Of course we can’t know what the majority of players thinks or feel as they are busy playing the game. Here is a selection from the community. These are just a selection of quotes from the articles or discussions not the full articles themselves.
The Veteran Rank System eliminates player choice in choosing to progress through the other faction content.
- You may not choose which factions content you do next.
- You may not choose to not do them.
- If you want to make a character in every faction and only do that factions content with them, it’s very inefficient because of the design of the Veteran Rank system.
- You are forced to progress through other faction content if you want to efficiently increase your power level through levelling up.
Within the same breath, Eric Wrobel said they still have long term plans of removing Veteran Ranks (VR), but for the new content they are increasing it by two, thus making end game VR 16. At this point, I think it’s clear that Veteran Ranks aren’t going away, ANYTIME in the future…
I have eight VR 14s and the problem I have with this isn’t the time investment to re-level all those characters, or the fully legendary gear, but the constant deception about not adding more Veteran Ranks.I have defended their decisions as a business model constantly but this is one I cannot ignore. Adding Veteran Ranks is not content, it’s busy work…
I don’t want to leave this game, this is my absolute favorite thing to do. I’ve have (not had) such an emotional attachment to the land of Tamriel that I won’t let it go just yet. But I’m not going to sit back and let another level increase happen without a true fix to the underlying problem, the Champion System.
Yes: 51 Votes / 44%
No: 48 Votes / 41%
Other: 16 Votes / 13%
Thanks for sharing some of the specific details from today’s show, Elijah_Crow. To clarify, the Veteran Rank increase is planned to roll out with the release of Imperial City.
We’ll talk more about the the Veteran Rank increase, including the newly added benefits and vision behind doing so, when we start going into specifics about Imperial City later this month.
Eric Wrobel has announced on ESO Live that the level cap is being increased to VR16 in Update 7. Twitch chat has gone into a frenzy.
There are, of course, tons more discussions, podcasts, responses and so forth going on right now. Feel free to have your say in the comments below.