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Elder Scrolls Online dev battles black market

Causes 85 per cent of customer service complaints.

Elder Scrolls Online developer ZeniMax Online Studios has given a progress update on its work behind-the-scenes of the fledgling MMO, a little over two weeks since its PC launch.

That's not supposed to happen.

In a "State of the Game Address" to players on the game's official forum, ZOS boss Matt Firor wrote of the developer's ongoing war against black market activity in the game - a problem that now accounts for up to 85 per cent of customer service calls and emails.

"Please know that we are doing everything we can to combat the gold spammers and bots - especially ones that 'camp' dungeon bosses," Firor wrote. "I play the game every day; I see them too, and yes, they drive me crazy."

Developers have faced a "daily running battle" with gold spammers since launch, he added, "moving them from global chat, to in-game email, to creating bogus guilds and inviting players - and we continue to take measures to keep them away from players, even when it isn't always apparent that we are."

The sheer amount of black market profiteering has delayed responses to other customer issues, Firor added, apologising to those who had been affected.

"Because of this huge influx of contact relating to this one issue, our CS team has been slower to react to other problems than planned - our sincere apologies if you have been held up for a long period of time waiting for CS to respond to you. Again, our goal is to keep this activity away from you so you don't have to contact Customer Service in the first place."

Users, meanwhile, have complained that Zenimax's support email address - eso_help@helpmail.elderscrollsonline.com - now bounces back emails - a problem Eurogamer has tested and seen for itself.

But it's undeniable that the team has been busy - last week it faced off a "very visible" gold duplication exploit and banned the worst offenders, although also accidentally banned some innocent users for around eight hours.

Another issue surrounds quests, where players have become "de-synched" and items or NPCs won't spawn. One player's screenshot, above, shows numerous players all crammed into a single area after being unable to successfully complete a quest.

"We still have much to do," Firor concluded, pointing to the game's upcoming update which is expected to include numerous fixes. "We are in process of putting up our first major update to the game on our Play Test Server (PTS), which includes many updates to the game, including class and weapon ability tweaks, content fixes, and updates to almost all game systems. It also contains our new end-game Adventure Zone, Craglorn, with Veteran content aimed at 4 and 12-man groups."

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Tom Phillips

Deputy Editor

Tom is Eurogamer's deputy editor. He writes lots of news, some of the puns and makes sure we put the accent on Pokémon.

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