All Elder Scrolls games allow players to assume positions of authority - my Archmage of Skyrim has been closeted in Winterhold for the best part of two years now, mostly because I keep forgetting to go back and finish the game. But assuming the throne of Cyrodilic Empire? That's far too much power to entrust to any one individual, surely.
Speaking to OXM in a new interview, parts of which you'll find in our current issue, Elder Scrolls Online game director Paul Sage discussed how players will become Emperor. Long story short, you'll need to head to Cyrodiil, the game's PvP environment, and pick lots of fights.
Killing other players, healing allies and taking control of a keep grants you Alliance Points as well as experience and loot. Conquering keeps also expands your territory and unlocks alliance-wide bonuses - the more keeps you control, the better the bonuses will be. When the Alliance with the most points takes charge of all the keeps around the Imperial City, the Alliance member with the most points is crowned Emperor, unlocking a further set of bonuses for his or her peers.
"Players who become Emperor will get a full skill line that they keep throughout the rest of their lives in The Elder Scrolls Online," Sage observed. "It won't be easy to become Emperor, but we think people will be glad they worked for it." Lose the title of Emperor, and your hard-rocking Imperial skillz won't be quite as effective, but you'll still be a force on the battlefield.
Alas, there doesn't appear to be a way to become Emperor without engaging in Player vs Player, so if you're hoping to climb the ranks by making scientific discoveries (read: finding cool swords in dungeons) or by impersonating Patrick Stewart, the political life may not be for you.
Check out our recent Elder Scrolls Online interview for more on what's probably the biggest fantasy game of 2014.