How the Elder Scrolls Online Will Appeal to Everyone
Zenimax Online has apparently found a way to please everyone.
There’s no doubt that there’s a massive rift between MMO players and traditional RPG players. I find myself to be a member of the latter, but that doesn’t necessarily mean I am willing to discount the merits of the former. However, when I find my favorite series attempting to blur line between two very distinct genres, I tend to get a bit testy and critical.
The announcement of The Elder Scrolls Online initially had me quite excited as I have been toying with the idea of immersing myself into an MMO for the past few months. However, upon further inspection, it appeared that TES Online might end up being just another by-product of the WoW MMO clone stamping machine. Zenimax Online has done what they feel is a good job at taking the best parts of The Elder Scrolls series and skillfully sewing them together with the best elements of popular MMO titles like World of Warcraft to create a fanciful hybrid.
If you happen to come from a more traditional RPG/Elder Scrolls dominant background, there appears to plenty of familiar elements that are going to make this title distinctly an Elder Scrolls game. Unfortunately – for me at least – one of those major elements is something I was hoping would be held onto and used in later Elder Scrolls games.
A major drawing point of Elder Scrolls games is the ability to explore new and wondrous lands and players have always theorized what the next locale would be. Just what do the Argonian swamps of Black Marsh look like? How vast are the Khajiit deserts of Elsweyr? The Elder Scrolls Online is poised to include a section of every province within Tamriel, ripe with rich, interesting adventures. If that’s true, that means you’ll get a chance to return to Daggerfall, Morrowind, Cyrodiil, and the like; hopefully reliving some of their initial magic.
Those lands are no doubt going to be packed to the gills with plenty of that captivating Elder Scrolls lore that I somehow cannot pull myself away from. Yes, I read every book I cam across in Morrowind and a good chunk in both Oblivion and Skyrim. Zenimax Online is supposedly working very closely with the loremasters over at Bethesda in order to create the most accurate and captivating Second Era possible.
Those who are afraid that many of the traditional classes, guilds, birthsigns, and Daedric princes that so integral to the series may not survive the cut needn’t worry. Zenimax has admitted some elements are unable to make the transition, such as owning a house, but they are doing their best to keep as much as humanly possible.
Perhaps the most calming piece of news I’ve heard about this title since my recent loss of all hope comes in the form of adventuring. Nothing says Elder Scrolls like setting off into the wilderness with nothing more than a sword, a few potions, and a really bad attitude towards anything that isn’t you. Zenimax is positive that feeling will carry over into TES Online. It’s been revealed that guilds will offer various quests with a central objective, but the landscape is still going to be littered with countless dungeons for you to get sidetracked with and explore and hunt for treasure even though no NPC has specifically asked you to do so.
This comes as a huge relief because every MMO I’ve played seems to have lacked that sense of pointless exploration that I’ve come to love so much in the Elder Scrolls.
Now, if you happen to come from a more World of Warcraft or Star Wars: The Old Republic background, there is still plenty of meat here for you to sink your teeth into as well.
The whole concept of an MMO is to work together with other players to achieve a common goal. Rather than designate specific quests that require parties of various sizes, Zenimax has said that the multiplayer aspect that is being incorporated eliminates the “tagging” feature of past MMOs. So basically, when you help someone defeat an enemy, everyone gets credit for it. So be a good Samaritan and help that lowbie fend off that vicious mudcrab. You may not get much, but you’ll have the satisfaction of knowing you helped someone out while helping yourself at the same time.
If you remember back to my rant about hotbar and cooldown based combat, I may be willing to take a second look at TES Online. The game will feature hotbars and lock-on combat, but the number of available skills has been limited to six (for the time being). Additionally, stamina (the bane of my sprinting and hoarding obsession!) has been incorporated into such features as blocking, sprinting, interupting , and disable-breaking, hopefully adding a bit of depth and strategy to a combat system that can easily become quite boring and stale.
If you’d rather take the fight to other living players, TES Online will feature non-instanced PvP warfare that expands across entire landscapes the size of the entire province of Cyrodiil. Although it may sound like nothing new, the engine can handle up to 200 people on screen at once, all of whom have been automatically level capped to even out the playing field a bit. The PvP this time around actually comes with a series of objectives and things to fight over, such as castles and keeps whose walls can be ransacked and destroyed with machinery like the infamous trebuchet.
I’m still going to hold on tight to my reservations about an Elder Scrolls game, but I will admit that I want to like it. I really do. Zenimax Online has taken on a very ambitious project with which they are going to be hard-pressed to please everyone. However, if done properly, this could still end up being the one title that draws me into the MMO world.
We will be meeting up with Bethesda at E3 this year to get our hand’s on The Elder Scrolls Online and bring some more in-depth coverage of exactly what this game has in store for fans. Until then, have these new revelations piqued your interested or just reaffirmed your distaste for an Elder Scrolls MMO?