Surprise? – Elder Scrolls Online Isn’t Meant For First-Person

By Nathan Grayson on February 21st, 2013 at 10:00 am.

I can’t say I’m particularly shocked by this news, but that doesn’t mean I’m not tremendously disappointed by it. In another entry on a snaking tapestry of departures from what makes Elder Scrolls, well, Elder Scrolls, TES Online won’t be doing your virtual eyeballs any favors. Yes, there will be a first-person viewpoint, but don’t expect any bells or whistles – or arms, legs, and torsos, for that matter. In fact, adventuring in first-person – taking in the sights and breathing in the chitinous wafts of a nearby Silt Strider – will put you at a distinct disadvantage.

Game director Matt Firor explained the system – at least, as it stands – to Digital Spy:

“We are still working on this system, but right now, we have first and third-person support, just like in any other Elder Scrolls game. The only difference is that you don’t see your hands and weapons in first-person mode.”

“The main difference here is that in an online RPG, enemies can spawn in a 360 degree radius around you, especially in PvP – so third-person view mode, if you use it, will give you a far greater ability to see enemies behind you. In many situations, this will be the difference between living and not surviving a combat sequence.”

Admittedly, combat has never been The Elder Scrolls’ strongest point, but surely there’s a way to fix it without neutering the focus on up-close-and-personal immersion. Again, it seems like the team at Zenimax is taking more cues from the hypothetical notion of An MMO than it is Elder Scrolls’ beloved legacy. Again, change isn’t necessarily bad, but too much and you may as well slap a different name tag on the thing and be done with it.

Then again, Firor did point out that this is only the plan right now. Things could change. But it sounds like that’d require revamping the entire focus of combat, which would cause a delay of such epic proportions that it’d probably get its own, multi-hundred-page in-game tome. So yeah, don’t count on it. All that said, writing off a game this early would be pretty short-sighted. But ouch, my ability to feel hope. It is waning.

, , .

101 Comments »

  1. unangbangkay says:

    Feh, if Skyrim et al’s Third Person viewing modes were actually useful that’s the only viewpoint I’d play in.

    • Jumwa says:

      I play Skyrim in third-person almost all the time. Find it pretty darn good personally.

      I didn’t use it for spellcasting at first, but now I don’t even really feel the difference.

    • Kambyero says:

      Didn’t you guys hear? Destiny is the first first-person persistent immersive world! Among other buzzwords!

      • Corb says:

        yeah until a bunch of PC gamers go “B**ch please, Everquest! GTFO Bungie!”

        • myelbow says:

          You beat me too it but….

          B**ch please, Everquest! Duh.

          Seriously though, isn’t there something wrong with the following statement when you’re creating an immersive world:

          “…so third-person view mode, if you use it, will give you a far greater ability to see enemies behind you…”

          To be fair, I always appeared to be in the minority when it came to preferring to actually BE the character from first person perspective in an MMO.

  2. Rumpel says:

    wasnt that in that original pc gamer article? i remember reading about this. either way, im thinking that at this point, nobody is expecting a mmo version of elder scrolls, but rather an elder scrolls version of wow*.

    *but with this totally new and innovative thing where you only have 5 spells and dont have to hold down the right mouse button to move the camera. oh, the innovation!!

    • gladius2metal says:

      I only know it was mentioned a while ago.

    • tyren says:

      More like an Elder Scrolls version of TERA, from what I’ve heard about the combat. You can laugh but it takes more than slapping mouselook on a tab-target combat system to make good action combat – look at Star Trek Online.

  3. Davie says:

    I’ve always played TES games almost exclusively third-person, occasionally switching to first for archery and conversation. I spent two hours creating this character and I damn well want to see them in action!

    So basically, there are plenty of reasons Online is failing at being a TES game, such as the boring LOTR-style elves, illogical alliances, and that seemingly unavoidable stupid gold-trim MMO armor. Lack of first-person view, in my mind, isn’t one of them.

    • bill says:

      But the first 2 elder scrolls games didn’t have a 3rd person view. And the 3rd one had such terrible models and animation that the last thing you’d want to do is see your character in action. :-0

      I can’t say I’m up in arms about it, but to me one of the key differentiating elements of TES games has always been the first person viewpoint. It’s what set it apart from all the other 3rd person RPGs, and it’s what made it immersive to explore the world (which is, lets face it, the key appeal of TES games).

      • Giuseppe says:

        Precisely. The TES games have always been about immersion, about feeling as if you’re really in the world of Tamriel, and you’re seeing it through your avatar’s eyes. While I’ve never played a TES game in anything but first-person, I can’t say it bothers me that others might see things (excuse the pun) differently. What bothers me is the idea of game design that favors third-person over first-person, which does throw away TES tradition.

        However this in itself isn’t a deal-breaker for me; there are other things that bother me, and the main thing is that this game increasingly feels like it won’t be an Elder Scrolls MMO, but a sort of WoW wannabe that just happens to borrow TES lore elements… and, in terms of lore, it seems it won’t be doing that very well either.

        • Stevostin says:

          “The TES games have always been about immersion”

          Yes. And that’s why the sole idea of an TES MMO stinks. I have yet to see a MMO that doesn’t kill the mood with “Selling sword +12 Agi, whisp Kevin72 lol” poping up in any sort of unapropriate moment (not to mention a crowd of naked people dancing at the Mordor’s gate).

          I really hope there’s a way to get immersion right in an MMO, and I hope they will figure it out, but the fact they’re not even speaking about it is not encouraging. And now this, let’s undermine the first person view, the one that is key to immersion (I do enjoy watching my character 2% of the playing time, especially in towns, but not for most of the experience, thank you).

          Also, what he says about 360° pop shall just be translate to “to be immersive, a game requires classic multiplayer FPS skills, which not everybody has, so let’s dumb it down console-style”. But I can see how it wouldn’t sound right as corporate communication.

          • Triplanetary says:

            I really hope there’s a way to get immersion right in an MMO, and I hope they will figure it out,

            I’m not even slightly optimistic. Bethesda struggles with giving the player meaningful choices with significant impact in its single-player games these days. MMOs bring a whole new level of challenge to doing so, one that Bethesda does not appear in any way equipped to surmount. Especially given that, in all they’ve said and shown, there’s not a single clue that they’re even aware of these obstacles, much less trying to address them.

          • hitnrun says:

            I’m less concerned about the inability to find immersion in an MMO in an absolute sense (other people chatting are always going to break it, the only exception to this I’ve ever found has been on Roleplay servers in MMOs pre-WoW) and more about the immersion factor of the immediate game, i.e. even if you turn the chat off.

            It’s kind of a shame, because TES carries enough heft that people would be willing to give it a try without the mandatory WoW “features” that make up 90% of the assumptions of every MMO now.

          • Jenks says:

            The worst, most prevalent immersion breaking feature of MMOs is quests (the way they are done post-WoW). I need to kill Lord Derp to complete my quest! Wait, where is he, and why is there a line of people standing where I was told he’d be? Oh, I need to watch these 5 people kill him and wait for him to respawn so I can kill him.

            Then the entire industry decided that Blizzard replacing adventure and “grinding” with “quests” was the best thing ever, and now every game is just running from one pack of exclamation points to the next and then doing experiencing the above scenario repeatedly.

          • mihor_fego says:

            To really get immersion right in a MMO you’d have to sacrifice a lot of tools for making the game user-friendly, which no one on his right mind would do nowadays. Even most things once patched in by modders is now standard in all MMOs, like quest tracking, combat prompts and warnings, meters, etc.

            To get an immersive experience you’d need to have full collision on all PCs and NPCs, larger cities, no general chat channels but only localized communication, no auctions but have players sell by trade, etc. C’mon, people even want auto-partying in questing…

            Such hardcore elements would send almost anyone away, especially those who expect to play a AAA MMO. A game like that can’t be viable, really.

          • Giuseppe says:

            Maybe you’re right and an MMO that doesn’t have those things can’t be successful, but as far as I’m concerned any TES game that does have those things can’t be one I’d like to play. Of course, I’m not saying I’m in any way representative of the TES community.

          • Stevostin says:

            “C’mon, people even want auto-partying in questing…”

            I think it’s just assumption. People liked doom so let’s make only doom like game now ? The theme parked MMO come with some expecations. Once you create a system that requires to do a lot of time the same dungeon and where grouping is a PITA, you fix it with auto party. But that doesn’t mean people wanted auto partying in the first place. Make an MMO with random quest generator that makes sure that no one has the same at the same time (unless on purpose), and you enter a different paradigm. Makes those quest generated depending on the group, and you don’t need the auto party. Make them doable once and make the action of finding the new quest/dungeon an interesting gameplay experience, and you don’t need to teleport players to dungeon.

            Now of course it’s difficult, but eventually, it will come to this, exactly like when we were having Morrowind we would have wished for a system to handle stolen good in a decent way, to have several ways to do quests, to be able to have quest involving allies, to have battlegrounds with dozens of npc fighting, to handle complex event in quests so it wasn’t just talk to x, go to dungeon y, to have mounts, etc. And it happened eventually. So my bet is that at a point MMO will morph and solve this issue. TESO is on the paper a good opportunity to take that step, but they’re clearly missing it. It may take a decade before someone successfully handle this.

          • Premium User Badge

            Hidden_7 says:

            @Triplanetary

            Bethesda, as in the development studio that makes the Elder Scrolls games isn’t involved in this game at all. Their ability or inability to do certain things shouldn’t have any bearing on the ability or inability of a completely different dev studio that was created for the purpose of making this game to do certain things.

            Hell, they don’t even seem to have enough cooperation to get things like lore continuity correct.

            This game is in all ways Zenimax/Bethesda (the publisher) wanting an MMO, recognizing that they’ve got a lot of name recognition and fans in The Elder Scrolls property, so using that skin for their MMO. Whether that’s a good or a bad thing remains to be seen.

          • myelbow says:

            mihor_fego says:
            “To really get immersion right in a MMO you’d have to sacrifice a lot of tools for making the game user-friendly, which no one on his right mind would do nowadays. Even most things once patched in by modders is now standard in all MMOs, like quest tracking, combat prompts and warnings, meters, etc.

            To get an immersive experience you’d need to have full collision on all PCs and NPCs, larger cities, no general chat channels but only localized communication, no auctions but have players sell by trade, etc. C’mon, people even want auto-partying in questing…

            Such hardcore elements would send almost anyone away, especially those who expect to play a AAA MMO. A game like that can’t be viable, really.”

            I introduce to you….Everquest. It was quite viable for the first few years until the late arrivals started moaning and WoW happened. Then it was “too hard, please hold my hand, boohoo”.

            While not near as popular, that game is still going 14 years later but it has all changed to the hand holding crap with each new expansion.

    • gladius2metal says:

      well, for me TES games and Fallout 3 & NV are mostly about exploring and that only works – for me – in first person view.

  4. Premium User Badge

    JohnS says:

    I just want some books :(

    • phelix says:

      Sometimes in Morrowind I’d just buy some books at the local store, “sit down” and immerse myself in the wonderful written lore for like half an hour.

      • ikbenbeter says:

        That’s really one of my favorite features of Ni No Kuni, there’s a whole digital book in there with tons of stuff in it.

    • Premium User Badge

      Anthile says:

      Rumour has it that Lusty Argonian Maid: Online didn’t quite convince the publishers.

      • brulleks says:

        Not as much as it convinced the male Argonian members of the buying public anyway.

    • f69 says:

      I’d trade the books for better written characters and a decent plot in a TES game any time.

  5. frightlever says:

    “Admittedly, combat has never been The Elder Scrolls’ strongest point”

    There’s an understatement.

    • x1501 says:

      What exactly is The Elder Scrolls’ strongest point? I mean, apart from the modding tools?

      • jpvg says:

        Freeeeeeeeeedom.

      • Premium User Badge

        Hidden_7 says:

        Being more than the sum of their parts.

        And yeah, freedom. They do compelling open worlds with a lot of freedom to define how you engage with that world, and also convey an excellent feeling of exploration.

        The modding tools certainly don’t hurt. But I think the strength of the community there speaks as much to the game itself as it does the excellent mod support. Bethesda makes thrilling canvases to paint on, whether that’s just through playing and creating your own story through play (ludo-narrative type stuff) or literally changing the way the game works and building literally your own adventure to share with other people.

        They sometimes fall down in the details — certain mechanics aren’t always as strong as they could be, writing can trend toward being generic and broad — but through the gestalt of all they have going for them they succeed at what they do better than most other games out there.

  6. Premium User Badge

    Crimsoneer says:

    This is going to fail so incredibly hard, and I’m going to point and laugh. I feel immature because of it, but this is so blatantly being pushed by some corporate exec who has never played an Elder Scroll game in his life, and god those people infuriate me.

    • Hmm-Hmm. says:

      We shall see (and eat popcorn). I certainly do expect it’ll turn out as you say. Such a strange thing to mutilate a franchise to fit the MMO template. But who knows, maybe they’ll perform a miracle and it’ll be amazing. Or perhaps make them some money.

    • Mattressi says:

      I don’t know how to feel about its imminent demise. On one hand I feel happy and satisfied knowing that it will fail, because the game is just a butchering of TES and really should just be titled “generic MMO #85433″. On the other hand, I worry that the failure of this game might mean there will never again be an attempt at TES multiplayer (surely it at least wouldn’t jeopardise the singeplayer TES…right?).

      I will be genuinely shocked if TESO actually does well. SWTOR did terribly and it wasn’t butchering a much-loved game series and looks very similar to how TES is shaping up (that is – like a regular old themepark MMO).

      • goettel says:

        IMO SWTOR did terribly not because it was butchering a much-loved game series, but because it was butchering an entire IP with a very, very mediocre game, astonishingly bad production quality for the amount of money spent and a complete lack of feeling with the Star Wars universe.

        Basically, they did for the game what Lucas himself did for the movies.

        • Mattressi says:

          Yeah, certainly it wasn’t a credit to the franchise. My point was more that I believe Star Wars fans are more likely to play a terrible SW MMO than TES fans are to play a terrible TES MMO. TES has a following mostly because of the games, rather than the lore or universe (they certainly help, but most people I know play it because it’s a great FPRPG), so if the MMO sucks as a game (or even is good, but vastly different from previous TES games), I imagine many TES fans will bypass it. Certainly, at least, the vocal fans will. It remains to be seen whether the vocal fans are a majority or minority, though.

          • dicenslice says:

            TES fans have been playing terrible TES games for years. I really don’t see this being any different.

          • Premium User Badge

            jrodman says:

            It’s a different flavor of terrible!

            Do you see drinkers of Bud Light switching en-masse to Fernet!

  7. trueplayer says:

    After seeing recently how bad a game can turn out to be when it’s hyped (A:CM), I’m really interested to see how deep can a game tank when it’s already bashed to the ground during its development. Too bad it’s TES IP (but at least it’s not Bethesda) :-(

    • f1x says:

      A:CM was hyped a lot, but the game is damn awful, problem was not high expectations, problem was they released a broken game

      For Elders Scrolls Online, there is hype (myself I would like to get invited to a beta test, I want to see how it really is) but being a MMO and being from Bethesda (publisher) means you get all the cool kids united to spit their hate like a damn flamethrower

      But can’t say I disagree totally with them, I still have yet to see or read something about the game that makes me say “woah, amazing!”

      • Triplanetary says:

        “I dislike what I’ve seen of this game, too, but not for the shallow reasons those other guys do!” is becoming one of the more tiresome motifs in game blogs’ comment sections.

        • f1x says:

          Me?

          I don’t dislike this game or what I’ve seen, I have yet to play it to judge it
          what I’m saying is at the moment still haven’t seen any feature about it which is truly exciting or new

          And sorry for being so extremely boring and unoriginal, next time I’ll just stick to saying “this game sucks”

  8. Premium User Badge

    Gap Gen says:

    I love that screenshot.

    “Noo, I killed all those people! Again!”

    • Vorphalack says:

      At first I thought it was just a generic roar of triumph, a lone warrior standing astride the corpses of his slain foes, and I blanked it out and moved on. Now i’ve read your post I cannot look at it without hearing the Darth Vader ”nooooooooooo!”. Honestly, it’s an improvement.

  9. Deadly Sinner says:

    Well, I hope they aren’t expecting people to pay monthly on top of an initial purchase for this.

  10. Bladderfish says:

    What, they found a way to dumb down the Elder Scrolls even more? Never!

    Well that’s their chance to stand out from the crowd down the pan. An immersive first-person MMO with some depth of gameplay would have been a highlight in the dying MMO market.

    Still, maybe I’m exaggerating and in fact this game will have numerous other innovations to push it up above its fellows.

    HAHAHA, yeah right.

    • Stevostin says:

      Aside from F3 and FNV, I can’t see any AAA RPG that is not dumbed down compared to Skyrim. The storylines are not forked a lot compared to Fallout’s game, but still more than Bioware’s stuff. The Witcher’s may be more subtle, but the interaction with the world are very thing compared to Skyrim. What’s you’re “less dumb than Skyrim” reference ?

  11. Premium User Badge

    ffordesoon says:

    This is one of those games that makes me scratch my head every time I hear about it. There’s clearly been a titanic amount of effort put into the thing, but it’s such an obvious financial slow-motion car crash, particularly after TOR flopped as a subscription game. Every time I hear about it, I want to grab one of the people working on it and scream, “THIS IS A DOOMED ENTERPRISE, YOU IDIOT! THERE IS NOTHING FOR YOU HERE!”

    I’ve said this before, I think, but it bears repeating: TES players’ main desire is to show off their characters to their friends, not to actually play the games with other people. They could save a whole lot of money and time by either ripping off Dragon’s Dogma’s Pawn system or creating a centralized database onto which people can upload their characters and download AI companion versions of other people’s characters to adventure with them. You can show off how awesome your guy is to your friends, and they don’t have to have their TES experience ruined by your dumb ass saying dumb shit into a mic while they’re trying to read.

    • Mattressi says:

      I have little desire to show off my character to my friends. I don’t take much enjoyment in clothing/armouring my character since there’s really no variety in armours; only the level of armour corresponding to your character’s level.

      What I really want to do is play TES with my friends. The key thing, is that I want to play TES, not some terrible MMO with a TES title. I want to play a proper TES singleplayer game with cooperative play. Maybe just a handful of people or maybe even an option to have persistent servers like DayZ. Hell, maybe even an MMO which is simply a large TES game with many people in it. I’ve never understood why MMOs are their own genre. I mean, I get that a game with lots of people should be its own genre; but what confuses me is that if you took most MMOs and made them singleplayer, they’d all be the same bloody game and game mechanics. Why aren’t there more MMOs like PS2, Wurm or a huge version of DayZ? Why aren’t there real RPG MMOs instead of just ARPG MMOs?

      • phelix says:

        Simply put, because the publishers with the money see ARPGs as the games where potentially more money is.

      • Premium User Badge

        Martel says:

        That’s basically what I want too. I want to play TES coop, not MMO.

        • aliksy says:

          An elder scrolls game with either Left4Dead or Dark Souls style multiplayer would be awesome.
          An MMO is going to stink.

    • Giuseppe says:

      I’ve been playing TES games for many years, but it never occurred to me to “show off” my character to anyone; I have showed certain games in the series to friends, in case they would want to try it themselves, but that’s it.

      I was, however, interested in the notion of a TES MMO; I don’t usually play MMOs, but I did used to say that one MMO I wouldn’t miss would be a TES one. Unfortunately this has since changed. There’s nothing about the Elder Scrolls Online that would make me want to play it. TES Online strikes me as some sort of generic MMO that just happens to bear the Elder Scrolls name.

      I may be proven wrong, but this game already screams of failure to me.

  12. Didden says:

    The fact it looks worse than Oblivion, is amusing. Thousands of trees seem to have been hacked down in vast numbers in the land of online.

    http://chorrol.com/files/57/obliv19B.jpg

    Will not be buying.

    • Snargelfargen says:

      Have you tried to play Oblivion recently?

      • Didden says:

        Yes, spent a long time modding it, it was even more beautiful than the picture shared, and I particularly liked how mods I grabbed hold of made the dungeons truly dark with only real lights, made for a very creepy experience.

        With the fan made mods of several regions making it even more stunning than the original release.

        The new game shares none of the visual feel of the earlier games, and looks more like a completely new fantasy game entirely. Urgh, just not interested in it at all.

        • trueplayer says:

          I agree about Oblivion. I picked it up mid-2012 for around 5 EUR I think (Steam sale, of course), together with The Shivering Isles DLC and I’ve been absolutely stunned by its awesomeness (OOO is required though).

        • Snargelfargen says:

          Oh yeah, Oblivion is fantastic with the UL mods and texture replacers of your preference. The vanilla version is… rough. I’ll grant that the trees and vegetation are probably it’s biggest asset though. Oblivion’s engine and graphics were brutally pared down when they received the specifications for the (then new) XBOX halfway through development. So the game we got is very different from what was originally planned.

          I agree that the new game lacks that Elder Scrolls vibe, although it’s doing all right at replicating Skyrim in some respects. It wouldn’t surprise me if TESOnline had originally been planned as a completely new IP; the earliest wave of screenshots was all completely generic fantasy fare. Just random guys in armor, some evil skeletons and a castle. The only thing that could be identified as uniquely “elder scrolls” was a single screenshot with somebody in Ordinator armor.

  13. bill says:

    I am so confused about why they aren’t making it a first person game, simply from the viewpoint of making it stand out in the MMO marketplace.

    TES games have a unique way of doing things compared to other RPGs, which seems quite popular. TES games are in many ways like single player MMOs, but with a few unique differences.

    Why aren’t they capitalizing on the unique differences? From a marketing viewpoint as well as a gameplay one.

    • Triplanetary says:

      Why aren’t they capitalizing on the unique differences?

      This has been puzzling me ever since details of the game started to trickle out, too. When I first heard “Elder Scrolls MMO,” I wasn’t thrilled, but I figured it’d be interesting if they applied to key features of the TES games to a MMO.

      But they don’t appear to be doing that. They really, truly seem to think that the lore alone will make ESO stand out from the rest of the MMO market, and that is an astounding delusion. I know some people are big into TES lore, and I respect that, but let’s be frank: it’s not particularly well-written, it’s not particularly original, and it’s not particularly compelling. TES lore gets credit for being fairly broad and making a lot of pretty cool connections and links between the games, but that’s about it. It’s certainly not strong enough that I’d be remotely interested in, say, Call of Duty: Tamriel. TES games are going to stand or fall on their gameplay.

  14. Stevostin says:

    If this is multiplatform, then it may makes sense.

    If this is PC only, I hope the ppl @ Bethesda read important place about PC Gaming (like this one), and realise they’re on a fast road to hit a wall.

    PC TES Fan aren’t hot about MMO. Actually a good deal of them play single player RPG like Skyrim because they dislike nowaday’s MMOs. Trying to sell a TES MMO like this one to them would be like trying to sell a COD multi only game to the STALKER audience. You see that wall ? Yes, it looks hard and it comes fast.

    Even those who are more open minded about it will mostly not like what there is so far. They have good chances to be hooked on an universe that has always been about adult fantasy – more LOTR movies, less WoW. Especially not characters that look like multicolored toys, and like beautiful landscapes and combat that are more about the feel of clinging swords rather than discotheque magic.

    All in all, this TES MMO seems to fall short so far in every possible place it matters not to. Who will want to play that ? Skyrim is a big license, so some. But enough ? Seems very unlikely.

    If you want this to work:
    - make it as beautiful, or more beautiful, than Skyrim. TES landmark are natural landscape. Start with that
    - take drastic measure to preserve immersion, which is TES trademark
    - that includes the gameplay

    If you can’t, the reasonable thing to do is either to stop throwing dollars in this programmed failure or at least make a new, not TES related IP out of it. The people in this are certainly constrained by some not really needed guidelines – at least remove it from them so that they can do an optimal game that would not be TES related. No TES buyers will be interested in this as it is so you’re not helping yourself tagging it with that IP. Right now you’re just going to piss off your core audience and make the game be judged “as opposite to” in a way it’s really not designed to stand well. Each new update on this game is like watching a car wreck in slow motion.

    • Jenks says:

      “If this is PC only, I hope the ppl @ Bethesda read important place about PC Gaming (like this one), and realise they’re on a fast road to hit a wall.

      PC TES Fan aren’t hot about MMO.”

      Wait, I know it’s fun around here to blame consoles for everything, and pretend console owners are stupid, but really?

      PC, the land of every single successful MMO, ever
      Consoles, very few MMOs, none very successful

      But we’re going to blame this on console players’ insatiable lust for MMOs?

      Let’s start pretending that it’s console players that desire all the social integration into games too, because Farmville is from console and not PC.

      • Triplanetary says:

        The lack of MMORPGs on consoles is more a matter of practicality, which can be summed up by this image, than of taste. That’s not to say that MMOs have more spells or abilities than single-player RPGs (quite the contrary), which do fine on consoles, but there’s no time to be fiddling around with menus in an unpausable game, which is why MMOs rely on quickbars and shortcut keys, and consoles don’t have an entire keyboard of shortcut keys to work with. (FFXI was designed from the ground up for both PS2 and PC, although it’s been nearly a decade since I played it and I don’t remember how they adapted the interface to suit a controller, although it’s worth noting that this was pre-WoW.)

      • Stevostin says:

        Thats not what I meant. If this will run also on console, then it may very well meet success and please a lot of console player – good for them, really. I am not judging at all that : as long as you have project that will meet its audience, at least it makes sense. This could be an opportunity to make the WoW cocktail work with console audience, maybe.

        But if like I understand it’s just about make a WOWTES, it doesn’t make any and it will just not work at all. That’s what I meant. Is it clearer ?

        • Jenks says:

          Why would this please the console audience, which has little to no MMO players?

          This is 100% aimed at the PC audience. If ES III, IV, and V were Xbox only and not on PC, ESO would not exist, end of story.

    • Giuseppe says:

      I think I agree with everything you’ve said. I don’t know if TES players don’t normally like MMOs, but I know that personally, as a long time TES fan, I’ve tended to avoid MMOs. However I was one of the people that was open to the idea of a TES MMO; I was hoping Bethesda would play to the strengths and the unique features TES games have had and would try to translate them into an immersive multiplayer experience or at least would try to create an experience that doesn’t break immersion every friggin’ second, the way most MMOs do.

      Unfortunately, it’s now abundantly clear that Bethesda doesn’t want to do that, or has no idea how to do that. I’m not sure who they think they’re gonna sell this game to. It’s already pretty obvious TES Online is going to be disappointing for most gamers that have enjoyed past TES titles. It’s also pretty obvious that TES Online will be a very run-of-the-mill MMO, which means it won’t really have any distinctive features capable of drawing MMO gamers to it. Bethesda seem to be relying on the TES name and lore alone; they seem to think that this is enough to make a successful MMO. If they want to make a run-of-the-mill MMO, they don’t need the TES name attached to it; if anything, having the Elder Scrolls name might actually make things worse by pissing of some long time fans and by diluting the franchise.

      And yes, this does feel a bit like watching a car crash in slow motion.

    • Lagwolf says:

      What he said. I like Skyrim because I can’t stand 3rd person MMOs. Co-op would be fine (as long as it required) so a mate could pop in for a bash.

  15. Shooop says:

    “The only difference is that you don’t see your hands and weapons in first-person mode.”

    Thus completely defeating any and all use for a first-person mode. Why even include it then?

  16. Epicedion says:

    If they had done this smart, they would’ve made it a sandbox-y MMO where you could set off into the wilderness with an axe, chop down some trees, build a little mill on a stream, and hunt deer for hides to trade in the city if that’s what you wanted.

    So more or less a big, pretty, Ultima Online sort of game.

    Since they seem pretty adept at writing a huge number of short adventures (even the epic main quest isn’t all that long) they could take advantage of the Radiant Story idea to produce your general filler “find my dad’s sword / kill the bandit chief / slay that dragon” quests. In addition to those, some regular TES staple (fighter’s guild, mage’s guild, thieves’ guild, etc) quest lines, again with Radiant style backup (extra thief jobs, clear a cave, acquire the staff of ages, etc) and people could go on for ages. Real questy-quests could come in the form of, say, finding a lost journal, or stumbling upon a burned farmstead, or joining the army as a special envoy.

    What I’m saying is that the MMO genre as a whole needs to back away from this idea that you need some sort of epic storyline focused on the player, and take more advantage of the wild emergent game that can happen when the players aren’t locked into a linear storyline.

    • Triplanetary says:

      But they won’t do that because they’re hoping for a playerbase counted in the millions, not in the thousands. I’m not saying your idea is bad – it’s fantastic. But it’s not as popular as the WoW formula. Unfortunately for Bethesda, for those players who like the WoW formula, WoW suits them just fine, which is why WoW clones tend to perform disappointingly (at least from the perspectives of the businessfolk, who thought that cloning WoW will somehow yield WoW-level subscription numbers).

      • Epicedion says:

        That’s the issue entirely — they want WoW styling for the WoW numbers, but anytime someone shoots for WoW they end up crashing pretty hard. I do hope that MMOs can be profitable, but new ones going forward might have to settle for shotgunning the cash rather than kegstanding and funneling it.

        • iridescence says:

          Yeah, I don’t get the whole logic of “WoW has millions of players, many of whom have played for years and are heavily invested in it but I’m sure they’ll all desert WoW and start the gear treadmill all over again in our game if we just copy WoW enough! ” I

          t’ll never work, even if your game is slightly better than WoW people won’t leave WoW because their friends/guilds/huge time investment is there.

          How many MMOs are going to have to fail before these companies finally get it.?99% of people only want to play one MMO at a time. Offer something new and different and they may come over to yours, offer reskinned WoW and most of them will stick with the game they know.

  17. khomotso says:

    I categorically reject this all-too-common conflation of first-person view and immersion. It can be done well, but there are a couple of things about first-person perspectives that are decidedly counter-immersive:

    - the simple fact that an immersive FOV would incorporate seeing a lot of peripheral things, while if my screen is my full field of view I might as well be going through the world with a welding mask on. Portholes put me at a distance, they don’t immerse me.

    - character animations add a great deal to engagement with the gameworld, its spaces and objects (or reveal the shortcomings of same), which first-person tends to handle clumsily at best.

    Of course whether these factors matter in a given game depends on its design. As others have pointed out, things like sniper aiming and archery benefit from a 1st-person view. So this is not a general rule. But let’s stop treating all this stuff like a general rule.

    If immersive means capturing a fuller sense of ‘being there,’ then let’s give up the tired idea that pretending the narrow box of your screen is your eyeballs is the last word on the matter.

    For my part, I’ve always taken the toggle between TES 1st-person and 3rd-person to be a pretty powerful illustration of how clumsy 1st-person engagement with the world really is. Playing TES games in 3rd-person feels like playing a clumsy port: a port of a 1st-person game to a 3rd-person perspective, making it all too obvious the disconnect between your character and the world around them.

    • Stevostin says:

      Your first point is valid although not very strong (FPV is the best approximaiton there is), you’re second is… not convincing to me :P

      But let’s make it clear : since I am born, each time I see someone, except in the mirror, that is someone that I am not. Let’s weight your first point at 1pound, this new one weights one ton. There’s not even a discussion. If I see my character, it’s somebody that I am not.

      Fortunately view isn’t the only thing that brings immersion and the most immersive TPV games are more immersive than the least immersive FPV games. But I can’t think of any that wouldn’t be even more immersive if they were in FPV. Which doesn’t mean that ultimately the choice of TPV was not valid : if you want some clarity & tactics in melee fight, you’re clearly better sacrifying some immersion and got TPV. Or if you want to have the people who are sick with FPV playing your game. But you pay the price.

      I realise I sound radical but to me it’s like saying “you can achieve good speed sensation for a racing game in top down view” or “you can make an effecient strategic game with a first person view”. No, you can’t. Sorry. We’re wired in a certain way, eye & brain & memory included. There’s no point in pretending we’re not.

      • grenadeh says:

        Untrumpable counter-argument: ESO is an MMORPG. MMORPGs are not about the combat – they are not about seeing your sword and crushing your enemies in vivid FPV detail. They are about story, teamwork, and goals. No MMORPG that has come before (maybe hellgate london if thats even an mmorpg, no one cares) has had a first person view where you can see your weapons and direct the flow of combat to your will. Wait, did Tera? Irrelevant anyway. Therefore, there is no reason to make it so. Obviously that logic isn’t applicable to reality but when you are talking about a genre that cannot be created and played the way a single player game is, by its very nature of not being single player, there is no purpose in trying to do so.

        A first person combat MMORPG would be terrible. Mobs would lag out, as they always do, you would lag out, you would suffer in PVP, and good times would not be had by any. Lack of FPV has not downplayed the success of Everquest, LOTRO, WoW, Tera, Rift, Guild Wars, or any other successful MMORPG. Why pretend it will on this one?

        • myelbow says:

          Apparently you never actually played Everquest as it had a crappy third person view since the whole game was intended to be played first person. And you could see your weapons in FPV from day one in…wait for it….the late 90′s.

  18. Arglebargle says:

    ESO is Dark Age of Camelot 2, with an Elder Scrolls skin. I am sure it sounded like a cool idea five years ago when they started up work on it. I imagine that the extra art assests may be quite useful for the next TES as well.

    I am peeved about the forced faction aspect, obviously done to make things easier, and to fit the developers procrustean bed design. Hopefully it won’t be as mediocre as vanilla Oblivion. I will give it a try.

  19. deadly.by.design says:

    I was fully expecting alt text that said “NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!”

  20. Iskariot says:

    I am a big TES fan, but why for heaven’s sake would I want to play TES in an immersion destroying MMO setup?
    Never!

  21. MadTinkerer says:

    Funny, I played Hellgate: London is first-person the entire way through and although the game has problems, playing through in First instead of Third Person is absolutely not one of them.

    And if they can’t even get that right, that’s not a good sign…

  22. fish99 says:

    Hardly surprising given that this isn’t by Bethesda Game Studios, and isn’t really an Elder Scrolls game in any meaningful way.

    • SkittleDiddler says:

      It’s an Elder Scrolls game. You’re crazy if you think Bethesda is going to stand to the side and allow dirty outsiders to run the entire development.

  23. Archipelagos says:

    So this is really just all of the mistakes of SW:TOR with a different IP.

  24. grenadeh says:

    MMORPGs don’t have first person and the very nature of MMO combat automatically means there’s no point in showing your weapons in FPS view – because you dont control them like you do in ES, the auto-attack controls them.

    So as author said, not a surprise, not really a disappointment either as I expected nothing else. As short as the release schedule for this game is, there is absolutely no way that it will do any justice whatsoever to the ES franchise. WoW took blizzard 2 years to make and release, 7 years to make it “better” (arguable for sure) and “finished”. And WoW is absolutely lore terrible.

  25. scatterlogical says:

    This makes me concerned for the fate of future single-player TES games. Let me firstly express my disdain for the money-leeching digital-black-tar-heroin that are MMOs.
    Either TES:O booms (unlikely), and Bethesda allocate all their time and resources to maintaining it and releasing countless DLC for it, disregarding any future single-player games (Look how long it took Blizzard to release a new game after WoW).
    Alternatively TES:O flops and Bethesda has a huge financial hit from it, potentially forcing them to close down studios… Doesn’t bode well in either case.

  26. ocelot113 says:

    Isn’t the combat in this going to be like WOW anyway? I thought they were sticking to a “turnbased” “dice roll” mechanic because it’s online? Just making it “feel” like a real-time game by putting your auto-attacks on the mouse button. If people go back, that’s what they said.

    The combat will NOT be like Chivalry or The Elder Scrolls like people are thinking.

    People are going to hype the hell out of this because they are too excited to listen to the devs and what they are saying they are making. They’ve said it’s not real-time combat.

    Because of that, this game is doomed before it’s launch. SWTOR II.

  27. solymer89 says:

    Will there be mark and recall? Will there be levitation? What about spellcrafting? Will the spell lines remain true to TES games? Will they all remain useful or will every spellcaster be pigeonholed into “dps”. Will there be telekinesis? I’ve grown weary of “MMO’s” but I am full throttle into Star Trek Online because of the different perspective and game play the ships offer. It’s a new and interesting aspect of a game that I’ve not experienced and so I am enjoying myself.

    If this game is as it sounds, then I’ve played this game before and I see no reason to continue playing something I’ve grown tired of. Guess I’ll have to wait to see if I can get into the beta :P

  28. Strangerator says:

    There are so incredibly many differences between making first and third person views playable… but you can really ONLY choose one or the other, especially in an online game. First person could work in an online game, but you would need to only do first person. Sound cues from enemies become more important, and fighting back-to-back as part of a group becomes really important. That said, people are so used to third person and being detached from their character, that forcing first person would turn people off. It would only work in a sandbox-type online game, but it would be very immersive. It also limits things like seeing your character do some kind of backflip attack and other “style over substance” type things. In first person, the absolute impracticality of this type of attack becomes immediately apparent.

    Third person gives more eye candy, first person gives more immersion.

    In other news, this is going to fail really, really, badly. Not just because it is yet another WoW clone, but because people have certain inherent expectations from an Elder Scrolls game, and those expectations will not be met.

  29. alpha0924 says:

    So we’re throwing out the lore and the mechanics? Why are we even calling this an Elder Scrolls game at this point?

  30. crinkles esq. says:

    Advocating third-person mode because you need omniscience of the enemies around you is and always will be lazy game design, and only serves to take the player — literally and emotionally — outside their character.

    There are other ways around this. Off the top of my head: aural cues, shadows, spidey-sense visuals. All better solutions than third-person.

    • Chris D says:

      I’m not sure I’d equate being able to see from a couple of feet back from where your standing with omniscience. I see it more as making up for the lack of peripheral vision and sound-awareness I have in real life.

      • myelbow says:

        So aural cues then? When I woke up this morning and every other morning of my life I don’t think my peripheral vision came anywhere close to that of a fly. I still have to turn my head to see behind me or is it that I just got screwed on the DNA side of things? Hmmm.

        • ShineyBlueShoes says:

          I’m going to be the ass that points out that our peripheral vision is actually more perceptive and responsive than where our eyes actually focus.

          • myelbow says:

            No argument there, sir. I make no claim to have tunnel vision similar to that created by the FOV in first person games but that doesn’t change the fact that I still can’t see behind me without twisting my neck.

          • Chris D says:

            @Myelbow

            But you do probably know when someone is behind you unless they’re actively being stealthy.

          • myelbow says:

            Indeed, but it certainly doesn’t happen by pressing the third person camera button.

      • Premium User Badge

        jrodman says:

        Is there any hard data about this “first person is immersive” idea?

        Personally I find first person typically quite clumsy and videogamey. I don’t think “I am the character!”, I tend to think “controlling this camera is weird.”

        I’m quite capable of becoming immersed in top down games, for example, given enough to lose myself in.

    • Sheng-ji says:

      When I play Skyrim, I feel more emotionally involved with my character in 3rd rather than 1st person perspective. I use 1st person for combat only, where it is the most involving viewpoint! But general gameplay, I’m in 3rd for immersion reasons.