Zenimax: Elder Scrolls Online Will Become More Open

By Nathan Grayson on March 20th, 2013 at 10:00 am.

For me, going hands-on with The Elder Scrolls Online yielded a dishearteningly un-Elder-Scrolls-y experience in places. Admittedly, however, it was only the first few hours, and – even in rooms so quiet that everyone angrily shushes mice for skittering by – MMOs don’t generally demo well. With those things in mind, I aired some of my concerns to the game’s developers – the full results of which you’ll see at lunch today. For now, though, here’s the big one: Why does everything feel so rigid? Where’s the organic madness, the giants playing continental golf-hockey with wolves, pelting me with pelts while I fearlessly press on in a single cardinal direction, constantly stumbling into random adventure? Why not replicate that openness with actual, you know, people instead of NPCs? As part of a group interview, creative director Paul Sage explained the rather large gulf between the two experiences.

Sage, for his part, was quite clear in his explanation. It’s not that such a game lies outside that all-too-rational kingdom known as the Realm of Possibility; that’s just not the sort of experience Zenimax thinks most MMO players are looking for.

“I don’t want to talk about anyone who’s tried this experiment before and fallen flat on their face, but there have been a couple of times where people have said, ‘Oh, it’s a great idea just to have no NPCs in the world and let it all be players.’ It fell flat. So I know better. I’m a little wiser now. I don’t think that’s actually what we want for the game,” Sage said.

But what about a mixture? NPCs don’t have to go entirely extinct, but what of a rare case where humans end up gradually eroding robots’ jobs?

“Having worked on Ultima Online, here’s what I can tell you about [complete openness in an MMO],” Sage answered. “In my experience, there’s value there. There’s a lot of fun to that freedom. But there’s also a lot of anger. What happens is, by impacting other players – by having other people go in and kill that [important NPC] – you’re like, ‘NOOOO. I needed that NPC!’ So you’ve got to be really careful with that. You have to allow just the right amount of freedom so you’re not killing other people’s experience.”

So then, what does Zenimax want for the game? Well, don’t go in expecting the pilot episode of Skyrim And Friends, but there is apparently more going on here than simple A-to-B-to-C-to-D-to-A-again questing.

“There’s things that occur out in the world,” Sage pointed out, noting that our demo was sadly lacking in them. “Like, you’ll see somebody who, let’s say they’re being mugged, right? And you walk out, and you have a decision. Do you want to save that person? And I don’t mean there’s a decision like, ‘Oh, I’m gonna go in and hit a choice [button].’ I mean you get to look at the scenario and say, ‘Hm, seems like a good time to get money. I’ll wait until they’re finished, and then I’ll [take what's left].’ These vignettes kind of pop up throughout the world, and there’s different things you can do with them.”

“Yes, they’re scripted in the sense that we created them, but they feel very dynamic in the world. You’ll just run across the world and see someone getting mugged or committing a ritual, and somebody else may not see it at all depending on how you handle the outcome.”

And while the idea of livelier, more varied NPC behavior in an MMO is refreshing, it still kind of misses the point of being, well, multiplayer. So what about other people? For now, we’re all playing glorious gleaming hero first and foremost, but Sage said he’s hoping to make other, dedicated roles more viable in the future. So he replied when asked about player merchants and things of the like:

“Absolutely, [we'd be open to having players fill other roles]. I hope that we see that, and I think you can even see that now. So yeah, I think that’s gonna happen.”

Ultimately, however, less potentially punishing fun comes first. “There may be a point where we open up more of that freedom later,” he concluded. “But right now, we want to make sure people feel like they can depend what they’re doing to where it’s not killed by other players like, ‘OK, I’m out, because that other guy just ruined my fun.’”

It’s a brave new world. Here’s hoping it also ends up being an interesting one.

Check back soon for multiple interviews, and read our impressions of The Elder Scrolls Online’s first few hours here.

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73 Comments »

  1. caddyB says:

    Hey, at least they seem to be listening. Which is more than I can say for The Old Republic. I really hope they manage to make a good game.

    But we shall see if making a MMO game out of a series that is strictly single player is wise.

    • JFS says:

      I find it sounds a lot like the usual preview PR blah blah, “of course you’ll be able to do X and Y and Z and whatever you want, and no, don’t worry, the game will be *totally* different from what it looks like right now!”

      Problem is, in most of the cases that just doesn’t turn out to be true.

      • guygodbois00 says:

        Ditto.

        • RProxyOnly says:

          Ditto means ‘me also’ or ‘same here’.

          You are using it incorrectly.

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      • caddyB says:

        They did add a first person view after the fan reaction, why wouldn’t they change other things?

        • Hyomoto says:

          I think he sums up their vision very clearly when Paul Sage says, “What happens is, by impacting other players … You have to allow just the right amount of freedom so you’re not killing other people’s experience.” Yeah. So you play together as long as everyone is a winner. This won’t be Elder Scrolls in the EVE/Achaea style where the players are in almost total control of the world.

          Then he explains scripted sequences that enrich the world(?), except the question is how often do we see these things? It might be neat the first time you see it, but it’ll become forgettable background noise rather quickly. I have heard nothing that encourages me this game will be anything more than just another generic MMO. I suppose though, that would be an accurate emulation of the Elder Scrolls series, as it’s really become THE standard, generic, middle-of-the-road RPG.

          • Sparkasaurusmex says:

            They don’t have the balls to make the sequences rare enough to actually add to the world. I imagine if they do have these events they will be bland with over use.

      • Nevard says:

        Words are much cheaper than programmers but just as likely to get people to buy a game

    • Archonsod says:

      I think the problem can be summed up by “that’s just not the sort of experience Zenimax thinks most MMO players are looking for”. You’d think an Elder Scrolls game might be better targeted at Elder Scrolls players rather than MMO players. Admittedly I’m not a marketing bod, but it occurs to me that MMO players are somewhat defined by already having an MMO to play, whereas Elder Scrolls players don’t…

      • RProxyOnly says:

        The Elder scrolls market is big enough to support this game on it own… I don’t see why it’s formula should be changed at all. Just keep it as an online version of Skyrim.

        The real stupidity is that it won’t be.. it’ll be some half arsed combo that gets neither side of the equation right..

        Zenimax and Bethesda deserve this to fail.. it’s not being aimed anywhere near the market that actually grew the franchise.

        • Sparkasaurusmex says:

          The one thing that I think when I think The Elder Scrolls is mods. TES have only one game I enjoyed without mods, Morrowind, but I have played Oblivion and Skyrim more than Morrowind due to the mods. (morrowind had them too, but I actually played through it before experimenting. Not anymore, Oblivion and Skyrim are modded to the teeth before ever finishing a run)

          So to me it’s not Elder Scrolls without being able to add mods to the existing game world.

      • Consumatopia says:

        Skyrim players may not be looking for the same thing as WoW players, but I don’t think they’re after the same thing as EVE or UO players, either. There’s a lot of crazy stuff you can do in Skyrim, but NPCs don’t necessarily do it right back to you. You don’t come back to your house and find out that some random NPC has stolen all of your stuff.

      • Aquix42 says:

        This is absolutely the way I feel about this game… Every statement that has come from Zenimax is disheartening to me as a long time MMO and TES player. THe MMO market is cluttered with conventional MMO games, there isnt a single one that comes even close to replicating the emergent and emersive gaming experience which has characterized TES since Arena. It’s fine if people like WOW and TOR, but those games aren’t elder scrolls games.

        Whenever sombody says “you cant have a multiplayer game that’s also new and different” or “we are doing what has worked before” they are capitulating to mediocrity. Zenimax is evidencing a complete failure of vision. THis is especially disappointing to me. I have wanted a multiplayer TES game forever, and i lived through the dark ages of Bethesda, the period where we saw decidedly non-elder scrolls games take place in the elder scrolls world. I paid my hard earned teenage wages to buy games like redguard and battle spire, games which prove that setting a game in tamriel doesn’t make it good.

        Unless I see major changes coming from Zenemax in their whole philosophy I will stick to the MMOs I play, maybe try it when it goes free to play, and long for a day when this valuable liscence makes its way to a studio that can do it justice.

    • Stiler says:

      how does it seem like they are listening? Listening to the TES fans or listening to the generic MMO fans?

      “TES isn’t about raids”

      “we are planning to add raids later on.”

      “The world will be sandboxy,”
      “oh wait zenimax thinks players don’t want that, it will now be themeparked quest hopping as usual mmo.”

      Yeah, they sure are listening!

      My hope for this game has fallen to the bottom, it’s turning into EXACTLY the direction SW:TOR went, instead of making a kick ass Star Wars game, they made yet another theme-park WoW clone with a Star Wars skin slapped on it. This is sounding less and less like an Elder Scrolls game and more like yet another theme-park mmo with elder scrolls skins and lore shoved into it in hopes that the fanbase of TES won’t somehow notice “hey, this doesn’t feel like an elder scrolls game.”

  2. Unrein says:

    Great, another bog standard MMO with a vaguely unique EXTRA SPECIAL FEATURE or two that’ll feel novel for maybe a week.

  3. JabbleWok says:

    IMO the strength of the TES games was their ‘background life’ and quests (OK, the side quests and modded ones, not the main ones), which involved NPCs carrying out the sort of roles that players wouldn’t normally want or choose to. Shopkeepers and guards living repetitive lives; mystics and captives waiting out the game for a hero to come by. In a world populated only by players, I fear that magic will be lost.

  4. 28843253 says:

    Why dosn’t anyone make 2D MMOs?
    I still hold many fond memories of Maplestory, where the variety of mobs, abilities, weapons etc, was absolutely brilliant due in no small part to the ease with which they could be made.
    Pity it was such a grind and pay to win to boot ._.

  5. Finstern says:

    Don’t pay for what MIGHT end up in the product.

    • JabbleWok says:

      No chance! I won’t be throwing any money that way until it’s been out for a while and I like what I hear from trusted reviewers and peers.

  6. BobbyDylan says:

    For me, the worst part of MMO’s are the other players. I’ll stick to Skyrim, thanks.

    • Premium User Badge

      DeVadder says:

      See, this is what i do not understand. Like all other MMO programmers, they seem to cater exactly to people with that mindset. Not that it was any bad. But why does everybody insist on making MMOs for people who do not want to interact with other players except in confined co-op situations.
      Imho, for those people a RPG that could be played co-op would be much more fitting. Offers the co-operation but ditches the annoying crowds at quest-givers and immersion breaking all-chat.

      • Archonsod says:

        Because people tend not to bother playing with strangers. You could make the game as open to player interaction as you like; you’d still see around 95% of the playerbase would stick to small groups.
        Aside from which half (or even most if you’re an antisocial type) of the fun lies outside of direct player interaction in the more indirect influence they have on the game.

        • soco says:

          They also always have in the back of their minds the amount of money WoW is pulling in and they want in on it.

          So of course they want to make in an MMO.

      • tyren says:

        When I hear people talk about games that didn’t offer solo content, I mostly hear about them spending more than an hour trying to get a group together, only for things to fall apart in 10 minutes. When grouping is your only option to get anything whatsoever done in the game, you’re basically screwed in situations like that.

        • Brun says:

          This. It’s why WoW’s de-emphasizing of group leveling was so successful – largely decoupling grouping from the leveling process meant that people who did not have the time or patience for group play could still play and progress in the game.

          • Brahsef says:

            And every damn themeparkish mmo has simplified the wow formula. Vanilla wow was a challenging solo experience and with wandering elites/groups/etc it still paid off to quest with a couple of others. Especially at higher levels. Also, the 5 mans were hard as hell and had differing lengths instead of every single one clocking in at just under an hour long.

            I honestly can enjoy a well done themepark mmo, but they’ve dumbed them down so much. I hope this one changes that, but I doubt it.

  7. Premium User Badge

    DeVadder says:

    So sad to see that Zenimax goes the Wow-clone route with this one. I really had hoped that they may be the one studio making a fantasy MMO that is not afraid of the players. That they would just create a world for the players to fill with life.
    It would work so well in a TES setting. Of course it should be impossible to completely destroy the experience for many other players. But that could easily be archieved by just making NPC in towns unkillable before the townguards show up. And adding an Eve-like response timer to guards (who could very well be mages, teleporting in if in the wilderness) depending on where aggression happens outside of towns.
    Basically i just crave for a MMO that acknowledges the existence of all the other players i can see running around me. I hate to play a single player RPG with hundreds of other people doing the same thing at the same time and still beeing told that I am the one to save the world. While everyone else does as well…
    If only there were a Fantasy-Eve.

    • bonjovi says:

      There is no other way for fantasy mmo than WOW clone.Sadly. Fantasy-Eve? 500k subscribers is surely not what the makers of TESO are aiming for. Eve online is a game everyone loves to read about.

      • Premium User Badge

        DeVadder says:

        Hmm, from what MMOdata tells us (and i think they are not too far off) there are currently only 5 MMO that have subscriptions of some sort with more than 500k:
        Wow, Aion, SWTOR, Runescape and Second Life (not a MMO in the sense used here).
        Except for Wow and Runescape those are just the two most recent and extremely expensive endeavors. And both are declining swiftly. Eve however is almost 10 years old and stable or even increasing in subs.
        So i would say, unless they aim for complete Free2Play (where numbers are obviously way harder to come by) Eve Online territory is really not a bad spot to be in for a MMO.

        Of course you are right and Zenimax IS aiming at 10 million subscriptions because they believe they might be the one to kill wow with a wow-clone. But that is obviously not going to happen.

    • Metalhead9806 says:

      DarkFall is Eve with a fantasy setting and the game was filled with griefers & exploiters. Sorry but an open ended mmo wont ever truly work. Eve Online survives because 80% of its player base lock themselves up in a safe (ish) bubble in high security space.

      If you give people to much freedom, they turn on each other like rabid dogs and completely destroy the game. UO had to be changed because the game was filled with asshats killing the majority of the playerbase enjoyment, Eve is mostly filled with people playing pve in high sec and Darkfall failed because it let the asshole run wild.

      Zenimax is right to treat mmo gamers like children, guide them, hardcode restrictions because without them players will aggressively destroy the fun over everyone else until servers are left with 10% population of the most vile unwelcoming players.

      • Premium User Badge

        DeVadder says:

        I am not saying that everybody should be able to kill everyone else everywhere without repurcasion. I do not want a game where everyplace outside towns is equivalent to Eves 0.0 space.
        That is not the biggest problem i have with the current kind of MMO. No, what annoys the hell out of me is, that the game acts like a single player game. There is no player driven economy, no player involvement into anything. You just do quests (wether they are called heartquests, missions or whatever does not matter) like in any singleplayer game. Just that there are dozens of other people doing them as well.
        Every core questgiver has dozens of people standing in front of him. And he tells each and every one of them that only they can help him do whatever. And then all those people do it at the same time. Often even competing over the very monsters that the questgiver just told them were such a huge problem for him.
        There is no immersion, no sandbox, no influence on the world.
        Why not try and let the players set something up? Imagine what Wurm Online, Mortal Online or yes, Darkfall could become with a proper budget to add more of a game beyond the concept.

        What makes Eve unique is not only the player controlled 0.0 (indeed most people never go there, so obviously it is not what makes the majority of people staying) but also the mining, crafting, trading and the immersion. In Eve, a substantial fraction of the players can indeed not fight. They have no fighting skills. Many make their ISK mining, hauling, building, looting the wrecks other people leave behind and whatnot. There are corporations of dozens if not hundreds of players who do nothing but get payed by other players to haul huge amounts of minerals or goods form one market hub to another using their skill-heavy and expensive but enormous freighters.
        Nothing like that exists in any other game.

      • Hyomoto says:

        I think it’s the exact opposite. Controls have to be in place that empower the playerbase to deal with problematic players. Take an idea like allowing players to mostly do whatever they want, but allow requesting of ‘Writs of Justice’. For instance, player A has been problematic and the player base has complaints. A writ can be issued that players can take up like a bounty quest. If a player who has accepted the task defeats the player in question, their character is sent to prison. Once there, a trial can be held to determine their punishment, with the most severe being execution. If the player chooses not to be part of a trial or attend, their character simply rots away in a cell.

        A system like that could be expanded to have each province have their own jails and laws. Some places may thrive on backstabbing competition; a place those players are likely to spend time. In the end however, the players are free to play how they want; there is just a recourse that they may have to deal with the consequences of their actions.

        • impish says:

          And it’s not outlandish to expect the game to react to “illegal” behavior, considering TES already features crime and punishment systems.

      • Consumatopia says:

        Eve Online survives because 80% of its player base lock themselves up in a safe (ish) bubble in high security space.

        That doesn’t explain it, because the solution to that is too obvious–why not make EVE in a fantasy setting (or at least a terrestrial setting–something where I have something to look at other than empty space and spreadsheets) with some equivalent of high security space? Heck, why not make a WoW/EVE hybrid–inside the kingdom or established battlefields it feels like WoW, but out in the frontier it becomes EVE.

        I’m not sure that would work (it’s so obvious, it must have been tried already), but I don’t think you’ve managed to pinpoint exactly why that wouldn’t work.

        • HyenaGrin says:

          CCP (makers of Eve in case that wasn’t clear) are making a World of Darkness game that is shaping up to be a terrestrial Eve.

          It’s basically the only MMO I’m looking forward to.

          I have GW2 for simple MMO fun. I don’t have to buy anything, there’s no subscriptions, it’s not the most elaborate or cutting edge MMO in the world but it does basically everything it’s doing very well. I can’t see how ESO can hope to beat that, even though I’m interested in the ES lore. That’s not enough to make me pay a subscription fee for something that is not likely to be any better than GW2.

          If a game is going to make me pay a subscription fee it better be doing something damn different from the standard WoW or GW2 format, and it better do it damn well… If EVE weren’t so dull for the first 300 hours I might be playing that, but eeking up the tiny inconsequential newbie chain does nothing for me.

  8. Premium User Badge

    Clavus says:

    How can you make a multiplayer game if you’re only afraid about people ruining eachothers fun. Great games are build on the overall experience, not holding the player’s hand during every event. I think this game shows an unsurprising lack of vision past “Elder Scrolls MMO”.

  9. McCool says:

    I think you are getting your hopes up expecting anything vaguely Elder Scrollsy from this game. Zenimax Online have shown absolutely zero signs so far of seeing this as anything but a standard WoW clone with a TES skin on top. That’s really all this is, it has as much to do with the main Elder Scrolls games as Elder Scrolls Travels did.

  10. Bostec says:

    Another dud MMO. They really could of pushed this into Mortal online territory, the single player game is almost built that way but no, to risky, need to capitalize on the Elder scrolls name quicksnap. No time and too expensive to shake up the formula. Come on People! lets make it with DROSS.

    • Metalhead9806 says:

      Yeah… Mortal Online was a complete failure… thats exactly the game they should have followed.

      • Bostec says:

        I said territory, not completely follow it. Plus having a well known developer that knows what they doing and add a little bit of risk, Mortal Online would of been something they could of looked at and improved upon. At least it would of been a far more interesting game.

  11. Kuroko says:

    I’m sick of developers who are terrified of letting players fail. The prospect of failure is what makes games interesting in the first place.

    MMOs are not supposed to be played alone, if you are afraid of other players ruining your fun, you naturally group up with other players so you are strong together. With the casualization, this genre has become a pointless exercise of public masturbation.

  12. Lobotomist says:

    Total and complete bullwad – and coming from somebody that “worked” on Ultima Online.

    I like how they immediately defend with most extremely negative opposite : “No NPCs”
    Truth is they are doing just another themepark quest driven WOW clone , with Elder Scrolls flavor.

    And adding few sprinkles of innovation here and there.

    Like that emerging missions (someone mugged) – we seen it in GW2. It does not really work , because it same thing that happens on same place periodically – Heck you even have a GW2 site called “Dragon Timer” that gives you exact time and location such “Suprisingly random” events will happen.

    But try it all you might – PC developers couldnt kill Sandbox MMO , because indie developers are free to do what they want. And when they choose other platforms like mobile they suprisingly can do completely sandbox MMO , and suprise suprise – have over million players playing concurrently on same server.

    Parallel Kingdom

  13. Bhazor says:

    “Having worked on Ultima Online, here’s what I can tell you about [complete openness in an MMO],” Sage answered. “In my experience, there’s value there. There’s a lot of fun to that freedom. But there’s also a lot of anger. What happens is, by impacting other players – by having other people go in and kill that [important NPC] – you’re like, ‘NOOOO. I needed that NPC!’ So you’ve got to be really careful with that. You have to allow just the right amount of freedom so you’re not killing other people’s experience.”

    So MMOs would be great if it wasn’t for all the people in it? I think he may be missing the whole point.

  14. jellydonut says:

    All I can read is ‘blah blah blah blah themepark’.

    I’ll continue playing Eve and wait for someone to get the balls to make another proper sandbox MMO.

  15. elementxstyle says:

    Has everyone already made their minds up about the game already? This is why I hate game previews because you get a skewed perspective and one opinion and there mob comes out to destroy a game and lob judgments at it without having played the full game or experience. I’m not sitting here saying you’re all wrong and defending the game but what happened to actually playing the whole game or even a portion of it before lobbing such absolute judgments on it. “Another wow clone”

    In my opinion you set yourself up for disaster expecting a Sky rim experience from an MMO when the two are inherently different in that one is a single player experience. Once it became an MMO you should have abandoned all notion that this thing was ever going to resemble that experience beyond its combat and lore. But that’s why I’m excited for the game. Not to play a multiplayer skyrim but to play a multiplayer experience in the TES world and its lore and mythos. I am glad however that at least the combat has madeit in. But still, I don’t think its fair to judge a game on how much it is unlike another game. One is single player and another is an MMO. The only sky rim elements I’m looking for is combat, story and lore. I’m not expecting TES6 multiplayer mode.

    • Bhazor says:

      “Once it became an MMO you should have abandoned all notion that this thing was ever going to resemble that experience beyond its combat and lore.”

      That is exactly why no one likes it.

    • SF Legend says:

      You say that as if they’re doing anything with the lore besides taking a giant dump on it and then smearing it all over using their buttocks.

      • tyren says:

        Since they’re setting it in a time period that has next to no established lore related to it aside from a passing mention in some book that came with Redguard about “various pretender kings” I’d be interested to hear how they’re doing that.

    • Consumatopia says:

      This is why I hate game previews because you get a skewed perspective and one opinion and there mob comes out to destroy a game and lob judgments at it without having played the full game or experience.

      On the other hand, it is kind of useful for diagnosing what went wrong after something fails when it turns out that everyone was predicting not only that it would fail but exactly why it would fail. Recent examples: SimCity, SW:TOR, The Secret World.

      • Bhazor says:

        A sequel to a much loved single player city builder game crowbarred into being a pseudo MMO, a sequel to a much loved single player RPG crowbarred into a staggeringly generic MMORPG and a great puzzle based richly written adventure game stretched out into a bland MMO.

        ” Dear. God. I. Am. Not. A. Religious. Man. But. Please. Help. Me. See. The. Connection. Here..”

    • Grape Flavor says:

      I agree, it’s pretty ridiculous how everyone is comparing this to single-player games and EVE. It’s an MMO. Not a sandbox MMO like EVE or the (miserable) Mortal Online, a regular MMO. “Theme park” if you want to call it that. Try and get over it.

      If you don’t like those kind of games, that’s fine! Don’t buy this. But what people are doing in the comments here is like tearing Starcraft II to shreds because of how it fails at being a 4X game like Civilization or Endless Space.

      It’s not supposed to be. Evaluate this game in the context of WoW, TOR, GW2, Rift, WAR, Aion and all that. Once you do that, TESO actually looks pretty interesting.

  16. Eldiran says:

    Shameful and sad to hear that someone who worked on Ultima Online helped create this thing : (

    A UO-style MMO was exactly what Elder Scrolls (and the market) needed. Why compete with 284,000+ theme park MMOs when you could compete with just 1? (EVE Online)

  17. analydilatedcorporatestyle says:

    Aww, I wanted to run a shop ingame where every now and then someone would come in, stick a bucket on my head and rob me!

  18. naetharu says:

    Personally I am going to wait and see before I pass judgement. None of us have seen very much of the game so far. For one thing, the PVP (RVR) is going to be an important point and I have not yet come across any details about it.

    I can understand the concerns that are being raised, given how TES games tend to be, but this is an MMO and as such it has different needs. Perhaps it will just be another WOW clone and we can cast it aside with all those others (SWTOR/RIFT/WAR…) or perhaps it will be fun and fresh and offer something different. I am sure that whatever the case will be, this game is not going to be anything like a standard TES game. But I am willing to wait and see if it is fun in its own right.

  19. Moraven says:

    So he talked about what made Ultima Online, Ultima Online and why its players kept playing it.

    We have seen WoW Clones not work. You need to provide something way different. But they want to appeal to all specturms of the market and try to get 10 million subscribers.

  20. Bluestormzion says:

    Nothing will ever again do what WoW did and own the MMORPG market, allowing other games to fight over the crumbs. It just won’t happen again.

    Having said that, nothing else NEEDS to do that. While I think it’s a gigantic mistake to make MMORPGs at all, since they’re really the bare-bones dregs of gaming, I think that if an Elder Scrolls MMORPG is going to succeed (and by succeed, I mean Make Money, NOT make insane drooling fanboys orgasm) what it needs to do is to simply be half MMORPG and half Elder Scrolls Game.

    The Old Republic “failed” because it was WoW with a KOTOR paint job. I loved KOTOR, and I have kept playing WoW for 8 years (though at times I can’t figure out why.) But TOR didn’t do it for me. It wasn’t enough to make me leave WoW… because why should I leave WoW for Also WoW, if all my friends and gear and story has been stacking up for six years in WoW?

    So for that same Reason, if TES Online is just Elder Scrolls painted WoW, then they’re not getting my subscription money. I really liked the atmosphere and storylines of TOR and Rift, but at the end of the day, they were just starting over from scratch in WoW. TES just has to make it a real Elder Scrolls Game, and it’ll be fine.

  21. Bones1210 says:

    I feel like everyone is going off of impressions based on a few hours of BETA gameplay. I’m not saying this is THE MMO, but I feel like people should just wait before they crucify this thing. Skyrim isn’t the only Elder Scrolls game, and if it weren’t for the bugs in Morrowind, it wasn’t even the best.

  22. tyren says:

    I’m starting to get the feeling that “WoW clone” is one of those terms that’s just lost all meaning. Like it used to mean a game that was actually nigh-identical to WoW, and there WERE a lot of those games being made, but now it just means “MMO I don’t like” or “themepark MMO” when it is actually possible for a themepark MMO to differentiate itself from WoW.

    • Consumatopia says:

      Eh, if someone else made a sandbox MMO based on space ships shooting at each other, I don’t think you could reasonably get upset with someone calling it an EVE-clone.

      This is even more than that. It’s not just a game in a similar sort of world (sword and sorcery fantasy) in the same genre. It’s that the success of WoW is pretty clearly influencing the design of the game.

      It’s also that it bears (or appears to bear) a closer resemblance to the most prominent example of a themepark MMO than it does to the rest of the TES games.

      • Grape Flavor says:

        No, what people are doing here is like bashing a interesting shooter for being a terrible RPG or vice versa.

        The game isn’t in RPS readers’ favorite genre, so they’re evaluating it in the context of genres it was never intended to be part of in the first place, which is silly. You can make pretty much any game sound terrible by doing that.

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          jrodman says:

          I’m pretty sure this is inaccurate.

          i see two general classes of comments.

          1 – This doesn’t look like an open world solo rpg game, and moreover keeps no elements thematic from the series for which it is named. (This is closer to, but not actually, your claimed comparison.)

          2 – This looks derivative and boring for an MMO.

  23. Drinking with Skeletons says:

    Literally the only question I want answered is: Will the success or failure of this title affect the production (or possibility) of future single-player TES titles?

    • Brun says:

      Unlikely. It’s being developed by a completely different Zenimax-owned team, not by Bethesda (who are likely hard at work on Fallout 4).

  24. Ateius says:

    No, guys. Your audience is not your typical MMO player. Stop trying to please MMO players. Your audience is Elder Scrolls players. Aim to please them.