Oh So Cinematic: The Elder Scrolls Online’s Launch Trailer

By Alice O'Connor on April 5th, 2014 at 2:00 pm.

Zzzap!

Alien shapes swarm across a once-majestic landscape, now fractured and ruined. An endless battlefield unfolds before our eyes. A struggle against surely-impossible odds, yet camaraderie pulls us together. Death. Chaos. Madness. We field terrible weapons which may save the day but at what cost to our our humanity? From all this, a lone hero rises, the only one who can save us all.

The Elder Scrolls Online, you may have heard, launched on Friday. Our crack reviewer is still reviewing away (we slide a kipper under the locked door every time we hear Brendan’s typing slow) so we can’t tell you what it’s like quite yet, but we can show you a cinematic trailer accompanying the launch and speculate about what it’d like to be.

But you! Perhaps you have been playing and have thoughts to share, yes? Oh go on, do share!

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103 Comments »

  1. FurryLippedSquid says:

    They should have just made a film.

    • Ahkey says:

      What film would you pay to see at the cinema in Gallery 3D IMAX and then return to watch, month on month, for several years, for the inclusion or alteration of ten minutes of footage each time?

      Nobody mention director’s cuts, remasters or special editions. This argument will not hold up to scrutiny.

      • sPOONz says:

        yeah but… they should have just made a film.

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      • TekDragon says:

        “month on month, for several years”

        I need some of what you’re smoking if you think this is going to be P2P for “years”. My bet is on F2P before we hit 2015.

      • The Random One says:

        I would do that for no films, and for no games, either.

    • Skiddywinks says:

      This is how I feel after every cinematic in a Blizzard game since WC3.

      (To clarify: not that they should have made a film instead, but that they should definitely make a film at all)

      • Premium User Badge jrodman says:

        I think Blizzard’s cinematics (especially the game introductions) are quite hamfisted. There’s awkwardness in content, in pacing, in making sense, and even in things like bad modelling, or bizarre unpleasant camera work.

        The only thing they seem to do well is “something awesome is happening!!” and even there they sometimes miss the mark. While a feature-length film is totally different and thus it is POSSIBLE that we’d get totally different (and better) results for that format, I don’t buy it myself. It’s not like the games have captivating stories.

        • toxic avenger says:

          Thank you! This post almost brought a tear to my eye! “Bad ass, mothafuckin’ awesome-sauce, bee’s knees” does not equal good film making.

          Or maybe it does to the “Everyone’s entitled to their own opinion, man” and/or the “I don’t go to the movies to think!” crowds.

          • Distec says:

            They have definitely developed a lot of technical sophistication with their cinematics, and I always find them impressive on a surface level. But there’s so much focus on WHOAH BADASS in most of them these days. I kind of miss the scenes from some of their older games, which I found to be much more compelling in content. A simple scene of Marius and the Wanderer walking across the horizon of a desert is something I doubt their newer games would have much patience for.

            No. Now the camera needs to swoop from every angle, there needs to be endless armies in the millions, a super cool fireball/nova/whoah spell needs to rip some shit, and every effin’ structure needs to break in an overblown epic fashion.

    • Sorbicol says:

      If you’ve ever seen all the trailers Bioware came out with before The Old Republic was released, you’d be scratching your head wondering why Lucas never did the same thing, and made that film instead what he came up with instead.

      There is probably some inverse law of quality regarding trailers against the quality of the game they are promoting.

      • bill says:

        Yeah, but the trailers for the star wars prequels look pretty awesome too. I think the inverse law also applies to movies.

        • Press X to Gary Busey says:

          Movie trailers at least show things from the actual movie.

  2. mashkeyboardgetusername says:

    That seems a rather melodramatic way of knocking over a wall.

    I’m enjoying it so far, there is some MMO nonsense that rankles – enemies becoming invulnerable and running off if you drag them too far, and a couple of “x of y” quests the further I’ve got (although all the baddies in such quests seem to have 100% drop rates, which compensates a bit) – but generally it’s enjoyable, the quests are keeping me entertained, and the combat feels as good as Skyrim’s for me. (Should point out I enjoyed Skyrim’s combat as I know some people didn’t.)

    A sort-of pleasant surprise is the difficulty, I was expecting another MMO which I’d pretty much play on my own, but it’s just tricky enough to solo that I often join up into ad-hoc groups, even if we don’t party up you’ll often see people running about together and following each other about in caves and stuff. So that’s nice.

    There, that’s my thoughts. Where’s my kipper, eh?

    edit: forgot to mention, the instancing’s quite cute too. F’rinstance, after killing a necromancer, the surrounding area is no longer patrolled by skellingtons. It’s a small thing, but so far the illusion that I’m affecting the world is holding for me. (Or maybe I’m just easily impressed.)

    • nrvsNRG says:

      You like Skyrims combat!? Ice skating around while wildly swiping through the air at objects that seemingly have no physical mass. Ranged/magic was better but still felt horrible because of the feel of your characters movement. Good luck to you anyway, I think TESO is going to be for the hardcore ES fans only.

      • Sakkura says:

        ESO is not for hardcore Elder Scrolls fans. Maybe for some of the Skyrim and Oblivion fans.

        • geldonyetich says:

          ESO is not for hardcore Elder Scrolls fans.
          ESO is not for hardcore MMORPG fans.
          ESO is not for casuals.
          ESO is not for anyone, really.

          I do not want to be the company that holds the $200M debt for the development of this game right now.

          • hawken.grey says:

            Hmm… but but but…. I am a Skyrim fan. I am also an occasional MMO fan. And I love it? Hmm.. could it BE that you don’t actually know what you’re talking about?

          • Bull0 says:

            Give it time. Loving it on release isn’t the same as loving it in five years, and that’s what MMOs kind of need to hit to be viable.

      • hawken.grey says:

        I was pretty skeptical about ESO for their history of making bad combat. I loved Skyrim, but I think that we can all agree that they didn’t exactly excel in making close combat mechanics. So far though in ESO I’m finding the combat to be much better than any other ES game in the past. I’ve only played with a melee / ranged sword / bow hybrid so far, but it contains a lot more synergy and fluidity than Skyrim ever had.

        • malkav11 says:

          It also has a much better skill system, and it seems like the crafting might be more interesting if I can come to grips with it. Unfortunately, I’m not convinced that adding other people has had much of an upside so far, and there are aspects of its design that are old and busted in ways that no MMO should be in 2014 because there’s been plenty of other examples of doing those things right.

    • ALJA says:

      +1 for the use of the word skellingtons

    • Shadow says:

      Another good thing I can point out about ESO is that crafting is useful, accessible and not the grueling torture it is in most other MMOs. It’s very feasible to craft your own gear as you quest around, and resource gathering is quick and efficient. The items you craft can also take on a variety of styles (Nord, Redguard, Khajiit, Altmer, etc.) depending on a special material (cheap, vendor-bought) you apply to the crafting besides the iron, wood or whatever.

      Overall, I’ve never felt the need to resort to an armour/weapons vendor. They sell somewhat improved items, but so far the pricing has been rather insane.

  3. Premium User Badge Okami says:

    The more epic fantasy game trailers try to be, the more they come across as if they’ve been writen by a five year old..

    • Zenicetus says:

      Especially this one. And as usual, it ends up focusing on the Lone Hero who manages to overcome obstacles and meet a Big Bad in personal combat at the end, when a MMO is the exact opposite experience. Everyone’s a hero in a MMO, which means nobody is.

      • Caiman says:

        And this is exactly why Bethesda should not make a movie, because it would be as bad as this shit is. The only positive thing I can say is that it’s not quite as inane as their previous cinematic from a month or so, although that would have taken some effort. Actually, the worst thing about this is that once you’ve wasted 5 minutes watching the build up, it fades to black before you actually get to see what happens between those two dudes! What? At least give me some payoff, rather than piss me off and alienate me from what you’re trying to sell.

  4. thebwt says:

    Expected review for mmo’s now-a-days:

    -mmo name- is trying to be bold in exploring -unique feature-, after playing the game for 20 or so hours though the game’s novelty is gone and we’re again replaying the same rehashed mmo.

    The pvp is good though if people stick around long enough for it.

    ——-
    Full Disclosure: currently playing ESO and waiting for the novelty to wear off.

  5. Blackcompany says:

    I wanted to like TESO. I really did.

    But the ancient engine, poor physics and what is, in my opinion, terrible combat, really killed it for me. Add in poor voice acting and the utterly forgettable writing, and I just bounced right off it.

    Still though…I probably could have forgiven a lot of that. If only the game had stayed with the TES formula. Player freedom. Open exploration. Go where you want, when you want. Had this game been a sandbox experience, I would likely be playing, dated engine and all. But for them to limit exploration – in a TES game – was the last and final straw.

    Zenimax and their studios need to get back in touch with what their players really want from the games their studios make. Then they need to get a pertinent, modern game engine, and make that game. Because right now, I feel as if they are on the cusp of fading into irrelevancy. Can you imagine another game on the Creation engine now, compared to other titles coming out this year and beyond?

    • nrvsNRG says:

      They’re not using the Creation Engine for TESO, and although I do agree with everything you said, going by the number of people that praised Skyrim, I really don’t think Beth are going to be irrelevant anytime soon. People cant get enough of bland RPG’s apparently.

      • Sakkura says:

        ESO graphics are inferior to the graphics of Skyrim though… so whether the engine is different doesn’t matter, it’s still outdated on that point.

        Not that graphics are that important. It’s just too bad this game is so anti-PC.

    • fish99 says:

      I think they’ve already said their next game (presumably F4) will use the same engine as Skyrim, and TBH that’s fine, Skyrim sold a crap-ton, and it still looks decent today IMO.

      • LionsPhil says:

        The problem with Bethsda’s engine isn’t the amount of graphics per-se, but the fact FO:NV had to fade to black to have the protagonist climb a ladder. It seems to have some truly abysmal (and weird) limitations in how it models the world.

        • Blackcompany says:

          This.

          The engine looks fine. Skyrim, with the high resolution textures and modded ones both, looks Superb. Easily up there with Witcher 2. Maybe better in places.

          Unfortunately, it isn’t graphics that are the problem. Its…literally everything else.

          Separate world spaces for every house, building…even city. The inability to climb ladders – which is definitively a Bethesda issue. Larian used Gamebryo for Divinity 2 and one coud climb ladders in that game without issue. The physics are wonky, the animations stiff and ancient looking. Everything about the engine screams Archaic.

          And that’s not the worst of it really. I know the MMO uses a different engine. However, in the Beta, I noted several bugs -clipping through floors, getting stuck on uneven terrain, and leaving areas breaking quest triggers – that are apparent in every TES game made. So…different engine, same bugs. To me, that belies a problem of a technical nature with the developers, not with their engines. And while I am no game development pro, I have to think that whatever it is they are doing, or however they are doing it, the methods simply are not very sound.

          And that is what Bethesda needs to fix. Its not the look of their games. Its the feel. They are boring and generic in appearance and wonky and unreliable in how they handle/perform.

        • fish99 says:

          I agree with every criticism of the engine you guys make, but at the same time none of the that stuff stopped me enjoying Skyrim, and it didn’t stop the game selling well, so I can’t agree that Bethesda are becoming irrelevant, or that another game on that engine would be a terrible thing.

          I’d much prefer they didn’t have the load zones for building interiors and cities, but if Fallout 4 still has that, I will still still play it.

      • 0positivo says:

        The engine is piss-poor. It can’t handle modification to the game well at all. Especially the scripting engine. Anyone that has played around with more than two skyrim mods at the same time can tell you that

        Hell, the fact that only a month ago a modder finally managed to fix the main underlying memory issue that was basically harcoded into the engine is mind boggling. And the reason it took so long is because the engine has no sodding reporting mechanism, so you literally have to break into it if you want to have a clue to understand WHY it doesn’t want to work

    • malkav11 says:

      I’m not saying it’s not much more limited than the Elder Scrolls games proper, but it’s a much more open-ended exploration-friendly experience than most of the other MMOs I’ve played, and the couple that surpass it in that respect may be better at exploration but they don’t have ESO’s strong narrative elements, interesting quests, or ability for players to permanently change their world state. (I mean, your EvEs and so forth let players essentially define the game state, but not permanently, and not in ways that appeal to me because it’s all so PvP-centric.)

      And there are definitely reasons to go off the beaten path. Treasure chests, lorebooks, crafting materials, skyshards, all tucked around the world in nooks and crannies.

  6. Manco says:

    Tip to any would be Tamrielic conqueror: use formations. It is apparently a novel method in your world and it’s a guarantee for success.
    Combine it with shields and spears, and all those monsters trying to fight you man to man will all be poked to death with dozens of holes in their bodies..

    • benjamin says:

      Wonderfully demonstrated in the novel Malice by John Gwynne where one character develops the Shield Wall and completely owns everyone else.

      • Premium User Badge jrodman says:

        The use of the word ‘demonstrated’ to describe a completely fictional account of a concept makes me squirm.

        It might be totally valid usage but it freaks me the hell out.

        • toxic avenger says:

          Are you ok? Did a work of fiction hurt you as a small child? ;)

          I kid, though fiction is a great place to, yes, demonstrate real life things without having to go through the pain and torture of doing it in real life. Science fiction is the best at doing that, especially when it talks about future things and the philosophy thereof.

  7. Koozer says:

    In the beta I actually enjoyed the combat more than in any other TES game. I think that says more about TES than it does the MMO.

  8. jarowdowsky says:

    Hahahahahahaaaaaaaaaaahaha ha ahh ah ha…
    *breathe*
    After seeing the Giantbomb quick look of a siege in the actual game that trailer was as inaccurate as it was hysterical. God, the actual developers must have been depressed for weeks after seeing it.

  9. CookPassBabtridge says:

    B.O.W:

    Bag
    Of
    Wank

  10. benjamin says:

    Wow that launch trailer was rubbish. The only connection I made to the Elder Scrolls was: “Oh, that’s the Imperial City.” The rest of it was lost in a confusing blur of Fighting and Death which never resolved itself into anything. I couldn’t even work out who I was meant to be rooting for…

    • razgon says:

      Its a series of cinematics and yes, the above makes little to no sense if you haven’t seen the previous ones.

      • LostInDaJungle says:

        And none of those cinematics have anything to do with actual game play.

        I’m a huge TES fan, since back in the mid 90′s when I dropped $700 on a 17 inch CRT to “truly” enjoy Arena. (Ha!) I even played that stupid Battlespire game. I would say that the ad campaign for this game has been Dead Rising bad. They’re not getting called out for it, because no one expects this piece of shote to be any good in the first place.

        Frankly, it kills me when I see a new game I haven’t heard of, so I go look up the official trailer, and 5 minutes later… I still have no freaking clue what it is. Half of the trailers nowadays you can’t even put the game into a genre. Imagine you have never heard of this game… You watch the trailer. “Hmmm, it has elves and stuff, I guess it’s an RPG.”

        I’ve watched a few of them… I’m still giving Zenimax a chance to draw me in. Dramatic music, action, etc… With no context. It blows my mind how BORING these trailers are. Who are these people, what are they fighting for? Am I supposed to care about any of them? Who is red armor guy? Is he human? Demon? God? Is the Imperial City stage one of his conquest, or the final obstacle? Is it do or die for our Heroes?

        Fellow TES fans, what does this have to do with anything that has come before? What connection are we supposed to make with these unnarrated vignettes? Are we just supposed to sit slack jawed and go “Ohhh, explosions!” “Is that a troll?” “Look, Argonians!”

        It’s like a really bad Michael Bay film. It just jumps straight into Act 3 and starts blowing stuff up. And the logical side of my brain just sits there and sarcastically says “Yeah, like this is what their MMO is about. Pbbbbbth.” Give me a freaking break. You’re insulting my intellect.

        This is your chance to tell me what sets your game apart. This is your opportunity to show me that you made this because you thought you could improve the MMO genre, not because some executives sat around and said “Christ, Blizzard makes tons of money. I want to make tons of money.” Instead these cinematics tell me that you feel showing “actual gameplay” doesn’t sell your product. Instead we get cinematics, which, unless I’m totally wrong, HAVE NO PLACE IN AN MMO. I can’t imagine an MMO that expects it’s players to sit through 7 minute long cinematics.

        My attitude has gone from “Wait and see” to “Not for me” to “Just fail already and go away.”

        • Philopoemen says:

          Wonderfully put sir. I owe you a beverage of your choosing.

  11. sinister agent says:

    Wait, guys. I think I just failed my mudcrab check.

  12. TheRaptorFence says:

    The more I play/watch of TESO, the less connected it seems to be to the actual series. People can make fun of the generic nature of TES, but there’s nothing worse than TESO.

    • WhatAShamefulDisplay says:

      ‘The generic nature of TES’

      Not Morrowind, surely?

  13. Premium User Badge dangermouse76 says:

    All playing the Beta confirmed for me was that I don’t get much enjoyment out of MMO’s. I found that world felt quite empty at times and the combat frenetic and detached. This could be because I was not organised enough. But either way I didn’t feel engaged by it.

    Technically I found a lot of clipping, texture loading issues on distant terrain, and lag.
    I also think the buy-in to the game is rather high with the on going subscription. But again that may be because I don’t get the value in that. Maybe others wont mind.

    Will just wait for the next Witcher….. I mean Elder scrolls game, with co-op added please.

  14. mvar says:

    This is absurd, the standard edition costs 55euro for 30 days of gameplay, meanwhile I click on “BUY NOW” on their site and there’s nowhere official information regarding the monthly subscription cost. Either way it is just ridiculous that you must pay the same amount of money for just 30 days as for a full offline game. I’m guessing that they know TESO will probably flop like so many other MMOs and they’re aiming to cash on the hardcore fans & the curious who’ll probably drop the game after the novelty wears off.

    p.s. that trailer is sooo starcraft/warcraft-ish, what’s the female elf’s name? Lady Sarrah Kerrigan?

  15. Premium User Badge Lord Custard Smingleigh says:

    The idea that they considered making an Elder Scrolls game by Pritt-Stikking its lifeless severed face, still ragged and bloody around the edges, over a World of Warcraft clone is oddly amusing. It’s like someone in a suit made of money decided to make 2001: A Space Oddysey: The Flappy Bird Clone.

    • Stupoider says:

      I don’t really know how well the “WoW clone” comparison holds up, I played it during one of the beta weekends and the only comparison with WoW I could find was in the naff starting area thing, once I did that I felt like I was left to my own devices.

    • Lemming says:

      Agreed.

      It’s such a misfire to decide that the thing that draws people into an Elder Scrolls game is its lore and look, and just sticking that on cookie-cutter MMO makes it worth a sale. The thing people love about Elder Scrolls is the player freedom. If you don’t have that, you simply don’t have an Elder Scrolls game.

      They could’ve gone the MMO-sandbox route like Star Wars Galaxies did, and had the factions and political intrigue the backbone of a world-wide to-and-fro, and later expanded the game for player-made quests a la City of Heroes. The game would’ve ran itself.

      The fact that it isn’t nearly as pretty as a true TES game wouldn’t have mattered then, as they’d brought along the core of what matters in those games.

      • malkav11 says:

        It’s many things, but it’s not a cookie-cutter WoW clone.

        • hungrycookpot says:

          For me, one of the “things” that makes me think of a cookie-cutter WoW clone is the detached combat. Two avatars floating next to each other, rolling dice at the opponent.

          I’m talking out my ass, because I haven’t played TESO yet (and probably won’t tbh), but Skyrim and TES in general are very guilty of this in their combat before TESO came along, and I was pretty much expecting that from their MMO from the start.

  16. TwwIX says:

    This lazy and obvious cash in is beyond overhyped. I tested it a weeks ago. It’s nothing more than a glorified singleplayer game with heavy instancing and linear progression. The MMO market’s already saturated with these shitty themepark MMO’s and the majority of them are free. They don’t cost a fucking thing to play let alone have a monthly subscription fee. The combat system in this is as awful as it was in Skyrim. Poorly animated with little variety nor depth. Combat systems from indie games like Chivarly and Dark Messiah put these pathetic mechanics to shame.

    This game’s lazy and unimaginative.

    • DThor says:

      Ouch. I have found it really strange that there’s a surprising lack of noise out there since release, especially since there’s been a beta, and the few reviews I’ve found are damning with faint praise. Like the competing site that I shall discreetly not mention except to say their initials IGN, which has their 150 pt sans serif tablet formatted article and bland VO movie that tells us it’s important to pick up everything and craft a *lot*, and to listen to *all* the NPC dialogue because the stories are awesome just like Skyrim, and now it’s released it’s easier in the dungeons with more players, and… I switched it off. It seemed like the most generic MMO possible getting the most obvious review possible apparently aimed at someone who’s only gaming experience was Skyrim. I wouldn’t hesitate to take a spin if it were F2P, but they need more than a visual feast of trailers with no writing(awesome job, Blur, again, seriously. Well done.) and goodwill to lure me in.

  17. araczynski says:

    after 2 betas i couldn’t stand it and didn’t go back for a 3rd. graphics sucked, gameplay was decent, but nothing new, and most importantly didn’t feel like an ES game to me.

    will definitely give it a go when it goes F2P though, but as is, nothing worth $13/month to me.

    • TWChristine says:

      I couldn’t even make it into a second one, and I mean that literally as well. I ended the first one with a solid “Meh” but was willing to give it a second shot. When the next beta weekend came around I sat there trying to get in for about an hour before I realized I just didn’t care enough to bother any more. It kind of sucks too, because I went into it with not only high hopes for the game, but also the intent to take the beta seriously and do what I could to make it better.

  18. neolith says:

    I have never seen a trailer with less story. WTF is this? A couple of uninteresting guys smash the hell out of each other? I cannot even tell who’s fighting whom. And the action is not any good either.
    Shouldn’t a trailer make me want to play the game instead of bore me?

    If the quality of the game is anything like this video, it does not have a bright future.

    • Premium User Badge Jackablade says:

      I dunno. If I can use an elf as a death ray in the game, maybe I’ll give it a look.

    • TWChristine says:

      I completely agree. I’m pretty sure I’ve seen all the trailers, and I have no idea what the “story” is supposed to be. I got that there’s three factions..they hate each other, but then it seems they are (maybe?) coming together to fight a common enemy? I’m sure you could say “Well, that IS the story, so you do get it,” to which I’d probably give a disinterested “Ehh…” It looks like they want to tell more than that little bit, such as the guy that took over the ranger, and one faction capturing elf-lady, seemingly torturing her into releasing her magic ability, and then she gets out and wants revenge and..yea.. ehh…

      • sinister agent says:

        The story is that a Daedra wants to do something bad, some mortals want to help him, and a Lone Hero must escape from prison and (eventually) stop them.

  19. erkrnkripes says:

    That trailer is terrible but I am quite unexpectedly enjoying the game.
    But Zenimax have really upset and pissed a hell of a lot of people off with their billing. When you sign up for game and enter your card details they are charging the full sub amount as an authorisation, instead of the usual $1 or whatever…so loads of people have had $14.99 taken out of their accounts as soon as they register…it looks as if Zenimax are desperately trying to grab the cash from people…theres a lot of angry people on their forums

    • Hmm-Hmm. says:

      It’s almost as if they are running some sort of scam instead of a decent game. Then again, the lines can blur somewhat especially these days.

  20. WhatAShamefulDisplay says:

    I’m still waiting here, crying into my lap, waiting for a sequel (mechanically speaking) to Morrowind*. Why did Bethesda cast aside everything I loved about my second favourite game of all time? And more worryingly, why did its sequels, which I thought were a disappointment and an Eldritch abomination, respectively, garner so, so many sales! It’s just one of those “guess you’re gettin’ old, gramps” things, but I could quite happily do a video series as long as the Plinkett reviews for the Star Wars franchise about how Skyrim destroyed everything that was good about TES (that hadn’t already been destroyed by Oblivion, which admittedly did much of the job.)

    Watching this trailer, it appears that the series has descended to a new low of intellectual and creative bankruptcy, so I think I’ll give it a miss, thanks very much. There’s only so much one battered consumer can take. Thank God for Obsidian and InXile, I guess? Time will tell, but at least we won’t have to worry about making those Games work on a console.

    *It’s too much to hope for a sequel with the ambition of Daggerfall, I’m trying to stay vaguely realistic.

    • tnzk says:

      I can dig what you’re saying, but I feel your stance is way too purist to the point of detrimental.

      I myself do find vanilla Skyrim and Oblivion not as fantastic as (vanilla) Morrowind. However, Skyrim with all the fantastic mods is utter brilliance, and if Bethesda continues to keep their games open for user-created mods, then I will happily add to their crapton of sales. No other developer, RPG or otherwise, has allowed their games to thrive simply on the abundance of fantastic mods that Bethesda has with Oblivion, Fallout, and Skyrim. Skyrim with the Requiem gameplay overhaul is one of the biggest highlights of last generation.

      I didn’t pay the full purchase price for Skyrim, but if I did, it would likely have been the best value for money I spent on any game considering I’m still experiencing new ways to play it over two years on. This is coming from one of the hardcore fans who purchased The Witcher 2 at launch and considered it the be-all-and-end-all of modern RPGs (though in hindsight I find it overrated).

      TL;DR, is it sad Bethesda are stuck on superficial gameplay and mediocre mission design? Yes, because it feels hollow about mid-way through the game, and I wish they would put more thought into it. But I’m also very okay with the community being allowed to take their games to crazy levels of good, and I’ll support them for acknowledging that.

      • WhatAShamefulDisplay says:

        Well, good for you and all, and I’m not going to be churlish enough to tell you off for enjoying the videogame on which you spent good money, but I don’t think it’s as simple as saying that it’s a “good product” (I know you didn’t say that verbatim, but ofc I have to summarise), just not as good as in the past. I’m honestly, genuinely not trying to be funny (and I tentatively extend this judgement to TESO despite not having played it), but I do not understand where people are deriving their enjoyment from in Skyrim, even leaving Morrowind and Daggerfall aside. Level scaling is still in full force, so it’s impossible to experience the thrill of advancing your character based on your own skill or knowledge, beyond what the designer intended for you. The magic system, primary and derived attributes, armour and character creation have all been cut down to the point where there’s almost nothing left. The quest design is the worst I’ve experienced in any game made after about 1996, almost every single quest is “go here, kill Draugr, come back”. This is more subjective, but I find the rural design very good, but the city design abysmal even by comparison to the dire Oblivion (did you know that Solitude has a little under half the number of buildings as Balmora? It has barely more than Hla Oad!) Quest Markers and fast-travel-with-no-cost ruin the sense of exploration by making every quest a beeline to the objective, and take away the thrill of travel. The crafting system is some kind of sick parody. And lastly, is it just me or is Jeremy Soule’s score much worse than his normal high standard? (I’ve personally loved the guy since Total Annihiliation, but this was just insipid.)

        The only reason why I’m ranting so much about Skyrim *in particular* is that I don’t think this is a problem with modern games *in general*, I think it’s a Bethesda issue. I loathe Fallout 3 with a passion equal to my loathing for Skyrim, but I regard New Vegas as a masterpiece. There’s just something about that company (and their imitators in the shape of Zenimax Online, from what I see) that just cannot make a fulfilling role-playing experience. Instead, they seem desperate to make a sightseeing-tour-cum-dungeon-crawl interspersed with the death of the occasional draugr or super mutant in a linear corridor.

        I’ve gone off point, but I would give my firstborn child for an Elder Scrolls game made by Obsidian. Heck, by this point, anyone but Bethesda! Give it to Infinity Ward, see how they do!

        • WhatAShamefulDisplay says:

          Oh yeah, I remember now: my overall point was, Skyrim is broken beyond what mods can fix, similar to Total War: Rome 2. Yes, there is an active modding community, no, the modders are not King Canute and cannot hold back the tide. :D

          • hilltop says:

            I would be very interested to read an article/watch a video in which you go into some detail on your comparisons between Morrowind and Skyrim/Oblivion. I would also be keen to learn about what made Daggerfall special in a way Morrowind wasn’t as I never played Daggerfall or heard much about it.

            I hope that doesn’t sound confrontation. I am sincere. Playing Morrowind was a revelation for me all those years ago. The main quest was well and good but remained uncompleted. The world, though – my goodness! The sight of my first silt-strider, those floating jellyfish-like creatures, Vivec and the Ordinators, finding the Morag Tong by searching every nook and cranny of that city rather than through a quest – it all felt so special.

            I never hit that wall of discontent halfway through that is so familiar in Oblivion and – I suspect – Skyrim (though I have not played Skyrim far enough to detect that familiar feeling).

            I fully accept the freedom of imagination displayed in creating Morrowind’s world seems to exceed that found in the later games. But I do wonder whether a part of the discontent I felt with Oblivion is due to a comparison I am building with Morrowind. This is obviously a burden Morrowind didn’t have to contend with, being new and fresh and really capturing my imagination.

            Or was there something more nuanced about the quest-design in the older games that I cannot recall?

          • bill says:

            Every TES game since morrowind (or even really Daggerfall) has been them trying to fix what was wrong with those games. I greatly enjoyed Daggerfall at the time, and even moreso Morrowind, but they were horribly broken games in almost every way.
            They had huge amounts of stuff (skills, stats, systems, magic, etc..) but it was almost all broken or unbalanced, or useless, and when it wasn’t it was unintuitive.
            But many of us loved those games inspite of that, and asked them to fix those parts. Which they mainly tried to do by cutting out all the broken/useless parts.
            What remains tends to be better than before, but not really as much as we’d hoped. And the whole appeal of the games tends to come inspite of their efforts… as it always has.

          • Machinations says:

            What can I say? There are contrarians who take it apon themselves to hate on well regarded properties only because of some pedantic or illogical view. Hipsters. End of transmission.

          • WhatAShamefulDisplay says:

            Machinations, to whom are you replying? It is by no means clear from your post. If it is to me that you are speaking, may I hear your contrary viewpoints expanded a little in detail, beyond simply ” people that disagree with me are contrarians and hipsters”? It would have been very easy for me, in my turn, to say that anyone that disagrees with me is a casual and probably new to the RPG genre, but I deliberately didn’t do so out of appreciation for the nuances of the situation.

  21. caff says:

    The game is actually ok… I thought the beta was awful but then I only spent 30 mins with it.

    The more you play it, the more it starts to click.

    • geldonyetich says:

      “I only spent 30 minutes with the ESO in beta. The game has only been launched for a day or two now. Yet, I’m earnestly telling you, the more you play the ESO, the more it starts to click.”

      Ah, the Internet.

      • caff says:

        Ok perhaps I should qualify my comment – “Of the 3-4 hours I’ve played, the game isn’t as awful as the introductory 30 minutes I played in the beta led me to believe it would be”.

      • malkav11 says:

        They had a 5 day early access for Imperial Edition preorders and 3 day for regular edition preorders, so people have potentially been playing for about a week at this point.

  22. ShadowLeague says:

    The only good thing about ESO are the trailers. I hope that we eventually get an Elder Scrolls 6.

  23. Tom Mack says:

    nothing new has been brought to the table with ESO. Lets just wait 6-12 months for it to go F2P.

  24. Myrdinn says:

    Zenimax definitely messed up with this one. I dread the fact that we’re going to see expansions of this in the future. Couldn’t they drop a few staff members to help Lucius develop DaggerXL?

  25. bill says:

    Ok. I have no idea what was going on in that movie. How many sides were involved? Who is on who’s side? Was the scabby faced guy related to the elf guy? most weird.

    • Hmm-Hmm. says:

      It may help if you watch the earlier cgi trailers. Apparently the devs are very big on the whole three factions (pvp) thing.

      Regardless, the trailers don’t seem to have much to do with the game as far as I can tell.

    • Zekiel says:

      Absolutely agree. I have watched one previous trailer so recognise Guy in the Horned Helmet, Improbably Powerful Elf Mage Lady and Creepy Undead(?) Archer Guy. But I had no idea what factions are supposed to be, who is on what side and generally what the heck is going on.

      Still it was nicely overblown and epic and, I can only presume, entirely representative of the experience of playing TESO itself.

  26. qutayba7 says:

    I was skeptical of the project, but it’s really won me over. If you make sure you’re not expecting “Skyrim Online” and judge it on its own merits, there are actually some very solid advances in MMO gameplay. The flexible builds are somewhat reminiscent of The Secret World without being as overwhelming. Crafting is fun and useful. And the art and visual design nail Tamriel. Writing quality is variable, with some great quest arcs in some of the zones but lots of bland side quests. And it’s a lot more polished than the beta experience or the negative previews would lead you to believe. And perhaps most importantly, players seem to be friendlier than I’m used to in MMO’s – open tagging makes a huge difference. Yeah, a sandbox would have been great, but EVE may be an anomaly in making that approach a success. I think it will all come down to whether the endgame can hold players’ attention.

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  28. PenGunn says:

    “I loathe Fallout 3 with a passion equal to my loathing for Skyrim, but I regard New Vegas as a masterpiece.”

    Nothing can be done for this man.

    • WhatAShamefulDisplay says:

      New Vegas is designed like a sequel to the original Fallout games, with reactive and plausible world design which is dynamically affected by the decisions and ability of the player character. Fallout 3 is a demented hodge-podge of puerile ideas that might have worked in a children’s cartoon, but just don’t work at all in a world that aims to be taken seriously. Notable offenders are the notion that humanity would still have barely recovered from or even made rudimentary repairs after a nuclear strike 200 years after its occurrence (while rebuild was already well under way in Fallout 2), the idea that a group would settle around a nuclear bomb, the whole tenpenny tower questline, the viability of Rivet City as a working settlement, the bastardisation of teh Brotherhood of Steel, the completely ridiculous Little Lamplight and the plotlhole-ridden, inconsistently written main questline, complete with one of the worst endings in RPG history, if I may be so bold. Moreover, what is it with Bethesda and bloody dungeon…err…subways! They are desperate to force the player into tight corridors at every opportunity, a trap which New Vegas mercifully avoided for the most part.

      • PenGunn says:

        You have made it plain how you feel. The lore is everything to some people.

        The two Fallout 3D games are both pretty good games, poor shooters but that’s only a problem for us shooter aficionados, with good stories and appealing characters. That you find one great and the other terrible amuses me. Hi ho.

        My first non shooter, Skyrim is fun, I played the hell out of it, it’s a great time sink. Have not been there in a while, but after getting a 30″ 2560×1600 monitor and GTX 780 for ESO, I went and took the Dark Elf for a spin. I like to keep Blackreach as a home for him, and he has to periodically cull the Falmer and Frost Trolls that respawn. No problem, a frost troll is a 2 shot kill for him, long a veteran of my Dragon Kill screener obsession, and it was very beautiful indeed. I just wandered around looking at the scenery. Wish the Dwemer Mechs would respawan.

        ESO is a hoot. Here’s a tip, for rapid Fighter’s Guild advancement, level 2 gets you the lovely Silver Bolts hand crossbow deal, just join up right away and attend every Dark Anchor party you can find. My Altmer witch, first female ever, got FG level 2 before even starting a Guild quest. The point of the Guild is to fight Deadra and you can get a lot of that with anchors and fissures,

        My son and I started gaming together with Doom. We have both played all kinds of PC games ever since. We are both having a blast with ESO.

        • WhatAShamefulDisplay says:

          Ah, well fair enough. It makes complete sense to me that you’re coming at this from the perspective of a shooter fan rather than an RPG fan, as viewed from that perspective it’s a whole different kettle of fish. I suppose judge purely on the combat mechanics, 3 and NV must be nigh inseperable (bar iron sights), and Skyrim must feel much meatier and more tactile.

          Just one small point which I must correct you on, though: it’s not so much that “the lore is everything”, it’s more that “the capacity to role-play is everything”. After all, these are roleplaying games. Inconsistencies in the lore and the setting make roleplaying difficult. Imagine reading a book where the protagonist periodically murders a baby. Sure, you make like some aspects of his character, but the baby murder makes it hard to empathise with him. Likewise, fill the world with inconsistencies and poor pieces of general design and the whole illusion breaks down.

          • PenGunn says:

            For me it’s what the game can do. I won’t forget in F3 running from some real tough thing and just about dead, when I made it over a bluff and saw 2 Yao Guai, the bears, and ran over to them in relief. I had Friend of Animals and they went over and murdered the baddy.

            I have all kinds of other memorable experiences from both F3 and FNV and love em’ both.

            Now my game is Stalker. Thousands of hours, a vast store of memories and really the best of them all. I count all three as I play mods of them to this day.

            ESO is fun. I have a few chars and they all work for the Altmer Red Witch now:

            http://carnagepro.com/pics/lyrisnmeS.jpg

            That’s Imperial Armor from my Dragon Knight in Daggerfall. Not many Altmer witches with that setup. That’s a 4&3 setup, 4 light, 3 heavy just because she was hitting soft caps on magic regeneration with 5&2. She, my first ever female char, is kicking ass pretty well. A pure Mage damage dealer. Got her to level 10 in about 14 hours. She is very good on Dark Anchors knocks stuff over a lot. ;)

            It’s fun this MMO combat. I am getting pretty good at it. It’s complex:

            So I hit the beast with a curse, it will mature in 6 secs then hammer it. Then I introduce myself with a slow, 1.5 sec, wind up flattener. I can now strike it quickly with lightning, hope for a critical and just about then the curse matures. If it’s still moving I might use a weapon on it. ;)

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  30. fish99 says:

    Saw someone streaming this the other day and TBH I was shocked at how bad the visuals were. It seemed to me the assets had been designed to look OK at a distant third person perspective, but once you went first person, you could really see how low the polygon counts were and how low res the textures were. In some ways it looked worse than Morowind (albeit with a much higher draw distance). It certainly didn’t compare visually to say GW2 or TERA.

    I don’t care about the game one way or the other, since I dislike MMOs, but I expected it to at least look comparable to other recent MMOs. Of course graphics aren’t everything.

  31. Bluefox says:

    I started up the game the other day, and I had to shut it off after the prologue. The problem was not the gameplay – I barely got to experience that – but the lore. Spoilers ahoy.

    The situation is as follows: Mehrunes Dagon, a powerful Daedric lord in charge of the afterlife, has decided he’s finally going to get his shit together and take over the living world of Mundus. Unfortunately for him, there’s a prophecy (of course) that “the soulless one” is going to thwart his wonderful plan and seal up his realm so tight it’ll take a millennium to get out again.

    That’s all fine and well. As this game is set centuries before Arena, this at least explains why this hugely powerful big bad hasn’t tried anything catastrophic to all life on Mundus much before that particular game. It turns out it was all *your* doing! Assuming you reach the end game, natch.

    But my problem is this: in response to this prophecy, Mehrunes Dagon goes and decides it is in his best interests to make as many soulless ones as possible. As soon as someone dies, s/he has their soul split off from another part (the mind, maybe? Something physical left over, anyway), and this physical part is collected in cages all throughout Oblivion. Why are the souls taken out? It’s never said; maybe the soul tastes good in pies. But there’s enough left over to fight back, and its this part that the player controls.

    As a result, though, there are hundreds of soulless ones. If ESO is going to be popular at all, there will be hundreds of thousands, if not millions of soulless ones. And I just can’t wrap my brain around stupidity on that kind of scale.

    Now, Mehrunes Dagon is a Daedra. As a timeless extra-planar being, his way of thinking is going to be alien to me. But unless he has a second side to himself that is actively plotting against his own interests, doesn’t it seem that the first thing he would do upon hearing of this prophecy is to … stop making soulless ones? Maybe even destroy the ones currently mucking about?

    The whole plot is largely single-player. You have a companion with you during the prologue that is completely invisible to other players (who you can see running around during the obligatory prison break). One soulless one that slips through the cracks to fulfill the prophecy I can understand. But if you communicate with your other escapees, you’ll learn that they’re soulless, too, and that they have companions, and that they’re on the same quest to do the same things for the same people. The whole charade leans quite heavily on a facade that is clearly not much more than cardboard.

    Obligatory snark: So, it’s an MMO.

    It’s an interesting idea for a single-player TES game. The evil Deadric lords usually have their plans messed up by one mortal driven by a prophecy. This will be the first time in the Elder Scrolls universe that I’m aware in which the opposing gods have seen fit to raise a mortal army in response to evil plans.

    Eventually I turned the game back on and played for a bit longer. It was a hum-drum experience that was far more linear than I would have liked for a TES game, with a lot of gated content and a seemingly restrictive class system. The quests were normal stuff (fetch this, kill that guy, click on this and wait for ten seconds, queue to kill this bad), the voice acting was overdone, and the combat was a little cleaner than Skyrim. So I turned it off again. I don’t know if I’ll be back. Maybe in a year or so, when it matures.

    • PenGunn says:

      It’s Molg Bal not Mehrunes Dagon, and he is seriously into pain, torture and all manner of awfulness. He wants to haul Tamril into his domain of Coldharbor, a fragment of Oblivion.

      The guys who think Skyrim combat is cool may hate this game. It took me a while to understand the weapon in your hand is the weakest attack you have. Often the weapon is more important as a particular ability slot than as a thing to hit things with.

      Takes a bit of getting used to.

  32. AstroGazer says:

    After Playing this game for weeks now I have to say if your an Elder Scrolls fan your probably not going to like the mmo cyrodiil part. I played all three faction sides and enjoyed the questing and extra help you can get to get through some of the dungeons. Questing is almost impossible in the mmo cyrodiil part since you will be attacked by hoards (15-20) of players. So I quit that part and went back to faction area. Cyrodiil is nothing like Oblivion. The cities are only a couple of destroyed buildings. The faction part was enjoyable to see some of Morrowind again, to see High Rock area, Experience the Valenwood area. The quest are interesting, Voice acting is good and keeps you involved. Now that I played all the quests and all 3 factions I am kinda tired of it and miss Skyrim and all its PC Mods.