Mushroom Kingdoms: The Elder Scrolls Online

Oh, The Elder Scrolls Online, now is really not the right time for this sort of behaviour. I see you there, in your thirty minute long QuakeCon presentation, and I can’t deny that I was pleased to see it embroidered with mushrooms and mounts, but my mind is still full of Everquest Next. Maybe it’s just bad timing. Had it been another day, I might not have looked the other way. Chances are I would have done though. That said, toward the end of the video, a player mounts a monster’s head on a spike. That’s new, I think. Although, disturbingly, heads on spikes instantly remind make me think of John Romero. Has there ever been a greater example of the form?

Here are Agent Caldwell’s impressions of the game.


  1. RedViv says:

    MORROWIND! YEAH! is the new WATER! WATER! YEAH!, I see.

  2. DrScuttles says:

    The only thing that would make me interested in Elder Scrolls Online would be if I could take a small party of ne’er do wells in the thrall of some vicious alchemist, find some mushrooms to gobble down and stage an impromptu rendition of A Field In Elsweyr.

    • RedViv says:

      The Lusty Argonian Quest Pack ($20)

      There. Sells the game. No, wait…

      The 36 Lessons of Vivec – Benedict Cumberbatch Audio Edition ($10)

      • DrScuttles says:

        Holidays Of The Iliac Bay, narrated by BRIAN BLESSED, $8. Pre-order bonus replaces all NPC barks with BRIAN BLESSED.

  3. Chalk says:

    At least SOE are trying to move the genre along.

    Elder Scrolls Online might be a decent game to explore – but will be it a good game to play?

    • lowprices says:

      If we’re turning this into ESO vs. Evernext, then I guess i have to put on my Everquest hat. Evernext seems so ambitious that I’m not sure how it can possibly deliver, but I’d rather support that then another by the numbers theme park MMO.

    • Ace McAwesome says:

      I mean, ESO doesn’t look terrible, eh? It looks okay. Not stunning, but okay enough. But the question I have to ask is: Why? What’s the point? In a saturated market, why not stick with the niche that ES has already carved out and been crowned king of?

      I know, I know, it’s not the same company, two different dev teams, etc. But it’s still money and resources that could’ve been invested elsewhere.

  4. Arglebargle says:

    I think the chances are good that they will be neither an enjoyable Elder Scrolls exploration jaunt, nor a particularly good MMO experiance. If I were them, I would focus on the console market.

    • Harlander says:

      Two questions:

      1) Any particular reason, or just generic anti-console snobbery?
      2) Is there a big market for MMOs on consoles?

      • naetharu says:

        I guess there is a space for a good MMOs on console. This game looks too close to Guild Wars/ WoW to make any real impression on the PC tbh. However, (1) there are not really any good console MMOs right now (Defiance, DC Universe?) and (2) TES has a very strong and well established console presence. Given these two points I do see the sense in pushing the console side of the game.

      • Yglorba says:

        Focusing on the console market just seems like an intuitive choice for me. There’s less competition there, and the idea of using the traditional Elder Scrolls interface to play a MMO intuitively makes more sense on a console (where traditional MMO mouse-and-keyboard interfaces are unworkable.)

      • Arglebargle says:

        Naetharu and Yglorba said it. Less competition in Console-space and thus lesser expectations. Plus strong TES sales previously there.

        I’m certainly a bit snobby on the consoles, mostly due to their lockdown nature and the stifling of game possibilities later in their life cycles. The new batch looks fairly interesting though.

        As for ESO, I think it was conceptualized long enough ago that some of it’s basic designs have become old hat at this point. It’s probably not going to deliver the exploration fun of TES, nor any sort of innovative MMO additions.

  5. Fiyenyaa says:

    I’m getting more and more tentatively interested in this.
    When they announced this game it couldn’t look more generic, but it seems like they are trying to make it look and feel a little more TES-y. Thank God they put the first-person perspective in.

    • naetharu says:

      I’m just not convinced that it is going to work. TES games are great because they provide a nice little world to explore. The stories in them are terrible imo but I overlook that because the world is great. From what I can see of this game the world is reduced to a typical on the rails WoW style experience (i.e. zones with quest-lines) which just saps any desire to play the game for me. Not to mention that the sense of world is going to be somewhat lost once you have a load of kids bouncing around shouting their slang and being obnoxious to anyone and everyone.

    • Lawful Evil says:

      look and feel a little more TES-y.

      But… what does that mean?

      • Fiyenyaa says:

        Well the art style looked almost like a high-end version of WoW from some of the initial screens, whereas they seem to have a bit more of the TES art style going on now (although I suppose that’s easier to tell when you’re in Morrowind instead of The Capital of Generic Cyrodil). Plus the first-person stuff that they tried to ignore but realised people really wanted.
        Maybe I’m being overly optimistic, but I certainly want to give it a try.

  6. Aaax says:

    I hate to be off-topic, but isn’t the tournament with the biggest prize-pool in the history of gaming, that is happening right now, worth at least a mention at RPS?

    • lowprices says:

      Which would that be?

      • Aaax says:

        Dota 2 world championship. It’s live event happening in Seattle with high stakes, so I guess it could be fun to watch even for people not normally interested in e-sports.

        It’s starting tommorow, some photos can be found here: link to

        • bstard says:

          Beware contains highly nerdish material. Nerd glasses or geek burn factor 30 recommended.

          But they play some great dota! Enjoyed quiete a few matches so far.

        • lowprices says:

          I think everyone at RPS except Cara is terrified of MOBA’s, or Lane Pushers, or whatever we’re calling them these days.

  7. MrThingy says:

    Is there some audio filter or DSP that can take the hillbilly “whooping” out of these tech demos?

  8. CRSE says:

    Admittedly, I’ve been skeptical ever since the cinematical trailer which featured some random bloke dodging arrows, throwing himself along the ropes of breaking bridges and god knows all, but seeing this footage I can’t help myself thinking it will be just another dreadful experience. “Pick an alliance”, “When you collect three stones you can raise your skill”, “Look here, another generic experience in low resolution” etc.

    I do sincerely believe that many preferences have changed (matured?) since the inception of WoW and that the last thing needed is another static experience.

  9. mikmanner says:

    Looks pretty brown

  10. Unrein says:

    90% the same shit you’ve seen before and 10% of vaguely novel concepts that in no fucking way can carry the game. Yet again.

  11. Unclepauly says:

    I have a feeling it’s going to be successful based on the name alone.

  12. Drumstick42 says:

    I suppose I’m an anomaly within the RPS readership, because I actually quite enjoy “traditional” MMOs. When i was younger, I spent far too much time playing WoW, and it remains my favorite game simply because of all the fond memories I made in it.

    That being said, I recognize that the systems in MMOs are stale and need improvement. Games like Tera and GW2 have helped to move combat forward, but now something has to be done about questing. In too many games it’s become a procedural affair, completing one quest after another in a linear (and often forced), predefined sequence. This is only tolerable if the game has an excellent story, which is a rarity. Even if the game (such as the Old Republic) does have a great story, the lack of freedom makes leveling alts a complete slog. The system needs an overhaul. I desperately want EQ to be the game that provides that overhaul, but the promises sound very similar to what we heard from GW2 about dynamic events before it released, and that didn’t exactly work out according to plan. It’ll be interesting to see what happens.

  13. woodsey says:

    God what is it about TES games at presentations that attracts all those fucking idiots erupting into applause because someone read a bloody book? Same exact thing happened when they demoed Skyrim.

  14. Stevostin says:

    I must say the big thing here is the first person combat that is working better than in any MMO I’ve seen. It does start to look like a TES game at least. Have to say a voxel shapable world doesn’t weight as much in my personnal balance as a first person view. Does Everquest Next have that ?

  15. RIDEBIRD says:

    Skyrims shitty combat with MMO concessions, Hero Engine and some of the worst animations and textures I have seen in a while does not make for a particularly interesting game. It looks like all the systems are even worse then in TOR, which was like WoW except really, really, really bad. This game seems to lack responsiveness and interactivity as well and looks 15 years old in comparison to Wildstar and EQ Next – the former which will likely be out before ESO..

  16. dagudman says:

    Looks like a CoD clone.

  17. ohferfuxsake says:

    I thought the animations looked pretty good, but admittedly I haven’t played any of the AAA action games or recent MMO titles. I’m more concerned whether they’ll be able to strike a good (read: survivable) balance between the traditional lore-heavy exploratory focus of the single player and the kind of game that will appeal to the indifferent narcissism and splintered focus that seems to be the hallmark of most MMO players. The failure of TESO on top of the persistent cash drag that is Id software could be enough to jeopardize the company’s independence if not it’s future.