TESO's single player was a little underwhelming when I played it at Gamescom. Sure, it looked like Skyrim, but I suspect that's probably the wrong message to be sending. My feeling is that TESO needs to be its own game, and by mimicking Skyrim it's sleepwalking into trouble. Rather than attempting to trade on Skyrim's success, it needs to be setting out its own stall to the MMO crowd, and doing so on its own. One area it might do this is in PvP, which is increasingly sounding like the most interesting area of the project. In a recent Q&A the team have started going into some details, and they sounds like My Sort Of Thing.
If a player becomes Emperor and their alliance holds the keeps around the Imperial City, how will the other alliances be able to take control again if they have no point of access into Cyrodiil? Also, if the Emperor is changed when the current Emperor is killed, what is to stop a player just avoiding Cyrodiil on that character once they become Emperor? – By Mitchell Antico
Access to Cyrodiil is always available in safe locations that enemies cannot enter, so you can always fight over control of the Emperorship. If an Emperor is dethroned (meaning their alliance lost all the keeps necessary to crown an Emperor), the next time they are killed, log out, or switch zones, they lose the Emperorship. Emperorship isn’t just beneficial for the individual player, though—the entire Alliance gets a bonus if an Emperor is on their side.
Who wouldn't want to dethrone an emperor?
How will the Alliance Wars work with the three alliances? Let’s say the Ebonheart Pact controls a keep. Can the Aldmeri Dominion and the Daggerfall Covenant attack that same keep, at the same time? Or in the same scenario, let’s say I am from the Aldmeri Dominion. Can I just go around and start attacking the Daggerfall people who are attacking that keep, or are the confrontations capped to two alliances at any given time? – By Gabriel Feix
In that scenario, Aldmeri and Daggerfall forces can attack the keep at the same time, and like you said, if they wipe out the Ebonheart defenders, it’s up to the two Alliances left to battle it out between each other. The Aldmeri attackers could choose to attack Daggerfall while assaulting the keep or just wait until the dust settles and attack whoever is left. Another tactic could involve the Ebonheart force withdrawing from the keep, letting Aldmeri and Daggerfall fight each other, and then wiping out any remaining forces from those two fighting. It’s very exciting what three sides in open warfare add to a fight, and you’ll see many tactics out there on the battlefields of Cyrodiil!
Sounds not unlike a very pretty version of Dark Age Of Camelot, to me. That can't be bad.
Anyway. As for that single player experience. Well, I can't be too negative about it: the world was lavish, and the quests were fine. Just fine, though, and not brilliant. It felt luxurious as a game - the money spent on it was very obvious - but it never felt even as ambitious as Skyrim. Imagination, I would say, hasn't been spent on it in large amounts. And when you look at what Carbine are doing with the lovely-looking Wildstar, and what SOE are talking about for EQN, well, Bethesda will probably realise that MMOs need to stand apart these days. Their legacy is simply too heavy.