It’s been a busy week for Bethesda. First there was the 10-year anniversary of the multiple award-winning game TES III: Morrowind. Then they announced their first expansion for Skyrim (Dawnguard). Finally there was the announcement of The Elder Scrolls Online to be produced by ZeniMax Online Studios, which you may know from Dark Ages of Camelot. Yep, the best singleplayer RPG series enters the ever-growing world of MMO’s hoping to become a leader in that genre as well.
However, they will first have to defeat the likes of Blizzard’s World of Warcraft (who has more than 10 million monthly subscribers worldwide – that means they each pay at least € 10/month depending on the subscription plan they have), Bioware’s Star Wars: The Old Republic, Trion Worlds’ Rift & many more… Even for a franchise such as TES it won’t be easy to pass those two giants in MMO’s.
I could make a post about MMO business models here (pay-to-play vs free-to-play) but that’s not what this post will be about. Let’s get back to the announcement. Immediately after the TES Online announcement was made, lots of players expressed their concerns about TES going online. “The Elder Scrolls has no place in the MMO world.” was the common thought among the fans. Some however were enthousi… nah not really. I tried to find some positive reactions about the announcements but I couldn’t really find any…
And then they released some screenshots and the place exploded:
- “A CARTOONY TES GAME.,, it’s an insult! A colorfull monstruosity!!!”
- “TES was all about being the “chosen one”. How will they accommodate having hundreds of thousands of “chosen ones”?”
- “WHAT? THIS NIGHTMARE IS REAL!!! AND IT´S BURNING MY EYES!!!!”
- “You gotta be shitting me. This looks like a beta screenshot for Morrowind.”
- “Have you guys gotten any positive feedback on this game yet?”
- “Colorful environment, check. Stereotyped sexy females, check. Unrealistic portrayal of characters, check. Bright colors everywhere, it hurts the eye.”
Myself, I have to agree with the angry mob. However Bethesda has clearly stated this will only be a side-project to them and their main focus will still be the singleplayer franchise. Which is a big relief to me. After playing WoW for about 7 years (with sometimes long periods of interruption!) I vowed not to play any MMO’s anymore. They are too addictive, too expensive and too little story for me. After seeing the screenshots, it does indeed look like a weak WoW-clone. I’d rather stick to the real stuff (yea, Skooma too…).
The only multiplayer in TES I would encourage is to do some PVP or co-op with 2-4 players at max, like they do in Diablo and other top-down combat RPGS. This would however bring other restrictions such as a slow-time spell which would irritate the other players… They would have to make a separate multiplayer-mode such as they succesfully did in Mass Effect 3. In the end I’m glad the way things are right now.
What about you? Do you prefer MMO’s or rather the immersive Singleplayer experience? Would you play TES Online?