Sections

E3 2012: Why TESO isn’t “just another fantasy MMO”

Thursday, 7th June 2012 19:07 GMT By Dave Oshry

Dave Oshry didn’t want to like The Elder Scrolls Online. He really didn’t, but once he got his eyes on the MMO at E3, he quickly changed his mind.

TESO – A History

First project from ZeniMax Online Studios.

Development started in 2007, same year rumors of its existence first surfaced.

First concrete details leaked in March 2012.

Announced May 2012 via Game Informer Magazine.

First press showing at E3 2012.

First public showing rumored to be at QuakeCon 2012.

Slated for release in 2013.

I used to hate the Elder Scrolls Online like you. But then I saw the game and realized just what it was. Fan service. Pure and simple. Even if the fans don’t know it yet.

While TESO has been scoffed at for being “just another fantasy MMO” it’s still an Elder Scrolls MMO, and the only one you’re going to get.  Want to go back to Morrowind, Cyrodiil or even Hammerfell?  Well now you can.  Ever want to work for the Aldmeri Dominion?  Now you can.  It’s an ambitious game in some ways, even if it’s not in others.  You’ll see the same tried and true MMO combat that involves pressing a series buttons and waiting for cooldowns and there will be plenty of quest givers telling you to go kill 10 trash mobs at location A for the sake of saving town B.  They’re seemingly playing it very safe in terms of gameplay, but in terms of lore, they’re quite ambitious.

The entire continent of Tamriel is part of the game, every race is present, every Aedra and Daedra accounted for.  There is more lore in this game than in every other Elder Scrolls game combined, and that’s no easy feat.  It’s as if someone sewed together all the previous Elder Scrolls games into a quilt then added in all the bits that we’ve never seen before as patches.

“Will TESO re-invent the wheel?  No. Will it have 10 million persistent subscribers? No. Will this Elder Scrolls fan be logging in on day one?  It’s very likely.”

The first time a clannfear or a daedroth pops up on screen or you see a shrine of Julianos, you’ll become fully aware that this is indeed the biggest and most complete Elder Scrolls universe ever.

There’s some other cool bits too.  Much like RIFT there’s a non traditional grouping structure. Meaning you don’t need certain classes present in your group to clear a dungeon.  There’s also the minimalistic and disappearing UI, the fact that you’ll do quests in the past that affect the present (don’t step on anything!) and the fact that they’re tuning the end game content for 25 player raids.  As someone who cut his teeth in the likes of World of Warcraft’s Sunwell encounters, I’m very open to more 25 man end game content that revolves around The Elder Scrolls.  Yeah, I want to fight Molag Bal.  Way more than I ever wanted to fight the Lich King or Deathwing.

You see, there are some of us out there who actually dig the lore and the story told in MMOs.  Crazy I know, but ask anyone who played as WoW Horde or Alliance for a number of years and they’ll likely tell you they’d willingly fall on their sword for Varian Stormwind or Thrall in a heartbeat.  Hell, if King Varian walked into my office right now I’d likely kneel at his feet.  I’d also likely have to stop drinking because I’d have been seeing things.  But that’s besides the point.

TESO E3 2012 teaser

The point is – the Elder Scrolls Online is a game for Elder Scrolls fans in the same way that The Old Republic is a game for Star Wars fans and Lord of the Rings Online is a game for fans of Tolkien.

As much as I went into my demo of TESO expecting to come out with a sense of pure disdain, I left intrigued.  Perhaps I realized just how much of an Elder Scrolls fan I truly was, or perhaps it was just that damned theme.

Will TESO re-invent the wheel?  No. Will it have 10 million persistent subscribers? No. Will this Elder Scrolls fan be logging in on day one?  It’s very likely.

Breaking news

23 Comments

Sign in to post a comment.

  1. Kabby

    Encounters or Emocunters? Either is appropriate. :)

    “The point is – the Elder Scrolls Online is a game for Elder Scrolls fans in the same way that The Old Republic is a game for Star Wars fans and Lord of the Rings Online is a game for fans of Tolkien.”

    That’s a pretty damning appraisal considering all the other games there are garbage.

    Until they start showing videos of actual game play the public at large isn’t going to give a shit anyway. Hypetrain 101.

    #1 2 years ago
  2. Ireland Michael

    They seem to fail to understand that visual identity *is” a big part of lore.

    Tamriel is a nasty place. There are no real good or bad guys, much of the world is a mystery, and a lot of it is barren. Its not bright, elaborate or colourful. Comfortable lives don’t come easily. It’s aesthetic has at consistently represented this.

    Now it just looks like World of Warcraft with different names.

    I think the visual design of The Elder Scrolls Online is a *serious* misstep, and doesn’t ring true to the identity of the franchise in the slightest. And this is coming from someone who been immersed in the lore of the series since the original Arena.

    WoW destroyed any consistency the Warcraft lore had. It’ll be cool to see Tamriel in a fully realized setting, but I really hope to god the same thing doesn’t happen to the lore in this.

    #2 2 years ago
  3. Dave Oshry

    @1 lol, fixed. Bloody typos. I’m not saying those games are good, I’m saying that they have their dedicated fans and dedicated subscribers and that this will be no different.

    #3 2 years ago
  4. Sini

    An mmo, that you pay to experience boring combat, yawn inducing dialog, world slapped with most generic fantasy settings out there, and years behind the borefest commonly known as WoW when it comes to little things that most people do in mmos.

    Who the fuck pays these people. Oh, right the rest of you with low standards. Democracy and capitalism simply doesn’t work.

    #4 2 years ago
  5. Dave Oshry

    @2 It doesn’t look like WoW. I saw parts of Morrowind and Cyrodiil that looked like Morrowind and Cyrodiil. It looked like the Elder Scrolls universe. It was much darker than WoW in every sense. You’ll have to wait and see for yourself.

    #5 2 years ago
  6. Dave Oshry

    @4 ZeniMax pays them actually :-p

    #6 2 years ago
  7. Stardog

    All they had to do was just take the gameplay from Oblivion/Skyrim and translate it into an MMO. Not difficult for a designer with more than 2 brain cells.

    Instead they’re making another generic boring MMO with ugly graphics. Star Wars made the exact same mistake. Without the name, you wouldn’t know this was TES.

    With the unlimited budget ZeniMax have, they should be doing 100x better than this shit. Just cancel it.

    If Bethesda had the choice, I bet they wouldn’t want it made, or would want to make it themselves. Now they’re slaves to a money-hungry ZeniMax.

    #7 2 years ago
  8. Ireland Michael

    @5 I will have to take your word for it. What they’ve shown so far is way too corlourful and cartoony, and doesn’t have that harsh world look to it at all.

    If they can get the lore right, that’s one step in the right direction.

    @7 No.

    Transferring the gameplay from the single player games directly into a massively multiplayer experience would not have worked at all. It would have been incredibly dull.

    And where the hell did you get the idea that they have an “unlimited budget”? MMO are notoriously expensive to create, and their makes them even more so. You sound like the kind of gamer who has no appreciation for the amount of hard work that goes into these sort of things, and simply condemns anything that doesn’t match their personal expectations as the work of “idiots with two brain cells”.

    “If Bethesda had the choice, I bet they wouldn’t want it made, or would want to make it themselves. Now they’re slaves to a money-hungry ZeniMax”.

    What the hell are you on about? Zenimax *is* Bethesda for all intents and purposes. Zenimax is a “shell” company that was created by Bethesda themselves. There is no giant fist beating down on them.

    #8 2 years ago
  9. DSB

    “Will TESO re-invent the wheel? No. Will it have 10 million persistent subscribers? No. Will this Elder Scrolls fan be logging in on day one? It’s very likely.”

    I wish more people would adopt that attitude when it comes to new MMOs. Every single time it’s like “FORGET WHAT YOU KNOW, THIS ONE ONLY DOES EVERYTHING” and then as soon as it launches everybody’s like “Meh” and starts looking for another in-development MMO to say the exact same crap about :P

    #9 2 years ago
  10. HauntaVirus

    I have a feeling this game is all hype…time will tell.

    #10 2 years ago
  11. Stardog

    @8 “You sound like the kind of gamer who has no appreciation for the amount of hard work that goes into these sort of things”

    Video game development pays my bills.

    “Transferring the gameplay from the single player games directly into a massively multiplayer experience would not have worked at all. It would have been incredibly dull.”

    Nonsense. They’ve achieved incredibly dull already.

    #11 2 years ago
  12. TheWulf

    @1

    Ouch.

    There go my hopes for this game.

    I thought that they were still trying to tweak things to go more down the Guild Wars 2 approach of actually doing things so different from the standard MMORPG that you can’t really compare it to anything. But I guess they’ve just settled into the TOR/LOTRO/WoW style of game.

    That’s … tremendously disappointing. I guess I might have had suspicions that that was the case, but yeah. I mean, I kind of wanted it not to be. I was still hoping it wasn’t.

    Why?

    I really, really fucking like the lore of The Elder Scrolls. It’s a fantastic world. The only problem I’ve had with it is that since Morrowind, they’ve been telling some really boring stories in it. Pastoral lands have troubles with demons? Yawn. The frozen north has troubles with dragons and xenophobia? Yawn. They could do so much better.

    I was hoping that with this we might actually see some enjoyable gameplay and maybe, maybe some decent storytelling. But that’s what I get for having mildly high hopes. I guess it really is just another WoW clone. I know GI strongly hinted at this, but…

    I didn’t want to believe it because Elder Scrolls.

    See, this is why I’ve been saying that I wanted ZeniMax Online to SHOW us the game in the same way that ArenaNet did (ArenaNet got Guild Wars 2 out there in cons early on so people could know that everything they’d said about their game is true, and they even changed the game based upon feedback). But after saying that, and the lack of coverage of their ACTUAL game…

    Meh.

    Okay, I was stupid to hope for anything decent to come from this.

    #12 2 years ago
  13. TheWulf

    @5

    I’m with you. People are amazingly stupid about this. If anything, it looks like Rift. And the problem with Rift wasn’t the graphics (it REALLY wasn’t), it was the cookie cutter WoW-like gameplay.

    I mean, let me just grab a screenshot for comparison. Here we go. Anyone who thinks that TESO looks like WoW has no eyes. I admit that there ARE hints there (big chins, shoulderpads, and so on), but it’s not an outright WoW aesthetics copy like TOR was.

    In fact, I find this far, far, FAR more preferable visually than both TOR and WoW.

    EDIT: Also, it’s worth pointing out that parts of Morrowind and Oblivion looked VERY much like Rift and not that grimdark or EPIK REALITAY at all. In fact, Skyrim was really the first game to go for those aesthetics.

    (Yes, I imagine people saying ‘epic reality’ in Cartman’s voice, because I feel that as an aesthetic, it’s worthless, and a fucking cancer.)

    #13 2 years ago
  14. wormsby

    I’ve given up expecting anything worthwhile from AAA MMOs. I go in expecting them to be crap. Because they all are, at core. There’s literally nothing interesting going on in the AAA massively multiplayer space.

    Too bad really, I think the Elder Scrolls isn’t a half-bad IP, which would otherwise put them head and shoulders above the wretched IPs littering the MMO space.

    #14 2 years ago
  15. Cormac

    i swore that said the ‘tesco’ mmo, till i reread it. Now thats something i would like to see bethesda working on Haha!

    #15 2 years ago
  16. Stephany Nunneley

    Well, I am going to give it the benefit of the doubt until I can get my hands on it. I have yet to be disappointed in an ES game yet, so I am hoping my love for the series transfers over. The lore will draw me in – it always does, and then if the gameplay is good, and the community strong – I will stick around.

    Do you all know why I still play LOTRO? Not just because it’s Tolkien. Not just because it’s utterly gorgeous, but the community. Yeah, sure it gets old sometimes – everything does – and yeah, you will find a few assholes in the bunch (one entire Kinship comes to mind) – but all in all you couldn’t ask for a better bunch of people to play with. Ready to help out, ready to offer advise, and in a very mature and respectful manner.

    How many other MMOs can you say that about?

    Granted, many are probably older players, who learned manners had real world applications long before the internet became popular, but still, a great community does a lot for your MMO. I think – personally – that if the game gains the following of TES community – those of us who have been there since inception – it will help bolster it. If they will come that is – I hope people at least give it a go before writing it off.

    #16 2 years ago
  17. Kabby

    Skyrim was too popular and brought the Elder Scrolls to the masses. TESO will have a community full of morons after release.

    #17 2 years ago
  18. fearmonkey

    Darn you Dave, now I have hope for this game and I wanted to hate it so id be pleasantly suprised if i liked it.

    As Wulf noted, the games screens looked like Rift to me, and not a TES game. I played Rift for several months and enjoyed it but I got bored as it was fun but sill just another MMO.

    I have always wanted to go to those diffent places, I hope it feels like them, but I just cannot see myself walking through Balmora or Seyda Neen in third person with graphics that remind me of Rift.

    I want to love it, but time will tell.

    #18 2 years ago
  19. Dave Oshry

    @18 You can play in first person. It looks a bit like RIFT sure, but much more like Morroblivion HD.

    #19 2 years ago
  20. tesozone

    I think its very upsetting when people expect TESO to be just another MMORPG. The game will be awesome with such an experienced roster working on the development. If you guys are interested in checking out the latest information and details about the game check out TESO Zone.

    #20 2 years ago
  21. enderssasin

    it seems like nobody on this blog seems like their talking about. have you played TESO? no you havent. Do you know for definate whats in it? no. and besides, it will probaly be BETTER than WoW. so all of you shut up unless you have anything important to say. go to TESO Zone if you want information before you post retarded comments.

    #21 2 years ago
  22. teso

    I really like it, like I feel like its going to be an amazing game. I even dedicated a new community to it. Check it out @ http://www.tesoguru.com

    The Elder Scrolls Online is going to be amazing <3

    #22 2 years ago
  23. Kabby

    “Hell, if King Varian walked into my office right now I’d likely kneel at his feet.”

    Said like a true Alliance pansy. :D

    There’s very little hype or expectation surrounding this TES MMO.

    #23 2 years ago