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

Thursday, 7 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.