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The Elder Scrolls Online: Skyrim skin can’t make up for MMORPG mediocrities

Monday, 10 February 2014 07:55 GMT By Brenna Hillier

The Elder Scrolls Online should be a heck of a gateway drug, luring the franchise’s single-player fanbase to the world of MMORPGs, but Brenna comes away unmoved.

the_elder_scrolls_online

I am not an expert in MMORPGs – or much of a fan of them. I’ve tried quite a few, from the big, obvious titles to more obscure Korean efforts, but the only one I’ve ever put any serious amount of time into is The Secret World, which is, by all accounts, a bit of an odd duck. I’m not in a position to make sweeping generalisations regarding the genre as a whole.

Having said all that, I’m perfectly prepared to judge the heck out of The Elder Scrolls Online, because that franchise is something I do know and love.

The whole time I was playing The Elder Scrolls Online during a press beta over the past few weeks, I desperately wanted to be doing something – anything! else. I particularly wanted to be playing a different game in the franchise – Skyrim, Oblivion, Morrowind – or a different MMORPG. The reason for this is that The Elder Scrolls Online has rather failed in what I assume was its mission: to bring that ineffable, inimitable Bethesda quality to a very crowded market, in order to differentiate a game from its many competitors.

In his own reflections on the press beta weekend, Dave said that he felt like he was playing Skyrim with some optional multiplayer components. I don’t agree. At all. Skyrim, for all its repetitiveness and various limitations, is a game I never get sick of.

This was not the case with The Elder Scrolls Online, which I wanted to stop playing almost immediately; a feeling that only intensified. It didn’t feel like Skyrim, or any of The Elder Scrolls games, to me, although it shared elements – a certain aesthetic in the UI, assets drawn from the same concept sources.

There’s nothing wrong with this Skyrim skin. It makes The Elder Scrolls Online feel comfortable, familiar. This is a good thing. I’m praising it. It’s just that for me, that’s pretty much where the similarities ended. Strip away the lore and the aesthetics, and what I found was an MMORPG packed to the gills with all the tropes and conventions that have always put me off the genre as a whole.

Maybe I know so little about MMORPGs that the glaring differentiations weren’t immediately apparent to me. But for me the real issue is that while I did not go into The Elder Scrolls Online expecting Skyrim multiplayer, I also did not go in expecting to be utterly bored – and I was.

Gorgeous, isn’t it? No, the game doesn’t look anything like this.

Overwhelming and fiddly
I have a couple of major objections to The Elder Scrolls Online in its current state, and this first one may – thankfully – be ironed out during beta testing: the presentation is fiddly and non-intuitive.

I don’t want to get bogged down describing all the little pieces of the UI that frustrated or annoyed me, from the dark ages chat window to the console-style interaction wheel to the difficulty in determining which item is highlighted in a list. These problems (and the absolutely dreadful tutorial system, which if I were the kind to use sarcastic quotation marks would absolutely have borne that shame) may and hopefully will all be resolved, either before or just after launch.

There is one aspect of the presentation which is unlikely to change, though, and that makes my heart sink in disappointment: the story is presented in a very off-putting and old-fashioned manner.

You know how in MMOs you largely wander from A to B, following your quest marker, and blindly clicking through the slabs of text the game presents to you in a vain attempt to hide the lack of variation in its quests? You know how there’s always this one guy at conventions who knows absolutely everything about the lore in the most minute detail, and then there’s you, and all your friends, who vaguely know which faction you’re in?

I expected The Elder Scrolls Online to deviate from this trend because the franchise’s lore is so rad. It’s always suffered a bit in keeping its overarching plot hidden behind the story of the moment – a friend of mine has no idea the Daedra exist, for example – but if you’re even the slightest bit inclined to explore (like me) you uncover a massive amount of backstory, history and worldbuilding without having to do anything so tedious as read those books lying around everywhere (I never, ever do).

The story in The Elder Scrolls Online is presented in the most humdrum way possible – gorgeous non-engine cinematics, long slabs of text, people standing around talking at you for hours on end.

But it didn’t. The story in The Elder Scrolls Online is presented in the most humdrum way possible – gorgeous non-engine cinematics, long slabs of text, people standing around talking at you for hours on end. The Elder Scrolls skin kicks in again a bit here in that when you talk to somebody you zoom in, Oblivion style (remember how Skyrim got rid of that? Yeahhhh) so you can see their face and animations clearly. This is supposed to immerse you in the world, I guess, and the star-studded vocal cast no doubt cost a pretty penny and deserves a nod.

Look, I’m probably going to take a drubbing in the comments for this, but I don’t think it’s that unusual: I immediately skipped about 85% of every bit of text or conversation I encountered. I know this is not how you’re “supposed” to experience games, and I started off determined not to do it, but friends: I don’t want to stand on the spot for ten minutes listening to John Cleese – as delightful as he is – slowly read a bunch of things that will have absolutely no impact on my actions. Because my actions are going to be: follow the quest marker, kill/collect the thing.

Linearity
The gameplay in The Elder Scrolls Online is straight outta MMORPG 101. If you can follow a quest marker, you can put your brain in neutral and get on with it. I can’t emphasise enough how generic the quests are. This is a problem endemic to MMORPGs in particular but game design in general – how do you disguise the fact that you are giving the player the same kinds of tasks over and over again (the gameplay loop)? Well, I don’t know. You know who else doesn’t know? Zenimax Online.

I’m pretty sure there are mechanical aspects of The Elder Scrolls Online which are new and interesting, but in beta, these weren’t adequately presented or explained – don’t get me started on the tutorials again. As such, I didn’t find anything remarkable about it (well, the first person view is kind of cute, what with the hand animations and all – but also kind of unusable when wandering the field because ahh I’m trailing 18 mobs and ahh I can’t see the AoE markers) until I hit a sudden and dramatic difficulty spike.

Reflecting on my time, I’m pretty sure this spike occurred because I was following the quest marker blindly rather than exploring each area carefully. The map was covered in icons for locations, just like in the single player games, and presumably if I’d gone into all of them I would have fought enough mobs – maybe found enough side quests – to have enough gear and bonuses to take on the quests that eventually stumped me.

Story, schmory

In The Elder Scrolls Online, the Daedric Prince Molag Bal is making incursions into Tamriel. The main quest has you escaping one of these events, then following the guidance of a prophet.

That’s about all you need to know, really, as you’ll be hammering “skip” for the rest of it.

I didn’t do that, though, because I was given no incentive to. I wandered into one of these dungeons and found nothing in there but some dull mobs. After that, I just accepted and completed every quest I found in hubs or while wandering between objectives.

Someone’s going to come into the comments section here and tell me I played the game wrong. They’re going to talk about how you’re supposed to wander the landscape, visiting every (quest and reward free) blip on the map; gather masses of materials to craft epic, customisable gear; dive deeply into all the lore and enjoy its rich and wholesome fruitiness; and in every way not just obey the summons of the quest marker, that bane of modern gaming which has ripped the soul out of it, et cetera, et cetera.

Yeah well, you know; whatever floats your boat, dude. If you want to spend hours of your precious leisure time grinding away until you reach the “real” game at top levels, and thereafter have scheduled hours for raids or be constantly working on your gear to maintain your PvP ranking, then good on you. Personally, if I’m going to play an MMORPG – and as Dave says, especially if I’m going to pay for it – it’s got to be fun right from the start. Because you know what is fun right from the start? Skyrim.

The Elder Scrolls Online is due on Mac and PC in April. It comes to PlayStation 4 and Xbox One in June.

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50 Comments

  1. BULArmy

    From the beginning this game looked as every other generic RPG, which is very sad, because the TES worlds is rather interesting. I think they could have made a Skyrim with other people and this would have been awesome. A much more interactive MMO would have been awesome and new.

    The closest MMo being somewhat fresh was The Secred World, but it also has its fair share of problems.

    #1 12 months ago
  2. dsr

    “The whole time I was playing The Elder Scrolls Online during a press beta over the past few weeks, I desperately wanted to be doing something – anything! else.”

    You’ve hit a nail on the head right here, Brenna. Could’ve stopped reading there but I did not because I’ve played the game myself.

    Word by word I agree with everything you’ve said. Only you’ve forgot to mention the ridiculous separation of playable races (Wtf, why my friends are forced to play in different factions because one likes Khadjit and other one likes Nords?), TES was always about “play as you want to”, not “play as we want you to because we want to include a useless PvP aspect which no one cares about and we are not smart enough to make it work like Guild Wars 2 where 3 factions are separated by colors”.

    Meh…

    It pains me to see how much money were wasted on voice overs which no one will listen twice(And probably won’t even listen once like me and my friends did, skipping through everything) since the whole “YOU ARE THE CHOSEN ONE” story is cringeworthy on its own but becomes insultingly bad once you consider the fact what there are millions of other chose ones running about.

    To people who are looking for a better game I recommend to give Neverwinter a try. At least its free.

    #2 12 months ago
  3. orren

    ——————————————–
    “Someone’s going to come into the comments section here and tell me I played the game wrong. They’re going to talk about how you’re supposed to wander the landscape, visiting every (quest and reward free) blip on the map; gather masses of materials to craft epic, customisable gear; dive deeply into all the lore and enjoy its rich and wholesome fruitiness; and in every way not just obey the summons of the quest marker, that bane of modern gaming which has ripped the soul out of it, et cetera, et cetera.

    Yeah well, you know; whatever floats your boat, dude. If you want to spend hours of your precious leisure time grinding away until you reach the “real” game at top levels, and thereafter have scheduled hours for raids or be constantly working on your gear to maintain your PvP ranking, then good on you. Personally, if I’m going to play an MMORPG – and as Dave says, especially if I’m going to pay for it – it’s got to be fun right from the start. Because you know what is fun right from the start? Skyrim.”
    ————————————-
    .
    Excuse me, but what made skyrim fun right from the start if not “wandering the landscape, visiting every (quest and reward free) blip on the map”?
    .
    It seems to me you hate MMO’s, came to TESO expecting to hate it, then did everything in your power to confirm that you indeed do hate it. You convinced yourself that there is some “real game at the top levels” that you need to grind to reach. There isn’t. You can enjoy the game right from the start. You just need to lose the “i hate MMO’s” attitude first.

    #3 12 months ago
  4. Gojira77

    Ive been playing the beta all weekend and i agree with a lot of what was said. Theres no real reason to explore, because dungeons have basically no loot, and you have to find the corresponding quest for the dungeon first to really get anything out of it. Quests were pretty basic, with little variety at first, but after a while i would find quests that felt like theyd be in a regular ES game. A lot of things had too much of a MMO feel tho, in a bad way.

    But that being said, i did enjoy it, was fun after i started figuring things out more. Really when you get past the first starter island that is there to help you get into the basics of it all, the story of whats going on in your particular alliance and all that, it gets pretty interesting and fun.

    And LOL at the 2nd to last paragraph. Thats why people love ES games…but if you like to just follow the quest markers, its completely possible, i never found any unreasonable spike in difficulty due to just going about the main quest line.

    #4 12 months ago
  5. Bomba Luigi

    @orren “You just need to lose the “i hate MMO’s” attitude first.”

    Hee seems to not like MMOs for a Reason, because of Mechanics of MMOs and what they are doing. And when ESO is doing just these things, its only natural he don’t like it.
    I don’t like cheese, but teeling me I have to stop hating cheese so I can like cheese will not work. Because I don’t like it for a Reason.

    #5 12 months ago
  6. orren

    @Bomba Luigi It is entirely okay to hate cheese or MMO’s. I’m however not sure why someone hating MMO’s should play one and then post his impressions.

    That is like me(who hates real-time strategy games but loves turn based ones) writing a review of a RTS game bashing it for being a RTS game, and concluding with how much more fun it would be if it was turn-based instead. That just doen’s make much sense to me.

    #6 12 months ago
  7. Gojira77

    @orren i agree, does seem like this person really doesnt like MMOs, so thats just naturally gonna make this a bad preview of the game. But i dont really like mmos either, but i still came away really liking the game, if noticing many flaws in it at this point. but lots of features were not in the beta i played.

    #7 12 months ago
  8. dsr

    @orren
    I’ve been playing MMOs since UO and you can read my feedback in comment #2 where I agree with anything author said in the article. It was very unbiased and pretty straightforward.

    MMOs are boring, lets agree on that. Good MMOs are good because they can hide that boredom under nice presentation or clever social systems. TESO could not do that therefore its a bad MMO and horrible as a TES game.

    #8 12 months ago
  9. Bomba Luigi

    @orren “It is entirely okay to hate cheese or MMO’s. I’m however not sure why someone hating MMO’s should play one and then post his impressions.”

    Because this not just a MMO, its a MMO of a formelry pure Single Player Series with a lot of Fans. And many of them, like me, will not be into MMOs. I never played an MMO, its not my Thing.
    So I’m in a bad Place now, what should I do? Ignore the Game because its an MMO or try it out because its an Elder Scrolls? Impressions of People that like me are into Elder Scrolls but not into MMOs are very Important here, because these are People with the same mindset as me.

    I mean, that Game is expensive. Full Price and monthly Sub on top of that, so I cant just try it out without risking a fair amount of Money. So yes, I wanna read as many impressions of Elder Scrolls Fans that are not really into MMOs as possible.

    #9 12 months ago
  10. orren

    @dsr “MMOs are boring, lets agree on that. Good MMOs are good because they can hide that boredom under nice presentation or clever social systems. TESO could not do that therefore its a bad MMO and horrible as a TES game.”

    First, “MMO’s are boring” is a statement you can make for yourself, but it is not an universal truth. I played DAoC in 2001 and it was anything but boring for me. In fact it was the most fun ever computer game experience for me, that i struggled to find in another title for years.

    Second, how can you say TES does not have a nice presentation? It’s the most beautiful MMO i have seen to date(only age of conan’s starting areas come close). Its so easy to throw generic claims like “it does not have clever social systems” but what do you mean by that? What ‘clever social system’ is TESO lacking? Group finder? Guild system? Chat window? All there.

    #10 12 months ago
  11. orren

    @Bomba Luigi “Because this not just a MMO, its a MMO of a formelry pure Single Player Series with a lot of Fans. And many of them, like me, will not be into MMOs.”

    Still, a person who maybe isn’t into MMO’s but at least has a neutral attitude towards them might be a better choice for a reviewer, don’t you think? Because i believe the pool of players who liked skyrim but never played an MMO is bigger than the pool of players who liked skyrim but hate MMO’s.

    This way someone who loved skyrim but did not play an mmo before might be put off a game he might have loved, just because he read a jaded preview.

    #11 12 months ago
  12. Bomba Luigi

    @orren “Still, a person who maybe isn’t into MMO’s but at least has a neutral attitude towards them might be a better choice for a reviewer, don’t you think?”

    Oh Yeah, for a Review you are right, but when it comes to Previews and Impressions there should be a bigger variety of People who making them. I can sort out with Articles like these if the Game is something for me or not, so its good they exist.

    But yes, when it comes to Reviews with Scores and all that it should be someone who is more into MMOs.

    #12 12 months ago
  13. The_Red

    Judging by the look of the game and its early impressions, I’d say that more than half of its budget was spent on the live action trailer and other expensive stuff.

    #13 12 months ago
  14. GrimRita

    Good read. Glad I am not getting this as it just sounds like yet ANOTHER WoW clone with a new skin. What the hell is up with all these developers, producing utter crap from 2003 and then left wondering why the game failed within 6 months when it turns free to play,

    PLAYERS DO NOT WANT ANOTHER WOW!

    But as for questing, story doesnt cut it and even adding a story twist on the traditional fetch quests is a bore after the 100th time and you are always going to spacebar to skip to the part when you just pick up the quest.

    I just hope Wildstar for all its horrible colours does enough to fill a void

    #14 12 months ago
  15. silkvg247

    Here’s why it isn’t fun from the start:

    They’ve taken everything that made Skyrim good, chucked it out of the window, and kept the bad bits.

    What was good about Skyrim? It was as open world, with death around every corner. Who didn’t stumble across *those* giants at level 1-5 and get smacked into the stratosphere?

    MMO’s don’t give you that.. they are structured level by level, zone by zone, so you don’t feel a true sense of adventure and the only progression is that which is already laid out for you, like a blue print. It’s dull, and you feel like a chicken on some path filled with breadcrumbs.

    It’s heartbreaking.. all they had to do was improve the dreadfully clunky Skyrim combat, make the map 10x bigger, add much higher level content and much more crating with a completely player driven economy.. and make it an MMO. That’s literally all.

    Instead they’ve made TSO:WoW. But with Skyrim combat. Oh yay. Oh but opening chests is fun, so that’s good.

    #15 12 months ago
  16. orren

    @silkvg247 “They’ve taken everything that made Skyrim good, chucked it out of the window, and kept the bad bits. ”

    The fact you could wander into a monster that was above your level and get torn to pieces was one of the things that made skyrim good, but it was hardly ‘everything’. The atmosphere, the lore, the architecture, the combat system, the quests, everything together made the game great, and many of those are present in the online game as well.

    Not that i disagree with you that adding more danger to the online world would make the game better. MMO’s of old used to be like that. I still remember being chased by Mulgrut Maggot in Camelot hills all over the zone at like level three. Sadly, the new generation of players is so spoiled that running into anything they could perceive as ‘unfair’ would cause an uproar.

    #16 12 months ago
  17. _LarZen_

    I just LOVE this game. The graphics are the best in any mmorpg game atm and is just stunning if you have a PC that can handle it. The sounds in the environments just draw you in to the game, and the music…oh my…epic.

    I have found myself just wandering the landscape and taking it all in. Found a insane nice place where I found myself returning to many times to fish and just immerse myself in the world.

    The story is exciting and the voice overs are great and believable. I want to listen to what they have to tell me. No more wall of text that you just skip and run mindless around.

    The combat feels exciting and I like how many variations there are. I can see myself exploring and testing out many different ways to do battle. And battle is really good, it’s to early for me to say if it’s going to be super good as I need to experience content in the higher levels as the difficulty level of enemies rises.

    All in all I find ESO to be the best mmorpg I have played since vanilla WOW. I think this is going to be one of the few mmorpg games that is going to be huge.

    #17 12 months ago
  18. deathm00n

    @_LarZen_ I completely agree with you and completely disagree with Brenna, as it is, it’s the best MMO I’ve played in a long time.

    And people saying this is another wow clone, don’t say anything until you play it. Sure the quests are like “go there, do that” but their backstory have so much meaning to the world. One thing that I was quite surprised was this quest were you kill a monster that eat a man foot. Later after you win a massive battle in one of the main citys he’s there, and he says to you something like “I’m exhausted, it’s hard to kick things with a stump” and then you remember who he is! Normally in MMOs you would never remember or see again someone that wasn’t important to the main events this way.

    And the choices quests, one of them you need to choose to go to the aid of the woman who helped you in the beginning of the game or a guy from a family you helped to survive, it’s a hard decision if you are immersed in the world. I’ve helped the woman and everyone there was happy for saving their lifes, applauding me. When I got to the other place I was supposed to go, everyone was dead and the mother of the guys I helped early were there sitting besides her dead sons and crying. Not much futher was the dog from another quest looking for his dead owner. Show me another MMO where you get this connected to the npcs who gives you generic quests.

    The gameplay is amazing, you have no knowledge of programming or game mechanics if you think they didn’t do something new with the combat. I’ve played Neverwinter, with my ping it was impossible to time anything, in TESO there is no lag, I don’t know how they did it. It’s like playing skyrim, see an strong atack? Just block, it works. In Neverwinter my blocking never works.

    The graphics are the most impressive one I’ve seen in a MMO.

    The crafting system is deep and very diverse.

    The skill system is amazing, even joining the fighter guild gives you skills, your weapons have skills, your race have skills, your armor have skills, and you can’t use every skill you have, have to choose to fit your strategy. This gives me almost the same freedom as creating a character in a main game of the series.

    Please people, try this game with an open mind, don’t try to compare it to WoW, don’t try to compare it to Skyrim. It’s something different from both.

    #18 12 months ago
  19. _LarZen_

    @deathm00n Hear hear! Nods head up and down in excitement.

    #19 12 months ago
  20. deathm00n

    @_LarZen_ Sadly I’m a little short on money these days and will have to wait to buy it :(

    #20 12 months ago
  21. yeoung

    I loved Skyrim. Barring the insultingly broken state it was released in on PS3, it entertained me immensely up until the point it turned into a 10 fp/s slideshow. The inclusion of a coop mode, aside from at least serviceable performance would have cemented it as the game of the generation. For me, anyway.

    That said, Brenna, you can radically alter the experience by doing one simple thing. Unchecking the “show quest markers” option would not only alleviate the monotony of the march/melee/fetch trifecta, but would also necessitate the dialogue and quest info. Personally, I switch off just about all HUD graphics, in all games that allow this. Assassins Creed, Skyrim, Oblivion, etc.

    Why? Because in doing so you rid yourself of this automatic pilot syndrome that has been injected, industry wide mind you, in the name of accessibility. If you don’t listen to the guy giving the quest, you have no idea where to go. You’ll have to listen because suddenly their information has value. Don’t check the in-game map with the overly convenient, ‘ you are here’ marker. To hell with it. Use the neat parchment map the good folks at Bethesda saw fit to pack in, precisely for this reason.

    These mechanics, which again are included and switched on by default in the name of accessibility, destroy the RP part of RPGs. This of course translates into MMOs as well. Before playing, make it a thing to gloss over the options and get rid of anything and everything that facilitates the player and get down and dirty for some hardcore exploration. My Skyrim map hangs on my wall, pushpins on places of interest and I can walk to any area from any area by memory. I am by no means a super TES buff, but these options take the exploration and roleplaying out of the game. It is up to you as the player, to craft your own experience. Hence the options that allow for such customization.

    Addendum, I’m assuming these options are included in TES:Online, as I haven’t played it myself. If these options are not present, my argument takes an arr-… it falls flat. Still solid advice for all other roleplaying games though.

    #21 12 months ago
  22. macklwinstead

    until I saw the check for $8923 , I didnt believe …that…my brother woz like they say actualey earning money in their spare time on-line. . there friends cousin started doing this for under sixteen months and just now repaid the morgage on there place and purchased Toyota . Get More Info http://www.work71.ℭOM

    #22 12 months ago
  23. yeoung

    @Brenna, my earlier comment was directed at you, although I failed to state that at the beginning and there is no edit button.

    #23 12 months ago
  24. _LarZen_

    @yeoung If I could give you a +1 I would.

    #24 12 months ago
  25. OlderGamer

    SP RPG fans aren’t going to understand MMOrpgs.

    Their first mistake is thinking it is about a Story. It isn’t. If it was I wouldn’t play it. Story in MMO is just backdrop. The gameplay and the social aspects are why you play. I want to be able to Tank that badass boss, while my wife Heals me, my brother and two kids DPS the shit out of it. I could not careless about the story behind why that boss is there or why we have to fight it. That type of situation is intense and rewarding.

    Also MMO stands for Massive Multiplayer Online.

    I want Massive Multiplayer PVP. Why play CoD, Titanfall or BF when you could have Massive Multiplayer(100s+ players at a time) battles? Plus those games all have generic guns(Oh damn…I Unlocked a new Gun!! Great what does it do? Shoot bullets. What did your last gun do? Shoot bullets. I bet the next unlocked gun shoots bullets too!). So exciting. Those games can be boring next to a good MMO. I want to blind my enemy. Throw Fire. Slow my enemy with Ice. Root him/her. Stun him/her. Poison him/her. Wait in ambush. Or just vanish from the field of battle. I like to summon and command pets. And so very much more.

    But again all of those things are NOT story driven. They are gameplay. And doing those things with friends is pretty much the crux and definition of the MMO experience.

    Of course a good MMO understands that not all of the people want to Raid or PVP all of the time. That is why you can also solo quest. Grind to improve your skills. Gather/harvest. Craft better weapons/armor or make potions or enchant or whatever. They offer variety.

    Look a lot of console gamers have grown up playing a lot of SP rpgs. They don’t understand or relate to the things I listed above. They think that the entire game should center around them. They have a very different view of what an RPG is. Imagine playing CoD…but you had to find the parts to make your gun, then you had to learn how to craft it. Your used to simple, but MMOs often have more depth.

    I don’t know about TESO. I haven’t played it.

    I do think that most TES games are grossly over rated. I would much rather have a quest guide complete with on map markers and icons above NPCs heads then to have to wander around aimlessly trying to complete vague quests given to me through seemingly hidden NPCs with a fetish for spewing walls of text. Not my cup of tea. But I tend to like a bit more or maybe a bit different things in my RPGs.

    The real struggle I think TESO will have is that I don’t think it will please fans of the TES games and I doubt it will be up to par enough to please MMO fans. It prolly is going to fail.

    #25 12 months ago
  26. Darkfield

    I can understand MMORPGs are not everyone’s cup of tea, but even though there are points that I completely agree with Brenna’s article it’s not a fair point to compare an MMORPG title to its Singleplayer predecessor.

    MMOs have to maintain a certain structure to keep people interested for the long run. GW2 tried to maintain a gameplay and game plan from where you start it and hit max level. It’s essential to know that it is not what an MMORPG is about, be it a sub base mmo or f2p/p2t title it need to have some end goal, some brass ring that people have to make an effort to reach. So, it is for the best when you are going to play an MMO title to forget the impressions previous non-MMO iterations of said title, as you’d surely end up disappointed.

    However, I can agree with how unevolved is the genre as a whole every now and then someone tries to improve an aspect of the MMO experience and end up too invested in some parts of it and there are parts that you’d feel no one really cared about in the development process. Like SWTOR, My first and second playthroughs as in questing was incomparable to any MMOs I ever played. The story of my class kept me psyched and interested throughout the leveling experience, it was rather magical and it was a pity once you hit max level it all stopped. There were no dialogues I ever skipped in my class quest chain, in fact I reset some of them in order to redo them and get the result I wanted.

    The current state of themepark MMOs is disappointing I can agree with that. But the grind is necessary to ensure long-term commitment. A lot of people play MMOs for a lot of different reasons and rightly so. Some want to be part of the best teams be it PVE or PVP, some want to socialize with like minded people in a virtual word that they like, some just look for a pass time, some just look for challenging content, some just enjoy the trading and crafting and exploration, and some just want to hang out in the wilderness with a few friends and kill a few things and loot a few items. All most everyone have different expectations and play-styles.

    I can’t say that ESO is good or bad as I haven’t tried it yet, but I follow it with mild interest and to this date I have never heard so much negative feedback towards any MMOs so close to their release window, it’s even worse than SWTOR in terms of feedback. So I guess there are genuine concerns about it, nobody wants it to fail and I think all this feedback if taken to account can help them to patch things up and go in a direction that brings more people in rather than scaring them off.

    #26 12 months ago
  27. lookingglass

    I have a real job. I don’t play video games for a living. You might crave some sort of amazing experience because you’re jaded beyond your years, but a lot of people just want a good, classic MMO experience with enough modern features to feel new. ESO is going to be great for those people.

    The quests ARE much better than typical MMOs. Only a few “kill 10 boar” style quests. I’ve time-traveled, drank trippy potions, and worn disguises to get into strongholds so far and the list goes on.

    I don’t know what Skyrim you played, but that game is ALL waypoints. For you to complain about that is hilarious.

    The class system is pretty cool and really opens up when you get to swap weapons.

    All in all, this isn’t Skyrim. It’s more like Morrowind. If you were expecting Skyrim 2: Online like the author, you’re going to be disappointed. If you want an MMO set in the Elder Scrolls universe, you’ll find something to like if you take the chance. And this is the only chance you’ll get.

    #27 12 months ago
  28. Ireland Michael

    @OlderGamer The thing that makes TESO so horrible isn’t just the fact that it’s a bad RPG, it’s that’s it’s just a bad MMO.

    Everything I’ve seen of this game so far reeks of FFXIV pre-Realms Reborn levels of effort. It’s barren, dull, lifeless, and boring.

    #28 12 months ago
  29. deathm00n

    @Ireland Michael “It’s barren, dull, lifeless, and boring.” Care to elaborate Michael? As the game I played was the complete oposite. Really, I can’t see what’s so boring about it, what I get about Brenna article is that she found the dialogues boring and skip all of them, therefore making the game just a mindless “go there, do that or kill that” and that’s exactly what all Elder Scrolls games are if you don’t give a shit about the quests plots.

    #29 12 months ago
  30. fearmonkey

    “I am not an expert in MMORPGs – or much of a fan of them. ”

    Right there I knew you weren’t going to like the game, I didn’t have to read any further but I did anyway, TESO is an MMO that has TES influences, it’s NOT trying to be Skyrim multiplayer, anjd if you walked in expecting that, then you werent going to enjoy the game.

    I LOVE the TES series, have been playing it since Arena (Admittedly never finished) and Daggerfall on PC, and i LOVE MMO”S, so I understood what I was getting in to,

    When I first heard about TESO, I wasnt expecting to enjoy it, but I have really enjoyed my time in the game. It’s not trying to be Skyrim or Oblivion, but it does a great job of making it seem like it’s part of that world. I wasn’t expecting Skyrim gameplay, I knew better than that. The game certainly has its inperfections, but overall it’s one of the more captivating MMO’s I have played, and I have played most of them out there at one time or another since Ultima Online came out, I am a long time MMO player.

    If it doesnt work for you, thats perfectly fine, but there are people that have enjoyed it sao much that they cant wait for it to come out, and I am one of them.

    It’s not perfect, and I have some complaints, but they didnt a very good job in my opinion overall. I think people were expecting Skyrim with multiplayer and that isnt what the game is trying to be.

    #30 12 months ago
  31. fearmonkey

    @_LarZen_ – I pretty much agree with everything you said, and disagree with most of the others. I love what I have played so far. I cannot wait for it to come out.

    #31 12 months ago
  32. fearmonkey

    @deathm00n – Completely agree :)

    #32 12 months ago
  33. deathm00n

    @fearmonkey Exactly, people are expecting Skyrim online, with the popularity of Skyrim I know people who don’t even know the name is The Elder Scrolls 5: Skyrim and think it was a new IP and dont bother to research about the older games. That’s the kind of people who says the game is going to suck. I’ve seen someone post on my facebook feed “I heard there’s going to be released a Skyrim Online!”

    #33 12 months ago
  34. fearmonkey

    @lookingglass – I have been saying the same thing, it has much more a morrowind feel than oblivion and Skyrim. If your a fantasy MMO fan, it’s one of the best I have ever played. The quests are unique and very different , and for TES fans, there is alot there to appease you.

    As a MMO its a great one, its not Skyrim with multiplayer.

    One thing I don’t see by most people deriding the game is what this game means to long time TES fans. Being able to visit Daggerfall in polygons is a big deal, being able to go to places that you havent been to in a TES game before, or seeing a place before it was destroyed or you had read about in a TES book, is a big deal!

    #34 12 months ago
  35. fearmonkey

    @Ireland Michael – and you would be completely utterly wrong in that. It’s actually a very good MMO, very polished, great quests and locations, and the game has alot of fun suprises.
    But hey, if you havent played the game, and want to say its so bad, then go ahead, its your misinformed right.

    #35 12 months ago
  36. OlderGamer

    I don’t know if TESO is going to be good or not. And even that is subjective as hell. Good to who? Me? You? Someone else?

    I was only speaking to the transition of long time SP RPG console gamers. One can’t expect MMOs to be SP game experiences … but with friends playing too. I think MMOs will have a hard time cracking consoles. And I think they will gain more traction by taking small baby steps and full out F2P. Destiny will work, but isn’t a full on MMO(tho many gamers think it will be), Planetside 2 could work. Just like DCUO. Zero investment required, building up small legions of fans. Nothing too dramatic.

    I think even if GTA went full on MMO it would fail if it had subscriptions.

    Bringing real MMOs to consoles is like showing up at a Square Dance with a Heavy Metal Rock Band, leaving the crowd to ask: “What..?”

    But as games transition to services, I think the games will start to look more and more like MMOs. You just have to bring people along with tiny baby steps. Prolly a persistant Halo with an over world and intergrated match making. Same type of thing from CoD, I figure. My guess is at some point the yearly franchises will stop making new games and be just be one long running game world with seasonal/yearly expansions/DLC. Take a look at the way some of the F2P MMOs currently work. Like, again, DCUO on PS3/PS4. I think that works, it will be refined over time of course.

    Currently CoD costs 110usd a year to play. Pretty much like a sub in disguise.

    I have no idea what form the games biz model will take down the road. But I think they will deviate away from yearly releases structures like we have now.

    My point? Something like TESO could be the template for some TES game down the road. One that replaces the SP releases. But in its current form I don’t think TESO will do that well. I don’t think the console gamers are ready.

    Their is only one game I think that could bring in the console gamers, and even with that I am not sure a sub model would work long term…but that game is World of Warcraft. Love it or hate, WoW broke the damn mold for MMOrpgs, nothing I have played sense lives up to my expectations. Rift came close, GW2 was good. But still didn’t have the WoW glow I was hoping for. I got my MMOrpg degree on Meridian 59(before Ultima Online). All down hill after WoW. Nothing measures up. I am expecting TESO will have that problem too.

    I hope it has a demo/trial. I would like to try it before I invest. No way I plop down 60usd, plus a sub in order to just try it.

    #36 12 months ago
  37. TheWulf

    This was a nice read, honestly. It’s satisfying to see people asking questions about this, important questions.

    I try to not be too hard on games, I really do. I get fed up of overused tropes, but I’ll give anything a go to see if it has redeeming qualities. Like I did with Black Flag. I’m not a video games hater, I just see problems that need to be fixed.

    As of right now, there are three virulent cancers we need to address before games can become fun again:

    a.) The business-dominated attachment to either reality or common trends is a detriment to game design and fun.
    b.) The Aryan obsession, almost having become an agenda of its own, leads to a socially regressive environment.
    c.) Exploitation is a key word, these days, through social engineering, behavioural conditioning, and so on.

    Now, I’ll admit that the first of these is subjective and everyone is going to have their own goals in regards to how far they’ll go. That mainstream games can’t be brave enough though to take us outside of our comfort zones is, well, worrying. It means that entertainment has become a grouping of commonly homogenised tropes, determined by marketing.

    It means that games are built by trends, and if you analyse what you’re playing, in a lot of games you can see that. It’s not developers creating something that they want to play, they’re creating something that will sell. Hey, MMOs are perceived as pretty cool money-makers right now, and it’s just not right for any self-respecting business to not try to make a successful MMO.

    This ties into the third problem, but I’ll come back to that. The long and short of it though is that this MMO doesn’t exist because anyone actually wanted to make it, and it shows. It exists because marketing told some men in suits that they should have an MMO.

    I don’t think that the Aryan issue applied to ESO so much, it was more of an issue with Skyrim itself. Well, that, and design laziness. They only used one body type, so the only archetypes of person present in Skyrim and ESO are: Young, sexy, handsome, and old. And really, whereas redguards and other ethnicities were present in prior entries, Skyrim felt like an Aryan paradise.

    Though there are very few body types in ESO, too, which is a shame. Though it is typical. But yes, this is present everywhere in gaming, and it is perhaps the most common gaming trope. Like the supposedly non-sexualised Lara Croft in the Tomb Raider reboot having been shot up with enough botox to sink a ship. So she went from big breasts to big lips, not exactly an improvement.

    I’ve often asked why we can’t have more ethnicites in games, or more homely characters, disabled ones, or not perfect ones. But the Aryan ideologies are strong in our hobby. And last I checked, I didn’t think it was cool to share ideologies with Hitler. I don’t mean to Godwin, but having Aryan ideals is exactly what that is, it’s nothing else, and I just didn’t think that was acceptable. In my opinion, it’s one of the things we should be fighting.

    I suppose the Aryan agenda exists in ESO in that the guys will be muscular and the women will have boob windows and invariably large racks. Just this sexual ideal of humanity that actually ignores diversity in favour of representing some kind of homogenised Master Race. And when you realise that, it feels like a very depraved kind of escapism.

    That probably explains why I never play an Imperial or a Nord in Skyrim.

    Finally, there’s exploitation, which I believe this article covers so, so well. The thing is is that if you’re not enjoying the content you’re currently playing, what reason do you have to believe that any of the side content would be more fun? That’s a question rarely asked. Instead, the player is conditioned into not asking that question, instead believing that the fun is in the next section, that they have to grind to get there. Grind, grind, grind. The fun will show up, eventually!

    That’s exploitative, honestly. I mean, Portal was only three-four hours long, it had no padding, there was no effort to artificially elongate it, and we uphold it as one of the greatest gaming experiences of all time. It’s likely going to be in the top 10 of every ‘greatest games of all time’ list. Portal is the absolute proof that all you need in a game is fun, not length.

    The thing with length is that it can be used to fool us into believing that something should be long in order to get our money’s worth. And how does that work? If you have a game with only a bare few fun parts, then you can have most of the rest of it be padding. You’ll want to get your ‘money’s worth’ out of that $60, or from that subscription, so you’ll be looking for where the fun is.

    I keep hearing people say things like ‘the fun is the end-game’ in MMOs, but there are two problems with that. If that’s true, then why doesn’t it simply begin with the end-game instead of having months worth of pointless padding leading up to that? And if it were true, why do the people playing end-game content seem miserable, angry, and socipathic? As if they’re being compelled to do something they didn’t enjoy.

    As I’ve said, I’ve had hands on experience with WoW and I’ve watched it actively ruin the lives of people. Oh, sure, $15 a month seems worth if, but the thing is is that if you strip all of the exploitation away from WoW, if you remove all of the repetitive tasks and leave only the unique content, then you probably have about four hours worth of gameplay, there.

    The rest is obfuscation to hide the truth of that.

    This is one of the biggest deceits of MMOs, and one that I’ve hated since their inception. They use reward schedules to keep you playing, because there’s the allure of a new area, and something actually FUN to do. So you’ll grind, you’ll get your gear, and you’ll spend about ten to fifteen minutes seeing what’s unique about this new area. Then it’s back to the grind.

    You’re grinding then to see a new area. At the end-game, this continues to be true because you’re grinding to see the next dungeon, but you need gear to see it. And you’re getting caught up in this loop. You want to get your money’s worth, you want to feel SATISFIED for your time investment, and you believe that the fun, the satisfaction, is just around the next corner.

    So it just becomes this stubbornness. And you feel that your building numbers must be some kind of attribute to fuel your satisfaction, so you brag about them. But ultimately it’s all a ruse, all that number really is is a big neon sign to anyone who knows better. “This is how long this game has fooled me for!

    Why go looking for fun for years of your life when you could be playing Portal and having fun right away? Want to have fun with other people? Play Portal 2! I’ve often said that co-op games are superior to MMOs in every way, and I feel that’s true. I would pay good money for a fun, co-op RPG, but never an MMO.

    Interestingly? This is why I believe that Guild Wars is one of the best ‘MMOs,’ because it isn’t an MMO. Not Guild Wars 2, now, the original. The original had you head out into zones with a small party. It was genuinely odd in that respect, and it came about only a little while after WoW. The missions were bite-sized, so you could play a little bit each day until you were done with the game.

    In a way, I think that Guild Wars reminds me of the best of a Bethesda game. With one of those, you can sit down and play a dungeon in 5-10 minutes, and be exposed to some cool story, lore, traps, and gameplay elements. After about the 15th dungeon, it all becomes rather samey, but that’s where mods come in. Honestly, I’d like to see Bethesda do more with less dungeons, than less with more dungeons, but that’s a topic for another day. I will say though that this is one of the reasons I preferred New Vegas, especially Old World Blues, over anything that Bethesda has ever done.

    Sure, New Vegas had less dungeons, but it had more good dungeons. I still remember the first time I wandered into Vault 22, or Repconn Headquarters, but I don’t remember a single dungeon from Skyrim. That’s a shame, because I think Bethesda is on to something (I really do), but it took Obsidian to realise what Bethesda were attempting to get at.

    The thing with Skyrim is that sometimes I’ll sit down and play a dungeon and feel like I played this exact one, even though I hadn’t. I never got that feeling in New Vegas. That’s why I prefer it. Man… if Bethseda started doing more with less…

    But again, a topic for another day.

    The problem with ESO is that it sounds like it’s on the other side of a scale. See, you have New Vegas on the one end, which opts for doing less and having a shorter game filled with more interesting stuff. Again, Old World Blues especially. Around the middle, you have Skyrim, which does give into a lot of repetition, with many of the dungeons being copy and paste affairs that just shouldn’t exist, and further than Skyrim, you have ESO — content that has no personality or character of its own at all. Just soulless grind.

    I keep saying that this idea that length is a valid metric of worth is a bad one, because corporate entities use it to exploit us. It’s bullshit. Quality and fun are valid metrics of worth, length isn’t. It never was. A movie doesn’t have to be 60 hours long with hundreds of repeated scenes to be good. And, once again, Portal. I’m sick of repetition, grind, and padding. I’m sick of exploitation.

    I’m very sensitive to it, I’ll ask questions to myself about it, and thus I’ll notice an exploitative game quicker than other people.

    Shorter is better, so long as you’re doing more with less.

    This is one of the reasons I shy away from MMOs so much, because I realise what’s happening, I see the repetition, I see the efforts to try and use social engineering and behavioural conditioning to keep me playing, and I shake my head. Well, yeah, that works on people who aren’t self aware enough to ask questions about what’s going on, but it doesn’t work on me because I do ask those questions.

    One of the most important being “Am I actually having any fun?

    This is something that we need to ask ourselves more often. Brenna did, and that’s why I approve of this article. MMOs could be so much better if they did more with less, and focused on having good content, rather than lots and lots of bad content.

    #37 12 months ago
  38. TheWulf

    @36

    I can’t agree. I think I’m with Brenna in that I’m starting to hate the genre, I’m beginning to see almost all MMOs as being like King’s Candy Crush Saga, where they exist to exploit people who don’t ask questions. Guild Wars 2 was pretty okay, but I’d still prefer to be playing the original Guild Wars.

    I feel that’s important.

    The thing is is that with the original Guild Wars, I and some friends could hop into it and enjoy a mission or two here and there. We’d get a story episode out of it, and it would have all the parts needed to be complete. It’d open up, and we’d play it to a clearly defined end point. And it would be designed cohesively to provide that kind of experience.

    It wasn’t designed to be replayed over and over. Unlike an MMO, you wouldn’t have to play one mission 20 times in Guild Wars to get to the next. You played the missions, you did the sidequests, and you moved on.

    And recently they made it even more like that because you can take more heroes with you. So you really don’t have to grind. You can complete a mission, chat about it, and conclude that you’ve enjoyed an encapsulated episode of something rather than just an ongoing grind. Much like with, as I mentioned, how New Vegas was constructed. And to a lesser extent, Skyrim.

    I find that to be an enjoyable thing. I’m in it for the story, mostly, so once I’m done with one mission I don’t want to be replaying it ad nauseum, I just want to move onto the next piece of original content. I don’t understand the desire to look at something for a few minutes, see all there is to see, and then to not move on. Thus staying in that same area until you actually hate it because you’ve been stuck there for so long.

    An obvious example of this is The Barrens in WoW. It’s a lovely little place, well designed, with lots of nooks and crannies. But you can explore the entirety of it in half hour, at most. But then you spend a week grinding there because reasons, shut up, et cetera.

    I honestly think that the MMO approach needs to go away, and we need to have more co-operative games, even large scale ones. I think Guild Wars 2 sort of, almost got it right, but then very wrong at the same time. The way I think it could be done better is on a larger scale of, say, Guild Wars.

    The idea is that most of the game is co-op, but it has these battles which can be fought with a lot of people. These are separated from the missions. And you pick which you want to go for by entering that particular instance. Perhaps improved by a lobby-system which could tell you how many players are in there, or how many players are thinking about doing it if you do.

    I think these sections should play like the assault maps from Unreal Tournament, but on a larger scale. So there’s some kind of story, there, and not just this big, random battle. Champions Online almost had this right with the alerts system, but the problem there was that the scale wasn’t big enough and the content itself was just a bullet-spongy boss fight and nothing else.

    I also want to see scaling, so you can take 1-5 people into a co-op mission and it would adjust for this by giving the enemies more tools. Like, say, giving the healers a wider variety of healing tools. So, perhaps, the healers can’t do AoE heals with 1-2 people, but they can with three or more, that sort of thing.

    But yeah, the original Guild Wars did it right. There need to be more co-op games with large scale bits, and that should be the future. There’s really no fun in MMOs, to be honest, it’s just a grind that uses forms of exploitation to keep people grinding. Eventually I think everyone will catch up with me.

    Honestly, even Fable III in co-op was better than any MMO I’ve ever played. Well, maybe barring The Secret World, but TSW’s combat is crap and it comes into its own with the puzzle solving and exploring.

    Oh for a co-op game with TSW’s puzzle solving and Revengeance-style spectacle fighting.

    #38 12 months ago
  39. OlderGamer

    “You’re grinding then to see a new area. At the end-game, this continues to be true because you’re grinding to see the next dungeon, but you need gear to see it. And you’re getting caught up in this loop. You want to get your money’s worth, you want to feel SATISFIED for your time investment, and you believe that the fun, the satisfaction, is just around the next corner.”

    Not true. Well, very true with WoW and the many games that have tried to clone it.

    I mentioned Meridian 59 in my post. It was built on a Doom engine if that gives you scope. The game was about PVP, not PVE grinds. The world was small by todays standards, you could see the entire thing in maybe a week, if you played slow. It had zero dungeons. Maybe five bosses. No raids. No crafting. No mounts. No vanity pets. Why the hell play it? well it was and still is one of the best MMOs of all time. Google it, let your mind be blown. And remember pre Ultima Online.

    What made M59 work was the open world PVP. And of course the guilds. Guilds had halls, complete with treasure chests, password protected entry gates, a world wide broadcast chat that took mana to use(mana recharged, but it meant you couldn’t spam). It was a chat room with swords and spells. And it played like Doom. It was a fast paced FPS. All run and gun. Open world PKing was the norm. PKing(Player Killing) turned your toons name red, barred you from shops(whenever someone else was standing in the room – shop keepers can’t be seen selling to murders). Killing players got you haunted buy the victims reverent…and about every damn Hunter Guild in the game. If you got PK’d, a server wide announcement was broadcasted: was murdered in cold blood. And it was on. You ofc, had zero mana(landed in the underworld), couldn’t tell guildies or friends who killed you or where. Oh, and your entire inventory dropped to the ground as soon as you got PK’d. If the PKer didn’t loot your ass, you can bet that thieves would soon be scouring the world looking for your body and the loot left behind. Oh and dying meant losing an entire level. Death was nasty.

    Easy to see how a game set up like that can get heated. Not only did we have the random pking, but we had server wide guild wars so bad many of the players would have to reroll in order to rebuild their toons when it was done. I remember getting phone calls at nite to log on now because the guild hall was breached. When I logged on often 20 to 30 players where battling it out in or around the hall. It was intense.

    I was Pestilence, The Taxman, Rekp, 187, and many more. So damn good at PKing I was banned by the game gods because they said I must have been cheating lol. I never did. I would log on and people would log off. Not kidding.

    My point in all of this Wulf, is that WoW indeed changed the conversation. They brought MMOs to the masses and the genera was never the same. I know people that played M59, got the shit PK’d out of them and quit within a week. It was hardcore. I played for years. But the masses can’t handle a game like that. So Blizzard crafted something that more palatable.

    WoW is good. I enjoyed playing it too. But it was a way way way different experience. I enjoy the dungeons. The raids were ok, tho I hated trying to get 20+ people to do the “right” thing all at the same time in order to clear a boss fight. But it was good. And in truth every game I play after WoW feels lacking. To the point of becoming bored with the genera.

    I think the answer to all of this will some basterdized version of what Destiny will be offering. Everyone gets their own game world, friends can drop in and out, and at certain instances you can(match making) join a few other players for group events(PvE or PvP).

    #39 12 months ago
  40. Legendaryboss

    My word!

    #40 12 months ago
  41. cptnfiskedritt

    I disagree with you on several points here. A, and the most important point, Skyrim was absolutely not as fun as I had hoped for. I played it through (took 10 hours) did mages guild, thieves guild and dark brotherhood. Created some mods (because it started to get boring, and honestly mods is the only thing it got going for itself). But in the end the combat and gameplay felt like treading fields of gum, and nothing you did felt significant. Then we get to B. Unfortunately ESO felt entirely similar to skyrim. From the start on both felt sluggish, the story felt thin and pushed on you through talk talk talk and more talk. And in the end you just follow the q marker on the map. At least in ESO they had money sinks for fast travel, in Skyrim I used fast travel as often as possible, since the surroundings felt so hard to navigate (too much vertical terrain and cramped AOIs). The UI is eso was terrible, as was skyrims, and it didn’t help that you had to install addons and java etc just to get a better, yet still ugly ui for Skyrim. At least eso took some hints from the mod UI for skyrim.

    I played eso beta the whole weekend up to level 11. It proved to be just as boring as Skyrim. Unfortunately.

    #41 12 months ago
  42. Shellfish

    To be fair, you are approaching the game with a pre-formulated opinion, so perhaps it’s not quite as valuable as to feel the need to share it, given that you clearly didn’t actually give the world a chance.

    The majority of the non-essential characters have some points of spoken dialogue to share, something that is *far* from the norm for MMO fare. The combat, while not quite up to pace with say Tera or Blade and Soul, is still responsive enough to keep things interesting. The VA (what was already finished in time for the most recent beta) is all top-notch, lending well to the sense of immersion.

    In terms of the questing structure, it’s well adapted from the dev choices made during the single-player series’ most current iteration. Your given the opportunity to travel across a fairly vast set of landscapes, revisiting some places we haven’t been able to tread since Arena. That alone makes the prospect of exploration enticing for any long running fan of the series. Frankly, the world construction has always (personally) trumped the loot grind, and I think you only need to play the Dominion starting quests to appreciate the same magic that Morrowind gave us 12 years ago.

    The choice to make this a prequel of sorts was also wonderful, since it lets us step back into the glory of years past, that lead up to the ruins of the present that we are more familiar with.

    While it’s certainly not perfect, it’s a broad step in the right direction, and I am glad Bethesda didn’t succumb to a bland path when making these forays into the MMO market.

    If you insist on not absorbing any of the surroundings because of your dislike for the chosen mode of delivery, then you are certainly free to hold onto those feelings, but it definitely falls within the realms of bias, and you might find yourself missing out on something good. The Elder Scrolls is a huge world, and it’s always asked us to discover it ourselves, and to make our own adventure.

    #42 12 months ago
  43. Shinethelight

    This is NOT a WoW clone if I see one more person say that I’m going to scream, if you truly think that then you know nothing about MMO’s. WoW wasn’t even anywhere near the first MMO you morons. WoW stole tons of ideas from Everquest and other RPG’s. Second of all this tool Brenna should not writing about MMO’s because he knows absolutely nothing about them and he’s obviously a total MMO hater.

    #43 11 months ago
  44. Shinethelight

    @GrimRita ”
    Good read. Glad I am not getting this as it just sounds like yet ANOTHER WoW clone with a new skin. What the hell is up with all these developers, producing utter crap from 2003 and then left wondering why the game failed within 6 months when it turns free to play,

    PLAYERS DO NOT WANT ANOTHER WOW!

    But as for questing, story doesnt cut it and even adding a story twist on the traditional fetch quests is a bore after the 100th time and you are always going to spacebar to skip to the part when you just pick up the quest.”
    —————————————————

    Good read…are you serious? This the worst and most biased preview of a game I have ever read. If you’re going to judge the game going just by what this complete amateur and clueless gamer writes then I truly feel sorry for you.

    #44 11 months ago
  45. Shinethelight

    “But it didn’t. The story in The Elder Scrolls Online is presented in the most humdrum way possible – gorgeous non-engine cinematics, long slabs of text, people standing around talking at you for hours on end. The Elder Scrolls skin kicks in again a bit here in that when you talk to somebody you zoom in, Oblivion style (remember how Skyrim got rid of that? ”

    Another huge fail in this write up..there’s many by the way but I don’t have time to get into them all. So here we have more hypocrisy and so on. Apparently quests with lots of text and people talking are bad yet when this happened in the single player Elder Scrolls games it was fine then? I thought this game just had go kill 10 boar quests? Which is it make up your mind. I guess the reviewer didn’t like some of the most famous RPG’s of all time since they don’t like to read quests or be bothered with NPC’s.

    #45 11 months ago
  46. Djoenz

    @OlderGamer
    I used to play MMO’s back in the day. Free MMO’s. I loved Silkroad Online especially.
    F2P it was.

    You know what I have learned by playing 2 years? NOTHING. I wasted time grinding and grinding. Even though I loved the many aspects you just said about MMO’s, in the end its a freaking waste of time imo.

    P2P for a MMO you might as well throw your money in the bin.

    Its pointless IMO and trust me I loved it, but seriously its time to spend your time more wisely.

    It’s numb gameplay. Auto pilot. I have evolved into a different gamer it seems. I need that story now not just gameplay. If you do it just for the social aspect (MMO’s) its not worth it man.

    People want to be part of something, but seriously after all those years, all that money invested in premium shit for an MMO WTF have you accomplished?

    Nothing its all virtual shit…you have wasted precious time of your life. Its a scam.

    #46 11 months ago
  47. KurtGG

    The game is trying to be Skyrim and an MMORPG, But has none of the good things from either, as an MMORPG gamer I would not suggest this game to anyone, less to Skyrim players who will be let down by it, Personally if you just want an MMO to play go neverwinter, if you can afford to buy grab Guild Wars 2 and enjoy a good MMORPG not this pile of rubble failed to be put together from diamonds.

    #47 11 months ago
  48. KurtGG

    @Djoenz Wrong, if you have followed stories in the game you have immersed yourself into an other world which most of us prefer to……….(Use your imagination to what should be here, as a mature person I’d rather not put it into words)……….MMORPGs are a way to put people together in a story shared by someone else, We play these games not for the grind, or for the show of lvl, we do it for the story, and for the entertainment in the social community of the game, Don’t go around saying that we are wasting our time, If you think you did then too bad man, you’ve missed out on the most important and fun parts in an MMORPG.

    #48 11 months ago
  49. Larissa

    I love MMOs (played them since WoW beta), and I love TES (at least Oblivion and Skyrim… haven’t played MW yet). That said, I will not be playing TESO for many of the reasons Brenna states here. I find it tedious and boring… like a watered down version of the famously rich TES games. The TES fanbase is spoiled with high-quality RPGs from Beth, and to be financially successful, they will have to adopt the same “pay to play well” business model that bailed out EA (SWTOR) and WB/Turbine (LOTRO). Uninstalling TESO beta, and will move on to some serious story modding for Skyrim.

    #49 10 months ago
  50. Blindbraille

    @fearmonkey look, Idk what everyone on here is talking about. Specially people like you. “the game wasn’t trying to be skyrim online”?! Are you absolutely insane? The advertising and ads for this game are specifically made to look exactly like skyrim. For the past 5 years, since oblivion and then skyrim all people have been clamoring for is a Co op version of skyrim. I love mmorpgs but I didn’t want an elder scrolls mmo. We have enough, you’re not going to be WoW you’re not going to be prettier then ff a realm reborn. I want to play skyrim with 3 friends, I want what borderlands gave me only with skyrim. And if you look at the hundreds of thousands of forum posts since and about skyrim you’ll see that’s what most people want.

    People like you need to stop making excuses for big corporations that make garbage. You’re the people who, when 3 of my book 360s broke said “go outside and play”. Without realizing how inane you sound. The problem here isn’t that people don’t like mmo it’s not. It’s that people wanted what skyrim offered, only we wanted to be able to share that with our friends and siblings who loved skyrim as much as we did. Look at my dark elf mage, look how awesome it is, look at my wear wolf warrior, look what I can make with alchemy on and on. I don’t want to stand in a major city talking in trade chat trying to drop up for a raid. I like mmorpgs and I can go play one of those, I live skyrim and I want to share that experience with people I know and enjoy, but I can’t because you can’t turn skyrim I to an mmo.

    So don’t be dumb and say “that’s not what they were going for” because it is, and they failed. They lied with the advertisements it looks like skyrim but when you actually play it, it’s just another WoW knockoff, a poor knockoff. Don’t defend it because you have empathy for a garbage game. Stand up and get what you want . You can lie to yourself and say you wanted this garbage, but I know better. You can’t lie to me.

    #50 10 months ago

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    A new week, a new set of deals for Xbox Live Gold subscribers and we’ve got the full list. Major Nelson posted the deals which are live now and run through Monday, January 26. Highlights include Sunset Overdrive, Dead Rising 3, Skyrim, Final Fantasy 13-2 and more. Check the full list below. Xbox One Dead […]

  • Survarium: 10,000 FREE Premium account keys to give away

    We have 10,000 codes to give away for MMOFPS Survarium, granting the player a Premium account for 24 hours along with 5,000 Silver coins. Each key gives the player a Premium account for 24 hours along with 5,000 Silver in-game currency. A Premium account gives you 50 percent more experience, income and reputation for 24 […]

  • “I don’t like people thinking we’re doing underhanded, dirty shit,” says Evolve dev

    Despite what it looks like, Evolve developers did not intend to give out the wrong signals when it comes to the game’s DLC plan. Evolve creative director Phil Robb spoke to Destructoid in an interview that was conducted late last year about the studio’s approach to DLC, map packs and more. Robb’s idea is that […]

  • Clock Tower spiritual successor Night Cry gets first screens

    Night Cry is coming along nicely and today we get our first look at it. Ever since the announcement of Project Scissors (at the time) last September, and then the name change to Night Cry, we’ve been waiting to see what the game looks like, especially since it’s developed with mobile platforms in mind. Today, […]

  • Tekken X Street Fighter is still happening, 40 people working on it

    Tekken X Street Fighter is definitely not vaporware. A team of 40 developers is currently working on it, according to director Katushiro Harada. Harada was interviewed by Polygon. In the interview, he touched on many topics, one of which is the status of the seemingly-never-coming-out Tekken X Street Fighter. “It’s very difficult to talk about,” […]

  • From Game of Thrones to Borderlands: all of Telltale’s adventure games rated

    Telltale Games has an impressive back catalogue of licensed adventure games to its name, and we have opinions about all of them. Note that this rundown doesn’t include bundles, the non-adventure games or games published by Telltale but created by other developers. It’s also got a fair bit of speculation in it, since at least […]

  • There is probably a new Battletoads game coming

    If you’ve watched last night’s Windows presentation you knew you recognised that logo on Phil Spencer’s t-shirt. Wearing a t-shirt with a logo of an upcoming game is an antic we’ve come to expect from Xbox boss Phil Spencer now. Based on that, we wouldn’t be alone in predicting that a new Battletoads game is […]

  • Here’s a short, 60fps trailer for DmC: Definitive Edition

    DmC: Definitive Edition has a new video available that shows the game running at 60 frames-per-second. Capcom has put out a short new trailer for the Definitive Edition of DmC: Devil May Cry that takes a look at different stages and boss fights. The video begs to watched in 1080p60 quality, if your connection can […]

  • Xbox One to PC streaming targeting 1080p, 60fps

    Microsoft has revealed that it’s looking to achieve 1080p resolution at 60 frames-per-second when the Xbox One game streaming launches later this year. The question of what final resolution and framerate Xbox One game streaming will operate at was on a lot of people’s minds when the demo was shown. Thankfully, Microsoft’s Mike Ybarra has […]

  • Microsoft is looking at offering PC to Xbox streaming

    Having announced Xbox One to PC streaming as part of its Windows event last night, Microsoft said that making the process a two-way street is on the cards. Microsoft’s Phil Spencer sat down to do a group interview following the Windows event and talked a little bit about the firm’s plans for streaming, including a […]

  • Watch John Romero play Doom

    John Romero made DOOM, and now you can watch him play it, dropping many a delightful gem of insight regarding one of the most important shooters of all time. This video was organised by Double Fine as part of its Devs Play series, a thing I only just discovered and now want to marathon all […]

  • World of Speed has gotten fairly pretty over the past year

    World of Speed has produced a new trailer, showing off the racing MMO’s progress over the past year. Announced one year ago, World of Speed is looking pretty damn shiny now. Check it out in this trailer, which introduces the Mountain Spiral Road location and teases several yet to be revealed. World of Speed comes […]

  • Minecraft user data leaked in plain text – change your passwords

    Minecraft users should change their passwords and those of any accounts using the same log-in details. Minecraft’s user data servers have apparently been compromised, with user names and passwords leaked online in plain text. 1,800 Mojang accounts were affected. The news comes via German source Heise and The Guardian and has been treated quite seriously […]

  • Resident Evil: The Final Chapter will commence filming in August

    The sixth Resident Evil movie is back on track. Resident Evil: The Final Chapter will begin filming in August, having been delayed to accomodate star Milla Jovovich’s pregnancy. In a Facebook post, Jovovich said she’s currently being very mindful of gaining enough weight to ensure a healthy birth for her second child, without the risk […]

  • Nintendo bosses “do not really understand modern gaming”, says former executive

    Former Nintendo executive Dan Adelman has provided frank insight into the Japanese platform holder’s inner workings. Adelman, who was one of Nintendo’s most important developer liaisons, left in August 2014. One of the first things he did was say that Nintendo had issued a gag order on his social media use, and shortly thereafter called […]

  • Sony’s 10% apology discount doesn’t apply to pre-orders

    Sony has updated the terms and conditions of its apology discount to exclude pre-orders. PSN members have been offered a 10% discount voucher as an apology for downtime over the holidays due to DDoS attacks. In an update to the PlayStation Blog announcement post, Sony clarified that you can’t use this for pre-orders. So. That […]

  • 343 to beta test Halo: The Master Chief Collection matchmaking fix

    Halo: The Master Chief Collection is still broken, believe it or not. The next Halo: The Master Chief Collection update is, like most of the others so far, designed to resolve the shooter collection’s ongoing matchmaking woes. 343 Industries is determined to get it right, apparently, as it’s gone so far as to elect to […]

  • Here’s the release schedule for Star Citizen’s story and first-person modules

    Star Citizen lead Chris Roberts has shared release windows for several modules of the space simulation sandbox. Star Citizen was the focus of a BAFTA Masterclass presentation yesterday, during which Roberts outlined the game’s current development milestone goals. Polygon captured the details. The first person shooter, planetside and social elements on the game are expected […]

  • Destiny: Crota’s End Hard Mode has already been beaten

    Destiny’s toughest challenge got extra tough today, but a troop of willing Guardians stepped up to the line of duty. Destiny developer Bungie has verified the identities of the first Guardians to beat hard mode for the Crota’s End raid, which launched earlier today. Bungie User Research has confirmed the World First finishers for the […]

  • All maps and modes for Battlefield Hardline detailed

    A third map and mode has been announced for Battlefield Hardline which means all modes and maps have been revealed. The new mode is Crosshair, a second competitive mode in which a former criminal “turned state’s witness” is on the run. His former buddies, who are criminals, are trying to kill him and the cops […]

  • Alien: Isolation has sold over 1 million copies

    Alien: Isolation has sold over 1 million copies, Creative Assembly and SEGA announced today, and probably in joyous fashion, although PR mails never denote the writer’s mood. The quote included from creative lead, Alistair Hope does sound as though he is super pleased with the milestone. “It has been fantastic to watch the reviews come […]

  • Fable Legends launching on PC alongside Xbox One with cross-platform play

    Fable Legends was announced for PC today during Microsoft’s Windows 10 event, along with the news it would contain cross-platform play with Xbox One. The game will allow you to play with up to four of your friends online across both platforms. A video from the team at Lionhead, which goes into more detail, was […]

  • Parkour pioneer David Belle acted as a consultant on Dying Light

    It has been announced that actor, stunt coordinator and leading pioneer of Parkour, David Belle, consulted on Dying Light in order to bring authentic parkour to the game. According to a press release sent over by Techland, the development team worked with Belle to “verify the depiction of parkour” in the game as well as […]