Last week I wrote that MMORPG’s are not single-player games as a response to the revelation that TESO will have a “core” part of the game be entirely single-player in which we pretend that other players aren’t even in the same world. Matt Firor, Creative Director, was published on PC Gamer today with more about the nature of TESO’s “evolution”.
I want to approach the subject of TESO from a different angle this time. Instead of saying MMO’s aren’t single-player games, how about The Elder Scrolls aren’t MMORPG’s? I think too much of The Elder Scrolls is having to change in order to accommodate the MMORPG mechanics.
“Since we have a PVP component to our game it’s very difficult to make a skill based game like in Skyrim, so we went back to a more traditional character based system like in the older Elder Scrolls games just to make it easier to balance to make sure the PVP system worked,” Firor explains.
“Well the Elder Scrolls formula has kind of evolved over time, and if you look at Elder Scrolls 1: Arena to Daggerfall to Morrowind. Things have evolved in every game, so it’s not like they’re all exactly the same as the one before, there’s a clear line of evolution. What we had to do to make it an MMO is to kind of evolve over to the multiplayer side and there are some things that come with that.” [PC Gamer]
Despite having classes, previous Elder Scrolls games were reliant upon a skill-based system. Most of you are probably familiar with the way Morrowind and Oblivion handled choosing a class, where the class simply determined which primary and second skills helped your character level. Skyrim changed in a way that removed classes entirely and became more of a free point allocation to be whatever you want. Arena and Daggerfall had classes, with skill components. Matt is correct by saying that things have evolved in every game, but in my opinion he’s very wrong by saying that TESO is evolving by changing to a MMORPG class system. It feels much more like devolving.
I love MMO’s more than most people, but I won’t pretend for a second that the traditional class system is evolved ahead of anything else out there. The single-player approach, an obvious themepark nature, and looking at how far they’re going to have to alter their winning RPG formula to accommodate the oft clunky MMO mechanics worries me. I foresee a very tough future ahead for TESO.
Hopefully I will be proven very wrong. I won’t mind at all.