TESO Now Has My Attention

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The Elder Scrolls Online

I’ve been a harsh critic of The Elder Scrolls Online (TESO).  I still stand by a lot of my criticism, but I have to point out that recent stuff coming out of Zenimax, specifically from the gameplay they showed at Quakecon, looks incredible.  One of my biggest issues with the game thus far has been a lack of Elder Scrolls feel.  I have to say that my concern might be invalid after watching this video.

Obviously there are certain mechanics that are more MMO than typical Elder Scrolls RPG (horses appearing and disappearing) but I felt the entire presentation was very much in-tune with the Elder Scrolls feel.

The combat in first person looks close to the real-time combat, albeit with hotkeyed abilities inserted.  I didn’t get any sense of button mashing action — actually quite the opposite as I saw countering, blocking, etc.  I think the archery looks good, and PvE in general looked like something I would expect from this type of game.  Interestingly, notice when he 2 shot that NPC in the beginning — that’s something you’d do in Elder Scrolls, but in a normal MMO it seems out of place.  I’m totally okay with that if the game is about evolving a character’s skills and not about leveling up.

Around the 16 minute mark and on there are several great looking fights against tougher mobs.  I love how the warrior brings up his/her shield and blocks — that’s real tanking!  The flow of combat is actually quite remarkable.  I’m a huuuuge fan of groups overcoming the odds and working together, and I can envision that type of experience if more combat in TESO is like these battles.

My excitement for TESO was fading fast, but this pushed me back up to the top.  Am I fickle? Yeah, maybe.  I know what I like, though, and they weren’t showing me anything to get excited about until recently.  I’m still waiting to see how much of this experience is entirely instanced, and how much of this world is open and explorable to everyone at the same time.  At least now I can be genuinely excited about, or at least wanting to see more of something in TESO.

  • What I expected; it looks like a dumbed down ES combat engine with some MMO-ish stuff thrown in. If the next Fallout comes out anytime around ESO, they will be crushed. If you want an MMO, go play a ‘real’ one. If you want more ES-like gameplay, go play Fallout 4. I don’t see a reason to pay for a light version of ES that will not only be bound my MMO constraint, but also suffer from having others around you breaking the usually very solid ES immersion. Nothing in that video looked new, or even an improved take on something an MMO is already doing. It was generic MMO+ES skin over it.

  • I haven’t really been following ESO, mostly because I couldn’t figure out what they were trying to do with it – is it an MMO or just an online RPG? This is the first video I’ve sat down and actually watched of it though, and I gotta say it actually surprised me. Looks like it could be a lot of fun to play around with a few friends. I don’t think I could say myself paying a monthly fee for it though, so I really hope they don’t go that route.

  • Oh right, forgot, my only major complaint after watching the video is race-based faction assignment. I am so sick of my race choices being limited by my faction. I hate having to choose between playing in the same faction as my friends, or play the race I really want to play. Especially if each faction only has a small number of races available, like ESO each faction only having 3 races! That is just way too small.

  • This didn’t look like it would make a very good mmo experience. If they were announcing the next ES game was going to be 2-4 player coop then this video would have been interesting for me. As it stands its generic mmo tropes with poor combat. Not a great mix.

  • “I couldn’t figure out what they were trying to do with it – is it an MMO or just an online RPG?”

    “Looks like it could be a lot of fun to play around with a few friends. I don’t think I could say myself paying a monthly fee for it though”

    This was almost the exact sentiment that I had going into SWTOR. I think it might be a very unfavorable sign if the company can’t clearly define what they are supposed to be to their target audiences.

    A game that tries to be everything to everybody is not likely to succeed.

  • Maybe it’s because I’m not really an elder scrolls person, but man that combat looks unfun.

  • A lot of you are saying it will be another typical MMO. I disagree. I don’t think there will be much MMO to it at all. I think it’ll be more RPG than MMO, and very much a multiplayer experience over a massively multiplayer one.

    They’ve shown more Elder Scrolls than I’ve seen yet, so I’m happy about that. Now if they can keep showing me why I should care about playing the PvE — as I have almost no interest in their lobbied arcade PvP — then I’ll be a step happier.

  • I will play this one.

    Just like I play every Elder Scrolls game. A couple of weeks and done.

    • @Tumorseal: And honestly I think that’s okay. I too will treat this just like I treat any multiplayer / RPG. Once I finish the content, and there’s nothing left to do, I’ll be done. Normally an MMO might have a world to continue the engagement, or a social and or progression reason to stay. Maybe TESO will have that, maybe not.

  • Whether I play this or not will depend entirely on how the combat is in 3rd person view. I’ve never been a fan of first person combat in games like this. The combat just never feels good to me. In FPS shooters I love it, but when it comes to MMO’s where you have to melee a lot, or shoot a bow, it has always felt extremely clunky, and never fun. It’s probably why I have never been able to put more than 30 minutes into any Elder Scrolls game.

  • Eh, watched the video yesterday and pretty much started feeling the same way. Looks like it could be fun for a 3-monther or less. Not much to lose really, and if you can get 2-3 months entertainment out of it, it would still be worth the price of admission.

  • The combat seem responsive..I like it. i am not fun of the first person combat and this video didn’t show us enough of third person combat to see how is going. I will play it for sure, as I do with all Elder Scrolls games. One thing I noticed is the abilities progress themselves as we use them, or I understood wrong? This has the potential to be an interesting way to keep me plating the game. I hope they will make it extremely hard to max out your skills but in the same time the rewards of progressing your skills should be significant, not just a little % more dmg.

    i imagine this something like specialization. For example I want to go the path of the tank and raise my blocking skill in a way that I am “known” to be extremely tough to be killed. Others may shine on AOE arrow damage, e.t.c. If they do it like GW2, in a way that you can max out everything the moment you hit max level then I am not seeing myself playing it for more than a month.

    Also I am waiting for info about crafting…will there be a crafting skill to raise by sacrifising a combat skill? I mean, being a crafter should be a choice that have concequences on your combat skills and not something “extra”. Also I hope they will not go f2p, cause I will not even touch it that way.

  • Most overrated game I have ever seen. I got the same feeling about this I had looking at Swtor… total meh. Everyone who is banking on this being the next big MMO is going to be a sad panda.

  • It looks pretty eldar scrolls like, as long as it has good story and quests, which have been the strong point of eldar scrolls games ie not lackluster like skyrim which easily explains the difference in play time between it and oblivion/morrowind (60 hours vs like 800 combined) it’l be fun. The combat has never been any good in the scrolls series so that’s not a major care, but losing the ability to mod the game with new content will be huge as that’s the only reason I played so much of any of the previous titles.

    Also the graphics and animations are pretty lackluster Oblivion+mods quality. Thats probably just because its in alpha stage but I hope the beauty of the world doesn’t fall to “im an mmo so i have to have low system requirements” trope.

    I’d actually be happier if it was just eldar scrolls 6 and you could play co-op with friends if you so choose like diablo/torchlight etc actually now that i think about it that’s a much better idea.

  • “A lot of you are saying it will be another typical MMO. I disagree. I don’t think there will be much MMO to it at all. I think it’ll be more RPG than MMO, and very much a multiplayer experience over a massively multiplayer one.”

    But how is that different than SWTOR? That’s just what a “typical MMO” is now, something that isn’t an MMO at all. By my standards, WoW2k13 Panda Edition is barely an MMO and more of a linear game with multiplayer elements.

  • @Jenks: Great question. It goes back to TESO being like Elder Scrolls more than a themepark. If TESO can feel like an Elder Scrolls RPG with multiplayer groups — awesome. If it feels like an instanced themepark 3-monther, then this is all a moot point as I won’t be interested.

    What I’m saying here is that TESO now has my attention because I’m seeing Elder Scrolls rather than “next big MMO” bs.

  • I think they need to better define themselves and what they want to be. The ES games have always been about you being THE ONE… the center of the story. ESO should be marketed more along the lines of a world with no central hero but more welcoming to groups to explore and experience.

    For years people have been wanting a multiplayer aspect to ES games and this is how they should be presenting it.. a world for you and your friends to explore and experience. They should be presenting the MMO aspects like LFG etc as a bonus feature to make it more then just a multiplayer game… but labeling themselves an MMO seems like they are just trying to broaden their market.

    Ultimately I love ES so count me in, but I will be playing it for the ES setting and things of that nature, not the MMO features.