Whew... this was a trip. The Bethesda Conference could have gone anywhere, and boy did it go places. Fallout franchise is being redefined. Elder Scrolls had no one, not two, not three, but FOUR appearances.
If you're interested in our thoughts on each game shown, read on.
Bethesda had a decent showing in their E3 showcase this evening. They focused a lot on actual games, and brought a good number of actual gameplay trailers. Here’s the breakdown.
Quake – Looks (conceptually) pretty dang good. When they announced the name, I almost died laughing expecting it to be a MOBA (which would enrage the fans) but it looks to be a FPS again. Pretty sure we can expect to see an Overwatch-style game. I’m bummed to not see any gameplay. Meh.
The Elder Scrolls: Legends – No one cares. Why should people care? Hearthstone has superiority in this arena now, and there’s little to no market share for them to scrape. They should stick to making mobile games like Fallout Shelter. There’s a reason it did so well: It was different enough. I’d like to see a Skyrim-like farmville or Elder Scrolls city builder for iOS.
Fallout Shelter – PC version. That’s pretty cool. I’ll play it.
Fallout 4 – Lots of DLC. Meh, not really interested.
Skyrim Special Edition – Coming in October. Looks really pretty. Sure, Skyrim on PC looks prettier when you use mods. I’m interested, but hoping it’s more than a graphical update. I’m hoping for additional features or content or some reason to get us to rebuy the game.
Prey – I heard rumors about a Prety reboot. Totally not my thing at all.
Doom – Lots of DLC. Also not my thing. Too much gore.
The Elder Scrolls Online – Every time I see the trailers and DLC and continued talks of ESO I feel this twinge of “ugh, this looks so fun why wasn’t this in at launch?” Then I have to come to grips with reality and realize it’s simply not this way. It’s not that good. Dark Brotherhood DLC… ugh. And this idea of playing any part of the game at any level? I like that. Do I go back once again and try? Every time I do, I last one month. It SHOULD be fun, it’s just… not
Dishonored 2 – I enjoyed the first, and will likely enjoy the second. I was worried we wouldn’t see any more than NPC pathing, fly-throughs, and story narrative. They finally showed some actual gameplay. The scenery is really pretty but the animations look rough. The time piece feature looks amazing. A definite buy for me
Overall, way better than EA but surprisingly lackluster and by the end I was a little sleepy. There was too much focus on old titles and DLC. I was hoping for an Elder Scrolls 6 announcement from Todd Howard and another huge reveal that there’s a new iOS game available immediately… but it never came. They glossed over the biggest draws for me and emphasized in a BIG way Dishonored 2—not a bad thing, but not where Bethesda makes their money, mark on the industry, or builds their community. I would not have ended with Dishonored 2.
Okay, so moving forward we have Microsoft, Ubisoft, and Sony tomorrow. Whew. Let’s hope there’s something worth talking about. So far, I give E3 a solid C-.
We’re finally getting a better look at how Elder Scrolls Online plays. In the video above, we’re given a glimpse at some combat, PvE, PvP, and a vague description of what we can expect from the game as a whole.
The biggest takeaway from the video for me was that Elder Scrolls Online will be a themepark. The giveaway:
“Once you hit level 50, that’s where the game really opens up.”
Probably a poor word choice, but revealing nonetheless. Exploration is mentioned in the video, but in the sense that you’ll roam to find quests or points of interest. Public quests are mentioned, and from what I gather it sounds like there might be a mix of WoW and GW2 questing models. Not enough details to really say for sure.
The world is so beautiful, and so rich with story and detail from so many past games, that I wish it were going to be more ‘virtual world’ than what it sounds like so far. I want it to be a game world where I’m actively utilizing the entire continent at once instead of progressing through content. So many neat towns and places are forgotten and never visited again in a game that progresses players down a path. I want those hype statements about the world being ‘alive’ and ‘lived in’ to be true in Elder Scrolls Online. I certainly get that feeling from their RPG’s.
I think the Mega-Server technology mentioned in the video can go two ways: Huge open-world so big that we can accommodate everyone, or highly-instanced and phased. There will only be one server, but I fear that means we will have instanced zones and areas with only a few people in them at once. Technically, if they stay true to Tamriel, the world is large enough to accommodate everyone. Given enough starting areas, there would be minimal overcrowding. My gut and common sense tell me this is not a reality, and we’ll see instancing and lobbying.
The PvP details included sieging keeps, controlling territory, and having hundreds of players on the screen at once. Vague, and awfully scripted in the video, but I’m eager to see it in action. Again, my gut radar (which is almost always accurate when it goes off) is telling me to be wary of this PvP. I can imagine an open-world PvP environment of owning territory and squaring off against other kingdoms. I can also see something like GW2 (less permanence) or worst case scenario like WAR where it all feels shallow, temporary and arcade-like.
I hope they can maintain the sense immense scope of Elder Scrolls. I want to go on journeys, travel to truly distant lands, and feel like I’m a visitor when I travel too far from home. Being totally honest, when I watch the video I do not get that feeling. Granted, that video is so vague — and rightfully so at this time — that I can’t glean much. I want so much from this game. My fingers are crossed tightly because we’re going to need it.
Many of you have asked me to comment on whether or not you should play SWTOR or Skyrim this weekend. Bioware has already sent out invitations to this weekend’s test (the first in a few weeks) and you’re now faced with whether or not you should test the next big MMO on the horizon or play during the first weekend of one of the most anticipated game releases in years.
I can’t break the NDA that I have agreed to, but I can speak relatively and give you a hand walking through this logically.
Star Wars: The Old Republic is a MMO. Based on everything made publicly available during events, we know it to be very theme park in its design. However, we, the players of MMOs, have never had a story-driven MMO quite like SWTOR. Bioware has implemented their story telling abilities into an online setting. The outcome of blending the two, theme park and story, creates something quite unique (despite being familiar). It deserves a chance on those merits alone.
Why not play SWTOR for at least 30 minutes? I’m of the mindset that a game can tell me almost everything I need to know within the first 5-10 minutes, so 30 should suffice. This might be your only opportunity to try the game before it comes out. It is, essentially, a free trial. (Note: be a good little tester and report a bug or two.)
Skyrim will be there waiting for you. I assume that you have already purchased Skyrim if this is even an issue for you. Skyrim is a single-player RPG that will be completed on your schedule at your pace. Play Skyrim the first minute it’s available and then try SWTOR a day later. If SWTOR hooks you, awesome; it’s available until the end of the weekend. If not, go back to Skyrim and slay dragons.
Me? I’ll be playing Skyrim, but I’ve been testing SWTOR for a month.
If you can not find me this weekend, this is why:
Anyone else going to be completely immersed in Skyrim? My roommate has already given notice that we should not worry if strange smells come from his room because he won’t be surfacing for three days. While I’m never that extreme, I do have plans to play the heck out of this game.
On the top of my list of to-do list, since I already have cases of Diet Coke ready, is to figure out what kind of character I want to play first. I can already tell I’m going to spend at least an hour in the creation process. I’m going back and forth between playing a viking-like barbarian with shield and 1her or a more stealthy archer.
It’s interesting… There’s a feeling that comes about every couple of years when you know a game will make lasting impressions on the industry and players will talk about the game for years. These are the moments I relish. There are only a handful of companies that have ever been able capture said phenomena, and Bethesda is certainly one. I do hope that Skyrim is one of those games.
STEAM tells me, “This game will unlock in approximately 1 day and 7 hours.” The world feels at a standstill.