The Elder Scrolls have a long history for a computer game series. The original game that started it all was published in 1994, named The Elder Scrolls: Arena. With such a long history as a single player experience, one might wonder how the game studio will do with a Massively Multiplier Online game.
The answer is very well, if you watch the few videos that they have published. Bethesda is working to make this one of the best MMOs in history. They have created a unique technology, called “Mega-Server”, that allows all characters to be on a single server. In traditional MMOs, you must pick a single server out of dozens and hope that your friends like that server as well.
Exploration, a traditional Elder Scrolls feature, is said to be one of the focuses of the development team. This is a relief for many fans as most fondly remember viewing beautiful landscapes as far back as Morrowind, the third Elder Scrolls game. The creative team behind the game plans to make this a key part of the game by rewarding you for rabbit-trailing. Whenever you’re on a quest, you’ll be rewarded for taking a side trail by picking up another quest you can do instead. This will be a familiar pattern to all former players of any Elder Scrolls game.
Many players have wished that they could play Morrowind, Oblivion, or Skyrim with their friends, but the game only supports a single player experience. Many mod creators have tried to make multiplayer a reality, but all have come up short in some way. The Elder Scrolls Online will create an end to that need.
However, the series going online isn’t all roses and gum drops. The Elder Scrolls Online Guide on most sites is likely to be confused with previous advice from the single player games which won’t entirely apply to the MMO. TESO leveling tips are also likely, at least at first, to be muddled with the single player experience and other MMOs.
Fans of the series know that recent titles, Oblivion and Skyrim, have favored an action oriented combat system. Pre-Oblivion games like Morrowind and Daggerfall, however, relied somewhat on action to get yourself into position, but then fell to a stat based system where, despite your weapon passing through your enemy, no damage was done. This is not the system fans are hoping for.
With the recent launch of revolutionary action MMO, TERA, players everywhere have seen that an action MMO is not only possible, but leaps and bounds ahead of it’s stat based cousin. Whether the creators of The Elder Scrolls online follow this new path or sticks to the tried and boring approach laid down by World of Warcraft over a decade ago remains to be seen.
Another disadvantage to Bethesda’s new MMO is that it’s an MMO. Most Elder Scrolls fans are accustomed to a single player experience. Some even buy the game specifically because it’s only a single player game. They’re not looking for a multiplayer experience, so some of the fan base will, inevitably, not play the new MMO. Likewise, however, many gamers who are otherwise uninterested in The Elder Scrolls games will likely pick up The Elder Scrolls Online specifically because it’s a new MMO.
For the former group, paying a monthly subscription to play another Elder Scrolls game will seem like a step down. Players have been used to playing a single player game for free and only playing again for new content in expansions. MMO players will be used to this and not seem to mind, however.
In the end, The Elder Scrolls Online will have something to please everyone and should be a great new direction for the series.