Elder Scrolls Online: New Benchmark for MMOs?

Elder Scrolls Online

Elder Scrolls OnlineIs The Elder Scrolls Online, set for early April release, poised to set a new benchmark for the MMORPG gaming community? That may be the case. Set in the fantasy world of Tamriel, TESO brings it to life like never before. Bethesda Softworks/Zenimax’s first foray into the MMO game market has one unique advantage that many current MMOs do nott: a game world established in single player games from as far back as 1993.

The Elder Scrolls: Arena was the first game in the franchise. It missed its launch deadline of Christmas 1993 and was released in March 1994, a supposedly bad time for game releases. It would seem that harsh reviews and general bugginess would doom the franchise to an early death. However, sales began to build, followed by word of mouth and Arena became a cult hit.

So what follows in the Elder Scrolls setting? Daggerfall, Redguard (a spinoff,) Morrowind, Oblivion and finally Skyrim. Each was set in a different region of Tamriel, reflected in the title name. Each became successful in its own right, with the last three titles garnishing critical acclaim.

So what does all of that have in common with this Elder Scrolls’ latest incarnation as an MMO?

Tamriel. Or specifically, those previously mentioned locations all in a single game. Yes, Daggerfall (or rather Hammerfell, where the city of Daggerfall is located,) Vvardenfell of Morrowind, the Imperial region of Cyrodiil in Oblivion, and finally, Skyrim. Other regions such as High Rock and those yet unseen are also in TESO. What is exciting about all of this, especially to those who have played and enjoyed the entire franchise, is revisiting these locations of old, seen through new eyes. It should be noted that Cyrodiil is actually a player versus player zone where the three player factions, Daggerfall Covenant, Aldmeri Dominion and Ebonheart Pact vie for control of the region.

The races that the player can choose from at character generation are, of course, those that were featured in the Elder Scrolls single player games: Breton, Redguard, Argonian, High Elf, Wood Elf, Dark Elf, Orc, Nord, Kadjit and (with the pre-order Imperial edition) Imperial. Each of these races have unique bonuses. Actual character generation is a very involved process, with sliders to control just about every aspect, from body weight to facial features. Other features include tattoos and scars. Currently, MMOs such as Star Trek Online, Neverwinter, Lord of the Rings Online and Age of Conan field this level of detail on character customization to some degree. Perhaps TESO will set the benchmark in that area as well.

Once the player is free from the starter dungeon (spoiler free zone here,) quest lines are revealed, from the character’s main storyline to side quests. Character progression, crafting and spellcrafting is very reminiscent of the single player games, specifically Skyrim. And, yes, there is a Fighters’ and Mages’ Guild. The game world itself is sprawling and huge, as would be expected when combining the landscapes of all the previous Elder Scrolls titles, plus additional regions. Walking is time consuming, so the player is highly encouraged to acquire a mount as soon as possible, though Wayshrines greatly alleviate long distance travel.

The only downside to The Elder Scrolls Online is the monthly subscription, a triple hit on console players (IP server fees, console online fees—with the exception of Playstation, as well as the $15 subscription fee.) When so many successful MMOs are free-to-play with cash shop set-ups, this seems a step backwards. However, as was the case with other MMOs that were once subscription only, this may change in the future.

Overall, The Elder Scrolls Online may set a new benchmark for MMOs, with its aggressively unconventional class progression and rich history as set forth in the previous single player games.

Editorial by Lee Birdine

Author’s own experience with TESO beta (NDA lifted)

5 thoughts on “Elder Scrolls Online: New Benchmark for MMOs?

  1. obviously like your web-site but you have to check the spelling on quite a few of your posts. A number of them are rife with spelling issues and I find it very bothersome to tell the truth nevertheless I will definitely come back again.

  2. Lemur said it all f2p ruins a gsme, stop complaining about being poor and it being expensive when half of the player base smokes weed everyday or goes to thse bar evry night…… it will be worth the subscription fee. It wont be that bs LoL game that dictates how you have to play if you dont pay. I quit wow becuase the game is old as sh* and is ugly by todays standards, and the content is stupid as hell, people run around with 1million health and end content isnt rewarding anymore its jut a monotonous grind at max level… I cant wait to fall Inlove with the epic journey of mycharacter, not runnig the same raid 100 times to not get what i needed.. wow is dead, and f2p is for lazy rich kids who steal their parents cc. Subscriotion is the only wayfor a game like this.

  3. Honestly, I’m excited been in beta and cant wait til April. Looking forward to going to all my old stomping grounds, wonder what Balmora looks like, or if Seyda Neen is there.

    I’m honestly tired or all the whine about a sub, I like movies and try to go maybe once or twice a month if I can afford and that runs about 15+ depending on other things, and that’s for 2 hours. Seriously, i would rather have a fee than not if it means there is progress. How often do FtP games progress slowly, or how often do they seem to cram stuff down your throat to try and get you to spend money. Do people not realize that the reason games launch FtP or go FtP is because they can make MORE money and provide LESS service. It’s the same trend mobile games are taking and it is overly annoying. I would rather pay my fee for a game and get it over than be nickel and dimed just to compete. People want this to be FtP, but then they spend all their time whining about how FtP = P2W, guess what sub fees everyone is on the same level there’s no, sale sale sale get you ultimate invincibility potion or instant free res with no penalty at the location you died with full heal totems or other such nonsense.

    Now, sure FtP is great for older games which are past their TTL, or failing games, Why? Because they breath life back into a game. I played DAOC for 5 years then quit for others. A few years ago I went back for a month and the game just didn’t feel the same so i didn’t feel that it warranted a 15$ sub, the servers were near dead merged into oblivion ect. If it were FtP I maybe play on occasion, but I wouldn’t pay for it again, but that game is now 13 years old.

    To make things worse how many of these nay sayers are WoW fan bois, and let’s see they have both a sub AND a cash store, don’t hear you complaining about that, and seriously their “cash store” is so over priced it’s pathetic. So give me a sub ANY day if it means a level playing field, customer support, and continuous and timely updates with additions of new content.

  4. Frankly, I’d just be happy if my “stuff” stopped falling off the shelves in my solitude house, if Lydia would drop the “attitude” and Farkas would man up a bit. Just sayin’ Watched someone play the beta and it looked awesome!

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