I have a confession to make… I have never really liked any of the elder Scrolls games I’ve played. They just seem so absolutely boring to me. The world and characters are often so bland, the combat is simplistic, and apart from the rare side quest you find everything is just so average. It amuses me so much that modders can create more interesting content then the developers. It’s an average franchise whose only redeeming feature is an open world so considering that I have no investment in the franchise it’s surprising that I am actually looking forward to Elder Scrolls Online.
It seems hip to hate on the Elder Scrolls online at the moment, mmo’s are often an easy target and it has a huge fan base that is very resistant to the changes but right now I’m actually more excited than critical of this new AAA release. In terms of PvE it’s probably going to be the same sort of endless treadmill of dungeon/raid running which people will inevitably complete within the first month, that’s not necessarily a bad thing as it all might be interesting and fun content. By all accounts it looks like just another mmo with a few unique features.
What I am excited about it is a new battlefield to explore and wage war on. Wuv Wuv in GW2 has gotten ridiculously stale, I think most people who regularly play the mode feel this and the Elder Scrolls offers something new. It would have been hard for Arenanet creating such a large scale battlefield after so many years of game development away from this type of content. It has given 9 months of play though which is very decent, maybe that is because pvp naturally has a lot of replayability or maybe it’s because Anet did do a few things right. Whatever the reason I’m happy that they sought to revitalise large scale 3 side combat because without that interest I don’t think others would have ventured into it as well.
They did reasonable well too considering the limitations they have and the game was fun for many of us but it has many issues that I really don’t see being fixed in any reasonable time frame, if at all. The Elder Scrolls has come at a time where it can learn from Guild Wars 2 WvW and seems to have iterated on or fixed many of the issues we have had. There is a much larger map to fight which should inhibit zerging a little, the supply mechanics seems more in depth and important, keep claiming might be more rewarding, progression seems well thought out, there is a remarkable amount of customisation, aaaand combat seems more active. Lots of little changes to the WvW format but they all add up to a lot.
Then there is the server mechanic which I’m hopeful about with a tinge of concern. Hypothetically a much larger population could be playing within a minimal amount of battlefields which helps control the spread of people in different regions resulting in population imbalances. The one issue I think is whether or not these battlegrounds will be global or regional. If it’s based on regions like NA and EU then we will once again have a huge issue with imbalances in off hours and the plethora of rage threads that result.
I hope this game will be great, I believe there is a decent sized market for it… Maybe not enough to completely save a failing AAA model though. Guild Wars revitalised interest in it and maybe, just maybe Elder Scrolls will change and fix enough to make it something special. It should at least be good enough to tide us all over untill Camelot Unchained.
Oh, and this is an old but decent discussion the developers had about AvA.
See you in cyrodil in the months to come… Empress Eriena certainly has a nice ring to it.