Back in January, a time when gamers expected The Elder Scrolls Online to be released sometime this year, I wrote a little piece called 10 Reasons Why The Elder Scrolls Online Will Rule 2013. I followed it up in April with 10 MORE Reasons Why The Elder Scrolls Online Will Rule 2013. I figured now was as good a time as any to submit a follow-up post and lay out why exactly The Elder Scrolls Online will rule 2014.
Just saying The Elder Scrolls Online will be a “deep” game does a complete disservice to exactly how involved this game will be. From holding keeps and setting up shops to traveling the fields of Cyrodiil hoping to find a buyer for some of your rare goods; from exploring the far corners of the map to tweaking and customizing your character to your exact specifications, The Elder Scrolls Online is incredibly deep. This game will keep you busy for hours on end with the little things. Good MMOs often have a way of getting players to spend time in-game even when they aren’t questing by doing some crafting, selling, exploring, and more. ESO seems to have everything necessary to make this a game you’ll never want to leave.
PvP in an MMO is one of those things developers have to absolutely nail if they want their game to succeed. A large portion of players blast through the leveling process and then spend the rest of their in-game time solely playing PvP. If it’s not any good, they will leave. There’s no reason for them to stick around paying a monthly fee if the only portion of the game they care about is broken.
PvP in ESO will be faction-driven and will center around taking control of keeps and fortresses in the province of Cyrodiil. Groups of players will be able to attack supply lines, defend fortresses they already own, or raid enemy holds to try to take over control of the map. Controlling Cyrodiil will provide faction-wide bonuses and give players an incentive to participate in the battle for Tamriel. Additionally, the entire province of Cyrodiil will be PvP, but will also be available for questing, exploring, and more. So while the main purpose of the area is to host PvP warfare, solo players will be able to get in on the action whether they want to take place in large-scale combat or not. It’s an inviting and welcoming way to keep all players engaged in the larger multiplayer portion of the game.
8) Subscription Fee
I know this is controversial, and I even grumbled about it when I first heard the news, but I really do believe ZeniMax Online Studios made the right choice by deciding to charge $14.99 per month to play ESO. Sure there have been a number of subscription-based MMOs that have since switched over to a free-to-play model, but that doesn’t mean it has to happen here as well. This may be the Elder Scrolls fanboy deep inside me talking, but from everything I have seen, read, and heard straight from developers themselves, ZOS gets it. They have learned from those who have fallen before them and are taking care to make the game that both Elder Scrolls veterans and MMO pros are aching to play, and that takes money. To have the kind of regular updates they’ve promised, and to maintain the beautiful world they are creating will be expensive. If I can do my part by paying $15 a month, I’ll do it. It’s going to be worth it.
7) Character Building
Recently ZOS released a video that gave fans a brief glimpse at all the options and details available when creating characters in ESO. I also experienced this system at E3 and can attest that it is absolutely a robust, powerful, and complex character creation system. I’m not sure I’d ever want to make Tamriel suffer with a mug as ugly as mine, but if I wanted to, I’m pretty sure I could recreate my own face with this tool. The character creator allows players to resize and reshape all sorts of body parts, change heights, skin colors, tattoos, hair styles, etc. Most of this stuff is standard in MMOs, but it is the deepest character creation tool I have ever experienced.
ZOS has given us some more details over the months on the crafting system, and good news for gamers is that it should appeal to both MMO players and Elder Scrolls fans. By taking cues from Skyrim’s crafting system that allows you to throw in a variety of ingredients to create unique items, and planting that inside a modern MMO interface, ESO’s crafting system looks deep and involved. We’ve been told that the best gear will be able to be both found and created, giving a reason for players to dive into crafting and try to master it. Creating top end-game gear could be a very rewarding and lucrative way to play ESO.
Having been fortunate enough to play the game at E3 in June and spend a little time with it at PAX Prime in August, I can confidently say that the graphics in ESO are improving with age. I already felt the game looked great from all the screenshots and video we’d seen earlier this year, but it’s really starting to come together. Tamriel looks like Tamriel, not some ripped-off World of Warcraft setting. It looks like the land that Elder Scrolls players have been calling home for years, and it looks like the perfect place to begin a brand new Elder Scrolls adventure.
In addition to looking fresh and new, it looks absolutely stunning. The game is every bit as beautiful as Skyrim, and from what we’ve been able to see so far, is faithful in its recreation of an age gone by in Tamriel. It will be exciting to finally get in the game and travel to cities we know and love from previous Elder Scrolls games and see which version actually looks better. I have a feeling it will be hard to go back to the other games visually…
For everyone out there looking forward to finally playing Elder Scrolls with friends, or just playing the next great MMO, ESO will be a hit. With individual loot, shared experience, and the ability to work through quests with others, regardless of whether or not you group up with them. Joining together with others to run through dungeons, playing through Adventure Zones, and battling opposing factions in PvP will provide an interesting distraction to questing and exploring the far corners of Tamriel.
3) Solo Play
Alternatively, there are many players (like myself) who have grown up playing the Elder Scrolls single player games and are simply looking forward to spending most of their time as a lone wolf, staying out of trouble, and exploring Tamriel on their own. ZOS has said the game will be completely playable as a solo player (except for specific areas that require multiple players), but all of Tamriel will be open to explore alone. Whether you like to climb the highest peaks and enjoy some cheese and mead, or wander the forests picking flowers for potions, you’ll be able to play at your own pace and not worry about being rushed through the world or story at a pace you’re uncomfortable with. It’s fantastic that ZOS has taken great lengths to make sure that all playstyles will be catered to in The Elder Scrolls Online.
2) Over 100 Hours Per Faction
Though there will certainly be players who blast through the game and reach max level before most of us even get out of the starter area, ZOS has said there will be over 100 hours worth of content per faction, and that’s not counting all the hours you can spend exploring, crafting, fishing, and buying and selling your wares. Simply playing through all of the quests available in one faction will eat up so much time that the value for your money will be huge. Then, once you reach level 50, you’ll be able to enter one of the other factions and play through level 50+ content in that faction, and then again with the third faction at level 50++. There is going to be so much to do in this game that there is no reason to think this game’s longevity will be compromised.
1) Next-Gen Consoles
The announcement during Sony’s E3 press conference this year blew my mind. I was sitting next to Joseph Bradford when all of a sudden The Elder Scrolls Online logo appeared on the screen. As the speaker came out to announce that ESO would be coming to PlayStation 4 (and later confirmed to Xbox One as well), my jaw dropped. That was it. That was all this game needed to truly “kill it” upon its launch. To be available on PCs, as well as the two hottest gaming consoles available, assured the game will be one of the best-selling games of the year. It will give console-only players their Elder Scrolls fix, even if it’s in a genre they’re not generally used to experiencing on consoles. If this game is as successful as I’m anticipating, it could be one of the PS4 and Xbox One’s most-played and longest-running games.
This is truly an incredible goal for ZOS to be chasing. It’s hard enough to bring an MMO to PC players and keep them happy (and paying), and console players aren’t generally used to paying subscription fees for their game. However, shooters like Call of Duty and Battlefield have managed to suck an extra $50-$70 a year out of players for simple map pack updates, so with all the content ZOS is promising, it stands to reason players should feel pretty happy with what they’ll be getting for their money. In addition, this isn’t a game that will be replaced by a newer, shinier version a year later. This game is being built to last for years.
So there you have it, 10 new reasons why The Elder Scrolls Online will rule 2014. The game is coming along nicely and looks greatly improved every time we see it. The developers are listening to fans and even implementing some of the feedback. This game can’t come soon enough, and while it’s unfortunate it was pushed back to next year, the extra time seems to be paying off.
Stay tuned to Elder Scrolls Off the Record for all the latest on The Elder Scrolls Online.