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2013 Was Supposed to Be The Year of The Elder Scrolls Online

November 18th, 2013 Posted by Opinion 10 comments

Elder Scrolls Online snakes 2013 Was Supposed to Be The Year of The Elder Scrolls Online

2013 was supposed to be “The Year of The Elder Scrolls Online.” When we first learned about the game back in 2012, rumors flew around the internet about when exactly it would launch, but no one knew for sure. It wasn’t until E3 when Bethesda announced the game would be coming to PlayStation 4 and Xbox One that we learned it had been pushed back to Spring of 2014.

Maybe it’s for the best, because had it launched this holiday, there’s a chance sales would have been low on consoles because not many people had a new system yet. By waiting until spring there may be 10 million next-gen consoles out in the wild just waiting for the first epic, amazing MMO of the generation. Players on both PC and console will be ready and waiting to devour the year’s most anticipated game.

~insert screeching record scratch sound indicating a sudden stop~

The Competition Just Got Tougher

Wait a minute… that is unfortunately no longer the case. Had ESO launched in 2013, it is entirely possible it could have launched as the year’s (or at the very least, the season’s) hottest, most anticipated, perhaps even best game. The PS4 and Xbox One launch titles are not exactly mind-blowing, so ESO could have been THE game to pick up with the system of your choice. But now, ESO is simply one of several big, major, and innovative games coming out in Spring 2014, and it runs the chance of getting lost in the crowd, especially considering its monthly subscription.

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This isn’t meant to be a criticism of the subscription model. In fact, I think for ESO it was the right move. But launching alongside, or within a couple months of, Titanfall, Watch Dogs, Thief, Dark Souls II, and Infamous: Second Son (just to name a few) could mean it’s just another game in a great lineup of titles. And when gamers need to decide on what games to purchase with their hard-earned money, having to choose between Titanfall (perhaps the most talked about game of the year) and the subscription-charging Elder Scrolls Online, that extra $15 could come into play.

But even outside of the monthly fee, the sheer quality of those titles is hard to deny. Titanfall will likely be a an instant and massive hit. Watch Dogs will change the way we play open world games. Thief will redesign (or at least attempt to re-imagine) the stealth game. Infamous: Second Son will offer hours and hours of exploring the large, open world, both horizontally and vertically. The bottom line is that ESO is no longer the belle of the ball, but simply another beauty looking for a dance.

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Walking the Treacherous Path

I certainly hope ESO finds a nice window where there isn’t too much else coming out so at least the initial purchase won’t necessarily compete with another major title. It will be tough for ESO to be THE big game of the year, and in order to stand out, ZeniMax Online Studios certainly has their work cut out for them. But if there is a game franchise that stands a chance at taking down Titanfall, it’s Elder Scrolls. And if there is a team that understands its fans and what they want, it’s ZeniMax and Bethesda.

The Elder Scrolls Online may have a tougher road ahead of it this year than it would have last year, but it’s certainly not an impossible task. 2014 can certainly still be “The Year of The Elder Scrolls Online”, but its path is suddenly much more treacherous.

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10 comments

Padraig says:

To be honest, considering GTA V, The Last of Us, Bioshock Infinite, etc., I don’t think ESO would have been such a stand-out title in 2013 as you make it out to be. Not to mention Watch Dogs was also meant to come out this year. While the Elder Scrolls IP will surely add to the sales of ESO, keep in mind that MMOs don’t generally do as well as other games. I mean, GTA V has already sold 29 million copies, and GW2, which claims to be the fastest selling MMO in history, sold 3 million copies in 9 months. Don’t get me wrong, I hope the game does well, but I don’t expect it to be named “game of the year” by anyone else than sites/publications focused specifically on MMOs, no matter when it comes out.

Shadanwolf says:

I was very upset that the game did not launch this year.I feel in a way that PC users have been forced to wait till the console portion of the game was finished .
That said the game will be ready when Matt F. thinks its ready and I’m fine with that.

Anony says:

Trust me, the game is not even ready for release NOW. If it was released all those months ago, it would of been a completely broken game. It isnt the consoles fault, they simply needed more time.

Jack says:

I am totally OK and even commend ZOS for delaying ESO. It’s WAY better to launch late but with a fully-polished game that’s the best it can possibly be.

Xen0 says:

It’s an OK move in my opinion. Does anyone else remember the bugs in all of the latest TES games, Morrowind, Oblivion and Skyrim, and those were only sandbox games. I think its a good move to make sure the game is at least functional enough to launch and justify the subscription fee.

Jeremy says:

When they announced it would be on consoles people assumed that was the only reason why they pushed the release date back. It’s not… At one of the events, around two developers said there were other reasons why the date was pushed back. The reasons weren’t specifically identified, but they went out of their way to say it wasn’t solely because of consoles. Wish I could provide a link, but I can’t remember the video as it was a long time ago.

thatguy says:

As someone who has played a lot of MMO’s I would prefer an earlier release with a big patch 1-2 months after to polish up anything that’s incomplete or needs fine tuning.

Jeff Peck says:

I think that you should NEVER launch a game until you feel that it is ready. I’ve seen too many buggy fiascoes over the years. I am sad that it’s going subscription though, you should learn from the example of Guild Wars.

Siqua says:

SWTOR serves as a good example of the perils of releasing too early. Better to release late than sell a Beta. If SWTOR had been released when it had the features (UI, LFG, Legacy) were added somewhere between patch 1.2 and 1.5, things might have played out very differently for Bioware.

Then again, maybe nothing would be different. I like SWTOR, but it’s flaws run so deep, and stem from bad decisions made five or more years ago, that they are completely unfixable. ZOS seems to be making much better core design decisions for ESO.

Joe says:

Personally I think Elder Scrolls will come out on top, and to me, if ANY of the games mentioned above has a chance of blotting out the glory that is ESO, it’d be the hardcore Dark Souls 2. Other than that, the only problem I foresee is the fact that players WONT buy ESO until they beaten other games that come out around the same time. Personally, I wouldn’t. Why spend 15 bucks a month for a game you won’t start playing just yet…? I get the feeling a lot of players will be putting ESO on hold for the first couple months, sad to say.

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