In a press release today, ReedPOP and Penny Arcade announced the introduction of PAX South. The first annual PAX South will take place in San Antonio, TX from January 23-25, 2015. This will now expand their event calendar to include Seattle, Boston, San Antonio, and Melbourne, Australia.
Regarding the addition of a new event, the release reads:
The new show will build on the foundation of the PAX format giving fans a healthy mix of the latest and greatest in video games, tabletop games, game inspired music, competitive gameplay, and insight from leaders in the world of gaming.
Lance Fensterman, Global Vice President of ReedPOP, was very excited to bring this new event to their calendar:
The love of gaming in all its many forms, whether that be on a TV, a computer, a phone, or even a tabletop, is hitting an all-time high. PAX gives gaming fans one place to get a glimpse of emerging trends and does it in a truly fun and interactive way.
No doubt, this is exciting news, as it provides another event for gamers in the Southern United States to attend without having to travel to either coast. It seems that PAX South was an inevitability, as described by Robert Khoo, Penny Arcade President:
Since its launch in 2004, PAX events have doubled in size almost every year, and our Seattle and Boston events represent the two largest gaming festivals in North America. We’ve been hearing for years that those in the south had a tough time making it to the northern corners of the country; PAX South has always been a matter of ‘when’ rather than ‘if.’
This is most definitely exciting news. The industry can never have too many expos, as they not only provide gamers to get closer to the industry, but more importantly, allow the developers and industry insiders to get closer to the gamers. PAX South is sure to be a popular and successful event.
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~
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
A lull in the news will not stave us off! We offer discussions on the character creation video and the new “Ask Us Anything” #9, plus your emails, our mod challenge of the week and Lou covers “The Monomyth” in The Elder Scroll
Episode 87: Character Creation?
The First episode of The ESO Alliance, starring Elder Scrolls Off the Record, ShoddyCast and Tamriel Foundry! This month we welcome guest speaker Force, of Force Strategy Gaming! We discuss this month’s recent topics such as an interview with Nick Konkle about Guild Shops as well as newly released information like the Veteran Point System and debunk common misconceptions about Elder Scrolls Online. Enjoy our pilot show!
The ESO Alliance w/ Force!
In this episode, we welcome Kyle from ShoddyCast! He sits down with us to chat about ShoddyCast’s latest interview with Nick “The Konk” Konkle. Also, we go through the latest headlines of the week including a recent AMA Variety Pack and a new Dev Question of the Week. Lou presents “The Monomyth Part 1” in The Elder Scroll and your emails!
Episode 86: The Konk
This week we feature interivews from both Nick Konkle and Maria Aliprondo, plus a lore based Ask Us Anything, a new mod challenge of the week, your emails and lou presents “Necromancy: Corpse Preparation” in his weekly lore segment, The Elder Scroll This is awesome, with a capital “A”
Episode 84: Traveling Merchant
This week we welcome Bethesda’s Global Community Lead, Matt Grandstaff to the show and ask him some questions about The Elder Scrolls Anthology release. Also, two dev questions of the week from Elder Scrolls Online, your emails, this week’s mod challenge and Lou presents part two of “Necromancy” in The Elder Scroll. You’re one click away from podcast awesomeness!
Episode 83: Gstaff Part 2
This week we discuss the Ask Us Anything: Variety Pack 7. Major headlines include: TES Anthology Now on Sale and TES wins Gamespots Greatest Game Series of the Decade vote. Lou presents the history of necromancy in “The Elder Scroll” plus, your emails and our our Crafting Table Challenge of the week!
Episode 82: Pvping in Cyrodill