So Bethsoft has finally confirmed the Elder Scrolls MMO (The Elder Scrolls Online) for a 2013 release.
Obviously this is just a teaser trailer and the single screenshot that’s been released so far doesn’t give very much of a clue as to what the game will be like, but now I have no choice but to think about this game an awful lot.
So, what are my thoughts so far? First off, I’m a little unsure exactly how to feel about a TES MMO…. on the one hand, it’s the Elder Scrolls, so I’m very excited, but on the other hand, it’s an MMO.
I’ve never been a fan of the MMO approach to games (especially the idea of subscription fees), but that said, subscription-based MMOs seem to be starting to lose ground to the free-to-play model nowadays, so I’m still hopeful that Bethesda will go down that road.
My other major concern is for the combat systems. The Elder Scrolls’ strong point is probably not its combat, but we have seen great steps forward in that area from the honestly atrocious combat of Morrowind, to the fairly good system in Skyrim. There is still a long way to go and I think therein lies the problem. MMOs are most certainly not known for having very good combat systems (though there has been a trend towards better ones lately) and it would be awful to see the Elder Scrolls series take a step backwards into the kind of systems we see in WoW and similar games.
Finally, one of the greatest things about Bethsoft games (or, at least, Morrowind, Oblivion, Fallout and Skyrim) is their mod-ability and the brilliant mod community that engenders. It’s hard to see any way for that mod-ability to still exist in an MMO, or at least, for it to not be severely crippled.
So there it is. TES Online could be the best thing since sliced bread… but equally, it could be just another bland MMO which may even distract Zenimax/Bethsoft from the next real Elder Scrolls (or possibly Fallout) game. Time will tell.
– Ben xoxo