There have been rumours of an Elder Scrolls MMO flying around for some time now. Rumours that have been met with equal amounts of cynicism and curiosity. Well, these rumours have now been confirmed. The Elder Scrolls Online is being developed by Zenimax Online Studios and is to be released in 2013 sometime, though I suspect this to be towards the end of 2013.
The Elder Scrolls Online is set a millennium before the events of Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, a time when the evil Daedric Prince Molag Bal tries to suck all of Tamriel into some demonic world.
Early reports show that all the races you’re familiar with, are in The Elder Scrolls Online, Orcs, Khajiit, Dark Elves, Nords etc. plus, rather than the standard two faction approach, Elder Scrolls Online has three factions represented by a bird of prey, a dragon and a lion.
The three factions are:
The Ebonheart Pact – a coalition of Nord, Argonians and Dark Elves who have banded together to be able to defend their homeland.
The Daggerfall Covenant – made of Orcs, Bretons and the Redguard, seeks to dominate the trade routes.
The Aldmeri Dominion – made up from Wood Elves, the Bosmer and the Khajiit blame the races of man for the worlds troubles and believe they would be better off in charge.
‘GameInformer’ got an interview with Paul Sage, The Elder Scrolls Online Creative Director. You can watch the interview here. In the rather lengthy 20 minute interview, Paul discusses just some of the things that you can expect to see in this MMO.
In fact his one sentence sales pitch for the game is
“You absolutely get the same experience of the world with the distracting based game-play where you get to really control your own destiny in how you experience the game; you get to decide where you want to go and how you change the world.”
So what else can we expect to see?
An entire zone dedicated to the Daedric Prince of Nightmares, Vaermina.
Private and public dungeons
Solo storylines (obviously)
Larger guild based storylines
PvP, with victorys and defeats having repercussions across the land.
OK, the list there isn’t really standing out from any other MMO apart from the Prince of Nightmares thing, but you would be hard pressed to make an MMO without including those things. Anyone expecting the same level of non-linear gameplay in the Elder Scrolls Online that they had in Skyrim are deluding themselves, but that doesn’t necessarily mean it is going to be a bad game.
Despite the popularity of Skyrim, I suspect that the land and lore may by the only things linking the Elder Scrolls Online to its single-player counterpart. Despite how flexible the gameplay may look on the outside, it will still have to be governed by a very rigid set of MMO rules. It’s very unlikely that modding will be allowed and if it is, I suspect we will be talking about superficial aesthetic changes only. If this game is to succeed then it cannot rely on Elder Scrolls players alone it will need to try to cater for all players, especially if there is no Free-to-play option. Paying subscribers tend to be far less lenient in the game-play experience they expect.
I’m not being negative about The Elder Scrolls Online, far from it I’m quite excited. I think we just have to be realistic about the type of game that is going to be released, and that it may not be entirely recognisable as an Elder scrolls rpg. I’ll keep you posted, but in the meantime watch the interview, there are some interesting concepts in there and he does seem genuinely enthusiastic.
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Jim Franklin is a freelance writer, living in Derby UK with his wife and his player 3. When time allows he likes nothing more than losing himself in a multi-hour gaming session. He likes most games and will play anything but prefers MMO's, and sandbox RPG's.