I'm going to be honest here - I hate MMOs. I find that they are derivative experiences that largely appeal to the lowest common denominator and more often than not tarnish a brand. That's why I'm fuming today with the news that Bethesda is taking their storied Elder Scrolls franchise into the realm of MMOs.
Game Informer revealed its June cover story today and with it the announcement that about gave me a heart attack in a very, very bad way. The Elder Scrolls Online is real and it will be coming our way on PC and Mac in 2013.
The one shred of decency I have found is that the game will be developed by ZeniMax Online Studios and not Bethesda Game Studios proper. The developers claim that the game will merge the open-world exploration of the Elder Scrolls with the "scale and social aspects" of an MMO. I take that to mean that they're going to move everybody to third-person and scale down the size of the world to fit all of Tamriel into it.
At least the team seems to care about the lore of the Elder Scrolls. The game will be set a thousand years before the events of Skyrim with a plot ripped straight from Oblivion. Let's just replace Mehrunes Dagon with Molag Bal and you have the story of Elder Scrolls Online. I'm sure it will do something to set itself apart, but MMOs have proven themselves to be horrid when it comes to storytelling instead focusing on letting players dance around villages while looking for a group of like minded adventurers.
The Elder Scrolls Online development is being headed by Matt Firor, a man many in the MMO fanbase know from his work on Dark Age of Camelot. He at least tries to be comforting to an old man like myself saying that he and team are "committed to creating the best MMO ever made - and one that is worthy of The Elder Scrolls franchise." I hear you Firor, but I also heard the same thing being said by countless other directors as they took franchises into MMO mode and completely ruined them.
Game Informer will be host to a teaser trailer tomorrow. They will also be updating the site all next week with screenshots and other goodies to tease players along as we descend into the underbelly of game development.
You all might be thinking that I'm being a little harsh here. I am and I should give the guys at ZeniMax the benefit of the doubt when it comes to them transitioning one of my all time favorite franchises into the online realm. I don't like subscription fees and I don't like having to rely on others to get quests done. Moving to an MMO also greatly reduces the scope of a title from a game like Skyrim which makes you feel like a small man in a large world to every MMO that features disproportionately sized people with big heads in a world that looks as small as they are.
I'll try to reserve judgement until we see more of the game, but just know Bethesda, I'm not happy. Let's see if Twitter agrees with my sentiment or if they're too excited about dancing all over the Imperial City in their underwear to even care about the implications it holds for The Elder Scrolls proper.
Elder Scrolls Online? As much as I would like to see a multiplayer Elder Scrolls, have they learned NOTHING from Bioware and TORtanic?
Whoa did I miss a big announcement on my lunch! The Elder Scrolls Online......oh man I'm screwed! I better save some vacation time.
I'm very worried Elder Scrolls Online is going to be another WoW clone, like The Old Republic is. If they innovate, I'll support it 100%
Elder Scrolls Online: Better say my goodbyes to everyone I know because they won't be seeing me after this is released.
"In The Elder Scrolls Online, we're going to take the experiences you love in RPGs like Skyrim and ruin it by adding idiots and assholes."
Elder Scrolls Online? Now you can wander grey/brown landscapes w/ minimal quests with the added value of getting griefed.
Dear game companies, stop turning your great titles into shitty MMOs. I mean Elder Scrolls MMO? Really?
With KOTOR and Elder Scrolls both going MMO that pretty much means the only decent WRPGs left are ones developed by Japanese companies.
An Elder Scrolls MMO? Oh, don't worry, they're certainly not serious.That would be like making a Myst MMO! Wait. Uh... uh-oh.
Reactions to Elder Scrolls MMO - Me: Awesome. My Wife: packing my bags.