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The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim

Todd Howard praises "passion and dedication" of Zenimax Online as Elder Scrolls hits third decade

The Elder Scrolls: Arena was originally intended to be just that, but broke out of its stadium borders.

In their first 10 years making the Elder Scrolls series, Bethesda built a name for themselves - and in the 10 since, a major publisher has grown around them. But all the while, a central team has quietly assembled intricate webs of systems and clifftop panoramas.

Like their flagship series, Todd Howard has been at Bethesda for two decades now. Looking back, he’s proud of the fact that the team have “always started over” when approaching a new Elder Scrolls game - and is pleased sister studio Zenimax have done the same for The Elder Scrolls Online.

“One thing that has kept the series vibrant for so long is that as opposed to simply adding to the previous game for a sequel, we always started over,” said Howard on the Bethesda Blog. “It was our desire that each game be its own thing; had its own tone, its own soul.”

Technology and the desires of Bethesda’s team have changed over the years, said Howard, but their core goal has survived - “to create a game that transported you to another place”. 

Over 20 years, Bethesda have sought to make “a game that fueled you with the ideal of endless possibilities”, and within it “a world you could make your own”.

Of course, the Elder Scrolls no longer belongs to Howard’s studio alone. He took the opportunity to point out that The Elder Scrolls is “ready to head in a new direction - online”.

“The great folks at ZeniMax Online have brought the same passion and dedication to that game that we brought to ours,” he said. “And like the other titles, it will be its own thing.

“We hope you give them the same support and feedback you’ve given us for so long.”

I’ve spent tens of hours with The Elder Scrolls Online; not hundreds; not years. But at the present time, I’m not sure it’s so worthy of our support as the immense simulated worlds Howard and his team have perfected - much as I’d genuinely love to love it. What do you lot reckon?

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TenClub's picture
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I'm a big fan of the game so I'm just going to give my 2 cents here on what I think of the game and some of the backlash against it. Feel free to disagree! =)

I feel that a lot of the negative feedback comes from the fact that the game is being compared to its single player counterpart and that should not be the case. This is not a sequel to the base Elder Scrolls series and it should be compared to other MMO games.

You are never going to get the same freedom, randomness, and interaction in an MMO game as you get from a SP RPG like Elder Scrolls. There are not only technological limitations but the developers need to balance the game for thousands of people playing in the same world at once. It is not a fair comparison.

With that said the game is clearly an Elder Scrolls game. If you took away the title and just showed me the game I would honestly guess as much. The HUD, first-person view, combat, ability to pick up random objects, art, etc. is very much Elder Scrolls.

It also has some very cool features that the press have simply ignored The AI is not your typical MMO AI. It doesn't have a 360 degree aggro range and they actually have to spot you. When you start casting a lot of AoE spells they scatter instead of standing right on top of it. They also work together to use 'synergies' and combine their spells. The world itself really opens up when you get past the starter islands and get onto the mainland. Exploring reveals long and varied quest chains that are very interesting with some cool stories attached. You also find random open world dungeons that you can enter and loot/fight bosses just like in the SP games. The crafting is also very in-depth and useful. While I haven't experienced the PvP the majority seem to think that it is very, very good.

An MMO should not be judged based on its initial 1-15 leveling experience. This game really opens up beyond that and many previews and players seem to agree that it gets much better.

How many MMO games are excellent from the get go? I love FFXIV ARR and it has near universal praise but the game (especially the combat) is incredibly boring at first. I find this to be the case with many MMO games.

I feel as if this game wasn't even given a chance by many people as soon as it was announced. For Example: when it was first announced the game sounded very much like Guild Wars 2. In fact it has a lot of the same big features; such as the random events and active combat system. Yet Kotaku who at that time was full of praise for GW2 calling it a breath of fresh air in the MMO genre said that the Elder Scrolls Online looked like a poor WoW clone. Wouldnt that have made GW2 a poor WoW clone as well? Another example is all the negative press the game has received over its pricing and business model. When Wildstar announced the very same box price and sub cost no one cared.

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unwanted's picture
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I can't wait for the press release where he says how excited he is for the new possibilities of F2P.

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TenClub's picture
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I am rooting for this game. I really enjoy it and I hope it does not go F2P. I am happy to finally see games like ESO, FFXIV ARR, and Wildstar revive the Pay to Play model. I do not like the F2P and B2P models because they end up costing you more

Ever since launch GW2 has added over a dozen $10 armor skins. Do you know how many they have added to the game itself? 0 (not talking about useless back pieces but actual armor). They have also added tons of awesome looking weapon skins that are only obtainable by either RNG or paying an ungodly amount of gold. There are people who have purchased over 200 black lion keys without getting a single skin. It's a scam and I would rather pay the $15 monthly fee.

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unwanted's picture
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You say that like if GW2 was a subscription they would give you armor skins on a regular basis. I find it hard to believe that ESO will be giving you free stuff just because you are paying them every month.

Also, they're just skins. The purpose of free to play is that you enjoy the game without playing. Everything else is supposed to be extra. You could buy one skin a month and come out cheaper than paying $15 a month. No one is saying you have to buy everything as soon as it's available.

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TenClub's picture
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What MMO doesn't give you 'free' stuff for the monthly fee? I can't name a single MMO that has not added new armor and weapons. The difference is that you have to earn them in those games. Skim over the FFXIV ARR 2.2 patch notes and it feels like you are getting an expansion pack.

The armor and weapon skins were just two examples. We can take a look at something that I think is much worse. A while back they started selling infinite gathering tools which were very convenient since it saved inventory space and you didn't have to keep buying new ones.There were 3 of them @ $10 a piece and I purchased all 3 for the convenience. Some months down the line they introduce new versions that had a 20% chance to drop sprockets which otherwise would be impossible to come by unless you have that single node in your home instance. This ruined the value of sprokets and for a short time the people who purchased those tools made a lot of money. Everyone who payed for the first set of these tools felt ripped off and rightly so.

I understand that the cost comes down to the user and I shouldn't have made it sound like a fact. But why is everything that is visually appealing placed into the gem store with either a $10 price tag or forcing you to gamble with their horrible RNG system? In the end the gem store has far wider implications such as contributing to a very broken in-game economy which affects everyone.

I am not trying to say that all developers must make pay to play games. All I wanted was some variety and I am happy to finally see it thanks to FFXIV, ESO, and Wildstar.

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Sanjuaro's picture
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"I do not like the F2P and B2P models because they end up costing you more."

Really? Out of all the MMOs that I've played, ones with subscriptions have always cost me more due to the simple fact that there are monthly payments that I must keep up with. With good F2P games my only concern with not paying is that my character won't look as visually appealing as others.

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TenClub's picture
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You're right and I made it sound like a fact which was incorrect. It depends on the game and the player as well. I go more into it in my reply to 'unwanted'

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