The Elder Scrolls Online: The Reveal

I’ve had a mostly pessimistic attitude to The Elder Scrolls Online. From what I’ve seen on Twitter, media sites, and blogs the obvious opinion of the title is mixed. Most of the bloggers I’ve followed are largely optimistic of the title but I’m concerned that the trending opinion of “not every MMO can please every gamer” is a cheap cop out. In my mind, every game deserves a certain level of criticism. Its not a bad thing, as our hopes as bloggers are that someone reads it and improves upon the shortcomings. Not making the argument, however, is akin to complaining about politicians but never casting a vote for one.

Its of my opinion (more so now then having played in the beta weekends) that TESO has both failed to be a viable Skyrim sequel, and simultaneously sacrificed its MMO integrity just so it could fit into a neat console-playable form.

I found a few relevant quotes on Rerolled that puts into perspective whats been going on inside the games development. I am not sure of the credentials behind the individuals, but they paint a strikingly different picture then the ones being put forth by the media. The relevant quotes are posted below;

I’ll answer you what I know, cause I’m a glutton for punishment I guess: Because there is only one giant server, they have to break Cyrodiil up into many PERSISTENT instances. Every time you go to Cyrodiil, it will be the same instance with the same enemies and allies. You can change what instance you are assigned to, but it will be costly and timered.

Each instance will have campaigns that keep track of winners and losers and crown an emperor at the end. Then the campaign resets, but the instance does NOT. Keeps retain ownership and people in the instance stay the same.

Really, Cyrodiil instances are more like virtual servers than what you imagine based on instances from other games.

I can say, from experience, that it is nothing like FPS PVP (“consolized pvp”.)

and in reply;

A persistent INSTANCE!? No. It isn’t. Another lie. It is a tug of war match which goes on for a few weeks. However, in those few weeks you can switch to whatever fucking instance of RvR you want to! Losing? Just switch to Cyrodil (34). Battle too lopsided? Switch to Cyrodil (23). Want to play with some friends stuck on another server? Switch to Cyrodil (22). Got stuck fighting against goons? Wait that won’t happen they are too smart to purchase this game. But how would you know? Of that’s right… NONE OF IT IS BEING TESTED. And Brian Wheeler is being starved for assets so Paul Sage can pass over the 1-10 area for the 50th time due to complete incompetence. 

Persistent instances. Now I have fucking heard it all. 

And yes BW, it is EXACTLY like consolized PvP, just on a longer scale (2 weeks instead of a match) but still, zero impact on the server, the world, absolutely no reason to fight the war other than leveling your PvP inherent talent traits, which are balanced out to make sure newbies can still fight the veterans – which makes those fucking useless as well. At least RvR in DAOC gave inherent rewards for the ENTIRE SERVER – Which inherently, * WAS * the sole world, which had persistence because it was static. 

Jesus man how do you sleep at night knowing you are absolutely full of shit to the people here that want to simply learn the fucking truth about what’s under the hood?

and worse yet;

There will be multiple instances of Cyrodiil. We are going to work with a campaign system where the same players play in an instance of Cyrodiil until certain marks are met by one faction. Dailies are here for a lot of the PvE players. Unfortunately, this is one of our only end game components for PvE. Other than that you are correct, all we have are heroic dungeon runs. Adventure zones won’t make launch.

You can change between campaigns for an ingame PvP currency fee (internal testing), we are also weighing the option of allowing someone to join someone on their friends list for a day without a fee, but they will be sent back to their own instance of Cyrodill after playing. Either way, this doesn’t do much for either player other than they can be together in the same instance for a time. And really, there is no reason to even play this content other than a dick-wave. Nothing that happens in Cyrodil will have any impact on the player’s home PvE base. Completely separate worlds, and it makes the entire experience feel fake. We have brought this up many times, but without any budgeting going to our area, we have no choice but to shoe-horn in what we can to ship this thing out in April.

With that said, you can have multiple campaigns running at the same time so you will be able to hop between them all. This is the only end game content that will be in the game. Most assets are tied up polishing 1-20, as we are so far behind. And we all know where those assets are going and why we are behind to begin with. Where is Rich Lamberts promotion when you need it? Paul Sage is incompetent. And it is holding back assets from the rest of the game. We are having major issues with animation/UI control/links and responsiveness, ability tail off and bloat with trait design… As of right now this is probably the worst project I have ever been on in my ** years in the industry.

So what does this back and forth on Rerolled indicate to me? My own experiences aside;

  • Like recent MMO launches (Guild Wars 2 primarily); the end game for TESO is seemingly its PVP Faction vs Faction vs Faction combat system.
  • End game, clearly, is an afterthought (SWTOR anyone?).
  • The PVP system is an add-on; it has no meaningful impact on the game world, and is in a sense a Call of Duty deathmatch approach very much like a Themepark for PvP’ers
  • If your “instance” is losing, you can switch. Guild Wars 2 suffered through something very similar with server transfers being an easy escape to the winning team.
  • The last sentence of the 2nd reply detailed what I knew to be true, all efforts are going into polishing the levels 1-10 experience because media reviewers rarely play long enough for an article to get farther then that.
  • If all resources are indeed going to the levels 1-10 experience, that speaks poorly about the polish that the vast majority of gamers will experience after week one.
  • 5 skills at a time, seems arbitrary to me, then I remembered they are launching on consoles. The game has 5 skills because thats a perfect amount to have and still be playable on a console.

Basically this game is coming down to a watered-down single player experience. I can say this because their is no doubt in my mind that Zenimax could have made Skyrim 2 and it would have been the best RPG of 2014. We are not getting the best RPG of the year in TESO (Witcher 3 will take that throne easily).

Their is no end game content, nor reason to group with anyone beyond a handful of heroic dungeons. The PVP system is likely to keep some people entertained, but only till they come to the realization that it is meaningless and pointless to participate in (beyond the CoD deathmatch thrill). There are seemingly little if any reasons to justify the “Massively” component to this game.

Are you willing to pay $15 for the next 12 months for this? I’m not.

#teso #pvp #goingtofail


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