The Elder Scrolls Online – MMO Déjà vu?

ESO 01

Yesterday it was announced that Bethesda and ZeniMax were offering beta signups for The Elder Scrolls Online via the official website. The press release was accompanied by a six minute cinematic video that blends CGI with live action (and not any in-game footage). ESO is one of  the last premium MMO titles in development and the franchise has a strong and established fan base. However for the game to be truly successful it will need to attract more that core fans, who may not be so familiar with the intellectual property. This means that the MMO will have to offer something new or refine existing game mechanics and present them in a innovative manner. In 2013 that is a big ask.

I fall into the latter category, knowing precious little about the world of Tamriel. However, I have a track record of purchasing and trying new premium MMOs, so I would assume a customer such as I would feature among the developers target demographics. Unfortunately, the six minute promotional video from yesterday left me cold, being totally derivative in aesthetics and presentation. However, as it doesn’t contain any in-game footage perhaps we should not put too much stock in it. It is a simple marketing tool. So after some digging around on You Tube I found a video that contains some more pertinent material.

Unfortunately, I still see precious little abot ESO that infers any sort of game that redefines the genre. You may argue that that is not the developers intent. If that is the case, then I see precious little that makes me think they are doing anything other than providing a generic MMO beneath the veneer of their IP. Simply put, same meat, different gravy. Is that sufficient for today gamers? It may be worthwhile to consider how well last years big titles are fairing at present. SWTOR, Guild Wars 2 and The Secret World. Now some people may accuse me of being excessively negative. Am I really? I think not. Unless you think desiring some creativity and tangible difference of my game titles is unreasonable.

7 thoughts on “The Elder Scrolls Online – MMO Déjà vu?

  1. Brian says:

    Sometimes gravy tastes excellent. Other times it is a fetid mass of lumpy bile not fit for my dog. I predict ESO will fall somewhere between the two extremes.

  2. Roger Edwards says:

    Are fans alone sufficient to keep this title financially viable? I think not. They need to attract that casual player who flits from MMO to MMO. Then they need to retain them. I see nothing exceptional about ESO. Does this mean that after the ubiquitous hype and launch day traffic spike, the title quickly declines?

  3. Brian says:

    Can’t speak for others, but I’ll enjoy the heck out of it for at least a week.

  4. Indy says:

    Maybe their console versions sold well enough that they have the fan base necessary to support an MMO? Personally, I’m not really interested in this title, especially if it launches with a subscription (which I suspect they will, even though it’s probably a bad idea at this point).

  5. Roger Edwards says:

    Yes, the possibility of a subscription would be a major disincentive for many.

  6. roselindea says:

    I have to agree with roger — that cinematic left me completely cold.

    You could say:

    that trailer is for GW2.
    Or that trailer is for Everquest Next.
    Or that trailer is for here…
    and it would be completely applicable.

    What it certainly does NOT say is: Elder Scrolls. As one who discovered Tamriel through Skyrim, I was somewhat interested in ESO. Skyrim hit all the right notes — and in a way i was not expecting. open world exploration, sandbox, fun gameplay and world. IF they can capture some of that magic for Elder Scrolls Online, then perhaps…but …not so much

  7. Flatfoot says:

    Generic though well crafted muder-death-kill fantasy trailer followed by generic “This MMO will be tha most awesomest you´ve ever seen!” promises.

    And word is the truly unique Elder Scrolls skill based system is replaced with a more generic class based one. Beta will hopefully clarify this.

    Nothing that could really pull me away from GW2 or even LotRO(when I need my Tolkien fix).

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