The Elder Scrolls Online assumes we are in a previous age
Bethesda have form for making dull, worthy intros. I often give talks based on the Design Rules for F2P Games. Rule 11 is “Kill the tutorial.” My primary example that gets it wrong is Fallout 3 (yes, I know it’s not a F2P game). I borrowed the game from a friend to see if I would enjoy it. I spent the first 45 minutes cursing the game for taking me through a dull, worthy backstory that showed me little about what I was going to get from the game, except that the designers were happy to play fast and loose with my time without showing me what the heart of the game was going to be like. That goes down as one of the least enjoyable First Time User Experiences I have had.
The criticisms of TESO suggest that its initial experience is not trying to show you why this game is worth sticking with: it assumes that you are going to stick with it. It doesn’t try to earn your love and respect. It assumes it. In the era of Free-To-Play, with boundless choice and designers setting out to demonstrate to their players why their game is awesome in the first few minutes, this approach is going to be very challenging for Zenimax.