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Default ES4: Oblivion - Retrospective @ TVG

January 6th, 2008, 00:45
Remember Oblivion? Just in case you don't, TVG has kicked up a retrospective called - wait for it - "Hines-sight":
With over 3 million sales to date for Oblivion the series' future certainly seems bright, yet underneath such success lies the backlash from an original hardcore fanbase who perceived the fourth chapter as being one-step too far in terms of accessibility and mainstream appeal. It's an opinion that Bethesda seems to acknowledge, yet the company's ambition to continue expanding its audience appears to be the prime motivator.

"Ultimately it has to please that core audience or it won't please anybody," claims Peter Hines Bethesda Softworks Vice President of PR and Marketing before adding, "for the most part it can be tough to point your finger at one person, or one group, and say 'this game is for them…they have to like it.'"
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January 6th, 2008, 00:45
yet underneath such success lies the backlash from an original hardcore fanbase who perceived the fourth chapter as being one-step too far in terms of accessibility and mainstream appeal.
Have they forgotten the larger backlash that perceived exactly the same thing from Morrowind? The original Elder Scrolls fanbase are rather pleased that Oblivion returns back to the things that made Daggerfall such a great ES game. It's the new Morrowind crowd that don't like Oblivion
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January 6th, 2008, 01:52
Huh? What Daggerfall features did Oblivion bring back?

How anyone could find it a good idea to base a retrospective article about a still "hot" game on a number of recycled (or merely repeated) quotes from a PR rep is beyond me.
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January 6th, 2008, 02:23
Originally Posted by kalniel View Post
Have they forgotten the larger backlash that perceived exactly the same thing from Morrowind? The original Elder Scrolls fanbase are rather pleased that Oblivion returns back to the things that made Daggerfall such a great ES game. It's the new Morrowind crowd that don't like Oblivion
No, can't say I had that impression.
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January 6th, 2008, 02:53
Originally Posted by kalniel View Post
Have they forgotten the larger backlash that perceived exactly the same thing from Morrowind? The original Elder Scrolls fanbase are rather pleased that Oblivion returns back to the things that made Daggerfall such a great ES game. It's the new Morrowind crowd that don't like Oblivion
I am aware of the backlash from the ES I/II fanbase towards Morrowind but, let's be honest, the numbers are really small, there simply aren't that many ES I/II fans compared to Morrowind.

Morrowind and Oblivion, on the other hand, I would guestimate to have sold roughly the same numbers (4-5 million), and thus a backlash of the Morrowind fanbase towards Oblivion is more significant, numerically.

I never heard of any ES I/II fan being pleased with Oblivion.
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January 6th, 2008, 04:26
I'm not switched in to the ES fanbase but I've never seen any support for Oblivion from DF lovers.

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January 6th, 2008, 04:34
I am beginning to think bethseda can't admit to mistakes because of legal reasons, I have never seen devs with such a case of denial and that's the only other thing I can think of, unless it's drug related.

Trust me, most of the names I have been called you can't translate in any language…they're not even real words as much as a succession of violent images.
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January 6th, 2008, 04:47
Originally Posted by Acleacius View Post
I am beginning to think bethseda can't admit to mistakes because of legal reasons, I have never seen devs with such a case of denial and that's the only other thing I can think of, unless it's drug related.

What amazes me more than anything is that Bethesda never attempted to change anything to please more fans, even though they must have realized they were alienating thousands of people with their moronic decision to use a scaled leveling system.

If they had any brains they would have included an option to turn off the level scaling.
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January 6th, 2008, 05:07
Exactly and they have acknowledged the problem with the PC GUI, based on giant console icons and letters, yet haven't done a damn thing about it which sort of makes them grossly irresponsible or incompetent. Yet they where able to make a good game with lots of potential and bad designs decisions.

So why take all this flak about their game instead of fixing it, if not drugs, ego then legal and is it possible their contract with m$ said both games have to be identical or becasue they advertised them as identical they could be sued?

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January 6th, 2008, 05:23
Originally Posted by Acleacius View Post
is it possible their contract with m$ said both games have to be identical or becasue they advertised them as identical they could be sued?
No, not really.

As for the whole "ego or whatever" thing…hey, their games do sell, and I somehow suspect that'd be the only kind of criticism they're really susceptible to: slowing sales. They are indeed pretty insular to criticism and seem to believe their own hype, though that might just be their outward, "confident" face.
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January 6th, 2008, 05:52
Originally Posted by Dhruin View Post
I'm not switched in to the ES fanbase but I've never seen any support for Oblivion from DF lovers.
Well, speaking as one of the DF fans who hotly anticipated the Morrowind release but was quite dissapointed, there were some things to be happy about. The return of a fast-travel system, for instance.

However, on the whole I'd have to agree. Oblivion continued a downward trend far, far more than it corrected Morrowind design decisions I was unhappy with. Put it this way - I pre-orded both Morrowind and Oblivion, but I won't be doing the same for TES:V.
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January 6th, 2008, 06:07
yet underneath such success lies the backlash from an original hardcore fanbase who perceived the fourth chapter as being one-step too far in terms of accessibility and mainstream appeal.
This paragraph is pure geek fashionista politick, in it's thinly veiled allusion to Oblivion's lamented scaling mechanics, where credulity fails to recognize it's prevalence in earlier TES games(but which has since been remedied in Oblivion, even if only through the investment of a community whose ingenuity and enthusiasm is culled in no small part from the maligned dimensions of it's appeal - a community fostered through an open provision for their participation).

As for Morrowind, at least Cyrodiil didn't evoke so much of Tatooine in it's artistic rendering(which is a good thing, as there are more appropriate games for indulging Lucas' peurile mythos).

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Default Oblivion shortcomings…

January 6th, 2008, 18:32
Not even addressing Oblivion's "gameplay," I was really saddened by the following situations in Oblivion:

1). Lack of farms - Really, this is a no-brainer. There is some farming going on but nowhere near the amount to keep a population of that size alive for any long period of time. There's no mention of importing food on a grand scale, either. In real medieval times, any sizable town would have been surrounded by acres of nothing but farmland.

2). Lack of usable roads - This is inexcusable. Was the landscape generated by 12-year old boys distracted by old issues of Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Edition magazines? There are some roads that far exceed a 100% gradient; How are some of these towns (Bruma, Skingrad, Cheydinhal) getting their supplies?! Anvil has a port but then the only available road has a steep climb to get out of it! Lleyawiin is right on the coast, like Anvil, but there is no port!

3). Outhouses (or lack thereof) - Apparently, chamberpots must be all the rage in Cyrodiil…

4). Mirrors (or lack thereof) - Apparently, the wealthy must all be vampires…

5). Energy Consumption - No active logging operations, no active mining operations, no windmills, no active drilling operations, no active whaling operations… Oh, that's right, everything is heated with 'magic.' I forgot.

6). Clothes - Must be expensive. No looms of any kind that I've seen, meaning everything is imported.

*sigh* I could continue but what would be the point?

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January 7th, 2008, 00:57
Originally Posted by JDR13 View Post
What amazes me more than anything is that Bethesda never attempted to change anything to please more fans, even though they must have realized they were alienating thousands of people with their moronic decision to use a scaled leveling system.
Exactly. I remember Ken Rolson piping in on their official forums after he retired from Bethesda. He said he regretted their not having used more game testers and that they would surely have balanced the game differently if they'd known better. So why didn't they patch it after it became obvious to everyone?

I don't think fans hate Oblivion as much as they're disgusted with Bethesda.

Oh, I wish I had a river I could skate away on. But it don't snow here. It stays pretty green. I'm going to make a lot of money, then I'm going to quit this crazy scene. — [Joni Mitchell]
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January 7th, 2008, 09:47
Originally Posted by KazikluBey View Post
Huh? What Daggerfall features did Oblivion bring back?
The random dungeon generation algorithm that combines blocks of dungeon into a whole, but that's about it
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January 7th, 2008, 09:55
Originally Posted by Zaleukos View Post
The random dungeon generation algorithm that combines blocks of dungeon into a whole, but that's about it
there is no such thing in Oblivion. Dungeons are hand made (from premade building blocks) just as in Morrowind.
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January 7th, 2008, 10:19
Ok, I assumed that they were generated like most of the outdoor landscape. Regardless I did get the same deja vu feeling in most of the Oblivion dungeons as in DF

EDIT: Then I cant think of anything in Oblivion that even felt like DF. Well, maybe the random content of dungeons and bandits dropping daedric at high levels, but that's it. Things like fast travel and NPC schedules are different (and better) in Oblivion IMHO.
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January 7th, 2008, 12:19
Certainly the enemies are generated based on level as loot, but it's been so long since I played DF I couldn't guess if they did or didn't do it then.

Trust me, most of the names I have been called you can't translate in any language…they're not even real words as much as a succession of violent images.
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January 7th, 2008, 12:34
DF:s human enemies have level-dependent equipment, as do the shops. The level scaling is as obvious as in Oblivion. At high levels you'll face either humans with assorted daedric, liches, or vampires in every dungeon Except for the humans it is scaling by changing monster type rather than by adjusting monster stats though, so a vampire or whatever will have the same stats when you are level 10 as when you are level 20. In a way it is the same system as Morrowind had, except for that there werent any area based monster level caps and the human enemies dont have fixed loot.
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January 7th, 2008, 17:55
I liked the direction Bethesda took with Oblivion's towns. They were an evolution of the towns in Arena and Daggerfall. Morrowind's towns, though they were creative, weren't an improvement. They were still big and mostly empty. Worse, I never felt at home in any of them the way I did in the previous games. Unfortunately, Oblivion's turned out small and still felt mostly empty. But they were laid out a lot better, and that was the right idea, IMO.

It was also a return to the concept of going out adventuring and coming back home. That's how it was in both Arena and Daggerfall. Towns in Morrowind were more challenging, somehow. I didn't really like many of them, so I didn't like that, either.

The level scaling was nothing more than a fix for Morrowind's fatal flaw: It was so imbalanced that you reached the point of being invincible much too quickly. But as we all know, the solution turned out worse than the problem.

IMO, we would all be speaking differently about Oblivion if Bethesda had supported it appropriately. They should have patched it — a lot.

Oh, I wish I had a river I could skate away on. But it don't snow here. It stays pretty green. I'm going to make a lot of money, then I'm going to quit this crazy scene. — [Joni Mitchell]
Last edited by Squeek; January 7th, 2008 at 21:00. Reason: edited to make sense (I'm getting old)
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