With recent high-profile MMORPG releases like BioWare’s Star Wars: The Old Republic and Funcom’s The Secret World not proving as popular expected, it’s understandable that Matt would want to distance his game from a genre which for all intents and purposes is stagnating. However further questioning suggested that it isn’t the genre Firore has a problem with, it’s the MMO label itself.
“[The term] MMO is getting kind of tired because it’s ‘Massively Multiplayer Online’, but you know World of Tanks is massively multiplayer online but it is not what you would think of, like Everquest. It’s just an unwieldy term now and it means so many things and it means different things to different people.”
A developer arguing about which genre their game belongs may seem needlessly fussy, but it speaks volumes about ZeniMax Online’s and Bethesda’s intentions to position The Elders Scrolls Online as more than just a multiplayer offshoot in the legendary single-player RPG series. They want this release to be as relevant and popular as Skyrim, and they’re ensuring that by adopting a familiar dialogue system, long and inventive faction questlines, and combat which boasts all of the Elder Scrolls tropes.
The recent announcement that The Elder Scrolls Online is coming to Xbox One and PlayStation 4 also adds more credence to the opinion that ZeniMax are aiming their game at more than just traditional MMORPG players, and they’re making sure they have the gameplay to back up their ‘all things to all people‘ rhetoric.
The combat feels a little rough and old fashioned, but not at all out of place in the universe. There’s quick and hard attacks, as well as blocking, which will allow some effective Elder Scrolls-style combos. If you time it right and get a good block, you’ll stun your target, giving you time to launch a ‘hard’ attack. Pow!
Don’t write this one off as just another MMORPG. Give Elder Scrolls Online the benefit of the doubt, especially if you’re a fan of the franchise. ESO, putting the RPG back into MMORPG.
One thing I noticed poking around the menus was a menu that said "Mods". Opening it up didn't show any mods installed, but there were buttons that seem to let you enable or disable mods for specific characters. Hopefully this means ESO will have mod support as robust as the single-player franchise. Fingers crossed - I think that kind of functionality would increase the game's popularity with fans sevenfold.
Back to the quest at hand. Speaking to the townsfolk, I uncovered a plot to assassinate the King and hopefully foiled it. Along the way, I picked up a sidequest to help a farmer get his pig back, and I was pretty sure this was a typical MMO garbage task. I found the pig by a large unnatural root, and after consulting the local Mage's Guild about it, I realized it was actually connected to the assassination plot. It was cool that even the seemingly meaningless sidequests informed the major push of the story being told.
Throughout the whole quest line, I might have fought only a handful of enemies. I'm impressed the Elder Scrolls team was able to show off a quest series that proved storytelling in MMOs doesn't have to revolve around killing X amount of dudes.