Updated Wed, May 30, 2012 by Shayalyn
Since Arena in 1994, Bethesda has done something very few manufacturers can claim. They’ve released a series of five games with four (soon to be five) expansions, two spin-offs, and four java phone apps. And you won’t hear their fans complaining about rushed and incomplete content like you often do with other companies that have attempted similar feats. The Elder Scrolls games have become the definitive collection for immersive role-playing games. Now The Elder Scrolls will be taking another leap by becoming an MMO thanks to ZeniMax Online Studios.
Adrift in a sea of sub-par peers, it’s hard not to wonder about the fate of this honorable Elder. Has Bethesda thoroughly vetted their choice of developer? How will the massive open world sandbox translate to MMO format? Failure on any level would be an arrow in the knee to fans of the beloved franchise. (“I used to be an MMO gamer like you, but then...” Aw, never mind.) Is The Elder Scrolls Online cause for rejoicing or trepidation? Here’s my take.
I’ve been a fan of the Elder Scrolls for years. Arena was fun, but I’d be lying if I didn’t admit that the Daggerfall’s pixilated nudity didn’t hook a teenaged Rico pretty quickly. It seems like Bethesda has always known what the fans needed and delivered it, whether the need was for a little late night thievery or creating just the right spell for depopulating small villages. The Elder Scrolls has always meant complexity, depth, and freedom. I think there are reasons to expect the same from the coming MMO.
From the early days of the Elder Scrolls series to now, there have been a number of changes in the industry resulting in far too many sub-standard games and dissatisfied gamers. Where many of their competitors caved too early and rushed releases, pushed 0-day downloadable content, and dumbed down their mechanics in order to be more approachable, the Elder Scrolls games have adhered to the highest of standards, releasing solid and complete games, not to mention expansions worthy of the term. This devotion to quality has served them well for approaching two decades, so there’s little chance of them changing it now.
DAoC produced one of the best PvP systems seen to this day, and a similar system will be in use for The Elder Scrolls Online.
The choice of ZeniMax Online Studios as the developer for the new game was a wise decision. Matt Firor founded the company after eleven years at Mythic Entertainment where he worked as a producer for Dark Age of Camelot. DAoC produced one of the best PvP systems seen in MMOs to this day, and Firor has revealed that a similar system will be in use for The Elder Scrolls Online. This system will be composed of three different alliances, engaging each other in persistent PvP or, more appropriately, Realm vs. Realm. This type of PvP has proven to be very dynamic and has demonstrated a great deal of sustainability in DAoC, keeping the game competitive in the market long after many others would have failed.