Why Elder Scrolls won’t save MMORPGs

I had high hopes. I think everyone did as WoW gets older and less appealing, most of us yearn for an MMO we can play with our friends which feels exciting and is visually stunning. We’ve all been trained to expect bugs at launch, so things like losing your progress in an entire quest line or lag deaths don’t even bother us anymore. Which is why TESO is even more disappointing to me because I was ready to forgive the absolutely crap bugs I knew they would have at launch, as long as the story was strong and the world was amazing.

I fell in love with Skyrim and had hoped TESO would be a Skyrim I could play with my friends. Honestly, if someone would develop a Minecraft/Skyrim MMO, I’d sign over my first-born. (I’m not worrying about the whole Rumpelstiltskin thing until later – live in the moment, I say!) The intro sequence was pretty standard, too. Placeholders where images would go, it felt way too old school. Especially when today’s games feature huge cinematic events as they launch you into this amazing world of danger, excitement & scantily clad NPC babes…you know the drill. So, why was I surprised when the world look so generic, so indescribable that I actually got lost in the starting zone?

The world is a lie!
The world is a lie!

It’s not that the world is ugly or cartoon-y, it’s that it doesn’t look different than most of the MMORPGs out there. The grass, trees, sky, villages…all so standard and so, well…dull. The screenshots on the website make it look amazing, but they have clearly been edited. The real game world colors are muted and the buildings scream “Medieval/Fantasy Smithy Town“. Still, that’s not what rubbed me wrong. There are lots of reviews coming out now that the NDA has been lifted on how mediocre the game is. They go into deep detail so, I’ll spare you the drama and just point out some things that stood out as weird to me. 

  • This is an MMO people, stop playing it like its a single player game.

Okay so, when I first logged in I didn’t realize that all the other people were players. NPCs and Players didn’t really stand out enough. Of course, once I got out of the starting area I could distinguish between each group much more easily. How, you ask? Well first off, the NPCs weren’t stealing everything that wasn’t nailed down. Seriously. I get it. In Skyrim you go through every chest, drawer or dresser you can find. If you can sell it, you steal it. You need money! Being the Dragonborn is expensive business and iron ingots cost a lot. That Daedra armor isn’t going to make itself. However this is an MMO and its really hard to get into the story when you load into a new area and find that every barrel, chest, drawer and dresser has been opened. I see the word “Empty” everywhere I scan my cursor.

Once, I found a chest in the middle of the woods. I was far out, all by myself and I started to unlock it. One to raise my skill and two to learn how to lockpick. Imagine my surprise when not one, not two, but three people came by me in the span of 20 minutes to try and pick the lock of the chest I was already working on. Of course they all gave up after a few tries since I wasn’t moving and I kept spamming the interact key. Still, I swear, it felt like everyone was playing this game in single player mode. Completely oblivious to the fact that the other people weren’t NPCs. I wouldn’t be surprised if they didn’t realize I wasn’t an NPC. Player characters aren’t visually interesting enough to pay attention to clothing, hair, etc. 

G*ddam*t people, I'm not Nazeem! Stop trying to jack my sh*t!
G*ddam*t people, I’m not Nazeem! Stop trying to jack my sh*t!
  • Why should I pay attention to the skill tree? Everything is just button smashing. 

Fighting seemed, boring. I had a skill tree. I got skills. I killed things. Sometimes I did combos and I got bonus crit points or I was a sneaky cat and killed my enemies in one shot. The real problem with that strategy was that I was running around with tons of other people. There is no time to stalk your enemy when players are running around killing everything because you all have the same objective. So it just became button smashing to be the first to finish the quest.

Fun.

  • Wow, PvP End-game! So creative. Much inspired.

That’s all I have to say about this. Everyone uses PvP as end-game. If that’s all I have to look forward too is more pvp, than no thank you. Neverwinter did a good job of creating a system that allowed players to submit their own quests. So you’d have content for days! Faster than the dev team could create. It wasn’t perfect, but I’d love to see more things like that. Part of the reason why Skyrim is so awesome are the mods. An MMO can’t really have unofficial mods, but they can create a system for players to contribute to the world. Trust me, player made content is usually way more awesome than game team content. Comes out quicker and at least when they have bugs it gets fixed sooner. (hehe)

TESO isn’t bad, but it just isn’t good enough to warrant paying $60+ for the boxed copy, plus a monthly subscription of $15. At the end of the day, gamers are going to expect more. We’re tired of mediocre products. It’s time for me to put up or shut up – so I’m uninstalling TESO beta and hoping that Everquest can help save us all.