Michael Iantorno PhD Candidate, Game Designer, and Writer

The Elder Scrolls Online: It Might Not Fail

An Elder Scrolls MMORPG. How about that?

In a previous article, I made reference to a trio of qualities an MMORPG needs to possess in order to succeed: money, intellectual property, and circumstance. The Elder Scrolls Online might be able to pull off a hat trick in this regard. Zenimax Online Studios is well funded, and the company’s been handed one of the most lucrative roleplaying franchises of the past decade. The monolithic success of Skyrim and the waning popularity of World of Warcraft also leaves a comfortable niche for The Elder Scrolls Online to fill. There’s never a surefire success in the world of MMORPGs, but The Elder Scrolls Online is the safest bet I’ve seen in a while.

Well it may ultimately be a winner, I’m not particularly excited for the game. Despite my love of the roleplaying genre, I’ve never been able to sink my teeth into The Elder Scrolls series. Tamriel has always been a fundamentally flawed world to me, haunted by glass-eyed NPCs, recycled monsters, and uninteresting scenery. Although Bethesda has acquiesced the helm to a different studio this time around, I worry that these same flaws will taint the online iteration of the series.

At the very least, the developers need to reevaluate the combat system. The hallmark point-and-click fighting of the Elder Scroll series is a relic of an antiquated age. I’m frankly surprised it wasn’t completely retooled for Skyrim; slashing and spellcasting alike felt cumbersome contrasted with the sophistication of the remainder of the game.

Regardless of my nitpicking, The Elder Scrolls Online will doubtlessly be a crowd pleaser. Fans have been aching for a massively multiplayer installment of the series since Oblivion hit shelves in 2006. If nothing else, the game has me curious.

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By Mathew
Michael Iantorno PhD Candidate, Game Designer, and Writer