Re: Elder Scrolls Online
The problem is the comparative narrative possibilities for MMO's render them a poor substitute for a single player game in the context you describe. When everyone is the hero, no one is. Games like Eve have their heroes and villains because they are playing to the strength of multi-player, which is emergent unscripted content. Treadmills of marginal novelty with carrots interspersed just isn't very compelling to a significant underserved minority. There hasn't been a high budget triple-A fantasy sandbox MMO released since UO.
Originally Posted by Alex Mars
Bethesda is going down the path all other well funded projects have in the wake of WoW, and in doing so is losing sight of all of the things that made the TES games so fun. Those things are attention to detail, ridiculous amounts of *fluff* activities like sorting clutter, capturing butterflies, getting supernatural afflictions, and cooking stew. As a result, they will fail, as SWTOR has and every other MMO that is essentially WoW has.
The Secret World, while having questionable character designs, poor animation and combat, and linear content is at least trying to offer something new. They have created a massively multiplayer adventure horror game, with extremely open character development. Never has another MMO had me puzzling over scripture to solve in game puzzles or looking for symbolism in paintings in the game world for clues. The Secret World, with it's elaborate design for *quests* and complete lack of hand-holding reinforced one thing I already knew or suspected. That theme park content, irrespective of quality, is boring after a few days/weeks.
I want to be able to do in an MMO the types of things you can do in a game like Skyrim. Stalk game across a tundra, shadow vampire/demon hunters as they go about their duties, stumble upon random conflicts between NPCs, explore for hours without ever opening a quest log or giving a fuck about a story, defeating a strong enemy via manual dexterity and game familiarity. The very types of things an MMO TES game should have focused on.
Instead TES Online looks like WoW, can't compete with WoW on content, and it's only resemblance to the gameplay features of single player TES titles is the geography. This is a recipe for much more rapid decline than even SWTOR, which at least was a Sci-Fi title.
WoW, and Rift nailed the theme park gear driven MMO sub-genre to a degree that more titles in that sub-genre are not needed. To find success companies must do as Funcom is and aim for players that are not entertained by the well crafted titles already available. The only way to do that is by offering a different gameplay experience, not the same gameplay experience with different lore and a different setting.
Madden Football is the same year after year with slight embellishments. Most new MMO's are like sequels in the Madden franchise. All adhering so strictly to the gameplay formulas of their predacessors that all they offer are a few twists on doing the same thing all over again. Only titles that break the mold have the potential to reap more than moderate success.
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