hot  /  reviews  /  videos  /  cblogs  /  qposts

The Elder Scrolls Online

E3: Elder Scrolls Online is more MMO than Elder Scrolls

1:30 PM on 06.10.2012 // Jim Sterling

When Zenimax Online promised that The Elder Scrolls Online would be true to the original series with the added benefit of Tamriel's lore-enriched universe, I have to admit that I was close to being fooled. The idea of a game that truly felt like an Elder Scrolls title set in a massively online world is a great idea. Seemed too good to be true, right? 

Indeed it was. Even as the demo's presenter said, "This is the Elder Scrolls experience with friends," the images on the screen seemed to scream, "LIAR" with every single frame. 

If I placed World of Warcraft on one end of a table, and Oblivion, Skyrim, or Morrowind on the other, I'd be shifting The Elder Scrolls Online considerably closer to Blizzard's game than Bethesda's, had I the need to physically quantify the resemblances.

Do not believe that I mean to imply The Elder Scrolls Online will be a bad game ... or at least a bad MMO. As a massively multiplayer online RPG, the game is looking solid. As an example of an Elder Scrolls title, however, I have to confess that the demonstration was rather disappointing. Played from a pulled-back third-person perspective, with the usual trading of blows and cooling key-bound commands that we're used to seeing in regular genre offerings, it's hard to tell The Elder Scrolls Online apart from any other fantasy MMO at this stage. In fact, after seeing products like Star Wars: The Old Republic, the simple and traditional style of Zenimax's offering already looks a little dated. 

In fairness, the studio has attempted to flavor the combat with real-time blocking in order to create something that feels less static than the average contender, but nevertheless I feel like I could have been watching any random game while seeing this thing in action. The demonstration's promise of loot, end-game raids, and high-level dungeons sounded less like the promise of exciting features and more like the rundown of a factory-standard checklist. 

Even the artistic style has taken a creative hit in a rush to capitalize on the increasingly dry well that is the MMO market. While you might be taken in by the fancy artwork accompanying promotional materials, the in-game visuals are less than dazzling. Character models have slightly exaggerated animations and facial features, putting them more in line with Blizzard's artistic sensibilities than Bethesda's. Unless a very unique, Bethesda-created monster was on-screen, it was impossible to tell this game was part of the Elder Scrolls series. Environments are recognizable only when they're incredibly specific, such as Ayleid or Dwemer ruins, otherwise the action could be taking place anywhere. 

If Bethesda's E3 showing was supposed to be indicative of what we can expect from The Elder Scrolls Online, then my advice to potential players is to expect nothing outside of whatever we've seen in the MMO space before now. So far, all I'm seeing is a game that's painting by numbers, looking at what others in the genre have done and slapping a thin coat of Elder Scrolls paint over everything. Again, that does not mean this will be a bad MMO, but I'm not expecting anything other than that at this stage -- a not-bad MMO. 

At the very least, the huge PvP battles are promising, with tons of players battling it out on screen, but yet again this is stuff we've been seeing in the far more promising The Secret World, which looks set to offer a more unique spin on the genre, as well as a superior premise and distinct artistic direction. In comparison, this game is looking quite run-of-the-mill. 

Before E3, I was hoping for more than that. I was hoping for what Zenimax Online was promising, something that was more true to the style of Elder Scrolls than World of Warcraft. I was hoping for a game that wasn't content to play follow-the-leader, and strove to create its own fresh and original spin on what a massively multiplayer roleplaying game could be. The Elder Scrolls series has been a genre-leader in the action RPG space with every new chapter it releases. The name deserves to do the same for MMOs -- to be the game to beat, rather than just another monkey that sees and copies. 

There is time for it to be more than what it looks like, but right now The Elder Scrolls Online looks like just another MMO for the pile. 

Jim Sterling, Former Reviews Editor
 Follow Blog + disclosure JimSterling Tips
Destructoid reviews editor, responsible for running and maintaining the cutting edge videogame critique that people ignore because all they want to see are the scores at the end. Also a regular f... more   |   staff directory

 Setup email comments

Unsavory comments? Please report harassment, spam, and hate speech to our moderators, and flag the user (we will ban users dishing bad karma). Can't see comments? Apps like Avast or browser extensions can cause it. You can fix it by adding * to your whitelists.

 Add your impressions

Status updates from C-bloggers

RadicalYoseph avatarRadicalYoseph
What is the Dtoid chat room?
TysonOfTime avatarTysonOfTime
Batthink avatarBatthink
This GrumpOut video was pretty funny to me (props to TheBadSpoon on the Dtoid chat room);
CoilWhine avatarCoilWhine
Sonic Lost World is coming to PC on November 2nd for $25! I may double dip, hopefully they'll make the final boss less rage-inducing. Ah well, I can always grind for extra lives lol.
Mike Martin avatarMike Martin
Older. Grayer. Wiser. Dick still works. #Ballin
FlanxLycanth avatarFlanxLycanth
Wow I just want a mic for the PS4...why are they so expensive ;_;
ikiryou avatarikiryou
Went to play MGSV, got prompted to download the MGO data; it's not on the PS Store yet. Or maybe it's Kojima-san's way of telling me it's not the real MGO data, but is instead a janitor who once protected me from a puddle of pee and now wears my face.
CJ Andriessen avatarCJ Andriessen
Going grey >>>>>>>>>>> Going bald
Rudorlf avatarRudorlf
Recently watched the Cannon Films documentary, by the director of Not Quite Hollywood. Super entertaining, hilarious, and it almost made me want to watch some of the Cannon films. Almost.
CaimDark Reloaded avatarCaimDark Reloaded
PEOPLE! PEOPLE! PEOPLE! Tomorrow I'm meeting Shade of Light in RL!
able to think avatarable to think
Tip for those who have plasma TVs and are playing MGSV; go into settings and make the weapon icon only appears when you're aiming. I had to buy a new TV because the weapon icon got permanently burned into my plasma.
FlanxLycanth avatarFlanxLycanth
Any of you cute little butts gonna be at London Comic Con?
Jiraya avatarJiraya
You felt your sins crawling on your back... [youtube][/youtube]
Halflocke avatarHalflocke
what was the first game that used crowd motivated you to contribute ?
Mike Martin avatarMike Martin
Mad Max, Critters and some The life and times of Tim to finish the night. T'was a good day.
techsupport avatartechsupport
I was excited to learn one of my favorite Philip K. Dick novels, The Man in the High Castle, would be receiving its own TV show. After watching the pilot, I'm cautiously optimistic. Looking forward to the rest in November.
Nekrosys avatarNekrosys
I'm going to be honest; this is my new favourite line in anything ever. GOTY 2015 and all that. Also cocks: [img][/img]
I thought Laura Kate's Destiny piece for Polygon was pretty neat.
Barry Kelly avatarBarry Kelly
Bungie have decided Kojima isn't the only one who can do 4th wall breaking shenanigans. Congratulations Destiny players, you're all now The Taken King.
I have (jokingly) wanted a remake/sequel to Geist. And then I went to YouTube to watch a longplay to see it in action again and thought, "nevermind!"
more quickposts


destructoid's previous coverage:
The Elder Scrolls Online

View all:powered by:  MM.Elephant

Ads on destructoid may be purchased from:

Please contact Crave Online, thanks!


Invert site colors

  Dark Theme
  Light Theme

Destructoid means family.
Living the dream, since 2006

Pssst. konami code + enter

modernmethod logo

Back to Top

We follow moms on   Facebook  and   Twitter
  Light Theme      Dark Theme
Pssst. Konami Code + Enter!
You may remix stuff our site under creative commons w/@
- Destructoid means family. Living the dream, since 2006 -