‘The Elder Scrolls Online’ Will Have a Solo Story

May 21, 2012 by  

The Elder Scrolls Online Solo Campaign

Despite being officially announced only two weeks ago, there has already been a steady avalanche of news on Bethesda and ZeniMax Online Studios’ first entry into the MMO market, The Elder Scrolls Online. In a recent interview, the game’s director, Matt Firor, confirmed that The Elder Scrolls Online will use entirely single player sections to present the main story of the game.

Considering the history of the Elder Scrolls series, this does not come as much of a surprise. Each game in the series has focused on a single warrior’s quest to save the world from untold evils, so even though that world will now be populated with other player characters, the main quest is still a solo experience.

Bethesda and ZeniMax decided on instances for the player’s story quests in order to simulate the experience of playing Morrowind, Oblivion, or Skyrim, giving each player the opportunity to save the world unhindered by the typical problems of MMO gameplay.

Firor had the following to say about the benefits of an instanced story:

“The last thing you want to do is have the final confrontation with Mehrunes Dagon as he’s stomping across the imperial city and you see like 15 guys behind you waiting to kill him because they’re on the same quest. So as MMO online designers, the thing we needed to make sure we hit the most was that feeling that you’re awesome, you’re the hero, and we do that through a mix of technology where, when I am confronting a major foe in the game I’m doing it in an instance where I’m alone.”

If any of this sounds familiar, it might be because Guild Wars 2, and to a lesser extent the first Guild Wars, both follow a similar design philosophy. Allow players to explore the world together at their leisure, discovering strange new lands, helpless villagers, and terrifying monsters, but separate them for the story to avoid MMO pitfalls.

The problem with having a single player, instanced story in an MMO is that the scope of the story is inevitably scaled down to suit the player fighting on his or her own. If dungeon raid bosses require groups of 5, 10, or even 50 players to take down — as they do in many such games — a lone hero will only be able to do so much without the help of others. The key to TESO‘s success might be how well Bethesda and ZeniMax Online Studios handle the main story.

Does solo content strike your fancy in an Elder Scrolls MMO, or do you think the single player content should have been saved for the follow-up to Skyrim? Let us know in the comments below.

The Elder Scrolls Online is being developed by ZeniMax Online Studios for PC & Mac.

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Source: Game Informer

19 Comments

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  1. The fact that it’s not going to play like Morrowind or Skyrim is what worries me.

  2. I think you should be able to “recruit” people for the main story. Having single player instances is nice, but so is co-op gameplay but definitely not 15 strangers doing the same quest as you, fighting along side you

  3. Thats the dumbest thing I have ever seen. If you develop an MMO, you do just that, you make the entire game MULTIPLAYER. I hate what people are doing with MMO’s now, ‘Oh we’re gonna make the game so you feel like the only hero! Your the one!’ NO! Thats bullcrap, that scenario does not work in MMO’s. You can’t have thousands of the supposed ‘only’ heroe’s running around, its just plain queer.

    Besides, I am suprised some fans want an Elder Scrolls MMO. The whole reason I enjoy The Elder Scrolls games is because its singeplayer. I’m in complete control, and a world is built around me in which I interact with fictional, unpredictable characters. But now in the MMO, people will be jumping up and down on roof tops, running with only kinckers on through towns, and be unable to go to every town in a province, which completely sucks. I play MMO’s, and I think Elder Scrolls is a bad fit. MMO’s are about teams, and social input.

    Thats not what the Elder Scrolls is about. Your supposed to feel like your ‘the guy’ amongst a bunch of average people. In an MMO, one minute you’ll be walking around thinking ‘its ok I’m the best hero according to the develoeprs’ when all of a sudden a guy who is ten times better than you kills you in PVP. Yes, in the single player elder scrolls you can die against NPC’s, but if you play right you can pretty much not die at all. MMO’s are best when you just start out as a normal guy, nothing special, then EARN your way to the top.

    Your destiny pretty much made for you in single player is ok (Although I do prefer choices etc), in MMO’s its just lazy.

    • Amen to that.

      When will the devs realize that Lone-hero-saving-the-world-all-by-his-oneself IS NOT THE TYPE OF HERO FOR AN MMO!!

      I’m pining for some kind of military MMO where you just play any regular soldier, or whatever, who is just trying to get by and be done with it. Something along the lines of The Black Company or the Malazan Book of the Fallen.

      THAT would fit the MMO genre. Please, do that instead.

    • Hey look, two arrogant gamers defining an entire genre of game, based on the only thing they’re comfortable with! What a shock.

      When will gamers learn, that the industry having room for all sorts of design philosophies, and experimentations, is why they have the games they love in the first place.

      Because if the industry was nothing but myopic gamers like them, they wouldn’t have the games, that they declare as the only true form of the genre they enjoy.

      Maybe there are enough MMORPGs where the idea of heroic is forty people gathered around the feet of a giant, auto attacking its toes until the loot pinata breaks.

      I know I hated WoW, where the story just happened in the background, and I never felt truly connected to my actions. Maybe some games can cater to people with different interests in your hobby. As scary a thought as that may be.

      • Just to mention that you are being the arrogant prick, here…

        … and that Zenimax are not being experimental with the single player main quest, for this is the current market trend.

        I do like solo content in my MMOs, and great story-telling. Just don’t try to have me believe I am a single hero in a friggin’ multiplayer game. Now, they might surprise me. I’d love to be proven wrong in that particular case.

        Peace, man. And chill out. They’re all games, after all.

        • Actually you and George are the ones being arrogant pricks. He was pointing out why. I also find it funny that between George’s rant and your use of capital letters as well as complete agreement with his rant that you felt the need to tell Jason that he’s the one who needs to chill.

          • Yeah, we could keep on calling each other names forever. This is the internet, mate. We’ll go nowhere. I won’t convince you. You won’t convince me. And everybody else don’t give a s***.

            Just one last word…

            I just don’t like being called arrogant when I’m simply expressing an opinion. The use of capital letters was only an effect, it was not meant to convey any feeling of arrogance or anger. Stop taking everything so personal.

            Now, if you feel threatened by people who disagree on your views and want to call them arrogant for simply expressing their opinions, I can’t help you.

            Btw, I hate WOW too, so… that’s not my definition of fun neither. Stop judging people you don’t know so quickly. We might all live in a better world.

          • Varteras, I am allowed to express an honest opinion, even the best point ever made in the world, would have people opposing it. You just labelled me an ‘arrogant prick’ for expressing an opinion which a lot of people probably agree with. Please stop being so judgemental. I thought you were supposed to disagree politely and then tell us why in a civil, grown up manner? Did I misinterpret the rules of this website?

            Please calm down.

      • The ‘arrogant gamers’ was a little uncalled for, and it even says when you write out a comment ‘No profanity or personal attacks’ which you blatantly ignored and do not care for. The website is ‘gamerant’, which suggests to me that I am allowed to rant out an opinion.

        I wasn’t even that frustrated, I was just presenting an elaborate opinion. Yes, I used words that maybe considered offensive, such as ‘queer’ etc, but it wasn’t directed at anyone, no harm no foul.

        Please calm down, if you’ve got an opinion express it, and leave wasteful insults that have no effect what so ever (other than making you look bad) behind.

  4. Is that a Kagouti?

  5. the whole MMO conversion idea is just a one big FAIL.

    • I have been a firm believer that games like The Elder Scrolls needed to have a multiplayer function, but not MMO. Do it along the lines of what Fable 2 did: Have the main character in their story, but then have others join them as partners. This keep the character and feel of the game the same while allowing multiple people to play.

      As for this, it will bomb almost like The Sims Online (or whatever it was called), I can all but guarantee it. TES was never meant for MMO play and as such, it would just be goofy to see many adventurers running around, each the hero of their own story, but all in the same world. Otherwise, you will have to explain things like multiple continuums overlapping each other when you aren’t doing a single-player mission. So far, BlazBlue is the only one to pull it off in a good way.

  6. I think the solo content should be saved for the follow up to Skyrim.

  7. I think that this is a great idea. Maybe they could just make it an option of whether or not you wish to do a boss solo or in a raid style. I personally hate when you want to do end game content, such as in WoW, and you have to find a group that consists of 40 people and egos get in the way, tempers fly, and laziness converge, as they usually do in a pug raid. If you have a great, reliable raid group to do bosses with, then more power to you. But I prefer to have the choice to do some things on my own, without feeling tasseled to a pug raid group.

  8. Multiplayer or co-op skyrim would have been great. This is just a travesty. The best things about TES games IMO are the open world and the mechanics, particularly for combat. An MMO will have neither. Get ready for an bland, poorly rendered, instanced world and hours of tab-target farming. Goodbye TES you will be missed…

  9. MMOs are the destruction of quality single player games. Elder Scroll fans wont be so happy when this MMO causes no other single player Elder Scroll games from ever being made.

  10. I think it has the potential to be great. Personally i think people should stop slagging off the idea of an elder scrolls mmo and just give them a chance.

    • I think they should have an option on multiplayer games like this where you can choose your group size say 1, 3, 5, 10, etc. and the boss should just scale to whatever the group size is. If there’s one thing I hate about multiplayer games its waiting around to find a large group for quests.

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