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.
Source: Game Informer