The legions of Bethesda fans, us included, have been clamouring for an MMO set in Bethesda's meticulously crafted high-fantasy universe for years, our wish has finally been granted. You'd think we'd be a little happier about it, but all we can muster is a small nugget of happiness buried in a mine of abject disappointment.
Obviously it's too early to judge the quality of the game, but early details haven't inspired much enthusiasm. ZeniMax Online Studios seems to have gone out of its way to surgically remove all the defining qualities of an Elder Scrolls experience and fill the gaps with archaic MMO conventions and mechanics pinched from World of Warcraft. Not very befitting of a game carrying the Elder Scrolls name at all.
Although it would be easy to write a tirade about how ZeniMax is on the path to squandering an amazing opportunity we've been directed to take a more positive angle instead. So, below you'll find a few things that we would very much like to see in Elder Scrolls Online.
As always we encourage you to give us your ideas in the comments, maybe someone at ZeniMax will read it. If all else fails: online petition, those work right?
FREE TO PLAY
It feels a little strange asking for a triple-A game based on one of the industry's highest-profile properties to embrace free-to-play, it wasn't long ago that F2P was a mark of mediocrity. But in the current gaming landscape the free-to-play business model rules the roost, and in the oversaturated MMO genre it's the key to survival.
ZeniMax media needs to do everything in its power to steal mindshare away from established games like League of Legends, Team Fortress 2, DC Universe Online, Lord of The Rings Online, Guild Wars and dozens of others. Asking players to ditch games they've invested copious amounts of time into for an unproven one is a big ask, attaching a monthly subscription on top is downright suicide.
Sure, the Elder Scrolls fanatics will show up in force around launch, but - as the mass exodus from BioWare's Star Wars: The Old Republic proved - it would only be a matter of time before players go in search of freer lands.
ZeniMax needs to make the game free-to-play, the minimal risk will entice people to take a chance on it. From there it's up to the development team to supply top notch content to get players to part with their cash. We'd prefer it launched with the free-to-play model instead of starting off paid and then switching later, as analysts have predicted will happen.