With The Elder Scrolls Online taking place 1,000 years before the events of Skyrim, players will venture back to a time when the history they read about in books scattered throughout the game were actually happening. There’s an old saying about how one should never look back, but in this case, there couldn’t possibly be a better solution.
Going back in time to take part in the shaping of Tamriel as we know it today makes so much sense. ZeniMax Online Studios has the opportunity to go and expand on what we already know, while leaving the future wide open for future Elder Scrolls games. ZOS can draw from the incredible amount of source material that already exists, and expand upon it to fill out their story and future expansions. And those not convinced that ESO is the next great Elder Scrolls game can still look forward to TES VI, whenever that may be coming out.
One of the best things about going back in time to create a game like this is that ZOS doesn’t have to worry about upsetting the lore junkies too much. Sure there are some specifics they need to let guide them, but as for how events unfold, they can pretty much write history. Sure we know a lot about this era thanks to in-game books, but thee is so much that we don’t know, and that’s what we’ll be learning as we play.
Additionally, by going back in time ZOS is setting us up for years and years and years of ESO content. Expansion upon expansion can be added onto this game without coming close to the events of previous Elder Scrolls titles. If we were moving forward in the timeline then ZOS would have to be sensitive to whatever Bethesda had planned for TES VI; and if they zoomed into the future, that would effectively put a cap on how many future games Bethesda could make for the single player experience before running into the timeline of ESO.
So hopefully even the most pessimistic of fans will give ESO a chance, for it truly is shaping up to be a full Elder Scrolls experience. With first-person perspective built in, the ability to ignore group requests and communications from other players, effectively making them NPCs, and the promise that this game will be far more massive than any other Elder Scrolls game to this point, there’s simply no reason to overlook this game. Plus, it’s highly likely that future Elder Scrolls titles will draw from the events of this game for the books you read in future iterations of the franchise.
It’s understandable for people to be nervous about this game. The fear that it’s just World of Warcraft slapped with some Elder Scrolls color is one that many single-player and WoW-hating players are feeling. But if you’re in this crowd it’s time you wake up and listen to what people are saying. Events like PAX East are showing the world exactly what we’re in for. People speak of it looking like Elder Scrolls, sounding like Elder Scrolls, and more importantly, playing like Elder Scrolls. As more and more people get to experience the game, I think we’ll start hearing less and less of these complaints.
Because what makes an Elder Scrolls game an Elder Scrolls game? We’ve talked about this before, but some of the key ingredients are its immersive first person perspective, detailed graphics, comprehensive and engaging stories, guilds, simple but exciting combat, and the ability to make the world your own. Let’s see… we don’t know for sure yet what the quality of the story will be, but I think it’s safe to say it will be superb, considering the writers have either worked on Elder Scrolls games before, or are working with people who have. But other than that, every single one of those items has been confirmed as being a component of ESO.
So what’s not to be excited about? Look, as a guy who could never get into WoW, played Guild Wars 2 for five minutes, and is only now discovering the joy that is The Lord of the Rings Online, I’m absolutely pumped for this game. ZeniMax isn’t just slapping a fresh coat of paint on an already run-down game. They’re not taking the same old ideas and refurbishing them as new. And while I’m not claiming that every aspect of the game is revolutionary, it’s becoming more and more clear to me that this game is not being developed as an MMO. And to be honest, it’s not even being developed as an Elder Scrolls game. What we’re really seeing here is the creation of something brand new. A mixture of part MMO, part Elder Scrolls, and a little part of something brand new altogether. The fact that a high quality single player game can be morphed into a massively multiplayer game and have this many people saying this many good things about it is remarkable, and I can’t wait to see a finished product.
Never look back – unless you’re playing The Elder Scrolls Online. This is an opportunity to explore how the world you currently know was created, to be the hero in your own story, while playing with (or without) your friends, and there is going to be so much content in this game you may not leave your house for months. When it’s all said and done, Skyrim will have nothing on ESO. I hope to be adventuring alongside you upon its release.