There is a very real and very strong emotion when someone says, “Elder Scrolls”. Crucially, we each feel something different. No two of us feel that same emotion. Elder Scrolls means something different to each and every one of us. We each have a very clear idea of what Elder Scrolls means to each of us. This also means that we each have different expectations regarding Elder Scrolls games.
For me, Elder Scrolls means very, very specific things. I strongly believe there exists a core in every Elder Scrolls game to date that remains true and present. Sure, certain mechanics like combat (one can look at the changes from Morrowind to Oblivion) and skills (one cannot help but observe the changes from Oblivion to Skyrim) may evolve over time, but for me, there has always been one inarguable truth.
This freedom, among the obvious exploration, means freedom to play exactly how I want and without compromise. This is an admittedly rigid and immovable stance. In truth, had these games not carried the “Elder Scrolls” name, I would be more lenient, but for me, Elder Scrolls games absolutely must adhere to this core principal.
On this, I will absolutely not compromise, for it is this very spark that makes these games feel “Elder Scrolls”.
I make no apologies for my stance. The Elder Scrolls Online appears to be missing that spark that is so precious to me. It is simply not there. It is because of this that I will not be playing this game. Yes, I am fully aware that my stance must seem very stubborn and will indeed frustrate scores of you. I do not apologize. I reiterate what I stated above: Elder Scrolls means something different to each and every one of us.
For many of you, your experience in the beta has been enough to convince you that this game will be incredible. In fact, I wish you no ill will. I genuinely hope that you will have a wonderful time playing Elder Scrolls Online. Elder Scrolls means something different to you – and that is not wrong. You have every right to enjoy a game, just like I have every right not to enjoy one.
The Elder Scrolls Online simply does not nail that core, it does not give me that spark. It is not enough for me to become captivated and play.
However, this is by no measure a bad thing. I would like to think that my inexperience with MMOs is actually an advantage. I am not influenced by MMO norms. I know exactly what I expect to see from Elder Scrolls games and I am unwavering my expectation. All of this leads me to a very firm realization.
I am happy.
This may seem puzzling to many of you, but on this matter, I speak my heart’s truth. Some of you may even want to tell me that I will somehow grow weary of the current Elder Scrolls offerings and will yearn for something more. As a leading authority on myself, I can assure you that will never happen.
I will never grow weary of the current games. I have sunk more than one thousand hours between Oblivion and Skyrim and have never had the same experience twice. Pause on that for a moment. I have never felt as though the games were lacking. Never. Not once. And I never will.
In fact, I feel as though I have just barely scratched the surface. My recent adventures in Morroblivion were enough to want me to give Morrowind another shot. I just created a Scout archetype in Oblivion and am having an absolute blast. I am using skills in tandem that I have never used before.
And you know what? It feels absolutely fantastic. There are so many possibilities in these single-player games left unexplored. I feel as if the world has just opened up to me, just tempting me to step outside and cross that horizon.
This is the honest truth I feel about Elder Scrolls. Elder Scrolls will always be single-player games for me. Even though the next game might be a few years off, I have absolutely no qualms about that.
Elder Scrolls means something completely different to each and every one of us. We each have completely different expectations and tolerances. I have so much left to do, so much left to explore, so much left to experience with these games that I simply don’t need an MMO just because it says “Elder Scrolls”.
I’m not done. Not even close.