Penny-Arcade Goes Hands-On with Elder Scrolls Online

Elder Scrolls online

Dragonborn Sushians, hark! For Did You See This Wednesday, we’re pointing you to one of many hands-on previews that press outlets scooped this past week with Bethesda’s upcoming MMO of their popular RPG series, The Elder Scrolls.

Penny-Arcade’s preview of The Elder Scrolls Online in particular has some nice, juicy info for any of you that have been hurting for more details about what it’ll be like to run around in the lands we’ve visited in Morrowind, Oblivion and Skyrim. For the most part, the game seems to deliver generic MMO fare, although the combat sounds a bit more interesting than what you’d usually see in a WoW clone.

Combat itself is fluid; no standing in one place while channeling a spell or waiting for a cooldown to finish. Instead, you left click to do a basic attack with your weapon, and right click to block. Holding left click will cause you to do a power attack, and clicking both mouse buttons will cause you to perform an attack that interrupts spells and other abilities that take time to charge and activate.

While that sounds like it carries on that general Skyrim flavor that so many enjoyed, I’ve always wondered if the game actually feels like part of the Elder Scrolls library. I know that while many enjoyed TOR, there was the complaint that it didn’t sit well as a natural extension of that franchise, and the transition to an online property kind of ruined what made it special. Here’s what Penny Arcade’s Sophie Prell has to say on the matter:

It’s possible the tone will change as you level up, but right now this doesn’t always feel like an Elder Scrolls game. It feels good, mind you; there’s nothing wrong with exaggerated animations or cartoonish dialogue, and Elder Scrolls games mean a lot of different things to a lot of different people. This toned-down vision may not be a deal-breaker, but it’s there, and it’s noticeable.

Honestly, it’s hard for me to read previews about this and not do it through a biased lens. I’m one of those guys that doesn’t like that everything tends to skew MMO these days (just look to Sim City and the aforementioned TOR for why this isn’t always a great idea). I don’t really see the point. Unless a game world can offer something that is both unique to the MMO landscape as well as something unique in and of itself that gives it a reason to exist online instead of just singleplayer, I don’t think there’s any reason for a developer to expect people to fork over monthly subscription fees.

The question I’ll keep asking is: what can an online version of Elder Scrolls do that we don’t already get enough of in Skyrim and Oblivion? Sure, you can maybe do quests with friends, but it’s that real, huge, breathing world that sucks us in. And for me, part of the solo questing is what makes that world feel so ominous and ancient. I think adding some co-op quests could be interesting, but I’m not sure that it’s necessary for the franchise. But like I said, I’m cynical about these things.

Another interesting thing is that they didn’t show off gameplay of a first person mode, but rather showed it off in trailer form. Hopefully that’s something that Bethesda can get rolling before the game launches, because it seems like it wouldn’t feel true to form without it.

What do you guys think of The Elder Scrolls Online, and Penny Arcade’s write-up? Does it have promise? Am I just a cynical old dude? Let’s talk about it.

Source – PA Report

Written by

I write about samurai girls and space marines. Writer for Smooth Few Films. Rooster Teeth Freelancer. Author of Red vs. Blue, The Ultimate Fan Guide, out NOW!

3 thoughts on “Penny-Arcade Goes Hands-On with Elder Scrolls Online”

  1. I agree. They would be better served making a 4 player co-op mode in the next Elder Scrolls game rather than make a full-blown MMO.

  2. Before today, I was completely disinterested, although now I’ll be keeping my eye out for previews.

    Also Anthony, I think a 4 player co-op mode for the next Elder Scrolls would be extremely detrimental to the Elder Scrolls formula. Elder Scrolls is all about immersing yourself in the world and simply enjoying it, and many of the enjoyable things are actually monotonous tasks that no co-op buddy would be willing to wait on you for, such as picking flowers or just admiring the view. With the MMO, it retains the Elder Scrolls universe but places it in a completely different package, so that you can get a multiplayer experience without tarnishing the traditional Elder Scrolls series and what makes it great.

  3. I’m a little wary with this MMO, but the natural draw of curiosity has me wanting to know a little more. I signed up for the beta a while back and I’m still waiting, hopeful, that they’ll send me a beta key so I can get an idea of how this works. Though, Penny Arcade’s few comments on this post seem to shed a bit of light on the subject.

Comments are closed.