Ryan Wilson

Top Reasons ‘The Elder Scrolls Online’ Might Suck (or Kick Ass)

Decrease Font Size Increase Font Size Text Size Print This Page


Well, it’s official: ZeniMax Online Studios is working on bringing the popular The Elder Scrolls series into the world of massively multiplayer. Will they succeed, or collapse like so many others under the weight of World of Warcraft?


Why it might kick ass

Track record

You can’t really argue that every time Bethesda has created a new iteration of The Elder Scrolls, they are met with critical acclaim and millions in sales. As a franchise, just slapping its name on anything is guaranteed to kickstart the hype machine.

We’ve explored so little of the universe so far

Bethesda has created an entire universe for its Elder Scrolls franchise, yet we’ve only explored a very small amount of a continent in that universe in 5 main titles. Even if The Elder Scrolls Online only focuses on the continent of Tamriel, we’re in for a huuuuge game.

The team has been at it since 2007

ZeniMax Online Studios was created specifically to make this game a reality, and they’ve been at it for about 5 years now. That might not seem like much, but Skryim, Fallout 3, and Fallout: New Vegas were all conceived and published in that time.


Why it might suck

Development record lacks real multiplayer experience

ZeniMax Media might have published a number of multiplayer gamers, but when it comes to developing them in-house, the company has minimal experience. In fact, the only real experience on the ZeniMax team comes from a company they acquired, id Software.

The Elder Scrolls was attempted in multiplayer once before…to lukewarm reviews

Hidden very deep on the Bethesda Softworks website is their only previous attempt to bring the series into multiplayer, An Elder Scrolls Legend: Battlespire. The game was released at the end of 1997 using the same in-house engine they used for The Elder Scrolls II: Daggerfall, used only once before to run a multiplayer deathmatch Terminator game, not a full RPG. Needless to say, the game had to be stripped down heavily from its single-player experience, and was a critical failure.

Their launches are often riddled with bugs.

As much as we might love the franchise, Bethesda has gotten rather infamous for the “buggy mess” state that their titles are released. With a single player game, this is usually more acceptable (as patches can be pushed and downloaded at one’s own discretion, but multiplayer is a little more unforgiving. Especially in those first months, a developer can’t afford to need multiple early patches, as this leads to less time in the game itself.

It’s not going to look as good

I’ll admit, this one is more a flaw in the massively multiplayer market rather than the series. The Elder Scrolls single player experience is painstakingly created to make the game as beautiful as possible on current hardware and console limitations. As such, towns and dungeons are carefully crafted to minimize slowdown due to too many objects on the screen. When bringing it into the multiplayer world, we now have to add server capabilities to the table as well. As such, we’re going to see a considerable scale down to prevent the servers from catching on fire, including limited character model customization.

Leave us a Comment