Elder Scrolls Online

We now stand in 2014 the year that a well know gaming franchise plans to move into the MMO scene in the form of The Elder Scrolls Online.
Continuing the Skyrim date tradition (which may just be a way of avoiding awkward date formats across the globe) the game will be launched on the 04/04/2014, also celebrating the 20th year anniversary since the birth of the Elder scrolls.

Along with the launch date announcement was a video for the War in Cyrodiil which indicated recent trailer. there was a good indicator that the game will have large scale combat, possibility akin to the RvR of the now departed Warhammer Online.

However despite being a much love franchise there are a number of concerns floating around that could damage the games launch:

Billing Model
First up is the traditional MMO box cost and subscription approach that is rumoured, in a world filled with Free-2-Pay models, the MMO is looking to stick with the system many MMO gamer grew up with.

I’ll be the first to admit that I find the Freemium model awful, with overall being more costly to players and bringing with it additional problems such as large numbers of griefers & hackers. I for one miss the subscription pay-wall in MMO games.

tesoA Solo-friendly MMO?
Second issue I hear is that the game looks to be a solo RPG with MMO features to allow for grouping.

For me many MMOs are built like solo games, in my experience many games embrace this as they know more players in more income.

  • The Secret World (if you discount the dungeons) for me was solo friendly until I reached the 3rd Zone of Solomon and then it wasn’t too bad.
  • I found Rift was rather solo friendly until I quit playing at around level 30
  • I spent a month in The Old Republic and only teamed in that game once.

There is a concern that making a solo friendly game means the need to group becomes redundant, however I feel that a well built system can truly enable the game to be played in the manner best suited for the gamer.
In City of Heroes\Villains you could solo most large parts of the game if you wanted, if you did group up the system automatically raised the difficultly bar, scaling both difficulty and quantity of enemies. Plus you could also artificially increase your difficulty giving a toughing fight, but increasing XP and rewards.

This also allows for a easy introduction of level-less content to be played more than once, a trick that Secret World uses to enable rerunning of content without the feeling that you are losing out on XP.

I guess time will have to tell how grouping and solo play will work in TESO, will the landscape be filled with multiple gamers playing together but alone?