Recently, fan’s of Bethesda Software and Bethesda Game Studios took a sucker punch to the ribs when its sister company, ZeniMax Online Studios, announced the development of The Elder Scrolls Online. Anybody that knows The Elder Scrolls series is also aware that the long running title has one thing that it has yet to deviate from – a complete lack of multiplayer. With the announcement of this online only installment, many squabbled over their distaste for an MMORPG Elder Scrolls entry.
Despite the mixed reactions to the announcement, ZeniMax Online Studios has continued to press on with development of the promising title. In a recent Q & A with EDGE, game director Matt Firor and creative director Paul Sage focused the topic of conversation on the games quest design – the actual meat and potatoes of the average MMORPG.
It’s no secret that the way an MMO goes about its quest design is a big factor in its overall success. To combat the typical dull linear design of most MMO quest schedules, ZeniMax is implementing a system that eradicates the emphasis on in-game lore and brings to the forefront something a bit more personal. “It’s great to be the hero of the world, but it’s better to be a hero in someone else’s eyes,” creative director, Paul Sage explains, “”If your NPC says, ‘What you did for me was remarkable,’ and you see the effect it has on them and that area, then you can go and add in the lore.”
A complete detachment from a heavy plot-filled gaming experience is a huge shift in pace for the Elder Scrolls series. While there is sure to be a continued stress on character customization and varying skill sets, this alteration in MMO quest design will aid in separating players from one another. Where-as in most MMORPGs, gamers were thrown into the same storytelling melting pot where, no matter how you went about things, there would be continuously similar outcomes. The style of questing to be adopted by The Elder Scrolls Online aims to make every player feel like an individual with a full impact on the world their traversing.
Quests in The Elder Scrolls Online will also take on a more episodic feel, where each quest will lead into the next. Matt Firor described this set-up by saying, “”You get these little groups of content–usually about 30 minutes or 45 minutes. Each one solves the question you went into it with, but it’s generally asked two or three new questions, too. When you log out and log back in you still have that question to get back onto.”
Though the announcement of an online version of The Elder Scrolls was met with a mix of skepticism and excitement, the series has yet to disappoint its long-standing fans. Heroes of the vast land can expect to finally set aside their copies of Skyrim on The Elder Scroll Online’s 2013 release.