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Early Impressions: Elder Scrolls Online

If you’re looking for an alternative to World of Warcraft, one of the most exciting and heavily anticipated MMORPG titles coming down the pike is going to hit the stores in April 2014. I am of course talking about the Elder Scrolls Online. The Elder Scrolls is not as well-known as World of Warcraft, the Warcraft series, or Lord of the Rings. Regardless, it has a very loyal following and its latest release The Elder Scrolls: Skyrim sold 20 million copies. This is serious game folks. A lot of very serious fantasy role-playing game fans love The Elder Scrolls. The series has really taken single player role playing to the highest level. We’re talking high-quality graphics, interactive game play and really amazing storylines. The million-dollar question is, can it take all its core strength and successfully migrate into a role-playing game format?

The sad news is that besides World of Warcraft, few games have ever achieved critical mass with the MMORPG crowd. The latest casualty is no other than Star Wars: The Old Republic. If a Star Wars-based RPG cannot gain enough traction to become a paid subscriber game, how would other games based on less stellar brands fare? Well, that’s the big question that is swirling around Elder Scrolls Online. Make no mistake about it, elder scrolls blow away World of Warcraft on several fronts. First of all, its art style is more realistic. Second, it’s very heavy on graphics. Third, its combat system tends to be simpler. Moreover, leveling in terms of professions and classes is more unified and more cogent. With that said, there are several challenges that the Elder Scrolls Online faces. First of all, unlike the World of Warcraft which looks good on any PC, the Elder Scrolls Online needs a certain configuration of hardware to look great. This should not be surprising. After all, the Elder Scrolls is a PC game that is rooted in really leveraging the amount of graphics processing power PCs have as well as consoles. Another issue is whether people would find game play boring. The great thing about World of Warcraft is that there are so many spells to play with. There are so many tactical tricks you can employ that it really can be a test of your creativity to come up with a spell casting and attack sequence that would yield the best results for your particular character at a particular time. With this said, the Elder Scrolls Online thus have a lot of advantages. One is that you can have a huge amount of people playing at the same time. Moreover, it is seriously working on fixing the core story problem of World of Warcraft. World of Warcraft has many ridiculous quests where you are supposed to fetch stuff, and you’re basically doing all sorts of pointless stuff for extended periods of time.

If the Elder Scrolls Online can make a convincing break from the MMORPG patterns set up by World of Warcraft, it can be the breakthrough MMORPG product. With that said, we don’t expect it to gain as much traction as World of Warcraft at least in its first iteration. Just getting the product out there and then maybe upgrading it to a few product cycles should make its value shine out enough that people can give it a serious look.