5 Reasons Elder Scrolls Online is Going to Fail

The Elder Scrolls is an amazing saga of open world action role-playing that has led players across the continent of Tamriel from the first game in 1994, The Elder Scrolls: Arena, to the last mind-blowing installment in 2011, The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim. As an avid fan of the series in all its incarnations, my first reaction to the news that there will be an MMO sometime next year was “hell yeah!” But then I dug a bit deeper and found out why I may just have been counting the proverbial chickens before they hatched.


Real-time combat is out the window. Yes, you read that right. Out with the awesome and in with typical MMO mechanics that have been the cause of RSI in gamers worldwide. Their excuse? Lag makes real-time combat unfeasible. I find this an unacceptable compromise where they rob TES Online of real-time combat when it is no longer technologically unfeasible to implement it in an MMO. Games like the recently released TERA and RaiderZ prove beyond all doubt that players can escape the dull monotony of tab-targeting and repetitive button mashing to actually play an online game that features truly real-time action combat. The tragedy here is that instead of falling into the hands of the people who can make such games, TES Online is being developed by Zenimax Online Studios, which can’t deliver the game’s potential in this respect.


The game will not look like Skyrim; in fact, it won’t look anything like Skyrim. One would normally expect them to try to surpass it in looks, but apparently the MMO won’t even try. As it stands, it will have a cartoonish look to it. There’s no excuse for something like this in 2012.

Character Development

The do-whatever-you-want style of playing we have come to expect from the series is also out the window. Replacing that is the expected usual pre-defined bunch of classes with generic MMO leveling standards. It may just be me, but the more I read up about what it’s going to be like, the less it sounds like an Elder Scrolls game.

Dragons are unlikely to appear

It’s like they want the game to fail. After Skyrim, one would think dragons would be a major draw. Furthermore, though it isn’t clearly specified, it also seems Dragon Shouts from Skyrim will also not be part of the gameplay.

Bethesda is…

Bethesda Game Studios, the people we have to thank for almost two decades of TES, is ‘collaborating extensively’ on TES lore and game geography, but are not going to be part of the high-level design decision making process. How could they let this happen? One would think that the minds behind so many successful games would have a greater say in what kind of game TES Online should be.

All of this finally builds up to the fact that TES Online will be built on the HeroEngine. It’s the same engine that powers Star Wars: The Old Republic. This nifty gem of information lets us realize that like SWTOR, TES Online is also going to be a WoW-clone, and hence yet another generic MMO to stand in line with the rest. No doubt there will be many added features like enhanced PvP and some rudimentary changes to the combat system with the inclusion of ‘blocks’ for all, but at its core it will retain the same combat system so common to generic MMOs.

I don’t know about you, but so far The Elder Scrolls Online reads more ‘Fail’ than ‘Win’ to me, and though it may win over people new to the MMO scene, I can’t imagine even diehard fans of the series giving it the time of the day when so much of what makes an Elder Scrolls game has been ripped away to conform to generic MMO standards.

Disclaimer: the article is based upon the limited information released on a game that is still a work-in-progress and that the reader should keep in mind that there is always the remote possibility the developers at Zenimax may be bitten by radioactive spiders, injected with superhuman drugs, and/or abducted and replaced by aliens which may result in an awesome TES Online final release.


  1. Pingback: | BDGamer
  2. Disappointed

    !. Agree
    2. Agree
    3. Agree
    4. Agree
    5. Agree

    I want to play an ELDER SCROLLS game.. online.

    I do not want to play WoW: Tamriel

    The game may or may not fail financially, but it has already failed for me.

  3. Anonymous

    1: Elder Scrolls Gameplay doesn't translate well into an MMO(For example, Mortal Online)
    2: Bitching about how a game doesn't look like how you want it to
    3: See 1
    4: Dragons did not appear in the era of Lore that TES:O is taking place in, and you fail for not knowing that.
    5: Give ZeniMax Online a fucking chance, will ya? Also, the game isn't using HERO Engine.

    • M. Rafiuzzaman Bokhari

      1) If you mean realtime combat, then I beg to differ. Skyrim played like an action MMO to a certain extent in 3rd person. MMOs have the tech to do this now, and I would love to see it in TES Online.
      2) Fair enough; to each his own.
      3) This point is very open to innovation. Lets wait and see then.
      4) The article is based on the initial release of TES Online news, not what should be in the game as per lore.
      5) Fair enough; how little of the HeroEngine influence will remain at the end, however, remains to be seen.

  4. Jake

    Call me pessimistic Mr Jackass but I think you'll have a hard time narrowing it down to only 5. Good list though 🙂

    Co-op in a normal Bethesda game – now that is a fine ass idea.

    MMO – meh.

  5. Dan

    1) Skyrim's current realtime combat system is designed with single player gameplay in mind, without a doubt, and would need to be redone regardless of whether or not you want it to remain realtime. Look at any good live-action MMO and you will realize that it isn't open-world which is what any TES MMO would certainly be, live-action/realtime gameplay just doesn't fit in open world MMOs.
    2) Again, look at any MMO with graphics superior to or on par with Skyrim and you will find that they aren't open world. Completely unrealistic to expect single player console game graphics on an open world MMO.
    3) What is an MMO without set, distinct roles? This is what generates group strategy, the core of multiplayer gaming.
    4) I agree.
    5) I can't support or refute this. Never played SWTOR.
    You're comparing apples to oranges… Although at any rate, I expect this game to fail as well.

    • Crackerjacks

      1) Darkfall, Mortal, Planetside 2. All open world, all real-time combat. Your argument is invalid.
      2) There's no need for an MMO to try and compete with AAA MMOs, unless, of course, they have a 250-person team and 300 million dollars at their fingertips. Sure, it doesn't have to look as shiny as Skyrim, but that doesn't explain at all why they went cartoony.
      3) The answer? It is AMAZING. Darkfall, Mortal, Ultima Online, all of those are far more skill-based, with undefined classes, and teamwork, coordination and group strategy are incredible in these games.
      4) LOL, you agree with this one?! Dragons aren't alive 1000 years before Skyrim, there's no reason they should exist. From a marketing standpoint however, they should have thought about this when coming up with the lore and time period, so Dragons could be included. Hell they are buttfucking the lore so hard as it is, they might as well throw in dragons for thehell of it.
      5) Without BGS' direct influence, this game is going down. Hard.

  6. Anonymous

    4. You are not paying enough attention to the era it is set in. Second era, some 1000 years before dragons exist. Of course they won't appear. That's like saying "Oh, they're making a medieval game, why are there no cars like the last game set in 2011?"

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