Why I worry about the Elder Scrolls Online: Part 1 - Player Behavior

Tuesday, May 15, 2012
Recently, Bethesda announced the Elder Scrolls Online, an MMO based in the expansive world of Tamriel. The game takes place 1000 years before the events in Skyrim, largely concerning the Daedric Prince, Molag Bal. All this may sound very exciting to most, but I fear what this may mean.

The Elder Scrolls titles have always been single player games. Call me a purist, elitist, hater of MMOs; I have serious concerns about a multiplayer model for the series. There are certain unavoidable truths in online gaming. These truths are related to (among other things) player behavior, gameplay, and story dynamic. Every MMO fresh out of the gate strives to keep these issues from surfacing, but the best anyone can do is delay them.

Let's start with player behavior. Surely, many of you are familiar with John Gabriel's Greater Internet Dickwad Theory. Essentially every MMO is rife with ridiculous, over dramatic madness from players who take themselves far too seriously. Example time! Let's start with some WoW.

Now we've gotten a taste for what's out there, let's move on to EVE Online. You might want to turn down your speakers for this one, it's a bit loud in places.

Let's serve some more of this scrumptious insanity. We'll sample from Darkfall for this course.

The point is, this is an all too common occurrence in MMO's. People emboldened by the anonymity of the intertrones, intentionally escalating arguments and goading already enraged players into full blown meltdowns. Nevermind the asses with names like "FuZZZ3bllz" you find in every town, dancing in their underwear or stalking and killing new players just to piss them off. The Elder Scrolls has a very valuable peace. The solitude of Oblivion or Skyrim enriches the game by creating a world free of the bullshit and baggage that comes with these players. I don't see why that should change.