They don’t care about us
I remember back before launch, the Massively-that-was staff was quite bemused that Zenimax didn’t go and seek out MMO players. They didn’t even want to call the game an MMORPG, instead, they pushed the thought of CRPG a bit, although we all knew what it was going to be.
While marketing tactics are one thing, i think not listening to your audience- to a degree- is a sign of a “vision” for the game. Even nowadays, there’s a big part of the community still wanting a global auction house- in spite of the existence of trade guilds, guild vendors and guild stores. Talking about that feature, specifically, i think they’re right in saying that this emulates regional markets with prize differences and such- without affecting travel convenience, for instance.
They also told us we’re “hoarders” if we have full inventories. Now, i really dislike the fact that inventory management is its own minigame within ESO, but they are right about that, as well. I could just sell material i don’t use to craft anyway- when i don’t do that, it’s my own fault.
I mean, take a look at this– we’re really complaining about GMs being able to reserve names before us? What’s next, demanding to see every bit of content the instant it is designed? We have Landmark for that. Oh, and also, please make all your games cost nothing while you’re at it.
When Zenimax does ignore player feedback to keep the game in line with its vision, this is a good sign. And they have a good track record on this.
But they care for us
On the other hand, they provide stuff that the players have been wanting to see- the coming DLCs are about content the community wanted to see since the game launched. They changed many parts of the game to provide a better experience for the players. So it’s not as if they’re not listening to feedback, but they’re not following the screaming of the “vocal minority”. This is a good thing.
The game changed considerably since its PC launch (which was a beta, anyway)- and i’m not talking about the business model, because i believe they never planned to release to consoles with a subscription. We have interesting DLC (with level scaling!), dyes, guild vendors, heraldry and what-have-you. They’re adding in, but they are also smart about it.
Another good sign is that they’re not afraid to scrap planned designs like the second part of the justice system.
I love the business model of selling content. Recently, when i posted about SWTOR’s business model, there was a discussion in the comments whether this was really a good idea. I really don’t know if it’s good for the devs, but what i do know is this: to get money, the dev has to provide something of worth. To me, that seems like a fair way to do business. I also think that buy-to-play as a business model works much better than subscription or free-to-play on consoles. I don’t know that, of course, it’s just what my gut tells me.
The future of the game
The thing is, while ESO is a pretty nice game and MMORPG, i think there are two areas that need improving: social and non-combat. I think they have this covered, as well – in “The year ahead” Matt Frior mentions stuff like a guild search, nameplates and player housing as well as character customization shop. All of this is necessary and if they get housing out this year, i know we chose the right game for our community.
To me, ESO seems to be in a healthy state and it’s looking as if this year will bring exciting content and improvements. I’m really looking forward to seeing all this.
It fits my own play-style
For an action-combat MMO, ESO is pretty relaxing. Being story-driven, Elder Scrolls Online slows my pace enough as to make it still relaxing to play. While the combat-centricity is still a problem for me, it’s also interesting to read the stories of quests, sometimes in found books/notes, go exploring or crafting. And that’s still without touching the PvP part of the game. I’m able to slow it down if i want to. It’s much easier to do that in ESO compared to Wildstar.
Furthermore, i like the storie(s) in the game and the use of phasing to show results. For me, the quality of story content is, in general (taking all story elements into account, i.e. filler quest stories) above SWTOR’s and short of The Secret World, which is miles above and beyond everything else in the genre.
I can also build my character in ways i like to play it- i love being a dps/healer hybrid of sorts and i can do that here. Now, i’m sure many people would say that my character won’t be very good, but they don’t need to play it, so…yeah. I like that ESO makes this possible and aside from some general tipps about how to spend skill points, i haven’t looked into guides or builds at all.
The difficulty and time-to-kill are quite on-point. ESO’s PvE isn’t easy- i don’t mean that standard mobs are hard for me to kill, but there is interesting content in ESO- there are open world dungeons with bosses, there are solo instances/quests and the combat itself is active enough without being hectic.
And then there’s PvP. Open world, three faction PvP- and on that map, there is meaningful PvE content.
I’m not a TES fan. I used to play Morrowind when i still had the time and inclination to read everything the NPCs said, the lore in the books and so on and i loved it. For some reason, i’ve never done too much in Skyrim (although playing ESO makes me want to take another look), but i do love the fantasy setting. While some innovation would be nice, i think fantasy- and scifi, maybe- is the genre that provides the best foundation for MMORPGs.
It’s not low-fantasy, what i would prefer, but it is “grimdark” enough to make me enjoy the setting, the world and the story – which is something FF14, for instance, doesn’t really achieve.
We’re there and we’ve made the choice that Elder Scrolls Online will be our main game for the forseeable future, meaning we’re not seeing anything on the horizon of newly released games that could take its place. Sure, we’ll check other games out- i’ll be checking Blade&Soul, other members have their eyes on Black Desert or the Repopulation, but each game only has one or maybe two of us interested, while ESO appeals to all of us.
So we’re looking to grow- from the inside as well as from the outside. We ourselves will be looking to join special interest guilds for trade, roleplaying, thieving, maybe pvp or leveling, if the german community provides something like that (not sure about that leveling thing).
From the outside- we have set up our recruitment thread in the official forums. As expected, our doors aren’t being kicked in (who’d want to join a guild of 4, anyways?!?), but i’m still hoping that there are players out there interested in the type of thing we want to create- a “social” guild where members know each other’s first names, share RL stuff and are active more because of the people, than for the game(s) or the content within them.
The most difficult part here is patience. We wait for that first (successful) application, we want to grow bigger- and we know it could be quite easy- join a newly released or beta game and open up the gates widely. The thing is, this way, you’ll grow to 30, 50 members and beyond easily but still wouldn’t know anybody, members would leave the game in droves after a few weeks/months and 5 years later, you’ll find yourself in a forum with 900 users, with 30 of them posting actively and maybe 50 users playing 5/6 games under your banner.
Will it last?
Now, i’m sceptical of my own nature- i tend to change MMORPGs a lot, as you might know from reading here from time to time- while resenting myself for doing so. I think there are a few factors- most of them outside of this game- that will determine if ESO will really become my “go-to” MMORPG in 2016.
- The community/guild members actively play this game outside of scheduled activities.
- We’ll be able to recruit some new players to our guild/community
- My selection of “side games” fits and fills the gaps i feel still exist in ESO (currently i’m going with FF14 and B&S)
- Housing / non-combat info as soon as possible, please