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Imho, a MMO brings a single player game to life! From Civilization to Panzer General or even to Skyrim, none of those games were even remotely interesting compared to DAoC, which was my first MMO experience. MMOs allow you to play with other people, but in pvp you compete against people to a greater degree than in any other gaming experience. (Yea an organized small group can kick ass, but having 100 people organized is something to behold, they can rule that world.) Fortunately one of the main architects of DAoC is the lead here in ESO and he has brought the same paradigm to ESO: three faction pvp combined with realm pride. From what I’ve seen so far in Cyrodill it looks good, but we will never really know until a few months post launch.
My first beta experience was WOW and at the end of beta the most annoying thing to me was the ‘loot lag’. You kill a mob, then you sit stuck for 60 seconds or so crouched over the mob until the server has recorded the loot and responds. The same loot lag existed for at least the first 3 weeks after launch. No game since, however, had more polish than WOW at release. The detail in that game was remarkable. Of course, the pvp in WoW was substandard because it was fragmented and without a central plan, (although the classes themselves were immensely fun). The endgames of WOW were a collection of treadmills spread throughout the theme park. IMO Cyrodil is not a treadmill, it’s a ride that’s a blast. (And not a single BG in ESO, that’s ballsy!)
Warhammer was a complete mess, but oh what a mess! Public quests were a revolutionary feature, the graphics were so ‘not-WOW’, but the best thing about Warhammer were the classes. Like DAoC, WAR had lots and each was arguably unique, not trivial, and fun. The RVR lakes in Tier 1 and especially 2 were godly once they got rolling a couple of months after launch, but by then the game had contracted a terminal illness. The piss poor crafting system, the fragmentation of the population caused by the BG levelling alternative, the shitty game world, the small, weak RvR content, etc, is all absent in the design of ESO. In a nutshell, WAR was a confused design, ESO is not.
Too me GW2, a successful title, demonstrates the inadequacy of the F2P model for a AAA MMORPG. When you get down to it, nothing substantial has been added to that game since release. DAoC, WOW, and WAR all had multiple major content additions because the subscription revenue allowed them to budget for that work. The additional guilds to the Mage, Fighters, and Undaunted, a Darkness Falls-like dungeon and adventure zones, are but a few major content additions one can expect in the early future of ESO. Like the James Cameron movies, big ideas require big money.
A year ago when Zenimax revealed the game, the Elder Scrolls and the MMO communities both complained vehemently about a poor implementation of the ES titles. The company didn’t fight with PR, they shut up and got to work to bend the MMO to the will of the fans. They succeeded. That more than anything tells me this game has a bright future.
Not even gonna think about this game for the next two weeks. Then my kid and I will put a Dunmer Sorc on a rope to 50 for Cyrodil.