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Teala's Wickedly Cool Blog For The Masses

Just my thoughts on MMO's, roleplaying, game companies, and the people that play these games.

Author: Teala

Elder Scrolls Online: That was a fast honeymoon.

Posted by Teala Wednesday April 16 2014 at 5:04PM
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I do not think, in all my time of following and writing about MMORPG's, I have ever seen an MMORPG fall out of favor so fast after its release as I have the Elder Scrolls Online.    Not even SWToR fell this fast, and it was a very controversial game at it's launch.  

Consider the amount of excitement that many gamers showed for this game as more and more was learned about it prior to beta and during its beta's - you'd think the game would be doing much better.   I even thought it would do much better...maybe not great, but I at least thought it would stay popular longer than just a couple of weeks.   That doesn't seem to be the case for ESO.   So I went exploring to find out why the game is not doing so well.

Please read on...

Most online based games have a period of time where they remain pretty hot for awhile, around a month...maybe a little longer; especially MMORPG's.   It's been 2 weeks since ESO's release and it is all ready showing signs that players are not warming up to it(as I suspect the developers had hoped) based on the growing number of unfavorable comments on various gaming websites that are dedicated to online gaming.  For instance, comments like, "I'm burned out all ready...too much of a grind.", "frustrated with all the bugs", "All ready level 50.  What now since I do not want to PvP?", "Don't like the direction Zenimax has taken the game since beta and it looks like it is only downhill from here.", "Game is not what I expected and am bored with it all ready."

Yes, those are actual quotes taken from this websites forums, and other forums around the internet - and that is just a small sampling.  Is that the only reason for the games decline or is there more behind it?

Even games that I consider "badly designed" games did better in their first month, like Aion, SWToR, and Warhammer, and had less bad player commentary so quickly after release.  So, why is ESO all ready beginning to show cracks in its armor?

I mean, I beta'd that game, and though I thought it wasn't all that great of a game, it wasn't that bad either, in the sense that there are worse games out there.   Surely, a game that is based on the Elder Scrolls IP would have garnered a much greater following and have people exclaiming its virtues than what we've seen.   It just hasn't manifested like past games.  

I mean look at the games sales record so far.  In Europe it was number one for a few days and has dropped below the top 15.   In the UK alone, it came in at number 2 on the charts, quickly jumped to number one, and then within a few days it has dropped to number 19.   Amazon has also shown a huge drop, from #1 to #20 in just a few days after it's launch.  Other MMORPG's have faired much, much better in their initial days on sales charts compared to ESO.  That cannot be a good sign.

Chart from XFire showing rapid decline of ESO.

Chart from XFire showing rapid decline of ESO.

On TwitchTV it made the top 10 most viewed games being streamed by players for it's first week.  Now suddenly it has dropped to below 15 and barely cracks the top 20.   Same on xFire.   It was one of the top 10 most played games there, and two weeks later it has dropped to #27(not even Star Wars:The Old Republic fell that fast on the chart).   

Are MMORPG players just burned out in general on Themepark based MMORPG's?  Is the game really so bad that people are just losing interest in it much faster than normal?   Or...are other games that recently released stealing it's thunder - like Diablo III and Titanfall?  And it's not as if Bethesda and Zenimax haven't advertised the game...because they have.    I certainly don't believe that the handful of somewhat negative reviews the game got could hurt it that much. 

I really am at a loss for words and am for the first time a little dumbfounded at this games quick decline.   If things keep going as they seem to be going for the game it is looking really bad for it at this rate.   The only thing that might stop this downward spiral is if the consoles release of this game is good. 

So yeah, I don't understand this.   Maybe someone out there has a better grasp as to why this game is on such a quick decline.  Feel free to share your opinion on this in the comments below.

I know some will bring up.  "What about consoles? The game is not released for them yet."

As for the console release bringing the numbers back up...I am a little skeptical they'll have a huge impact.   Yes, there are a ton of console gamers out there, and yes many PC games do sale much better on consoles(Skyrim is one of them - Titanfall recently saw a huge jump in sales after it was released for the XBoxOne), however there is a caveat in the case of ESO being released on the console systems.    It is going to require a subscription fee to play it on PS4 and Xbox consoles.   This maybe the one thing that really keeps the game from rebounding very far.   I think we may see a bit of a rebound...but I do not think it will be for long as many people will not want to pay a sub fee - as we have seen many console players say on such websites as IGN, Gamespot and Kotaku.

Being that a game like ESO needs lots of players for it to actual work properly, due to the nature of its design, I am not so sure it will stay viable for very long on either the PC game version or the console game version.

I can't be the only person that has seen this quick drop in the games popularity.   I imagine many others have seen this, too.    Now the question is...what does Bethesda and Zinemax need to do in order to stop this decline?   Please feel free to leave a comment below.  

Please, try to keep your comments civil if you do leave one.    


kalistar writes: I still enjoy the game. Wed Apr 16 2014 8:49PM Report
Evokerz writes: I don't Wed Apr 16 2014 9:34PM Report
NozzyEz writes: I guess time will tell. What you need to do though is use some spell check, grammar checks and facts checks, because I find it really hard to take this article serious as it stands... ESO isn't going anywhere anytime in the near future as you imply Thu Apr 17 2014 6:56AM Report
Airtaee writes:

All my guild from TSW moved to ESO but I didnt enjoy the IP franchise ... Is not a game for everyone, just for ES fans and that hurts. 

IPs are important for games, are the first hook.

Thu Apr 17 2014 12:26PM Report
alkarionlog writes:

i'm somewhere a ES fan and didn't even liked the game, is just something is feeling combat is not that good for me. aion GW2 even tera with that slow combat are better.



I guess that si teh problem here eso is not going anywhere its not moving forward and that is really bad for any online game who need players, but you can bet if Swtor make a F2P to stay afloat ESO will try too.

Thu Apr 17 2014 4:51PM Report
Shephard writes:

Just one comment, stop using Xfire as a source.  Xfire is dead, no one uses it.  The samples are based on 100s of people.  Look at Raptr that has a base of 10s of millions.  Per Raptr, ESO is already top 10 games this month.  And 4th most popular game this week.  

ESO is bugged on Raptr and listed twice on Raptr.

Fri Apr 18 2014 1:50AM Report
Foobarx writes:

There is no denying the fact that the preponderance of those playing ESO are doing it purely because they are bored.  Don't even have to look at sales numbers to figure that much out.  This will be painfully obvious when Wildstar releases.  Is Wildstar a better game?  Doesn't have to be.  All is has to offer is something new for them to do... even if it means kill x rats... it's rats in a different game, thus it's new.


The real topic has, and always been, why are MMORPGs failing?  It's not about IPs.  It's not about polish.  It's not about features.  The plain hard truth is the genre is stale and will remain stale until it goes into hibernation for a good 10 years.  Then when it resurfaces, it will be new and fresh again.  Keep churning out MMORPGs like they have been and it will only get worse, not better.

Fri Apr 18 2014 11:20AM Report
syriinx writes:

It kept the worst thing about Skyrim (combat)


I dont like action combat to begin with, but I can deal with some of the hybrids like GW2 in small doses.  However, ESO just doesnt feel fluid to me, much the same way Skyrim's combat never felt fluid.

Fri Apr 18 2014 8:02PM Report
Mothanos writes: Just another doomsayer nothing to read here. Sat Apr 19 2014 2:04AM Report
anotherpointofview writes:

This entire article is speculative opinion at best. It would be nice to actually read an article that had real content and facts behind it versus.  Commentary of 'I feel this game is dive bombing and I'm really concerned (but not really, I'm just trying to generate excitement cause I'm borez.)' type writing.

Sat Apr 19 2014 9:36PM Report
gracefield writes: I agree with NozzyEz, Teala if you are actually employed as a journalist, then you need to re-learn some basic grammar and brush up on your spelling. And you need to learn to use words more efficiently - you're only making a few points in this piece, but it just goes on and on.... Sun Apr 20 2014 5:35AM Report
Thorqemada writes:

One Sentence:

The weaknesses of TES and the weaknesses of MMOrpgs merged in one game for Ex-DAOC-Players in a way oversaturated genre.

Sun Apr 20 2014 5:45AM Report
grndzro writes:

ESO was headed in a good direction before the starter zone complaints and Zenimax stupidified the game in response.

People were breaking NDA risking a perm ban to bring people the news. Same with Wildstar.

All this closed doors threats NDA should have screamed stay away.

The first Beta I was in for ESO was great.

The 2nd was terrible. And I wasn't the only one who noticed all the new crap.

Sun Apr 20 2014 8:13AM Report
manu820 writes: I did not play in the beta.  Once the game was available to order, i did.  I played during the early start, yet i could not bring myself to setup a subscription.  It just did not draw me in and i am a fan of Skyrim. I am not sure why , the bugs surely did not help, the constant downtime during the early access did not help either but most importantly... the combat felt weird, not fluid and like it had no impact... i am not sure how to explain it.  Unfortunately i will not be subbing for it. Good luck tho Sun Apr 20 2014 8:47PM Report
DaduHulk writes:

I played Beta, did not catch me even to play Beta again! I am still at GW2 not paying a subscription.

The article itself is awful. Could have said "I Don't know" in one sentence and spared us the rest. :-P

Mon Apr 21 2014 9:19AM Report
Shaigh writes:

Reasons why this game just doesn't hit off:

  1. When people played the game during beta they were greeted by really boring starter zones, lots of bugs and poor animations
  2. Quite a lot of the press bashed the game during their beta-preview because of those issues
  3. During launch this game has had a lot of different issues, and when your friends tell you about issues and you also read about them you don't buy the game.
The way they can turn things around.
  1. Fix the current issues that plague the game
  2. Make sure to deliver new content like you promised
  3. If that's not enough, switch to a new payment model to get more people paying.
Mon Apr 21 2014 11:11AM Report
NagilumSadow writes: I love the MMO in theory, in practice is is quite abrasive. I was expecting more dynamic content, as with most of the modern mmos it fails to follow through. The quests and leveling feel terribly grindy; much, on the other hand, could be forgiven if the quest in Cyrodiil gave more experience as an alternative method to level. Tue Apr 22 2014 4:38AM Report
NagilumSadow writes: Excellent article, btw. It has interesting pwnage. Tue Apr 22 2014 4:48AM Report
syriinx writes:

"The real topic has, and always been, why are MMORPGs failing?  It's not about IPs.  It's not about polish.  It's not about features.  The plain hard truth is the genre is stale and will remain stale until it goes into hibernation for a good 10 years."

The main problem is the switch to instant gratification models.  MMORPGs need to have players play them for years, not weeks, to thrive.  Low and midlevel zones need to stay active for longer than the first month.

The last AAA title where leveling was remotely an investment was, ironically, WoW.  Every game since WoW has been designed to get to the cap within weeks of casual play.

The worlds are smaller and less imaginative.  Combat has become too spammy be it hotbars with super short GCDs or twitch combat.  Both of these are not good options for long play sessions.

And of course the linearity.  The feel of a big world to explore is lost.  the sense of danger is gone.


Its not that the genre needs to go into hibernation, its the people need to look at what made the first wave of MMORPGs special.  Or even Vanilla WoW, because the games that try to copy from WoW like Rift or SWToR always copy the bad parts from later eras and not the good parts from the early days.

Tue Apr 22 2014 6:00PM Report
branko7171 writes:

You nailed it syriinx :). Everything you said is what I don't like in GW2.

Wed Apr 23 2014 7:13AM Report
zolram writes:

The game suffers from copy paste  art style and quests. Im at lvl 30 and in the 3rd zone and it feels like a rehash of the first zones. The same goes for the cities, architecture, art styles, quest stories etc. It just gets to repetetive and predicable. Also the soulshard system forces me to alt tab to a wiki to find all, that is the map and quest dialoge design is very static and makes the gameplay flow feel stakkato. When i play eso i find myself alt-tabbing often out of boredom. But the major issue for me with eso is the small view distance,  making the world feel small and static.

I noticed this is not the case in wildstar, there i play for much longe witout getting bored. I tinhk this is beacsue the art deigin there is actually made from scratch and every new area feels unique, and the quest design,stories, map design and its wery long wiev distance where one can see battles hundre meters avasy makes the world feels much more big and dynamic. Thats why wildstar feels more solid , creative and fun than eso for me.

Wed Apr 23 2014 3:16PM Report
zatrem writes:

syriinx you fabulous peace of writer you!!! :) 

I agree. MMoRPGs need something new. MMoRPGs need something refreshing, MMoRPGs need something that players can play all day long and never get bored, MMoRPGs need bla bla and cha cha cha... 

NO! The MMoRPGs dont need anything anymore because everything is already done! Everything is already seen! Unless someone figure out how to connect you mind to a game with infinite number of players where everything is possible while you are sleeping! That would be something NEW i think! And while we w8 for something like that to happend, you are all going to enjoy (or not) infinite numbers of today copy-paste games

I mean lets face it there is always some new game that is similar to other older one. So what? As long as you enjoy that game who cares if its a copy, who cares if its low budget, indie game, low player base, lack of content, doesnt have enough large world, or, ... idk examples are everywhere. 

I dont have ESO nether i want to buy it even if it goes free to play i wouldnt have a desire to play it because its nothing NEW. There is nothing revolutionary there, nothing special, and i wont enjoy it as much as i enjoyed Older elder scrolls games for example because they were something NEW for me at that time. Repetitive games and gameplay is a brainkiller imo!  As people in Serbia would say: " Its an transfusion from hollow pitcher to an empty one." (i dk why i wrote this last one. I think its meaningless in english :) )




Wed Apr 23 2014 11:07PM Report
Loke666 writes:

Part of the problem is surely that the game is advertised for PvEers but it does 3 faction PvP far better then the PvE. Firor wanted a game similar to DaoC but TES fans wanted a PvE game similar to Skyrim.

Personally I think that they should put their updates on the PvP instead, it is where they still could get plenty of players. People not liking the PvE wont really be pleased no matter what they do now anyways. Make PvE more optional and add way more PvP content instead.

But I seen plenty of hate faster, remembering AoC the day after launch?

Wed Apr 30 2014 9:18AM Report
Yamota writes: I am not surprised. Elder Scrolls RPGs are known for their open world feel, i.e. sandbox, yet the morons decided to create a themepark? And they expected it to work? Idiots. Wed Apr 30 2014 6:54PM Report
DKKOberon writes: I still play it. I enjoy it. But am NOT loyal to it. Wildstar, I'm waiting!!! Fri May 09 2014 3:01PM Report
Inktomi writes: Horrible disappointment. I found out in beta. So sad...all that money, manpower and a great IP.  Thu Jun 12 2014 1:31AM Report
d_20 writes:

The way the VR system was implemented in the biggest factor in this game's demise -- for people who were willing to put up with the bugs and other technical problems of a new game.


And I agree with Loke666 about putting more emphasis on pvp to fill the place in the market for people who wanted or a new generation who would appreciate a new DAoC experience.

Tue Jun 24 2014 2:16AM Report
Eridanix writes:

In my opinion ESO is relatively a failure because it has not the numbers of other games; anywyay I would never play it because the sense of Themepark kills every and any game for me. Don't need to attack the Dev's. If they feel comfortable that way is all right. But what we need - a lot of us - is a good and refreshing Sandbox with new ideas and a new paradigma.

And Oh, I think Teala writes a good english, what is rare and strange so as she is a Journalist.

Wed Jul 30 2014 11:15AM Report
kellyokidd writes: Pirates of the Caribbean online was a GREAT mmorpg, had people wanting to come back for more. It was a wonderful community of players and it was easy to find your friends in it by simply going onto the correct server which you could switch during game play, no matter where you were in the game. What I disliked about ESO is that I couldn't play with my friend even though we started on the same day because the type of character we chose or what part of the quest we were at, it was so limiting! Mon Aug 04 2014 1:12AM Report
Eridanix writes: Oh, wait, Teala, did you really mean that ESO is worser than Warhammer: Age Of Reckoning? I don't know but that was a good game made in a bad moment. Less linear than others, in terms of quality was good. But if ESO is a worse game...  Wed Aug 13 2014 5:08PM Report
Eridanix writes: And we are waiting here for other of your  entries.  Tue Sep 02 2014 1:58PM Report
Mitara writes:

Funny thing is that while ESO became a moderate failure, with people waiting for Wildstar, Wildstar is now an even bigger failure with the developers finding it necessary to merge into mega-servers.

The question is, how many failures do we need before the game designers figures out to make a good game?

Mon Sep 08 2014 8:04AM Report writes:
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