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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

Why is Skyrim such a success and considered the best MMORPG that is not an MMORPG?

Posted by Teala Sunday November 27 2011 at 6:02PM
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OK, I've been playing this game addictively(as much as I can without totally giving up on real life - lol) and after spending the time exploring and what not in this game it hit me like a ton of bricks.   This is the virtual "open" game world games like Age of Conan, Lord of the Rings Online, and Dark Age of Camelot should have been:   The world is gritty.  It is pretty much open.  It is dynamic.  It is beautiful.  It is terrifying.   It is all these things and more.  

Skyrim is just one portion of a bigger landmass.  Just one country of a larger world.  If this game had been released as a game based on the world of Conan the Barbarian and the developers said, this is Cimmeria  I would be like "yes...yes it is".    If this had been "Midgard" from Dark Age of Camelot, I would say "yes...yes it is."  If they had said this is the weastern part of Middle Earth that includes the lands Arnor, Dunnland, Rohan and Eriador, I would say "yes...yes it is."  

Why?  Because Skyrim is how these worlds from these other games we've played should have looked and played.   As I have said I have been playing this game a lot(over 100+ hrs into it) and I cannot believe how little I have done toward the main stories and quest and yet I feel as though I have done more in this game than any MMORPG I have ever played.   In fact the area in and around Whiterun has more going for it than anything I found in most MMORPG's I have played and it isn't loaded with wall to wall MOB's that you aggro just running through the woods like you do in a game like Rift or Dark Age of Camelot or Age of Conan.   

Not going to give away any spoilers to Skyrim, but let me tell you of an experience I had in this game that blew me away.   Now as I said, I have played over 100+ hrs in this game on three different characters so far and I cannot believe the amount of "playing" I have gotten out of this game in such a small area(I'm talking around the town of Skyrim and Riverwood).  Anyway...I was playing one of my characters and I happened to be out hunting for leather bearing animals to do some leather crafting.  I had been through this area near Riverwood before, hugging the foot of the mountains along the tree line.   As my character climbed over a knoll and was about to run down a mountain draw I noticed a little path.   I was like, where did that come from?  I had not seen it before...then again...I could have missed it.  It would have been very easy to miss because it is not well traveled.  

So I follwed it as it curved it's way through the trees and bushes.  It lead up the draw into the mountains.   I soon found myself at what looked like the entrance to an abandoned mine(it is hard to see unless you are standing at a weird angle, as if it were hidden that way on purpose by whomever started it).   So in I go(of course).

As I crept in I noticed the torches were lit.   So someone was actively using it.   Turns out the were - some NPC had set up mining operations in it and didn't want the locals to know so he would have to pay taxes and he could manipulate the local market with the ore his people were ming from it.  I learned this by listening to the conversation between the leader and one of his forman.   So very cool.    As I continued to explore this mine I heard this one guy asking another if he had checked to see if the guard they posted at the hidden entrance was still on duty.   The one guy said he didn't know, but would check.   Then the other guy walked to a guy sleeping on a fur bed roll near the fire and told him to wake up that he would have the next watch.  

Yes...that is how deep this game is...this stuff does happen - in game!  I was caught up just watching these guys from the shadows as they worked the mine.  One guy was making tools on the forge and another guy came up and asked when he would have the tool done.  The one guy replied it'll get done when it gets done...making tools take time.   LOL!

A mine in Skyrim - NPC's actual work the mine!

So what does this have to do with Conan, Camelot, or Middle Earth?

Everything!  It is called "immersion".   It is the "immersion" into a games world that makes an RPG what it is...not just the hacking and slashing, that is just a part of it, but the world itself is what allows a player to imagine that they are in this world and that they are enteracting with it in a believable way.    Skyrim does this.   There is no reason that MMORPG's cannot do this as well.  

I've said it so many times on my blog and I cannot emphasize this enough, the reason newer games are crashing and burning is they have lost touch with what role-players are looking for - we're looking for virtual open worlds, with open character development aka - a role-playing game.   Stop holding our hands at every stinking turn!  That is not what role-playing is about.  I am so sick of these games taking away more and more, and then they have the nerve to call their games virtual worlds, and role-playing games.  Even Blizzard's game WoW has a "world"...look at games since then...they get smaller, they become linear, and it's like you are forced to ride the train through the park and it never stops to let you explore.  

As I said , Skyrim is not as huge as far as game worlds go...but you wouldn't know that.   It seems massive - but it isn't, not really.   How is it that a game like this can do something all the MMORPG's I have ever played failed to do and in a smaller area?!  

I'll tell you.   The game gives me freedom, it gives me a virtual world.   The game designers are not taking my character, forcing her to wear a leash, guiding her - I am the one with the leash and I am free to choose how I wish to play her.    MMORPG's do not do that - accept EVE, but even EVE cannot touch Skyrim.  EVE designers insist that it's all about Spaceships.  Fine...keep your spaceships.   I prefer to play an RPG where I play a "character" I can relate to, not a hunk of brainless, cold metal.  ;p

That leads me to this whole notion that so many people constantly toss around that game play that we see in Skyrim does not translate well into an MMORPG.   Not as it is it wouldn't, but the basic game play would!  Give me freedom.  Give me the virtual world for me to interact with and allow me to develop my character as I see fit.  Stop holding our hands at every step throughout the game.   I am smart enough to figure out things - let me do it!  

As I play this game Skyrim I cannot help but think, again and again, this is the game Age of Conan should have been.   This game is more Conan-esq, than all of Age of Conan Online combined!  How sad is that?  This game Skyrim is more magical than Lord of the Rings and that is really sad, because Lord of the Rings is one of the reasons we play these games.  How sad is that? can this game that fits on one DVD be better than any MMORPG that comes on two and three DVD's? Because it is the "RPG" without the MMO.   To many of these games have dropped the RP portion of the the acronym and are just MMOG's.  Well I am not looking for an MMO, or an MMOG, I am looking for an MMORPG.  Get it...RPG...role-playing game.  A role-playing game in a persistant game world! Not a themepark, hold your hand, game on rails.  

Bethesda got it right and people are playing the proverbial "hell" out of this game.

Skyrim sold over 3.5 million copies in it's first 48's after its release and is virtually sold out in almost every game store you go into.  The publisher is busting their arse to get more copies out and digital downloads are still going strong.   Almost every gaming site you go to, you see one word blazened on them or in their forums, "Skyrim".   Why?  Simple.  Skyrim did almost everything right.   It's like Bethesda digitized a great  Dungeon Master from our pen-and-paper days and put him in our computers, and this DM has built us a virtual world for us to adventure in.   Bethesda did what other games designers fail to do and gave us role-players a role-playing game - imagine that.

Wingclip writes:

I totally agree, Skyrim is an awesome game. The game world is so breathtaking, beautiful and dangerous. I have played around 100hrs myself and have not even scraped the surface of the world yet.

To think of all the awesome mods that will be out soon from one of the best modding communities out there, I could easely see 100's if not 1000's of gameplay here. It would be nice if they let you online play with 4 or more players. Who knows maybe thats down the road.



Sun Nov 27 2011 11:48PM Report
nolic1 writes:

I think if skyrim where an mmorpg it would toppel the gaming industry to the point they could not compete. Now I will say that hopefuly guild wars 2 will have that feeling of open endedness and not a themepark but will see it is the only mmo besides DCUO I will most likely play. Well Kingdoms of Alamar I think is what it is called by 38 studies with R.A. Salvator doing the story and history Todd Mc Farlen doing the art and Curt Schilling playing it I guess but it looks as good as Skyrim in the freedom of character choices and its a prequal to online game. Well off to feed children and then game a little hey Sis give me a call we can talk Skyrim :).

Mon Nov 28 2011 1:46PM Report
Rommie10-284 writes:

If Skyrim was multiplayer, as-is, it would fail miserably.  And not because of the game itself.  It's really really good, for all the reasons Teala and others gush over.

No, the flaw is the other PLAYERS who would share the game.  It's proven that there's enough of them who will exploit, grief, cheat, and otherwise make sure their players will "win" at the expense of everyone else.

Combine that with the reasonable activities of the "good" players, and the magical experience of the single-player game falls apart.  No more worrying about ambushing Sabrecats, as they'll be extinct within days.  The isolated mine will get destroyed and cleaned out within minutes.  If you leave townfolk attackable, you have ghost-towns in short order.  All the good things from an open-world game go PFFFFT when you have hundreds of people sharing the play area, many who are treating it as JUST A GAME and therefore don't give a **** about consequences.

There's nothing new about the problems involved.  I'd dearly love a true open-world large-scale multiplayer game experience, but the current playerbase will not allow it to happen, and companies will not spend money to prove them right.  I hate people.  There are potential solutions, but they tend to involve some technology advances that are just now starting to happen.  Soon(tm) , maybe soon...

For the moment, I'd be happy with 4-player co-op in Skyrim.


Mon Nov 28 2011 3:53PM Report
Cyberdeck7 writes:

I'm also completely addicted to Skyrim and would love to see it's style, detail, combat and absolute developer love as a MMORPG.

That said, I completely agree with Rommie10-284 above. It would fail hard - all of the little nuances we love would be subjected to cheaters, cheating sites and griefers. You'd walk out of the very first keep only to be welcomed by a bunch of kids afflicted with anti-social personality disorder.

I think the only way we'll ever get anything this special to play together would be via a private pirate server environment.

*crosses fingers*

Tue Nov 29 2011 4:01AM Report
teakbois writes:

Its possible it is because it was part of the 'older' generation, but SWG had a wonderful community that for the most part did not detract from the immersion.


I just dont think a game like skyrim attracts that type of person.  Oh sure, some will be around.  But probably not many.

Tue Nov 29 2011 11:03PM Report
dreamscaper writes:

Sadly, I think the golden era of online roleplaying in games has already passed - its name was Neverwinter Nights and it was amazing.


As the others have pointed out, you unfortunately can't have an immersive world without heavy duty policing of the players, something that a company whose goal is to make money will never do.

Fri Dec 02 2011 8:27PM Report
wootin writes:

By the way, there's nothing preventing this game from being client-host multiplayer other than Bethesda's refusal to make it so. It's one of my major peeves with them that they refuse to acknowledge the fun of co-op play in games like these, and that's why I don't own it. I want to play the game with my friends, not just at the same time.

Sat Dec 03 2011 12:21PM Report
Yamota writes:

Awesome article which pretty much sums up what kind of garbage is being produced in the MMORPG genre these days and how it has completely lost its way when a single player RPG is better than all triple A MMORPGs combined,

Hopefully an MMORPG like Skyrim will be released but it is probably just a pipe dream.

Sat Dec 03 2011 3:46PM Report
redpins writes:

Freedom to a certain extent yes, total skyrim freedom? No. There should be a do what you want, how you want with the kind of classless pick your skills system you have in skyrim. Other than the fact that crafting also gives you freedom to pick and choose options and create your own armors proves that the genre became unimaginative.

As for totally taking anyhting Skyrim level, you would need to make monster respawns, npcs can't be killed, and some regulations for instancing for key important mines and such. Why instance some areas? Because choobs would clear it out. Simple, combine Skyrim with some key features already in the mmorpg genre.

To say to a extent that this game type is the best for mmorpg, you have to wonder why soo many others make such vast amounts of sales and players for a few years before moving on. Sadly, any game that even relates currently off the rails path fails hard, unless backed by years of hype.

This does not interupt me from seeking games that come outside the standard box. Why should we be stuck grinding scrubs and instances for a set quest path? Instead let us loose with the option to do quests, and perhaps if noobs do get lost, allow them to find out on their map where the next quest givers are at. You can make it nice and open and create fludity with other features of the mmorpg genre.

I don't like the solo aspect of any games. I think that instances should force players to work together for a chance at godly rewards. The more social the game is, the more community reliant it becomes. Make sure you moderate the community to, to a extent making sure it progresses into a friendly community.

Sun Dec 04 2011 3:34AM Report
Oridi writes:

I'm not letting myself play this game.  Yet....

My friend got it when it came out and I've not seen a lot of him since.  I poke pizza slices through the mail slot of his front door and every once in a a while I call him if only to hear him mumble about having to still find a frikken mammoth tusk and why didn't he kill that mammoth when he saw it instead of running away and yeah.

I am not playing this game yet until SWTOR is out and up and running and I get disillusioned and need something to sooth the wounds.   And as for you - making Skyrim sound even more engaging and appealing than my incoherent friend... remember!  Dragon's Age is a gateway single player game and Skyrim is the crack!

Sat Dec 10 2011 1:34PM Report
FreeBooteR writes:

I think the next add-ons should be LAN and or player hosted servers. This game would be a blast with a group of friends/family. Sure it would need to be balanced, as a group would wipe out anything easily in the world because it was created for singple player.  It doesn't need to be an MMO, just playable online with typical rpg group size.

Sun Dec 18 2011 2:42PM Report
oakthornn writes:


I seriously think you really need to copy/paste this wonderful well put articulate thread and email it to every freaking MMORPG Developer you can think of!  Maybe, just maybe some will finally understand what they have been doing wrong all these years.. I personally don't want to see anymore FPS/MMORPG hybrid games!! I've written many posts regarding the same issues I believe the MMO genre has been plagued with since the release of WoW..

I want to see a true Everquest or even Ultima Online successor where I log into a truly living breathing online vitual world where my character development has limitless possibilities.. I want to feel that sense of accomplishment after completing a particular task or goal I set for my character early on.. I want to log in with a smile on my face as I contemplate exactly what I feel like doing with my game time for that day.. I'd love to play a game similar with UO's open world where everything I do is like a new beginning, fresh, fun, and interesting.

Unfortunately, DEV's today are all about making as much money as possible early on.. When people get bored within a month or two due to how hollow and small the game really is, the company doesn't really care because it's already made so much money..  Dev's have been tricking us for years by combining the fast paced FPS/ MMO hybrid games and lying to us all stating they appeal to fans of both genres.. After we play it for a while and realize the game lacks so many elements we want to see as MMORPG fans and for FPS fans, both types of gamers rant and rave over what the game is lacking for them and what the game should have implemented in it..

Sadly, I just don't think the devs really want to make an epic masterpiece that appeals to one type of gamer.. They want to combine elements of all different genres that will appeal to EVERYONE, if for only a short period of time, because they know they will succor you in and buy the game.. They don't really care if you Sub past a month or two, simply because they already made so much money from you.. When a game like TOR dies down and subs continue to decrease over a period of time, this is when the company will reduce the amount of employees for that game and have them move on to other projects to reduce costs..

It's sick and sad to see, but unfortunately things won't change if people continue to be blinded by the overall hype and lies promised... :/

Fri Jan 06 2012 2:15PM Report writes:
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