Going to do things a little differently today. While not a formal 'story of the day', the news of the day was really all the press reactions we've seen for the Elder Scrolls Online, and so far, it's not looking too hot. Bill and I talked about this briefly in the morning and it had me wondering if those of us in the press will end up killing this game before it even comes out.
I like Elder Scrolls Online, so far. I also liked Star Wars: The Old Republic, so maybe I'm just crazy, but I seem to like the games that everyone else loves to hate. Not on purpose, of course, it's just how it seems to be shaking out. It's not that I don't see any truth in the criticism I'm seeing for ESO coming out of the press, but I also think, like SWTOR, it's a bit overblown.
Just as it was with SWTOR, I feel a lot of this may have to do with expectations. Maybe I just set my expectations more appropriately, but I never expected ESO to be a better Elder Scrolls game than a singleplayer ES, the same way I never expected SWTOR to be a better KOTOR game. Compromises have to be made when you're trying to be true to your pedigree and also create an MMO at the same time. And with both games, it shows. But I also don't think these compromises make for as poor of an experience as some of the previews would lead you to think it is.
I'm getting this sense that ESO is going to be the press' punching bag over the next two months, even though games like Skyrim, which I enjoyed, but found flawed in comparison to Oblivion (which wasn't without flaws itself), were given rave reviews and exhibited many of the issues that ESO also has. Surprise, surprise, Elder Scrolls Online is an Elder Scrolls game and features many of the same issues that have plagued the series. I simply feel that these issues are being weighed disproportionally with the MMO when compared to how the singleplayer games were received in the press.
I don't think The Elder Scrolls Online is the best game ever, not by a long shot, but I can't help but get this feeling that people aren't giving it a proper chance. As Bill explained in his piece today, it seems to take a little bit of time to grab you, which if true, is definitely a failure on ZOS' part. The first hour, or heck, the first five minutes of gameplay in an MMO are crucial. Still, if you're playing this weekend and aren't really feeling it on the starter island, but you were hoping you'd like it, try giving it some more time to grow on you.
In any case, if this sentiment both from the press and fans carries on through launch, well, it's pretty easy to see where things will go. That box price and subscription fee weren't really doing ZOS any favors before and anything less than absolutely stellar is going to make what is already a very hard sell nigh impossible come launch.