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Elder Scrolls Online

Elder Scrolls Online 

General Discussion  » [POLL] Should ESOs art style be more stylized and cartoony?

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51 posts found

Advanced Member

Joined: 6/01/09
Posts: 350

OP  9/07/13 10:20:56 AM#1

There is a new trend in MMORPG design towards more stylized and cartoony graphics. With Everquest Next and Wildstar, and to some extent also Guild Wars 2, several big titles have taken this route. Furthermore WoW was very successful with its art style for many years.  ESO is somewhat swimming against the tide with its more realistic and grittier graphics.   

There are many arguments that speak for stylized cartoony graphics especially these:

  • Stylized graphics age much better then more realistic ones. ESOs graphics might look dated after a couple of years.
  • Less realistic graphics avoid the "uncanny valley".
  • Cartoony graphics are much better for expressing emotions. Emotes will be better visible from afar.
  • WoW has reaches 11 mil subscribers with this kind of art style.  
  • Cartoony and non violent graphics appeal to all audiences and are more family friendly.

What do you think, would you like ESO to adopt this new art style too?

What do you think about ESOs art style?

The art style is perfect as it is.
I love the art style but the graphics don't look good from a technical standpoint.
I would like the art style to be even more realistic and/or darker and grittier.
I would like the art style to be a bit more colourful and stylized.
I would like the art style to be similar to Everquest Next or Wildstar.
Both kinds of art styles would look equally good for ESO.
The art style does not matter.
I would like some waffles!
(login to vote)

Elite Member

Joined: 9/16/11
Posts: 2423

9/07/13 10:33:06 AM#2

My thoughts:

If It'd only look look like art seen in either Skyrim or Morrowind. Dark n Gritty. Hell yeah! Give me Warhammer/Conan atmosphere any day of the week. And scared lil children can go watch some more saturday morning cartoons. In other words: keep your scooby doo from my Elder Scrolls/Warhammer/Conan.

Thank you!


Apprentice Member

Joined: 6/14/06
Posts: 225

9/07/13 10:38:42 AM#3
Hell no to stylized... 

Novice Member

Joined: 3/02/08
Posts: 2051

9/07/13 10:41:44 AM#4

My criteria for choosing preferred art style centers around end game and RvR.

If  the chosen graphic style means that the majority of players get bad performance during large scale RvR then they should of  gone for an art style that allowed for less polygons and rendering power needed but still looks reasonable.

Otherwise I don't really care as long as the game itself is good.


Novice Member

Joined: 5/27/13
Posts: 160

9/07/13 10:42:18 AM#5
I think it's fine as it is.

gameplay > graphics


Novice Member

Joined: 2/04/10
Posts: 260

"you are not prepared!"

9/07/13 10:43:40 AM#6

Thank god a game for all of us who want a more realistic look :)

So many cartoon like games atm, ESO is coming @ just the right time.


Advanced Member

Joined: 12/23/07
Posts: 1803

9/07/13 10:46:36 AM#7

I have no issue with stylized graphics but Elder Scrolls has it's own art style and the developers would be risking a lynching if they ever tried to go against it.

I personally think that Elder Scroll games graphic style boarders on creepy with it's uncanny valley appearance but it's a important part of what makes it a Elder Scrolls game so I wouldn't want to see it changed other to move more and more towards true realism.  


The Listener

Joined: 3/04/08
Posts: 5559

9/07/13 1:26:52 PM#8

Wildstar can do it because there is no style associated with the IP that needs to be maintained. It worked for WOW because it was consistent with their Warcraft series art style. FFXIV didn't do it because they do have a style already established that is associated with the IP. Same for ESO.


EQN is the only one that chose to create a cartoon style that is inconsistent. And it's a very weird decision that undermines all the other exciting new things they're trying to accomplish. It's not a huge deal to me and I'm still very much interested in EQN. But I'm interested despite their art style choice, not because of it. 


Elite Member

Joined: 1/06/05
Posts: 18487

9/07/13 1:32:17 PM#9

I put more gritty and realistic.

Otherwise, fine as it is would suffice. I prefer a more "realistic" art design.


Novice Member

Joined: 10/01/09
Posts: 2045

9/07/13 1:34:33 PM#10

I have absolutely no problem with ultra-stylized games like Borderlands, or WoW, or Bastion.  I've probably put more hours into games with cartoony styles than any other.  But the Elder Scrolls series has already created its own darker style and expressed it in a series of 3D open worlds that aren't at all dissimilar to the worlds of MMOs.  To change it would risk making it not feel like an ES game at all.  There's no reason to change it just because we're calling this one an MMO.  

Every game can't have the same artistic style.  

  User Deleted
9/07/13 1:36:51 PM#11
Waffles please, no point in what it should be at this point in time.

Advanced Member

Joined: 7/03/04
Posts: 3306

I liked MMOs better when gamers didn't play them, and just geeks did.

9/07/13 1:37:39 PM#12
The graphics and art style are two of the very few positives the game has going for it IMO.

Played: AA, AC1, AC2, Aion, AO, AoC, CO, CoX, DAoC, DCUO, DN, EVE, EQ1, EQ2,
ESO, FE, FFXI, FFXIV, FF, GW1, GW2, Istaria, L2, LoTRO, MO, MxO, NW, Rift, RoE,


Elite Member

Joined: 6/08/10
Posts: 2232

9/07/13 1:38:21 PM#13

I voted for slightly more colorful and stylized. I generally like the TES aethetic, but if I'm honest the games on their own look a bit drab and don't start looking amazing until player mods come out. Player aethetic mods often add stylized armors (do not read: cartoony) and more vibrant game world.

I usually go for those mods myself.


Hard Core Member

Joined: 1/18/07
Posts: 2363

9/07/13 1:46:40 PM#14
Originally posted by Iselin

EQN is the only one that chose to create a cartoon style that is inconsistent. And it's a very weird decision that undermines all the other exciting new things they're trying to accomplish. It's not a huge deal to me and I'm still very much interested in EQN. But I'm interested despite their art style choice, not because of it. 

Maybe the EQN art team is a completely different group of people (I have no idea) than who worked on their previous titles. One thing for sure though, at least for EQ2, their armor/clothing design was just terrible looking not to mention the material they assigned to the textures looked like either Blinn or Phong shader models.  It just gave it an overall plastic look.  It looks like they are trying to distance themselves for that and trying something new.  If anything, the stylized look of the characters will allow them to have more extreme and interesting looking animations all around.

"If I offended you, you needed it" -Corey Taylor


Novice Member

Joined: 4/11/06
Posts: 793

9/07/13 1:46:53 PM#15
Thing is about the MORE realistic, is its more intense on systems, and as devs are trying to attract more players, realisticly speaking, unless its a niche game, we more than likely will not see an MMO with high end realistic Graphics. as long as the color palette stays similar to The ES Series it should look fine/be fine.

Apprentice Member

Joined: 3/02/12
Posts: 178

9/07/13 1:49:16 PM#16
Originally posted by Sengi
  • Cartoony and non violent graphics appeal to all audiences and are more family friendly.

This is false. First: nothing appeals to all audiences, second: there are many people that hate cartoony graphics. Developers choose it because it's easy to make and modify. I would love SWtOR if it had ultra realistic graphic style.


The Listener

Joined: 3/04/08
Posts: 5559

9/07/13 2:01:51 PM#17
Originally posted by rodingo
Originally posted by Iselin

EQN is the only one that chose to create a cartoon style that is inconsistent. And it's a very weird decision that undermines all the other exciting new things they're trying to accomplish. It's not a huge deal to me and I'm still very much interested in EQN. But I'm interested despite their art style choice, not because of it. 

Maybe the EQN art team is a completely different group of people (I have no idea) than who worked on their previous titles. One thing for sure though, at least for EQ2, their armor/clothing design was just terrible looking not to mention the material they assigned to the textures looked like either Blinn or Phong shader models.  It just gave it an overall plastic look.  It looks like they are trying to distance themselves for that and trying something new.  If anything, the stylized look of the characters will allow them to have more extreme and interesting looking animations all around.

Regardless of their reasons it was a 180 degree change that caught many by surprise. I understand the facial expression SOEmote reasons they have cited. But their decision has steered a lot of the EQN discussion away from the innovative core gameplay features and into an endless, pointless debate about cartoon art style.

Just like with corporate logos, a decision to change the visuals that people identify with a product should never be done lightly, and only if the new look is a significant improvement over the old. I can't say that about EQN. Refining and improving their trademark look would have been a better choice.


Advanced Member

Joined: 5/13/07
Posts: 238

We are all born ignorant, but one must work hard to remain stupid.-Benjamin Franklin

9/07/13 2:02:10 PM#18
It's absolutely fine just the way it is IMO


Apprentice Member

Joined: 6/11/08
Posts: 10959

I think with my heart and move with my head.-Kongos

9/07/13 2:28:07 PM#19

I think the art style is probably fine, as long as it pulls from the same style or styles of Skyrim. That said, as long as the color palette is more than "gray", it should be fine.

I can not remember winning or losing a single debate on the internet.


Advanced Member

Joined: 5/20/06
Posts: 3111

9/07/13 3:21:11 PM#20
If this game had gone that route of WildStar, I would have quit MMO gaming altogether in ultimate dispair, realized that there are no longer MMOs geared toward adults, and completely gone back to Single Player Games which is kinda what I am doing for the moment. Though Final Fantasy isn't realistic, the artistry is so detailed and vibrant that it still appeals to me, as does Black Dessert...and even GW2 for that matter.because they all seem like the kinda art where you still want to explore to see the beautiful vistas. They just technically have the right balance with the lighting, weather effects, colors, etc. If I am an explorer in a cartoon, it just feels so juvenile to me that I just loose all interest in exploring. I totally get that many don't agree with this, but I really tried hard in Cartoon like worlds to want to explore and I just can't force myself to want to.

There Is Always Hope!

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