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Originally posted by alakram
There was a bit of a gaming news-media storm about this last year. Apparently, the registration of this domain loosely coinsided with ZeniMax Studios securing an extra US$400M in funding, which lead industry analysts to believe that the $400M in funding was to develop an Elder Scrolls MMORPG. It was later revealed that the $400M was for a variety of projects, not one single project.
However, I don't put $400M in development costs out of reach for an Elder Scrolls MMORPG. I think it would be a much more complex undertaking than something like World of Warcraft, and development costs in that range probably aren't unrealistic (Grand Theft Auto was supposed to be $100M). Although I really should qualify that statement - $400M would be an all in cost - including getting a few servers up across key locations.
And the only reason why I think that a $400M project could pay off for ZeniMax, isn't because Elder Scrolls is so frickin' awesome, but because the same online system used for it could be recycled for a Fall Out MMORPG, and then sublicensed to other companies.
Oblivion has one of the most complex single player environments I've ever witnessed. The scale and the imagination that went into it is incredible. If they managed to transfer that same creativity and scope into the MMO world, then it would be an MMO of EPIC proportions.
The fact that an NPC gets up in the morning, walks to his place of work, does work, gets paid, goes to get something to eat, goes back to work, and then returns home for a nights rest, is more detailed than alot of other games. (the best example of this is the guards in the Castle at Chorrol, there's a quest in Chorrol that really lets you see how the guards change shifts and everything).
All though it is still an 'illusion' of a fully functioning economy, it does a much better job than other games I've seen.
One of the reasons I think it has potential as an MMORPG is because the long history of the game world gives plenty of rise to player lead diplomacy between different regions of the game world. Players could rise to high levels of government and influence the actions of governments which players can then be a part of or shy away from. Furthermore, the darker forces within the game world (which players could become a part of if they choose) can always attempt to bring about the downfall of Tamriel. Players could form their own Daedric cults if they so choose.
I think it would be brilliant to see a world largely based on PvP suddenly turn to a PvE world when players unite against a PvE threat that could destroy everyone.
That leads me to another point - permanent death. I find myself constantly saving whilst playing Oblivion, and the real 'death' factor is probably what makes the game so exciting, even though I know I can just reload.
As such, I think an Elder Scrolls MMORPG would need to break the mould and have permanent death. It actually gives your decisions more meaning.
Yeah I know what people are going to say: "I don't want to work my way up to level 50 just to have my character die!"
Well that attitude is the exact problem that I think most MMORPG's suffer today. People want to be superman - they don't want to be forced to take calculated risks. They want to be able to go through hell and walk out with minimal consequences. As such, their interaction in the game world is inherently meaningless.
I first experienced The Elder Scrolls with Daggerfall. Absolutely loved that game.
I've been playing Oblivion recently and it's rekindled my love of Tamriel. Now I'm just thinking: "How awesome would a Elder Scrolls MMORPG be?"
Or should I say, how awesome COULD it be.
Surely there's millions of other people thinking along these lines?