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The List: Five Reasons Skyrim Should be an MMO

Columns By William Murphy on November 14, 2011

Five Reasons Skyrim Should be an MMO

I know, I know. Why on earth would I want to ruin a perfectly prime example of single-player RPG goodness?

Trust me, that’s not what I’m saying. But like Oblivion before it, The Elder Scrolls: Skyrim just reeks of fantastic ideas for a sandbox MMORPG. Todd Howard has outright said he’s not interested in a TES MMO and so maybe that means all your fears of Elder Scrolls being ruined by other people can be laid to rest. Maybe it just means that Todd Howard doesn’t want to do one, while the rest of Bethesda does. I don’t claim to know these things; I just like to pontificate about them.  All that said, consider today’s List not an exercise in how I think there should be an MMO based on Skyrim, but why it would be cool to have that world brought to life with other people.  Let’s get down to business shall we?


5.) Better than MMO Crafting

And it’s actually better than in most online games. Alchemy in Skyrim (and older TES games) lets you mix and match dozens of different ingredients from throughout the world to make potions that do everything from hurt the player to making his skin as hard as rocks.  When you kill beaSts, you don’t just get some random skin that can be used on any sort of leather. You have to truly keep your eyes peeled for mineral nodes. You can experiment with enchants to create a really powerful addition to any weapon or piece of armor you own. In fact the whole thing promotes exploration and experimentation, just like a good sandbox should.

4.) Housing and Businesses

Remember how we always want to own our own houses, but too few games seem willing to give us our own home? Well, not a problem in Skyrim. You can get a house rather early on in your adventures, and more become available throughout the game. You can also sponsor businesses and take part in their trade in some small way. Imagine applying that to an MMO. Our, your friend needs help getting his blacksmith off the ground? Just give him a loan for a 20% stake and bring in the profits as he makes them.

3.) No Classes, Just Choices

One of the most brilliant parts of any Elder Scrolls game is its skill system. Skyrim levels up the powers and abilities you actually use. None of this: “I want to be a warrior, so I just am” stuff.  If you don’t use heavy armor and wield a two-handed sword you won’t be good at either. My main save in Skyrim has me dual-wielding destruction magic as a Nord and I wouldn’t have it any other way… despite how Nords cringe at magic more often than not. Everyone can do everything in Skyrim, but you only get good at doing certain things by actually using them in the situations they’re intended for.

2.) Crime and Punishment

Another simply awesome feature of The Elder Scrolls series has been its bounty system. Though it’s much smarter in Skyrim than it was in Morrowind and Oblivion, there are still some kinks to be worked out. How can someone I’ve pick-pocketed while they’re asleep know it was me and send guards after me the next day? Hmm? Anyway, this kind of system is absolutely ripe for placing into an open-world MMORPG. Add in the ability to place bounties on players who actually commit a crime (have it handled by the system who gets a bounty, not arbitrarily by the players) and you have the makings of the Wild West come Medieval Times.

1.) Because I Want It

Do I really need a better reason? I mean, fine. I get it. I’m with you. The Elder Scrolls is meant to be one of the greatest bastions of single-player gaming. That’s fine, then. Don’t change it. Just take all of the great aspects of gaming in Skyrim and apply them to a different IP. Give us factional warfare, deep and experimental crafting, a political system, law and order, and endless choices as to what kind of hero we want to be. Take the focus off of the “big bad threat” and instead just let us live in the world and create our own adventure.  It would be like the second coming of Ultima Online, and I’d be there from the start.

William Murphy / Bill is the Managing Editor of, and lover of all things gaming. He''s been playing and writing about MMOs and geekery since 2002. Be sure to follow him on Twitter for all of his pointless rambling.