One of Elder Scrolls Online’s most undersold features so far has got to be its level of social-connectedness. As we were told at the press event this past fall, Zenimax Online Studios seeks to make ESO the MMORPG genre’s most “socially connected” game ever. Now, that’s really just a buzzword for saying “it’s going to interact with Facebook and Twitter”. But really, the connection to those two social networks, along with others such as Google+, will likely drive ESO into being one of the first MMOs that you can feel a part of even when you’re not at your PC or laptop. Like it or not, Facebook and Twitter and its ilk aren’t going anywhere, and should you choose to take part Elder Scrolls Online will offer a lot of extra outside-the-game interactivity for those who haunt the social networks.
Back in our series of previews to come out from the event, we talked about the Social Integration and Mega-Servers. Here’s what I wrote about it back then:
“...Matt Firor took the stage again to tell us about how ESO will be the most socially connected MMO ever. Facebook, Twitter, Google+… they’ll all be seamlessly integrated into the game from the start. You can import all your friends, circles, followers into the game directly. You can even make a Guild Page on Facebook prior to launch, have your friends join it, have guild members join it, and then import it directly into ESO. Boom, instant guild. Matt claims they ZOS knows that people now have friends everywhere, from every walk of life. They don’t want to make you manage yet another social network. Instead they believe that Elder Scrolls will benefit by making itself as socially connected to the existing networks as possible.”
Think about that for a second. Gone is the need for Guild Portal or any number of guild-related sites. You can simply start a Guild Page on Facebook and import the entire thing into ESO. You could conceivably tie a FB calendar in and manage guild events this way. You can and will make friends in the game. But instead of having to go through and track all your friends down in ESO, you could simply connect the game to your various social networks and it’ll add those folks playing ESO to your in-game friend list. I know not everyone uses tools like Facebook or Twitter, but for those of us who do... this is pretty damned awesome.
You’ll also likely be able to post status updates, achievements, screenshots, videos... all from within the game to your FB, G+, and Twitter pages. Rift has done this to some extent, but ESO plans on making the social frame of their UI completely integrated with these networking tools. You can go private, so no one knows you’re online, but when you need to find someone to play with and you want it to be someone you know this will come in very handy.
I also think it could very well help people feel connected to the game even when they’re not able to log into Tamriel. We heard lots of talk about GW2’s own mobile app before it launched, but we’re still waiting for that. What this sort of connection can do for ESO is keep you tied to your guild through Facebook, Google+ (arguably much better for managing a guild due to its groups), and Twitter. You can chat with people using these tools, see what people are up to, and in general plan for your evening online without even having to be connected to the game. It’s almost a “duh” kind of addition. Rift did it a little bit, but ESO is taking it further and by making it more well-rounded in its inclusion, Zenimax is making it a far more heavy community-oriented tool.
What about you, what sort of uses do you see for this social network integration? Will you use it? If so, what would you like to see included? Let us know in the comments!