When a game’s payment model shifts, as happened last week with The Elder Scrolls Online becoming the latest game to undergo such a change, there’s always a pattern. The conversation almost always turns to the concept of value in comments flung around the internet like “That game wasn’t worth $15 a month” and “The game wasn’t worth a subscription”.
So here we are, as reported earlier, The Elder Scrolls Online will be rebranded as he Elder Scrolls Online: Tamriel Unlimited as of March 17th on PC, with the console versions released in June under the same format. Buying the game will allow access to the full content released before the rebranding, and “downloadable content” will be included with the now optional subscription.
I’ve spent a good number of hours in Dragon Age: Inquisition since that game’s release. By now, many players have gotten enough of a taste to criticize some of the game’s flaws. By far, some of the more prevalent criticism is in how the game’s vast, open areas, and sidequest types make it feel like an MMO. Contrast that to how many MMO players feel like MMOs have now veered over and feel too much like single player games.
Recently, some players of The Elder Scrolls Online noticed that Zenimax had quietly removed the option to subscribe for six months at a time. Given the game’s somewhat rocky start and time spent since release revamping the game, as well as the upcoming console versions, naturally, the whispers began to swirl. Was the removal of the six-month option an indicator that the game would go free to play or even become a buy to play game?
When people talk about their experiences gaming online, especially in MMORPGs, it can often feel overwhelmingly negative. It’s not uncommon to hear that MMOs are irrelevant, too expensive, cash grabs, superficial, and at worst, have ‘communities’ in name only, full of either apathy or trolling. Take your pick. Yet, while the genre has seen shifts over time, there is still something about MMORPGs that remains unique, and brings out the best in online community.
The Elder Scrolls Online team has been active with reveals in recent weeks, due to how much will be changing in update 6, which itself is just the beginning for subsequent phases of changes, additions, and overhauls. So it’s not surprising that the year closes out with (finally!) details about the Champion system. While no one will get a taste of the actual update until it hits the PTS after the new year, there’s already much feedback and discussion to tide us all over until January and beyond.
Just over a year ago, in December of 2013, a little game known as DayZ was released to the public on Steam Early Access. Just last week, an anniversary notice, video, and a 2015 roadmap were released to show where the game has been and indicate where it is going. Along with that came an update to the experimental build. Altogether, the game has sold 2,830,000 copies as of December 16th, 2014.
The world is about to get a whole lot more dangerous for those of you tempted by swiping shinies and causing mayhem in Tamriel. Zenimax revealed much about The Elder Scrolls Online's long-awaited Justice System, giving details not just on how it will work for players who decide to take things that don't belong to them, but also how the very game world will continue to see changes.
It’s a very common sentiment to hear from people that they want more complex, hardcore MMOs. This is something that even though the age of the hardcore, demanding MMO, where things took forever to happen, where fast travel wasn’t happening, and where lines built up around other players or in-game areas for buffs or completion, is mostly locked in player nostalgia these days.
The Secret World issue 10: Nightmare in the Dream Palace is live, and we recently had the chance to run around the other side of Tokyo in a look at the brand new content. When we last left issue 9, there had been a huge explosion that conveniently reduced the quarantine wall that had been blocking off one side of Tokyo from the other, to more of an inconvenience than an obstacle. Issue 9 worked to lay down the foundations of new systems and new strategies, specifically having to do with Aegis.
With Thanksgiving here in the US this week, it is probably a good time to talk about food. Namely, the long-awaited Provisioning overhaul that is set to arrive in update 6 of The Elder Scrolls Online. The changes to crafting in the game continue, but Provisioning will not just intend to increase immersion in the game world, but help players with management as well.
With the announcement of games like Grass Simulator, and I Am Bread, it seemed like the horse that is the quirky, physics-based simulator game was about to be getting its proverbial execution and subsequent beating. Yet, Coffee Stain Studios, developer of Goat Simulator, unleashed Goat MMO Simulator update upon gamers last week, showing that you can invigorate a game in an unexpected way. The best part may also be that it’s free DLC for the original game’s owners.
WildStar is going through a time of transition. There’s no way around it. Server populations have been on the decline. Key Carbine team members like Jeremy Gaffney, Chris Lynch, and Stephan Frost left for various reasons and that was before NC Soft let roughly 70 people go. The update timeline was officially stretched. About a month ago, the Shade’s Eve Halloween event and the Christmas event, Winterfest, would not be held at all. Megaservers were announced and implemented.
Timing is everything. The last time in this space, I wrote about The Elder Scrolls Online rebounding from mistakes and negative first impressions moving forward. Since that was published, a major error happened with the latest round of patching, causing discrepancies between what was supposed to be included and what actually made it to the live server, as well as additional bugs, and, for a time, major login errors.
A recent column on this site argued that the critical reception for Destiny wasn’t relevant since the game’s sales were high. Yet, developers want to foster a reputation for quality as well. ZeniMax, too, suffered from mixed critical feedback before ESO was released, and in the weeks after launch. Yet ZeniMax embraced the feedback of its community, and now, with a big update set for the live server, is at six months and thriving out there.