Ever since the announcement of The Elder Scrolls Online many long time fans of the series have expressed their disappointment with the move towards an MMO title. You can’t blame them, especially with the increase in poorly planned and managed MMOs that have plagued the market in recent years. However, they didn’t let the developers of ESO properly explain themselves, us ES fans should really give them a chance.
Earlier this year the Elder Scrolls Online team released a video walk-through containing landscapes, cities and dungeons going to be featured in the initial ESO release (check out the video at the bottom of this post). This fly-through sparked more controversy as many viewers pegged the upcoming title as a WoW-Clone due to what appears to be a “cartoonish” design style. If you pay attention in the video, you’ll see that this couldn’t be further from the truth; take a look at the Skyrim and Morrowind landscapes – they’re full of rough natural details. Agreeably the style is not the exact same as recent Elder Scrolls titles but design changes are necessary when designing an online title.
In the video you’ll also notice the lore-friendly architecture, it does not vary from past titles and ends up looking spectacular. The fly-through includes shots of Nordic, Dunmer, High Elf, and Imperial architecture accompanied by rich details including pipes, ivy and even smoke from the chimnies. On top of that you’ll also notice the landscapes, from the harsh winter forests of Skyrim to the swamps of the Bitter Coast in Morrowind (including a Netch) – the ESO development team didn’t leave any detail behind following in true Elder Scrolls form. The details are what makes the Elder Scrolls style, from forks and plates to candle sticks and pieces of parchment the details make the magic.
Of course, the details aren’t everything, adventure and well-written lore are the back bones of the ES series. The ESO fly-through gives us a glimpse of some of the adventures we can embark on. The video shows Dwemer, Ayleid and even Daedric ruins plagued with unsightly creatures of past Elder Scrolls titles, almost as if ESO is the game we’ve been playing for years. If you pay attention you’ll also notice what looks like an Oblivion gate, something many of us thought we would never see again.
These are all things that the Elder Scrolls series is known for and the ESO development team has made sure they focus on. Sure the graphics aren’t the exact same as the past titles, but that’s ok because the graphics have never been the determining factor of The Elder Scrolls series. What matters is that the ESO team takes the time to fit with the lore, place the minor details and write a thrilling story-line.