Bethesda Softworks and ZeniMax Online just released a documentary style introduction video to their much anticipated MMORPG The Elder Scrolls Online. This 9:28 long video depicted many different aspects of the game, but the two that really stood out to me were the concepts of one massive server, and PvP combat with a huge number of players.
If you want a completely spoiler free view of the video I suggest you watch it below before reading on.
Let’s take a look at what it means to have one server where all players reside, instead of fragmenting the player population into several different instances of the game. For one, I like the idea that there will never be a time that you can’t group with one of your friends or guildmates because they are on a different server. Also, by eliminating multiple servers, you also eliminate the need for players to manage different characters on different servers, allowing the player to invest more time on a select few characters instead. This extra investment in time into each character means that more players will hit the end game, and be able to explore more of what each class/race/faction has to offer. Then finally, having one server allows the developer to have more dynamic and impactful server events because they will not need to try and factor in what affect the event will have on many different fragmented servers.
Towards the end of the video, the developers showed a massive group of players storming a castle. This looked rather exciting and a lot of fun. Now developers over the years have promised large scale PvP before, but in the end you either felt insignificant to the battle, or battles didn’t seem quite as epic as was promised. I see potential here for The Elder Scrolls Online to actually fulfill their promise, and let me tell you why. For one, like I mentioned before, the benefit of having one server is that large scale events can be executed more easily. Having the ability to shape the experience on one server over many will end with a richer experience for the player. Also, allowing players at low levels to compete with those at higher levels broadens the playing field a bit, and doesn’t allow PvP to become a veterans only activity. What I liked most was the concept of a much larger meta game with the factions. Having the abililty to fight for your faction and then get to see your faction become the empire that it deserves to be has the potential to be extremely rewarding for the player, especially the player that is crowned emperor.
Ok enough is enough. Here is the trailer: