Tamriel Infinium: The Elder Scrolls Online predictions for 2014

Tamriel Infinium: The Elder Scrolls Online predictions for 2014
Normally, in an article like this I would attempt to predict when a given game will actually launch, but ZeniMax has already told us that The Elder Scrolls Online will release on April 4th, 2014. I guess the next question is whether I believe that it will actually launch on that date. I do because it's far too perfect from a marketing standpoint, and if history tells us anything, ZeniMax is not afraid to launch a buggy title.

However, the June release date for the console version of the game might be a bit more flexible. It's possible that it will take two to three months to convert the game from the PC/Mac version to the console version, but I think it's more likely that the PC/Mac launch will serve as a testing ground for the console release. If the PC/Mac launch works out well, then we will certainly see an early June launch for consoles, but if there are issues, don't be surprised when that release date shifts to July. Still, I do think that July would be a hard stop; anything later would likely cost ZeniMax far too much money.

I enjoy making predictions. I'm not always right, but that doesn't mean it's not fun giving it a shot. Just remember, my predictions are my personal opinions reflective of information released by ZeniMax regarding ESO. I do not have super-sight nor a dev in my pocket, so your guess could be as good as mine. In fact, after I make my predictions, I'd like to read yours in the comments.

Shifting focus
The commenters of this column have let me know -- emphatically -- that they think ESO has "failed" when it comes to the perception of the game, likely perpetuated by my article that asked whether ESO revolves around PvP. At that time much of the advertising and game systems mentioned by the developers seemed to center on PvP. Then the announcement video also featured PvP as the central trust, almost solidifying the answer to that question.

I don't want to give the impression that PvP is the only thing you can do in ESO. We know of three major storylines that you can play through. We are aware of a Mages and Fighters Guilds, with more NPC guilds hinted at. Crafting will also have a prominent role in the game. Character-building tools like becoming a werewolf or vampire have also been suggested. So why haven't we seen more of that?

I believe we will. As the game inches closer to launch, we will likely see more focus on what the average Elder Scrolls player would like to see. Although we have been following ESO for quite some time, the launch trailer is likely the first thing many people have seen. And what represents the game being an MMO more than large player battles and castle sieges? However, since the average ESO player is likely more interested in how this game will be like Skyrim, I believe ZeniMax will shift its gears slightly and begin to focus on the multiplayer-cooperative parts of the game, like dungeons.

Crafting crisis
Crafting is not my thing. When I jump into a game, I like to do missions and kill things or maybe some roleplay, but crafting is the furthest thing from my mind. However, I do believe that a game's economy is indicative not only of a game's overall health as an MMO but also of players' commitment to the game.

We know that player-run stores will exist in the PvP zone, and we also know that there will be no auction house because the developers believe that it'd be detrimental to the game as a whole. I don't necessarily agree, but I understand where they are coming from. The speculations range all over the place as to what this will mean for the economy. Many players have even said that this is the turning point for them, that it would make or break the game.

Personally, I don't believe that this will have such a huge impact on the game as a whole, and I certainly don't think it will impede sales. However, I believe that we will see multiple guilds pop up that strictly focus on selling wares. Since players can be a part of multiple guilds, we will see guilds advertise themselves as having amazing guild shops and will invite nearly everyone to that particular guild. I make this prediction now because I believe that we will start to see these guilds pop up well before the game even launches. In fact, I would not be surprised to see a guild or two like this already recruiting, so keep an eye out if economy and crafting are your thing.

More lore
Like many games with strong intellectual properties, Elder Scrolls Online relies heavily on keeping some of its storyline under wraps. Obviously, this creates a Catch-22 for the advertisers. If you give away too much information up front, then Elder Scrolls fans will have nothing to look forward to and much of the content will become stale. However, if they don't give us enough information, then we will not be enticed enough and will begin to make wild speculations about how horrible the game will be. Sound familiar?

I don't want to give the impression that ESO will be everything you ever wanted out of an online Elder Scrolls game, but I do believe the ESO marketers are holding back. I'm hoping and speculating that as we near the launch date, bigger and bigger story reveals will start to hit the interwebs. I don't know what they will be; in fact, I'm not able to make any new predictions that I'm willing to stand behind regarding the story.

I am looking forward to the reveals this year, and of course, I can't wait to play the game live. I hope that all of you waiting with bated breath get what you want out of ESO, and I also hope that this game attracts a few more people to the MMO genre. See you next week.

Tamriel Infinium Stepping into the world of The Elder Scrolls OnlineEach week, traverse the treacherous terrain of Tamriel with Larry Everett as he records his journey through The Elder Scrolls Online, an MMORPG from ZeniMax. Comments are welcome below, or send a message to larry@massively.com. He promises to keep the arrow-to-the-knee jokes to a minimum.
This article was originally published on Massively.