Monday, February 3, 2014

[NEWS] No Imperials for you, unless you pre-order "The Elder Scrolls: Online"

I'll skip the intros and clever commentary. The upcoming "The Elder Scrolls: Online" is a disaster waiting to happen. A game that has no reason to exist outside of the fact that ZeniMax wanted to cash in on the series' popularity, against developer Bethesda's wishes at that and without their involvement, from the get-go we know we're getting a conventional fantasy-MMORPG with some loose connection to the TES mythology.

Impressions from the closed beta testers seem to reinforce that notion and the trailers definitely don't help. Gameplay videos show a GUI that resembles that of "TES V: Skyrim", but the more I watched, the more it seemed like the game was trying too hard to pretend it's something that it really, really isn't. Even the latest, eight-minute-long CGI trailer doesn't taste like "The Elder Scrolls" in the slightest.

Then they go and establish a monthly $15-subscription model, while launching the game full-price. Par for the course, sure, but it's a rotten practice nonetheless. From where I stand either go free-to-play and provide incentive for a subscription, or use the model, but launch the game at a far lower price.

Or, better yet, use the model entirely but drop the pretence. Charge 7 bucks for the subscription, instead of the ridiculous 15 USD that Blizzard established with "World of Warcraft" and it's most certainly not needed for maintenance costs.

So what did they do this time? Well, they only locked the ENTIRE Imperial race behind a paywall. If you want to play as an Imperial, you better pre-order the game now.

You. Dicks!

Look, pre-order bonuses are the de facto practice for every game these days. I think it's a shitty practice, but I get it; offer meaningless perks to secure some sales before word-of-mouth gets around, motherfucking fine.

But locking out an entire race on an MMORPG? Even if the Imperials suck and nobody ever plays as one, it's still a dick-move. The Imperials aren't some obscure race like the Falmer that could have potentially been a bonus. They're a major player in The Elder Scrolls Saga.

Here's your big problem, ZeniMax. This project is ill-advised. It has no reason to exist and you know you can't expect much buzz beside the name. Worse, because you went about it in all the wrong ways, even die-hard fans of the series don't seem in the least bit interested, because everything points to the game being yet another typical fantasy-MMORPG.

They will probably try it out at some point in time, that much you know, but certain sales while the game's still going full-price? You know you may have lost that chance. So you need to extort the loyalty you had originally hoped for by breaking your entire game and hiding a major race behind a paywall.

No and fuck you. 

Developers on the MMO scene should really get this through their thick skulls: if a customer pays for the game and a subscription, they should have access to the full game. Sony with DCUO, Cryptic/PWE with Champions Online, all of you are morally obligated to grant full access to the game for your paying customers. Any pre-ordering bonuses of this calibre, or added micro-transactions in titles that aren't free-to-play are an ethically deplorable practice that needs to fucking die.

I wasn't going to touch TES:O with a ten-foot-pole to boot, but it's my personal opinion nobody else should either. The MMORPG scene isn't exactly starving and if you're going to be made to deal with extra costs and underwhelming products, there are far too many games out there that will ask you to invest a hell of a lot less for roughly the same benefits.

 TES:O "Arrival" Trailer

PS: The races in this game are reportedly divided into the different factions. How can this paywall business not cause at least some problems with that?

PS2: Notice how they promote the game in the site: "The latest chapter in the award-winning TES series". It's not the latest chapter, this is NOT "The Elder Scrolls VI" and you should NOT be taken for a ride by their desperate bullshit. 

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