The Wrong Direction

According to this video, source RPS, it looks like The Elder Scrolls Online folks are aiming at making their MMORPG a single player experience. Or at least they’ll be making the main storyline a single player experience.

Now I’ve said before that I think that MMORPGs should allow solo play, or at least not force players into grouping, and I stand by that. There are tons of great reasons to be able to play solo. But there is a trend in the latest MMOs, SWTOR for instance, to encourage players not to group… at all.

It’s funny, kind of ironic, in that the systems I’ve wanted to see in these games such as great stories are now being implemented at the expense of the other game systems that I still like.

One of the problems I have with forced grouping is that it is often a painful experience, usually when grouping with strangers. (Using Diablo 2 as an example, the 2 times I played with a stranger put me off Diablo multiplayer for life.) But I don’t want the MMORPG to go down the path where it is simply a single player game with a multiplayer component, like Diablo 3. That is the wrong direction. Completely.

What I would prefer is to have incentives for grouping that outweigh the downsides. You’ll never get rid of idiots who want to spoil the game, but hugely antiquated (and dumb) ways of assigning XP, or loot, need to be looked at.

Don’t make the player into a stand-alone hero. Make her into a member of a virtual world, provide the tools to shape her own story, and stand back and see what happens.



  1. Joseph

    Hey good post! I see that trend happening a lot in MMOs lately as well. One thing that I notice is that when I play LOTRO recently, a lot of the main story quests are solo only, and it gets kind of frustrating.

    I think the reason why TESO should strive for at least some soloability more than other MMOs is the fact that players are used to that single player experience. It seems as though they are trying hard to keep that feel, but add in the multiplayer element and making that a huge part of the game. Take the inclusion of public dungeons for example. A game that was going to be solo heavy would just have individual instanced dungeons. Zenimax is trying to push players to group, and group with just anyone. They also have to keep in mind the single player experience that has been great in the previous games and how to translate that into the MMO. Should be interesting to see it unfold.

    1. Stropp (Post author)

      Hi Joseph, thanks for commenting.

      I think the reason why TESO should strive for at least some soloability more than other MMOs is the fact that players are used to that single player experience.

      I’m not sure that is really a good reason for soloability, in itself. Reason being that they are making a MMO, not an online single/multiplayer game like Diablo 3. As I said I want soloability but not at the expense of the virtual world feel.

      But at the same time, I’m not sure it’s possible to truely replicate that single player feeling of heroism in a MMO. Single player games and massively multiplayer games are two completely different beasts and many of the game systems are not cross compatible. Which I think is where the disconnect in MMO’s resides.

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