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Elder Scrolls Online Story "100% Solo," Says Firor

By - Source: Eurogamer | B 31 comments

The Elder Scrolls Online will be designed to make each player the hero of the overall story.

In a video interview with Game Informer, The Elder Scrolls Online game director Matt Firor said that the main storyline will be 100-percent solo. After all, in the Elder Scrolls universe, the player is always the hero whether he/she wants to be or not. That's not going to change for the MMOG.

"You go out there and you kill the dragons," he describes. "You kill Mehrunes Dagon in Oblivion. In Morrowind, you're up there fighting the Tribunal - those are huge, global, epic things that you don't want to stand in line to do in an MMO. The last thing you want to do is have the final confrontation with Mehrunes Dagon as he's stomping across the Imperial City, and you see like 15 guys behind you waiting to kill him because they're on the same quest."

The team of 250 at Zenimax Online wants the player to feel awesome, that he or she is the hero. "We do that through a mix of technology, where when I am confronting a major foe in the game, I'm doing it in an instance where I am alone," he added. "And we have a whole part of the game that is 100 per cent solo," he said, "which is the main story, where the world focuses on you - you are the hero, everything you do is solo and the world reacts to you that way."

Fans of the franchise have criticized the team for straying away from the "dirty realism" seen with the single-player chapters, to a cleaner, cartoon-exaggerated design. Firor welcomes the criticism, stating that a healthy community is one that's passionate about what a developer is creating. These are the people he wants playing in the MMO because they'll have the most invested on a personal level.

Firor knows all about the MMO community. He helmed the production of Mythic's Dark Age of Camelot MMO which launched back in 2001 as an answer to EverQuest.

"Having been in MMOs for a very long time, I know and understand that community very well," he said. "And that is a very vocal community - a lot of the time vocal critics of what you're doing. But those people who take the time to pick your game apart, and sometimes they tell you things that you didn't know was wrong with the game - those are the people you want playing your game, because they're the people most invested in your game, because they care enough about it to complain."

"The worst situation for a game community to be in is where no one posts on the boards because they don't care," he added.

To see the video interview, head here.

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  • 14 Hide
    twelch82 , May 20, 2012 12:27 AM
    MMOs are not supposed to even have stories built in. They are supposed to have game mechanics that lend themselves to storylines developing as a result of playing the game. Instead of needing to write in a villain, let one of the millions of people out there who enjoy committing villainous acts in an MMO fill the role.

    For the MMO genre to grow, it needs to move past the likes of WoW, EQ, and Lineage, and take advantage of the fact that you have millions of players, instead of the other players being treated like a stumbling block to get over in the delivery of a single-player oriented story.
  • 13 Hide
    jkflipflop98 , May 20, 2012 1:26 AM
    Then why even bother?

    We wanted Skyrim with a friend - not this EQ clone crap.
Other Comments
  • 8 Hide
    Hellbound , May 20, 2012 12:18 AM
    Somewhat the same approach SWTOR took.. I've already canceled my account for that game. I want an MMO, something that requires communal effort. Where a guild has purpose, and a united cause. Something with a thriving player made economy.

    SWTOR is basically a great single player MMO, with a wonderful 4 man co-op system. Guilds are irrelevant, world pvp irrelevant. Now I fear ESO will end up the same..
  • 2 Hide
    xerroz , May 20, 2012 12:23 AM
    From the second half of the interview it sounds like they will still embrace he exploration aspect of TES games. And the questing system sounds like it won't be like that of WoW or most MMOs where going into towns or cities is pretty much an obligation because it's where you pick up quests. Still not quite sure about the game but I'm definitely more curious after this.
  • 14 Hide
    twelch82 , May 20, 2012 12:27 AM
    MMOs are not supposed to even have stories built in. They are supposed to have game mechanics that lend themselves to storylines developing as a result of playing the game. Instead of needing to write in a villain, let one of the millions of people out there who enjoy committing villainous acts in an MMO fill the role.

    For the MMO genre to grow, it needs to move past the likes of WoW, EQ, and Lineage, and take advantage of the fact that you have millions of players, instead of the other players being treated like a stumbling block to get over in the delivery of a single-player oriented story.
  • 5 Hide
    Anonymous , May 20, 2012 12:55 AM
    Lets hope GW2 gets it right, looking good so far :) 
  • 2 Hide
    Murissokah , May 20, 2012 12:58 AM
    Massive single-player FTW!
  • 13 Hide
    jkflipflop98 , May 20, 2012 1:26 AM
    Then why even bother?

    We wanted Skyrim with a friend - not this EQ clone crap.
  • 4 Hide
    aoneone , May 20, 2012 1:29 AM
    Everquest 1? Genius! Dark age of Camelot? Brilliant!
    Elder Scrolls Online?? Hopeful...
  • 2 Hide
    UmeNNis , May 20, 2012 1:53 AM
    twelch82MMOs are not supposed to even have stories built in. They are supposed to have game mechanics that lend themselves to storylines developing as a result of playing the game. Instead of needing to write in a villain, let one of the millions of people out there who enjoy committing villainous acts in an MMO fill the role.For the MMO genre to grow, it needs to move past the likes of WoW, EQ, and Lineage, and take advantage of the fact that you have millions of players, instead of the other players being treated like a stumbling block to get over in the delivery of a single-player oriented story.

    Eve Online. 'nuff said.
  • 6 Hide
    bak0n , May 20, 2012 1:53 AM
    This is what's called
    "how can we milk the most amount of money out of people that play single player games".

    There's a lot more profit to build a virtual world with a locked storyline and charge a month fee + original purchase price than to sell a product one time.

    I'm going to go back to playing Master of Orion and Star Control now. kkthx.
  • 3 Hide
    alidan , May 20, 2012 2:53 AM
    for me an mmo needs to be soloable if you have the skill.
    everquest 1, once it took that approach, became one of my favorite games, because if the content isnt soloable, you can end up looking for a group for 6+ hours. yea it gets boreing, but thats what group play is for... outside of a raid, its fun to play in a group of people, not required.
    once you get to the raid level, you sould be able to solo things, or at least almost solo things, if you have the skill, another thing everquest did right, after a while they made an easy mode, and a hard mode, where the only difference was quality of loot and how many players you can bring with you,

    once you get to the end game, that should never be soloable within 2 expantions, if at all ever.

    now, some people want multiplayer to be required for an mmo, but i have seen how crappy games get because they force multiplayer. the way you have legs is allow solo play and advancement, while allowing people to group for fun. the first mmo that does it right from the get go will take the mmo crown away from wow and may take my nostalgia away from everquest.
  • 0 Hide
    bigdragon , May 20, 2012 3:19 AM
    What is the point of making it an MMO if it's just going to have a solo quest? It should be a single player game then. Stop trying to cash in on WoW's success with the latest and greatest idea. Creating a solo MMO is not going to get me to buy. Creating yet another dragon-slaying game is not going to get me to buy. Zenimax needs to learn to push things forward, to do new things that raise the bar for competitors. I'm tired of companies aiming for some subset of features provided in a game like WoW and then complaining about the games market when their project ultimately fails for not being up to par.
  • 0 Hide
    beoza , May 20, 2012 4:01 AM
    I agree with a lot of you, you need to push things, stop trying to be like WoW, or games that came before. There are great solo games like Skyrim and The Witcher 2, take aspects of these types of games, and make them MMO’s. You don’t need a main villain, although you could, you really just need a back story about the region, or world you are in, give each class or race an overall back story that ties into things. Allow the player to have a high degree of customization. Don’t force groups, allow the player to solo stuff, while keeping group play optional, make guilds actually useful, like in guild wars, where you can attack another’s guild (not sure if this was in a game before GW). There are lots that can be done to advance the MMO universe. Just if you dumb it down too much you lose players, see WoW and its “sparkly” quest items. Give people the ability to change the difficulty of an instance, not just when you reach a certain level or acquire a key or something else.

    If you say you listen to the community then how about actually listening to community, ask their input for what they would like to see in a future MMO. How about actually letting those in the community help design your next great MMO. Have a contest, have people submit their ideas, and choose the top 5 or 10, then let people vote on those, the winner gets put in the game somewhere, and or other goodies. Market research is good, but just trying to compete with what’s come before, or relying on past glories doesn’t cut it. Face it people want something new that doesn’t just break the mold they want something that shatters it into millions of tiny little pieces!
  • 0 Hide
    alidan , May 20, 2012 4:55 AM
    bigdragonWhat is the point of making it an MMO if it's just going to have a solo quest? It should be a single player game then. Stop trying to cash in on WoW's success with the latest and greatest idea. Creating a solo MMO is not going to get me to buy. Creating yet another dragon-slaying game is not going to get me to buy. Zenimax needs to learn to push things forward, to do new things that raise the bar for competitors. I'm tired of companies aiming for some subset of features provided in a game like WoW and then complaining about the games market when their project ultimately fails for not being up to par.


    really, if they put some real weight to the combat, and make hits count... this could be the first mmo i play for the pvp... but they wont, you know it...

    what they would need to do is make the game less about the individual player, and more about the worlds situations. events will happen nomater what and it isnt player controled, its time... if they made a story that would play out over a 3-6 month period of time, and make major events winnable by either side, and change the shape of the world... could be an excelent game, but they wont, as i doubt anyone but an indi company would bet on a new prospect of game play.

  • 0 Hide
    borden5 , May 20, 2012 5:13 AM
    so mmo skyrim is almost same as skyrim, sound good .....
  • 0 Hide
    killerclick , May 20, 2012 5:52 AM
    I want single player Fallout 4 and TES VI. Not MMOs, not with a friend, just me me me me me and no one else.
  • 6 Hide
    Pinhedd , May 20, 2012 6:12 AM
    UmeNNisEve Online. 'nuff said.


    Eve Online is not a game, it is a chore
  • 2 Hide
    ET3D , May 20, 2012 6:54 AM
    Sounds very nice to me. I really like the idea that I can play solo and can just help other players along the way, instead of formally group. As a casual player I find that I often stick to pure single player, because grouping is a form of commitment (takes time to arrange, not comfortable dropping out), so having both an Elder Scrolls single player experience and the ability to play with others without a problem would be cool. This kind of experience was what made City of Heroes quite fun for me.
  • 0 Hide
    mcvf , May 20, 2012 10:34 AM
    I think their director got it wrong. Here is what makes people worry:

    "Having been in MMOs for a very long time, I know and understand that community very well, ..."

    But, TES community is not MMO community at all!
  • 2 Hide
    ET3D , May 20, 2012 11:13 AM
    Quote:
    I think their director got it wrong. Here is what makes people worry:

    "Having been in MMOs for a very long time, I know and understand that community very well, ..."

    But, TES community is not MMO community at all!


    Which is exactly why it's clear he got it right. TES is about the solo quests and the exploration, and that was clearly addressed.
  • -1 Hide
    upgrade_1977 , May 20, 2012 4:26 PM
    The point of an MMO is to be able to play with other people...
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