One thing you can say about the last year or so: it hasn't been kind to the MMO genre. Star Wars: The Old Republic started the trend, which has continued with troubles around Lord of the Rings Online and Guild Wars 2 and Rift, and the collapse of Kingdoms of Amalur before it could get launched properly. Smaller MMOs have also been struggling a bit. So it hasn't exactly been a friendly environment in which to launch an MMO lately. Hell, it can be argued that the last year has put a damper on MMO development in general.
Certainly, Bungee is off working on Destiny, but that's been pushed to 2014. Chris Roberts is still sending weekly updates on Star Citizen, but that won't be out this year either. Which leaves only the small possibility that Neverwinter or The Elder Scrolls Online will be launched before the year is out. The former is moving into open beta, the latter into closed beta. As we roll closer to E3, it's likely that we're going to hear a lot about both titles.
Neither of these games is any danger whatsoever to EVE Online.
Now obviously, the latter game is the one I'm more excited about. The initial ESO trailer did very little for me. As a matter of fact, my initial reaction to it was "are you going to have any Elder Scrolls in your Elder Scrolls game?" But during the roll-up to E3 we're seeing more interviews with Bethesda Softworks developers and producers, and more game-play footage. And I'm pleased to say that the new stuff is getting the atmosphere a lot closer to the games I remember.
Will it be any good? It has the chance. That said, it's looking more and more like we're going to get another World of Warcraft or GW2 clone, which is a shame. Four- and 24-character instances, a theme park opening story, and the other information being revealed this week makes me... well, it makes me sad. I knew that ESO wasn't going to be an open world sandbox style game like EVE... there have never been any promises made by Bethesda that anything like that was on the horizon. Still, Tamriel has always felt so open to me anyway that I think I was projecting more of my hopes onto it than would ever be reality.
Given my commitments right now, it's probably for the best that I haven't been selected for the closed beta so far.
And beyond that, there's a reason it hasn't appeared in the list of upcoming MMOs I want to play off to the right yet. I've played a couple of WoW clones already, and I've got very little interest in starting another. And I can't believe I just said that about an Elder Scrolls game of all things. I've been an ES fan all the way back to Daggerfall.
Still, the new game-play videos do look pretty damn nice, and it's particularly nice to see a lot of the old races, environments, and special effects back in a big way. In much the same way that SWTOR was sold as "The Old Republic three, four, and five", I might have to devote a few hours to this one just to immerse myself in this world that I've been playing in for... wow... almost 20 years now. Yeah, I think I owe the guys at Bethesda that much.
But there's a bit of a damper on my enthusiasm, if you know what I mean... Anyone else feeling this? Or is this game even on your radar?