Monday Morning Quarterback: MMO Style


The up and down saga of the Elder Scrolls Online (ESO) continues. Since its release last spring with bold new features such as the introduction of a multiplayer driven storyline, a dynamic new world, and loads of new content, the days since the much hyped launch have generally been a series of setbacks, delays, and disappointments.

All of this culminated recently when Zenimax Online Studios, the parent of game developer Bethesda, announced massive layoffs on the ESO team. Though the stated reasons was that it was just a normal product of post launch pruning, the lingering delays blocking the release of ESO on consoles is no doubt a symptom and a contributor to the overall poor health of the game.

To get an idea of how quickly the window of opportunity opens and closes in the massive multi-player online (MMO) gaming world is, one need look no further than ESOs recent past. While the beta testing went well for the game on PC, which led to capturing the number one selling PC game with estimates of selling just over one million copies in upon launch April 2014. Quickly thereafter talk of the game subsided before it re-entered public debate for the wrong reason—a delay. The one-two punch of the April release on PC and the June release on consuls was never realized.

Instead, a six month delay was announced, and soon thereafter Blizzard released their popular PC game, Diablo III (DIII) on console and ESO’s took its place in the backseat of discussion.

Meanwhile, Blizzards behemoth World of Warcraft (WoW) was making news all over the place as more and more information was released about the November launch of the game’s fifth expansions patch Warlords of Draenor, and as if that was not enough, Riot’s League of Legends was a smash hit, and the beta for XL Game’s ArcheAge was picking up steam.

Where the Elder Scrolls Online goes from here is anyone guess. Zenimax says that things are fine with the game, but the amount of chatter on the topic over the past several months alone suggests otherwise. This week’s release of ArcheAge, and the November launch of the Warcraft expansion once again illustrate how quickly the windows of opportunity open and close when they present themselves at all.