Would You Sacrifice Immersion For An Elder Scrolls MMO?

Here at MMO Fallout, I like to take rumors and expand on them in theory rather than posting a simple “this might come out,” so at least if the game does turn out to be fake, we had a decent discussion. With the rumored upcoming announcement of the Elder Scrolls MMO, an announcement that will be about as surprising as Earthrise shutting down, I got to thinking: What would I be willing to sacrifice for an Elder Scrolls MMO? The answer? I’ll have to get back to you.

I have a certain disconnect with MMOs. Games like World of Warcraft and Everquest are enjoyable, and I take particular joy in building a character and giving him far more of a back story than is really necessary, but I have no emotional investment in anything that goes on in my quest grind to end-game or boredom, whichever comes first. Unlike most single player games, I am constantly reminded that I am indeed knee deep in slow moving pepper grinder, making my way up to the fate of endless raiding. The quest logs lining the side of my screen, hotbars down below, enemies that are impossible to defeat until I turn in a quest, level up, and can suddenly knock them upside the head without missing a beat.

But more so, it is the community that ruins my sense of immersion. I may not be a real general in the fight against hell, nor have I traversed the real land of the elves, and you won’t find my blaster in a sand dune on Tatooine, but any immersion I would have had in the game goes right out the door when I enter the first area and see names that amount to the creativity that might bleed out of a preteen AOL Instant Messenger chat room. And I’m not even going to include the thousands of Legolas and Gordon Freeman I’ve seen. As a writer, I understand that sometimes people just want to play as their favorite characters.

I’m talking about seeing xXxPwnNoObzxXx, or FkdUrMum95, or screen names that look like the person rolled their hands on the keyboard. The names serve an important purpose, no doubt: They are a free beacon to let me know who to avoid, because odds are engaging in discussion with players like FkdUrMum95 is just going to lead to the filling of my ignore list.

Is my stand elitist? Probably, I’d like to say that it isn’t. I log into World of Warcraft knowing that I will likely have my sexuality, weight, and social life questioned, someone will attempt to scam me, Chuck Norris jokes, Chuck Testa jokes, the cake is a lie, my mother is a ho, and at least one high level player will be complaining that his meme-based name was in style back when he created the character, and now he is stuck with it. But after ten straight years of Morrowind, Oblivion, and Skyrim, I’ve come to expect something of a serious atmosphere. One without people bunny-hopping all over the map and playing dance emotes while saying “stripping 4 gold, plz tip,” one without the ridiculous holiday events that break immersion, where I am the sole hope for the survival of the world, and more importantly: One where the game isn’t compromised for the sake of building a world where thousands of people can interact online.

So I will play Elder Scrolls Online, but for me it will be a cheap imitation. Sure it may look like Elder Scrolls, taste like Elder Scrolls, and may fill me up, but it won’t grant the satisfaction of a true offline Elder Scrolls title.

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