Posted November 30, 2012 by Cy Cratty in Editorials

Linear or Non-Linear?

Linear or Non-linear
Linear or Non-linear

If everything goes as planned, TESO is going to be big, beautiful, and engaging. The main storyline has also been pretty hyped, and I’m particularly curious how engaging that aspect of lore is going to be. Engaging in relation to gameplay that is, not the merit of the story.

Speechcraft and lockpicking have already been confirmed, and a good bit of other skills are probably going to find their way into the game as well. In previous Elder Scrolls – as well as the Fallout series (both developed by Bethesda) – you could use non-combat skills to bypass certain parts of a quest or to change the outcome of the quest completely.

Now ZeniMax Online has already said that speechcraft will already affect the quests in at least a small way – being able to skip a few parts, or make things simpler. Although I’m wondering if speech (or any other skill for that matter) will be able to make fundamental changes in quest direction or outcome just like TESO’s single-player counterparts.

The Dragonborn confronts an Ice Troll in Skyrim

On a player-to-player level I have high hopes that ZeniMax Online will keep things inline with Skyrim and the others. It’s a very enjoyable part of the series and I can’t think of a good reason as to why they would remove those features. But what about on a larger scale? What about the storylines directly involving the Aldmeri Dominion, Daggerfall Covenant, Ebonheart Pact, and the Imperials?

Probably going to keep things linear when we get up to that level. It does beg the question though, what if ZeniMax Online pulls something out of left field and blows us away? Like pooling the prominent guild leaders and forcing them into making a game changing decisions. Or giving each player of a certain faction an ultimatum that, depending on what the majority chose, would decide their place in Tamriel.

Those are probably horrible suggestions, but the mad hatters over at ZeniMax Online could very well come up with something. If they can redesign an entire server system, something like this doesn’t seem too out of the park. Something like faction-wide changes sounds pretty complex, from a design and balance standpoint. They might not even be fun, for all I know; but I can’t help but dream big for TESO.

We’ve thoroughly covered how socialization will be used in the game, but could that be tied into some sort of quest as well? That’s really pushing the envelope, but it’s not completely crazy. Quests that only become available to people with a certain amount of connections could be pretty unique. It would encourage guildmates to get to know each other in real life as well! I’ll get off of my soapbox though. I’m sure whatever happens, it won’t disappoint.

[box] What do you like in a good MMO story? What do you think TESO will embrace? Let us know in the comments![/box]

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Cy Cratty

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