Posted December 18, 2012 by Cy Cratty in Editorials

Second Hand Gaming


Today I’d like to talk about Player #2. No, I’m not talking about xxSlashUrFace69xx, who we’re all bound to meet online at one time or another. I’m talking the friend you played Skyrim with. Sometimes the controller got passed around, quest after quest. Sometimes they aren’t really into RPGs, and just like pulling up a chair and watching. Did Bethesda know about these people? Does ZeniMax Online? Do they even matter?

Well, they definitely aren’t the main focus of the companies, and they’re not all that important. That shouldn’t mean they should be forgotten though! Although this group play was a bit noticeable in Oblivion, it really came into its own with Skyrim. I can’t remember how many times I’ve been asked to play a single-player RPG, but I do remember that 99% of those times were with Skyrim.

It’s counter intuitive when you think about it. Unless they start watching or playing from the beginning, anybody who plays with a pal won’t really know what’s going on in the story. It’s a good 15-20 minutes at the least until the controller gets passed. And compared to other games released at the time, RPGs don’t really have the best graphics.

I don’t know how, but Skyrim managed to bypass all that. The story was engaging but simple (or irrelevant) enough to be easily followed, there’s enough going on that people don’t get bored watching, and it struck the perfect balance between realistic and cartoony graphics. If Skyrim can do it, I think TESO has a decent chance of doing it too.

The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim

The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim

ZeniMax Online has confirmed they’re building a brand new engine for TESO, and they’ve said they want to go for the same type of aesthetics as previous games. Nobody expects it to be on the same level as Skyrim, but that doesn’t mean it can’t still strike that perfect blend of style and substance.

There’s no controller for TESO though, and the fellows over at ZeniMax Online aren’t going into this game thinking “How can we make this even more fun for people to watch?” It could still be a byproduct though. Random (sometimes even epic) encounters and stupid BS are some  of the most enjoyable things to see in Tamriel. The random encounters can be, well, counted on. The stupid BS bit is going to be tricky.

There’s no such thing as a good glitch in online games. So all of the crazy stuff is going to have to be controlled crazy stuff. Which is all fine and good, but it just isn’t really Elder Scrolls. Right off the bat a fun and noticeable factor of the series can’t be replicated. If ZeniMax Online wants to charm the crowd with TESO, it’s going to have to do something off the wall.

Not that anyone’s expecting them to. This is an MMO after all, not exactly a party game. But just because it isn’t the norm doesn’t mean I don’t want it! If ZeniMax Online can turn MMOs into a group activity, that would be nothing short of revolutionary.

[box] Do you think ZeniMax Online can make TESO open to the watcher? Do you even want them to? Let us know in the comments![/box]

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Cy Cratty

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