The Elder Scrolls Online game director Matt Firor recently revealed that the 2013 MMO will have a soloable main story.
Firor, best known for his work on Dark Ages of Camelot, confirmed this little tidbit during a video interview, during which he discusses some elements behind TESO and what makes it a "modern MMO."
A big part of the Elder Scrolls experience, he notes, is being a legendary hero, and TESO aims to capture that same feeling despite being a massive multiplayer game. The MMO veteran explains:
"In the Elder Scrolls games you're always the hero, whether you want to be or not. You go out there and you kill the dragons; you kill Mehrunes Dagon in Oblivion; in Morrowind, you're up there fighting the Tribunal -- those are huge, global, epic things that you don't want to stand in line to do in an MMO. The last thing you want to do is have the final confrontation with Mehrunes Dagon as he's stomping across the Imperial City, and you see like 15 guys behind you waiting to kill him because they're on the same quest.
"As MMO online designers, the thing we wanted to make sure we hit the most was that feeling that you're awesome, you're the hero. And we do that through a mix of technology, where when I am confronting a major foe in the game, I'm doing it in an instance where I am alone.
"And we have a whole part of the game that is 100 per cent solo, which is the main story, where the world focuses on you -- you are the hero, everything you do is solo and the world reacts to you that way."
Reception for Elder Scrolls Online hasn't been unanimous, and a good percentage of the TES community is speaking out against the game. Developer Zenimax has suffered no shortage of criticisms, especially after leaked screenshots revealed a more colorful, cartoonish visual style. Then came the revelation that TESO was utilizing the same engine that Star Wars: The Old Republic uses; more rage ensued.
Yet Firor is taking everything in stride, even welcoming Zenimax's toughest critics. As he sees it, the studio needs to hear criticism in order to improve their upcoming MMO, no matter how abrasive the gaming community might be.
"Having been in MMOs for a very long time, I know and understand that community very well. And that is a very vocal community -- a lot of the time vocal critics of what you're doing. But those people who take the time to pick your game apart, and sometimes they tell you things that you didn't know was wrong with the game - those are the people you want playing your game, because they're the people most invested in your game, because they care enough about it to complain.
"The worst situation for a game community to be in is where no one posts on the boards because they don't care. If they post on the boards, they care. Even if they're not being so polite about it. But that's a fact of life: you're an internet game, you're on the internet, you have an internet community. And the internet community is always very vocal.
"So what you do is learn from it. You make sure you do the best job to deliver the best game that you can and they you go from there."
Prior to his takeover of Zenimax, Matt Firor acted as VP of Product Development for Mythic Entertainment, now owned by EA and managed by BioWare. Initially, he left Mythic the same year it was acquired by EA in order to found Ultra Mega Games, a consulting company specializing in online gaming. Roughly a year after that, in 2007, Firor was invited to join Zenimax by parent company Bethesda.