Bethesda has said the company expected a mixed reaction to The Elder Scrolls Online, even before the PC game's development stage started.
The firm's PR and marketing VP Pete Hines admitted during E3 that the developers knew there would be criticism:
"From the very beginning when it was first conceived we knew the reaction would be mixed. It’s not all that different than what we went though with Fallout 3, which is, you’re taking this thing that everybody knew and loved like this. Now in that case it was same genre, different developer, different approach. This is an RPG, but MMO is a different in how things work."
Hines added that fans of the iconic franchise expected TESO to be an MMO version of Skyrim, but that wasn't in consideration by Bethesda:
"I certainly felt that some people were going to expect Skyrim, but massively multiplayer, which, if we could have done that, we would have just done that, right? We would have just done Skyrim that lets you play with a thousand other people. There’s always that issue of meeting expectations or what people had in their mind’s eye. It’s really early. We’ve only shown the barest glimpse of it. We’ve got an awful lot of stuff to talk about that’s new for the genre and new for MMOs, things people haven’t tried before, that are doing things in a different way.
"We’re going to give it time and give ourselves a chance to explain all the other things we’re doing, let people see it, let people play it. It’s a marathon, especially with an MMO. You see an MMO demo, that doesn’t mean anything to me. What means something to me is, what’s it like when I sit down for three or four hours. Is that engaging? Is that unique? Is that compelling? Is there any reason for me to want to come back the next day?
"We want to keep informing, but get it to the point where people play it, because it’s just a wholly different thing experiencing when you play it versus when you watch somebody."
The Elder Scrolls Online is currently scheduled for a 2013 launch.