The main story in The Elder Scrolls Online will be "100 per cent solo" so that you feel like "you're awesome, you're the hero", game director Matt Firor has revealed.
"The part of the IP we worked with the most to ensure it was the closest we could get it in an MMO to what it would be to a console, solo game, was, I'm a hero," he told GameInformer in a video interview.
"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," he said, "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."
The Elder Scrolls Online was revealed at the beginning of May. It's a different beast to a single-player Elder Scrolls games like Oblivion and Skyrim. It has to be, as lag means real-time combat will suffer, and characters must be balanced to ensure a level PVP playing field.
The Elder Scrolls Online has traded the dirty realism of a single-player Elder Scrolls game for a cleaner, cartoon-exaggerated look.
In short, the 250 staff at Zenimax Online are making an MMO, not a single-player game. But the differences rankled among the vast Elder Scrolls community.
But Matt Firor welcomed the criticism. A healthy community is one that's passionate - one way or the other - about what you're making, he argued.
"Having been in MMOs for a very long time," he said, "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," he added, "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," he said. "You make sure you do the best job to deliver the best game that you can and they you go from there."
Matt Firor helmed production of Mythic Entertainment's well regarded MMO Dark Age of Camelot, released 2001.
The Elder Scrolls Online will be released next year on PC and Mac.
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