Eurogamer has just published an editorial on the decline of the "traditional" MMO, complete with quotes from ex-Funcom Ragnar Tornquist and ArenaNet's lead content designer Mike Zadorojny. Here's a snip on how the two developers see the upcoming The Elder Scrolls Online:
The next big thing in the traditional MMO world is The Elder Scrolls Online, a huge, heavily financed project that's been in development for six years. But has it missed the boat? It's had a rocky reception so far, although its profile rose at E3 with news that it will be on PS4 and Xbox One this coming spring as well as PC.
"It's a very strong IP," says Tornquist, "it's a very strong universe, and if any game can give a little bit of CPR to the MMO genre, that would be it.
"But I'm worried on their behalf. I've seen what a big MMO can do to a studio, and I'm worried that this might be a little bit too much too late. But we'll see."
"We're eyeing it," says Guild Wars 2's Zadorojny, "but we're so focused on the initiatives that we're doing in terms of what we're trying to accomplish that it doesn't really change what our plans are."
Will The Elder Scrolls Online require a monthly subscription fee, even on top of PlayStation Plus and Xbox Live fees? We don't know yet. I hope not. But just as publishers like NCSoft (and hopefully Bethesda) are starting to recognise and react to problems with the World of Warcraft business model, so developers are also starting to take a new approach to the fundamental game design.