I’ve been playing a good bit of Skyrim: Dawnguard of late. Quality DLC to a game I’m fairly sure I’ll never see all of, even without the recently released DLC Dragonborn. Skyrim will be on my PC for a while, and it really is one of the most enjoyable titles in recent years (not that you didn’t already know that).
I don’t know the exact development cost of Skyrim, but I’m fairly certain it’s less than the 300m+ of SW:TOR. And we all know why SW:TOR cost that much (voice), but hour after hour of great Skyrim content just continues to hammer home how terrible SW:TOR is in terms of using its funding correctly. On a lesser scale, the fact that Inquisition and I also burned through GW2 in under a month is something to consider. Not to say that small adjustments would have fixed the ills of SW:TOR or GW2, because… well 4th pillar/personal story, but those titles should have done a bit better in terms of retention.
Which brings us back to the question of whether a PvE-based sandbox could work? It certainly works in Skyrim, but would that translate online? Simply adding other players to Skyrim would not make it a better game IMO, so clearly changes would need to be made, but what are they?
Skyrim uses a good bit of zoning (caves, dungeons, forts, certain towns), so for starters those would need to scale based on party size, much like Skyrim currently scales based on player level. The open world could be pre-populated, with different general areas intended for different levels, while some special spots (dragon spot for instance) would bring back higher levels to those areas. Respawning could be old-school, like in EQ1, with higher-value targets coming back after long (24-30hr) downtimes.
Basically every other area of the game would need some tweaking, and I don’t want to break it all down here, but my point is that I believe it’s possible to make a decent PvE MMO just by tweaking what already works in Skyrim.
Yes, I’m basically asking for a Sky-clone MMO. Or rather, wondering why someone hasn’t done it already, considering Skyrim is very similar to Oblivion (a huge success), which was very similar to Morrowind, a game released in 2002.