Sky-clone please

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.


About SynCaine

Former hardcore raider turned casual gamer.
This entry was posted in Guild Wars, MMO design, Random, SW:TOR, The Elder Scrolls Online. Bookmark the permalink.

14 Responses to Sky-clone please

  1. Talinine says:


    • John says:

      TESO will going to be a themeark and also it is created by zenimax not bethesda…So far from what we know about TESO, is not going to be like skyrim..

      Skyrim is the best game for me too and I was laos wondering why there isn’t an MMO like that. GW2 had the potential to be…but they decided to go to a different path.

      One can only hope though…

  2. bhagpuss says:

    You and Inquisition burned through GW2 in a month. I spotted this post in my Reader when I tabbed out of GW2 for a quick break after dinging 80 on my sixth character. I don’t feel I’m yet in a position even to decide which class I’m going to settle down and play, yet after nearly six months.

    I’m not saying that because I think GW2 is some magic MMO. I don’t and it isn’t. It’s to early to judge how good it is. I’d put in my personal top 10 but not yet in my personal top 5. Generally I can tell within a few hours if I am going to like an MMO at all but it takes many months, even years, to decide how much I like it. You seem to burn through MMOs a lot faster than I do.

    I haven’t played Skyrim and I’m not likely to. I got caught up in the very similar buzz around Morrowind, bought that and strongly disliked it. Once bitten etc. Didn’t bother with Oblivion and not going to bother with Skyrim. Nonetheless I think your ideas of what would make a really good PvE MMO are very sound indeed and like you I don’t really see why no-one has at least tried to make one along those lines.

    • j3w3l says:

      Don’t worry about skyrim too much, it’s mainly an infatuation with the brand that people haven’t grown out of yet. It is very average in many regards and contains a lot of the usual high fantasy genre tropes.

      The bit that makes it great is the overwhelming ability to tap into our feelings of exploration with its freeform nature of questing, open world and monster scaling.

  3. It’s not like TESO team went in and decided hotbars and tab targeting was the way to go because it’s so much better of an overall experience then what’s available in Oblivion/Skyrim. It’s one of the things that dev teams start to gravitate towards when everything requires a server transaction because it’s easier to develop, maintain and keep stable.

    Skyrim as it is would not really work as a persistant world (at least with current tech) as it’s buggy as hell already and adding 1000s of players contributing to that would cause it to derail. That said it is really sad that all these companies sank the bet on MMOs back when the WoW was shining so bright. For a small fraction of what they sank into TESO I am pretty sure that Skyrim could have had drop in/out multiplayer. That seems like more what the genre needs as most of the PVE MMOs out there are devolving into that in endgame with instances and all.

  4. Red says:

    I’d love a multiplayer version of skyrim a lot more than an MMO. Hell I’d kill for a new baldur’s gate with multiplayer. I want to hack and slash through well writen content with my close friends, not 25 people I barley know.

    • spinks says:

      This was my thought too. I could see it being fun with friends, but not sure what it might be about Skyrim that could be improved by having masses more strangers in there (with all the associated griefing, unimmersion, etc)

    • Raelyf says:

      This. I don’t think Skyrim would work as an MMO but I’d kill to be able to host a small, persistent Skyrim server to play on with half a dozen friends.

      As an aside, I’ve been re-playing Baldur’s Gate* start to finish with four other friends. They bring laptops and beer and we play a few hours once a week. It’s one of the best multiplayer experiences I’ve had in ages. Can’t recommend it enough.

      * BG1 and 2 from, modded with Baldur’s Gate Trilogy so it all runs on the BG2 engine.

  5. dsj says:

    They made that game — it was called Everquest. What they ultimately discovered is that player competition at all levels of the game made shared resources scarce and so spawn camping practically every named mob in the game was required. EQ then went to instanced content — and dungeons of Norrath became one of the top expansions….. the early development of what WoW would become.

    The social dynamic of competitive groups makes experiencing a slow paced game like Skyrim impossible if you are looking to get the same experience you had with it solo.

    You could make the game world so huge that the player could be solo and only interact when they want too…. at which point you are shooting red crosses/roids in eve.

  6. Anti-Stupidity League says:

    It would need a lot of tweaking to work even as a multiplayer game. Magic and economy are broken already but you can choose to ignore that because it’s a single-player game, and if you’re going to instance dungeons and events, why bother turning it into massively game in the first place? The only reason would be to get the sweet subscription money or RMT item stores. No thanks.

  7. bonedead says:

    Well Minecraft is pretty cool. Not an MMO but I’d consider it a PvE sandbox kinda.

  8. theJexster says:

    I think they need to make an online Elder Scrolls, but remove the skill system, the open world, the ruthlessness, and the make your own adventure capabilities, and make it more WOW like. That makes complete sense to me.

  9. Pheryl says:

    I echo everything you have been thinking for a while syncaine, however I am not convinced it would work as an mmo, and tbh I am not sure that is the genre I want anymore (An MMO doesn’t mean what it meant to, in the same way rock and roll is now a far cry from what it started out as). I’d much rather they made a multiplayer adventure game and let people host their own servers. You could then mod the game and even allow people to make their own content ala Skyrim, also set difficulty levels and other things.

    You could then move through things at your own pace and I don’t think the temptation to look things up like what tends to happen with mmo’s would intrude (I have never looked a single thing up about Skyrim) meaning you don’t ruin the game for yourself (I’m aware this is ultimately down to each person to do, but the reality is everybody does when their is an element of competition involved).

    Sad that it won’t happen because they can just market something that says all these things and not deliver on them and make a small fortune in the process.

  10. Goom says:

    What makes skyrim so good is user content. Play on the console and you miss the experience. Individually some don’t like a challenge and just want glory loading new mods that make their game easier and them more powerful. On the other extreme, myself included in this on, players load mods like “mighty dragon” “deadly dragons” “Dragons diversified” & “dragon lords” to make the main part of the game more challenging. That and “fixing” all the things not liked in the vanilla part are what make the game fun for me. Skyrim MMO…no thanks, doubt it will work well, unless they concentrate on the basics first. Don’t be an MMO that has loads of dungeons and beasts but ignores housing and trophy parts, do those first, load large dungeon content later, get the basics right and make it long term fun and then maybe they will do well.

    I’m actively playing skyrim with 50+ mods running just to tweak what I like and enjoying it more than my recent experiences with MMOs which I dont currently miss. Those include UO, EQ, CoH & WoW which is the order I played them in plus some other garbage that didn’t last as long as those on my pc.

    Having said that I’ll keep an eye on what they are planning, watch vids, see what content there will be but no plans to try it unless they impress me.

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