1. How is this any different from Guild Wars 2?
For me, Guild Wars 2 was The Elder Scrolls Online. It had a wide variety of classes and option, a huge immersive world, organic exploration and a whole new language you have to learn (*sigh*), which is moreorless the standard for every Fantasy RPG nowadays. It captured the openness and the immersion found in The Elder Scrolls, but made everything a little more polished, like with the map system and inventory which, granted, took a leaf out of Morrowind's book.
So what does TESO have more to offer? How will it improve on Guild Wars 2's fantastic world? How will it improve on the bog-standard combat, and the epic World vs. World? I mean, will it even do that?
2. Why does The Elder Scrolls need to go online?
In Skyrim and Morrowind, I found peace in being alone. Lost. Stranded in the wild. It provoked discovery and exploration, and salvation was found in discovering civilised society. Taking on countless enemies and finding hidden dungeons by myself felt more rewarding than being accompanied by an annoying AI partner. I purposefully got rid of Lydia in Skyrim because it was better for me to travel alone, even though she was a great help. Sometimes, I get away from everything; that's what The Elder Scrolls is all about for me. I like to feel completely isolated in East Jesus Nowhere with only the beautiful sights of nature to accompany me.
So why do I need 200 other versions of me running around with their name floating above their head? How will that improve my gaming experience? Will it be better for me to disconnect every 15 minutes due to a horrible internet connection? Will that improve The Elder Scrolls at all? How will this add to the series in any way?
3. Bugs. Everywhere.
Skyrim was a big game. The Elder Scrolls online is bigger. Skyrim was single-player. TESO is not just multiplayer, but a Massively-Multiplayer Online game. Skyrim was filled to the brim with bugs, so what of The Elder Scrolls Online? From what I've played of the Beta, I can't even create a character without it all crashing, if I can log in at all. It has crashed and disconnected and error-messaged more times than I can care to count. It's not even in early Beta; it went in to Beta testing January 2013. One whole year ago. The game comes out in three months. When I finally got to play it, well, I can't talk about that, but I can talk about how it took longer to get up and running than any other game I've played on PC. I've never had to scroll through a forum for this long in my entire life looking for solutions to problems that shouldn't even be there this late in testing. It's coming out in three months. Three months. You do not want to know how long it took for me to get the game up and running.
4. Why is there a subscription fee?
Do you know who wants to pay for subscription fees? No one, that's who. Do you know who likes convenience and ease with their entertainment? Everyone, that's who. I thought it was a no-brainer for the folks at Bethesda, but obviously not. It's an old business model. In today's market, where you can get an app for $.99 and have hours upon hours of fun, it seems obscene for a game to charge $15 a month for their content. But that's what they're doing.
Hey, do you know what did well? Guild Wars 2. Not only was it good (and it was actually pretty good), it gave you heaps and mounds of seemingly-limitless content, but all for the £35 that it cost. That's it. I pay what I need to get the game, and I can access all of it without spending another penny. Do you know what didn't do well? Every MMO that came out after WoW that made you pay a subscription fee. Really, name a good MMO that came out ofter WoW that is still around today. Do you know why that's a hard? Because there is none. All the good and memorable MMO's that came out after WoW were subscription-free, see Knights of the Old Republic, and its sequel. You could say EVE online, but, really? EVE online? No, not EVE online, because it was bore-tastic. So no, either TESO scraps it's subscription fee and becomes more accessible to, lets say, everyone, or it joins the likes of Tabula Rasa and The Old Republic, and we all know how they went down.
5. Who even asked for this?
Seriously. Who wanted this? Was there a demand for a single-player fantasy RPG turned into an MMO? No, because whomever wanted a fantasy MMORPG since Skyrim has played Guild Wars 2.
If the final version of TESO is anything like the Beta, and on top of that they ask for a subscription fee, and on top of that there will be more people running around ruining an immerisve experience, then TESO will crash and burn like every other MMO that wanted to be WoW that isn't WoW, with the exceptions of MMO's that don't have the gall to ask for your money every month. But I don't know, maybe Bethesda will prove me wrong and I sure hope they do, because I really want this to be good.