Not a lot of time around here, but I wanted to comment on this while it is vaguely relevant.
This TESO thing? Silly. Absolutely wrong for what Elder Scrolls games bring to the table, at least as far as I’m concerned. I played Morrowind for many hours, just noodling around, exploring the world and messing with things. Once I found a few mods, I did more tinkering. Sure, it could have been fun to have a good friend or family member in on the fun, but having a world full of other players with varied and often conflicting agendas, all screwing around? No, that’s not even close to the same experience.
Sure, maybe TESO will leverage the interesting setting and lore and such, but that’s not what interests me in the Elder Scrolls games. No, the gameplay’s the thing, and dealing with random internet people and the static modless world that an MMO generally has to be really isn’t adding anything to the gameplay. It’s wrecking it. TESO is a totally different sort of game, by its nature, and that’s not a bad thing, exactly… but when there’s a very clear split between the setting and the gameplay as is necessary in this case, I firmly come down on the side of gameplay.
Of course, EverQuest Next is playing around with terrain deformation a little bit, but again, that’s just griefer bait. I want to like it, I really do, but I just don’t trust people not to screw it up. If the solution is “the deformation goes away after a while”, we’re still just back to a weird sort of static world, it’s just a bit more pliable in the short term. Fun, in its own way, but really just another glaze of squishy paint on the theme park experience.
What I’d have loved to see from both of them is their own spin on Minecraft servers. As in, let players control their own populations, connect to each other on a whim (even directly via IP address instead of through official channels or *gasp* even a LAN), stop screwing around with subscriptions, and go all in and let the worlds really be modded and molded. Sell the game via a one-time fee, maybe rent out server space for those who don’t want to run their own, and let players really go nuts, again, like Minecraft. Contain them to their own, small population worlds where it really doesn’t matter if Leggolass142 makes a Lord of The Rings Mt. Rushmore, because his friends approved of the project.
That’s what I’d like to see as “innovation” in the MMO space. Not “Massively Multiplayer Online” games, but “Moldable Multiplayer Online” games, with small, private servers and a metric crapton of player agency.