TESO Beta launch the disaster

4 days back, I was pumped up to get the beta invite for The Elder Scrolls Online. This is my experience over the weekend.

Mega Download

The launcher expected 25 GB of free disk space, and the entire download was around 21 GB.

It took me a total of 80 hours to download this monster and my poor desktop was running all this while. Today morning as I checked the download progress (there was some 2.5 GB left to be done overnight), I got the shock of my life. With around 20 GB to spare on my HDD, the launcher is informing me that there is no more disk space … so even a total of 45 GB was not enough.

The Horrors

To make things worse, when I started the launcher, it started the download again from scratch! Ughhh … the beta event was supposed to last till the end of today, I would never be able to finish the gargantuan download. Gamer’s would know the term – Rage Quit … yes, I raged and I uninstalled the game. The uninstall was too fast and it did not do anything … I still had to manually delete the 21 GB occupying my drive.

To summarize the beta, the launcher and download was a shitty experience … Bethesda should realize that partnering with Zenimax may not necessarily be the smart move.

User Experience gone bad

The Out-Of-The-Box experience (OOBE) of any product is important for creating hype and ultimately invoking desire and the urge to purchase. One industry which does this brilliantly is the electronics segment, where people take photos of the unboxing and share with others. I believe the same applies in a game as well … the download and launcher is part of the OOBE. After today, I am not going to try the TESO Betas any more.

How does this matter? No urge, no purchase.

Ergo, I may not even buy the silly game. A quick google informed me that I was not the only person who faced this issue … it seems you need a total of 60 GB free disk space to run this thing … well, then why did you not say so in the first place Bethesda??

The last time this had happened with me was in 2011 when I was beta testing another MMO (the Star Wars one). Look where it is languishing now.

These things may not seem like such a big deal in a country where you measure download speed in GBps … however in India, we are still measuring it in KBps and that makes us your common denominator.

The Economy of Games

Relying on the US and European markets for the growth of games is a common marketing strategy. The main reason behind this is that these economies have mature markets where the average revenue per user (ARPU) is higher than the South Asian markets. However, this trend has been slowly changing … ever since the Chinese Prisons of World of Warcraft, people in South Asia are looking at games as a viable career option. The most successful example of this is undeniably DOTA2 championships which features many asian teams. What this means is that slowly South Asia is figuring out as a viable market for games.

MMOs are starting to have Singapore as one of their server locations, and rightly so. This market has high numbers and with the correct pricing (look at the average price of $2.49 in DOTA2), you can really tap the bottom of the pyramid in gaming. The minute you plan to run a subscription based service like WoW (which is loosing subscribers fast), you are asking for trouble and are not figuring how the numbers in South Asia can help your game be a success.

Rants or Prophecies?

Do I feel anger? Do I feel vengeful after this experience … perhaps.

Am I ranting … maybe.

Will this game fail? Well if you continue to be like this then definitely yes … however lets keep in mind that its a Beta folks and that means there is tremendous room for improvement.

With a heavy heart, I bid the beta of this game adieu and this time around, I will await it to launch and mature before trying the gargantuan download again.

The Elder Scrolls Online Beta Invite

When Zenimax and Bethesda Studios announced the making of The Elder Scrolls Online (TESO) MMORPG, I was thrilled!! Having played Morrowind, Oblivion and Skyrim … I am completely familiar with the TES Lore. The one pet peeve (which almost all TES players would agree) was the fact that none of the games hitherto did not have multi-player support.

Multi-player Support

Multi-player is not a health factor in making a game famous … Skyrim has already taught us that. However the way the games industry is evolving, it makes sense to make the game multi-player and evolve the game over a period of time. A good example of this is World of Warcraft. I keep coming back to this game because it is by far the highest revenue grossing MMORPG out there. It is true that even WoW is loosing subscribers to the other games out there … but this is the only other game which has successfully shown that a 15 USD per month subscription can work.

The Elder Scrolls Online is also structured around the same subscription concept. If you want to play, you have to pay.

Does a Payment Subscription work?

A payment subscription is not something many gamers like shelling out. Having played World of Warcraft for more than a year, I stopped playing the day I realized that I had spent well over 50,000 INR in subscription and upgrades. However, the effort and content that needs to be put in to make this work is huge. Many have tried and failed at making their games a paid subscription. The most notable among this would be the Star Wars MMO, which started off as a paid subscription but did not gather enough users … to attract more users they eventually changed their model to a free to play + pay 2 win.

Many game critiques have already declared this game as 2014’s game disaster, not only because of the payment subscription model but also because of the huge budget that both the companies have declared.

Time will tell

There will be people who will make predictions … yes it will be a huge success, no it will be a trouncing failure. When the dust settles, one of these parties will say … see, we told you so! We said it first.

However, for now instead of making forecasts, I would rather focus on getting into the Beta this weekend. The amount of hype generated this weekend will help in understanding whether people are willing to give more attention to this game and whether TESO can reach mainstream adoption rates … just the way Skyrim did.

Skyrim: Bethesda’s Redemption

The History

The first time I heard of Bethesda, was when I was playing The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind. The game is an open RPG where the player can freely roam about in the world completing quests and adventuring. Throughout the game, there were indications that there is a theme bigger than the game running through … yes, you are the chosen one. Yes, you will do great things, but there is some story thats bigger than you … what will it be?

Then came Oblivion, or The Elder Scrolls IV. This game takes place in the same world, but a different land. I was curious and started reading more of the lore available in the game (there are literally hundreds of books that you can read, NPC’s that you can talk to, etc). There are 9 different major kingdoms, all of them ruled by the Emperor, and each of these kingdoms has a story of its own.

The Mistake

After Oblivion, Bethesda launched Fallout 3, a remake of the classic Fallout series. Sadly, the game was so badly done and so full of glitches, that the company received a lot of flak for this game. Fans wanting to play the remake were pissed, Bethesda fans were disappointed in the low product quality … you don’t just buy a game and not play it do you? You either want your money back, or you endure the glitches and go through the main quest at least!!

In comes Skyrim

Bethesda has been hitting the right notes with Skyrim. Right through the trailers, the launch, the in-game lore, the superb artistic detail of the game. It’s a treat for the eyes, any fan of the The Elder Scrolls (TES) series would be happy with this game. Ohh … and did I mention that there are dragons :-)


skyrim_new3 The game itself starts in the northern region of the kingdom (a lot of Nordic inspiration has been considered). The terrain is rough and mountainous, but Bethesda has literally crafted a beautiful landscape often forcing the player to stop and locations and look at the view from certain locations. This is probably the best looking game I have seen, literally forcing the user to take screenshots at various junctures in the game. The game looks good, and does require a bit of hardware to do it justice.

One problem I faced was that the game does not properly render on Directx 9 – WinXP combination. The rendering was patchy and I could not enjoy the game at first. Fortunately, I also have a triple boot (WinXP, Win7 and Ubuntu), allowing me to switch between operating systems as per the need. The game runs beautifully on Directx 11 – Win7, without any lags. I would recommend having a 1GB graphics card and at least 3GB RAM. For those who do not boast of such hardware, there is an add-on on Curse to make it run smoothly on DX9 here.


Skills to pay the Bills


Some of the game mechanics have been changed (the skill system has been simplified in terms of no. of skills, but the player is allowed to add nuances to certain skills which he/she intends to major in). The one good thing about Skyrim is that unlike Oblivion, you are not restricted to a specific set of skills to level your class.

The class creation is more open than the previous versions, allowing the user to customize their skillsets and specialize one particular style of playing. I have been playing two characters for roughly 40 hours now and it has been a very intense experience with you completely immersed in the world.


The game itself handles itself pretty well, but its not free from glitches. Certain quests which expect the player to hit certain waypoints simply wont proceed if you digress from the waypoints. The monsters scale up pretty well, and unlike Oblivion where the monsters scale up with you, there are certain monsters which you need to stay away from in the early stages of the game.

The game also has some pretty cool effects whenever you score a critical hit/killing blow. I particularly love these slow cut scenes when finishing off targets while being a sneak. Certain character customization elements (such as the star sign under which you are born) have been nerfed, and changed to shrine stones, which allow you to shift the benefits depending on which shrine stone you offer your prayers to. These stones are strewn across the land, where the player is encouraged to explore the world. Another such encouragement are the Dragon Words, which give you access to similar powers that the dragons have.

All in all, Bethesda has silenced all its critics and given faith to all its fans. They have shown that it is still possible to create games without having on online multi-player component built into the game (Blizzard, are you listening?). Plus, I think with the launch of Skyrim, the niche audience which used to play the TES series has really gone mainstream. Kudos folks!