My first month in Elder Scrolls has been characterized by the fact that I haven’t been able to play very much at all. That said, in the last week I’ve logged on just about every day and I’ve had a couple of half-decent gaming sessions. That’s boosted me up to the giddy heights of level 8, but I’ve been taking things slow and pushing points into crafting slots which has inhibited somewhat my ability to smash bad things in the face. One thing has struck me, and the more I continue to play, the more it continues to amaze me:

This is an MMO with no player interaction. At all. Not one. I haven’t spoken to anybody and nobody has spoken to me. I see lots of players running around, and occasionally someone will jump in and give me a hand on something that I don’t need a hand on at all. I’ve cleared two island quest zones and player interaction is about as lively as Brazil’s streets in anticipation of the World Cup. I can think of a few reasons for this MMO’s startling lack of MMOness.

First of all the quests are pretty easy. I’m only taking one quest at a time and they’re always in the yellow zone, and I’ve never needed a hand. It hasn’t been a faceroll, it’s been about what I’d expect from a single player game. On one quest I died a couple of times at the same point, but then I figured out that the best strategy was to stun the mob and run away from it while doing a few charge attacks now and then. Got it on my third attempt.

The few times where quests might have been an issue, and I stress the ‘might have been’, the game has given me an in-game companion for the duration of the quest. They run along beside me, they attempt to kills things, and when I step back and let them bare the brunt of the attacks they soon fall to zero health whereupon they stagger around complaining of a headache until they get better. Also, if you do go along with somebody as I have done once with a friend from work, if you aren’t at exactly the same point on the old questing scale then you are not able to do anything together at all except for holding hands while you tiptoe through the tulips.

So quests, no reason to call in the cavalry. What about trading? Well … no, not really. I’m sitting on a few thousand gold already and all I’ve done is kill stuff and sell what they were carrying. All the decent items I find I melt down in order to get crafting points, but still, I’m swimming in gold at level eight for Chrissake. I remember in WoW when I got my first gold piece, it was a major event. Here the gold is falling out of my hip pockets as I walk down the street. I don’t even know if there is an auction house as I haven’t been bothered to check.

As for guilds, well, there’s always a few people advertising on general chat, but I can’t see the point. Why would I want to join a guild and spoil this perfectly good single player experience with having to actually talk to people? Eww! In short, the development team behind this game must have had some unique direction when designing this ‘MMO’. Because if this is an MMO then I’m going to have to suddenly start believing in man-made global warming.