I recently discussed the potential of adapting AI in the upcoming Elder Scrolls Online but there's another aspect of background features that I find really intriguing, the new phasing technology implemented by Zenimax Studios. From an industry perspective one of the most exciting features of Elder Scrolls Online is the new 'Megaserver' technology that promises to abolish issues that have plagued so many MMO games during early launch days.
A perfect example of this is Error 37. For those of you that instantly recognize the infamous Diablo III error, no further explanation is needed. However, for those fortunate enough to avoid Error 37 I'll let the highly talented Youtube personality, boogie2988, walk you through it.
Warning: The video contains explicit language.
Zenimax have claimed that their new Megaserver technology will be able to hold every single player come launch day. They expect minimal issues with unexpected downtime and players should not expect any queuing times to play but outside of these obvious benefits, what else can Megaserver technology offer?
Well another area that appears to raise the bar for MMO technology is the implementation of Phasing. Phasing is similar to current shard technology deployed by multiple MMO games today, such as Guild Wars 2, but it offers a level of customization to the player unavailable in other online games.
When joining a new Phase players will be able to customize a variety of options to help populate that Phase with like-minded players. Players will be able to specify an age group, interests, player ability and more. So if you wanted to play exclusively with players aged 18 and over, who are also interested purely in PvP, you will be able to do so. Personally I think this is an amazing idea as MMO games are populated by thousands upon thousands of players and trying to find someone that shares your in-game goals can be impossible at times.
However, I can also see this having a negative impact on a players experience. A common misconception that plagues the gaming industry; players that don't fit a certain age bracket are immediately labeled as immature and annoying. I've met thousands of gamers under the age of 18 and sure, tons of them are annoying, but only as many as the over 18 gamers that I've also met. Age is not always a good gauge for maturity or understanding in a game, so what happens to the younger audience that enjoys playing with older age groups? There isn't enough information available on the Phase technology to find out if an 18+ phase will completely remove the chances of younger players joining, but I still think it's a concern that deserves some attention.
What are your thoughts? Are you happy to be pushed away from possible groups due to your age or interests? Or do you feel this is the best way to ensure players enjoy their experience?
If you're anything like me, and you just can't get enough Elder Scrolls Online content and information, we've got a wealth of articles for you here on MMOAttack. The crazy Kirk's in Circle Kirk were lucky enough to get an opportunity to preview the game, and we've also got other previews and exciting news articles which can be seen on our Elder Scrolls Online page.