How Zenimax Pulled Off One Of The Greatest Turnarounds Of The Decade



Inside the Quest to Make ‘The Elder Scrolls Online’ Truly Great

Log into the PC version of the Elder Scrolls Online today, and you’ll almost certainly find it bustling with activity. Players work together to slaughter bosses, fully stocked guild traders pepper every town, and in most zones you’ll have no trouble coming across other players. It feels social and strong, and it’s now one of the most popular massively multiplayer role playing games in the world, with over 8.5 million players across PC, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. There was a time not long after the game launched in early 2014 when such a future didn’t seem possible. Here’s how they turned it around.


Pivot, iterate, repeat.


I have always appreciated Matt Firor’s work. Dark Age of Camelot was a great MMO. Firor and Mark Jacobs did a good job designing the three-faction PvP. So much more enjoyable than having only two sides.

I just wish I could enjoy ESO as much as I did DAoC.


I wish I’d played DAoC; I had a friend show me what it was all about several years after it came out and I realized I’d really missed out.


They have really turned it around. Areas that used to be empty are now bustling with activity.


I remember when my Dominion character goes to Windhelm and it’s dead because not a lot of people can be assed to finish Cadwell’s Silver, much less Cadwell’s Gold.

One Tamriel really changed how alive the game felt - and it made sense storywise because not everyone outside Cyrodiil cares about the politics of war.


I think the key is timing.
If ESO had come out when you were in that phase of your life, you probably would have loved it just as much.