By Alea Wilson
The ESO release date is just over a month away. Gamers across the world are eagerly awaiting their chance to get in on the latest chapter in the Elder Scrolls saga, game guides are being readied, beta players are dropping leaks, and the anticipation is building. Debates rage daily between longtime fans of TES games about whether ESO will be the series crowning glory, or a flop best forgotten quickly. But there is a different question that most people seem to be trying to avoid--will the game even be ready.
So far, ESO hasn't been plagued the many delays and postponement common to MMO releases. Wisely, ZeniMax kept their mouths shut about the ESO release date until they were sure they could make it, and haven't needed to push it back once, much less the half dozen times some games have seen. But just because they're going to release on the day doesn't mean they'll be ready. In fact, any number of things could be going on behind the scenes that will turn the release date into a disaster. Here are a few things we're afraid of seeing:
• Server crashes: To be fair, server crashes on the release day are almost traditional. If the servers aren't overloaded at least once with every single player who can get their grubby mitts on the game trying to get on at once, then the ZeniMax marketing team hasn't done their jobs. But after the first day or so, the system should smooth out, players will establish their own patterns of play, and everything should be golden. As long as there are enough servers, the servers are properly maintained, and someone is generally keeping an eye on things. If ZeniMax isn't prepared, we may see rolling crashes and constant server down time for weeks, or even months, after the release.
• Beta bugs: The whole point of a beta game is to test the game out and make sure that as many problems as possible are found and identified before the mainstream release. After all, no one wants to pay $60 for a game that freezes up or crashes every 30 minutes... which, unfortunately, is exactly what some beta testers have said they are STILL experiencing. ZeniMax has just over a month to get a grip on those bugs and get the game up to release quality. If they can't, it's a toss-up whether they'd be better off releasing the game anyway, and weathering the storm of disgust from players, or postponing the release, and dealing with the backlash of disappointment from players at the last minute schedule change.
• Poorly planned updates: Like it or not, regular updates are a part of MMOs, and there's already been an announcement that one of the first updates after the release will include the Thieves Guild and Dark Brotherhood factions. But ZeniMax really needs to have at least the first few updates already finished and ready to go by the time the release date rolls around, so they have time to make any needed tweaks and edits. A poorly planned or poorly balanced update can ruin a game just as easily as any beta screw up, after all.
Zenimax has announced the ESO release date along with their future plans for the beta. Make sure your ready for The Elder Scrolls Online by checking out our ESO Class Guides.
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