Let me preface this by saying: This is not an exhaustive list.
To say The Elder Scrolls 6 has its work cut out for it is a serious understatement. Not only does Bethesda have to rebuild its reputation as a company due to recent flops, but it also has to make a splash with this new entry to prove they still have the ability to deliver a powerhouse game.
Taking a look at some of the successes and failures of previous entries in this series, I’ve come up with a few things that Bethesda has to do if they want the next game to be truly great.
1. Bring Back RPG Elements to the Series
First off, characters’ stats need to exist and have an impact on the game.
Players need the ability to customize characters in new and innovative ways and have those characters stand a chance in combat. We need the options to intimidate someone for information or get on their good side so that they tell us things willingly.
Now, we can all sit around and argue about when the RPG components started to disappear in the game series. Personally, I think Morrowind almost hit the sweet spot for how your character’s stats should impact the gameplay. With a high enough acrobatics rating, you could damn-near jump over a building. You could also resist most attacks with a good block skill, and use some terrifying magic that will simultaneously paralyze, burn, and freeze your enemies- or completely fail and miss.
That was part of the beauty of the series when it had serious RPG elements in it. Nothing was guaranteed. Just because you try to cast a spell doesn’t mean it’s going to be successful and shooting an arrow doesn’t mean you’re going to get a bullseye. The skills weren’t simply tied to damage and new attack patterns. They were the difference between success and failure.
Speaking of the latter…
2. Let Players Fail in The Elder Scrolls 6
Nothing is better than getting beaten in a single-player game. You have to go back to the drawing board in your mind and that’s where ingenuity comes into play. Do you need more levels or some resistance potions? Ranged attacks? A scroll? That’s what the next game needs. The possibility of failure. It makes you more invested in the game.
One of the ways that The Elder Scrolls 6 can make this idea a reality is by taking out level scaling. If you wander into the wrong area, too bad.
Also, make it so dungeons don’t all have a quick way out. Bring back weapon damage so you can’t just chop through 12 armored foes without a notch on the blade.
The inhospitable nature of games makes them rewarding, requires you to explore, and has you invest time in your character. I shouldn’t be able to saunter into a dungeon with a robe and steel sword, eat 47 wheels of cheese and come out on top every time. Again, I’m not pointing fingers at Skyrim but at the trends it set.
Now, contrast that playstyle with Oblivion. See that guy in the picture above? I know that he was roughly leveled to me, but he smashed me to pieces. Why? There are some places you don’t belong when you’re weak and that’s how I like it.
3.Include More Unique Weapons, Armor, and Items
If The Elder Scrolls 6 is going to be a great game, then it needs some legendary items. We need more of the Boots of Blinding Speed, Her Hand’s armor, Wabbajack, and Ysgramor’s hammer. More importantly, we need to run into these items directly or through quests rather than only receiving them as a reward for an annoying questline. Looking at you, Meridia.
We need powerful artifacts that make our character stronger and have unique effects that you can’t get any other way. In my opinion, the lack of cool items is a symptom of the aforementioned problem of a lack of role-playing elements being in the game. If magic in the game can only give elemental damage or raise skill levels, then the items are going to do the same.
These items add depth to the story, power to your character, and give you a nice surprise while they’re at it. Just make sure you read the descriptions on the Scrolls of Icarian Flight before using them.
4. Allow Players to Have an Impact on the World
The next installment in the series has to let you change the face of the world in some meaningful way. I think that should be able to physically alter cities, manage a store, start a farm, support an uprising, become a real guild master, or do something that provides different outcomes every time you start a new file. Hell, why not let you become king for a change?
Sure, you can perform the actions that these characters would do in Skyrim, but without the rest of the world’s acknowledgment of your deeds, it’s hollow.
I hate to keep beating up on Skyrim since it’s an amazing game. But you only get four big choices: be a Stormcloak or Legionnaire. Be a Dragonborn on the side of the Greybeards or the Blades. That’s not enough because the choices don’t have widespread effects. You could slay the damn emperor (spoilers) and life will just go on.
In Morrowind, you could find the living god that helps guide you on your quest and kill him. There is nothing stopping you from killing Vivec, your blades contact, or anyone else you want. That’s a portion of the potential choices you get about how to impact the world, not including building your stronghold and getting embroiled in politics. Bring that to the forefront.
We don’t have a lot of information about the coming entry into the game series. Some people are already dead set on one version of the game or another. Personally, I don’t care if The Elder Scrolls 6 has us trudging in the swamps of Black Marsh or scampering across the moon-sugar-filled deserts of Elsweyr. I just want a game with a touch of magic, a little less handholding, real impacts, and cool treasure. I want depth, stories, and Easter eggs that will have me singing its praises for years to come. It’s up to Bethesda to decide what kind of game they want to deliver.
Bonus #5: Bring Back Cliff Racers!
Just kidding, though. Still, aren’t you glad you explored a little more?