Look Ma, No Hands! Forget the Traditional First-Person Perspective for The Elder Scrolls Online

The Elder Scrolls Online is looking to differentiate itself from the rest of the series by de-emphasizing the first-person perspective, which has been a staple of the series.

In what will likely be one of the more controversial aspects of the game, the MMO’s director, Matt Firor, let fans know that third-person will be the perspective of choice in ESO. Although he mentioned that you can still go first-person, you will not be able to see your hands or weapons.

He expanded on why they went this direction by stating:

“The main difference here is that in an online RPG, enemies can spawn in a 360 degree radius around you, especially in PvP, So third-person view mode, if you use it, will give you a far greater ability to see enemies behind you. In many situations, this will be the difference between living and not surviving a combat sequence.”

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His logic for why they are wanting a third-person experience is sound, but may rub many potential gamers the wrong way. Without the feel of being in an Elder Scrolls game, it will be hard to get fans to transition over to the new title that has already been labeled a ‘generic looking MMO’ by some.

Although it is too early to tell, not having your hands in front of you while conjuring spells or holding your weapon would seem strange. It is nice that ESO is attempting to bring a fresh look to the MMO, but the primary draw of this title is the fact that it IS an Elder Scrolls game. If they deviate too much from the series, it could easily alienate fans. Lets hope Zenimax Online Studios nails the gameplay, because if not, this could be one of the main reasons ESO fails in the long run.

Do you think this is a major misstep for ESO? Or do you believe the 3rd person perspective is necessary for the MMO genre?

Source: Digital Spy


  1. Just want to point out that the first person perspective has been there since Arena, not just Morrowind. This will definitely aliante many Elder Scrolls fans, myself included. Was never particularly excited about this, but I’m definitely getting less and less incentive to try it.

  2. They claim that enemies spawning 360 degrees around you is a reason for the third-person, like it gives you an advantage. If everyone is running first-person, everyone has the same disadvantage. Forget making an MMO that is unique like everyone was hoping. Make it third-person perspective just like every other MMO on the market. Ya know what? Your avatar is suppose to be you in the virtual world. How come we can see and play through their eyes? Who knows..

  3. You should fix this article, the Elder Scrolls series has been first person since the first game. Elder Scrolls: Arena ever heard of it? The only part of the series that was third person exclusively before was Redguard but that wasn’t part of the main storyline it’s more of a spin-off. If anything you have Morrowind to thank for the crappy third person secondary camera that, has been part of the engine design all the way through to Skyrim and probably beyond. Hell, they can’t even make proper third person animations anyway seeing as how when you play in third person it looks like you are sliding around more than running. What makes them think this will work for an MMO?

    1. Noted and revised. Thanks for clarifying. I knew the series was 1st person from Arena, but I was attempting to say (poorly) that Morrowind was the first entry to implement the “modern” first person that is still used today (like you said, the one that includes the crappy third person secondary camera that is still part of the series’ game design). Not completely accurate on my part, so I appreciate the comment. It probably saved a bit of confusion!

      1. -GCG-rocketsolier1078 · ·

        and what if it were a choice that you can zoom in and out like you still can in the elder scroll games
        i mean mostly i use first person but i also have moments that 3rd person is way more fun
        i doubt there will be a problem with that

  4. Fedemotta3 · · Reply

    Terrible news…

  5. This really depends.
    Normally, 3rd person is required for an MMO, but wouldn’t it be revolutionary if you did a 1st person MMO? That would have to change the entire way an MMO is constructed.. Or make team-work even more demanding, even with enemies spawning everywhere.
    However, there’s no point in 1st person if you still do the same auto-attacks. 1st person would mean manual steering. That’d be an interesting mmo! real questing, real fighting. Awesome.

  6. RogueMaster · · Reply

    “The main difference here is that in an online RPG, enemies can spawn in a 360 degree radius around you, especially in PvP, So third-person view mode, if you use it, will give you a far greater ability to see enemies behind you. In many situations, this will be the difference between living and not surviving a combat sequence.”

    This happens now in 1st person in Skyrim, so his logic is flawed.

  7. Kuroki Neko · · Reply

    I’m a Oblivion & Skyrim player. I’ve always play the game with the 1st person view. I wait since a long time a MMORPG as immersive as Skyrim. Immagine, a REAL 2nd world, were you have a REAL view range, and you can hear youre enemies !
    Immagine a MMORPG were you can infiltrate the enemie camp ? It sounds good to me !
    It will me a must play, you are just affraid about the news. But Portal and Mirror’s Edge ( Who have a different game play that other game) was good games !
    This article is not very objective.

    Sorry for my english, I’m french 😀
    I wait the game more than ever, now :p

  8. Freelancer · · Reply

    Unfortunately losing the 1st person perspective lost me as well. I’ve always wanted to play an ES game with friends in that first person perspective, but it looks like this isn’t gonna be the game to give that experience to me…

  9. I am actually about ten-times more isneretted in this game than I am in most non-rpg-type games, I am a dork like that. But this just looks awesome, glad I have a new PC that can handle it.

  10. I’m sooo excited for the reeslae of this game! Bestheda makes the best games! I own every Elder Scrolls and Fallout! And The Theme SOng for Skyrim is sooo Epic!!! The game is gonna be awesome! Can’t wait! There are 179 days 1 hours 10 minutes 37 seconds left before Skyrim’s reeslae. (Says Skyrim Wiki) ❤ Consider me please!!! Thanks!

  11. Blackz · · Reply

    That SUX A LOT…
    in every, almost every elder scrolls in 1st person u can see ur hands or ur weapon… then they released 3rd person and was mor cool, but still hav 1st person, AND NOW THEY SAY THAT TESO DONT HAV HANDS IN FIRST PERSON WTH they re crazy and this game gonna be down -.- and i want to play it -.-‘

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