Yesterday, we covered the news that Elder Scrolls Online is actually implementing queues and adding more capacity and new hardware to handle what its devs characterized as a “massive influx of players” over the last few months. As we noted at the time, this is an awesome problem for an MMORPG to have, especially one that’s five years old. Given the awards the title’s won just from us in the last few years and the amount of content it’s pumping out annually, we’re not at all surprised to see the game performing so well in terms of playerbase.
On the other hand, anybody who’s watched the MMO market long enough knows that is this not a typical problem for an MMO to have. Especially in light of the timeframe we’re talking about here – January to April – I have to wonder where exactly these players are coming from because I am having a hard time believing they just spontaneously arrived from outside the genre, especially when ESO’s big 2019 expansion isn’t even out yet. My suspicion is they’re coming from other beleaguered MMORPGs, specifically World of Warcraft and Guild Wars 2, neither of which has had the best winter in terms of convincing its playerbase it’s alive and well for the long haul.
I suspect Elder Scrolls Online has become what MOP’s Chris called a “port in the storm” MMO for a wide chunk of the MMO-playing community – not necessarily a “home” game, but a game that’s seen as a great place to hang out right now because of its relative stability and security. What do you think – is ESO’s sudden burst of popularity because of that phenomenon? Do you have a “port in the storm” MMORPG when your usual games start to act out?