By most accounts, The Elder Scrolls: Blades is … okay. It has most of the trappings of an Elder Scrolls game, but it’s definitely a mobile game at heart. Compared to any other modern game of the franchise, Blades is simplistic. In all fairness though, it’s hard to expect too much from a mobile game, and Bethesda did a decent enough job. The game has some basic melee combat, the town building feature is reasonable, and the spells and perks are varied enough. It certainly has a grinding component that can rival most normal RPGs. Amusingly enough, Blades even has a story with actual characters, but you’re probably not playing the game for its storytelling.
Elders Scrolls 6 Town Building is Likely
As average as Blades is, it does shed some light on what Bethesda might have in mind for The Elder Scrolls 6. It may seem like an odd notion, that a mobile game might be related in any way to a modern AAA RPG, but it’s not that much of a stretch. After all, history has shown that Bethesda loves to use their latest releases as a testbed for future games. As an example, house building first showed up as DLC for Skyrim. Next thing you know, you can build small towns in Fallout 4. Dragons and Vertibirds have suspiciously similar flight behavior. Companion NPCs barely existed in The Elder Scrolls: Oblivion, with the most basic of interactions. After a couple of games, companions have their own storylines and quests. The list can go on and on with things like animations, concepts, and behind the scenes developer wizardry being carried over from one game to the next.
In any case, it thus seems like a reasonable assumption that town building will make an appearance in The Elder Scrolls 6. It would be rather odd if it didn’t considering how prominent town building is in Blades. You literally have to create a town, name it, and improve on it to progress through the story. The real question is the manner in which town building will appear in TES 6. You probably won’t have to hoard junk to create junk towns given how Tamriel isn’t exactly a nuclear wasteland. Despite this, it seems probable that if town building were to exist, it would be in a similar form to Blades’ system. Hopefully it won’t take hours to complete a house, but having to semi-actively look for somewhat scarce resources is an undeniably effective tactic to artificially boost playtime.
Blades Gives Hints at Elder Scrolls 6 Combat Changes
It would also appear as though Bethesda is aware of the simplistic nature of combat in modern Elder Scrolls games. For the most part, you can make it through Skyrim by mindlessly stabbing people. By and large, spells were fire and forget. Combat in Blades is more involved by comparison. Spells have a wind-up period that leaves players vulnerable to attack. Enemies can block and it actually reduces your damage by a noticeable amount. It basically ends up being less of a button masher and more of a game of timing. Obviously, Blades‘ combat would translate poorly to a normal game, but the concept is sound. That being said, it would be hard to say if Bethesda will shift away from their simpler combat mechanics due to how friendly it is to casual players. Ironically, Skyrim’s mechanics would’ve probably suited Blades better, but that’s neither here nor there.
Will There be Elder Scrolls 6 Microtranscations?
Yet none of these hypothetical features will matter compared to the elephant in the room. As a free mobile game, The Elder Scrolls: Blades has paid microtransactions. These microtransactions let you buy chests of varying quality. The higher the quality of the chest, the greater the rewards. A typical lower tier chest can contain anything from crafting materials to basic gear. The most expensive chests outright give you endgame tier items. While this pay to win microtransaction scheme is nothing new for a free mobile game, it is a concerning departure from the norm for Bethesda. It has also proven to be a profitable move for them. That the game has a rather noticeable difficulty spike around level 10 is surely a coincidence and not a plot to encourage people to buy chests.
Would Bethesda be bold enough to put pay to win microtransactions in TES 6? Probably not, but the precedent has now been set. Want to buy gold or crafting materials? Maybe peruse the Creation Club for some spells? Perhaps you would want to pick up this buff to your town’s productivity while you’re here. They’re not game changing items that you can’t earn by playing the game, we promise. Oh and we totally didn’t forget about how cosmetics are a pretty large part of RPGs. That’s not to say that TES 6 will be dead on arrival so long as it’s the massive RPG that everyone is hoping for, but it always pays to be wary of such actions by developers. A middle ground can be reached for both consumers and Bethesda, the question is if Bethesda will make a good-faith attempt to reach it.More About This Game