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The Elder Scrolls Online

The Elder Scrolls Online: Everything We Know

The Elder Scrolls Online: Everything We Know

The Elder Scrolls series has been adamantly single player for 20 years. No longer. Zenimax formed a new studio of MMO veterans to take all the lore and lands of Tamriel and turn them into a place for thousands of players to collaborate and compete.

Set a thousand years before the events of Skyrim, the Tamirel of The Elder Scrolls Online is one cleaved in three by warring factions. You’ll fight alongside your faction comrades for control of Cyrodiil. It’s The Elder Scrolls alright but not as we’ve ever played it.

 

It’s an Elder Scrolls Game

From large to small, The Elder Scrolls Online is instantly familiar. The game’s locations are the regions of Tamriel we’ve explored over the past two decades. Cyrodiil, Morrowind, and Skyrim all feature. Zenimax Online have even tried to match the landscape of the old games so that a trek through Cyrodiil will bring back memories of your quests in Oblivion. Though, you’ll be walking 800 years in the past; Elder Scrolls Online takes place 800 years before the events of Oblivion, 1,000 before Skyrim.

It feels like an Elder Scrolls game, too. Attacks are mapped to the mouse in the same way as before - right-click blocks, left-click attacks, and holding the left-click powers up a strong hit. You can play in a first-person perspective, a hallmark of the series. All the interface icons have been replicated.

Zenimax use phasing (a way of showing different realities to players) to maintain that Elder Scrolls feel. If you and another player both have the same unique NPC joining you in a quest the game will paint the other player’s follower as an anonymous mercenary, so as not to break the illusion of the world being created from your actions.

Phasing also allows quests to change the game’s storyline in minor ways. Characters you save at one point in the game can appear in later sections, or not if you didn’t rescue them. NPCs can be wiped off the face of the world if you didn’t meet them earlier in the game.

You are playing an Elder Scrolls game. There are just other people playing it with you.

You’re free to build the character you want

You pick from one of four classes when creating your character in Elder Scrolls Online but that doesn’t limit you in the way it would in other MMOs. All classes can wield every type of weapon, wear every type of armour, and join all the same guilds as the others. You can create an Argonian sorcerer who wears plate mail, carries a broadsword, and is a member of the Fighters Guild. The devs won’t stop you.

Classes, instead, provide you with a set of unique skill trees. Sorcerers can learn to summon creatures to their side while the Dragon Knight can wrap themselves in defensive magic. Each skill tree has a small selection of spells to learn, including an ultimate spell, which can be assigned to your shortcut bar. You’ll likely make up your active abilities from a spread of skill trees. 

Cleverly, your skills don’t only come from your class abilities. As you use different schools of equipment - daggers, medium armour, bows, etc - you unlock skills specific to that style of item. Using a restoration staff will unlock healing abilities, say. Similar to Guild Wars 2, those abilities are only usable when you have a relevant piece of kit equipped. In effect this means you can change up how you play your character by simply swapping around bits of gear.

Zenimax have also tied skill trees to factions, guilds, and other secret quests. Joining the Mage’s Guild opens up a tree of powerful spells that someone who joins the Fighter’s Guild won’t have access to (unless they joined both, you’re free to join five guilds).

This means that no matter what class you pick you’ll have access to a broad sweep of skill trees not specific to that selection on the character creation screen. 

You’re not even bound to just the quests of your faction. Once you reach level 50 and complete the storyline in your faction’s province you can go to another faction’s land and play through their quest content. All the enemies are scaled up to keep the challenge, too. Though, you will only over fight alongside your faction mates. 

Conquer a province in the name of your faction

Cyrodiil’s been turned into vast battleground for The Elder Scrolls Online. The three factions are vying for control by capturing cities, sieging keeps, and generally ganking anyone whose back is turned. Upto 200 players can be on-screen at any one time. That’s Planetside 2 levels of madness.

From level 10 you can take part in Cyrodiil’s PvP mayhem. Entering the region sees you immediately scaled up to level 50, giving you access to high level abilities and equipment. 

Your aim is simple. Take and hold key points and cities across the province.

Frontline combat isn’t the only way to help your faction. If you’ve levelled up your skills in weaponsmithing and armorsmithing (two of the five crafting skill trees) then you can build siege weapons to help pummel enemy-held fortresses or help repair the walls against invaders.

Factions that control neighbouring fortresses unlock fast travel, allowing their players to jump to contested hotspots on the borders of their territory.

Alliance warfare is tied into the events of your faction storylines quite simply. Only the faction that controls the Imperial City can challenge Malog Bal, the Daedric Prince threatening Tamriel.

Cyrodiil’s not only for killing other players. It’s shot through with NPCs, quests, dungeons, and other things to do. You will have to visit the province at times, even if you don’t want another player’s head on a stick.

The Elder Scrolls Online may have drawn ire when Zenimax decided to charge a monthly subscription fee but that seems quite separate from the fact they’ve spent the past seven years turning an iconic single player series into a compelling MMO that will support thousands of players.

For more about The Elder Scrolls Online follow us on Facebook and check pricing for the full game here.

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Shriven's picture
1091

The 4/5 hours I played on the beta weekend were difficult. It was poor and I play a lot of betas.

The ranged combat is almost an auto lock on so no skill involved in throwing that massive fireball. Projectiles just guides themselves to the target like on WoW spoiling a fond memory that I have of throwing fireballs into surrounding innocents Im undecided if thats a good or a bad thing. The crafting system was acceptable in the early stages and character creation was excellent. The cutscenes were a bit off and could do with polishing. Its a perfect hybrid of the GW2 and ToR systems. But, there was nothing to suggest to me that It is a justified day one purchase and even less to suggest a subscription.

Its just too similar to 'Those that came before' and has done nothing to try and be different.

Im gonna stay away from this which is tragic and hard for me to say as the first game I ever bought was Morrowind and ive been in love with ES games since then.

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TenClub's picture
291

Really looking forward to this one.

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Numbnumb's picture
4

I have tried playing this online MMO but it became a forced event for me (this is the beta). While I'm not supposed to give anything away (which I won't) I will say this. It is the most boring MMO I have ever tried to play. I thought it would be different given the source it was coming from. I even quit playing the Beta because it was just too boring.

What a shame. It could have been so much more.

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HerMyT's picture
2

One thing thats not being mentioned by many and many reviewers is the lack of view distance and overall world scale which is nothing compared to skyrim. I played beta for prob 8ish hours and got through a few different newbie zones and to subsequent zones and the scale is not on skyrim's level. By that I mean you start in smaller overall zones and those zones are say guild wars or smaller type of scale, perhaps 3-5 minutes tops to walk from one side to the other. I never got to any mainland to deduce if this changes later on but for any starting factions it doesn't at least for the first 3 maps or 10+ hrs you're likely to play.

Additionally what I found jarring next to skyrim is the lack of view distance. It uses the old standby of games of yesteryear (fog). You can even see it in the screenshots above with the 'conquer province' screenshot. You have lost the majestic vista's of skyrim's distant mountains. You have maybe 200meter view distance (tops probably alot less than that). The settings didn't allow extending this to anything near the skyrim standard of viewing miles across the tundra valleys to the distant mountains on the far side.

Most modern game engines now use a LOD system (level of detail) to scale down quality of distant objects to allow for say planetary level view distances while back in the day everyone used to use fog, it all just fades to grey. Well for some reason the game uses fog which makes it seem like its really using an older engine.

So just some thoughts on that, I found it a bit disappointing because I really wanted to get to skyrim proper (not just islands in their own zone off the coast) and do a side by side comparison. I had to settle for the newbie island but the fog and overall size I found disappointing.

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Zayrek's picture
3

I am thankful with your post. To pay an initial fee and then the monthly subscription and receive those key elements you mention is just too much negative feedback. I was able to play at the most 2 hours on the beta. And yes, The feeling of being on "Tamriel" is lost on this MMO. The LOD probably was to reduce lag issues and video card power on the end users but that should be modified by the user and not the devs. So, probably a rip off.

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Absalomx's picture
2

This is nowhere near Elder Scrolls. It didn't look or feel like Elder Scrolls and it damn sure didn't play like Elder Scrolls. Also, it was purely single player with punishments for trying to play with a multiplayer team. The devs definitely showed that they don't know how to make an MMO.

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UntoldAv3nGer's picture
202

It costs too much, and looks crappy.

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r3plica's picture
3

I played this every beta so far and I can honestly say I have really enjoyed it. The game play is just like Skyrim and the graphics are better than any other MMO.

I played WOW for a long long long long time and this is not just another copy. Although to make Elder Scrolls work as an MMO things have had to change (like the auto target projectile that @Shriven mentioned.

These are just to make the game work.

The things people don't seem to be mentioning is the massive skill tree allowing you to truly have a custom character. Want a sorc with a bow; no problem. Or how about a sorc in heavy armour? All possible.

You can even swap your weapons during a fight to give you a whole new set of abilities.

To me, this is what I have been waiting for and I can not wait for release :)

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garyfromscotland's picture
2

I'd like a key please :-) Hopefully the dragons don't fly backwards this time lol

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r3plica's picture
3

not sure if I am allowed, but here is my spare key: CKHT4TKLDDKYCF7YNFE4

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NLG_Cursed's picture
1

waited for this game for ages and missed out on the early beta, would really like a ca beta key.

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avatar
1

I really enjoyed Skyrim a lot, I have over 300 hours on record, and am interested in this, although I'm not entirely convinced as of yet.

If there are any keys going, I would really appreciate one, thanks in advance.

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The Grinch Winch's picture
1

The problem with Bethsedea is when they bought the Fallout Franchise, an MMO based on the post apoc world would have been a refreshing change and one that I am sure many would have poured interest in. Again this falls under the world of ye olde worlde, dragons, fair maidens and "la la la" minstrels and if anything gaming has taught us in the last 2 years, is that both old world and zombies have been subject to overkill and gaming repetitive junk.

Guild Wars 2 has all of this already, and after being on Guild Wars since it started and seeing its glaring issues with clueless developers creating unequal class divisions, nerfing the wrong classes that never needed nerfed ( yes those mesmers are too God mode yet Anet allow such a class to dominate player vs Player with high damage and endless clones ), bad customer feedback, terrible customer liaison, god awful RNG percentages and loot drops has spoiled MMO for me. Saying that had the MMO that everyone wanted from bethsedea Fallout MMO like many people wanted was made insead of this, I myself would have given MMO another chance. Sure I have a place for Eldar scrolls, it is a game that made me familiar with Fallout in the first place. The issue is we needed something fresh and different and there ain't nothing new about Dragons

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fyrant's picture
3

I played the beta, and though it was pretty fun, the gameplay was just simply lacking...too much rinse repeat rotation/combos like the norm of MMORPGs. The PVP was actually pretty fun but pretty repetitive and too much like a WoW battleground where you can't tell most of what is really going on.

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