LOS ANGELES — One of the premiere role playing franchises in gaming is stepping into new ground. The Elder Scrolls Online  is going to try to capture the same epic fantasy experience players love from the series and adapt it for multiple players. As a big Elder Scrolls fan who has not really dived into the world of MMORPG’s I was rather skeptical walking into Bethesda’s theater at this year’s E3. Needless to say I came out a believer, and here are the reasons why:

1. The entire continent of Tamriel is playable.

The past Elder Scrolls games have limited you to one or two provinces at a time. While the very first Elder Scrolls game, Arena, did let you explore the entire continent, the areas were randomly generated. Since then, fans have always been restricted to the very thematic  provinces. Skyrim feels appropriately cold and unwelcoming, while Cyrodiil captures the lush forest and ebony marvel of the Imperial City.  Elder Scrolls Online promises to create the most detailed depiction of Tamriel to date. You will be able to travel across all of the provinces and see each race in their homelands. This prospect should get any well versed Elder Scrolls fan excited.

2. It takes place 1,000 years before Skyrim.

This means a new era to explore and become attached to. The past Elder Scrolls games have kept us moving forward and seeing history develop before us. Online will let us understand just how the provinces were born, where did the empire arise and witness the coming of the very first Dragonborn. It is a very interesting time for the series’ lore (think Knights of the Old Republic for Star Wars) and has plenty of promise to make this one of the more engrossing Elder Scrolls experiences around.

3. Three factions fight for control of Cyrodiil. Pick a side.

Before there was an Empire there were three distinct factions: The Ebonheart Pact (uniting the Dunmer of Morrowind, Nords of Skyrim, and Argonians of Black Marsh) the Daggerfell Covenant (bringing together the provinces of High Rock and Hammerfell which include the Orcs, Breton and Redguard races) and the Aldmeri Dominion (combining the High Elves of Summerset Isle, Wood Elves of Valenwood and Khajiit of Elsweyr). Each wants different things for the future of the continent and it will be up to you as a player to see these goals come to fruition. The varieties of quests possible for each of these factions add some interesting variety to how the game can play out, and the different end game each player can reach.

4. Real Time Combat

My biggest gripes with MMORPG’s is that combat does not feel fluid. Too often I am clicking at different abilities on my screen and opening and closing inventory screens; I don’t feel like I am in control of the action. The main reason why I was scared when Elder Scrolls Online was announced was due to how much I have grown to like the combat in the series. It isn’t perfect, but it feels right, especially in Skyrim. Thankfully, ZeniMax Online is focusing on making the combat much more fluid than with previous online games. From what I’ve seen characters block, attack and cast spells like a traditional 3rd person fantasy game, giving me high hopes for this entry in the franchise.

5. Disappearing UI

Along with my dislike for MMORPG’s combat systems comes my annoyance with their heavily cluttered UI. Most of the time I can barely see what is in front of me and the combat reliance on it keeps my eyes on the menu rather than the action. Elder Scrolls Online features a disappearing UI, almost like in you would find on an average Mac. The menu’s are neatly arranged at the bottom of the screen and only appear when you mouse over them. It is a nice touch that changes the style of play drastically, making the transition for Elder Scrolls fans into this new world of online gaming that much easier.

6. 25 person PVP dungeons

Tamriel is littered with dungeons and ruins for players to explore. For almost 20 years we have been doing this alone. The Elder Scrolls Online lets you bring up to 25 people into the same dungeon to take on the dangers inside. There are also private dungeons for small parties if that is more your style, but the entire game is still built around PVP battles. The real-time combat mentioned earlier can lead to some very intense battles, both in a raid party or against another player. Zenimax Online is also promising hundreds of units on screen at once, making the wishes of epic battles in the fields of Cyrodiil that much closer to reality for fans.

7. Adaptive quests

The Elder Scrolls games are built around the concept of discovery and improvisation. The way most MMORPG’s dispense quests (in a lobby, usually in the form of a fetch quest) does not fit in neatly with the gameplay the series in known for. I am pleased to say that from what I have seen of the game, the adaptive quest system is sure to make the experience in the Elder Scrolls Online as good as that in a traditional single player game. In the short tidbit I saw, the main character was exploring the world when he discovered a new area. In there he met up with a member of the Mage’s Guild who told him about spirits haunting the swamp nearby. The player then explores more of the area until he finds a crypt. Here he puts on an ancient suit of armor and is transported to an ancient battle. The game changes into a sepia tone and the player fixed a problem that had happened in the past. Once this was resolved, he was transported back to the present where the swamp was cleared of lost souls. The player not only found a quest in the game world while actively exploring, but the results had a noticeable impact on the game world.

These are the experiences that make a game like the Elder Scrolls special. It is for these reasons that I cannot wait to see what Zenimax Online has in store when the game releases next year.


About The Author

Ivan Favelevic is Blast Magazine’s Associate Gaming Editor. He knows he would be a nobody in Westeros and is ok with that.
Follow him on Twitter @FlyingBags to hear random thoughts on games plus some soccer and basketball rants.

29 Responses

  1. Fylthe

    I personally am excited about it. I’ve been a huge TES fan since Daggerfall, and also a big MMO nerd dabbling in Runescape and spending years since Vanilla addicted to WoW. I am still a big WoW junkie, however I am looking forward to balancing 2 MMO’s when this launches!

    Reply
  2. molbal

    Holy shit this is amazing. I like the entire continent idea the best. I hope it’s all as detailed as Skyrim itself

    Reply
  3. S. Perman

    No thinking person would ever be excited for what will surely be a huge steaming pile of absolute shit.
    Jesus you idiots eating this shit up is everything wrong with the gaming industry.

    Reply
    • rwhit

      so anyone who doesnt like what you like are “everything wrong with the gaming industry”? i guess anyone could say that about any game they dont like, since it just encourages developers to make more games that they may not like…

      Reply
      • David

        No you are!!! I wouldn’t call you guys idiots, and I wouldn’t use the language, but I think Perman is right. This game doesn’t look good. It’s being built on the same engine that the underwhelming Star Wars The Old Republic MMO Is built on, and it’s not even being developed by bioware.

        It’s not TES. It’s Zenimax licensing TES and making an MMO, and it looks like its going to suck.

      • David

        Sorry, I meant “it’s not even being built by Bethesda.” — brain misfired after SWTOR reference.

      • rwhit

        you have been misinformed. they used the HeroEngine to render the environments to allow for early alpha testing. they are running the game on their own proprietary mmo engine that has been in development since 2007 when zenimax online was founded

      • rwhit

        i misspoke as well. they used HeroEngine to simply render environments to determine the art style they wanted to use and plausibility of rendering the entirety of tamriel. HeroEngine has repeatedly been said to NOT be the engine the final game and even the beta will run on.

      • Chris

        You’re wrong on quite a bit. Although Zenimax Online licensed the Hero engine, they are NOT using it. They have created an entirely new game engine. Zenimax online has not licensed TES either…. Zenimax Media owns Bethesda and Zenimax online.

    • Brad

      So youve played this Perman? Youve seen footage that has not been released? Theres been a few pics released and a 1 min trailer and youve crowned the game a piece of $hit. You must be a very emotional person to get so upset about a game that is in production. Go back to your troll cave.

      I for one am stoked about this this game and cannot wait. In fact Im finding it hard to play any games right now because Im so excited. Cannot wait to explore all of Tamriel.

      Reply
  4. LightninLew

    An MMO needs more than good lore, pretty visuals and a disappearing UI (woah) to be successful. It need unique gameplay. The hotkey MMO has been done to death, there is no point jumping on a sinking ship.

    Reply
    • rwhit

      as opposed to what though? TERA style combat? talk about a sinking ship…

      Reply
  5. Shadowkiin

    If doing a quest has an impact on the world and the war will change zones all the time then people will end up having to log in every hour of the day to keep up or else they could be gone 5 hours and come back to find all the quests they accepted have been done by someone else or the area they are standing in was captured by another faction and they’d get mauled by all the players. Another problem is if it is completely PvP all the time then new players will be killed constantly by experienced ones and it will be difficult to find loot without buying it because people who played first will get to things first. Another problem is that if NPC’s such as shop keepers and other townsfolk are killable then players who enjoy elder scrolls by walking into towns and slaughtering everyone will be big annoyances.
    Also what happens when someone dies, would they end up having to make a new save or would they respawn in Mundus and have to pick a place to warp back to in Tamriel?
    Which is why like S. Perman said this game will be bad. Even if he is just trolling.

    Reply
    • Shannon

      Lol…You are severely over-worrying about these things. None of that is going to happen, quests impact the world around *you*. Your storylines are impacted by *your* decisions, and the immediate area may have some sort of tangible evidence of your progress but it’s not going to completely change each area. It’s an MMORPG, there is no saving, the servers automatically save constantly. You’re over-thinking, and over-worrying.

      Reply
  6. Thatguy

    First of all, Zenimax owns Bethesda, as well as several other developers. Bethesda is simply the publisher, so Zenimax didn’t have to license anything. ZOS was a new studio opened JUST for this game. So no attention is being turned away from single player Elder Scrolls games. The game is not running on the SWTOR engine, its running on it’s own engine developed strictly for this game. And as many have all ready said, why don’t we at least wait for some gameplay footage. I don’t understand how people can judge a game based on CGI trailers and few pieces of concept art. At this point, I’m looking for something new in the MMO market, and if ESO can deliver on half of what it’s promising, then count me in.

    Reply
  7. Llwynn

    And the question unresolved. You said the “world actively changed and was impacted by your finishing the quest”. Did you go back 10 minutes later to see it all respawn for the “next great adventurer to liberate the swamp”?

    Reply
    • Llwynn

      That is to say, you MAY have had AN impact on that area, but was there a LASTING and PERMANENT impact. The reason alot of us are sick of MMO’s is you finish something, wait around for more then 5 minutes and watch everything you just did reset.

      I’ll use Rift here as an example. Early on one of the new quests you have to do is kill off an effigy of whats-his-name (real engaging story, right?) and, after doing so, I hadn’t even been able to turn around and head back before he was standing there waiting for the next “last hope champion”.

      Now, they are taking the ES series, where everything you do DOES have a permanent lasting effect (you walk into a house and clean it out from top to bottom and it stays that way. period.) and adapting it so that everyone has their personal chance at the story, just like everyone else.

      Another example is, ES games are known for their legendary Daedric items, of which there are only ONE of each in the game (the lore being that the item leaves it’s current owner to seek out a new one). How are they going to translate that into an MMO? What good is a legendary accomplishment like receiving one of those if every Tom, d=Dick, Jane, and Harry are also going to be the “only champion worthy of X’s item”

      The failure of ALL MMO’s is that they have to cater to giving everyone that wants to play the same story, to make sure everyone has the same experience. They can’t just let the first player who achieves something be the only one to achieve it or else everyone whines. They can’t make only one copy of an item and give it only to the first person who goes through the effort of receiving it and if you are too late, too bad.

      The illusion that an MMO provides that you are in a world with lots of people working together usually lasts long enough for people to not notice that the 20+ hours they spent being unique and achieving something isn’t really so, cause 30 others have done it as well, but, lately people are becoming disillusioned much faster to a game and want something more.

      The answer? Minecraft is the only game that will ever get an MMO experience right 😉

      Reply
      • Morgion

        YOU SAID: “Another example is, ES games are known for their legendary Daedric items, of which there are only ONE of each in the game (the lore being that the item leaves it’s current owner to seek out a new one). How are they going to translate that into an MMO?”

        Do you remember Ultima Online? A solution for this is “items drop and loot” from players after a PvP combat, so you can have unique items in a server. If you know who are wearing that unique shit and he is using it, just bring a bunch if friends and kill that mathafacka to steal the item.

        Just an idea.

  8. Josh

    I’m-ready-to-buy-it-cuz-I-don’t-think-it-will-be-free-but-I-am-100%-it’s-gonna-be-the-best-game-ever-period
    even-better-then-wow-hands-down

    Reply
  9. TESO Zone

    The Elder Scrolls Online looks great and this is a great list. I could of came up with 20 reasons though! There is becoming some hype around it PvP system especially have designer Matt Firor who worked on DAoC and developing its popular PvP. The game has to live up to the series name and I think without a doubt it will. All the information I am reading at http://tesozone.com makes that game look promising!

    Reply

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