After years of speculation and rumors, Bethasda SoftWorks has finally announced that an MMOG (Massively Multiplayer Online Game) based on the hugely successful Elder Scrolls series called The Elder Scrolls Online will release in early 2013. The reveal of The Elder Scrolls Online was originally given to GameInformer magazine, which carries an exclusive first look at the MMOG in its June issue. Like most other reveals, nothing remains exclusive for too long and a few kind souls who got their hands on the June issue have leaked information about the newest entrant in the long running and critically acclaimed Elder Scrolls series. Here’s our Elder Scrolls Online first look!
The Elder Scrolls Online First Look – What We Know:
The Elder Scrolls Online: Release
Although not much has been revealed, here’s what we know. The Elder Scrolls Online will release in 2013 and will be available on PC and Macintosh. Developed by ZeniMax Online Studios, the rumors of an Elder Scrolls MMO were sparked when this developer was created back in 2007 by the parent company that owns Bethesda SoftWorks and the Elder Scrolls IP. The team consists of around 250 people and development began sometime in 2007. The Elder Scrolls Online will use the HeroEngine, which is the engine used in Star Wars: The Old Republic.
The Elder Scrolls Online: Setting
The Elder Scrolls Online will take place around 1000 years before the events of The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim. There have been no reports yet on the inclusion of dragons, but most probably there won’t be any. During this time in the Elder Scrolls universe, the continent of Tamriel is under unrest due to the lack of a ruler. It’s up to the players to establish a new ruler. For the uninitiated, Tamriel is the continent which includes the settings of the previous games like Cyrodiil, Morrowind and Skyrim.
The whole world will be explorable, or at least that’s what the developers say, but not all areas will be accessible from the get go. Some areas will be cordoned off for high level players and some areas will be reserved for future content and expansions. This may come as a disappointment to some because the Elder Scrolls series has always been known for the “go anywhere, do anything” ideology.
The big baddie this time around is the Daedric Prince Molag Bal, who seeks to rule over all of Tamriel. People who’ve played The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion will remember the Daedra, a race of demonic beings from another realm. Players will be able to choose from three factions:
The Ebonheart Pact: Which comprises of The Nords, Dunmer, and Argoninans
The Aldmeri Dominion: Which comprises of The Altmer, Bosmer, and Khajit
The Daggerfall Covenant: Which comprises of The Bretons, Redguard, and Orcs
A fourth faction hostile to all player factions called the Imperials, led by the King of Worms, Mannimarco will also be in the game. These guys are also looking to do what all baddies usually do, rule over all the lands. Mannimarco is said to be in cahoots with ol’ Molag Bal, who I’m pretty sure is not the compromising type to divide the kingdom.
The Elder Scrolls Online: Gameplay
Like most MMO’s out there, The Elder Scrolls Online will be played from the third person perspective, which is sort of disappointing news for long time Elder Scrolls fans who were able to change between first and third person views in the previous games. Combat will also not be real-time, but will employ a cooldown based model a la World of Warcraft. So there’s gonna be a hotbar which lets you put in your skills in the order and way you like, just like traditional MMORPG’s. Leveling and XP gain will also be implemented, but ZeniMax has promised that it would be tuned around the Elder Scrolls mechanics. Most of the gameplay will revolve around a stamina bar that depletes when you attack, block, sprint etc. As long as you have enough stamina, you will be able to block attacks and negate harmful attacks, but once you’re out of stamina you take a lot of damage and die sooner. This mechanic also applies to PvP combat.
Another interesting feature is the combo attack. You are allowed to have a limited amount of skills active, and some abilities can be combined with another class ability to unleash a big attack. For example, a Rogue can lay down oil that a Mage can light to create a large fire. A few abilities are usable only once you gain “finesse” in combat, or in simple words, if you don’t get pounded too much. Again, like other MMOG’s there will be raids and dungeons. However, dungeons will not be instanced and you will be able to encounter all players in the same dungeon, regardless of the fact that they’re in your group or not. While this can be a slight concern with everyone hacking and slashing around the same small area, it helps with the immersiveness. In instances too, creatures won’t just stand around and wait to be attacked, they’ll actually come to you and you have to fend them off effectively. This is another place where the stamina bar counts. To survive you will have to take minimal damage, which means you have to block attacks using stamina.
Experience gain is through the usual questing and exploration, but the cool thing this time around is that you don’t have to actually pick up the quest from a place to be able to complete it. You can just wander into a cave, kill stuff and realize you can free someone and voila, quest complete! Also, when you return to a town you will be hailed as a hero and whatnot, good for player egos isn’t it? Quests themselves are flexible and you don’t have to go through every step to complete a quest. Lets say a quest tells you to get a special weapon to kill a monster, you can just skip that part and kill the monster without it.
Speaking of PvP, the Elder Scrolls Online will feature an interesting type of PvP combat that lets factions take over a city ruled by the other factions. Once the city is conquered, the most accomplished player of the conquering factions is crowned the King. It sounds very cool, but how it works out in the game is what remains to be seen. Also, if the main city is under your factions control, the whole faction gets a few bonuses.
The Elder Scrolls Online: Conclusion
Sure it looks pretty fun, but there’s also stuff we’re a bit skeptical about. First and foremost, the change to World of Warcraft-esque combat may anger quite a lot of Elder Scrolls fans. The Elder Scrolls had a few signature traits that set it apart from other RPG’s and the combat was one of them. Other stuff that set it apart are also set to change, unfortunately. As mentioned above, the game will be playable only in third person. There will not be player housing or marriages. Furthermore, AI characters will be static and not follow a schedule like they always did in previous games. The Elder Scrolls Online will feature mounts, but no flying mounts. So that’s pretty much the death of the fantasy I had to go to the top of a mountain and fall off screaming obscenities, oh well.
So what do you think about the Elder Scrolls Online? Is it going to be as big as World of Warcraft or will it fizzle out in a few years like so many MMO’s before it? Let us know what you think about the Elder Scrolls Online first look and stay tuned to CoolPCTips for more information as it becomes available. Until then, here’s the teaser trailer for the Elder Scrolls Online:
Rahul Gondane is a huge technophile and gamer, who has been obsessed with everything tech ever since he was a wee lad. He also enjoys reading books, listening to music and watching movies. Rahul is the Chief Operating Officer of Pyrite Technologies Pvt. Ltd.