E3 2012: The Elder Scrolls Online Preview

Taking place 1,000 years before the events of Skyrim, Elder Scrolls Online — Bethesda’s MMO translation of their popular RPG franchise — tosses players into Tamriel, where a personal journey awaits them. Today’s demo showed off several aspects of the game, and most of them should excite MMO and Elder Scrolls fans alike.

The game contains three playable factions: Ebonheart Pact (Nords, Dunmer and Argonians), Daggerfall Covenant (Bretons, Redguards and Orcs) and Aldmeri Dominion (Altmer, Bosmer and Khajiit). After selecting their faction and race, players can take their custom character on an adventure that will mold to the player’s decisions and play style in order to create a unique campaign experience that is most commonly found in single player-only titles. The story revolves around Molag Bal, Daedric Prince of domination and enslavement, has stolen the created character’s soul, forcing the player to begin the long journey to gain back what is rightfully theirs. Enemies that have gone unseen since the days of Morrowind and Oblivion will cross players’ paths and an “undead theme” will run throughout the entire story. Since this is a MMO, there’s more to see than the main campaign. Group instance dungeon crawls with adjustable difficulty, end game raiding and public dungeons are all included in Tamriel.

Once the basic information was detailed, the demo began. A warrior build set off in search of enemies and, once he found them, put the real-time combat on display. The combat played out much like a hack ‘n slash RPG with blocking being hot-keyed and happening in real-time. Instead of being limited by a cooldown timer, blocking used a green stamina bar. To ensure that no class would be left out in a battle, each role is given multifunctional attack options so that they can handle a variety of situations. For example, a fighter build won’t take all the glory from mages as they are able to get up close and personal, block with their staffs and even perform actions that other characters can enhance (ex: a fighter boosting a fire attack). Furthermore, every class has the ability to sneak, although some classes are much better at it than others. Figuring out the most efficient way to play your role is not only important to survive, but it opens up players to more rewards and loot. If you play well, the game will take notice and reward you accordingly. The same thing applies to helping players in need. Whenever you do so, rewards will be bestowed upon you.

Later on in the demo, a point-of-interest icon appeared on the minimap. The on-screen character made a bee-line for the quest and quickly found himself taking on a mission regarding a terrifying werewolf and a handful of other enemies. While the goal was to kill the werewolf, the quest was far from straightforward. The warrior had to travel back in time to the First Era, learn the werewolf’s weakness and kill it. While in the past, the option came up to aid an ally in need. By helping this person, the player received a special quest from the saved character’s descendant upon returning to the present. Had the character not been saved, the quest would not have appeared. This is just one of the many ways the player can alter the outcome of their story.

The most exciting point came toward the end of the demo. PvP is no stranger to MMOs, but Elder Scrolls Online is looking to amp up the feature. 100+ player PvP battles will take place in the game. The three factions can end up huge battles, duking it out amongst each other (think about MAG’s concept). Depending on the outcome of each battle, the power of each faction shifts in Tamriel. As control points are continuously taken, factions can work toward the center for control of Cyrodiil, where a player can become emperor. Sounds pretty glorious, right?

Before finishing up the presentation, it was stated that the game has been created with all computer types in mind. According to the presenter, the game should run on most computers and laptops that are not older than 5 years old. Hopefully this eases the minds of future players looking into grabbing Elder Scrolls Online when it releases next year.

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Josh Garibay


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