E3 2013 Preview: The Elder Scrolls Online truly lives up to the hype
This year at E3, Zenimax Online went all out with Elder Scrolls as they finally let the press play with one another. With many people playing all at once, we spent a decent amount of time getting the feel of it. Our first impression? It’s an Elder Scrolls game with multiplayer aspects.
For quite some time, players have been asking for an Elder Scrolls game with the ability to play with one another. Zenimax Online and Bethesda Studios listened to everyone’s pleas and finally came up with Elder Scrolls Online. First and foremost, Elder Scrolls Online will not be the traditional MMOs that we’ve all played in the past. It plays exactly and feels like Skyrim but with an added bonus where you will see other people on the screen and have the ability to interact and play with them.
The build we played starts off with a character selection screen. Unfortunately, the one that I got to play with is a Nord Dragon Knight which is more of the tank role in the game. We started our area in Dragonfall where there were a lot of people that we could interact with. The town feels lively and almost every NPC can be interacted with. Those who have played the recently released Elder Scrolls game like Oblivion and Skyrim will see some similarities to how the world is. Gossips will be all around town, someone will approach you and ask for gold or sometimes you will hear things where you can do a quest on. Those who are used to a world where it feels there’s a lot of people but no one really is talking will feel an entirely different thing in Elder Scrolls Online
Control wise, it’s right click to bring up the shield and left click to attack. There are action bars at the bottom, but it’s only limited to seven slots. Whenever you level up a character and earn a skill point, you can go to the Progression Menu and spend your unused skill points to gain a skill. For my Dragon Knight character, I had an ability that can taunt players and raise my overall stats. Tanking in the game is as fun as other MMOs.
When it comes to how the visuals are, I must say that it really looks good and it’s one of the best looking online games that I have played. In addition to having a town that feels lively, the world will pretty much give you the same feeling. The scope of the environments that you will get to see is vast and every texture and detail is there. Compared to Skyrim’s visuals, I must say that it does not even surpass the overall quality of Elder Scrolls Online. The world is simply beautiful and especially the dungeons, it will not be as monotonous as it was in Skyrim. It may use the same textures, but you can tell the difference and getting lost will not be possible.
As I mentioned in previous articles, The Elder Scrolls Online is really a multiplayer game with some social aspects added into it. You can play the game to the very end all by yourself, but those who want to group with friends, they are free to do so. Public dungeons will be not be limited to a certain amount of players but when it comes to dungeons that are really hard, only up to four players can play through them. In the build that we played on, dungeons are really hard and doing it by yourself is a tough job. When I managed to group with several others, it become much easier. The effects of doing spells all over with the characters that I’m playing with is a fantastic sight to see, I did not notice any lag or so.
Unlike in Star Wars: The Old Republic where add-ons is not supported, I managed to dig up to some of the menus and found an add-ons function. With the add-ons implemented, we should see some mods coming our way in The Elder Scrolls Online when it releases in 2014. In addition, achievements will also be implemented. With an Elder Scrolls game that loves to read the books in the game will be pleased to hear that they are in the game as well. For every book that you read, it logs on the Lore section of the game.
PvP is something we did not try. There is a menu where we can all queue for a PvP group that will bring us the battleground in Cyrodiil but unfortunately, the build did not have it. In addition to PvP, there’s something called AvA or Alliance Versus Alliance. Depending on what Alliance you choose, every time the alliance that you picked earns something like winning the PvP battleground in Cyrodiil. You will unlock a perk that will benefit your character like it can boost your character’s stamina or help you gain more experience. I think of this as more of a guild bonus.