A Gameplay-Focused Introduction to ‘The Elder Scrolls Online’

Published 2 years ago by

Before Bethesda officially revealed The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, some suspected that it could be the first ever online multiplayer game in the franchise. That wasn’t the case, but only a few months later Bethesda’s parent company ZeniMax announced that The Elder Scrolls Online was a game their own studio had been developing for several years.

In response to The Elder Scrolls Online announcement trailer however, fans expressed quite a bit of dissatisfaction with the game’s art style, which seems to have been inspired more by other MMOs including Lord of the Rings Online and World of Warcraft as opposed to the brand it represents, The Elder Scrolls. ZeniMax aims to rectify that with a proper introduction to TESO.

To begin (restart?) the marketing campaign for The Elder Scrolls Online, the team from ZeniMax Online Studios have put together a nine-and-a-half minute video, documentary style, that features many of the dev team speaking of the game’s basic features. All of it is inter-spliced with the first gameplay footage revealed to the public (we saw early footage behind-closed doors at E3).

The Elder Scrolls Online Logo

The video can be viewed up top and below are the highlights (some of which have already been announced):

  • Set 1000 years before Skyrim
  • Draws upon 20 years of lore and stories told in the series
  • Art style from The Elder Scrolls 3-5
  • Includes basic real-time action system with blocking and power attacks
  • Hundreds of characters can be on screen at a given time
  • Includes all the customization options and armors from series
  • All players are one server (dubbed the ‘Megaserver’)
  • Pick from one of nine races and pick one class to start
  • Become a werewolf/vampire
  • Own pets
  • Designed to encourage players to explore
  • Loads of end game content at level 50 (PvP & Heroic quests)

The game features a storyline that can be experienced solo, taking place in the entire continent of Tamriel. ZeniMax is promoting the idea that TESO will be one of the most social MMOs to date and will feature open-warfare PvP with higher player counts.

Strangely, ZeniMax has disabled the comments on the YouTube video, likely to avoid trolling, but the likes vs. dislikes ratio is very positive. The video was very well done and should quell some of the early skepticism of the game, especially with statements including the game embracing the art styles of Morrowind, Oblivion and Skyrim – although it’s evident from the trailer that while the visuals are certainly more detailed, darkened and slightly more realistic, the designs of some environmental, from buildings to water wells, still look MMOish.

Will a story based 1000 years before Skyrim about a three-faction war serve as a good setting for The Elder Scrolls to enter the MMO realm? Will the game offer a subscription service or launch with free-to-play/play-for-free model from the outset?

The Elder Scrolls Online is expected to release in 2013.

Follow Rob on Twitter @rob_keyes.

TAGS: Bethesda, Mac, PC, Skyrim, The Elder Scrolls, The Elder Scrolls Online, ZeniMax Online Studios

  • vain

    I want a beta announcement and official release date. Now.

  • Kholdstare89

    “Will a story based 1000 years before Skyrim about a three-faction war serve as a good setting for The Elder Scrolls to enter the MMO realm?”

    Oh yes. One interesting thing of note is that this game takes place around 30 years before Dagoth Ur reawakens, so there’s a decent chance we’ll get to see the Tribunal at their full power. :)

    • vain

      Are their books based on this? The guy said their was but I didn’t know about them, they any good?

      • Kholdstare89

        He’s talking about the books you find inside the game. I believe Vivec himself tells you the bit of information about how Dagoth Ur woke up, but one of his notes says that this happened in 2E 882. 2E 583 is when this game takes place, so I apparently confused 30 for 300, lol.

        Anyway, there ARE two printed Elder Scrolls novels titled “The Infernal City” and “Lord of Souls” and you can probably find them on Amazon. They take place between Oblivion and Morrowind.

        • Rouge77

          Actually, they take place 40 years after Oblivion and some 161 years before Skyrim.

  • Snotnose

    This looks boring as hell.. your Avatar is one of the biggest, best parts of playing an MMO…and the Avatars on this game look boring as HELL.. everyone is a Human… oh sure ok i seen a lizard or Elf but nothing DIFFERENT… where is the Dwarf? The Halfling? Goblin, or even the Tall Races?? i was hoping there would be a really strong looking awesome giant or Half Giant race… bah

    • http://gamerant.com Rob Keyes

      It’s the same playable races from the core Elder Scrolls series.

    • vain

      It was just the first video on it but yeah you could only spot afew races. Their are Altmer (High Elves), Argonians, Bosmer (Wood Elves), Bretons, Dunmer (Dark Elves), Imperials, Khajiit, Nords, Orcs, and Redguards. So their are 3 Elven races, 3 Human, then the Orcs, Khajit, and Argonians rounding it all out. I like how their running with 3 factions as well. I’ve been playing TOR off and on since launch and thats where Bioware really dropped the ball.

      It’s not LOTR so you wont see Dwarves (they are extinct in this universe, or Hobbits. Their are Goblin like species and giants.

  • graverobber

    It looks cool, if it was just first person I will cream my pants. Hell it can even look like daggerfall with the mmo concept and I will have hell of fun. I just cant wrap my head playing in 3rd person, I just really don’t like it.

  • Chris

    I’m sold. I just hope you can have a magic bow.

  • Ryuhza

    I don’t like the facial design of the Argonians. It reeks of all kinds of uncanny wrongness. They look like butt-ugly alien people now, instead of lizard people.

  • Shalkowski

    I like the idea of a megaserver but I can already tell that it will be laggy and buggy. If Bethesda cant handle an offline game, then this will be a bumpy ride. I’m pretty butt hurt that the PS3 isn’t getting Dawngaurd, Hearth Fire, and Dragonborn so I am still pretty “meh” about this.

  • bobalot

    you’ve sold it to me, zenimax