How Long Does It Take To Reach ‘The Elder Scrolls Online’ Level Cap?

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TESO Level Cap

In an industry dominated by 8 to 10 hour experiences, the RPG genre stands alone. Given its connections to older pen and paper-style role-playing games perhaps this isn’t surprising. Where normal board games might have taken players anywhere from 1 to 3 hours to complete, tabletop goliaths like the Dungeons & Dragons series enthralled fans for far longer.

Hoping to continue in the same vein — The Elder Scrolls Online will arrive this April boasting an entire continent’s worth of content. Developer ZeniMax Studios has already hinted at the sheer scale of its online undertaking with a series of progress updates, including detailed looks at the game’s character creation suite, player versus player battles and all-star voice cast.

Now, thanks to the game’s own internal testers a fresh perspective on the title has emerged: a gargantuan 100-plus hour runtime, taking players all the way from levels 1 to the current upper limit of 50. Compiled by VG 24/7 the numbers, including a “casual” 144 hours and a non-cutscene watching tally of 70 to 80 hours, sounds about right for a MMORPG title of TES Online‘s pedigree. Similar efforts, such as The Old Republic are also estimated to last around 150-200 hours.

The Elder Scrolls Online Screenshot Preview Spider Boss

The vast amounts of time required to fully level up an MMORPG character may be considered par for the course within the questing community, but the massive figure will likely prove daunting for more casual fans of The Elder Scrolls series. The use of a traditional leveling format – though well known prior to these recent postings — is also likely to put off those players more accustomed to skill-based combat, rather than the number-crunching algorithms dictating the player’s odds of survival here.

While this system of ‘vertical leveling’ may seem somewhat outdated, it’s hard to envisage any major MMORPG tackling player versus player battles in another manner. Part of the curious appeal of the online RPG is the sense of reward that comes with grinding away for victory, and the idea that a player’s time investment and familiarity with a franchise will always trump pure skill.

Is character leveling an antiquated or necessary part of the modern RPG? Can PvP still work without a numerical basis? How will The Elder Scrolls Online keep gamer’s entertained for 100+ hours? Let us know in the comments below, and be sure to check in with all of the latest Elder Scrolls news, right here on Game Rant.


The Elder Scrolls Online arrives April 4, 2014 for PC and Mac platforms, with

Xbox One and PlayStation 4 ports set to debut in June.

Follow Sam on Twitter @GamingGoo.

Source: VG 24/7

TAGS: PC, PS4, The Elder Scrolls, The Elder Scrolls Online, Xbox One, ZeniMax Online Studios

  • Daniel Carlson

    leveling is really the only way to ensure people actually earn their way to the top as opposed to twinking out a lower level character or buying your way to the top through the cash shop. i guess its the route that involves the lowest amount of fan backlash about skill.

  • Archang3ll

    As long as they keep making MMOs I find interesting, I’ll probably keep playing them. Having said that, I do wish more MMOs were skill based as opposed to level grinding. I hate level grinding. That’s not to say I approve of or support buying your way to the top either. P2W (and by extension, F2P) are destroying MMOs IMO. What I mean is I hate the WHOLE idea of “leveling” period. Especially in an MMO. I personally wish ALL MMOs were skill-based sandboxes. While I get that every single MMO can’t be a sandbox, I just think that skill-based “progression” will have a bigger risk-vs-reward of actual accomplishment. I’ve lost count of how many times I hit level cap and felt like “meh” “now what”?

    Which is why I’m very excited for “Star Citizen”. It will be a TRUE Sandbox. There will be no leveling or “winning” of any kind. That IMMEDIATELY gets rid of the grinding, the everyone fighting the same boss character over and over, and my personal favorite – enemies just standing there waiting for you to activate their AoO (I fricking hate that one above ALL others). Don’t get me wrong. NPC mission givers are a necessity in MMOs but running through an area and the only thing that initiates combat is your avatar coming in to a certain proximity of an enemy infuriates me to no end. And then after about four minutes (sometimes sooner), the enemies reappear to have another go is so stupid. I just wish MMOs would move away from that recipe. At the same time, Star Citizen won’t be P2W either because there will be no “winning”. You’re an adventurer in a big open universe and upgrading your ship and skillfully learning how to be the best fighter pilot, or best ship commander, or a number of other skilled based jobs is how you “progress”.

    I’m going to play ESO mostly because it’s new, I like the lore well enough, and I like what I’ve seen so far. But if it turns out to be another grind-fest, me and ESO are going to part ways real quick. I also don’t mind the P2P model. Wildstar also looks promising. These two P2P games along with “Star Citizen” and “Elite: Dangerous’s” “Guild Wars” model has my hopes up the future of MMOs.

  • reno2200

    I’m shockingly bad at MMOs – trust me, I’ve played enough to be able to make a statement that broad – but getting to the level cap usually isn’t the main thing. Once you get there, a decent MMO opens up a bit. Hell, DCUO only really gets into the swing of things at the top end. There needs to be something there even when you’re ‘as good as you can be’ to keep you coming back or there’s no real point in having a subscription-based game.

    As long as such content exists, the race to the highest level isn’t such a big deal, really. Community and simply having stuff to do are more important factors.

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