It would appear that Bethesda has been very busy lately indeed. Between Dawnguard (the first DLC package to be released for Skyrim) and the recently announced The Elder Scrolls Online, the studio seems to have a lot on their plate. Bethesda has now released a teaser trailer for this new title (see above) – and loads of information regarding gameplay and storyline have also been leaked.
Although the trailer itself doesn’t give players much to go on, plenty of information has been leaked about Bethesda’s foray into MMO gaming, so let’s start with the storyline.
The Elder Scrolls Online has been in development since 2007 and is set to take place roughly 1,000 years before the events of Skyrim, which might place the game in the “First Era” of Tamriel’s timeline. During this time, many factions are fighting for control of Tamriel. The Imperials, lead by the Tharn family and Mannimarco, King of Worms, hold dominion over the continent. However, there are three factions that would seek to take the throne for themselves: The “Ebonheart Pact” are comprised of the Nords, Dunmer and Argonians, while the “Aldmeri Dominion” features the Altmer, Bosmer and Khajit, while the Bretons, Redguard and Orcs make up the “Daggerfall Covenant.”
To complicate things further, Mannimarco wants the throne himself, and has made a secret pact with the Daedric prince Molag Bal, who would also rule the land. Daedric princes like Molag Bal play a large part of the story, as each player is fighting to retrieve their soul back from the evil prince. This clever plot device explains how the player can die over and over again, and still be brought back.
As far as gameplay goes, The Elder Scrolls Online seems to take the cues from the likes of World of Warcraft and Star Wars: The Old Republic, with a few major differences. For example, quests are not simply “picked up” by a player. Instead, if a player happens to kill all the necromancers in an undead barrow, an NPC you free afterwards will reward you.
Fans of The Elder Scrolls series will not be happy to hear that combat is not real-time and gameplay is forced in the third-person.
Check out the first sneak peek screenshots at The Elder Scrolls Online in action and note the art style differences compared to the core series:
Many of the popular aspects from previous Elder Scrolls titles will make an appearance in the online installment as well, such as the Dark Brotherhood and Thieves Guild, the use of soul stones, and constellations in the form of Mundus stones – which work like the guardian stones in Skyrim. However, players will not be able to master every skill discipline. Also, no word yet on whether the player can become a vampire or a werewolf.
Though the game will use the genre’s standards for classes, experience points and the like, MMO elements will be placed around the Elder Scrolls gameplay that players have come to know and love. Grinding quests and leveling up your character will come second to exploration, righting wrongs, and seeking riches. The size of the playable area has yet to be fully discussed, though so far we know it will contain most of Tamriel, including the provinces of Skyrim, Morrowind, Summerset Isle, and Elseweyr.
Finally, the PVP aspect of The Elder Scrolls Online will feature up to 100 vs 100 player battles, utilizing siege weapons such as trebuchets to capture keeps, farms, and mines. Most of the PVP action will take place in Cyrodiil, where the final goal is to take over the capital itself, providing huge bonuses for your faction. Simply put, PVP will be a gigantic area full of many tasks to complete and points of interest to interact with.
It looks like players have a lot to look forward to in Bethesda’s latest title!
What do you think, ranters? Is The Elder Scrolls Online already shaping up to be your game of the year for 2013 – even if there won’t be any dragons in this game?