Since sharing a much-needed gameplay introduction to The Elder Scrolls Online in November, ZeniMax Online Studios went radio silent on the MMO front until today. That 10-minute video also featuring the devs talking about the game helped quell the fears and concerns raised by fans of the The Elder Scrolls series after a poor unveiling earlier in 2012.

With the releasing later this year, ZeniMax is starting 2013 strong by not only announcing that prospective players can begin signing up for the beta, but by also sharing what’s easily going to end up being one of the coolest game trailers of the year.

The Elder Scrolls Online takes place 1000 years before the events of Skyrim where three factions fight for the throne of Tamriel. The playable races from the franchise are divided among the three factions: The Aldmeri Dominion (Altmer, Bosmer, and Khajiit), the Daggerfall Covenant (Bretons, Redguards, and Orcs), and the Ebonheart Pact (Dunmer, Nords, and Argonians). The Alliances Cinematic Trailer up top highlights the three groups and their goal (note the White-Gold Tower of Imperial City in the Cyrodiil background), their specialty fighting styles and unique aesthetics when it comes to weapons and armor.

Quite simply, the TESO cinematic trailer is amazing and highly detailed, making us wonder where the hell The Elder Scrolls movie is. In fact, this trailer alone is arguably cooler than must of The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, especially in how it handles combat and visuals. Regardless, this is what’s expected of big budget MMOs and like World of Warcraft, its expansions, and games like Lord of the Rings Online and even Star Wars: The Old Republic, the cinematics are unfortunately entirely misleading when it comes to advertising gameplay and a lot of what you see here obviously cannot be done in game.

The Edler Scrolls Online Trailer Image - Breton

The Elder Scrolls Online is the first online-supported game in the franchise and according to Bethesda’s Todd Howard (note: Bethesda is not developing this game), the most requested feature from fans of the series outside of dragons, was multiplayer. Matt Firor, game director of The Elder Scrolls Online talks about letting players test the game out in its upcoming beta:

“We’re really excited to get the game into players’ hands. We receive invaluable feedback through the beta process, and that helps us ensure that the game will be one of the best online gaming experiences ever offered — one worthy of The Elder Scrolls franchise.”

The Elder Scrolls Online will let players around most of Tamriel – sections will be locked for expansions and other content updates – and feature large open-warfare. The few select media who’ve gotten hands-on with the title have praised it thus far, and we wonder if in an age of free-to-play MMOs that offer less immersive gameplay than non-MMOs, if TESO will embrace a subscription model or launch off the bat with some form of free-to-play with microtransaction support.

If you’re at all interested, be sure to check out the gameplay footage and sign up for the beta here. I just did.

 The Elder Scrolls Online is confirmed for a 2013 release for PC and Mac.

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