Bethesda Softworks and ZeniMax Online Studios’ new fantasy MMORPG The Elder Scrolls Online has now entered closed beta, so you’ll have to submit an application if you’d like to be considered as one of the chosen few permitted to dip their toes into the early model of the game.
Dungeon-delving is a noble and long-standing tradition with the Elder Scrolls series, and Skyrim had dozens of dungeons that the player could easily explore and conquer single-handedly (unless, of course, you feel like taking Lydia along and using her as a human shield). Since The Elder Scrolls Online is based around co-operative play, however, taking the cowboy approach to dungeons is a fast way to get yourself killed, and the developers assure prospective adventurers that they’ll need three other party members in order to stand a chance of success.
The dungeons are apparently so tough that the Elder Scrolls Online developers have delivered a survival guide for parties who wish to explore a dungeon. The game is apparently designed so that players can develop multiple, varied skill trees and abilities. For example, if the tank goes down, other members of the party can combine their combat efforts to make up for the fallen fighter, and if a healer bites the dust there should be another member of the group with the restoration magic required to keep the remaining players going.
Based on this guide, it sounds like the dungeons will be challenging enough that you’ll need to use every tool at your disposal in order to succeed; charge in full-throttle without any decent healing, stunning or dodging abilities, and your party will likely end up crawling away, licking their large collection of wounds and probably carrying a lopped-off limb or two.
Although there will be a degree of flexibility in the skillsets of party members – and therefore the roles that they will be able to perform within a battle – The Elder Scrolls Online will emphasize the two classic go-to techniques for succeeding in a fight against multiple creatures: tanking and healing. The tank should have substantial amounts of armor and health, as well as the ability to throw a heavy punch, in order to attract the attention of the monsters and draw their fire away from the slightly more vulnerable members of the party. The healer is arguably the most important member of any group, and holds the main responsibility for dampening the damage taken and patching up fellow adventurers in the middle of battle. These two types of party members combine to form the backbone of a strong adventuring crew.
The guide also offers some insight into the behaviors of the creatures that you will be attacking. There is a strong focus on pack mentality, meaning that attacking a single monster is likely to bring five or ten more screeching down upon your party, so be sure to have your blades/staffs/bows/fists ready before you draw first blood. With that in mind, however, not all of the creatures will attack at once; some will hang back and “prepare” during the first wave of attack, but these can be drawn out early if a player strays too close to them. In general, close proximity is a fast way to antagonize enemies into taking a swipe at you.
Read through the guide and your strategies for surviving MMORPG dungeon with us in the comments. Does the key to success lie in good preparation, clever party configuration, or in pure fighting reflexes?
The Elder Scrolls Online comes to PC, Mac, Xbox One and PS4 in spring 2014.