With the release of The Elder Scrolls Online now just two tantalizingly short months away, ZeniMax Online Studios is attempting to ratchet up the hype. Having already detailed everything from character creation, to personal leveling, kill-stealing to subscription fees, the developer is now turning its attentions towards the real meat and potatoes of online combat – group questing.
As the latest in a long line of developer-led commentaries, the studio’s newest video, titled ‘ESO Group Content’ breaks the typical dev diary mold, by offering an extended look at the game in action. Featuring the talents of creative director Paul Sage, gameplay head Nick Konkle and dungeon lead Dan Crenshaw, the 8-minute vid explores the potentialities and core accessibility of the game’s group play system.
Highlights include an early boss encounter — designed to bring new players together, a group instance involving a daedra-worshipping cult, and even an insight into the game’s ‘friend-finding’ fast travel mechanics. For more details, reveals, and battle footage, check out the full video up top.
In other Elder Scrolls Online news, the game’s official age rating was unveiled by the Entertainment Software Ratings Board (ESRB). This classification body, which maintains little real power – aside from the ability to class a title as ‘AO’ or ‘Adults Only’ – has deemed the MMORPG worthy of an ‘M’ or 17-and-over rating. Having clearly expected to land the more acceptable ‘T’ or Teenaged ranking, ZeniMax Online Studios opted to question the decision via its Facebook page, releasing the following statement:
“The ESRB advised us that it has given The Elder Scrolls Online a Mature rating. While we may disagree with the ESRB’s determination, we do not plan to challenge the rating, and we are unwilling to change the game’s content to achieve a different rating. The game we have created is the one we want our fans to be able to play. As a result of the ESRB rating, we are in the process of promptly updating everything with the required rating and age gates, including game trailers, web sites, and ads.”
The Elder Scrolls Online now becomes the fourth game in the series to receive an ‘M’ rating, following on from 2011’s Skyrim, 2006’s Oblivion and 1996’s Elder Scrolls II: Daggerfall. The franchise’s third installment, Morrowind remains the only entry to date to receive the coveted Teen rating, despite its similarity to the rest of the series. The Elder Scrolls: Arena, the franchise’s very first outing avoids classification as it predates the formation of the ESRB.
Non-mature fans ought to count themselves lucky they aren’t living in the UK, where a recent change to ratings law upped the legal limit on all Elder Scrolls titles. Unlike the instructive guidelines offered by America’s ERSB, Britain’s BBFC and current PEGI systems display legally binding limits, similar to how cigarette and alcohol sales are handled – though with less overall enforcement.
Interestingly, both Skyrim and Oblivion were upgraded to the new “hard 18” rating as a direct result of the move, despite having previously been available to fans as young as 15. The change in policy was also reflected in the release of last September’s Elder Scrolls: Anthology, and will likely be repeated again for The Elder Scrolls Online. The shift creates an unusual situation for a small segment of British gamers, who having legally purchased Skyrim at the age 15 cannot now play its online-only spin-off.
Are you excited to get to grips with group play in The Elder Scrolls Online? How does the game’s Mature and/or 18 rating effect you? 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.