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Offline Smues

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THE ELDER SCROLLS ONLINE
« on: May 03, 2012, 03:37:29 AM »





http://kotaku.com/5907372/the-elder-scrolls-online-coming-next-year
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The Elder Scrolls Online Coming Next Year
Bethesda will release a massively multiplayer online version of its popular The Elder Scrolls series next year for PC and Mac, Game Informer reports today.

Set a millennium before the events of Bethesda's last The Elder Scrolls game, Skyrim, The Elder Scrolls Online will take place across all of Tamriel during a time when daedric prince Molag Bal is wreaking havoc on the realm. The game will feature three player factions and PvP combat. Presumably you'll be able to travel across the entire world of The Elder Scrolls—Game Informer mentions recurring areas Elsweyr, Skyrim, and Cyrodiil as locations in the MMORPG.

"We have been working hard to create an online world in which players will be able to experience the epic Elder Scrolls universe with their friends, something fans have long said they wanted," director Matt Firor said in a press release. Firor previously worked on fantasy MMORPG Dark Age of Camelot. "It will be extremely rewarding finally to unveil what we have been developing the last several years. The entire team is committed to creating the best MMO ever made – and one that is worthy of The Elder Scrolls franchise."

This is the first project from developer ZeniMax Online Studios, which was founded in 2007.

Rumors earlier this year suggested that The Elder Scrolls Online would be unveiled this May and that Bethesda would show more about its upcoming MMO at this year's E3 gaming conference. An earlier rumor also suggested that the game's three factions are represented by a lion, a dragon, and a bird of prey.

If I liked MMOs I'd probably be thrilled about this. Instead I just hope it doesn't mean we don't get an Elder Scrolls VI someday.
I want Jimmy Fallon to be dead. That doesn't make me a bad person.

Offline jerk of all trades

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Re: The Elder Scrolls Online: Tamriel Unlimited
« Reply #1 on: May 03, 2012, 03:48:25 AM »
I wonder what the factions will be? Mages, Fighters & Theives?


Offline Edwin

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Re: The Elder Scrolls Online: Tamriel Unlimited
« Reply #3 on: May 03, 2012, 11:45:15 AM »
I'd be a lot more interested if Bethesda were actually developing it.  Instead, it's a brand new branch of Zenimax. 

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Re: The Elder Scrolls Online: Tamriel Unlimited
« Reply #4 on: May 03, 2012, 02:53:18 PM »
Either way, please dear fucking god please let them be using some other engine aside from Gamebryo/Creation.. I can only imagine what a clusterfuck that would be with an MMO.

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Re: The Elder Scrolls Online: Tamriel Unlimited
« Reply #5 on: May 04, 2012, 02:21:48 AM »

Offline Flik

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Re: The Elder Scrolls Online: Tamriel Unlimited
« Reply #6 on: May 04, 2012, 05:05:10 AM »
From everything I read, its going to be just like every other MMO out there, built on Everquest and WoW's way of doing things. Action keys, cooldowns, things like that. Not that I mind, but if it was every scrolls, I would assume that I would play it like I did Skyrim. Not like every other MMO.

Though public dungeons and a political system to crown an Emperor sounds kinda neat.

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Re: The Elder Scrolls Online: Tamriel Unlimited
« Reply #7 on: May 04, 2012, 05:20:16 AM »
RE: Emperor.. do they mean that a player would be crowned emperor? Or that players would have a say in an NPC becoming emperor? Either way, interesting concept.

I don't mind it being built on other MMOs/WOW either. Honestly, that's one thing I really liked about SWTOR.. the gameplay and UI was so similar to WOW that it was much easier just to dive into the games content instead of worrying about having to learn a whole new system.

Offline jerk of all trades

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Re: The Elder Scrolls Online: Tamriel Unlimited
« Reply #8 on: May 04, 2012, 07:28:51 AM »
Via Joystiq:


































Offline jerk of all trades

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Re: The Elder Scrolls Online: Tamriel Unlimited
« Reply #9 on: May 04, 2012, 07:29:32 AM »
Also, some info via Joystiq:

Quote
Details from Game Informer's Elder Scrolls Online cover story have already begun appearing online, it would seem. The game has been in development since 2007 by a team of 250, according to a post on NeoGAF. It will feature full voice acting throughout and will be played from a third-person perspective (generally not the most efficient way to play previous Elder Scrolls titles). As mentioned in yesterday's announcement, The Elder Scrolls Online takes place 1000 years in the past and will span almost all of Tamriel, though certain areas are being saved for the purposes of future expansions.

Zenimax Online is reportedly doing its best to strike a balance between the Elder Scrolls series and traditional MMOs, trying to appeal to players of both. In other words, yes, expect to use a traditional MMO hotbar to access your skills. You can also expect epic player-vs-player battles - up to 100-vs-100 in some instances - as factions compete to take over Cyrodil's Imperial City, with the winning faction installing its greatest champion as emperor. The NeoGAF post has plenty of other details and, of course, July's issue of Game Informer has even more.

That's crazy.. I wonder how that will work. It would be kind of crazy to have the Emperor changing every week due to PVP outcomes.. Have I mentioned that I hate PVP? ;)

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Re: The Elder Scrolls Online: Tamriel Unlimited
« Reply #10 on: May 04, 2012, 07:52:55 AM »
So many people are crying about how this isn't Skyrim with MMO functionality. Not sure how they would be able to pull that off at all, to be honest. Also seems a lot of people can't seem to grab hold of the idea that Bethesda dev's are still going to develop single player TES games and that ZeniMax Online is doing the MMO - two separate teams. The "this ruins TES" hyperbole is really amusing.

Anyway, here is the post from NEOGAF that seems to have a lot of major details. Not sure of the reliability, but what the hell.

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-Releasing 2013 for PC/Mac
-Developed by ZeniMax Online Studios
-MMORPG
-250 Person Team
-Started development in 2007
-"This time, saving the world from the awakening of ancient evil is only the beginning. What happens when hundreds or thousands of prophesied heroes all think that they should be Emperor?"
-The game is fully voice acted
-Third person perspective
-The game uses a hotbar to activate skills like other traditional MMOs
-Visually it looks like other Hero Engine MMOs like SWTOR
-The general art style is kind of like RIFT or Everquest 2
-You can't be a werewolf or vampire
-Crafting, alchemy, and soul stones will exist in an unrevealed form
-There will be Daedric Princes like Molag Bal, the primary antagonist, and Vaermina, "whose sphere of influence extends to the dream world and the nightmares of mortals", along with some unnamed others
-Constellations will be in the game a la Mundus stones (which work like guardian stones) and also give the answer to things like block puzzles where you step on the blocks in a certain order
-Tons of towns ranging from Imperial City, Windhelm, Daggerfall, Sentinel, Mournhold, Ebonheart, Elden Root, Shornhelm, Evermore, Riften, and a lot more
-Radiant AI will not be present
-There will be mounts, but no flying mounts
-Fast travel exists in the game in the form of wayshrines, which are also your ressurection point, and you can teleport from one wayshrine to any other wayshrine you have already visited
-There most likely won't be dragons
-Sneaking will be in the game, but how it is implemented is undecided
-They're not talking about pets right now
-There will be no player housing
-There will be no NPC romances or marriage

-"It needs to be comfortable for people who are coming in from a typical massively multiplayer game that has the same control mechanisms, but it also has to appeal to Skyrim players."
-Features most of Tamriel including Skyrim, Morrowind, Summerset Isle, and Elseweyr.
-"Not all provinces are included in their entirety; Zenimax Online is keeping large areas inaccessible to save them for use as expansion content. Nonetheless, every major area is represented to some extent."
-As an example, Windhelm is fully implemented, but Winterhold and the mages' college won't be in at launch.
-There are three player factions:
--Ebonheart Pact: The Nords, Dunmer, and Argoninans
--Aldmeri Dominion: Altmer, Bosmer, and Khajit
--Daggerfall Covenant: Bretons, Redguard, and Orcs

-"Recreateing the freedom Elder Scrolls players expect within the World of Warcraft-style mechanics Zenimax Online is using for this MMO would be impossible without changing the way that players interact with the world."
-As such, the game uses a hubless design
-For example, you don't necessarily pick up a quest to do the following, but if you kill all the necromancers in an undead barrow, a shade you free at the end will reward you.

-However, to help you find these events, various NPCs you talk to will tell you where they are happening and put a marker pointing them on your map, which is obviously totally different than receiving a quest.
-Not all quests will have NPCs that indicate where they are
-The game uses MMORPG genre standards such as classes, experience points, and other traditional MMORPG progression mechanics, but they try to present it "around the core fantasy presented by traditional Elder Scrolls games" such as traveling around and righting wrongs or seeking riches
-The game world is very large relative to Skyrim
-You can explore almost anything you can see
-the game is set 1000 years in the past
-You can't master every discipline
-The imperials are an enemy to all three factions, lead by the noble Tharn family and the King of Worms, Mannimarco, and are hatching a plot to take over all of Tamriel
-But BEHOLD, Mannicmarco is scheming with Daedric prince Molag Bal to take over the world behind the Tharn's back
-Also, your soul has already been stolen by Molag Bal, which is the reason you can come back from death over and over again, and the starting plot is that you're fighting Molag Bal to get your soul back from him
-Hitting the level cap takes about 120 hours
-Each faction has their own leveling content

-An example quest is the story of Camlorn, where you have to stop evil werewolves who have their eyes set on conquest. First, you have to do a "standard MMO kill and collection quest" to stop ghosts from attacking some mages and soldiers. The ghosts are reliving a battle that the werewolf leader was in. You summon a ghost to find out what's going on, and the ghost tells you to wear her dead husband's armor to re-experience the battle he died in. You then get transported hundreds of years into the past to fight this battle. During this battle, you can choose to save the dead man's wife or to pursue the Werewolf leader. ZeniMax chooses to save the man's wife, who then tells you that the Werewolf leader is weak to fire. This information is helpful when you fight him, but you don't actually need to do this quest before fighting the werewolf leader if you don't want to. Basically, you can skip parts of quest chains if you want, but you get some benefit for playing the whole thing. Also, whenever you go back to the town you just saved, everything there hails you as a hero.
-The game features three faction PvP where you fight to take over keeps and use trebuchets and other siege weapons to help do it. At the high end, you can have 100 v 100 battles. There are also farms and mines you can try to take over. Most of this happens in Cyrodiil where your goal is to take over and hold the Imperial City to get faction wide bonuses for it. If you have played Dark Age of Camelot, this probably sounds familiar. For those who haven't, essentially the entire zone is a giant PvP area will all sorts of points of interest.
-The most accomplished PvP player on your faction becomes emperor whenever you take over the capital
-When you take over Cyrodiil, you will be able to adventure in it as a hostile city a la Kvatch
-The game will have raids and heroic modes for its dungeons as end game content in addition to faction PvP
-There is also balanced PvP for people who prefer eSports
-The game will also have high end public dungeons
-Public dungeons are essentially instances that aren't actually instanced, so anyone can be in them, so imagine a World of Warcraft dungeon that featured everyone on the server in the area instead of just your party

-There are standard instanced dungeons as well
-Back on the topic of the skillbar, you have a limited number of skills you can use at any given time, and can change them whenever you're out of combat
-The number of skills is equal to (paraphrase) "a light and heavy attack with your current weapon that take up the first two slots, a few more spells related to your class, and an ultimate in the last slot".
-The ultimate is used once you gain enough finesse, which is earned by doing well in combat
-You also get a bonus loot chest if you're soloing and max your finesse, and you can also build finesse by comboing with other players
-For example, a rogue can put oil on the ground that a mage can set on fire
-A fighter can also spin in the firestorm a mage puts down, which sends out fireballs
-If you've seen Guild Wars 2 videos, the above will seem familiar
-You can't combo with the abilities of enemy players though, so if an enemy faction player drops an oil slick, you can't set it on fire
-The Thieves Guild and Dark Brotherhood will be presented, but in what form isn't detailed as their contnet is hard to recreate in an MMO setting
-NPCs will try to work together and use player like behavior when fighting you, and (at least to my understanding) have stamina as well
-They want the AI to be good, so instead of enemies in a dungeon sitting around and waiting to be pulled, you will be attacked by the entire room and they will try to react to how you are playing
-The claim was not demo'ed to Game Informer
-You destroy dark anchors to gain reputation with the Fighter's Guild. They are large hooks that fall from the sky pseudorandomly and have Daedric guardians next to them. They are easier to kill with a group, and once destroyed, everyone who participated gets a reputation boost with the Fighter's Guild, and eventually nets you rewards like new skills and abilities.
-The combat model will not be real time due to latency
-The combat is based around a stamina bar which you can use to sprint, block, interrupt, and break incapacitating effects
-Blocking is the primary focus of these abilities, and can do things like stopping the secondary effects of attacks such as an ice spell slowing you
-Stamina also applies to PvP, so stamina management (and wearing down your enemy's stamina) is important, as your crowd control abilities might be on a long cooldown, and if you use them before the enemy player runs out of stamina, they will probably just block the effect
-ZeniMax feels that having the stamina bar will help break down the Holy Trinity as stamina allows you to do things like tank
-However, healing is still a big part of the game
-There is also no aggro mechanic in the game, which is part of the reason stamina blocking and healing exist

Offline Flik

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Re: The Elder Scrolls Online: Tamriel Unlimited
« Reply #11 on: May 04, 2012, 09:28:03 AM »
RE: Emperor.. do they mean that a player would be crowned emperor? Or that players would have a say in an NPC becoming emperor? Either way, interesting concept.

I don't mind it being built on other MMOs/WOW either. Honestly, that's one thing I really liked about SWTOR.. the gameplay and UI was so similar to WOW that it was much easier just to dive into the games content instead of worrying about having to learn a whole new system.
From what I've read, it sounds like a player will become Emperor. Which will be interesting to see. I don't think it'll be the same as what TERA is doing though, with a guild leader becoming Emperor.

I don't mind it either, but there doesn't seem to be something different to set it apart combat wise. It seems exactly the same as WoW, which is what's bothering me.

And honestly, new systems aren't necessarily a bad thing. TERA's action based combat makes tanking and melee combat more run and involved, from what little I played of it during beta.

Okay, I hadn't read that (yet) and it seems like they have a difference to combat.

Offline jerk of all trades

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Re: The Elder Scrolls Online: Tamriel Unlimited
« Reply #12 on: May 04, 2012, 09:34:01 AM »
Side note: What's TERA like? Worth checking out?

Offline Flik

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Re: The Elder Scrolls Online: Tamriel Unlimited
« Reply #13 on: May 04, 2012, 11:12:49 AM »
Its definitely different in that its more action orientated than other MMOs. You can get through some battles without actually taking any damage if you are good enough (not against BAMs though). Though, you'll notice it more from melee than you will ranged, since ranged just sits back and hammers away.

I didn't really get involved with the political system, but its kinda similar to how it seems to want to work in Elder Scrolls Online. Though the player chosen to lead will be a guild leader. On one server, three large guilds decided to form an alliance in which the leadership would rotate between the three guilds, though this has lead to everyone joining the three guilds only on that server. That could be seen as a downside. Though the guilds kinda function like a political party on that server...

Much is still like standard MMOs. You go talk to people with an identify to get quests, you get elves who look like females but are males,  Standard stuff.

To keep this on topic, the system for ESO seems interesting, but I'd probably want to see a proof of concept before I jump head into it.

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Re: The Elder Scrolls Online: Tamriel Unlimited
« Reply #14 on: May 04, 2012, 02:32:46 PM »
I'm a mark for TES and fantasy MMOs in general, so I know it's a definite that I'll be pre-ordering this. I'm sure I'll be annoyed with a lot of the bugs and quirks that come along with being an early adopter, but ah I'm such a sucker for this stuff. ;)

Offline Flik

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Re: The Elder Scrolls Online: Tamriel Unlimited
« Reply #15 on: May 04, 2012, 02:47:38 PM »
Don't bugs and quirks come with all Bethesda products? Then you are already prepared for the MMO Early Adopter Syndrome!

I do realize ZeniMax is doing it, but it still applies.

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Re: The Elder Scrolls Online: Tamriel Unlimited
« Reply #16 on: May 04, 2012, 04:45:42 PM »
Haha, no kidding! I just hope it's not a clusterfuck. Apparently they're using the Hero engine (which SWTOR uses) so we probably won't see any of the crazy save-bloating lag that Bethesda games usually run into.

Offline Flik

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Re: The Elder Scrolls Online: Tamriel Unlimited
« Reply #17 on: May 05, 2012, 12:50:18 AM »
I thought it was looking familiar. Its not a bad engine for an MMO. Will definitely need to play in first person view though.

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Re: The Elder Scrolls Online: Tamriel Unlimited
« Reply #18 on: May 08, 2012, 05:49:39 AM »
So apparently that Game Informer issue dropped today.. but I can't find any scans of it. I'm actually surprised at the amount of people complaining that this game is even being made. Still a lot of people who don't get that this isn't TES6 and that it's a completely different development branch that's working on it. Well, whatever, I'm still psyched for it. I hope they can pull of an X-mas release.. :)


Offline muzzington

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Re: The Elder Scrolls Online: Tamriel Unlimited
« Reply #20 on: May 08, 2012, 10:17:16 AM »
I like the Hero engine but it's not how I imagine and see the Elder Scrolls Universe. So much colour!

Never use first person view in SWTOR, can't see myself using it with this.

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Re: The Elder Scrolls Online: Tamriel Unlimited
« Reply #21 on: May 08, 2012, 10:22:44 AM »
I've tried both WOW and SWTOR in first person mode.. Not sure how anyone could play like that, especially when you have to deal with AOE spells and enemy mobs.

Offline muzzington

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Re: The Elder Scrolls Online: Tamriel Unlimited
« Reply #22 on: May 08, 2012, 10:28:30 AM »
Aye, MMO's are entirely different beasts. This will have the Elder Scrolls name but I don't think it will feel like the Elder Scrolls seen before.

Sounds completely derivative and repetitive.... I'm going to play the hell out of it.

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Re: The Elder Scrolls Online: Tamriel Unlimited
« Reply #23 on: May 08, 2012, 10:32:41 AM »
Ditto. The screens kinda remind me of the Amalur game that is it right now. Very similar art style, which I like, tbh.

Offline Flik

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Re: The Elder Scrolls Online: Tamriel Unlimited
« Reply #24 on: May 09, 2012, 06:00:38 AM »
I've tried both WOW and SWTOR in first person mode.. Not sure how anyone could play like that, especially when you have to deal with AOE spells and enemy mobs.

I've been tempted to try it with one character all the way and see how I fare. I have played in short spurts and its pretty fun. Especially since you need to tap V to see behind you. You can also still rotate your view with the mouse to look left and right as well. It just takes time adjusting to playing that way.

And I'll admit, I've been too lazy to let myself do it fully.

This will have the Elder Scrolls name but I don't think it will feel like the Elder Scrolls seen before.
It shouldn't. Its supposedly taking place long before the original series its based off of. Kinda like SWTOR.

Combat seems like it'll utilize a bit from a couple of MMOs. Though the addition of a stamina bar or stamina requirement is something I'd suit up to.

Offline muzzington

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Re: The Elder Scrolls Online: Tamriel Unlimited
« Reply #25 on: May 09, 2012, 12:32:47 PM »
I meant more so because of the engine.

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Re: The Elder Scrolls Online: Tamriel Unlimited
« Reply #26 on: May 14, 2012, 03:09:47 PM »
http://www.gameinformer.com/games/the_elder_scrolls_online/b/pc/archive/2012/05/14/elder-scrolls-online-faction-profile-daggerfall-covenant.aspx

Quote
Elder Scrolls Online Faction Profile: Daggerfall Covenant

During the second era, in a time before any previous Elder Scrolls game, the world of Tamriel descended into a four-way war. In an attempt to conquer the continent, the Imperials – natives to the province of Cyrodiil – made a deal with the Daedric prince Molag Bal. At the beginning of Elder Scrolls Online, players will join one of three factions that not only oppose the Imperials and Molag Bal’s undead army, but will also battle one another for the imperial throne. Three different alliances. Three different philosophies. Three different ways to approach the game. Which will you choose? Today we take a deeper look at the Daggerfall Covenant, represented by the lion on the ouroboros.

Zenimax Online’s Take:
“There is a lot of historical friction between the redguards and the bretons,” explains game director Matt Firor. “There have been a lot of little wars between them, and there has been as much internal fighting in High Rock as there has been with external provinces, but it’s a much more settled area and a little more peaceful. The Bretons have given the orcs their own homeland within their territory, and all three races like and respect each other. This faction is a lot more democratic than the others.”

The provinces:
High Rock sits on the northwest end of Tamriel and borders both Hammerfell and Skyrim. The area is highly fertile, features generally mild weather, and is largely populated by the bretons, though it is also the home to the orcs. High Rock was the location featured in The Elder Scrolls II: Daggerfall – Daggerfall being one of High Rock’s oldest cities and its capital.

Hammerfell is an arid region composed largely of deserts, mountains, and grasslands. Home to redguards, Hammerfell is predominately an urban and maritime province. The interior of the region is thinly populated with tiny farmsteads and beast herds, while the outer rim is pockmarked with large trade cities.

The races:
Bretons are the descendants of the humans who settled in High Rock. They are averaged-sized people with fair hair and fine features. Bretons are supremely intelligent, willful, and very outgoing. What they lack in physical skill, they make up for with their ability to weave spells.

Orcs are also sometimes referred to as Orsimer. This beastly warrior race hails from the Orsinium Area subsection of High Rock between the kingdoms of Menevia and Wayrest. Orcs are unflinchingly courageous and often feared, and orcish armor is often prized for its quality.

Redguards call Hammerfell home but love to travel and adventure on the high seas. Quick and agile, Redguards are often skilled warriors with a blade and shield, and are known for their hardy constitutions and speed, which makes them capable scouts.

That’s all for now. Come back Wednesday when we take a look at the ruthless Aldmeri Dominion. And check out our Elder Scrolls Online Hub for even more ESO related content.

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Re: The Elder Scrolls Online: Tamriel Unlimited
« Reply #27 on: May 22, 2012, 01:51:01 AM »
http://www.gameinformer.com/games/the_elder_scrolls_online/b/pc/archive/2012/05/18/elder-scrolls-online-faction-profile-ebonheart-pact.aspx

Quote
Elder Scrolls Online Faction Profile: Ebonheart Pact

During the second era, in a time before any previous Elder Scrolls game, the world of Tamriel descended into a four-way war. In an attempt to conquer the continent, the Imperials – natives to the province of Cyrodiil – made a deal with the Daedric prince Molag Bal. At the beginning of Elder Scrolls Online, players join one of three factions that not only oppose the Imperials and Molag Bal’s undead army, but will also battle one another for the imperial throne. Elder Scrolls Online features three different alliances, three different philosophies, and three different ways to approach the game. Which will you choose? Today we take a deeper look at the Ebonheart Pact, represented by the dragon on the ouroboros.

Zenimax Online’s Take:
“About 50 years prior to the game, an Akaviri invasion came in and basically tried to take over,” says creative director Paul Sage. “What happens now is that the Dunmer and the Nords have formed an alliance because the attack was so bad that they realized they were weak to the Imperial rise. So they form an alliance of convenience with the Argonians. They’re surrounded by all these tides of opposing forces. They feel really threatened, so the Ebonheart’s entire purpose is to band together and make sure they’re no longer in danger.”

Provinces:
Many gamers are familiar with Morrowind thanks to the third entry in the Elder Scrolls series. Homeland of the Dunmer, Morrowind is separated into two parts: Morrowind proper and the island of Vvardenfell. The Sea of Ghosts cuts a giant U through the middle of the province, producing a lot of swampland while mountain ranges to the west isolate Morrowind from other provinces. Vvardenfell has historically been subject to a lot of volcanic activity, and some species depend on this ashfall for survival.

Of all of the provinces, Skyrim is probably the most well known thanks to last year’s Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim. Fans of last year’s game will likely be excited to see how ZeniMax Online has recreated the area for an MMO. Home of the Nords, Skyrim is a wealthy and powerful province despite its cold and sometimes inhospitable climate. Skyrim houses four out of Tamriel’s five tallest mountains.

Black Marsh is also sometimes called Argonia as it is home to the lizard-like Argonians. As the name suggests, Black Marsh contains a vast amount of marshlands and rainforests. The Hist, a race of sentient trees, also call Black Marsh home. The province’s tropical climate has made it difficult to cultivate its plant life. In fact, much of this swampland is teeming with poisonous plants and violent predators.

Races:
Dunmer, or Dark Elves, are an ashen-skinned, red-eyed people. Dunmer are often seen as proud, ruthless, and aloof, and are rarely willing to trust other races. Their above-average intellect, strength, and agility make them both strong warriors and capable sorcerers. Many Dunmer have been able to attain a balanced mastery of sword, bow, and destruction magic.

Nords are sometimes called children of the sky, since they are a tall, fair-haired race of humans who hail from the northern realm. The Nords are a militant people with an incredible resistance to cold and magical frost. These enthusiastic warriors are also natural seamen who have prospered greatly from their nautical trade.

Argonians are called Saxhleel in their native tongue of Jel, a term that means “People of the Root.” Argonians have historically been a slave race to invading bands of Dunmer, and years of defending their borders have made the Argonians talented in the art of guerrilla warfare. Naturally immune to many diseases and poisons, these reptilians are also very agile and make excellent thieves and magicians./quote]

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Re: The Elder Scrolls Online: Tamriel Unlimited
« Reply #28 on: May 22, 2012, 01:52:26 AM »
http://www.gameinformer.com/games/the_elder_scrolls_online/b/pc/archive/2012/05/16/elder-scrolls-online-faction-profile-aldmeri-dominion.aspx

Quote
Elder Scrolls Online Faction Profile: Aldmeri Dominion

During the second era, in a time before any previous Elder Scrolls game, the world of Tamriel descended into a four-way war. In an attempt to conquer the continent, the Imperials – natives to the province of Cyrodiil – made a deal with the Daedric prince Molag Bal. At the beginning of Elder Scrolls Online, players join one of three factions that not only oppose the Imperials and Molag Bal’s undead army, but will also battle one another for the imperial throne. Elder Scrolls Online features three different alliances. Three different philosophies. Three different ways to approach the game. Which will you choose? Today we take a deeper look at the Aldmeri Dominion, represented by the Eagle on the ouroboros.

Zenimax Online’s Take:
“The name says it all. The Aldmeri Dominion wants to dominate the world. They plan on taking over the world. Submit or die,” explains game director Matt Firor. “The Aldmeri Dominion is like, ‘we’re going to kill everyone that isn’t us. You people are going to help us or else.’”

Provinces:
Valenwood is located in the southwestern region of the Tamriel. Home to the Wood Elves, Valenwood is covered by wide swaths of uninhabited forest. Swamplands and tropical rain forests dominate Valenwood’s coasts, but the nation’s most unique features are a few of its cities which are housed in giant, migratory trees. Valenwood’s capitol Falinesti, actually used to migrate south in the winter, but the tree containing the city has recently stopped walking.

Summerset Isles are a group of islands located southwest of Tamriel. Not much is known about the geography of the Summerset Isles, since it hasn’t been featured in many Elder Scrolls titles, but it is largely inhabited by the Altmer (High Elves.)

Situated on the southern end of Tamriel, Elsweyr is homeland to the various breeds of the cat-like Khajiit. Fertile jungles and rainforests occupy the region's southern end, but much of the rest of the nation is covered in dry plains and harsh badlands. In the south, upper class plantation owners grow the hallucinogenic plant Moon Sugar, which is often processed into the narcotic Skooma.

Races:
The Altmer are a race of High Elf that inhabit the Summerset Isles. Slender with a pale golden hue, the Altmer are among the tallest of all races. They are not as physically capable as humans, and their height makes them less agile, but they are possibly the most intelligent and magically proficient species on Tamriel. Their magical skill also makes them susceptible to magical attacks. However, they are highly resistant to disease.

The Bosmer are also known as the Wood Elves, and as that name implies, they are a people of the forest. Unlike their cousins, the Altmer, these elves prefer a simple lifestyle living in harmony with nature and exploring the beauty of the land. Both agile and quick, the Bosmer are excellent thieves and archers.

Khajiit are a cat-like race known for their natural agility and stealth. This race is not very adept at manipulating magical forces, but their agility and keen intelligence make them fierce warriors. Mobile bands of Khajiit often travel across Tamriel selling wares or distributing skooma. Oddly enough, Khajiit often refer to themselves in the third person.

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Re: The Elder Scrolls Online: Tamriel Unlimited
« Reply #29 on: May 22, 2012, 01:52:57 AM »

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Re: The Elder Scrolls Online: Tamriel Unlimited
« Reply #30 on: May 24, 2012, 07:26:08 AM »
Quote
Fans of MMOs have killed their fair share of monsters. They've collected enough pelts and have returned plenty of missing items to quest-givers. The team behind The Elder Scrolls Online has the challenge of creating thousands of quests for their MMO that will hook players and share similarities with the Elder Scrolls games of the past. By implementing an exploration-focused quest structure and bringing in fan favorite quest-lines such as the thieves guild, creative director Paul Sage and lead content designer Rich Lambert hope fans of the series will feel right at home. Watch the video below to see Game Informer's Ben Reeves talk to Paul and Rich about their approach to designing quests, the main story of the game, and how the world will change depending on your actions as a player.

See the video here: http://www.gameinformer.com/b/features/archive/2012/05/23/exploring-quests-in-the-elder-scrolls-online.aspx (there was no direct link to embed it)

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Re: The Elder Scrolls Online: Tamriel Unlimited
« Reply #31 on: June 05, 2012, 06:25:21 AM »

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Re: The Elder Scrolls Online: Tamriel Unlimited
« Reply #32 on: June 06, 2012, 04:07:25 AM »

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Re: The Elder Scrolls Online: Tamriel Unlimited
« Reply #33 on: June 06, 2012, 05:12:16 AM »
Another E3 dev interview video here: http://www.joystiq.com/2012/06/06/unfurling-elder-scrolls-online-with-lead-gameplay-designer-nick/

Quote
After witnessing an E3 demonstration of The Elder Scrolls Online (more on that soon!), we took a moment to chat with its lead gameplay designer, Nick Konkle, about the visual design, combat, social features and cooperative reward system. Also, about how a warrior can turn a mage's flame vortex into a shower of fireballs.

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Re: The Elder Scrolls Online: Tamriel Unlimited
« Reply #34 on: June 15, 2012, 02:34:31 AM »
http://kotaku.com/5918689/the-elder-scrolls-online-is-not-as-world-of-warcraft-as-you-might-fear

The Elder Scrolls Online is Not as World of Warcraft as You Might Fear
Spoiler: show


About a month ago, on the top floor of a seven-story hotel whose elevators were temporarily out of service, I saw the massively multiplayer online version of The Elder Scrolls. (You know, the Skyrim series.)

Two of the top people who have been creating this game in secrecy for the last couple of years played the game in front of me. They talked about it and then turned to a few dozen games reporters and asked them if they had any questions.

Yes, I had one. It may have come off as a little rude, but it was about the very thing that had curdled much of the initial cheerfulness I'd seen online about The Elder Scrolls Online since the game was revealed this past spring in Game Informer magazine.
***
This is how it went...

Me: "I'm from Kotaku and a lot of our readers were initially really excited about the game, and then they began to feel like this was more World of Warcraft than it was Elder Scrolls. Some of our writers were complaining about that as well, and they felt—whether it's stuff that was in the Game Informer story [like the idea] that you can't own a house because it's too difficult to implement in an MMO—or you can't explore the whole world because some of it's being held off for expansion content, the feeling again was that this is more World of Warcraft than true to Elder Scrolls. So to people who have those anxieties and feel this is trying to be something other than what people know from the series, what's your response?"

Matt Firor, ESO game director (and longtime producer on the pre-WoW Dark Age of Camelot series): " Making an MMO is making an MMO. I worked in the industry before World of Warcraft, so I can tell you that World of Warcraft had a lot of influences from a lot of games. Our priority is to make a great game and not to make a clone of anything. You saw a lot of things [in the demo today] that have no analogue in pretty much any other MMO. I think the answer there is: the more information that comes out about it—and when people sit down and play it, they'll realize it's different. Like our whole real-time combat system of blocking and dodging is all pretty much new. And the fact that it's based on health, stamina and magicka—you have to maintain your stamina bar to block and it's all real-time—gives it a completely different feel from any MMO.

Me: "But things like attacks that have cooldowns and are keyed to a toolbar and all that, which is something we're used to seeing in most MMOs, you feel that's a necessity…"

Firor: "Some attacks have cooldowns; some don't…"

Paul Sage, ESO game director: "I think the key thing there is when you look at [things like the clickable toolbar], think of it more as an accessibility thing. When it's designed and laid out, it's there to give you the ability to do something very quickly. So, versus thinking of it as 'it's-the-ability-bar' combat, think of it more as "that's a tool being used to give it a real-time feel.' Certainly some things would have a cooldown, but a lot of things have no cooldown whatsoever. So you're seeing a very reactive, fast-paced combat."

Firor: "That big two-handed power-up attack I was using in combat, that was from the toolbar. But it wasn't based on cooldown, it was based on how long I held it down. But you have to get hands-on with it. "

Me: "Right. Just a final thought on this, and then I'll leave you guys be: I think some of this reaction was coming out of the sense that-and you guys had nothing to do with [EA's] The Old Republic-but that was pushed as: 'finally we're going to get something significantly different from what everybody had been making, [from all those] games similar to World of Warcraft.' And there was an expectation and maybe even some promotion by EA that the game would feel like, 'Okay, this is finally the alternative MMO for people who may not have been into those trappings.' I think now maybe you guys are freighted with those same expectations. Are those appropriate expectations? Or are maybe people conflating what they call World of Warcraft with just the necessities of MMO games?"

Firor: "I think really they just need to sit down and play it when it goes into beta. Games are a lot about feel. When you see them in a magazine it's hard to get an idea of exactly what's in it and how it plays and what features work and how, so…"

[One of the magazine editors in the room laughed]

Me: "I hate magazines, too." [everyone laughs]

Firor: I didn't mean it that way.. when explanations went out, when videos of Paul and I went out, and people actually heard about it.. explaining it [helps]…"

***
Let's back up. I've put the defense before the horse.

The half-hour demo of the game that preceded that bit of Q&A included a tour of the game's terrain, a playthrough of some of it's distinct real-time combat, and an explanation of such non-WoW-like features as that of the ability for player faction that has won empire-wide player vs player battles to name one player as the game's emperor.

The game is set 1000 years before Skyrim, just before the rise of Tiber Septim. It's meant to be playable solo, if you'd like but is designed for you to play with friends. The game's map consists of all of Tamriel, the land of Elder Scrolls lore. The map is divided into three major areas, each run alligned with a player faction and surrounding the imperial city of Cyrodil. Players can be part of the Ebonheart Pact in the northeast, which consists of Dark Elves, Nords and Argonians, "former enemies," Firor said, "bonded in an alliance of convenience. " Or they can join the Dagerfall Covenant, "a mercantile empire of Orcs and Redguards and Bretons, who all consider themselves the true heirs to the empire." In the southwest lies the Aldmeri Dominion, a group of "high elves, the wood elves and the Khaljit, a precursor to the faction of the same name from Skyrim." Cyrodil is filled with non-player characters who, their city overrun by the three factions, have made a pact with a Daedric prince who raises an army of the undead to resist occupation. The Prince steals your soul. To get it back, you have to be a hero to this fractured world.

The game includes three types of dungeons: group instances, in-game raids and public dungeons, "a concept that hasn't been done in MMOs in some time," Firor said. "Just like aboveground, you'll run into players below ground." These public dungeons will be more difficult to survive in than above ground, so you'll want to ask people for help or give help. You'll always be rewarded for helping people, he said.

Each character has three core characteristics: health, stamina and magic. Every class and characters within that class may have a different balance of them, and each class can in some way block, dodge or charge up power attacks. Some moves are mapped to the standard bottom-of-the-screen toolbar we've seen in other MMOs, but other basic moves like block are simply mapped to keys and can be triggered at any time without waiting for a cooldown. Blocking uses stamina, but timing blocks well can enable strong counter moves and finishing moves. The idea is for battle to feel skill-based.

Enemies simulate player character builds. You'll run into warrior enemies, bandits and necromancers, to name a few. They'll work together against you, enemy rogues dropping oil on the ground so an enemy mage can shoot fire through it. Players can do the same.

If you fight well, you earn finesse points which give you added rewards (better loot, perhaps?).


This demo of the game from E3 gives a glimpse of The Elder Scrolls Online in action.

"Our game is based on one simple philosophy," Firor said, "Everywhere you go, you find something to do. You can just walk across the world and find things to do." Generally you'll be tempted to do these quests with other people, though you can solo if you want. (The entire story involving the main character plays out in single-player instances.)

"Our quests are a little more exciting than ‘just go out and kill 10 rats,'" he said, before showing us a sidequest that had our hero going back in time to find out how to defeat an undead warrior in the present. He classified the quest as a "POI" [point of interest] quest that would have 20 minutes of content and reward you at the end without you having to cash it in. These kinds of quests will just pop up as you walk around the world.

PvP in the game can involve small skirmishes near farms or massive sieges involving hundreds of players. The faction that achieves the majority of territory can crown a player-emperor.

Firor said that people should think of The Elder Scrolls Online as "an MMO that you can play the way you want to play."

***
Part of The Elder Scrolls Online's problem is that, at a glance, it really does look like other fantasy MMOs. Part of it is that, to some eyes, it doesn't look enough like an Elder Scrolls.

After Firor and Sage's presentation and after I asked my questions, I walked down the hotel stairs to the pool area where the game's publisher, Betheda, had set up a few stations where reporters could play the upcoming first-person action-adventure Dishonored. Firor and Sage stood to the side, and in an unintentional demonstration of how friendly their game will be to people with non-cutting-edge tech, proceeded to play the MMO on a humdrum MacBook tethered to an iPhone (hotel Internet generally stinks).

I walked over to play some, knowing that I'm not enough of an MMO gamer to assess with my own hands how similar or different the game is from World of Warcraft. I could just ferry the complaints and concerns of others. I also could, I learned, enjoy the real-time combat in this MMO, which does indeed help it feel more like an action-based game.

As I tried to kill stuff, I asked Firor and Sage about one of the big this-doesn't-look-like-Elder-Scrolls hang-ups. This game isn't in first-person. It's in third. Why? Well, you can actually zoom in and try to play, more or less, in first-person and it's a bit of a disaster. The developers pointed out to me that you want to be able to see characters in your peripheral vision. You want to see who is flanking you. In their more open-ended combat design, a third-person camera view is needed for this. But Skyrim was open-world, I observed. It is, they said, but its encounters don't involve the kind of surrounding crowds seen in an MMO. The other hang-up with first-person in ESO is that the first-person zoom you can use in the game doesn't show your character's arms, which you can see in the likes of Oblivion, Skyrim and similar off-line Elder Scrolls. Adding the sight of your arms to that vew, the developers told me, is not something they're focusing on.

(The idea of what they're focusing on is key. Remember the house thing? That bit from Game Informer that it just might be too difficult to do player-housing in an Elder Scrolls MMO because it was too "difficult"? That might, the devs said kindly, have been a misquote. Whether it was that or a misspeak, they say it's do-able byt not something they're focusing on now. There are, they said, a finite number of things they can focus on for now.)

Firor and Sage reminded me that the Elder Scrolls lore is its own special thing. It will help make their game feel more Elder Scrolls than anything else. And their combat will make it feel, they believe, unlike other MMOs.

Try it in beta, they say.

There will be a beta... eventually. You'll see for yourself, if you've got a half-decent PC or Mac.

The finished game—such as MMOs are ever finished—will be out in 2013.

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Re: The Elder Scrolls Online: Tamriel Unlimited
« Reply #35 on: October 23, 2012, 05:53:46 AM »
Tons of new previews and screens via http://elderscrollsotr.mymiddleearth.com/ !!

Making an MMO, Feel Like Elder Scrolls
Spoiler: show


The Elder Scrolls series is known amongst the gaming community for having vast environments with towering mountains, snow covered tundras and terrifying dungeons, all inhabited by vibrant and brilliant characters.

As more and more news is released concerning the Elder Scrolls Online, it is apparent that developers ZeniMax Online Studios is not straying from a staple that has made the series so popular.
The upcoming MMO will not feel like the everyday online game many are used to playing. Much like in Skyrim and other installments of the series, every place a player can see that player can visit and travel to. The game is being designed to look, feel and handle like previous Elder Scrolls games but with the added element of an MMO.

Because nearly all of Tamriel will be accessible in this game, the developers have spent hours researching each aspect of Elder Scrolls lore to make sure the game not only maintains continuity storywise but also in appearance.

Items such as weaponry and armor will not just be random throughout the world, but look as if it naturally belongs there. Dungeons will fit into their environments as well, with enemies and items fitting in naturally rather then something just placed or lost there.

The addition of dungeons is also indication of a distraction based style of game. Games in the past have featured hundreds of side quests, as well as new places to adventure to and explore, that can keep players off the main stories for hours upon hours. ZeniMax Studios are working to keep this style of game play a reality in Elder Scrolls Online. Dungeons will be accessible to all players with rewards and enemies to be shared. A dungeon in Skyrim may be vastly different than a dungeon in High Rock, with a different outcome by venturing through. The MMO-installment to the series will not shy away from side quests and dungeons and keeps filled with glory to be had.

Skyrim featured dungeons with a lot of interactive elements built in. Whether it was the puzzle solving to get from one room to the next, the countless half libraries scattering the ruins or the abundance of embalming equipment, a character was able to interact with almost everything. This will remain true in Elder Scrolls Online as well.

Players will be able to interact with their environment in ways such as picking up a piece of bread, an apple or a plate. The player will be able to take and leave weapons much like in the past.

To do these things, the key strokes will be similar to those in Skyrim. The E button will be used as the activation key, while the mouse controls where a character looks and the WASD keys will  move the player. While the camera is third person, it is able to be zoomed in or out and panned.

This utilization of the camera can give the Elder Scrolls Online the feel of a medieval FPS as well as making the environment just as much of a feature of the game as ones character. Being able to zoom out and see a Nordic warrior standing on a ledge with a backdrop of a city below is breath taking in every imaginable way. And, as mentioned above, ones ability to then travel to said city helps put the player into the world.
Seeing a city far off in the distance from a mountaintop and then being able to travel there is something Skyrim made an emphasis of. The upcoming MMO is working to keep in line with this ability.
All of these things show how immerse the Elder Scrolls Online environment really is and how a player is able to do and play however they would like.

But perhaps the strongest point to the advancement in the Elder Scrolls environment comes from the PvP zone, which happens to encompass the entire territory of Cyrodil.

While the PvP will be vastly different yet similar to other MMO’s in games, one feature that stands out is the ability to interact with the environment. Even during 100-on-100 battles, it is possible for either side to use a siege tower or weaponry to take out structural weak points on buildings throughout all of Cyrodil. These siege weapons allow even under-leveled participants the chance to make an impact during battles. Walls can be taken down, allowing combatants the ability to invade and overrun a keep or fort.

This feature adds an element never before seen in an Elder Scrolls game. Buildings have always been fixed points in previous installments, and though it is in the PvP zones, they can now be damaged and destroyed. This feature not only makes the environment a hazard to players, but also aids in the storytelling process. The destruction, even of a forts wall, shows the dangers and struggles of any wartime situation.

If used correctly, these siege weapons hold the ability to turn the tide of a battle in one sides favor.
While there is still quite a bit of time before the game is released, and more news is bound to come out about Elder Scrolls Online before then, the MMO looks like it may redefine not only the genre but the Elder Scrolls series as a whole.

With all of Tamriel up for grabs, the real question is what’s next?


ESO Unveiled! Two Day Press Summit!
Spoiler: show


This past week, The Quest Gaming Network had the awesome pleasure of being able to send Joe and Evarwyn to an invitation-only media preview of The Elder Scrolls Online. Set between Wednesday the 17th through the morning of Friday the 19th, the guys had a chance to meet with the developers, the community staff, and be among the first ever to sit down and play this highly anticipated MMO title.
The event encompassed the three days and included various meet and greets, presentations and the highly anticipated “first-look” at actual gameplay. The presentation included various notes and philosophies regarding the creation and development of the game, as well as a PVP video showing the amazing capabilities of the game’s combat. All of the major team members were on hand at this event including Paul Sage the game’s Creative Director, Matt Firor the Game Director, Nick Konkle the team’s Gameplay Lead.

In the presentations the design team laid out pertained to the overall direction they were trying to point towards. Matt Firor pointed out the major gameplay elements and design philosophies in the creation of this game:

Design Elements
First and foremost – The team wants this to be an Elder Scrolls game with an engaging social experience.
Want ESO to be a “Best in Class” RPG
Want it to be a premium service with great customer service and regular content updates.
 
Gameplay Elements
An immersive world
Strategic, reactive combat that’s like we see in Skyrim
Unique character progression
Modern Social Experience – integrating Social Media such as Twitter, Facebook and Google + into the game. An example of this is being able to pull your friends list from FB into the game.

One of the major points the team made was that they “built an Elder Scrolls and it happens to be a MMO.” One of the biggest questions about what this game will be like was always whether this will feel like a normal Elder Scrolls game. Well we can say definitively that the designers have accomplished this goal.
This conundrum is another piece of the puzzle the Devs had in mind when developing the game. In a presentation from Paul Sage, the teams Creative Designer detailed how fans of this game can be classified into two groups: MMO fans and Elder Scrolls fans.

Additionally, the team also got a glimpse at the PVP in the game with a technical demo of a battle in action. Stay tuned for our PVP-themed article later today with information about the demo, as well as additional details regarding this game mechanic.

Throughout the day our team was given the awesome privilege of being able to sit down and interview Paul Sage, Matt Firor and Nick Konkle. These interviews can be heard on our special “ESO Coverage Episode” debuting this morning in conjunction with our coverage today.

At the end of the event, we walked away with a mountain of information to push out to our viewers and listeners, a recharged, renewed hope that this game will in fact push the boundaries of the conventional MMO, as well as a lot of new relationships and friends. Stay tuned to The Elder Scrolls: Off the Record throughout the day as we will be releasing articles detailing different aspects of the game. Also make sure to check our iTunes page as our special ESO podcast will be going live later this afternoon. In that podcast you will hear the interviews with the game developers mentioned above, as well as the first ever descriptions of actual gameplay.


ESO Press Summit: YOUR Character Development
Spoiler: show


The Elder Scrolls IP has always been known for changing the conventional styles of most RPGs. Whether it be the large fully interactive world, in-depth game mechanics such as spell crafting and alchemy, or shaping the way you played your character, The Elder Scrolls Online will continue to push the barriers of the genre to new levels.

Choosing your class
While MMOs allow you to chose a class and then moves you along your path, the classes in TESO are more of a “springboard.” While your class defines the skills in which your character will be able to use, it does not hinder you from choosing “how you play your world.” One thing to point out is no matter what class you choose, ANY class can use all weapons and armor types. You are not restricted by your class to just cloth armor or medium leather. A healer can use the heaviest armor with the largest warhammer in Tamriel – and not be hindered by the choice.

The normal Health, Magicka and Stamina trees are present in this game, and depending on which path you focus on during leveling will grant you specific perks along your adventures. For example: after putting a couple of perk points in the Magicka tree, it not only increases the Magicka available for you to use, but it also grants you a bonus against Magicka damage. The way in which you spend your skill points will affect the type of gameplay you choose down the road. Obviously someone with high Health might end up focusing more on tanking, while someone with high Magicka will focus on skills and weapons that use that pool.

During the media summit there were two playable classes: Templar and Dragonknight. The Dragonknight was your agressive, melee oriented character, adept at dealing damage in large quantities quickly. Your Templar was a mixture of damage and healing, sort of paladin-esque. This game had some skills that were also granted bonus damage based on your stamina, thus giving you a reason to add points into your path-trees. Other classes will be in the game such as a Sorceror, Warden and Nightblade to name a few.

Playing the world your way
This is a common mantra from the development team and something that is at the heart of The Elder Scrolls  as a whole. While there is no “skill tree” as we know in the modern MMO, there will be branches of your development that you choose to play your way. For example, when you gain a certain level, a new skill might open that prompts you to make a choice. You can choose a path that will be more DPS heavy, or you can choose a path that is more defensive. This type of development has been hinted at in other games, but not nearly this in depth.

As stated earlier, each class can use any and all weapon types in this game. Whether you want to be a mage who is proficient with a Bow when he needs to be, or a tank who specializes in two-handed swords, you have no restrictions placed on you. That is the major idea behind how you play your character: No restrictions. You play the way you want to and the game follows suit.

Choosing your weapon
Weapons in The Elder Scrolls series have always defined your playstyle, and not the class you choose. Sword carrying players will undoubtedly be more of a close-range attacker, where a person who specializes in Mage’s staffs will tend to stick close to the back of a group. Your weapon choice in TESO will define your character and not the class you choose. Nick Konkle, Zenimax’s Gameplay Lead, put it best when he said: “Towards the end of the game you’ll find that the character you’re playing is nothing like what you started out with.” Potentially the character you customized will be nothing like what you originally created. The example he gave was going back to the Templar. While the Templar is envisioned to be a heavy armored damage dealing class, your weapon and armor choices can change that character into a robe-wearing magicka user.

Each class is not set up to have an advantage over the other when using a weapon, rather they will be different for each class.  As you use these weapons, as previously stated in articles already released  your proficiency will increase as you use that particular weapon. As you level your weapon, you will also unlock new skills to effect how you use that weapon. These skills will level independently from your normal class skills, and will change depending on the weapon you are currently using.

Planning your development
Taking into account the highly customizable nature that weapons and armor give you, as well as the attributes you obtain through leveling up either Health, Magicka and Stamina, you begin to understand the scope in which TESO allows you to make the character that is only limited by the player’s imagination. This is also prominently featured via an intuitive interface that helps you strategize on path you want to take.  Each weapon type is listed in its own window, complete with drop down menus with a horizontal tree that shows, at the corresponding weapon level, each skill you will earn and even at what point the weapons skills split to become more role specific. This will help the player decide what they want to focus on and start to move their weapon proficencies and focus towards that goal.

Conclusion
Character development in games is one of the major sticking points of a great title, and is also one thing The Elder Scrolls  have consistently done right. The developers have created something fresh and revolutionary with the implementation of this mechanic, as is the only way to make an Elder Scrolls game. As time moves on this will only become more refined and polished, creating one of the most unique –  and gratifying experiences in the gaming industry to date.


ESO’s PvP: “Massive and Epic!!”
Spoiler: show


In a world where gaming has moved from the 8bit sprites of our heros to the highly detailed and evolving worlds in MMOs, most players play games now to have a rewarding experience, enjoy a great story and to have a pleasing social experience. Other players play for one reason: to beat you. Player v. Player, or PVP for short fills that void in the gamer’s life. Not all players who play MMOs enjoy PVP, but there is a large number of the gaming playerbase who love and thrive in this environment.

There is something to be said about playing against another player, rather than learning how to defeat a boss and then knowing what he will do over and over again. Playing against another living, thinking human being adds a challenge not found while questing throughout the gaming world. PVP allows us to really see “who is the better of us?” and do so in an environment that is first legal, and ever changing.

Making PVP Meaningful
Most games try to give their PVP some explanation in the story. TESO is no different.
As already stated in previous articles, PVP in TESO will mainly take place in the province of Cyrodiil. The three factions of the game are currently in combat vying for the imperial throne of Tamriel. As stated in our original article detailing the “goals” of the development team, the game wants to make PVP “meaningful.” It shouldn’t be viewed as just going into Cyrodiil and combating other players. There are real goals, and consequences for the actions taken place there. As the factions vie for the throne of Tamriel, they will use Cyrodiil as the major combat zone for the culmination of that conflict. Whoever takes over the Imperial Throne ends up actually becoming Emperor in game!

The Nitty-Gritty: What We Know, and What’s Coming
So what do we know about PVP so far in TESO? Here are some facts already detailed in former articles to bring you up to speed: The entire province of Cyrodiil is your battle ground. The topography of the land is copied off of The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion so those who played the game should be familiar with it. Also, the size of Cyrodiil is larger than the province of Skyrim in TESV.

The province will also have smaller towns to capture and help with the strategic flow of PVP.
All three factions will be involved, creating some of the largest PVP battles we have seen in a MMO to date.

Some new information was given to us at last week’s summit regarding PVP: You can start PVP at level 10

As of now there are not specific stats or attributes that will directly effect your PVP prowess
Also as of the publication of this article, there is no PVP-specific gear. This doesn’t mean that there won’t be at launch, but the design team is still fleshing out this idea.  When asked why, Matt Firor responded: “There’s good reasons to have it, and there’s good reasons not to have it.” We’ll let you know if this changes the minute it’s released.

Siege engines are used in massive battles and certain elements of the environment are destructible.

I would like to reiterate that last statement: “Siege engines are used in massive battles and certain elements of the environment are destructible.” This was on display during Thursday’s preview day presentation. Brian Wheeler, the game’s Lead PVP Designer, showed a video displaying the awesome capabilities of PVP in the game. For starters, PVP is supposed to be a massive ordeal, pitting players versus each other to achieve a goal. So the video showed a massive battle for a city featuring 200 different players in the battle at once. Yes, 200! Now one might be skeptical about this, maybe some of the characters shown on screen were computer AI controlled sprites, but we were assured this was not the case. “Each player is an employee of Zenimax Online Studios,” Wheeler iterated. None of the other devs even showed a hint of disagreement on that statement.

So as the attacking force neared the city, siege engines were fired up to start battering the walls. The minute a wall was destroyed by the siegecraft, the melee was joined. 100 v. 100 battle going on seamless in front of us, the attacking force rushing through the newly created “door” to the keep. As battle was joined, pockets of 1 v. 1,  10 v. 15, and 20 v. 20 fights broke out as each person fought for control of the city. As the camera panned out, you were treated to an all out war scene unfolding in front of you. While capturing cities might be a strategic advantage to your faction’s claim to the throne, this doesn’t mean all massive battles will be held in cities. Open field battles will also spark up across the landscape of Cyrodiil, making the province an all out warzone.

Now Cyrodiil may be the province under the most constant siege of PVP armies, but that’s not all you can do there. According to the developers, there will be content for both solo, small and large groups, and raid sized groups. Dungeons in Cyrodiil will be public, so the same social experience will apply here as they do the rest of Tamriel.  In addition to PVP, there will be some PVE content in Cyrodiil as well, making the area feel like it is not a “PVP-only” zone.

Tackling Lag Head On
One of the major sticky points in any MMO is the issue of server lag. While server lag is a game-wide issue, it is more prominently felt during large sequences of combat during PVP. Having 200 players on screen at any given time can do a number on any server, so how does the development team combat this? First of all, it should be noted there are not multiple servers for the game. North America and Europe will have separate servers, but other than that all you need to do is log in and play. This is possible due to what the development team calls “Mega-server technology.” While they didn’t go into great specifics on how this was done, the game runs smoothly despite all of the unique connections running off the same server. Also, the game developers have stressed in previous interviews and articles that the game is being developed with lag and lower end machines in mind. Taking lag and performance into account when you build something makes it a lot easier to iron out issues when they arise.

Conclusion
While PVP was not available to play during ESOTR’s gameplay at the media summit last week, the video shown was definitely makes our mouths water when we remember that the video shown isn’t even the final product. Many additions and refinements will obviously make their way into the game to help make this feel even more fresh and exciting!
 
Stay tuned to The Elder Scrolls: Off the Record for all your latest news on anything The Elder Scrolls Online!


Finesse, Synergy, and You: How It All Fits Together in Elder Scrolls Online
Spoiler: show

 
If you were worried that The Elder Scrolls Online might end up being just another MMO that you’ve played a million times before, you can rest easy. The team at Zenimax Online Studios have created a game that feels unlike anything you’ve ever experienced, yet not so foreign that you will have to relearn everything from the ground up. And with the goal of creating an Elder Scrolls game that also happens to be an MMO, you’re going to feel right at home during your adventures in Tamriel.

In this article we’re going to look at how Zenimax looked to implement “strategic reactive combat,” but first we need to examine a few other parts of the game that would make top-notch combat worthless if not implemented well. Originally, Zenimax wanted the game to have a first-class first-person perspective and have it feel just like Skyrim, and have quest pickups work the exact same way as well . You talk to a random NPC and they give you the opportunity to do something for them. As of right now the game DOES have a first-person perspective, but it’s similar to the traditional first-person point-of-view you would see in any other MMO, which is less than ideal. During the summit, QGN staff members, as well as other attendees, repeatedly told Zenimax that they wanted a true, functional first-person view, and as the event went on, the company’s reception towards fully implementing that idea seemed to warm. Statements were made regarding the fact that putting in arms and weapons that are currently equipped would be an easy feature to add to the game and wouldn’t require any rebalancing of systems already in place. Quest pickups however, do feel very much as if you’re playing Skyrim, with no question marks or exclamation points telling you, “Hey! You have to come do my quest!” During the playthrough, many times upon discovering a cave or dungeon there would be an NPC outside who would give you a reason to go in, but you’re free to explore any cave you want to, whether you have a reason to go in or not.
So now that you understand that getting around the world will feel very familiar, not to mention unique in comparison to current MMOs, let’s get into how combat works. A little has already been divulged about synergy and the finesse system, but now we know a great deal more about how this is all going to work. But first things first, the user interface.
 
USER INTERFACE
Rather than having a mouse icon freely move around the screen, wherever you move your mouse you will have a reticle in the center of the screen, just like in Skyrim. You use this to look, aim, loot, and everything else for movement and interaction in the game. There IS a hotbar, but it is not designed to be used by clicking your mouse, but rather by using the number keys. The bar has boxes for hotkeys 1-6, but the primary attack design comes straight out of Skyrim. You use your left mouse button for your primary attack and your right button for either your block or secondary attack. You will be able to swap out skills and abilities in these boxes, however, and that’s done by clicking the CTRL key, which changes the reticle into your mouse pointer and allows you to click and drag skills in and out of the hotkey boxes. You will still, however, be able to move your character around, interact with the world, and see what’s going on, because the screen doesn’t dim or switch to a menu.

Once you’ve switched to the mouse pointer, you can right click on your icons in the hotbar and have it bring up all the different spells that you can use for a particular equipped weapon. You won’t have to search through menus to figure out what you want to use, it will all be right there in front of you.
As you loot gear throughout the game, you may want to see if there’s a better piece of equipment in your inventory. If you open up the character screen, you can hover over an item, right click on it, and easily swap it out (choosing from a list in a small menu that pops up) with another piece of gear in your inventory. Likewise, if you go into your inventory screen you can hover over an item, click the shift key, and it brings up a menu comparing it to your equipped gear. Zenimax was going for a simple approach, so the user interface is very streamlined and has that “barely there” look and feel of a traditional Elder Scrolls game.

One more note about the UI, the compass, which will be a circular tool on the bottom right of the screen, will guide you to quest objectives, important NPCs, and points of interest. You can swap active quests by pressing the “T” key, which cycles through and places an icon on your compass and map of where you need to head next. But Zenimax has focused on distraction-based gameplay, meaning they want you asking, “Which of these things should I do first,” just like in Skyrim, adding hours of endless roaming and wandering. The game was built with this philosophy in mind, and is being inserted wherever possible. As a side note, QGN staff members asked if it was a possibility to include the standard horizontal compass as is seen in recent Elder Scrolls games as an option, and the company said they’d look into it.
 
COMBAT MECHANICS IN ACTION
So once you have your weapon selected, as well as any spells or enchantments for that weapon, you can dive into combat, and start discovering how this game is different than anything else out there. During the summit, attendees were shown a demonstration where Creative Director Paul Sage and Lead Gameplay Director Nick Konkle entered a Dwemer ruin called “The Crypt of Hearts” to show how every public dungeon is its own encounter with its own set of rules. 100 groups could go through the same area and it could be played 100 different ways. Here’s how it went down.

Nick was a melee character and entered the room on his own at first. He engaged two Dwemer spiders, similar to what you’d see in Skyrim, and immediately upon seeing him the spiders moved to attack. There was no need for “pulling”, they just saw him and wanted to eat him. Once Nick chose his primary target and started to attack, the secondary spider pulled back and began casting an Area of Effect (AOE) for himself. Nick’s primary target then disengaged from him, turned around, went over to the AOE-casting spider and allowed that AOE to buff its armor and attack, meaning that once this finished he was now able to hit harder and for more damage. Nick let the spiders go through this whole routine rather than destroying them on-sight for demonstration purposes, just so people could see the thought process that exists within the computer-controlled enemies. Then Nick proceeded to beat the heck out of the spiders, only to be treated to an exploding spider that did additional damage after being killed, thanks to the AOE that he soaked up from the secondary target earlier.

This is where paul Sage entered the picture. He came into the room as a Mage and Nick took on an enemy that he normally would not be able to take down on his own, in this case it was a Necromancer. Paul used a lightning spell debuff, which on its own didn’t have any threat ability, but then Nick ran up to that mob and used his Synergy skill (we’ll get more into how Synergy works below), which in this case was called Conduit, and turned that non-threatening skill into a damaging lightning AOE attack, turning Nick into the subject of everyone else involved in the fight. So Paul was able to stay safely in the background while the two of them took down all the enemies.
 
THE FINESSE SYSTEM
More than any other MMO out there, Elder Scrolls Online rewards players for being involved in combat, not just playing a game. So this is where the Finesse System comes in. There is NO auto attack. Zenimax wants you to PLAY this game, not sit and mash buttons until an object on-screen goes away. You will be actively engaged and involved in this game at all times, at least, you will be if you want to progress your character as much as possible. Say, for example, an enemy rushes at you and you successfully block their attack. The enemy will be stunned and will allow you to go to town with any of your six hotkeys or charge up an attack (like a power attack in Skyrim) by holding down your left mouse button. The more successful you are at attacking, blocking, and dodging, the more finesse points you will build up. These points accrue on a skill that you’ve designated as your “finesse skill” next to your hotbar (every class has several different skills to swap in and out), and once you’ve built up enough of these points you can use that powerful ability. It then goes away and you have to build up the finesse points in order to use it again. Additionally, the more finesse points you build up, the more experience points you’ll gain when completing a fight, as well as opening up access to more chests to loot off fallen enemies. Something to note, if you get hit by an enemy you will lose finesse points, which encourages you to be more reactive to the situation and do your best to avoid getting hit.

Another exciting possibility that is out there, and while there is not a lot of information yet as it is still in an early alpha stage, there are currently kill-cams in the game. So look forward to potentially being able to follow your arrows right into the eyeballs of your enemy, if that’s your thing.
 
SYNERGY
Moving on to the next major component in combat, Synergy is an idea that Zenimax has worked hard to make an important and unique part of the game. Synergy skills become active when a player in your group casts a spell or wields an attack that meshes with whatever Synergy attack you have equipped at the time. When the ability to use that attack is enabled, a notification pops up on your screen, and if you hit the “X” key, it will use that attack to do crippling, extra damage to the mob that you couldn’t do on your own. Zenimax wants players to play together, and this is one incentive for doing so.

Did you notice I said “Zenimax wants players to “play” together, “not “group” together? As you travel the world and come into contact with other players who are in the same area or doing the same quests as you – this “public dungeon” idea – you naturally begin working together, sharing objectives, loot, and enemies, and all that’s required is to be within proximity of one another. The game has a lot of public dungeons, and the way it’s set up, you won’t have to sit around waiting for enemies to respawn. Just work together with whoever else is in there to take down the enemies, and you’ll all get credit for it. Plus, you’ll get to use those cool synergy attacks that are not available otherwise. That being said, they did mention that they are looking into adding a “Looking for Group” feature to help people who just want to hook up with other players and explore the game together, side-by-side. It’s not currently in the game, but QGN staff members were told by Paul Sage “..we have one ‘specced’ out.”

It’s important to note that computer-controlled enemies are very similar to player-controlled characters, meaning they have a set of skills to draw from and can also work in synergy with each other, just like players can. In a demonstration at the summit, an example was shown where melee warrior mobs dropped oil slicks and their mage companions lit the oil on fire with a spell, causing massive AOE damage. Synergy.
 
AM I A TANK, OR WHAT?
In terms of getting locked into specific combat roles, that will be a thing of the past with this game. Zenimax has designed ESO so that at any time you can change your role by swapping out weapon skills. The skills you have equipped on your weapon will determine if you are a healer, tank, or DPS-type of player, or even a mixture of all three of those. The more you mix it up, the more variety and unique gameplay you’ll create for yourself, which brings back (parent company) Bethesda’s overall goal with Skyrim, “play the world the way you want to play it.” If anything, the game encourages you to NOT stick to a specific role, and in fact, when asked about character progression, Konkle said he expects that towards the end of the game, players will discover they’ve made their character and it’s not anything like what they started out with. Potentially, the character will be customized to fit the player’s preferences as the game progressed, not staying within traditional roles or styles.

In regards to character progression, characters level up by gaining experience and killing mobs, as well as by raising proficiency with used weapons. Specifically speaking, when you use a weapon it will increase from level 1, to 2, to 3, and so on, separate from your character’s level. So your character could be level 6, but your one-handed sword skill might be level 4, and your two-handed sword skill might be level 2. As you gain levels with weapon types, you gain a new skill, which will be mapped to your left or right mouse button. In addition, once that weapon type reaches level 4, it branches off, giving players the chance to make that skill much more specialized. These specializations will all lean themselves towards either damage, healing, or threat generation-type of bonuses, but remember, you’re not locked into this style of play. At any point you can switch up your weapons and skills and change from a character who has predominantly been a healer and switch to a DPS. This has been made possible by Zenimax allowing any character to use any weapon at any time. In short, there are no skill trees that lock you into a certain play style. You are free to play any way you want.

Also worthwhile to note, while the user interface is not cluttered, there IS an extra icon next to your hotbar set aside for consumable items (like health potions) for quick access during combat by pressing the “R” key.
 
CONCLUSION
Zenimax has many more surprises for us in the coming months, but we’ve now seen the direction that they’re taking this game. The combat created for this MMO looks to be fresh and will push boundaries. Traditional MMO players may not be initially comfortable with the setup, but Zenimax is banking on players wanting a more interactive and strategic approach to combat. If you like the sound of being good at dodging or blocking, and want to be rewarded for your efforts, this is the game for you. That said, this is still an Elder Scrolls game, so everything is still your choice. You can play the world the way you want to, and that includes combat. Elder Scrolls fans who are skeptical about this game working in an MMO setting should feel encouraged by what we’ve seen so far. Zenimax has taken great measures to make this one of the best Elder Scrolls games of all time, and it just happens to also be one of the most involved and interactive MMOs ever created.


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Re: The Elder Scrolls Online: Tamriel Unlimited
« Reply #36 on: October 23, 2012, 05:56:06 AM »
http://massively.joystiq.com/2012/10/22/massivelys-hands-on-with-the-elder-scrolls-online/

Massively's hands-on with The Elder Scrolls Online
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Last week, I ventured forth from the subtropical paradise (read: sweltering wasteland) of the Florida panhandle to the frozen northern wastes of Maryland to visit the studios of ZeniMax Online to spend some time with the studio's premiere foray into the MMO space, The Elder Scrolls Online.

The Elder Scrolls Online has caused quite a clamor since it was first revealed back in May. Since then, everything has calmed down, everyone is discussing everything reasonably, and... I can't keep a straight face. In reality, MMO gamers are deeply divided about TESO, and some vocal potential players are most displeased to see the venerable sandbox world of Tamriel being reduced to yet another themepark MMO experience.

So after about four hours of hands-on time with the title, I'm here to answer some questions. Have the folks at ZeniMax run The Elder Scrolls off the rails, or have they just taken it in a bold, new direction? Join me after the cut and I'll tell you what I think.

Let me first answer the question on everybody's mind: Does it feel like an Elder Scrolls game? It does, mostly. The game's art team has done a fantastic job of recreating the kind of beautiful scenic vistas that players have come to expect from the series, and it's clear that much attention was paid to keeping the world consistent with previous games. I was delighted to notice that the very same unique Nord urns I had looted the crap out of in Skyrim were scattered around the various tombs and barrows I explored in TESO. Of course, TESO deviates a bit from the previous titles in the series, mostly by necessity, but I'll get to that later.

For my time with TESO, I was able to play only the Ebonheart Pact faction, which is made up of the Dunmer of Morrowind, the Nords of Skyrim, and the Argonians of Black Marsh. Being the filthy elf-lover that I am, I went with the Dunmer. The two classes available in this build of the game were the Dragon Knight and the Templar. The Dragon Knight was described as a front-line fighter with reality-altering magic, while the Templar was more or less what you'd expect from a class called the Templar: magic, support, that kind of thing.

Now, TESO does character building a bit differently than most games in that any class can wield any type of weapon and wear any type of armor. In addition, all characters have access to a common "pool" of abilities granted by increasing skill in particular fighting styles (one-hander and shield, dual-wielding, two-hander, etc.) plus an additional pool of abilities granted by investing points (awarded upon leveling up) into one of your three main stats: health, stamina, and magicka. For instance, I invested most of my points in the stamina stat, thereby unlocking a passive sprint speed bonus and an ability that granted me health and stamina after I killed an enemy. Because of this system of progression, a player's class really dictates only the class-specific abilities he unlocks as he levels. So with that in mind, I chose the Dragon Knight because the description mentioned altering reality, and I'm a sucker for the Alteration school of magic.

My Dunmer began his journey in a remote island northeast of Skyrim known as Bleakrock. Off the coast of the isle, scouts had spotted approaching ships thought to be an invasion force of the enemy Daggerfall Covenant (consisting of Bretons, Orcs, and Redguards). It's worth noting that this starting experience begins at level 2 after Molag Bal has stolen my soul and all that good stuff, but that opening segment of the game wasn't available to us. At any rate, my now-soulless Dark Elf was assigned the task of searching Bleakrock for missing villagers while the rest of the village prepared to evacuate. With my goal set for me, I sallied forth into the icy mountains of Skyrim.

If you've ever played an Elder Scrolls game, TESO's controls will be immediately familiar to you. WASD moves your character, the mouse controls where you're looking/aiming (no tab-targeting here, folks), spacebar jumps, shift sprints... you get the idea. The combat controls are also taken directly from previous TES titles. Clicking the left mouse button will swing your weapon, whereas holding it down will charge up a power attack and holding right-click will block incoming attacks.

So while we're on the subject, let's talk about combat. I mentioned earlier that TESO varies from previous titles in a few ways, mostly by necessity, and combat is one of those ways. It's obviously very difficult to implement the combat of, say, Skyrim directly into an MMO. And honestly, I always thought that combat was one of the series' weaker points. As a dual-wielding character in Skyrim, I got very familiar with the "strategic" combat style of running up, spamming power attacks, and backpedaling furiously. Maybe it's just me, but I never found it terribly tactical or exciting. TESO captures the spirit of the series' combat in a way that is better-suited to an MMO environment, and in my opinion, considerably more engaging.

The closest comparison I can draw to an existing combat system would be Champions Online, but it has a few twists of its own. One of the features I thought was pretty awesome was the finesse system. During each fight, you're rated on your combat prowess based on how efficiently you take down your foes. For instance, enemies will periodically charge up power attacks that can be blocked by holding down right-click. After the player blocks a foe's power attack, the enemy will briefly be "exploitable," which means that performing a power attack on that enemy will do major damage and knock him to the ground. Properly blocking attacks and exploiting enemies will earn you finesse points, which serve a few different purposes.

First, you're granted an experience bonus based on your finesse score, and if the score is high enough, you will also be given a loot chest that can contain shiny new gear. Secondly, finesse points charge your ultimate ability, the first of which is unlocked at level 5. My Dragon Knight's first ultimate ability (I was told that players can unlock different ultimates as they progress through the game) was called Dragon Armor, and when activated, it gave me a sweet set of spiky armor that caused fire damage to any enemies within proximity. All of the abilities I was given access to had pretty high "wow" factors. My personal favorite was Fiery Reach, which shot a flaming chain to my target, pulled him to me, and stunned him momentarily so I could take my leisurely time in laying the smack down.

Overall, the combat has a strong action flavor and flows really well. Taking on a group of enemies and surgically blocking, retaliating, and using abilities while watching your finesse score rise has a way of making you feel like a badass. Unfortunately, the combat suffers from an incredibly finnicky targeting system that can make fights involving multiple mobs and/or ally players somewhat frustrating.

In essence, you can attack or use abilities only if your targeting reticle is currently over a valid target, so if you and three of your best buddies are going to town on some hapless zombie, it's pretty easy for abilities to simply not trigger because your friend's attack animation put his pinkie finger in the way of your targeting reticle. I'm admittedly a bit disappointed that there's no real-time hit detection, so you can't simply swing your sword and hit the enemies in the arc of the blade, and there doesn't seem to be any way to dodge incoming projectiles. I can understand why those things can be problematic to implement, but the current targeting system needs a great deal of work.

Another thing that long-time players of The Elder Scrolls are surely familiar with is robbing entire towns blind by looting every last wheel of cheese from the poor townsfolks' cupboards. Those players will be happy to know that this capability returns in TESO but in an understandably more limited fashion. While every single urn and crate isn't lootable, many are. And unfortunately, no, you can't put a basket on a shopkeeper's head and then rob him blind. In fact, most of the containers I came across contained crafting materials, which were useless to me because crafting hasn't been implemented, but the devs assured me that crafting will be quite valuable in the finished game.

One thing that really stood out to me was TESO's quest design. You always hear people talk about how they want to nix the kill-ten-rats style of quest design, but TESO is actually taking strides in that direction. While there were a few kill X mob quests, most of the quests I encountered weren't so tedious. The moment I noticed the change in design happened when I was given a quest to free some members of the Fighters Guild from spider webs in a cave. In any other game, there would be a number of generic "Wriggling Web" NPCs that I'd have to destroy, and some of them would contain enemies I'd have to fight, while others would contain nothing at all, and I'd end up searching 20 webs before I found the three people I was looking for.

But this was not the case at all. Instead, all of the webbed NPCs were the guild members I was looking for (and I'm fairly positive it wasn't just some fluke of the RNG), and the combat of the quest came simply from fighting the nearby spiders as I searched for the trapped folks. The game also attempted to put a more entertaining twist on the kill X mobs quests it did have.

One that comes to mind is a quest in the Bal Foyen area of Morrowind that had me throwing netch eggs at Daggerfall Covenant troops to cause nearby bull netches to attack them. Overall, I noticed that I wasn't constantly looking at my quest tracker, wondering when I'd complete this stupid objective, and I wasn't fixated on my XP bar, either. It also helps that the game actively encourages exploration with out-of-the-way points-of-interest that can contain shiny loot or interesting side-quests, which mimics the time-honored Elder Scrolls experience.

I also had the chance to experience some of the game's group content in the form of a public dungeon known as the Crow's Wood, set in a plane of Oblivion. The surreal flavor of The Elder Scrolls' outer planes was well-captured by a series of quests involving talking crows, giant bats, and a sorcerer's deal gone sour. That last one is of particular interest because it served up an interesting moral dilemma.


Long story short: A sorcerer made a deal with a hagraven that involved the hagraven's granting the sorcerer arcane knowledge under the condition that the sorcerer spend the rest of his (presumably unnaturally long) life with her. Surprising absolutely no one, the sorcerer tries to renege on his end of the deal, and it's up to the player to decide how things play out. Do you force the sorcerer to keep his part of the bargain or free him from the hagraven's bondage? Or maybe you just kill 'em both because you can't be bothered with such silly trifles. Personally, I made sure Mr. Magician upheld his word because I don't like a double-crosser and anyone who's making bargains for eldritch power is never a good sort.

Group combat against champion monsters was satisfying aside from the combat targeting quirks I mentioned earlier. The champions present a reasonable challenge that requires a bit of strategy, but of course the loot they drop is usually worth it. I wasn't able to go up against any bona fide bosses, but if the champion mobs are any indication, players should expect fights that rely on quick reactions and high mobility to survive.

One of the last bits of TESO I got a look at before my playtime was over was a Dark Anchor. Dark Anchors are anchors sent by Molag Bal from his plane of Coldharbour in an attempt to pull Tamriel into his domain. Of course, we can't allow that to happen, so players are able to destroy these Dark Anchors in a public-quest-style encounter. All players have to do is run up to the Anchor and get to killin'. All players in the area will get credit for helping to send the Dark Anchor back to Molag Bal, and destroying Dark Anchors will earn players favor with the Fighters Guild. While I took down my Dark Anchor solo (we had about five minutes left, so everyone was running around like a madman), I can see them being a fun distraction but not much more than that unless the difficulty ramps up immensely when more players are participating.

Ultimately, I left my time with The Elder Scrolls Online feeling considerably more optimistic than I had expected. The team at ZeniMax Online has done a great job so far recreating not just the world of Tamriel but also the feeling of an Elder Scrolls title. A few small quirks aside (and really, it's pre-alpha; I didn't go in there to nitpick bugs), TESO is shaping up very nicely. If you're one of the folks who thinks that what ZeniMax is doing to The Elder Scrolls is tantamount to blasphemy, I urge you to fight back the rage and keep an eye on this game because it may end up surprising you as it surprised me. If you've got any questions or if you'd like to question my loyalty to The Elder Scrolls, feel free to speak up in the comments and I'll answer everything the best I can.

Offline Smues

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Re: The Elder Scrolls Online: Tamriel Unlimited
« Reply #37 on: October 23, 2012, 08:17:54 AM »
Next time paste maybe a few key paragraphs and the url to the rest.
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Offline jerk of all trades

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Re: The Elder Scrolls Online: Tamriel Unlimited
« Reply #38 on: October 23, 2012, 08:28:21 AM »
Did this load slow for you? I believe it's the images, actually. I've tagged them, regardless.

Offline Smues

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Re: The Elder Scrolls Online: Tamriel Unlimited
« Reply #39 on: October 24, 2012, 04:02:05 AM »
It loaded fine, but that's just way too much shit for someone to read through, or skip bye. Spoiler tags works.
I want Jimmy Fallon to be dead. That doesn't make me a bad person.

Offline jerk of all trades

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Re: The Elder Scrolls Online: Tamriel Unlimited
« Reply #40 on: October 24, 2012, 05:36:32 AM »
Haha true enough, it did look pretty daunting as a wall of text! Gonna start using the spoiler tags more often for this kind of stuff. ;)

Offline Flik

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Re: The Elder Scrolls Online: Tamriel Unlimited
« Reply #41 on: October 25, 2012, 12:28:44 AM »
If, and I do mean, if the character creation allows me to make my character the way I want it, then I might give this a chance. Also, free to play. The only games I've continued to play as MMOs are F2P.

Offline jerk of all trades

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Re: The Elder Scrolls Online: Tamriel Unlimited
« Reply #42 on: November 12, 2012, 06:43:23 AM »

Offline Damaramu

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Re: The Elder Scrolls Online: Tamriel Unlimited
« Reply #43 on: November 12, 2012, 08:16:13 AM »
If, and I do mean, if the character creation allows me to make my character the way I want it, then I might give this a chance. Also, free to play. The only games I've continued to play as MMOs are F2P.

I'll only play if I can just play it like an Elder Scrolls game and ignore everyone else. I don't want to quest with anyone.
I watched RAW. I thought it sucked. The usual problems and such.

Offline jerk of all trades

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Re: The Elder Scrolls Online: Tamriel Unlimited
« Reply #44 on: January 22, 2013, 02:01:18 AM »
People who "don't want to quest with anyone" are the worst in MMOs. Why are you even playing a massively MULTIPLAYER game then?

Anyway, Beta sign-up is open: http://signup.elderscrollsonline.com/

Also, a new trailer:


Offline ViciousFish

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Re: The Elder Scrolls Online: Tamriel Unlimited
« Reply #45 on: January 22, 2013, 02:05:40 AM »
Because most people are drooling retards.


I only group with people I know.
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Offline jerk of all trades

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Re: The Elder Scrolls Online: Tamriel Unlimited
« Reply #46 on: January 22, 2013, 02:11:14 AM »
Because most people are drooling retards.

You're doing it wrong, then. I've found many more competent players in most MMOs that I play over the "drooling retard" bunch. You just have to look for the right guilds. Usually I seek out the "mature/casual players" crowd and it turns out well. DCUO, is an exception to that of course due to it's console accessibility (by that I mean that almost everyone who plays that is a colossal idiot).

Offline ViciousFish

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Re: The Elder Scrolls Online: Tamriel Unlimited
« Reply #47 on: January 22, 2013, 02:34:38 AM »
Guilds are fine. I was referring more to a grouping with randoms idea.
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Offline Exslade ZX

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Re: The Elder Scrolls Online: Tamriel Unlimited
« Reply #48 on: January 22, 2013, 08:31:36 AM »
People who "don't want to quest with anyone" are the worst in MMOs. Why are you even playing a massively MULTIPLAYER game then?
Because I still want to experience the game, graphics, story, etc. I shouldn't have to rely on others to have that experience.

Especially in a game like DCUO for instance. I'm a huge comic nerd, and have been waiting forever for a good game involving characters from the universe I've enjoyed reading since I was a kid. And now that potential game finally comes out, and you're telling me to fully enjoy the experience, I have to rely on other people? I have to try and coordinate the right time to be online. Maybe my group wants to dress alike, so I can't even dress my character how I want him? Not that these things will necessarily happen, but just a few reasons why some would prefer an RPG, to an MMORPG...and when the first option is not available, the only choice is to play the MMORPG like and RPG.

Or the Star Wars games, which is a genre that has a huge fanbase obviously..and you want to play these games for the lore, but then they release and they're MMO, and if you're not a MMO fan you're sol unless you just want to replay KOTOR again. I mean to each their own, but there's a lot of reasons why one would want to play the actual game, without having to participate in the MMO experience.

Offline jerk of all trades

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Re: The Elder Scrolls Online: Tamriel Unlimited
« Reply #49 on: January 22, 2013, 08:50:24 AM »
Experiencing the game is experiencing the genre.. Which in this case is an MMO, which is a huge part of the draw for a lot of people. The whole point is that they are making the game world a living environment. Life goes ln when you are not logged in. You could argue back and forth all day about wanting it to not be an MMO, but that is an exercise in pointlessness. Honestly what else can you say? If you want more solo experiences then Tweet the developers or support their other solo games.

All I was originally saying was that most solo players in MMOs are the worst as they are usually the ones who ninja loot and don't even attempt to work together for the better of the group - in which case, again, why are you even playing then..