Hands On: The Elder Scrolls Online

ZAM gives its impressions on The Elder Scrolls Online after a tour of ZeniMax studios.

LIGHT SPOILER WARNING

For example, one of the main threads of Bleakrock Isle is that the invading Daggerfall Covenant forces are threatening to overrun the Ebonheart Pact inhabitants. You can tell Lieutenant Rana, local force for good that it's time for the town to make a run for it immediately, or try to find the 15 missing townsfolk first, ensuring they are not left stranded.

Being the obsessive completionist that I am — seriously, it's an illness — I rescued all the poor missing miscreants. This meant that when I returned to the town, all those NPCs were there, coming to terms with what happened to them in often entertaining ways, as well as showing their appreciation for my heroic awesomesauce.

When the inevitable attack on the town came, it added impetus to my actions; I wanted to slay the would-be murderers of the charmingly antagonistic couple I had rescued earlier. And I did so with a surprising level of urgency. Immersion working as intended.

Choosing to save those characters turned them into recurring characters that were a part of the next adventure and who retained a continued presence as I ventured onward. Matt Firor went on to state that certain characters would be intertwined in the overall story depending on how you made your way in TESO, reflecting the dev team's intent that choices would matter throughout the game.

SPOILER OVER, YOU CAN LOOK NOW

Screenshot

 

Are We Having Fun Yet?

To offer a room full of hungry games journalists a free lunch can usually be compared to the running of the bulls. But on this occasion we were all too busy happily questing, slaying and stealing the contents of the town folks' rooms to bother for a while and then only to bring our food to the computers so we could munch away while we continued playing.

As time was running out on the play test, I was urgently wrapping up the Blackrock Isle content, as not only did I want a look at the next area — Bal Foyen, located in Morrowind — but I genuinely wanted to find out what happened next in the story.

It's certainly still early days and of course some things need work, such as some combat animations and a need to add more heft to the feel of some attacks, but those four hours flew by; which is something I've not been able to say about some games' new player experience even at launch.

There's plenty of ambition and vision at ZeniMax for their game — for my take on that, read my overview of the studio tour and the revelations about more of the games' systems later today — but from what I experienced hands on, rest assured that their MMO is distinctly The Elder Scrolls.

Scott "Jarimor" Hawkes, Editor in Chief

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Subscription model
# Nov 26 2012 at 8:46 PM Rating: Default
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83 posts
I hope its monthly subscription just because that supports the company to continue their updates and content at a fair rate without making players feel like they need to pay to enjoy the game fully.

Edited, Nov 26th 2012 9:46pm by dreamgreed
Great article but...two questions
# Oct 22 2012 at 11:51 AM Rating: Decent
2 posts
In the opening paragraphs you describe the first-person, reticule-based combat.

This is a HUGE improvement from what we were told at E3.

Firstly, when in first-person, can you see your arms/weapons like in Skyrim, or is it more like WoW where its just a blank view?

Secondly, would you say there is any form of hit detection in the combat, like aiming sword swings, spells and arrows, or is it still dice rolls, tab-targetting and numbers flying out of enemies?
Great article but...two questions
# Oct 22 2012 at 7:47 PM Rating: Decent
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Hey Capitol, thanks for leaving a comment.
The first person doesn't have the arms in front of you from what I saw so far (and this is so far as there is much to come).

In regards to the dice rolling aspect, you don't have a block rating stat, you have to time the block correctly before an attack lands (somethng you're best saving for when a mob is powering up a heavy attack).

You select your enemy by moving the reitcule over it, this highlights the mob. Face the wrong direction and you're swinging at fresh air. The only numbers I saw were from the Finesse ranks.

I hope that helps!
Great article but...two questions
# Oct 22 2012 at 8:39 PM Rating: Decent
2 posts
Thanks for the response!

Hopefully they get those hands in before launch, so much better for immersion.
My wallet is suspicious...
# Oct 22 2012 at 11:46 AM Rating: Decent
1 post
Yeah it sounds good but what is their business model? If they want a subscription fee they better have something a fair bit more epic than just another MMO with action combat and a few ideas copied from LoL and GW2. And if they say it is still undecided then I’ll pass. We’ve all seen MMO publishers and developers have to change their business models in the past, and fail miserably because what they chose didn’t suit the game, leading to absurd and unfair restrictions and making the game, in some cases, even less welcoming to new player than if it had just kept a sub fee. Fact is if these guys didn’t know exactly how they were going to charge for the game before they started development it will hurt the game. Period.
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