ZAM visited ZeniMax as classic Elder Scrolls 1st Person Combat and more was unveiled
Master of one, or Jack of all Tradeskills?
Crafting was briefly outlined. It was stated that the aim was to make it fun, not a grind and that you can choose to be a jack of all trades or master of one due to having limited point to spend across all of them.
It was promised that crafting will make some of the best items in the game, including upgrading items that are found around the world.
The way ingredients are used will be somewhat familiar to Skyrim fans. When at a crafting facility you will have the options to add a Primary ingredient, a Secondary ingredient and up to three Additives.
You will be able to make a common item with just a Primary and Secondary. For example adding some grain and a bottle created Dawnstar Ale. You can add larger quantities of the primary ingredient in order to make your final crafted item more potent. Putting in additives brings new properties to the mix, for example adding some hops to Dawnstar Ale created Invigorated Dawnstar Ale and revealed one of the four hidden properties of the additive.
Each additive ingredient begins with four question marks which have to be discovered, something that players of the series will know very well.
When making a weapon, you could also add varying quantities of additives for further opportunities for experimentation. An axe was made as a demonstration, the Iron Battle Axe, which then, with a few varying amounts of additives became the Iron Battle Axe of Undead Bane, a superior (blue) quality item which had a cool particle effect when equipped.
The full list of crafts is as follows:
- Provisioner (cooking and brewing, available as soon as you start adventuring)
Racial styles of crafting will be unlocked to each home race and you can go on to learn all the other racial equivalents of recipes.
Game Over? Not so fast…
Another hitherto unannounced feature is that when you have completed all of the content for your alliance and have hit max level, you will be given the chance to experience the content of a different alliance (you get to make the choice of which one is next).
This is explorable on the same character. When I asked Matt Firor if this meant downranking he explained that instead, all of the other content will be upranked, so all the mobs and so on will be level 50 difficulty from the early areas and beyond.
Firor stated that there are between 120 and 150 hours of content for each alliance, and that you can also gain increasingly more powerful items from those other alliances (once the second alliance is completed, the third unlocks).
It seems a very smart way to make sure content is available to players while adding a tangible incentive to explore the whole game.
Brian Wheeler, Lead PvP Designer, strode forward and logged into a live session of the game in order to demonstrate a battle that was going on at that time in Realm vs Realm.
Set in Cyrodiil, which is nine times larger than the zones we had experienced so far, the three different alliances battle for control over various encampments, including large keeps, outposts, lumber mills, farms and mines.
Players can teleport across the map using the buildings they have control of, but they must be linked. This allows the faction that is in trouble to hit a specific objective to cut off the supply/travel line and isolate another target.
Small groups will be able to take out resources to weaken keeps, in order to make huge zergs not the only way to play the game.
Though, if the demo was anything to go by, those zergs will at least be very pretty. Fireballs scorched the air, leaving arcs of flickering smoke behind them before crashing into a keep wall.
Over sixty players plus quite a few summoned atronachs and other combatants could be seen in the battle rushing at each other with gleeful abandon in the midst of the spell effect fireworks exploding all around. Of course this was over the closed system and was most likely using a computer that I could only dream of, but still it was noticeable how incredibly smooth it all looked, even with all of that beautifully rendered carnage on screen at the same time.
Do My Eyes Deceive Me?
At this point, Matt Firor got a knowing smile and a marked sense of anticipation as he introduced another video.
A battle commenced, zoom was used and suddenly we were looking from the first person perspective of a character with his hands stretched out in front holding weapons in classic Elder Scrolls style.
Eyes widened and gasps were audible as this was certainly not something we were expecting. With something this big, not quite ready for us to play due to some fine tuning, it would be understandable if there were some obvious kinks.
Instead, it looked glorious.
Probably my favorite early Dragonknight ability is Fiery Reach, where you throw out fiery chains a la Ghost Rider and pull your target to you. We got to see this in action in the first person demo video.
A blade in the left hand spun around until off screen like a gunslinger twirling his six shooter into his holster, then the fiery chain exploded forward from the now empty hand.
As the chain hit the target, the empty left hand wrapped around the chain in a cool animation before proceeding to yank the enemy forward. Once the ability had finished cycling, the original dagger spun back out again, allowing the melee attacks to resume.
It looked phenomenal, and Firor stated that though not quite ready for us to play due to some fine tuning, it was working in-game and would definitely be ready for launch.
You will be able to zoom into that perspective at will, including in PvP (though you might be a bit crazy to do so).
Most Elder Scrolls fans believed that we would not see this classic view in the game (and many had voiced their displeasure) so this inclusion will be a massive boon to fans who were concerned about the differences between the series so far and its MMO.
And to wrap up:
There were a few miscellaneous things in the Q&A that followed the presentation:
- A costuming system will be in game (we already picked some up from early quests) but no dye system for customization of individual armor pieces
- UIs for social aspects, including guilds are ongoing and are a big part of why beta is necessary for developing those systems
- Beta has already begun
- There will be four classes at launch, one previously unannounced (in the resulting conversation it slipped out that it was the Nightblade), but the classes are not as big a focus as in other MMOs due to the huge array of non class based skill lines available.
- Full LUA add on system is in game. Modders, rev your engines.
- No official support for gamepads, but current mapping software will work fine
- There will be a LFG system and travel system to get you to your friends quickly
- Adventure zones will not be ready for launch. These areas are large expanses for level 50 players to have solo, small group and raid sized encounters.
From the length of this article, you can tell there was a huge amount of information to come out of one day touring ZeniMax. The quality of the game at early levels, the promise of later content that we were shown and some of the unexpected inclusions could really be the last pieces in the jigsaw for many fans on the fence about the project.
In my thoroughly first person view, The Elder Scrolls Online is the leading heavyweight contender for my MMO play time this year.