That Elder Scrolls Feeling 2

Fans have even more reason to celebrate, with two waves of beta invites!

Earlier this month, ZeniMax treated us to a feast of The Elder Scrolls Online gameplay direct from QuakeCon. This week, the studio followed up on the livestreamed extravaganza by answering a whole range of questions based on what we saw.

If that wasn’t enough, the team has also released a beautiful new wallpaper featuring concept art from Fungal Grotto, the goblin and dreugh-infested dungeon that featured in the developer tour. 

The Grotto itself is, we’re told, a level 12 to 15 dungeon; placing it at the earlier end of levelling content. The party was made up of two level 13 and two level 16 characters, giving us a fairly good indication of at what speed we’ll be able to stomp through the place. That said, the dungeon tour ended before our heroes managed to take on the dreugh, so who knows what lies in the later parts.

Interesting revelations also emerged about how the dungeon experience had been pieced together. We’ll be able to turn off the target glow around our enemies to make the game more immersive, and we’ll be able to use repair kits to fix our gear mid-dungeon. Instanced loot is also random for each adventurer, ensuring that we all get the same chance at that vital weapon we’re desperately craving.

But one of the most interesting tidbits came from a question about the compass – a band near the top of the screen that shows points of interest in the direction the camera is facing. It’s an idea lifted straight out of Skyrim, and it’s something that I think adds to that general Elder Scrolls feeling. I didn’t expect to hear that it actually encouraged players to venture out into the world.

“When we had a mini-map, we noticed many testers felt like they should just follow quest markers, and they were less inclined to explore. This ran counter to our intent of being a game that emphasizes exploration. When we introduced the compass, players became much more likely to explore and less likely to just ‘follow the quests.’”

For those of us itching to get our hands on The Elder Scrolls Online, August looks set to be a bumper crop month. New waves of beta invitations have been sent out—not once but twice—with even more players diving in to Tamriel. And, if the beta gods have failed to answer your pleas, dozens of gaming terminals will be arriving at Gamescom this coming week. ZAM itself will be fielding a team at the event, so look forward to news from the show floor soon!

Gareth “Gazimoff” Harmer, Senior Contributing Editor

Follow me on Twitter @Gazimoff

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