Elder Scrolls Online is a new massively multiplayer role playing game by Zenimax Studios and Bethesda Game Studios that attempts to compete with the behemoth of the premium subscription MMO, World Of Warcraft, on its own turf in the fantasy genre. While the base gameplay is fairly similar — go on quests, fight bad guys, level up, game with thousands of other players — this new MMO has a lot that’s unique to offer gamers.
What Elder Scrolls Online brings to this competitive gaming genrea is a long history of games set in fantasy world Tamriel, beginning in 1994 with The Elder Scrolls: Arena and continuing through three the present day with four sequels: Daggerfall, Morrowind, Oblivion and Skyrim. There’s a ton of lore and backstory here, as much as any high-fantasy Tolkien-esque novel you might read, and this deep infusion of fictional reality — as well as the action gameplay style of the original single-player games mentioned above — is a solid asset in Bethesda’s favor.
Reviewing any MMO is a massive undertaking itself, and so we decided to dig in deeper than we usually do to give you a better sense of the world of the game, filtered through the eyes of a new Elder Scrolls Online player.
Editor’s Note: Due to the sheer size of Elder Scrolls Online, we’re publishing our hands-on impressions in three chunks. Part 1 is here and Part 2 is here. What follows is Part 3.
I had just finished a long assignment from the elven ambassador in the province of Elsweyr. I was tired from running to and fro, tangling with spies and fighting the Sea Elves at every turn.
Suddenly, Commander Karinth stopped me in my path and pressed me into duty fighting these ocean foes. I had to run into the fabled Wind Tunnels, looking to destroy the foul Storm Totems. Enemies at every turn of the weaving passages forced me to dodge back and forth to avoid vicious attacks while retaliating with my own spells and sword blows.
After what seemed a lifetime of combat and destruction, I returned a hero. Then I took some time out for me, finding a crafting table to put together some ingredients I’d gathered to make something useful. A restorative meal got me feeling better than usual.
As in many MMO games, Elder Scrolls Online offers many activities to engage in, including questing, crafting, cooking, combat (both player versus player and player versus environment) and traveling through dungeons with a few close friends. Even marriage — if you bought the digital Collector’s Edition.
There’s a reason people get addicted to games like Elder Scrolls Online: There’s so much to do that it’s incredibly easy to get sucked into these deep virtual worlds.
Editor’s Note: Due to the sheer size of Elder Scrolls Online, we’re publishing our hands-on impressions of the game in three chunks. Part one is here. What follows is part two.
Queen Ayrenn is a modern monarch. She’s definitely trying to do the right thing, but I can hear the weariness in her tone when she tells me about the endless rituals she must complete in order to be accepted by her subjects.
I’m not sure what happened to her during her 17-year absence, nor why she returned to the kingdom at age 28 to inherit the throne of Alinor. Honestly, I don’t much care. What I do care about is that she is tired. She knows these rituals and adventures are necessary, but she finds them tedious, if dangerous.
She’s always glad to see me. I always want to help her. I’ve bonded with Queen Ayrenn, and she’s not even real.
That’s one of the real triumphs of impressive new MMO Elder Scrolls Online: It’s a virtual world, but the individuals you meet there somehow can, at times, seem more realistic than the people you might spend your day next to on the subway.
Editor’s Note: Due to the sheer size of Elder Scrolls Online, we’re publishing our hands-on impressions in three chunks. Here’s part one.
I dash up a sandy dune, rushing past palm trees, looking for the spot on my map where an eyeball icon beckons my attention. The sky is blue — it’s mid-day here in the Hammerfell region — with a few clouds to tease the eye. It’s hot enough to fry an egg on my heavy armor, but hey, I’m not really running anywhere.
As I crest the little hill, a brilliant lens-flare from the sun draws my attention skyward, distracting me from the broken bridge. I tumble heavily to the sea below, splashing into the water.
I’m in good company: there’s a small school of orcs and elves who have made the same rookie mistake. We make the slow swim of shame to the sandy beach, then rush off to explore this idyllic, if tricky, land.
This all takes place on the continent of Tamriel, which will be familiar to gamers who’ve played the previous titles in the series: Skyrim, Oblivion, Morrowind. It’s like Middle Earth for game nerds. While each of the previous games took place in just one area of Tamriel, the Elder Scrolls online promises the whole land mass.
It’s paradise –I wonder if I can bring my kids with me when I move here.
The Elder Scrolls Online, from Bethesda Software, is coming April 4, 2014, and not to the hot new consoles, oh no. The hotly-anticipated online sequel to one of the hottest role-playing games of the past few years is coming to Mac and PC before releasing to the Xbox One and PlayStation 4 the following June.
Imagine that–a huge gaming title coming to your Mac before your console-loving friends can get their hands on it.