Tamriel is a rich, open world with five successful single player experiences full of legends and history. So when Bethesda and Zenimax announced a massively multiplayer online role playing game, it is understandable that The Elder Scrolls Online would be met with some level of skepticism. After roughly 40 minutes with Elder Scrolls Online at E3 this year, I can safely say that if nothing else, they have captured the essence of Elder Scrolls and placed it in this game.
I started off my demo with a character around level 5. One of the main features of character development is that much like Skyrim, skills are built based on your usage. If you use two-handed weapons, your skill in that goes up. The same exists for armor or magic or whatever. You can use any weapon, wear any armor, and use any skill. The Elder Scrolls Online will allow you to go in first or third person mode to play. Though it wasn’t entirely built, I did jump into first person mode. It felt exactly like I was back in Skyrim, save the skill bar at the bottom that reminded me I was playing a MMO. Thankfully, one of the MMO clichés that was not there was auto-attack. With the usual Elder Scrolls bars for health (red), magic (blue) and stamina (green) in play, battles did not feel like pressing buttons and watching cool down timers.
People always say it’s the little things that make the difference in life. The same applies to The Elder Scrolls Online. There is plenty of exploration to be done and a ton to collect and experience. Just like I was playing Skyrim, I opened and collected items out of every sack, crate, chest and barrel. Something I noticed as I began hording is that I couldn’t collect everything from dead enemies or occupied crates. Found out that is because I didn’t have the proper crafting trade. I asked someone on the ESO team and found out that they enforced this in order to aid the economy. So if you’re a provisioner, there are certain items only you can pick up so you can create your food and drink. The same is true for armorers and alchemists, etc.
If I had any complaints at all it was that the graphics and color palette really didn’t feel particularly sharp or impressive. Now, I was only really in Daggerfall, so I can’t say that the entire world is drab, but I felt my entire world was just shades of brown and gray. And there is plenty of world to experience. They said the entirety of Tamriel is in the game and that there are hundreds of hours of game play to experience. Lastly, there will be PVP, with a possibility of having up to 200 players on screen.
Overall, I am optimistic after my time with The Elder Scrolls Online. It is obvious the dev team at Zenimax has worked closely with Bethesda to take the feel of the single player Elder Scrolls and put it in this MMO. Whether it’s collecting, crafting, combat or simply reading a book, there is plenty of familiarity for players in Elder Scrolls Online and I am looking forward to seeing more before their spring 2014 release.
The Elder Scrolls Online will be released on PC, Mac, Xbox One and the PlayStation 4 and it was announced there would be no difference between the PC/Mac and the console versions.