Weâ€™ve hit the point again where another â€™AAAâ€™ MMORPG is nearing launch day. Our previous foray into Guild Wars 2 saw a spike in numbers and VoIP participation and led to a substantial amount of World vs World and dungeon delving entertainment. Unfortunately, in the end the design issues and lack of progression saw a shift away from Tyria until the numbers were no more.
Enter The Elder Scrolls Online (ESO), which has flown largely under the radar around CC Global Gaming with only a handful members having beta access and others left in the dark. Developed by ZeniMax Online (sister company to Bethesda) and headed up by Matt Firor who was with Mythic Entertainment for 11 years and producer of Dark Age of Camelot among many other of Mythicâ€™s titles. ESO looks to appeal to both fans of The Elder Scrolls saga and MMORPG players alike by tying the worlds together and has a focus towards 3-faction PvP conflict, though PvE content exists as well and is being developed further.
ESO takes place during the era before Daggerfall, Morrowind and Oblivion and sees three alliances fighting for control of the Imperial throne which remains empty. There is the Daggerfall Covenant (Breton, Redguard, Orc), Ebonheart Pact (Nord, Dark Elf, Argonian) and Aldmeri Dominion (High Elf, Wood Elf, Khajiit). The races are faction-locked aside from a pre-order bonus which allows the creation of any race in any faction, but is not available any time after launch. The Imperial race is also available as part of the collectors edition (digital or physical) and may be made in any faction.
Veterans of The Elder Scrolls saga will see similarities in combat, however there have been tweaks to make it more fitting for an MMO setting. The largest difference from the single-player series is the need to select a class during character creation â€“ but rest assured that these classes do not force you into any one role (healer, dps, tank) and any weapon/armour type can be used regardless of class choice. There is also the addition of a skill bar with only room for 5 skills, meaning there will be a large variety depending on player choice.
PvP action in ESO takes place in Cyrodiil and sees each faction trying to take control of a vacant Imperial throne. Drawing similarities to both GW2 and DAoC, ESO could become a great place for guild PvP strategy. Unlike GW2 there is no supply requirement for placing siege weaponry and the map is not segregated into separate instances. Keeps are also claimed by taking control king-of-the-hill style of the two capture flags in the inner keep, rather than killing a stronger NPC.
Not to be left out, PvE players will find much to do in ESO as well. Each alliance has itâ€™s own area of the Elder Scrolls world and will take characters in that alliance to max level. After completing your side, you may elect to go to an instanced version of another alliances area to experience their take as well (no interaction with the other alliance). Aside from that there are the usual 4-player dungeons and also Trials for 12-player groups. These Trials have a hard-cap on the amount of respawns allowed and will track your time to complete. Successfully completing the Trial will add your time to the leaderboards to compete with other PvE groups. Coming after launch will also be the first Adventure Zone, which is a very large outdoor area with itâ€™s own delves and bosses designed for a group of 4 players.
The Elder Scrolls Online launches April 4th with early access to start March 30th and requires a subscription fee to play.