Impression: Elder Scrolls Online (Beta)

Feb 7, 2014

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Quick math: [(12 months x $15) + $60] = $240. That’s the cost of playing The Elder Scrolls Online on your Xbox One this coming June. Both Xbox Live Gold and Playstation Plus subscriptions are required to play ESO on your new console. I’ve been playing the PC beta, slated to release on April 4th (also available on Mac). The quick review: this is not a WOW killer. In the 3 hours I’ve thus spent in Tamriel, I’ve found gorgeous environments and a fresh take on leveling in an MMO. What I haven’t found is Skyrim clone - which is both good and bad.

The World

Elder Scrolls Online takes place throughout Tamriel. Fans of the series will recognize the locations: Morrowind, Oblivion, Skyrim, Sumerset Isle, Valendwood, and more. The game begins in concentrated areas but Bethesda has revealed plans for expansions which will open up the continent. Thinking long-term, a subscription service could make sense financially if an offline, traditional title is never again released. It’s still a larger price to pay and PC-gamers lose out on modding which is a popular aspect of the game. Albeit, one that Bethesda can’t really monetize.

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Factions and Races

  • Ebonheart
    • Argonian – Highly resistant of diseases and are able to breath underwater. Their homeland is the Black Marsh.
    • Dunmer - The Dark Elves of Morrowind are all-around a well-balanced race.
    • Nord - The mountainous people from Skyrim are excellent heavy weapons wielders.
  • Aldmeri Dominion
    • Altmer – The High Elves of Summerset Isle. The most proficient race in Magic.
    • Bosmer - Wood elves of Valenwood. The archer class.
    • Khajiit - The agile and quick race from Elsweyr.
  • Daggerfall Covenant
    • Breton - Hailing from High Rock, these humans are strong and skilled in natural magic such as healing.
    • Orc – These native Tamriel Elves are well suited for heavy armor and weapons.
    • Redguard - From Hammerfell, Redguards are great warriors and rogues.

Combat

It’s not revolutionary, in fact, it’s similar to past Elder Scrolls games. For example, most MMOs use the mouse for camera control and turning the body of your character. In ESO you attack with left-click and block with right-click. You can also hold them both down to stop an enemy’s power attack. Like most MMOs, ESO does have a quickbar for spells/skills. And, like those other MMOs, you will press 1-5 and wait for the recharge. I felt very OP throughout the first 5 levels with my female Bosmer. There isn’t a way to target parts of your enemy’s body to earn a critical hit - something I would love to see in an MMO. The big change, and something I’ve really enjoyed in this beta, is Finesse. This system rewards players with XP and gold for using your skills/class well.

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More to Come

Next week I’ll update this post with impressions of the PVP combat.

Let me know if you have any specific questions!

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