Video: Exploring The Elder Scrolls Online

Posted by CB Droege

Bethesda Softworks has released a new video which explores the gameplay basics of its upcoming fantasy MMO.

The Elder Scrolls Online seeks to take the world, lore, and gameplay of The Elder Scrolls franchise, and translate it into a massively multiplayer online game. With mechanics that are designed specifically for a compelling single-player experience, it's difficult to see how that will work, but the designers are at least giving it a real shot. My biggest fear was that the game would only really take the lore of The Elder Scrolls, and otherwise be just like every other MMO on the market.  This new video details some of the ways they are trying to emulate The Elder Scrolls single-player games:

I'm most impressed by the seeming retention of the combat mechanics, rather than resorting to a simple 'click on the enemy to attack it' type of stuff. It seems like, in general, the controls and weapon usage will be similar to Skyrim. I'm curious, however, to know how sneaking will work against other players, if it's to be a viable combat option, there would have to be mechanics that make a player invisible and silent to a player who can't 'detect' them, since if it's only down ot what the player can see, none of the sneaking skills will be valuable.

I'm also very excited to hear that it won't just be Cyrodiil that the players will have access to, but that the entirety of Tamriel will be accessible, something they haven't done since the procedurally generated world of The Elder Scrolls: Daggerfall. I'm looking forward to exploring the southern parts of the continent.

Also interesting is their take on the server division. It sounds similar to the way instances worked in the public spaces in the first Guild wars, where all players are on one server, but they can meet up in whatever version of the town there was the most room in that day. It sounds like the system will do it automatically, though, which seems difficult to manage, and one hopes that there will be controls to manually override the place the server has stuck you, but if it works the way they think it will, it'll be great.

What concerns me however is the brief comment that the game "really opens up" at level 50. Honestly, this is the mentality that I cannot stand about most MMOs: The idea that the game doesn't really begin until the character progression ends. For me the character progression is the most fun part of the game, and I wish it was the part that received the most attention, but in an MMO, your player base soon becomes populated more with people who have finished leveling than people who are still leveling, and so they get the bulk of the content development.

Perhaps this preference is what keeps me out of most MMOs. I'd rather just go through the game by myself or with just a few friends anyhow, I don't really get into playing with a bunch of strangers. I'll need to make an exception for The Elder Scrolls Online, however. I won't be able to resist the chance to explore Tamriel again.

And, who knows, perhaps they really have found a way to make an MMO fun for introverts.

The Elder Scrolls Online is currently in development, and no release date has yet been announced beyond a plan to have it ready in 2013.