Posted by Raine Hutchens on Nov 8, 2012

Elder Scrolls Online Gameplay Footage and Details Arrive

There’s been a lot of buzz surrounding the new Elder Scrolls Online MMO from Bethesda and Zenimax. It’s promised to bring us all the great content of an Elder Scrolls game but with online support and scale that we see in great MMO titles. There have been a lot of people on the fence about the game, myself being one of them. Well, I used to be anyway. Since I’ve seen more about the game I’ve become much warmer to the idea that both Zenimax and Bethesda are going to do a great job at bringing us the next blockbuster MMO.

A new gameplay video for the game has just released, and it comes to us from IGN. In the video some of the development staff helps to fill us in on some of the key aspects of the new Elder Scrolls Online MMO. One of the first and foremost things the team wanted to do was to create a landscape that players could immerse themselves in. If you’ve ever played an Elder Scrolls game you can no doubt recall the immense landscapes that you find yourself lost in. As Creative Director Paul Sage says in the video, “We wanted to create a landscape that rewarded exploration.” That’s something that you don’t see too often in MMOs anymore.

The game is set one thousand years before the events in Skyrim. One thing that’s really amazing about the new MMO is that it draws upon all the lore that players have read through the previous Elder Scrolls games. This means that there’s 20 years worth of lore wrapped into this game that the developers can draw from. That being said, the landscapes and places you’ve explored before can be visited once again, and they all look amazing.

One of the biggest factors of creating an MMO is combat. Too often we’ve seen games where you simply target an enemy and button-mash until they die. There’s no sense of tactics, and you can’t really get wrapped up into fighting enemies. On top of that, it makes kill quests a real bore to carry out. Now I’m not saying games that use this mechanic aren’t good, but they have a hard time of keeping players immersed in their world. With Elder Scrolls Online the team set out for something familiar, all while providing new features that break the MMO mold.

The combat in Elder Scrolls Online feels very much like an Elder Scrolls game and less like a traditional MMO. If you’ve ever played an Elder Scrolls game on the PC you’ll feel right at home. Clicking the left mouse button swings the weapon in your left hand, while the right mouse button controls your right hand. Holding the button in longer performs a powerful strike, and holding a button where a shield is equipped performs blocking maneuvers. Seems simple enough, right?

Combat is set in real-time. This means that attacking, blocking, and dodging happen simultaneously. Combat is affected by the maneuvers you pull off. Players will have a stamina bar which is common for an Elder Scrolls game, and it will dictate what you can do in and out of combat. The player can choose different skills that will be placed on certain buttons, but only a select few can be active at a time. It’s really reminiscent of a Diablo-type feel, but it becomes much more fluid within this MMO. Something that’s really neat is that you can chain your attacks together and perform a number of different things based on how you’ve set up your character.

Being an MMO, Elder Scrolls Online is set to encourage massive amounts of social interaction. For this reason the characters in the game have been designed so that hundreds of them can be on-screen at the same time. You’ll also have a lot of customization options that will be available to you in the form of character creation, though you’ll also stumble on many types of armor and weaponry that will help your character stand out.

The development team has taken the time to realize what sorts of issues plague many MMO games, specifically at their launch. One of these problems is server load, which sometimes forces players to create many characters across many different servers just to play the game. This can really bog the game down as well as create a sense of disconnect where players don’t feel like they’re really able to play the game with their friends. To remedy this, the developers are employing a new technology they call Megaserver. With this technology all of the game’s players – which can and will easily be thousands – will be on one central server. This means all of your friends will be right there with you when you play the game.

One of the last things I want to touch on is how the rewards system works. Throughout your journey in Tamriel, you’ll be able to take part in public dungeons as well as different scenarios. One thing that’s important about an MMO is resource management. A lot of times in MMO games you’ll be on a constant dungeon run to collect items and rare drops that are hard to come by. Elder Scrolls Online changes this a bit, and encourages players to run with friends or even strangers to come together to save the land from evil. This means that you’re all working together to overcome something and you all get equal rewards. This really beefs up the feeling that you’re making a difference in the game and it encourages teamwork, this way you’re not feeling so alone in the game’s world.

After seeing so much about Elder Scrolls Online I am becoming more and more excited to try it out. I am looking forward to the game’s launch and I know I’ll be devoting a lot of time to it. For now, check out the gameplay video below and tell us what you think about the new MMO from Bethesda and Zenimax.

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