The Elder Scrolls series is one of the most popular and longest running video game franchises of our time.
Many people started playing Elder Scrolls when Morrowind was released back in 2002, and many more started playing when the Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion was released in 2006. By the time Skyrim was released in 2011, the Elder Scrolls series was a full-blown video game phenomenon enjoyed by millions around the world.
Now, we have 2014’s The Elder Scrolls Online (ESO). ESO is the franchise’s first foray into the world of MMOs. Fans of the series were worried when ESO was announced, while MMO fans were excited. Could this by the long-awaited mythical beast that would dethrone WoW from the pinnacle of MMORPGs?
The Elder Scrolls Online was recently released and we’re here to help you decide if ESO is the right game for you. Whether you’re a hardcore MMORPG fan or a casual gamer who’s “never really gotten into an MMO”, here’s what you need to know about one of the hottest games of 2014.
5) It has received favorable reviews so far
The Elder Scrolls Online isn’t a game you can accurately review on the day it’s released. You can’t even accurately review it a week after it’s released. Like all MMOs, ESO reviews are only accurate after a few weeks of playtime.
Early reviews of ESO are generally favorable. It has received an 83/100 ranking on Metacritic so far. Meanwhile, reviews in progress from IGN, PC Gamer, and other notable gaming publications have widely praised the game for its excellent combination of Elder Scrolls mechanics with MMO trademarks. Other praised features include its vast amount of interesting content and interesting world exploration across Tamriel.
4) You can explore all of Tamriel
Tamriel has been the setting of every Elder Scrolls game thus far. Morrowind was set in the province of Morrowind, for example, and Skyrim was set in the province of Skyrim. Oblivion was set in the capital province of Cyrodil. Daggerfall created a game world around Tamriel that was twice the size of Great Britain.
With Elder Scrolls Online, you can visit all of those provinces and more. The Elder Scrolls Online map looks like this:
You can visit all of the provinces in the world of Tamriel. One of the reasons why people think ESO could be a WoW-killer is because so many non-MMO fans are going to play the game simply because they love the Elder Scrolls world and want to see what places like Valenwood, Black Marsh, and Elsweyr look like.
We’ve been hearing about these provinces of Tamriel for years and now, with ESO, you can finally explore them in their full glory.
3) Massive PVP combat
PVP combat is a central mechanic of any popular MMO. Elder Scrolls Online aims to take PVP to a national level as all three factions will fight over the central province of Cyrodil.
PVP fighting in ESO involves entering the ‘AvA’ (Alliance vs Alliance) zone. Any player can enter this zone after reaching level 10.
Cyrodil is filled with keeps, outposts, towns, and fortresses that factions can control and capture. You can set up siege weapons, reinforce keeps, upgrade guards, and support your alliance in many different ways.
The Aldmeri Dominon, Daggerfall Convenant, and Ebonheart Pact will all struggle to control this central province. Players can level up through PVP combat. Once you enter the PVP zone, just open your map to identify the best combat areas. This map lets you see which keeps are being attacked and where the majority of the action is taking place. Battle lines will be drawn and keeps will be captured.
Early action in the AvA zone has been entertaining to watch. Controlling areas requires teamwork and strategy on a mass-scale, but you can also storm and hold bordering fortresses with a small number of people.
2) You can transform into a werewolf or vampire
Are you on Team Edward or Team Jacob? That may sound like an irrelevant question until you realize that both lycanthropy and vampirism are in Elder Scrolls Online.
You can become a vampire or a werewolf in ESO and your choice (if you make a choice at all), will significantly affect how you approach combat. Becoming a werewolf makes you extremely powerful and grants the ability to jump on enemies and frighten them with a roar, but it also makes you susceptible to poison attacks and special attacks.
1) It’s a surprisingly good combination of the Elder Scrolls and an MMORPG
One of the biggest fears of Elder Scrolls Online is that it would try to focus too much on being an Elder Scrolls game and an MMORPG at the same time without focusing enough on either thing.
Fans were worried about ESO trying to do too many things at once without actually being good at any of those things.
Well, fans can relax because by most early reports, ESO does an excellent job of walking the line between MMO mechanics and Elder Scrolls magic. Here are some things to know about the game:
-It features a similar interface to previous Elder Scrolls games while also adding MMO-style action-based combat
-It doesn’t force players to rush to the level cap; it encourages exploration and questing
-Group abilities are effective in combat, and many of your abilities will help other players heal, increase attack/defense, etc. You don’t have to be in a party for these abilities to take effect on surrounding players.
-The community is, by all early accounts, remarkably friendly for an MMO. If the hostile nerds and children playing World of Warcraft are making you angry, then you’ll appreciate the refreshing change provided by the ESO community.
-You’re not locked into specific player classes. Many people have started playing the class everybody loves to play in Elder Scrolls games: a “stealthy archer” guy who wears light armor. Then, they transition into a more melee-focused class without having to re-roll a new character. It appears that the game
Really, the only major complaint about the Elder Scrolls Online so far is the limited player customization options. If you’re the kind of person who really likes to control how your player looks in-game, then you may be disappointed by the lack of costuming features available so far.
However, I expect more customization options to be added in the near future. One of the reasons why Zeni Max is trying to get gamers to buy into the $15/month subscription fee is to provide frequent and substantial content updates to the game.
I’m not a huge MMO fan. I casually played World of Warcraft and Lord of the Rings Online. Elder Scrolls Online looks like something special and if enough gamers buy into the game and subscribe, this could certainly be an MMO that competes with the behemoth that is World of Warcraft.
You can learn more about the Elder Scrolls Online at http://elderscrollsonline.com/en/
Or, if you’re looking for a more unbiased source of opinions about the game, check out one of the internet’s best communities at http://www.reddit.com/r/elderscrollsonline