The Elder Scrolls is to make the transformation into the competitive world of MMORPGs. After years of speculation concerning a potential World of Warcraft rival in the Elder Scrolls universe, publishers Bethesda have revealed its officially happening.
“We have been working hard to create an online world in which players will be able to experience the epic Elder Scrolls universe with their friends, something fans have long said they wanted,” said Matt Firor, game director of The Elder Scrolls Online.
“It will be extremely rewarding finally to unveil what we have been developing the last several years. The entire team is committed to creating the best MMO ever made – and one that is worthy of The Elder Scrolls franchise.”
But is this a good thing or a bad thing for gamers? The Elder Scrolls series is known for its giant, detailed single player worlds; could that possibly translate well as an MMO? Developed by ZenimMax Online studios, who developed the ground-breaking online title Dark Age of Camelot, they stand as good a chance as any of making it all work.
Set for a 2013 release, we’ve pooled together all of the little available information there is so far (based on breaking news and series lore) to offer a primer as to what to expect from the next in the series that gave us Morrowind, Oblivion and Skyrim.
Little has been revealed about The Elder Scrolls Online (TESO) in terms of plot, but it does take place in what’s known as the Second Era of Tamriel (the world in which the realms of Morrowind and Skryim among others exists). Apparently fighting for control of the throne of the Emperor of Cyrodiil, this era in Elder Scrolls lore sees many of the series factions battling for supremacy. It’s rumoured that as the player, your soul has also been stolen by Molag Bal, the Daedric Prince. The areas of Skyrim and Cyrodiil are expected to feature heavily, with other regions added through expansion packs.
RACES AND FACTIONS
According to Game Informer, there will be three factions vying for control of Tamriel, each with a number of races playable. While these haven’t been confirmed yet, the lore of the Elder Scrolls series sees three factions for the Second Era broken down as follows:
The Ebonheart Pact: Nords, Dunmer, and Argonians from the Northern and Eastern regions.
The Aldmeri Dominion: Altmer, Bosmer, and Khajiit from the South and South West regions.
The Daggerfall Covenant: Bretons, Redguards, and Orcs from the North West regions.
Again, no confirmed classes yet, but the game will indeed feature them. Expect these to be very different however from the way usual Elder Scrolls games level up and expand. Completing missions and defeating bad guys will likely add to a global experience system, rather than the individual, skill-usage based levelling system that has previously characterised the series.
QUESTS AND PVP
Rather than the endless grind of MMO fetch quests, ZeniMax Online and Bethesda are working together to build a far more dynamic mission system. Rather than having a series of quest givers with missions suitable for characters of a certain level in one fixed area, before moving on to the next, exploration will be more important, with missions making themselves available as you stumble upon wandering quest givers. It should therefore feel a little more like the living world that has characterised Elder Scrolls in the past. Missions may have differing outcomes and rewards based upon the way you approach them too.
Being an online MMO, PVP will certainly be a massive part of the game. Rumour has it that battles may feature many hundreds of players at once, adding to the series’ grand, epic feel. Combat however will likely not be of the real-time variety, instead opting for hotbar skill triggering. Expect to see the Elder Scrolls equivalents of Tank/Healer/Damage Dealing build hit the battlefields too.
We’ll expand this guide and add more confirmed features once they become available.