E3 2012: The Elder Scrolls Online Impressions

Many times I looked at my PSN friends list, saw people playing The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim and thought to myself, “Man it would be awesome to be able to drop my awesome, barbaric character into their world and really mess things up.” Well, that wasn’t exactly my thought, but you get the idea. I play Skyrim to explore the world, dungeons and caves, not necessarily the story. Doing all of those things with friends would make Skyrim a 6/5 instead of a 5/5.

When I heard about The Elder Scrolls Online, I was skeptical. I don’t play MMORPGs, nor do I have any interest in them. I have accepted that fact and I tend to ignore them when they come out. After watching a half-hour presentation of Elder Scrolls Online, I am not only sold on this being a good idea but I’m sold on buying a nice laptop to enjoy this good idea.

The main selling point is the single-player aspect. There is a dedicated quest line you can play through by yourself without needing people to help you along. Though there are public dungeons, which offer a much more challenging dungeon crawl, you can also go into group instances for some dungeons.

“But Don, you just said you wanted to play with friends!” Well, yes, I did but I don’t want to play with people the whole duration of my game. I want to be able to go off and do my own thing whenever I want. I really think being able to leisurely explore the world with a friend or two will make an already-enjoyable experience that much more fun. Everything is better with friends, right?

The interface is minimal and being a minimalist, it feels like Zenimax Online (the studio developing the game) is really building this game just for me. When not in combat, you don’t see much at all on the screen unless you mouse over the screen space below your character. However, in combat your health, mana and stamina (all three staples of the series) become visible.

Combat is real-time and blocking an attack will stun the enemy momentarily. Having “finesse” will give you a higher probability of getting better loot, so I will no longer be able to just absorb blows while hacking away at an enemy if I want good gear.

PvP players are in for an amusing treat. I was shown a massive 150-player battle that looked like sheer chaos. I wasn’t shown from a players perspective, however, so the logistics still make me scratch my head a bit, but Zenimax Online is aiming for 200’ish players on the battlefield at once.

The final straw for me was hearing that they were shooting for minimal system requirements. Having a fairly old PC, I need to upgrade to a decent laptop anyways, but knowing that I shouldn’t need to go spend $1,000 on a gaming laptop was a sigh of relief.

I don’t play MMORPG’s. I put 70+ hours into Skyrim and loved every minute of it. The Elder Scrolls Online is a dangerous game for either camp when it eventually releases sometime in 2013.

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Author: Don Parsons View all posts by
Starting out as a founding member of Gamingcore Podcast, Don ventured on to start Gameciety; which began as a podcast, and ended as a blog. Don now handles Vagary.tv's PR work, is part of the reviews staff and has various other little projects he does for the site.