There are two ways to create a character, a basic method and more complex. No need to worry about how much you can customize your character as it is as detailed, or more so, than what you might have seen in Skyrim.
The Basic method consists of a trifecta: Angular, Heroic, or Muscular. You choose the overall look, and dive right into the game.
The detailed creation lets you adjust nearly every aspect of your character's face and body. From how skinny or big they are, to little details like the size of their neck or butt.
The graphics are on par with Skyrim, very impressive for an MMO.
To quest, you are guided by small dots on your mini-map, they point you toward available quests and quest-givers.
As you approach a quest giver, they will have a slight yellow glow around them so you know who you are looking for.
When you interact with NPC's they will be fully voice-acted.
Questing, Journal entries, Scattered notes and books, and the atmospher all make for a very immmersive Elder Scrolls experience.
Combat will be no cake-walk, especially at low levels. Even common enemies like one or two wolves can prove to be a real challenge for your character.
The Basics of combat are, you attack with you left mouse button, holding it to charge for a heavy attack, and you block with your right button. You can time your blocks and shield bashes when you see an enemy telegraphing a heavy attack to stun them and knock them to the ground.
Double-tapping in a direction will make your character dodge. There have been some complaints about the button use for dodge, saying it can trigger accidently, with hopes they will either change this or offer alternate button mapping.
Running, Blocking, Dodging, Sneaking all use stamina (Yes, sneaking even uses stamina when you are standing still)
You can block with weapons, but it is more effective with a shield. It also loses effectiveness when you are out of Stamina. You can block projectiles and spell projectiles, but not spell effects.
Health, Magicka and Stamina all regenerate a little naturally, even while in combat, similar to what you see in Skyrim.
You will need to time your work in combat correctly, button mashing can hamper you. If you mash an attack five times, then you character will go through a sequence of five swings. So if someone happens to attack you half way through that, you won't be able to dodge or block because you'll be stuck in that sequence.
The soft-lock targeting system allows you to target a specific enemy when multiple enemies are in an area where you are aiming. It doesn't allow you to attack in one direction and hit someone behind you just because they are targeted, you still need to aim at them. But it will allow you to, for example, shoot an archer hiding behind a fighter, when you aim at them, you choose which one to soft-lock onto.
Healing, though this has been covered before, is area of effect and conal. If there are more allies in the area than your spell can heal, it will give priority to your group over other random allies.
The Skill system is split into Armor, Weeapons & Class.
Inside of each category are sub-categories that effect your active and passive abilities. There are also skill morph abilities you can activate as you reach certain levels to change the inherent nature of an ability.
The Armor skill tree lets you increase your skill in light, medium, or heavy armor. Some skills in the armor trees, for example, can let you increase healing done to you character, lower stamina costs for sneeaking, decrease the amount of damage you take, etc.
Having more pieces of the same armor type can offer additional benefits.
The weapon tree is a bit more varied because it's based on every weapon in the game. Once you choose a weapon, you choose a special ability for your fighting style. As you use that ability in combat, you work toward leveling it up, and eventually 'morph it' by adding new abilities onto it, for example, adding a knockback effect to your weapon.
The last major section is your Class tree, where your path is defined slightly by the class you select. Although ESO will have a fairly open class system, specializing and sticking to your class tree can make you more effective than trying to be a jack-of-all-trades. Some of the abilities we've seen so far for classes are the healing cones, the chain attack to pull enemies into melee with you, the shield bashing, etc. come from class trees.
When you level up, you will get a point to put into Helth, Magicka or Stamina, much like Skyrim.
There will also be additional trees for your race, alliance, guilds, even for vampires and werewolves.
Some additional (random) notes
- There will be thousands of achievements.
- Emotes are in the game, including dancing and enemy taunts.
- There will be hobbies and mini-games, fishing has been mentioned.
- Spears and Polearems are NOT in the game.
- For now there is no ammo, projectiles are unlimited.
- No armor customizing with Dyes.
- Weapons get bloody with use.
- You will be able to buy Siege weapons.
- Disguises are in the game, you can blend in with enemies to avoid fighting.
- Healer's won't be left out of rewards and can gain plenty of alliance points following that path.
- You may be able to break free of "crowd-control" effects like roots, tangles, etc. in combat by using Stamina.
- Dungeons will be full of traps.
- There will be 16 dungeons at launch with instanced, open, and 50+ versions.
- Enemies will respawn in dungeons for quest objectives to prevent mob camping.
- Lockingpicking is a skill. It can be used in combat, but attacks can interrupt you. You'll have 23 seconds to pick a lock, there are five tumblers to work. If you drop a tumblr wrong, you'll break a pick.
- Soul Gems will be in the game and work similar to how they do in Skyrim. Players can use them to resurrect other players, but there are few additional details on this yet.
- You can adventure out of your zone after level fifty into other alliances in what they are calling "50+" content. You will not see enemy players in these areas.
- There will be guild keeps and guilds will be alerted when their guards are attacked.
- There is no weight limit on inventory, it is all slot based.
- Fights and Mages Guilds will be in the game at launch, with Thieves Guild and Dark Brotherhood to come later.
- NPC's do react to your race.
- Adventure Zones, ESO's answer to raiding, will not be in the game at launch.
Beta invites will begin going out at the end of March according to Zenimax, so be on the lookout (and also be aware of the scam emails that will start popping up as well). Mac Beta may come a bit later than PC.
Check out all of our Elder Scrolls Online Coverage:
- ELDER SCROLLS ONLINE CINEMATIC TRAILER
- ELDER SCROLLS ONLINE: FIRST PERSON PLAY AVAILABLE AT LAUNCH
- ELDER SCROLLS ONLINE: CRAFTING
- ELDER SCROLLS ONLINE: CROSS-ALLIANCE GAMEPLAY