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E3: Hands on with Elder Scrolls Online

Written by Jeremy Shane on Wednesday, June 12 2013 and posted in News with Benefits

E3: Hands on with Elder Scrolls Online

I had a chance to play ESO for a couple hours at E3 and speak with Paul Sage from Zenimax.



In coming from an Elder Scrolls background and having never played an MMO, I really enjoyed the game. It did have a slightly different feel to it than say Skyrim, but still felt Elder Scrolls.  The game felt a bit bigger, the world seemed to have more life to it, feeling a bit better than the somewhat empty feeling of Skyrim's cities.  I used the quick character creation to get started with my Breton Dragonknight, starting in the city of Daggerfall.

The graphics looked good, but they were slightly more cartoonish than we you get with a good build of Skyrim, but I don't say that in a bad way. In fact, details, scenery, everything looked great. I think for me, it felt like a mix of 75% Skyrim and 25% Fables for the look of the graphics (which was fine for me being that I loved both games). Everyone has their own opinions, but considering what they have to work with in building an MMO, they did a great job.

NPC interaction reminded me more of Oblivion, where the camera would zoom in on the NPC.  All of the voice acting I encountered was very well done.

Gameplay felt good, the character seemed like he had a bit more weight to him (physics wise) than you do in Skyrim. Combat wasn't too difficult (they started us at level 5) if you paid attention and didn't get sloppy and used your powers wisely.  In my play, I fought assassins, wolves, spriggans, and some sort of flying imps, the most challenging was the assassin leader, followed by the spriggans, especially if you allowed yourself to get teamed up on.  After fighting them more than once, you did get a very predictable set of actions to expect from them. I don't know if AI is still being worked on, but for now there wasn't a lot of change in tactics to how they fight - though that change may come more when facing larger groups instead of just a single player.

Interaction with other players worked alright. One player using a sorcerer was in the same area as me at one point, so we helped each other out as we made our way through the assassins.  He did die unfortunately, becoming a ghost (I'm not sure what became of him as I kept on going), but it was kind of neat to run into someone to work with for a bit.  When you are playing the same quest or area as another player, you interact with NPC's, chests, bodies to loot, etc., separately. So no one can steal your loot after a kill.  I did notice if you ran up and helped someone with a fight, however, just to land a blow or two, you would not get any loot option.

As for view, I play Skyrim in third person, so I enjoy the 3rd person playstyle of ESO myself. It felt good to me, dealing with the targeting was fairly easy, movement was smooth.  I tried out first person for a little bit, but they still don't have the animations built in for this build, so it was a bit odd not seeing my weapon yet.  They also offered the option of zooming the camera in or out in 3rd person play, so if you want to have the camera set further back to see a lot of what's going on around you, or right up (almost) over your shoulder, you had choices there.




ESO on Consoles-

The big news out of E3 about ESO won't sneak by everyone, like we all know about ESO coming to consoles now, but I did get a few more details on the development.  Console players would be on their own servers each, separate from PC players.  Also, the game will not be dumbed down for console. With the new consoles, they will run games better than most average PCs of today, remember, ESO is not being targeted at only high end PCs, so with the game coming out during a new console launch it gave them an option that wasn't there before, ie, not something they would try on 360 or PS3.  I can't see how ESO coming to console is bad, it will offer ESO a bigger chance of success, with the end result being the game will be supported better for PC.


50+ Player Content-

There wasn't really any new info on cross faction play, but I did want to clear up or verified some assumptions. You will not see enemy players, even if they are on your friends list, in other faction territory.  So if you want to play with a friend in a different faction you will have to make up a character in their faction. The quests will be very similar to what you would get in that faction, just on a whole other level of difficulty. So if you had played in that faction with a starting character, you may see an almost identical quest, just expect it to be much more difficult.



Things they could not answer yet. Still no solid answer on multiple characters, he seemed to agree with playing multiple characters in different factions, yet wouldn't give an official answer on how that will work. Also, I asked, with the console announcement, does it mean they've decided how the pay structure will work on PC and got a negative on that one as well.


You can create an established guild now, several are already rolling, when the game starts, that guild will already be created at launch.  Guild leaders will set permissions for the guild, there will be a guild bank to keep valuables in, etc.  More announcements are planned on guilds in the near future.


I've noticed several bigger sites doing some basic ESO coverage, which is probably right on target for casual gamers.  We've been attacking all things Elder Scrolls for a while here, however, so if you want even more game details, check out our older ESO articles:

Elder Scrolls Online 1st Hands-On Rundown

Early Game Impressions for ESO

or Browse all our Elder Scrolls Online News here



I've also attached a few shots of the booth Bethesda had set up in my best attempt to dodge around people:



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About the Author - Jeremy Shane

Jeremy was born in a small mountain village of a strange foreign land called Weystvurginea.  Banishment for liberal views saw him spend years wondering the east coast until he decided to bike to California.  When he saw how long a trip it was, he drove instead.  Now he's living it up in a low humidity climate, sometimes working on his photography and when not, he writes for us covering books (by way of his blog: Reading Realms), gaming, tv, movies, comics, conventions in the SoCal area, and creates a weekly webcomic: A Journey Through Skyrim.  If you look for him offline, start in the L.A. area; online start at: www.jeremyshane.info for his profile and all the social networks he's on... or just follow him on twitter, he seems to be on there a lot: @jeremyshane.


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