So we know Elder Scrolls Online is a thing now, due some time in 2013 and thus escaping the MMO rush of 2012. Seeing as how it's only been a day since the MMO's official unveiling, we haven't been given a whole lot to go by, beyond some vague story details pertaining to Molag Bal and when the game would be taking place in relation to Skyrim.
Three now-named player factions were mentioned, which coincides with the tri-animal Ouroboros emblem that represents TESO, and mortals are waging a war against Molag Bal's invasion. Well, a hefty reveal was planned to premiere in the next issue of Game Informer, but as with so many things, the story was leaked in full onto the Internet, giving the world an earlier-than-expected look at how the game will look and some gameplay details.
Off the bat, we can see that TESO's visual style is incredibly and unexpectedly vibrant, like a more refined take on World of Warcraft's highly graphic art direction, though it may be more accurate to compare TESO's look to that of Fable or Kingdoms of Amalur. Either way, it's a far cry from what TES fans were expecting.
The MMO is being handled by the 250 developers at Zenimax Online, though Bethesda will be collaborating "extensively" with the dev team to ensure lore and geographical content match up with the single-player TES games. Beyond that, however, they'll be stepping back and letting Zenimax take care of the game.
Interestingly, TESO will be fully voiced, like EA and LucasArts' Star Wars: The Old Republic, but players won't be able to marry or have the same intimate interactions with AI characters. Zenimax's MMO is also built on the same HeroEngine that powers TOR.
Each of the game's three factions with have three playable races. The Ebonheart Pact will be comprised of Nords, Dunmer, and Argonians; the Aldmeri Dominion includes Altmer, Bosmer, and Khajiit; the Daggerfall Covenant has Bretons, Redguards, and Orcs.
In addition to the war against Molag Bal, these factions will also be at odds with each other and duke it out in a Guild Wars 2 style WvWvW setting. PvP will take place in Cyrodiil, the heart of Tamriel, and resources such as mines, farms, forts, and so on will play a key role. Siege weaponry will also be implemented in the large scale PvP -- as many as 100v100 (v100?).
You'll also find instanced PvP arenas in TESO. Similarly, dungeons will have instanced and non-instanced varieties as well.
Most of Tamriel will be open to exploration, from Skyrim to Morrowind -- and yes, even the Khajiit home province of Elsewyr. Note that such areas won't be as complete as their single-player counterparts, though this could change later with expansions.
The world will support phased questing, which alters the game world based on how far along in a story arc players are.
Combat will not be in real-time, though MMO staples like leveling, classes, and hot bars are in. Hot bars sound pretty limited as far as MMOs go, though this isn't necessarily a bad thing. Based on leaked info, they delegate first two slots to weapon abilities, and the rest house class abilities. The last skill slot will be for an elite or ultimate skill of some kind.
In a fight, a primary resource will be Stamina, which affects blocking, sprinting, interrupting, and breaking CC. All classes and weapons should be able to block, just not equally well. Even with the inclusion of Stamina, MMO staples like healers, tanks, and DPS are still around, but it'll be interesting seeing how this works when TESO has no aggro table.
Groups will accommodate up to five players, at least at launch. Different classes can combine abilities to perform special attacks, like a rogue throwing oil for a mage to ignite, or a mage encasing a warrior in fire for added damage.
Here are a few other notable details:
- Crafting will exist, but specifics weren't mentioned.
- Mounts will also exist, but again, no details.
- Fast travel from wayshrines will be allowed, but not from the map.
- Stealth may be implemented, but that's still being worked out.
- Dragons probably won't be in the game.
- No pets as of yet.
- Loot system hasn't been detailed.
An uninformative but fairly cool Elder Scrolls Online teaser was also released earlier today.